Getting Cheeky With It: Cheeky Vintage Blogger Party

 Haley and I having a moment. It was fantastic.

Doesn't the pink just make Whit shine! Oh so divine!

Last week I got the distinct pleasure of attending a wonderful event at Cheeky Vintage, one of Houston's top 100 Independent Shops in Houston. I have always loved the stories of vintage clothing and being in the cutest old house with room after room of brightly colored vintage clothes made me love the stories even more. Despite loving the stories vintage clothes cary with them I never thought I would ever find anything that fit or that was my "style" (I say that like I can define my style, which I can't). Then I found a black and gold sequin number and "tried it on just for fun" and then I fell in love with it and decided I never wanted to take it off... stupid semi-impractical sequins (feel free to buy it for me if you are feeling generous). Overall it was an extraordinary evening with some of Houston's most fashionable ladies. And because the Cheeky ladies are amazing they are giving the Everyday Meg readers 20% using discount code "Meg", I highly suggest checking out the accessories section of their site. Thank you Megan, Denise and Tina for having us and letting us play dress up! 

** All photos were taken by the talented and equally as fashionable Paige Budde of Awake Photography

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Back to School: Classroom Tour

I spy Lindsay, Whitney and Jess

Today is my 361st day of 8th grade. I did have to do it once at as 14 year old so I could tell my students "well i've already passed the 8th grade, it's your turn" when they want me to do everything for them, but I digress. Despite the insanity of inservice week I managed to pull together a clean pulled together classroom. Honestly this year I kept it simple, I used a lot of the stuff I used last year (you can see last year's classroom HERE). I did however make a few big changes in the lay out of the room. I love how I can use my back cupboards as an extension of my desk area now! My favorite new addition are my HELLO light up letters. I used THIS tutorial to make the letters, it was a easy way to light up the room a little bit (insert punny english teacher comment here). I also love my coffee station... because well, it is a coffee station. 

 Bulletin Boards are a test of patience, which I FAIL every year. I have the largest bulletin board known to man. I am fairly confident you can see both The Great Wall of China and my bulletin board from space. Last year, I had covered the monstrosity in plastic table cloths (pinterest, duh) which worked great until the kids figured out that they could tear the plastic and make long strings which apparently was a lot more fun than learning about verbs. This year I went the "expensive" route and covered it in three different fabrics-- chalkboard contact paper (because I have almost no board space), Ikea HILDIS fabric, and a black and white striped calico. We shall see how long it lasts! Also the fact that I never buy enough/they don't ever sell enough boarder drives me INSANE. 

There are some blank spaces. There are a few more little signs and such I want to make but they were just not happing before today... and that is ok. Over crowded rooms stress me out and I feel like I needed to give myself room to grow into the space as the year goes on so that is exactly what I did! 

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The Week Before School: As Told by the Housewives

The week before school starts is rough, even for a seasoned teacher (you know, the ones with embroidered cats on their jean jumpers). I present to you a peek into our world.

 The steps of the teacher inservice week as told by the Real Housewives... 

1.Getting a classroom set up.

2. The "What I did this summer" question.

I plead the 5th?

3. The pot luck lunch.

Deviled eggs, casseroles and BROWNIES... get out of my wayyyy

4. The moment you realize this is the last time without students for 9 MONTHS. 

 5. The 12th hour of a staff meeting.

 6. When "that co-worker" raises their hand to ask a question.

 7. When the sign up sheets come out. 

Someone stop me from volunteering!!!

 8. Getting your class list.

12 ADHD, 45 ESL and 3 parents already wanting me to call? 

9. Friday: 10 am. 

Is it May yet?

10. Friday: 4:05pm

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Welcome to Leadership

You know when people on those signing competition shows whose interviews go like this...
Ryan Seacrest-ish Person: "How long have you been singing?" 
Competitor with fresh highlights: " Since I was two!"
Stage Mom: "She was singing in the church choir before she could talk" 

Yeahhhh, that would be how my interview would go. EXCEPT one thing, I can't sing so I would NOT be one of those shows unless it was on the gag-real. I did however know from an early age that I was meant to be on some sort of stage. 

When I was young my family lived in Naples, FL-- the Florida old folks stereo type? Yeah, they get that from Naples. So basically everything I did was ohh-ed and Ahh-ed over from a good handful of old people who were missing their own grandchildren-- really great confidence boost for a toe-headed two year old. My Aunt Vicki (who for the record is not my actual aunt) convinced my mother to put me in the children's choir at the small church we were attending. 
She hounded my mother with "Oh come on Martha, it'll be adorable" until my mom gave in and enrolled me in the "Joyful Noise" Choir. At the end of our first performance, in which I was much more interested in my ruffled socks (duh! Ruffled socks were the best) than singing, my Aunt decided to let me have a moment to shine with a rousing rendition on "Jesus Loves Me". She only got though the "Jesus lov.." part before I promptly took the mike, shooed her away and finished the song by myself in all my two year old glory. Everyone clearly loved it... expect my parents who knew right then and there that they were in trouble. 

Over the years as I discovered my lack of musical ability I replaced my need to preform with various leadership opportunities. This week I had the AWESOME opportunity to present two times--once to the district and once to my school campus (two different presentations). The district presentation went off with out a hitch (probably had something to do with the fancy "presenter" ribbon I got on my name tag, right?). The campus one? CRASH AND BURN. Like hid-in-my-classroom-for-an-hour-with-all-the-lights-off-hoping-it-was-all-a-bad-dream kind of crash and burn. As I sat in the dark I promised myself; 
"I AM NEVER GOING TO PRESENT AGAIN!" and the story of my two year old "Jesus Loves Me" escapade popped into my head-- never presenting again was a big fat lie. I've been presenting since I was TWO, fat chance I'm giving it up. I grabbed my stuff and dashed to my car to lick my wounds with my dvr'd Kardashians episode and an adult beverage, but right before I got to the safety of my car (I was so close!) my assistant principal stopped me. She looked me in the eye and simply said "Welcome to Leadership". 

Leadership is hard but it is worth it. Making my kids better readers with my programs is worth it. Presenting my ideas is worth it. Next time however, I am doing it in ruffled socks and a presenter ribbon. 

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The Ikea Effect

My dad is really smart. He is not only smart, but he is a really great business man. I will be the first to admit that I don't always like to listen to him (it has nothing to do with the fact we are exactly alike or anything), but I will also be the first to admit that I NEED to listen to him. When I was in South Carolina a few weeks ago he started talking about a concept he called "the IKEA effect" ( I hear it's a Harvard Business philosophy... SO FANCY yall!) . The basic idea is that people who build something and poured their heart, soul, blood, sweat and tears into something have a hard time seeing the flaws or way things that could be improved.
Um, Can I get an amen? (seeing flaws is SO hard) 

There are several area's in my life where I need to check myself and wether I am falling victim to the "Ikea Effect" 

A. School-- I love my job so much and truly put my whole heart into it that sometimes my passion can leave me blind. As I embark on this next year, I need to check myself and what I want to do and surrender to the fact that A. I can't do it all and B. I need to listen to my students and what they are responding to and what they are not. I feel like a major downfall in the education system is teachers not actually listening to the needs of their kids. I have A LOT more responsibility this school year and have several projects that I heading up. My hope is that despite how much time I have spent building them up I can listen to others for any flaws to make them the best they can be!  

B. Photography-- I love taking pictures, I love when people are in front of my camera, I love making people feel beautiful and special with a simple picture of a sweet moment in their life. I also realize that I have A WHOLE lot on my plate. During TxSC I had an idea of what I want to do with my second career passion in life (One of the lessons A Beautiful Mess taught was to keep your goals close, so it will be a little while before I share all the details), but there is a lot of red tape, lots of hurdles to jump over... and that is ok. I want to be ok with the changes that are going to come with this idea I don't want to be so connected to the idea that I can't turn is over to the Lord and watch what he does with it. 

C. Blogging-- Another of the huge lessons I learned at Texas Style Council is that just because I do a sponsored post or get paid for a post or two I am not a sell out, I still have a voice, this is still my personal space. I mean I am not going to quit my job and live a life of luxury in Bora Bora or anything. I am sure there are things in this space that I am doing right and just as many I am doing wrong, but ultimately I want to be able to learn and expand and embrace a blogging culture where change and innovation is the norm. ( So feel free to tell me if I am annoying the hell out of you... but in a nice positive way) 

And then I made a bar cart out of the lesson, so if all else fails... grab a drink!

Cart found here

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Citron + Cobalt and Being Myself

Going to a style conference in Austin is like inviting a interior decorator, chef, and party planner to your house for a dinner party. All eyes will be on what you are wearing at all times (#nopressure). It is not a bad thing, it is just a fact.  I thought a lot about what I was going to wear more than I would like to admit. I knew that some would rock the vintage style and some would rock the trendy. I can't rock either. One of the goals I set for myself during TxSC was to be myself, and I could find no better avenue than with my clothing choices. Sunday I threw together (and when I say "threw together" I mean perfectly planned out at least a week prior) this neon color blocked citron and cobalt as an outward expression of who I was. I have learned so much about myself since entering the working world, starting this blog and really dealing with real life. To me this outfit says...

I am classic. 
I am bright. 
I will keep you guessing. 
I will always throw a little spice in whatever I do. 

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High Five For Friday No. 43

So i'm not gonna lie this week i've been a little blog drunk from all the awesomeness of the Texas Style Council weekend (oh wait, you didn't know I went?... you must be new or blind, cause i'm making myself sick hearing about it). Today I have to go to a training on data and statistics-- um, did anyone look at my high school math scores, how did I get volunteered for this? If they ask me to add i'm walking out... I TEACH ENGLISH people. Anyway while I am intently listening to the presenter (aka pinning crap on to my "classroom" Pinterest board--I mean it's kinda like professional development, right?) you all can read about my fabulous week a la Lauren from Lauren Elizabeth! 

1. Brother-- On my way up to Austin I got to see my little brother (and stop at the outlet mall in the town where he goes to school). We talked, hung out and didn't fight so over all i'm gonna call it a win. Go Family! 
** Apparently I've inspired him to start a blog... it's about skateboarding stuff but hey, he can't say I never did anything for him. 

2. PROM-- The second chance prom at TxSC was one of my favorite parts of the entire conference. I didn't go to my senior prom from a myriad of reasons, but I would say that this prom was way better... cause I got free stuff. I mean who else gets free stuff at their real prom? (now after prom that is a different story) 

3. Holden Boy-- I got to see my cute nephew. Basically he learns all his posing skills from me. 
(Katiebeth, I plan on collecting royalties if he ever breaks into the baby modeling world and steals my pose again. K? Cool) 

4. The Aforementioned FREE STUFF-- I came home from TxSC with 4 new pieces for my wardrobe! Don't worry they will all be coming to a fashion post near you... as in right here on my blog... assuming I can figure out how to work my new camera remote or con Reese into taking pictures (ice cream normally does the trick... for Reese that is ... not the remote, I haven't figured out the remotes guilty pleasure yet-- i'll keep ya posted) 

5. 99 Problems but a Baby a'int One: I went to Megan from Greetings from Texas' book signing with Kaitlyn and I have a few things to thank her for 
A. Making me laugh-cry so hard (where you are laughing so hard you cry) my roommate now thinks I am mental. 
B. Not helping me convince the 8th graders that I teach that "a'int" is not a real world. 
C. Having champs and cupcakes at the signing. 
D. Basically being kick ass. 
If you don't go purchase this book now I'm going to kick you in the shins, it's that good... not the kicking you in the shins part... the book part. Ugh. my threats are lame. Anyway you get the point, go buy the book you'll thank me later... or one page in, either or. 

and with that if you need me I will be reading your blogs instead of listing to people talk about numbers. Peace. 

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Texas Style Council: What I Learned

Dress:Langford Market//Clutch: Michael Kors//Shoes: Similar 

I was super lucky that my bestie, Katie Beth (who should really start a blog), got to be my plus one to the prom on Saturday night and we had a little too much fun. Sorry were not sorry. 

Quick Draw Austin-- please look this up, it is the coolest thing ever!

How do I even attempt to recap Texas Style Council? It is an impossible task, really what I would love to do is invent a time machine and use it to take you all with me (well, unless you were there with me... then we could do it over again!), because I really did think it was THAT valuable. I really didn't know what to expect, and as I told you a few days ago my plan was to go with the flow and get out of my comfort zone. I would like to report that I actually did that... like one time I walked up to Jenni like she was my besite...who am I?? Anyway, I think the only appropriate way to recap (with out boring you to death) is take another look at my goal list from a few days ago: 

A. Take Pictures: Honestly, I was too busy learning. All of the speakers had such good notes that taking pictures was not really on my radar (obviously, I took some... see above). Abby, from A Geek Tragedy, and I did take outfit pictures for every outfit change in the streets of Austin which is super out of my comfort zone. 
Misson Completed! 

B.Walk Up to Groups: I met so many people this way. People were extremely nice and welcoming I never felt weird of out of place. I never went to lunch/dinner with the same group. I was constantly surprised on how many things I had in common with people (even friends in some cases--Sol i'm looking at you).
Misson Completed!

C. Be Myself: (post coming on this soon)

D. Strike a Balance: On top of not wanting to use all of my phone battery and be stranded in downtown Austin it was nice to unplug and plug in with what was actually going on around me. What the speakers were saying, what the new friends I was making were linking and not liking
Mission Complete-- I hope you didn't get annoyed with me! 

E. Learn: I learned SO MUCH. I don't think I could even scratch the surface of the things I learned about blogging and myself... but to hit on a few of the big ones...
1. Keep your goals close-- A Beautiful Mess 
2. To have a cool blog-- GO DO STUFF!  -- Jenni, Story of my Life
3. "The best camera you have is the one you have with you"-- Carli, Inkedfingers
4. "I'm not interesting, I'm interesting because I blog" -- Jenni, Story of my Life 
5. "Sometimes the best photos are accidents"-- Elizabeth, Delightfully Tacky
6. Stats are important, but not everything-- Tieka, Selective Potential 
7. "Just ask, if you hear no, just ask again"-- Jessica, Noonday Collections
8. Make your Pinterest a business profile-- Moorea Seal
Obviously, Mission Completed 

F. Take a break: I was slightly disappointed that we didn't have a lunch break built into the days, so I had to make my own. I grabbed a quick sandwich from the hotel and decompressed from all the information swimming around in my brain. I took this opportunity to follow people on twitter, get caught up on Instagram and not talk to anyone for an hour. It was for sure the best decision I could have made! 
Yep, Mission Completed.

G. Have fun-- Yes, I did that! 

Can't wait for next year! Thank you for all of those who worked so hard to put on such a great conference! All of the sessions will be available to watch soon, so I will pass that info along when I get it so we can ALL get our learn on! 

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