I’m Wearing: Pink Petals

Pink and Navy Spring Look

Pink and Navy Spring Look

Pink and Navy Spring Look

Pink and Navy Spring Look

Pink and Navy Spring Look

shirt: jcrew, jeans: f21, sneakers: lulu guinness (old), belt: jcrew c/o thredup, necklace: caroline g shop

Spring is definitely in the air despite the flip-flop weather this week. I wore this navy and pink combo last Saturday when we were out and about around Philadelphia and it was light and Spring-y. Sometimes I have a hard time thinking about how I want to remix my closet. I’m not a fashion blogger with deep pockets, just a crowded walk-in closet and a mom with great taste and plenty of hand-me-downs. But this outfit was a no-brainer because it combined two colors that really pop when they’re together and I just love navy and pink. Also these sneakers were a great buy. I bought them wondering whether I was going to wear them but about ten years later I am still wearing them.

With Easter on Sunday, this weekend will be nice and laid back. That’s just perfect for me since all I did was relax this week while on Spring Break. It felt like the greatest luxury to have nothing really to do and nowhere to be for a full week. When do you ever get that kind of week? Even though I love to travel and be busy, I feel rejuvenated and ready to get back to the rush and grind that is third grade. Before I know it, it’ll be the last day of school. So I’ll take these last lazy days while I can.

My Home: The Living Room

The number of times I promised a home tour on this blog is probably ridiculously high and the actual times I delivered on those promises was dismally zero. Well, that’s not entirely true: I shared our tiny closet-like kitchen last summer and our colorful patio when we dandied it up for the Spring. The reason for the hold up has been my own insecurities; Pinterest and lifestyle blogs are a high standard to meet. In addition I have taken a long time to “get it right”, which to me means making it a cozy place where Nick and I feel at home. So I’ve been slowly gathering pieces here and there, a lot of it inspiration in my mind and online, before I fussed with my own space. This Spring was the perfect time for fussing because I’ve finally chosen a color scheme for each room, bought inexpensive but quality accessories, and am not on the job hunt/too crazy stressed to think about pillows and couch covers. Now on to sharing our living room.

buttons and blossoms living room tour

buttons and blossoms living room tour

buttons and blossoms living room tour

buttons and blossoms living room tour

buttons and blossoms living room tour

Nick and I probably spend the most time sitting in our living room, mostly because we have no choice unless we want to hang in our bedroom. When we first moved in I was dead-set on having white couches. I love white; it’s clean, streamlined, modern without being contemporary, and easy to build a cohesive design around. Unfortunately after living with the white couch for over a year, I was tired of it. With our white walls it kind of melted away and it was ridiculously hard to keep clean. So a few months ago Nick and I headed to Ikea to find another, more suitable cover. We settled on the beige and, while I’m almost 100 percent anti-beige, this beige is just perfect for our living room. The other lower couch has a canvas cover and the two couches look great together.

I think the most important element for our living room was adding some accessories to really make it feel like home. I reworked a few pillows with coordinating pillow covers from Ikea and West Elm. Nick is not a throw pillow fan but even he can’t deny how nice and grown-up those people make our couches look, right? I’m not a fan of the overly stylized coffee table. I’ll confess that it gets its fair share of use as a desk and sometimes dining room table. The terrarium from West Elm is the perfect solution. Soon it will be filled with plants rather than one awkward candle once I get my act together and get down to the nursery. Now the gallery wall makes me smile every time I walk in the door and see it. There are so many meaningful prints on there, including the canvas filled with some very important song lyrics, and most celebrate our love for Nick’s hometown.

buttons and blossoms living room tour

buttons and blossoms living room tour

buttons and blossoms living room tour

buttons and blossoms living room tour

buttons and blossoms living room tour

buttons and blossoms living room tour

When we were shopping for a TV stand, we looked at all sorts of options from big to small. On one of the many weekend trips to Ikea, I was suddenly struck by the perfection of the Kallax bookshelf as our new TV stand. Turned on its side this shelving unit is the perfect size for a TV stand and provides excellent extra storage in a one bedroom apartment. I fluctuated on the color for only a moment before settling on the glossy grey. The baskets are also from Ikea and I kept a few cubby holes empty to style them up.

The wicker chair is a holdover from when we got our dining room table. We had a plan for our table which included the cutest matching table and chairs from none other than Ikea (naturally) until it went out of stock two days before our move. We could have waited until it came back in stock but that would have been too logical. Instead we bought a really nice dining room table designed by Better Homes and Gardens at Walmart of all places and then looked for some cheap chairs to put around it. The wicker chairs were okay but I now happily have found cafe chairs and relegated the wicker chairs to other areas in our apartment.

The best feeling is coming home from a long day at work and opening up the door to a home you are proud of. Nick and I love sinking in the couch to watch some of our favorite shows just us two or filling it up with friends and family. Seriously, I’m not sure if we can leave here because it took me about a year and a half to do one room. What will happen when we have an actual house???

Adventures in Book Club Land #2: Talking It Up

I randomly posted last month about joining a book club at work and how going to the first meeting almost made me break out in a sweat. By the time this month’s book club rolled around I felt like a pro, if you could be a professional book club member. Maybe if you were in Oprah’s book club. This time around I was prepared with the essentials: I knew where I was going, I knew (mostly) who was going, and I had an idea for the next book we should read. I climbed the stairs to the second floor not quite confident but at least ready for some awkward social interactions.

The book we read this time is The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh and it was another emotional book. It’s about a young woman named Victoria who survives the foster care system and, now too old to stay in a foster home or group home, is being thrown into the world. The only thing she really understands, or cares about, are flowers and the meanings that were given to them by Victorian men and ladies. When someone from her past rekindles memories and feelings, Victoria is faced to make decisions and take risks that will affect her and those around her. It’s an incredibly moving read and I loved learning all about the meanings behind the flowers. There were definitely some interesting scenes in the book but overall Diffenbaugh created amazing characters with very real stories and emotions.

Now for the book club itself. Every time we get an e-mail about book club from one of the teachers who’s coordinating it, there are about fifteen people on the list. How many people showed up? Five. I love the teachers I work with but they are seriously over scheduled. So there were five of us, though to be fair one woman showed up towards the end after her academic book club. I ended up being way more talkative this time around since I’ve been seeing a lot of these teachers around the building. The one fourth grade teacher, who didn’t read the book last time, didn’t read the book this time so we had a good time recalling the story. Then we moved away from talking about flowers to talking about Trader Joe’s because they have really nice flowers to talking about people hashtagging “clean eating” on Instagram. It was a really good time and I ended up staying later than I planned which actually made me happy.

I know myself and I take a terribly long time to warm up to things. I do a great deal to pretend I am not self-conscious and I’m fearless but deep down I get so anxious trying new things. This time I felt more relaxed, in my element, and I even suggested our next title (stolen, of course, off a blog post!). Maybe this “out of my element” thing is good for me after all.

Monday Links to Love

butterflies aria las vegas

* I sometimes struggle to read books if I’ve been spending a lot of time online so it was interesting to read this Washington Post article about the changes taking place in our brain

* Stop doing the things that rob you of happiness

* Do you too have a small kitchen? Then enjoy these tips for extra kitchen storage from West Elm’s blog

* Thankfully I have Spring Break but I have contemplated taking one of those delicious random days off. Maybe in May…

* Spring re-decorating is in full force at my apartment so I was excited to find this handy list of places to buy affordable art online

* I’d really like to make yoga practice more present in my life and the Free People blog post is inspiring me to do it now

* Hotels with awesome libraries? Sounds like a perfect vacation to me!

In Ink

IMG_0065

You might have thought I was dead for all the junk that was being posted, or not posted, here but I am not. Nope, just had to survive two weeks of torture before I could have a week off for Spring Break. If I had known teaching would be almost 50/50 between teaching and annoying paperwork I might have considered a less awesome career choice like accountant or something. I have done more (meaningless) paperwork in my life for school instead of actually helping my students learn and be the awesome little people they are. Okay, end of teaching rant. Also, did you see how I said accountant there? Nobody would want me to be their accountant. I would tell them to spend their money on cute home decor and they would go broke.

While I wasn’t online, I was actually living and writing off line. It’s funny to think that probably about ten years ago all my living and writing was done offline. My parents annoyingly relegated our family computer to the basement and the computer that lived in the cutest little nook in my room was an old Gateway that could barely get its act together for word processing. So I had notebooks, lots of notebooks, and I wrote and wrote and wrote in them. I wrote with pen and paper, in cursive no less, all the way through college. Then I kind of stopped writing about everything when I graduated because there was less time. Or I made less time and I spent it all on the internet. Now I’m back to writing in a bright yellow journal in ink and cursive and it’s been so so good.

The weird thing is that it’s been hard to journal again. Well it’s just grabbing a pen and writing, duh, you might say (or I imagine you saying). Well, I’ve become so accustomed to writing online which means attempting to be witty and interesting and censoring some of the way-too-true bits so I don’t embarrass myself down the line. Also writing those two little paragraphs under an outfit post don’t make me a real writer. I’ve had to say to myself, hey, you can in fact write whatever you want. Don’t hold back. Dump your mind here on these awkwardly spaced black lines (thanks Michael’s dollar section notebook).

I also had to make time for it. When I blog I have about a million tabs open and I’m flipping between fooling with the post layout and Pinterest and Twitter. But with a notebook in my hand I find I can’t have too many distractions. There has to be a comfortable spot where I can prop the book on my knees or place it on a table. There’s no tv on in the background and sometimes music is okay. Also stay out of my way when I’m journaling because then I get really self-conscious.

When it’s all said and done, I’m so glad I got back into the practice of getting off the internet and back on paper. I’m able to write a post like this, unencumbered by those random thoughts racing through my brain. The words are flowing, people, stand back and hold onto your hats.

Monday Links to Love

cannolis

One more day down, four to go until Spring break. It’s not like I’m even doing anything for the break except never getting out of my pajamas and drinking so much tea and watching Downtown Abbey until I am British. Yes, big plans but first I’m in survival mode since you’ve never seen craziness like nine years before a whole week off. I foresee many dance parties for my class this week and reading¬†Stuart Little. Sometimes it’s good to be the boss in my own classroom.

* Love this list: classic children’s books to read again now

* How to style your home, particularly relevant right now with spring cleaning in full force

* Get the most bang for your beauty buck with these drugstore beauty buys

* Stress, stress, go away is easy with three deep breaths

* About to rush out to B&N in search of these gorgeous magazines found on the Glitter Guide

* And in that vein: a very honest article from Darling Magazine about dating right

* If only I could call the City of Light my home: 15 rules for living in Paris

* I’ve been searching high and low for the perfect circle skirt so I might as well just make my own

I’m Wearing: Working for the Sunshine

Sunshine Yellow Skirt for Work

red and yellow for Spring

happy for spring

yellow, red, and gray for spring

shirt: f21 (similar), skirt: jcrew c/o thredup, heels: UO (similar), necklace: anthropologie

Come on, sunshine! Even though I don’t get to benefit from it much yet, holed up in my classroom as I am eight hours a day, I still am craving sunshine. Spring is spotty on the sun but I am getting more and more hopeful as we move into April. I wore this bright and sunny skirt to work the other day to try to coax more sun our way here in NJ. I think it’s working because our weatherman promised sunny skies and warm temps this weekend. I just couldn’t resist adding the pop of red on my feet.

I’ve been trying to be more upbeat with my outfits for work in order to turn my mood around. I’m not going to lie: the last couple of weeks have been rough. Bad behaviors, lots of paperwork, and some transitions have been weighing me down. I love what I do almost 100 percent of the time but some days are just hard work and you’re wondering where’s the light in all of it. So I’ve been sneaking in some team building exercises and some dance breaks to keep it light. And really, there’s always the weekend.