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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Green Dream


I am quickly developing an obsession with trapeze tunics. They are perfect to dress up for work and dress down for play, which makes an item near perfect in my eyes. My favorite look lately is to pair one with black tights and OKT boots. It's a pretty risky look to wear one of these bad boys as a dress, so I always wear a small black skirt and opaque tights to bring it back to reality really quick.




I have been on the hunt for the best place to buy breezy layering pieces like these, and I am so glad I found Jane.com. It's essentially a marketplace for small boutiques (Think Etsy). Since it works like a marketlace, the inventory circulates out pretty quickly, but there is always cute new stuff available. I especially love all the tunics and layering pieces, so it has become my best friend this fall! PLUS, you are shopping small businesses. This is not a plug, or a paid post, I just really want to share one of my favorite little secrets!


With Thanksgiving coming up, believe me honey, I am going to live in nothing but these tunics. They are basically a 2016 version of Joey Tribbiani's Thanksgiving pants.


Tunic: Jane.com
Boots: DSW (similar)

Photography by Eric J Photography. Check out his work on instagram @erictography and at EricCrosby.MyPortfolio.com

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Soft Hearts in a Hard World



I’ll admit it. I have one of the softest hearts I have ever encountered. Seriously, I don’t even know if it could hold it’s shape outside of my body. It would melt into a pile of glitter putty. I cry daily. DAILY. What I will not admit is that I am in any way embarrassed by it. Because I’m not. I’m happy with my sensitivity. I love feeling the world as deeply as I do. It makes happiness SO happy. But it makes sadness and disappointment so much harder. When I experience something TRULY sad or disheartening, it throws me. I struggle to function normally. I look around wondering how the world is going on with no one noticing. It’s hard, and it takes me longer to recover. But I do recover.

I recover and rebound because I believe so deeply in the power of love and kindness. I believe that there is more good in the world than bad. I believe that people care about each other and will stand up for one another. These beliefs are not just my heart; they are my eyes, my skin, my guts. They are what I am made of. They give me faith and confidence in the power of humans.

However, people can suck, and they test that confidence. They make me feel like no one else cares about these things. In fact, they call me a bleeding heart for caring so much, because in this world, compassion is something you can be teased for. They can be selfish and accusatory. They attack people who are not like them or who pose some sort of threat to their notion of superiority. They choose a whisper of a promise of their own prosperity over standing up for the basic human rights of millions and standing up to bullies. They are bystanders. And then they tell the people who are are not bystanders and bullies to get over it. Call them special snowflakes and crybabies and offer them a participation trophy. They show me that this world can be very hard and harsh. I get angry, I get furious, I get sanctimonious.

I often feel like an outsider, like I don’t belong here. This world is not built for soft hearts; it is built for the hard and the angry. It is built to break and beat the people who seek to connect and to feel. It wants us to fall in line.

Sensitivity and compassion are viewed as signs of weakness, but I'm tough as hell. I work hard, I get things done, and I push through. This is why I am able to choose kindness, to choose softness. I’m tough enough to take in all the hate around me without needing to rebound it back, and I think that makes me way stronger than most people. I can listen, read, absorb, hurt, and try to radiate even more love. It can be so tough sometimes. But my heart is soft enough to know that love is what this world needs, not anger.

I refuse to let this world become cold. I refuse to let people feel marginalized, attacked, and alone.
So I push on, hug on, love on. My heart is bruised, but the thing about soft hearts is that the bounceback can be epic, and it usually involves dancing. You’re welcome. If you have a soft heart, never, ever, ever let the world turn it to stone. Drink some tea (or wine), write, draw, run, and recover when you need to. Then get back up and work to build everyone else to your level of love. After all, we could all use a little more glitter putty in our lives.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Fall Book Favorites



It comes as a surprise to about, no one, that I love to read, and I read a lot. Sadly, though, fall is always my most insane time of year as a teacher, and now that I have added grad school to the mix, I have even less time to curl up with the simpler joys like these. Still, fall break is around the corner, and I plan to tear through my reading list like no one’s business. That, and write like fifty papers.

But, before I do that, I wanted to share with y’all some of my favorite books, in the hopes that you are carving out time to enjoy a glass of wine and an awesome book. Enjoy, and let me know what you think of them!


Classics Revisited
Fall is when all the great classics come back for the winter, and I always just want to sit near the fireplace with a PSL and an old friend of a book. If you somehow missed reading these two titles so far in life, take advantage of the cozy months and read them now!


You have either read The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald or at the very least slogged through a junior-year English project thanks to SparkNotes. No matter how you encountered Gatsby in your education, it is worth one or a million revisits as an adult. You will now be able to appreciate the desperation of prohibition life, unrequited love, and the desire to fit in. Characters you thought you loved will show their true colors, and you will ache for the hearts of others. And then you can re-watch the Baz Lurhmann movie, because sparkles.



Should I have a child at some point in my life, I want to name him Phineas, after one of the main characters in A Separate Peace. This is a book that somehow gets skipped throughout the years of high school for most classes, and it is just so so beautiful. The story follows Gene and Phineas as they are assigned as roommates at Devon, a New England prep school during WWII. We watch this unlikely duo grow together as teenagers, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Experience the confusing angst of teen life right alongside the characters. Author John Knowles perfectly conveys the pain of coming of age in any time, especially war time. It’s been 12 years since I first read it, and I feel it as deeply as I did the day I finished it the first time. It sticks.

Mysteries
Mystery is my favorite genre right now, hands down. The novel I am working on writing is a mystery, and I have been consuming these like they are Pop Tarts on a cheat day. For me, that’s like, really, really, really fast.


Dark Places is written by one of my personal queens, Gillian Flynn. She wrote Gone Girl. You have experienced Gone Girl in some capacity. I know you have. You may have read it for a book club like 90% of the female American population or just YouTubed the Ben Affleck shower scene from the movie adaptation (I see you. You can’t hide). I have read all of Flynn’s books, and Dark Places is my definite favorite. Libby Day somehow survived a horrific mysterious tragedy that killed most of her family when she was a child, leaving her only living relative, her brother, in prison for murder. She is now an adult, trying to put behind her a past that never lets itself be forgotten. When a strange club of sorts contacts her because they have been digging into her case, she is forced to return to the world that took everything from her. It’s also a movie starring Charlize Theron, but promise me you’ll read before you watch, mmkay?


Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll is being touted at the new Girl on the Train, which two years ago was the new Gone Girl, so jump into this one before it gets made into a questionably cast movie as well (It’s in development, so seriously, go fast!). Ani is a publishing professional working for the hottest women’s magazine in the country and engaged to a member of New York’s elite ruling class. I know, right, you’ve NEVER heard this premise before. Stick with me though. She truly seems like The Luckiest Girl Alive. But she has not just a few, but an entire childhood of secrets and tragedies that unfold as you tear through the pages. The pace of the novel is quickened even further by the narration switching from current days to a flashback to her teen years at a prestigious high school on Philadelphia’s snooty Main Line. Be prepared to have a couple of late nights reading because you have. to. know. what. happens.


Beach Reads
I know, I know, summer is WAY over. But I feel like every fall I bust out at least one more low-emotion, high-drama, girl’s book to hang on to the lazy summer days just a LITTLE longer. These ones have all the fun combined with some real depth.


A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams takes place in Seaview, Rhode Island over the summer of 1938. Lily Dane has come here for the summer with her family, as she has every summer. However, her former friend Budgie and old flame Nick arrive and throw a curveball at her quiet summer plans. Follow pre-war New York socialites as they navigate a hot and stormy summer. This is a quick, fun, and emotional read. Perfect for a long weekend away!


The Vacationers by Emma Straub follows the extended arms of the Post family as they vacation on the island of Mallorca. Each member has come on the trip with a separate personal agenda, and shenanigans ensue. One great thing about Straub’s writing in this book is that she tells the story from each member's personal perspective. Think Modern Family with more repressed issues bubbling up like a hot spring in a tropical destination.


Non-Fiction
I could spend of my days lost in the clouds of beautiful prose fiction, but at some point I need something to talk to my friend’s dog about at parties. Non-fiction books bring us back into the world of real-life and give us a fresh perspective from the view of an expert.


We the People: The Modern-Day Figures Who Have Reshaped and Affirmed the Founding Fathers’ Vision of America is the history buff’s required 2016 reading, or at least it should be. Author Juan Williams explores the world our Founding Fathers helped to create and presents a new group of fathers that are shaping modern America right before our eyes. He profiles people like Thurgood Marshall, Ronald Reagan, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Also, it was released in only April of this year, so you’ll probably be the first of your friends to read it. You’re welcome.
Watch Juan Williams discussing the book on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah here:


Bird by Bird is basically the bible to writer types like me. And yes, it is technically about writing and written by a master writer and teacher, Anne Lamott. However, hear me out. There is a not single human heart on this planet that won’t be warmed by the poetry that is Lamott’s writing and not a soul who will not be fed  by her musings on life. If that doesn’t do it for you, it makes not one but TWO appearances in season 4 of Orange is the New Black. Re-watch the season (I know you’re already done) to see if you can catch them, and if you read one nonfiction thing this year, read Bird by Bird.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Stretching Summer


*This post originally appears on www.denverstylemagazine.com




I’m a girl who lives in Colorado, a place where we actually have all four season. And, yes, I’m a girl who loves all things fall: Layers, boots, football, curling up with a PSL and a good book. I’m cool with it! I’ve embraced the more basic things about myself. However, every year at the first chill in the morning, I throw away my sundresses and sandals with abandon, opting to sweat it out in knee-high boots and pea coats while the weather is still in the 80’s by noon. And without fail, I regret that decision every late winter, when my pea coat is in desperate need of a dry cleaning and I no longer view my boots as warm and cozy, choosing instead to refer to them as “foot prison”. It’s on those days that I would give all the pumpkin spice lattes in the galaxy for a warm, dry day when I can start to bust out my spring clothes yet again, just to repeat the same cycle.
This year is going to be different. This year I pledge to ease into my fall wardrobe a couple pieces at a time instead of plunging face first into them like a puppy wearing a Halloween party hat and truly give my summer favorites a proper adieu in the process.

Fall is all about layering, just like every instagram meme about the wonders of fall will tell you, and this notion is the crux of why a smooth transition into fall is so easy. Instead of stepping out in the shorts and tanks that ruled your summer days, try that same look with a long-line sweater over the top to add warmth for cold mornings and a little more visual interest. The beauty of transitioning from summer into fall is that so many of the looks we toss to the back of the closet on September 22 would actually still be perfect with a jacket or sweater tossed over the top.

To add even more warmth and texture, add in a blanket scarf with a color palette that combines both seasons. Bonus points on the blanket scarf: it can act as an actual blanket on chilly rooftop patios if needed.



As far as shoes go, repeat after me: “Step away from the riding boots!” However, the tough thing about fall is that the temperatures do fluctuate so much, so sandals are sometimes not the best option either for people like me whose feet seem to always run at a temperature nearing zero kelvin. I combat that by keeping my favorite sneakers at the front of the pack. I love channeling my middle-school self with some Adidas, which are (thank all the is good in the world) making a huge comeback this fall.
As soon as the temperature drops, it is so tempting to break out every cute cold-weather item we own. However, with some creative styling, we can make our summer staples stretch just a little bit further.

Favorite T-Shirt Forever



*This post was originally published at www.denverstylemagazine.com
In most parts of my life, I’m not one to play favorites. If you ask me about my favorite movie, I will clam up faster than I can say “Up” (Actually, my favorite movie might be Up.), and if you ask me about my favorite place to visit, you are in store for a half hour lecture complete with bar graphs showing the pros and cons of my top 10. However, ask me about my favorite clothing item and I will tell you “THIS GRAY T SHIRT”.




Most girls have a favorite white t shirts, but they have never been my thing, so my Plain White T has been replaced by a Plain Gray T. It meets all favorite t-shirt standards: comfortable, soft, and fits like it was sewn just for my body. In fact, this shirt fits so well and is so soft that I sometimes put it on after a bad day just to be wearing it. It really is the best to spill ice cream on while watching my 1000th episode of Vanderpump Rules. Because I love it so much, I have also tried to wear it out of the house as much as humanly possible. However, we all know that a gray t shirt can sometimes tell them world “I didn’t want to get out of bed today”, which is most definitely not my goal (no matter what my mood in the morning may imply), so I have tried come up with some varied ways to style it and show the world that a soft charcoal gray tee is actually glorious.
Tied up at the waist, a simple t shirt can dress down a full high-waisted skirt.



There are also times that jeans just really need to happen for the night, and you also  just really want to wear your favorite t shirt, because life is exhausting. One of my all-time favorite looks is to dress up destroyed denim and a t shirt with an ankle strap heel and some jewels.




These are my two go-to’s right now, but here are some other favorite t shirt options I plan to try soon:
  • As the perfect base layer for early fall layering
  • With a lacy halter bralette peeking out if the neckline
  • Under a jewel-toned pantsuit for an unexpected work outfit
  • With a flannel button down and cut-off denim
  • Tucked into a pencil skirt with a statement necklace.
  • With skinny jeans, a wide sun hat, and lace-up flats

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Our favorites are our favorites for a reason, and not just to give us crippling anxiety every time they almost snag on something. They make us feel comfortable and content. Don’t get hung up on feeling like your favorite tee needs to stay in the sweats drawer. Get creative, and bring it out of hiding as much as you can. Your soul will thank you!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Rockies Game Day Guide

*This post was originally published at www.denverstylemagazine.com



Summer is baseball season, and summer in Denver is Colorado Rockies season. Some of the best summer days are the days spent at Coors Field taking in a game. Since Rockies games are one of my favorite ways to spend a summer day, I thought I would share some tips I have picked up along the way.

Where to go:
Pre-game festivities are just as fun as the game itself, so plan to get downtown a few hours early to take full advantage. If you are driving, there are paid parking lots all around the stadium. However, Coors Field is just down the street from Union Station, so RTD is an even better alternative to driving, and then you will never have post-game traffic to deal with. Before leaving Union Station, stop at Pig Train Coffee for a quick caffeine fix (they have the best green tea lattes I have ever tasted!), or if you are more daring, grab a boozy milkshake at Milkbox.

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There are so many great bars near Coors Field to grab brunch, an appetizer, or drinks before heading into the stadium. Some of my favorites are HaytersTavern Downtown, and Viewhouse. At Viewhouse, you can enjoy corn hole, horseshoes, and even volleyball on their awesome patios. As far as cocktails go, be sure to try the Viewhouse mule or the Colorado sunset!

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What to Wear:
Summer weather being unpredictable as it is, I recommend layers that can be taken off and added at will. Summer days can be pretty hot in the stadium, but nights cool down pretty fast, so be prepared for both! You will walk a lot throughout the stadium and downtown, so plan on cute comfort on your feet.
If Rockies gear is your gameday go-to, the best places to find a wide selection is definitely the official Rockies Dugout StoresThey have a huge variety of sizes and styles to choose from, so you’re bound to find something you like, and with locations all over Denver (including the 16th Street Mall), you will definitely find one close to home. One of my favorite looks is a simple jersey, frayed skinnies and sneakers. I actually almost always prefer children's jerseys; I feel like they have more of a jersey-esque (is that a thing?) fit than women's and a much better length than men's. In the sneakosphere, Converse Chuck Taylor All Star IIs are my current favorite, because they have the classic Chuck design with Nike Lunarlon footbeds, which add cushion and coolness after walking on hot concrete all day.

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If Rockies gear isn’t your thing, take this as your opportunity to bust out your athletileisure finest. High-waisted leggings will keep you comfortable and cute all day long. Fancy Tiger Clothing on South Broadway has a big selection of really cute graphic tees and tanks, as well as a great collection of sunglasses. Dress up the outfit with add-ons like a moto jacket and lace up flats.

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Don’t forget about your skin either! The sun can get pretty intense on clear days in the stadium, so make sure and slather on the sunscreen. A moisturizer layered under a foundation with SPF will increase your protection. Waterproof eyeliner and mascara will also ensure that you will have no runs or smudges if it gets a little sweaty.
While inside the game, don’t stay in your seat the whole time. Walk around, check out the different areas (The Tuaca Terrace on the Rooftop is one of my favorites), and see the game from different angles. Have a beer, yell, jump, and enjoy yourself! Go Rockies!

Lessons From The Middle

*This post was originally published at www.denverstylemagazine.com


Ah, the middle sizes. The grande in the Starbucks of body shapes. Not a size 2, but not a size 16. The girls that knew we wouldn’t ever be able to be straight size OR plus size models. And that is perfectly okay with us. Our bodies are our temples, and we love the size that we are, large or small. However, with a surge of body positivity in fashion media over recent years, curvier frames are getting more attention than ever. Now we have not only straight sized models showing trends, but we also have plus-size models becoming more and more prominent. However, dressing the middle-sized body type can still be a little different than what we see at Fashion Week or in our favorite blogs. Here are a few types for figuring out how to nail style one a body that is not fashion-defined.
1. Know what you love the most
Yes, we all have our own individual body shapes, and some items are more flattering on a certain shape than others. An hourglass shape looks phenomenal in waist-cinching skirts, and strong shoulders are best shown off in strapless styles. If flattering is your primary goal, then it is important to know your shape and what works on it. However, there is a whole world of style out there! If you do not want to bind yourself to one style, then do not! If you have muscular legs that most style experts would say do not work in skinny jeans and booties (*raises hand*), find a way to make them work. Perhaps with a tunic top and little bit of ankle showing between the jeans and booties to create a slimming line on the leg.

2. Use color to create the look you want
Using color to your advantage can take an outfit from an outfit to a LOOK. Use darker colors to minimize something you don’t want a lot of attention on and to create a great base for some more daring pieces. This is why I basically live in black skinny jeans. Use lighter and brighter colors to highlight items and body parts that you want to showcase that day.
3. Ignore sizes
This sucks and is super hard because the world has trained us to care about the number in the jeans we bought.  In a perfect world, we could walk into a boutique, be measured, and be handed the perfect-fitting pair of jeans. Instead of hiring about a thousand sales associates for one store, brands streamline the process by putting a number or letter in a garment to show us how much fabric it contains. And we freak out. But we shouldn’t. We middle sized ladies are about a million different shapes, and different pieces will hang and fit differently on those shapes. Never be afraid to size up or down from the size you are to get the right fit. It does not mean your body size has changed, just that that particular brand labeled that amount of fabric with that number. This is difficult for middle-sized ladies because girls are sometimes taught that double-digit sizes are a fate equal to prison, and we HAVE to stay below a certain size. They aren’t. There is literally  nothing wrong with any size. It’s just fabric. Try on the fabric until you get the right amount of fabric, then take that fabulous fabric home. And cut the tags out there if you need to.
4. Shop deals more than clearance, and buy something fast if you love it
Middle sizes (6-12) tend to sell out first, so it’s sometimes difficult to wait for something to go on sale. Nothing flies a girl into a blind rage like going to check on, say, a pink midi skirt only to find out it has sold out in her size. However, you don’t always have to pay full price for items you love. Sign up for newsletters and loyalty clubs from your favorite brands to get deals on items. You don’t always have to wait for something to be on sale to save money on it.
5. Look to the plus-sized girls for inspiration
Plus-size fashion bloggers and models absolutely killed it in 2015, and we now get to reap the benefits into 2016. They are truly dishing out some of the most on-edge fashion inspiration, and you will get to see how a look will work on a frame larger than a sample size (Hint: fan-freaking-tastic). You will get a more realistic look at how a certain item may look on a middle-sized frame, and then take their advice straight to the department store.
6.Toe-dip into trends, and then embrace the ones you love
Some trends are scary, especially for women who are not a size 2, because so many of them seem geared toward a smaller frame. But remember, you’ve got an amazing body, and you deserve to have fun with what you put on it. Most trends look fantastic filled out a bit, so give it a shot. Try things out in a more subtle way to get a feel for it. To try a crop top for the first time, try one that just has a small cut out to keep yourself comfortable the first few times. Sometimes trends like over-the-knee boots can look a little extreme on the sexy side on bigger legs. To combat that, keep the rest of the look cozy (think fabrics like tweed and chunky knits) and covered, and make sure you get boots that hit you at a flattering place about one or two inches above your knee.

I like to add black socks sticking out the the top of my boots to add to the cozy look and make sure they are as flattering as possible. Never feel like you can’t try a trend because of your size or shape. Ever. Please. Instead, tinker with trendy pieces until you find a way to incorporate them into your wardrobe in your way.
The middle sizes can sometimes feel like the sizes that fashion forgot. But never sell yourself short of the world of style out there waiting for you. Embrace your gorgeous self, and enjoy!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

10 Faces Every Teacher in June will Recognize, As Told by Beyonce GIFs




The last few weeks of school are special ones for teachers. We are exhausted and energized with the buzz of new beginnings at the same time. We are scrambling to get everything done while simultaneously telling our students they are majestic land falcons every chance we get, lest they forget over the summer. With all the craziness, there are some faces every single teacher experiences at the end of the year. 






1. When you're trying to be your best self and plan fun lessons, but summer is just like...



2. When you get asked, "What can I do to get my grade up?"


The only acceptable answer to this question is: "That grammar is awful."


3. When you and your work BFF catch a kid sneaking snacks after locker clean out day.



4. When a million missing assignments get "found in their binders".




5. When you get an IEP meeting appointment during the last week.



6. When you pretend you didn't know your walls had to be completely bare before summer.



7. When a student tell you about their favorite project from your class.



8. Every single night of the last two weeks when you get home. 




9. When you look around at the teenage weirdos that became your family over the past nine months.





10. And you, literally the moment you leave school on the last day.





But hey y'all, it's summer.