Things Happened

In 2012, lots of stuff happened.  Oh yes, it did.  Would you like to see the list?  Sorry, there is no option for the short list.  It is what it is, and I lived every second of it.

1.  I met my running goal and then some.  I ran in four – not just one, but FOUR – 5k+ races.  My first was in June, and I swear that adrenaline carried me through most of it.  I came in at around 29:30, which wasn’t a bad time at all, considering the idea of running just a mile could make me start to wheeze.  Image

The second race was the traditional four mile race B and I run on the Fourth of July.  My goal was to run most of it, and if I could beat B, that would be the cherry on the top.  I hadn’t ever beaten B in this race because he has this uncanny ability to sprint out the last mile while I was puttering along behind him.  Boo whore.  This was different, however.  We had planned on running the first mile together, but somehow B ended up behind me and never quite caught up.  Oops.  So sorry, hunny!  Honestly, I had no idea where he was, and I knew it was a good possibility that he had already passed me.  I kept on trucking.  When I reached the last turn before the downhill to the finish, I saw Bestie Alana and my parents cheering on the side of the road.  I gasped out the question, “Have you seen B yet?”  The half grunt/ half cheer I let out when they said no scared the runners beside me.  I ended up finishing three minutes before him and under the time goal I set for myself.

The third 5k race was not so great, but the highlight was probably seeing my ex-boyfriend run by me and do a severe double-take.  Yes, I do run now, and I’m not as fat as when you dumped me in middle school.  What?

The fourth and last race was on Thanksgiving Day.  My mother-in-law and aunt-in-law signed B and I up (much to B’s chagrin), and it started on a bright 20 degree morning at 7:30 AM.  Yes, this is how I spent my first day of Thanksgiving break, a break I had so longed for just to sleep in.  Nope, I had to get my butt moving.  B and I ended up struggling it out together to the end (because his mother stopped me in the middle to “take a picture,” which really let B catch up).  Not my best time, but it was for a good cause and it gave me less guilt when it came to eating pie.

2.  I officially left my first teaching job… not because I fully wanted to, but because B had been accepted into a Ph.D. program and we were moving out of state.  I cried many tears over leaving my amazing colleagues and my troops of kids.  I still miss them, but I am so much happier teaching the grade level I am at today!

3.  We moved to a different state.  The day we moved, it was incredibly humid in Maine, so much so that we were all soaked by the time everything was loaded, we got stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic in New Hampshire, and we were hit with a torrential thunderstorm when unloading into our new apartment.  I was miserable for the first month because I had no idea how to get anywhere without the GPS (thank goodness for those suckers), didn’t really have any available friends in the area, and was forced to live out of boxes for a number of days until we fully unpacked.  If you want to see me miserable, put all of my belongings in a box and don’t let me unpack them.  Ugh.  But after a couple months and getting back to school, I settled in and love where we live now.  It’s nice to have our own area and be closer to civilization.  However, if I hear one more person say, “Oh, you’re from Maine?  We own a summer home there!  We know all about it,” I am going to scream. 

4.  I cried when I had to put Massachusetts plates on my car.  So, so wrong.

5.  I went back to teaching middle school, and I couldn’t be happier!  Middle school is my jam, and I didn’t realize how unhappy I was teaching high school until I started teaching in a middle school again.  The kids are full of energy and can be encouraged to take on challenges.  How I missed that!

6.  Bestie Alana came to visit!  Her visits are always too short, but we did succeed in wearing out B with all of our travels.  We went to Vermont and toured around some delicious food places, visited our friend Alexandra in Massachusetts, celebrated the Fourth of July, and took a super hard, awful hike.  I don’t ever really want to go on that trail again.Image

7.  B and I celebrated our second anniversary by going to the “Gentlemen of the Road” concert tour, and it was AMAZING.  The day was beautiful, the location was right on the water, and the music was incredible.  The lack of food (six vendors for 6,000 people, and we weren’t allowed to bring in food) was the only dark mark on the event.  Thankfully, IHOP is open late and I had just enough blood sugar to not blackout while driving on the highway.  Trust me, that’s not a joke.  It almost happened.Image

8.  I got to take so many photos for so many friends.  I took one little munchkin’s newborn, three month, and six month photos, family photos at Thanksgiving, was the official photographer at one friend’s wedding, took photos at another’s and was mistaken for the photographer, and so much more.  I am loving my second job.  It’s my passion.  I could do this forever.ImageImageImageImageImage

And oh the plans I have for 2013!

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Castle Out of Boxes

The vagabond lifestyle is not for me.  Traveling?  Yes.  Constantly moving and having your belongings not in their places where you can reach for them time after time because everything you want to make seems to call for those pesky measuring cups you stupidly packed away two days too early?  Not having it.

This is currently our living situation.

All of our stuff is crammed into boxes, bags, and the random hampers that lived behind our living room door.  It will probably be like this for a day or two.  Today, though, is the day it all makes a journey.

Today, we move to Massachusetts!

It’s taken me a while to come around to the idea of moving, not because I hate the idea, but because I love the people around me.  My coworkers spoiled me in the past couple days, not to mention how wonderful they have been for the past two or three years.  We have laughed, we have cried, and we have determined that we are not necessarily all going to heaven.  Our family lives here.  Our pets (who all live with our parents) live here.  One of my best friends lives two doors down the hall from our apartment.  I love the outdoors.  Why on earth would I want to leave?

Well, for the adventure.  This is a time where we are married, but we don’t have the extra responsibility of dragging kids along with us.  We also need to do it for B.  This is a time for him to play with his professional dreams and succeed in his own endeavors.  Moving back to Maine wasn’t something he thought he would be doing, but he did it for me to be successful in teaching (and paying back some loans).  It’s time.

So, with our parents’ trucks, our two cars, and a moving van loaded down, we bid Maine adieu for now.  Of course we’ll be back for visits (though everyone keeps talking about Massachusetts as this super far off place where no one ever returns).  Here’s to adventure!  See you again from a place a little bit more southern!

Where in the World is My Wife?

I’m sure B has asked himself that question a few times over the last couple months.  I have definitely hit the road a few times, with and without him, in and out of state.  Travel is my mistress, and I don’t care if loving her is wrong!

So beyond our trip to Ohio to check out OSU, B and I have tried saving a lot of our money because of our upcoming move.  But you better believe that when an opportunity to get away for very little cash came up, I jumped on it like it was a runaway horse.  Wow, I am full of metaphors and similes tonight.  We’ll roll with it.

One of the first trips I jumped on was going to New York City with my seniors.  Every year, the senior class goes on a trip somewhere as their senior trip during senior week (yes, everything does need to be labeled with “senior”).  Last year, I joined in on a trip to Six Flags New England.  This year, the class went somewhere new, somewhere bigger, somewhere called New York City.  Many of my students hadn’t ever been out of Maine or New Hampshire, let alone outside of New England, so it was exciting to show them a new place.  We went all over the city; they discovered street food (though they refused to eat anywhere without running water at first), they discovered the subway (some where thrilled, some swore they would never ride one again), and they learned that people in New York really can be nice (there’s a rumor going around that sometimes they, well, aren’t). 

Then, of course, there were the many, many, many trips back and forth between Maine and Massachusetts to interview and do sample lessons for jobs.  But those weren’t really picture-worthy, and no one probably wants to hear about that.  I know I certainly don’t want to drive that much for quite a while.

B got to join me for the next few trips.  He and I went to my friend Kristin’s wedding at the same mountain where we got married and had a blast!  The wedding was gorgeous (as were the bride and groom), the band rocked, and we had such a good time getting back to such a special location for us as a couple.

And then… Bestie Alana came to visit!  And we. went. everywhere.  Holy cats.  The first part was Vermont, specifically the Burlington and Waterbury regions.  Then she and I went to Lowell to visit Bestie Alexandra and her husband Jimmy.  A beach day to catch up together was in order, and we all came home a little pink.  Throw in some time in our hometown for Fourth of July and some day trips here and there, and you have all of the trips we have been on.  It’s been a little tiring, but totally worth it!
What trips have you been on lately?

What’s in a Name?

This is a break from the typical fashion post, but there is something to be said about the fashion of a name.  I have entered that phase of my online life where my Facebook front page has gone from “We’re engaged!  Here are the pictures!” to “We’re married!  Here are the pictures!” to “We had a baby!  Here are the pictures!”  It seems like my friend B and I are the only two people in our school building (student excluded, hopefully) who haven’t had children.  Truthfully, I get baby fever every once in a while, but then another coworker brings her kids in to sit in the cubicle across from me during my morning planning period, and it’s like the best birth control in the world.  It turns out that I really like quiet when I work and not hearing “Eat your breakfast!  Eat your breakfast!” eighty million times in a row.  Who knew?

But I’ve heard it’s different when it’s your own child.  Maybe, maybe not.  In any case, said hypothetical children would need to have names, right?  Being a teacher, there are a lot of names I wouldn’t consider naming any of my offspring because of experiences I have had with other children with those names.  It’s a career hazard, I think.  One bad day with a kid of a certain calling, and BAM!  That name is on the “Oh heck no!” list.  They could come off from the list eventually, but for that little bit of time, I won’t name a child that name.  There is nothing wrong with the name, of course; it’s all about the link I make in my mind to a certain event.

I have often wondered if there is something to how a name creates a personality in a child.  Look at celebrities, for example.  A lot of celebrities have unique names that make them stand out.  Yes, some of them have indeed changed their names to stand out more, but some of them were given those names from birth.  Does a name lead you to greatness?  Would Cher be as powerful if her name was Amy?  Or is it all about the power we associate with the name after the person does something?  Would the name Adolf be as bad if it wasn’t associated so strongly with the Holocaust?

But!  There are more positive names in the world than there are ones I want to avoid or have negative connotations.  Want to know what my favorites are?  Sure you do!  Otherwise you wouldn’t have made it this far through my ramblings.

So here are my current love names.  Now, I’m being nice and sharing, so no stealsies, all of my besties out there!  Will we use all of them?  No no no… that’s too many people walking out of my nether regions.  But I like to have options.  What I want in a child’s name is something with substance, something a little unique, and something that won’t get him or her made fun of on the playground.  I admire the guts a lot of celebrity couples have when naming their children, but I’m not going for just the flash appeal.  I want my hypothetical children to know that I didn’t just open up the fruit drawer in the fridge, reach in, and name them after the first item I pulled out (yes, I’m looking at YOU, Gwyneth Paltrow!).

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But seriously, how cute is she?!  And she’s already rocking some color blocking style.

Love Names – First Names (Girls)

Charlotte

Aurora

Malia

Isadora

Amelia

Violet

Scarlett

Nola

Isyla (pronounced I-la)

Adaline

Molly

Noelle

Iris

Piper

Aurelia

Evelyn

Katniss (yes, I went there)

Brynn

Supria

Middle Names (Girls)

Beverly

Eleanor

Lillian

Lena (short e sound, like Len – a, not Leen-a)

Virginia

Love Names – First Names (Boys)

Grayson

Nolan

Noah

Edison

Elon

Seamus

Fynn

Sullivan

Graeme

Middle Names (Boys)

Oscar

Kassimir

Paul-William

William-Paul

Henri

I am sure that more will be added as time goes on.  I would love (when the time comes) to have a name in mind but not share is with anyone else.  If the sex of the baby isn’t a surprise, I believe in making the name a surprise.  People also can’t squash your enthusiasm over a name selection.

What do you think the power of a name is?  Do we create it or does a name carry its own power?  What are your favorite names?

$10 a Month: January’s Haul

It’s not even properly halfway through January and I’m already doing my “this is what I bought. Seeeeeeeeeee?” post.  Oops.  Oh well!  I’m pretty excited about the pieces I found, and I am even more excited to show them to you.  And guess what?  You don’t just have to read about them!  I tried out YouTube videos and decided to start off my short lived YouTube career with a vlog (video blog) on how my $10 was spent this month.  Check it out!

The shirts was pretty great, and I am super excited on a personal level because of their size.  Ladies and gentlemen, I have reached a size small in button up shirts!  I have gone on for years trying on button up shirts that were always too big in the body but just barely big enough in the chest area.  It’s incredibly frustrating trying to buy clothing when your waist and, well, the rest of your being are one size and your chest is another.  Many tears have been shed over trying to get clothing to look right, be age appropriate, and FIT.  Now, they fit and they look pretty cool.  Isn’t weight loss great?

So here is the breakdown for how much everything cost:

Goodwill:

Express bright pink button shirt: Price on tag:  $4.99/Paid:  $2.25/Retail:  $49.90

Express light pink button shirt:  Price on tag:  $4.99/Paid:  $2.25/Retail:  $49.90

Merona brown pencil skirt:  Price on tag: $4.99/Paid: $2.25/Retail:~$22.99 (Similar style)

Salvation Army

Express pink leopard print wrap dress: Price on tag: $1.99/Paid: $1.99/Retail:  ~$49.99

She Wears the Pants cropped pinstripe jacket:  Price on tag: $3.99/Paid: $0.99/Retail: ~$40

Body by Victoria’s Secret black straight leg trousers:  Price on tag: $5.99/Paid: $2.99/Retail:  $39.50

TOTALS:  Prices on tags: $26.94/Paid: $12.72/Retail: ~$252.28

Overage into next month:  $2.72

What do you think?  Do you think I spent my first $12 well?  How would you have spent the same money?  Also, should I keep doing vlog posts?  Who wants to go thrifting with me?!

Dabbling in Donations – Fall 2011

When it came to school shopping, I knew I had to be cheap about it.  Then, my priority was saving money to pay off my student loans, leaving little to no room for a new work wardrobe.  (And now I am ridiculously happy to report that they are TOTALLY PAID OFF!)  Even if we didn’t have those loan plans, I still wouldn’t want to spend a ton anyway.  I’m a born saver.

I did need a few new pieces, though.  Well, need may be a strong word.  I have been blessed with the means to provide myself with plenty of clothing, and there are definitely people in the world who need clothes more than I do.  I guess I should say that I wanted new clothes because I have lost weight and some pieces needed replacing.  With a tight budget and a few ideas, I began my hunt.

First, we went to Goodwill.  Seriously, you can’t go wrong with this place if you know what you are doing.  For those of you who are new to the idea of thrifting or shopping at Goodwill, let me give you a few tips.

1.  It works best if you have a loose idea of what you are looking for, not a tight one.  For example, if you go in thinking that you must find a pair of Seven jeans with a dark wash and studs on the pockets, you probably won’t be happy when you leave.  The clothes (and everything else) are very hit or miss, so keep your mind open.  You’ll have much more success if you go in thinking “dark jeans” instead.

2.  Try on everything.  They make dressing rooms for a reason, people!  It’s just like shopping at the mall, except that these clothes have been worn a few times.  But when you think about it, so have the clothes at the mall, right?

3.  Do close inspections of everything before you buy.  Check the armpits, the hems, the seams, everywhere!  Any sort of stain, discoloration, or hole that will make you unhappy should be seen in the store before you buy it.  While Goodwill has a return policy, it’s just easier to check before you check out.

4. Be patient.  That’s the difference between me and B.  I have the patience for thrifting; he does not.  You need to take some time with finding the great pieces, and there is no rhyme or reason in any sort of organization at Goodwill.  It drives B nuts that the pants aren’t organized by waist measurement.  The women’s side is a little better, but you cannot always count on the right sizes being put on the right rack.  Search around.  If you are good with sewing or know someone who is, don’t be afraid of getting something a little bigger and then tailor it to fit you.

If all else fails, go watch YouTube videos on thrifting tips.  They can be really helpful and give you creative ideas.

I ended up going to two different Goodwill locations, and I found an assortment of quality clothing pieces.

So let’s go through each piece so you can drool over my new school clothes, shall we?  Starting at the top, I found this guy at the end of our first trip to Goodwill:

It was just sitting in the jacket section, mixed in with a lot of oversized barn coats and pilly fleece pullovers, just minding its own business.  Who’s it by?  Oh, just some company called J. Crew!  I tried it on, and while I went back and forth on it, I decided to get it because my purple on is about three sizes too big.  It has absolutely nothing wrong with it and looks brand new.  I’m excited to try it out in cooler weather!

Original Price:  $118                        Paid: $4.99

Being feminine but appropriate is my main game at school.  With a larger chest, it can feel like I’m losing the battle, but when I found this Elle dress tucked into the shirt department, I knew I had struck dress gold.

It appears to have had a belt at one point in its lifetime, but no matter.  I put it together with this belt from the accessories department and gave it new life.  This will look amazing with the new brown boots I ordered today from Amazon!

Dress:   Original Price:  $42                  Paid:  $4.99

Belt:   Original Price:  ~$15                   Paid:  $1.99

My school is notorious for feeling like a meat locker in the winter, so sweaters are a must.  I really liked the unique quality of the print on this Ben Sherman sweater, and when paired with a simply tank top under it, I think it will look great.

Original Price:  between $30 ~ $70                       Paid:  $4.99

I cannot tell you how hard it is to find button-up shirts that fit me correctly.  If the waist fits, the chest is too small.  If the chest fits, the waist is waaaayyyy too big.  I also have a weird problem with the length of sleeves.  Apparently I have really long arms for my size (?).  That being said, I wanted to try some on, and I was lucky enough to find this pristine Banana Republic button-up hiding on the rack.

It has 3/4 length sleeves, which is perfect for my long arms, and it FITS!  I have already worn it, and it is so comfortable and professional.  Plus you cannot go wrong with a pink and purple pinstripe!

Original Price:  $59.50                      Paid:  $4.99

I needed a new pair of pants to replace my large ones from last year, and I found these cute wool-blend ones from Dalia Collection.

I like how they are soft, warm, and have a subtle red pin stripe in them.  These will definitely be good in the winter.

Original Price:  ~$30.00                       Paid:  $2.50

It must be my year for dresses because on my second Goodwill trip, I found a second adorable dress.  I know people who have larger chests should “stay away” from ruffles, but I love them.  I can’t help it.  Plus, in my defense, they don’t make my boobs look like a tent or a bushel of fluff berries… you know, if there were such a fruit…

I’ll pair it with a skinny belt to accentuate my waist, throw on some leggings or dress pants, and BAM!  Adorable and professional.  Win win.

Original Price:  Unknown (but probably $20 or more)          Paid:  $4.99

Last but not least, I found this cute deep purple cowl neck sweater from Nicole by Nicole Miller.  Its another one that will be warm in my building and will look great with a tank top underneath.

Original Price:  $30                                                                     Paid:  $4.99

Total of Original Prices:  $344.50 ~ $384.50                     Paid:  $35.00


SAVINGS:  $310.50 ~ $350.50

Um, HELLO there, savings!  That’s amazing!  I knew I had saved money, but until I did the research, I had no idea how much!  Phew, well I feel much better about buying these clothes now!

I also picked up some really pretty jewelry from Kohls, thanks to a magical little card I got in the mail that was a free $10 gift card.  I’m not sure how it made its way into the mailbox, but it did, and I welcomed it with an open shopping bag.  Now, I wasn’t willing to spend over the gift card amount, so I just went in to see what I could get for under $10.  You know, maybe a pair of socks?

Nope.  Go to the clearance jewelry department.  Oogle the goodies.  Whoa, that sounds wrong.  Oh well, do it anyway.

All of these were on clearance, so I scooped them up after hemming and hawing for a bit.  There were loads of options! The green necklace is from Croft and Barrow (anyone else think that name sounds like a rip off of Crate and Barrel?), the feather necklace was from Candies, and the earrings are from Vera by Vera Wang.

Green Necklace:  Original Price: $16       Clearance Price:  $3.20       Paid: $0

Feather Necklace:  Original Price: $16     Clearance Price:  $3.20      Paid: $0

Earrings:  Original Price:  $14           Clearance Price: $2.40         Paid: $0

Total Original Price: $46   Clearance Total Price: $9.33 (with tax)     Paid: $0

SAVINGS: $46

Round one of school shopping on a budget?  Success!  Stay tuned for round two!

What amazing deals have you found lately?  Have any good tips to share?