Thursday, April 21, 2016

Store vs. Stylist

I think there are three types of teachers: 

1. The type who love to shop and dress up.

2.  The type who love teaching, but not so much the dressing up part and aim more for comfort.

3.  Those "shades of grey" who aren't so "black or white" on the matter and tend to have days where they feel like teacher type #1 or teacher type #2.

I consider myself teacher type #3.

So when I'm sitting on the floor with a small group of first graders working on a close read, or leaning forward adding vocabulary cards to the pocket chart, I want to look professional (as professional as one can look sprawled out on the floor among papers, highlighters, pencils, crayons, vocabulary cards, and five 7 year olds) without my body parts hanging out

But after having kids and hitting middle age....I've packed on the pounds. 

I'm going to spare you the diatribe on all the diets I've tried.

And.... the lack of time I have to exercise. I just hate it. Plain and simple. I. hate. To. Exercise. So I make excuses not to do it. There. I said it. It's out there.

I also love sweets. And carbs. And food.  I live, people!  Therefore, I'm overweight.  Oh well. I live with it.

Sometimes I live with it.

Sometimes I hate it.  Like....when I have to buy clothes because my "normal" clothes....don't fit anymore. I'm this person if you see me walking around a store near you. Only I'm not this skinny.

Truth be told, I hate shopping. Almost as much as I hate exercising. Ok, well not that much....but close.
But the time had come. I looked in the mirror and I could not deny it any longer. I had to get new clothes.
So...I put on my big girl pants (Literally and figuratively) and I went shopping. 
As I was driving to the store I thought, why don't I just do that online thing where people pick clothes for you? I looked into that and Stitch Fix doesn't carry my size.

Ok, now look it...I'm not an elephant. I wear a size 16 pants. Come on, Stitch Fix, get it together!
I searched online and found Dia Box.  They have a wait list so it would take 2 weeks my box to come in the mail.  I don't have 2 weeks. to the store I go...
I thought I'd compare clothes shopping in the store versus clothes shopping online. Clothing for what I consider,  NORMAL sized people. 

 Disclosure:  Since I hate shopping I went to 2 stores on 2 different days, that were not at the mall. I don't do malls. But they are stores. That counts.
My first stop was Lane Bryant. They are known for accommodating larger sizes so I thought I would do well.  Shopping, trying on, driving there= 1 hr 20 minutes.  Yup, I timed it.
Hopefully, by now my husband who reads my blog, realized this post was about clothes and stopped reading because I'm about to share what I paid for the clothes I bought. But...just in case he is reading- Lane Bryant was having a sale of 40% off all clothing so I included the before and after sale price.  True story. Your welcome, Kriss.
I bought the following items:
3/4 Sleeve Crew Neck Cardigan $29.97 @ 40% off = $19.98
3/4 Sleeve White Crew Neck Cardigan (same price as above)
3/4 Sleeve Crew Neck Lime Green Cardigan (same price as above)
A-Line Midi Skirt w/ Centerfold Pleat $41.97 @ $27.98
I also bought a bra and nobody needs to see that because I'm not 20 and my bras aren't sexy.
Total spent= $166.38
Total Time= 1 hour 20 minutes
Frustration Level= medium.  (Went from low to medium in the dressing room).
The next day, I went to Catherine's. Catherine's is a chain store that also sells larger sized clothing for women.  I bought:
Black pants $59 (no sale, sorry Kriss)
3/4 sleeve pleated shirt, on clearance for $10.
Ankle length side slits maxi skirt $59
Total Spent= $128.00
Total time= 1 hour
Frustration level= Low
My Store Takeaway: I spent $294.38 and 2 hours and 20 minutes of my time with medium to low frustration. I bought 8 articles of clothing and feel like this:
Therefore, I have determined that shopping is exercise and that must be why I don't like it.
These happy shoppers? They are happy because they got a workout out in's over. That's my store takeaway.
Moving on to the online stylist...
I logged onto Dia&Co. and created an account with my name and email address. It asked me for my birthdate, body type, top size, bottom size, dress size and bra size. After entering that in, I poured myself another drink and I accounted for that in the time below. It then asked what parts of my body I am most comfortable with and which I wanted to keep covered.
I chose from a checklist of given styles, my style type and which patterns to avoid, as well as what colors to avoid. It even let me share my social media handles if I wanted to so that my stylist could get an idea of styles I have liked or have pinned to Pinterest, etc.  Lastly, it asked how much I wanted to spend on items in a box, what type of accessories I like, pants, skirts, dresses, tops, etc.
I then entered in my credit card info, address, and done. The whole thing took 30 minutes. It was easy.
Two weeks later the box came as planned and was on my doorstep after we returned from a weekend with the kids.
I opened the box and it looked like this:

Inside was a note from my stylist, explaining what was chosen and how the pieces could be worn:

Hayden LA-Maxine Top $45
This was cute and I tried it on:
This is the same challenge I face in stores. It looks real cute on the hanger and would look real cute on a thinner girl.  On a bigger girl like myself, it made me feel bigger.  Maybe the busy pattern called too much attention? I'm not sure. It is $45 so I am sending it back.
Next up:
Modamix-Corinne skirt $79.
I don't need another black and white piece.  Nor do I need more stripes. But....I love stripes. I decided I should try it on.
I loved it on!  It flattered my figure and was super comfortable.  I can wear it dressy for school or keep it casual with a jean jacket . It is more than I wanted to spend but I really liked it. I kept it.
Next up:

Zenobia-Printed Chiffon Blouse $42.00
 The colors and pattern would not be something I would normally pick but that is one of the reasons I wanted to try an online stylist (that...and because of the whole exercise thing). I really liked this. But...would it look good on?
I think so. I'm keeping it. The jeans I am keeping too.
Fashion to Figure-Judith Skinny Jeans $42.90
When I first saw the color of these jeans I did not like them at all because I am drawn to dark color jeans. When I tried them on, I loved them. They are very flattering and even more comfortable. I never thought I would be able to wear skinny jeans at the size I am. Thanks Dia & Co!  If it has the word skinny in the name and I can wear it....sold!
The last piece:
Cayenne Necklace $46
The necklace is pretty but- way more than I would spent on costume jewelry and I feel guilty after spending so much on clothes already. I returned it.
I paid a $20 "styling fee" for this box. It included 5 pieces.  It also comes with a postage paid envelope to return any items you don't want.
This is super convenient because I can just put this in my mailbox and I don't have to make a specific run to the post office.
So the $20 "styling fee" goes towards anything I decide to keep. If I decided to keep none of the items, I'm out the $20. If I kept the entire box, I would get a 20% discount off the order. I put the 2 things I didn't want in the envelope, put the envelope in my mailbox, completed a very brief rating on the box for my stylist and I signed up for another shipment. I can't afford to keep buying clothes so this next box will probably be my last (I promise, Kriss).
My Online Stylist Takeaway: Total: $143.90 for 3 pieces
Total Time: 45 minutes. This includes time I spent online filling out the profile and trying on the pieces and completing the survey after receiving my box for my stylist
Frustration level- none.
I will take the online stylist any day over store shopping for clothes, but that's just my opinion. I feel like I spent more in the store because it was there, I wanted it to be done, I felt like I "needed it," and I was frazzled.
I feel like I got things from my "stylist" that I would not normally choose for myself and I like that. At the same time, the clothing my stylist chose is practical. I can wear to school, on the weekends, out for dinner, etc. I like breaking out of my comfort zone a bit.
If you're not a shopper, like me...I highly recommend it. I was very pleased with Dia & Co. They accommodate women sizes 14-32. Have you tried an online stylist?  What has your experience with it been? Please comment and let me know. 

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Pinterest Picks for April

It's the third of April so it's time for my favorite monthly linky for ideas and inspiration. Many thanks to Lisa from Pawsitively Teaching, Marissa from Inspired Owl's Corner, and Ashley from Just Reed for hosting this fantastic linky on the 3rd day of every month.

Here are my top 3 Pinterest Picks for April....

Using plastic eggs as writing prompts.
Click on the picture to go to the original pin.
I love this idea from In Fifth Grade with Teacher Julia. This would be a great way to start the morning. Students could choose an egg as a writing prompt for morning work. A basket of plastic eggs could also be added to the writing center and used as writing prompts.
Great ideas and activities for group activities for morning meetings
 Click on the picture to go to the original pin.
Do you use Responsive Classroom?  Second Grade Stories has great group activities for morning meeting. My students LOVE playing four corners and we are going to try "Mumball" next week.
Click on the picture to go to the original pin.
 These are adorable and a great way for students to write about ways they can help protect our earth.
I'd love to have you follow me on Pinterest. Just click on the Pinterest board below and click "Follow." 

Friday, April 1, 2016

Close Reading, Money, and Needs and Wants

This was the Monday-est Friday ever!  No joke!'s finally here and it's time for Five for Friday with Doodle Bugs Teaching.

Perhaps....the week has been long because it started like this..

O.K. now wait a minute....

Before you get a "judgy" on my darling beagle over here. It's important to mention...

Bentley was set up.

That's right.  Framed.

That cat is obsessed with opening doors.  He can't stand them closed.

Since the cat and the dog don't quite see eye to eye, Jack opens the door, thereby waiting....just waiting.... for Bentley and that beagle nose to do the rest and get into trouble.

It's not Bentley's fault. He can't help it.

I think Jack's hoping we'll get rid of the dog if this happens enough.

And it does.

At least 3-4 times a week because I my husband keeps forgetting to put a chair or something in front of the cabinet door.

So there you have it. Bentley was framed. And for the record- I will never, not EVER get rid of the dog.

In other news, my son Tyler who is 10, is obsessed- and I do mean obsessed-with wrestling.

In particular, John Cena.

He spends every waking moment reading about it, acting out wrestling, talking about it, etc.

Tyler usually goes in phases with things but this one has been sticking. As my husband says.  "This wrestling thing has legs."

And you know what....I'm kinda ok with it.

I looked up John Cena when Tyler started taking such an interest and he is a really admirable guy. He went to college and fulfills more "make a wish requests" than any other celebrity. His motto is "Never Give Up" and "Hustle, Loyalty, Respect." 

My son who is dyslexic, has learned a lot of "grit" from this guy.  I term Cena a lot when I need to encourage Tyler to plug along.

Anyway, we won tickets to see WWE this past week and we are...

These two boys who are both dyslexic (so reading and writing is so hard for them) spent hours making posters. It was the cutest thing ever.  Seriously.

Rack this right up there with things you never thought you'd do in your life. 

Ahhh....the things we do for our kids... Though this wasn't quite as painful as that Wiggles concert many moons ago...

In my classroom, We have been reading up a storm in first grade using my spring close read.

Spring Close Read on tulips,rabbits, earthworms, rain, bees, and frogs.3 leveled texts per topic, vocab word cards, defintion, and picture cards, and reading response pages.

The kids are really enjoying them.

They are differentiated so they are perfect for small group instruction.

Identifying tricky vocabulary words and finding key words and details within text is such great practice for them too!

Vocabulary cards, words, pictures, and definitions for spring close read.

Spring Close Read on tulips,rabbits, earthworms, rain, bees, and frogs.3 leveled texts per topic, vocab word cards, defintion, and picture cards, and reading response pages.

We are also learning about wants and needs this week and I found this awesome unit by Cara's Creative Playground which my students and I are really enjoying.

Needs/Wants Unit by Cara's Creative Playground

We are also learning about coins and since our math curriculum doesn't cover coins and it is a standard in Massachusetts, we do a lot of supplementing.

Touch money with coin cutouts and sticky dots. Sticky dots represent counts of 5.

My students do really well with this Touch Money system which is super easy to make with coin cut outs and sticky dots.  The sticky dots represent counts of 5.  Since coin recognition can be so tricky for the young ones since the coins look so much alike (especially once they are photocopied) this added visual is really helpful!

How has your week been?  Did you survive "April Fools"?

Just barely, my friends....just barely.

I don't even think I can stay awake until dinner.