Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fall Fashion Musts.

Fall is absolutely my favorite season. It has everything I need - pumpkin spice lattes (obviously), perfect running weather, changing leaves, and amazing options for fashion.

As most of you know, I'm a big fan of street style - more so than when I see someone on a red carpet (since if we all had unlimited resources, we could hire stylists and wear Marchesa, which is impossible to get wrong).

As much as I love a good minidress or short sundress on hot summer days, gladiator sandals, and head wraps for days at the beach, part of me is always longing to break out my boots again.

These are my favorite fall fashion trends - the things that I look forward to rocking (with a pumpkin spice latte in hand, obviously!).

A lot of these looks/pieces are work or play appropriate - just mix up your accessories and you have an entirely different look! Always a win when your work clothes and everyday clothes can mesh together.

There are great some good prices with a http://promotionalcodes.net/target">blazer promotional code at Target for similar styles.

1. Blazers
I am in love with blazers - colored, boyfriend, cropped - put a blazer on me and I am a happy girl. I love the versatility of a good blazer, because having something that's multifunctional is such a fashion plus.

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Oh, Kanye - how are you so perfect? Take style notes, boys.

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2. Tights with Shorts
I LOVE THIS LOOK. Wool shorts and tights are an unbeatable combination, and perfect for fall (especially in darker colors, or colors that mimic the changing leaves on trees!).

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3. Layers
The fall weather is so unpredictable, so layering is a definite must. I'm a big fan of chambray or oversized denim shirts paired with a good tank or v-neck.

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Perfect layering.
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4. Scarves
Scarves are a really fun way to bring a pop of color into a mostly monochromatic look, to add something unexpected into your look, or to play around with patterns. Summer scarves or warm scarves, lehgoooo.

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5. Long sleeved dresses
Double points if it has some type of open back detail (which could easily be covered up by a nice blazer to make it work appropriate!) - I love that there's finally an option so that we can not freeze our asses off on the walk from a cab into a lounge/club! The long sleeved style, particularly with an open back/some type of detail is so chic!

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6. Play with proportions
Mix it up - cropped blazers/jackets with long shirts underneath are gorgeous; oversized plaid shirts or cardigans with short boots. Play with it and find what works for you and your body type!

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7. Take advantage of the weather!
It's the perfect temperature for skipping tights on occasion, rocking an open back on an otherwise conservative outfit, and rolling your sleeves up before winter comes and requires us all to look 50 pounds heavier due to our North Face down jackets.

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8. Colored jackets.
Oh my god, I die for colored leather (faux if you're vegan, regular if not - doesn't matter). Such a gorgeous way to dress up anything - and again, versatile enough that you can wear it to a casual dinner, but it still looks cute on top of a dress for a night out.

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9. Be adventurous - and feel free to break the normal fashion rules!
Remember - it used to be consider unfashionable to rock socks with heels, wear white after Labor Day, or mix patterns. Don't be afraid to be a little unconventional - because I know I am absolutely going to be wearing white pants and mismatched patterns all fall long. Really though, have fun with colors (especially ones that supposedly clash, because those seem to somehow work beautifully together! I think dark, eggplant purple and turquoise is maybe my favorite color combination ever).

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10. BOOTS
INVEST IN A KICK ASS PAIR OF BOOTS. Riding boots, motorcycle boots, thigh high boots - I don't care, just rock them whenever possible (I'm sorry, but Uggs do not count).

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What are your fall fashion must haves?

Hope all is well, xox.

Currently listening to: The Prayer - Kid Cudi.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Humbled.

To say that the past two weeks have been humbling would be a ridiculous understatement.

When I first started this job, I was a mix of nerves, insecurities over the fact that I had only taught children before and never adults, and excitement over the possibility that I could potentially be a stepping stone into life changes for people who really need it.

Never would I have guessed that after two weeks, I would feel such an emotional connection to my students and feel so blessed to have the opportunity to get to know them.

The area that I'm working in is a really rough one - it's crazy because when I drive to work in the mornings as I leave Franklin Lakes (which is where the Housewives of New Jersey live/film, if you watch that - for a reference point of the area where I live) and head for Paterson (the inner-city where I work), it is literally a 15 minute drive, and yet the life I've known my entire life and the lives of my students could not be more different.

The concerns and "white girl problems" that my friends and I have seem so trivial when compared to the fact that four of my students have been mugged/jumped within the past week, or are struggling to make ends meet to pay their rent.

I'm still overwhelmed and feel slightly out of my element - on my first two days, the staff handed me Pre-GED books on each content subject and twenty-one folders of students I would be teaching. "Divide them up any way you see fit," they told me.

That became the mantra of the job training I got - "Just do what works for you!" As I scrambled to divide the folders into two classes, call students to inform them when class would start, and start writing makeshift, sloppy lesson plans.

The thing I love about teaching is the fresh start you get - no two classes are the same, and you're constantly evolving, constantly learning, and staying active to try to reach the class as individuals, not just as a whole.

With these students, my primary goal was to establish some sort of a mutual respect and relationship amongst one another - to let them know that no matter what, I'm not judging them - in fact, that I respect them for taking control of their lives and being motivated enough to try to change it. I wanted my class to be more than just names on a folder with test statistics to me - getting to know them personally would help me better connect with them.

The students I have in my classes (ages range from 16-45, so I chose to divide my class based on age) are some of the most incredible people I could meet.

Applicable to every single one of my students.

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They have so much strength and have bounced back from the hard things that life has thrown their way. Rather than try to act like they never make mistakes, they admit to their mistakes and own them - whether it was having a baby at age 15, going to jail, living in a halfway house, having been addicted to coke - they're enrolled in this program for a fresh start and a chance to better their lives.

Some are hard to read, so I never know if I'm breaking through to them, or how they feel about the class in general, but most of them have already started opening up as we're establishing more of a bond.

On Thursday, one of my coworkers came into my first class (that spans from ages 16-21), and berated them for not being more motivated or contributing to class discussions. While she had good intentions, that's just not my style, so my class was visibly upset (and I was too - especially since she said that they should stop "fucking around during class." Like, if you talk like that on your own, go for it, but I just don't want to talk to my class that way - it doesn't seem respectful of them. Again, that's just me!).

Before I dismissed them for the day, I handed each of them a Post-It, and asked them not to put their names on it, and to write any comments they had about the class today - whether it was something that I could improve, what they liked about the class or didn't like - anything (I even told them that they could write that they hated me on it if they really wanted to get it out), and then drop it in a bag on their way out.

The point was that I don't have a big enough ego to think I have my shit completely together - if I'm not going about something the right way, I want my class to be able to let me know. I was expecting a lot of criticism, or smart ass answers, but instead what I read made me want to sit at my desk and cry because they were just so sweet (I didn't take pictures of any of the things that said more personal things, but they were so sweet and touching).

A few of the notes I got:
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I'm learning more and more every day - not to be judgmental, that working hard and putting forth that extra effort really does make a difference, that not acting like you know everything and have it all together makes people relate to you more than if you act like you're infallible - and this is just after two weeks.

I started two-way journaling with my students - which is basically where I assign a writing prompt for the day, which each student responds to and turns in. Then when I bring them home and read over them, I write back to the students and respond to what they wrote, adding in comments, or relating to my own experiences. It's technically supposed to be an exercise for showing students how proper writing looks and sounds, but for me, I want them to know that I'm as invested in this as they are - that if they're going to be doing work, I'm going to do it right along with them.

The things they've opened up about has been incredible - to my teacher friends, I'd highly recommend two-way journaling!

As the weeks go on, I know there will be times that I'm overwhelmed and stressed, or discouraged - but through it all, I know it's worth it. And I hope that over time, I can show my students that they're inspiring me to want to be a better person, and to never take anything for granted.

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Has there been someone (or a class full of people!) who have unexpectedly touched your life?

Hope you all have a gorgeous weekend - it is the perfect fall day here today!

Currently listening to: Fix Your Accent - Fake Blood.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sorry!

I've really dropped the ball on blogging/commenting, and I'm SO sorry.

I started work this past Monday, and I'm absolutely loving it so far. My classes seem (mostly) motivated, and I haven't had any issues yet. My coworkers are amazing, the hours are great, and even though I'm working in the hood (seriously), I feel completely secure and safe (I've also made friends with the homeless man outside of Dunkin Donuts, who just for reference is NOT a fan of strawberry frosted donuts - sorry, bro).

I'm already positive that I'll have some amazing stories to share with you guys - already I had a mother of one of my students give me four ways to contact her and told me that if her son disrespects me or cuts class to call her so she can "whip his ass." (He's actually a sweetheart - relief!).

However, when first starting out in any job, it's easy to become slightly overwhelmed at first, which is what I'm experiencing now.

Since I'm teaching adults Pre-GED skills in all subjects, I have the power to create my own curriculum - while this is great because I do get total control and can plan whatever I want, but on the flip side, there's just no basis for where to start/what to cover/what's expected of me and my students, which is a little stressful for just starting out and being out of my element.

I've spent most of the weekend working on lesson plans for the week, so hopefully I can do a real post and catch up on all your blogs within the week! Miss you guys - hang in there with me while I attempt to get it together!

xox

Currently listening to: Jay-Z and Kanye West - N*ggas in Paris (DOCO dubstep remix). (Kanye is surprisingly effective music for writing lesson plans - who knew?!).

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Relationship Advice for People Who Really Don't Want Your Advice.

A few months ago, when I met up with my old high school friends we rehashed our memories - the times we got in trouble (both with teachers and our parents), the parties, the relationships - everything.

My friend turned to me and said, "You and I were like the Oprah and Dr. Phil of our school - I don't know why everyone felt like they could come to us for advice, but they did, and my parents were always ready to kill me."

And it was true - my phone would ring at all hours with friends who needed advice on girlfriend problems, boyfriend problems, parent problems, friend problems - I don't know why I was the moral compass of good decision making, but somehow I stepped into that role (probably because my dumb ass would actually pick up the phone calls that came in at 3 a.m. when everyone else was asleep, and people knew I was a pushover).

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My friend went on to say, "I have to say, dealing with all of you and your bullshit with guys helped me learn how to deal with my relationships, and have better insight into how females think, so I guess I owe you guys something." (And that something ended up being an entire evening supply of skinny margaritas, so I wouldn't change a thing).

This was something that I appreciated too - I learned from my guy friends what drives them crazy, what habits they think makes a girl a "psycho," and where the advice that your female friends give you is completely off base.

The thing about this particular friend that I always respected was that he was the kind of person who when you went to him for advice, he never sugar-coated it - he gave it to you straight, whether or not you liked it, and he held nothing back. I was the same way - take it or leave it, I was going to give it to you the way I saw it - no gray areas, just black and white.

However.

The thing about advice is that some people simply want you to agree with them - instead of wanting your honest opinion, they just want you to parrot back to them what they've said, and agree with them no matter how clouded their thought process is. You can give your opinion until you're blue in the face, but they're so myopic about the topic that they just cannot see it any other way.

So, if you come to me for advice, but don't really want to hear my honest opinion, here is my list of pre-thought out responses, so you don't even have to ASK me - you can just reassure yourself that you're right!


The "Best Relationship Advice I Can Possibly Give You"
(Aka, The Things You Actually Want Me to Say When You Ask for My Advice):


1. You should TOTALLY text him/her again! They probably didn't get your last 5 texts - it's not crazy or ridiculous at ALL to send another message. Really, you're just being thorough and showing that you care, and maybe they didn't hear their phone go off the first few times.

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*Bonus non-crazy points for this one if you use BBM and tell the person, "I see the 'R' next to my last message, so I know you got this - what's taking you so long to respond?"
(P.S. If someone actually ever sent me the following message, I might projectile vomit - I know, I know, I'm so unromantic).

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2. It's not a bad idea at all to use those really emotionally driven song lyrics as your Facebook status - he/she won't have a clue that it's about them, and it definitely does not scream, "I'm a 14 year old girl!" at all.

Examples: Anything by Death Cab or The Postal Service (I think they're both very close to the same), 90's and early 2000's breakup songs, and extra points for anything Dashboard Confessional or Adele have ever sung.

YES - post this without a seconds thought!
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Misspelled cheesy quotes are also a huge win - put your heart and intelligence out there!
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3. If someone posts on Facebook/Twitter where they're going, it's basically an open invitation for you to also show up at the place where they are unexpectedly. Pseudo "bumping into" someone and catching them off-guard is definitely a positive.

*Bonus points if they use FourSquare or Facebook Places and you find out where they're going using that and show up there. It definitely proves that you're willing to go the extra mile.

Use it or lose it.
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4. If he/she keeps bailing on plans with you, don't even worry - they're still definitely interested! (I mean, who knew that you can get the flu twelve times in a month or have forty-seven "family commitments" each month - uncanny!).
They probably read online the importance of playing hard to get, so you should absolutely not rule that out. Besides, texting (or even better - Facebook chatting!) is totally the new face to face time.

*Bonus points if you use #3 above and have a "chance" meeting. So cute - seriously, the kind of thing that dreams/Cinderella stories are made of.

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5. When you meet your friend's hot friend and look them up on Google or Facebook, it is absolutely not a bad idea to let that slip into conversation.

For example, if on your next meeting (either by chance [see #3 above] or planned with aforementioned friend), they tell you, "I love to go running!", you can reply with, "Omg, I totally saw that on your Facebook!"

*Bonus points if you don't even know their last name, but look through all the friends of your friend that have your prospective crush's first name. Rules of the year 2011 CLEARLY state that a lack of privacy settings means that they WANT you to find them. (And apparently the new timeline will make this even easier - score!).

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6. Meeting a guy at a bar and having him buy you tequila shots TOTALLY constitutes as a date, so he will absolutely call you again after you sleep together in a tequila/blackout haze. Bravo to you for your good decision making!

Nothing says, "I want you to be my girlfriend" like copious shots of Patron.
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*Bonus points if this is a repeat pattern. Note: this bonus only applies if you are seeking a long-term relationship. If you're looking for a string of one-night stands, this bonus does not apply to you.

"Promotes Romance" is on this list, duh.
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7. Get angry about every single person of the opposite sex that writes on your boyfriend/girlfriend's Facebook wall (or Tweets them).

*Bonus points if you're not even dating. Showing that you care and are territorial before a commitment has been made is totally a turn-on.

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8. Keep playing dumb - it is the cutest thing ever when you use a baby voice, and act like you don't know how many dimes it would take to make a dollar, or that there's an AIDS epidemic in Africa.

*Bonus points if you make an intentionally dumb comment in the middle of your class to bring attention to you - smart, well-informed people are SO unattractive! The dumber you act, the more hilarious (read: appealing) everyone thinks you are.

Yes to this state of mind:
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*Bonus bonus points if you genuinely do not know anything that has ever been a New York Times subject line (ANYTHING - i.e., that there was a war in Iraq, that Barack Obama is President, that we are in a recession right now), have listed "I don't read books lolz" under your "Favorite Books" on Facebook, and aspire to have a life like any Jersey Shore cast member. Life aspirations = win.

Jealous that your life isn't like theirs? Then you're on the right track!
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9. You should always put yourself down - fishing for compliments is SO adorable, and no one is into people that are confident or believe in themselves. Absolutely every single part of you needs to be 100% perfect at all times, and you should definitely beat yourself up about it when you don't achieve perfection. Honestly, the only way you'll know the person you're interested in genuinely cares about you, is if you trick them into paying you compliments.

Add in a little more self degradation to this logic and you are golden.
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10. I cannot reiterate this enough - there is no such thing as talking about your ex too much! The more you talk about them, the more the new person in your life will be able to learn from their (many, many) mistakes!

Wrong - keep remembering/talking about them!
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I realize a lot of these are technology/Facebook related, but let's not pretend like those are not crucial things nowadays (and where so, so many creepy offenses are committed).

If you follow all these rules perfectly, I can almost guarantee that your relationship will totally model any of these (who are really the epitome of healthy, fulfilling relationships!):

Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag arrives on the red carpet at the
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Do you have any friends who chronically ask for your advice, but never want to take it?
How do you deal with it?

Hope you're all having a great weekend! Work (finally) starts for me tomorrow and I couldn't be more nervous AND excited.

Currently listening to: Tron - Joker


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