Tuesday, January 29, 2013


I'm trying to get the most out of my wardrobe.  Partly because I want to be content with what I have.    Partly because I have to dress semi-formally for student teaching, and I only have so many skirts, dresses, and slacks. Partly because though I need to invest in a few more things in order to have a full, grown-up, teachery look,  this broke college girl can only afford to add to her wardrobe piece by piece.

I wanted to wear my coral summer dress, but to tone it down and bundle it up for winter.  I layered it over my striped sweater and white sweater tights.  I wore my real leather snow boots that Ma gifted me for Christmas.  All that was left were accessories, which happens to be my favorite part.  I added a cream-colored flower hairclip.  Do you think florals are okay for winter?  I think I love them to much to put them away for a whole season.  Beyond this, I needed a necklace.  I wanted a long one to break up the solid colored-dress.  My first though was this peacock feather necklace.

But the colors kind of clashed.  


Then, I noticed the back of the necklace.  I thought it was kind of cool too.  It looks bronzey and vintage.  I thought to myself, "Why am I letting the man hold me down?   I don't have to follow the rules!"  Perhaps those angsty teenagers I hang out with during student teaching are influencing me.  So, I wore my necklace backwards!  

This is how I'm trying to rethink my wardrobe options.   I'm trying to think of creative ways to get more outfits out of my clothing.  Sometimes it means layering, or pairing colors I wouldn't normally pair together.  Sometimes it means bundling up my summer and spring clothes to make them work for winter too.  Sometimes it means tweaking something small like the way I'd usually wear a necklace.

How do you get the most wear out of what you have?

Monday, January 21, 2013

New Semester Resolutions

So did you get a chance to pop over to Olivia's blog yet?  If you didn't then you should probably drop everything now and do so, or you're missing out.  I shared my short list of New Semester Resolutions there (because New Year's Resolutions are way to mainstream).

Tomorrow, the children of the corn (I am amazed at the things that come out of my mouth while I'm in teacher mode sometimes, but I actually called my students this once) will get a chance to make their own.  Or, they'll, you know, draw obscene pictures on the paper.  Whatever.  I haven't warned my mentor teacher, but I figure if I just come with a bunch of copies she'll have to let me do it.  If nothing else, to pay tribute to all the trees that died in the making of those goal sheets.

I've been amazed at the number of students who flat don't turn in assignments.    Several of them are failing, where they could easily be getting a B.  A lot of them have organizational issues.  Some don't work on assignments at home.  I think they could all use a fresh start.

Some teachers would say that the work that goes on outside of the classroom is not my responsibility.  But I still feel like I should do everything I can to try and convince bribe, blackmail the students that doing the work is important.  I keep telling them that I don't want them to end up working at McDonald's for the rest of their lives.

Here's what's coming at my seventh graders tomorrow:

New Semester Resolutions
A new semester means a fresh start; how is this semester going to be different from last semester?

School-Related Goal (Write at least one goal related to improving in this class):

Steps (Write at least one practical step you can take towards accomplishing this goal):

Personal-Growth Goal (Write at least one goal related to your overall growth as a person):

Steps (Write at least one practical step you can take towards accomplishing this goal):

Did you do something like this in school?  Any ideas about how I can help motivate a bunch of angsty teenagers to do their work?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Thrifting 101 With Olivia

I thrifted this J.Crew sweater for $3 two weeks ago!

I don't know if you've noticed lately, but, vintage is the new thing. Everyone now has jumped onto the bandwagon of shopping vintage. Stores like Free People and Modcloth, along with your local boutiques take pride in their carefully curated "vintage" sections. While this is all well and good, their pieces also feature prices just way too high for my price range! So, of course, the natural alternative for me has become thrifting.

Please, throw all your past reservations about this issue out the door! I have had some of the most enjoyable experiences of my life while thrifting. Yes, there are those kind of girls I know who give me the stuck up nose and say, "Really. You're wearing someone else's clothes?"

If you are new to this, it's easy to become a little daunted by the idea of it. First, I will highly recommend checking out the website, The Thrift Shopper 
 By simply entering your zip code, a list of thrift stores in your area appears, along with a review list of how they rank in quality, selection, friendliness, etc.

      Free People was selling this $118.00 dress, but I found it for $6 still with tags at a thrift store!

Before you go...

  • I would highly recommend setting a budget for yourself. It's WAY too easy to think, "Why can't I buy ten of these blouses, because I'd normally be spending the same amount on ONE at the mall?". Buying out the store may be a temptation, but I definitely am advocating self control here. (:

  • Completely on the other hand though, take risks! Because everything is at a lower price than the mall prices that we're all used to, this is the perfect time to try something new or out there that you wouldn't  normally see yourself trying. My style has definitely evolved a ton just by thrifting, because it allows you to try new things!

  • Make a checklist. Try to make a detailed list of the things you need so that you aren't completely overwhelmed when you get there. A lot of times, I go thrifting even though I don't need anything...I just love to shop and can't afford to frequent other places. So, in these spontaneous thrifting trips, I will typically try to set a $10 ~ $15 budget so I don't completely go overboard!

  • Tommy Girl sweater//$5 thrifted.

    While you're there...

    • Be patient. Seriously. The perfect thing isn't going to smack you in the face the minute you get there. I mean, maybe it will....good for you! But, in my experiences, it definitely takes time and energy to sift through the racks to get to the good stuff. Lately, I am SUPER into blazers, and sometimes, even though it can take me up to half an hour to find a blazer I really like, it pays off in the end. Knowing you actually worked to find that favorite clothing item is super fufilling! (:

    • Depending on the store's vibe, they may or may not be opposed to you bargaining with them to try to get a lower deal. I have tried this many times and it's definitely a hit or miss method. Sometimes, I have gotten half price off of the item I'm buying, and other times, they just tell me "No." and that's that. Either way: it's worth a shot!

    • When to shop...
      There are several key times to shop, that will reap better finds, as well as even better deals on the already low prices!

      • Sale days! My favorite local thrift store, Red Racks, has 50% off Sundays, where the entire store is half off. Also, they have "colored tag" days, where a certain colored dot on the price tag brings in different percentages off. This can bring up to 75% off, so it's a crazy good deal!

      • Shipment days! So, even though usually people can drop off donations at thrift stores anytime, the store will have specific days in which they distribute these items throughout the store. Ask a worker when you go so you know what days you can get the most selection and variety!

      • Last week's find was this $2.50 Abercrombie blazer!

        I hope you discover a love for thrifting as great as mine is! It saves so much money while still being able to get "cool" clothes! And unless you tell them, your friends will have no idea that your J.Crew sweater you're wearing to lunch today was $3 at the thrift store! Good luck & happy thrifting!
        Much love,

        I blog over at A Drop in the Ocean.

          I would love it if you could come check out my blog sometime! Thank you to Chelsea for inviting me to be part of this great opportunity with you to swap!

            Monday, January 7, 2013

            First Day of School

            Today felt like the first day of school for me.  It was my first day of full-time student teaching.  I was ready.

            I made this for my kiddos:

            They're always coming to me asking for a pencil.  I am pretty forgetful myself, so I feel their pain.  Thus, I thought I'd provide some extras.  I quickly gave a mason jar a coat of chalkboard paint, added some chalk, yarn, and a batch of freshly sharpened pencils (which almost gave me carpel tunnel) and it was ready to go. 

            I picked out the perfect outfit, full of goodies from Santa my mama.  

            Wouldn't you like this cute girl to help you write an essay?  I thought so.  

            Then, I wrote my students a little letter.  Last semester, I was in and out for my pre-internship experience.  I felt like there was a lot of confusion like, "Who is this lady and what is she doing here?"  So I tried to clear that up, while also letting my students know that I care about them and that I intend to work as hard as possible to help them succeed.  Here is the note my 7th and 8th graders got:

            Dear Students,

            In case you forgot, my name is Mrs. Arnold.  I will be student teaching in Mrs. B’s English classes for the rest of the semester.  What the heck does that mean?  That means that Mrs. B is helping me become a better teacher, and I’m helping her to support your learning in any way that I can.  A few things I would like you to know:

            1. I care about you.
            2. I believe in you.
            3. I will do whatever I can to help you succeed.
            4. I will give you my best, and I expect your best.

            I look forward to working with you!

            Mrs. Arnold

            Happy New Year to you, and Happy New Semester to me!

            Sunday, January 6, 2013

            Into the Unknown with a Known God

            “He went out, not knowing where he was going.”
            Hebrews 11:8

            I, Chelsea, am stepping into the unknown.  I am moving ahead into full-time student teaching for this entire next semester.  I don’t know what to expect.  I don’t know how it’s going to go.  My aim is to bring God into a place where he has been banned.  Which is silly, of course, because if God was able to be pushed around by humans, well he wouldn't be a god.  Still, bringing his love and message of hope is not allowed for school teachers and the like.  Yet His message is written in my heart.  His love lives within me.  

            But what can I really do as a teacher in public school?  Well, the Holy Spirit dwells in me.  My hope is to unleash the Spirit to work in that school--in students and teachers' lives. I know that my students are hearing words of death.  Some from their parents.  Some from the media.  Some from other teachers within the school.  I vow to speak words of life to them.  I can treat my students with kindness, compassion, and respect.  I can work my hardest to make sure that each of them has an opportunity to succeed.  In between talking about voice, character, and adverbs I can find moments to interject lessons about life, love, and making good choices.  

            I am stepping into an unknown terrain with a known God.  I do not know what he is going to do.  But I know who he is.  I know he loves the unlovable.  I know he reaches the unreachable.  I know he sees the deepest needs of suffering human hearts, is moved to compassion, and meets these needs.  My prayer is that, somehow, someway, God would do these things through me at my middle school in the coming semester:

            Isaiah 61:1-3

            "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
                because the LORD has anointed me
            to bring good news to the poor;
                he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
            to proclaim liberty to the captives,
                and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
            to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor,
                and the day of vengeance of our God;
                to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
                to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
            the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
                the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
            that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
                the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified."

            I move into student teaching filled with hope, because I know the God who is going there with me.

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