Friday, March 31, 2017

march things

Trying to #flatlay like some fancy Instagrammer

So my blog and I are both going through some major transitions. I'm starting to feel out doing some other types of posts--style posts or regular favorites posts, maybe the occasional beauty post--mixed in with the crafty, diy posts that I've done during the entirety of this little tiny blog's life. I'm sure they won't be the most amazing style/favorites/beauty posts ever, but I kind of don't care? I want to try. I enjoy writing. It's fun.

In short, recently I've been...

... trying out Shea Moisture's African Black Soap Deep Cleansing Shampoo, and so far, so good. It's supposed to be designed for dry or dandruff-y scalps, which I think I'm going to have to wait and see. It's been quite the improvement over what I had been using, in terms of volume of flakage and itchiness of my scalp. Totally TMI, but it works!

...drinking too much Trader Joe's tea and coffee. It's impressive. I discovered and was very pleasantly surprised by the Organic Ginger Turmeric tea. It's slightly spicy with a lovely, subtle sweetness and absolutely calming when I struggle with sleeping.

...watching British Youtubers like Lucy Moon and Doddleoddle and remembering how it felt to romanticize England when I was younger and dreamed of living in London for a semester.

...playing with lipsticks. The Nyx Soft Matte Lip Cream in Prague and the Burt's Bees lipsticks in Brimming Berry and Lily Lake are kind of making my beauty loving life right now. Though I'm starting to wonder if I might be allergic to something in Burt's Bees lip products? They can dry out my lips so badly.

...reading Frank McCourt and romanticizing the life of the dirt poor Irish boy living in the hovel by the lavatory. Not that I actually want that life. Nope, I'll take central heating and a indoor plumbing.

...sleeping weird hours. See above comment about tea and coffee.

...dreaming about the sun like it's my job. You can take the girl out of the Southwest, but not the Southwest out of the homesick girl.

Happy April and happy spring!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

hello spring!

sweater (handknit, this pattern), top (forever 21 via thrift store), skirt (dressbarn)

(Precursor: I've been thinking about doing the occasional style post with vaguely creative nonfiction/essay-ish writing. I'm going to try it out, see what happens. If you have some thoughts, let me know what you think!)

Oh, the winter was long. So, so, so very long.

I couldn't wait to see the sunshine. I wanted to feel the warm air and smell the rain's sweetness. I wanted my eyes to be filled with the bright, verdant boldness of the grass, poking its fresh spiky heads out of the ground, like toddlers. Just a moment ago, they couldn't have been more asleep, but now they are awake in every fiber of their tiny beings.

I don't remember winter bothering me so greatly in past years. Even last year, I was willing to bundle up in layer after layer of scarves and mittens against the 30 minute walk home in the cold, cold night after a late rehearsal. A March snow would not have made me skip with glee, but I remember the idea being less of a terrible imposition and more of just a part of living in the midwest. They put chili on spaghetti and make tater tots into casserole; why not have snow in March? But this year I wanted to see spring so badly I could almost taste the fragrance of budding flowers in the air.

I have discovered that it is not easy to accept the changes of seasons slowly. They come when they will, and there's not really anything that I can do to force the revolution of the earth to happen faster. If only.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

project planning: gonna-get-it-done bruyere

I have this horrible tendency to be over ambitious when I make plans and personal goals.

I had a not-so-happy last few months, and my first response is to try to overhaul. Join a yoga class! Join the church choir! Make friends! Rework the entire classroom from top to bottom! Jump feet first into five or six projects at once! Write a pile of short stories! Go big or go home, right? I realize that all this does is leave me wiped out with some halfhearted attempts at different goals and a shaken, discouraged feeling in the pit of my stomach. Instead, I'm trying to shift to small, manageable goals. One craft. One new activity. One change in the classroom. Plenty of room for error and for getting tired and falling short. I've found that giving myself that leeway room is how I actually succeed. 

Small, manageable changes. Illustrated with only the worst and most blurred out of pictures, but you can see that beautiful fabric.

To start with, I'm only committing to making one thing. I bought Deer and Doe's Bruyère pattern as a treat way back during Black Friday. My goal is to make my pretty blue Bruyère by Easter. I've bought this beautiful fabric from Fabricworm, I've massacred a tired, worn out blouse for buttons, and I've decided to be lazy and use the white thread I already have. I even got fancy pattern tracing paper, to save my beautiful paper copy of the expensive, expensive but already beloved indie pattern. It made cutting out the fabric a dream.

Goal set. Let's see how this works out. 

Friday, February 17, 2017

chispita teaches: on being a new teacher

Intentionally chose more than the highlights reel. Behavior challenges, you drive me bonkers.

I haven't written anything here in a while. And the odd thing is, unlike my last, large chunk of radio silence, it wasn't what I wanted to do. Did I have a ton of ideas about what I could write? No. But I wanted to be writing. I wanted to be creating. I wanted to be doing something that established an identity outside of being a teacher.

When I think of my first few months teaching, I keep thinking back to my first crocheted pieces. They were made out of some scratchy acrylic I picked up at Hobby Lobby and I didn't know how to count stitches, so they all fanned out like lopsided aprons. My stitches were pulled as tight as can be, but I was learning. I was proud of those useless crocheted trapezoids. This year, I feel like everyday looks like those mistake-riddled first crochet practices. I have had more moments than I'd like to admit when I looked out at the room and thought, "I have no idea what to do here." But I've had other moments when I've looked out and felt something click together.

Those are the moments I love. Looking out at all my little readers working during our reading workshop. Seeing their smiles when they first come in in the morning. The growth that some of my shouter-outers have made in the past few months. Reading their writing in all its bizarre wonderment, and especially seeing the growth they've made since that first writing piece. Those moments when I help a student calm down who was having a tough time controlling his emotions.

I'll be honest, there are days when I have to remind myself why I'm doing this. But there are moments when I know all the way down deep in my toes that this is where I'm supposed to be. Pulling guided reading groups and modeling math strategies. I love what I do, when I'm not slowly devolving into insanity.

The changes that have happened in my life over the past few months have been immense. I want to sleep so much more, but I've gotten even worse at sleeping. My most common crafting involves cutting up paper for student projects or coloring in a sign for our calendar or creatively DIYing my own worksheets, to save a penny or two that I'd otherwise throw at Teachers Pay Teachers. I have two enormously messy unorganized rooms instead of one. I can count on one hand how many times I've gone out and done things in the past two months. I'm more anxious than I've ever been in my life. There are more moments of struggle and failure and learning than honestly I've ever had in my life. But I remind myself that after lots and lots of practice, my crocheting stopped looking like a mess of twisted yarn and started looking like the pattern pictures. And some day, teaching will feel less like an experiment in Not Drowning and more like an exciting challenge.

And you know, I think it won't be long now.

Monday, September 5, 2016

a post-grad capsule wardrobe experiment

What interested me most about capsule wardrobes is the degree of intentional consideration that they require. There's this slow thoughtfulness that seems to color their particular flavor of consumption in a way that I find fascinating. As a recent post-grad moving from a mix of yoga pants and cute dresses to first grade appropriate attire, I'm particularly intrigued by the idea of capsule wardrobes and how the framework lends itself perfectly to good ol' fashioned wardrobe analysis. No matter who seems to be the speaker, all the guidance seems to boil down to two useful questions.

What do you have in your closet? 

What do you need in your closet?

As I said, I'm coming out of college. My perspective is more geared towards building a teacher wardrobe from the ground up, particularly as I've recently realized that with this particular group of students my beloved skirts are not an option. Which I am trying to accept with serenity and grace, rather than getting huffy (as I keep telling myself, next year will be different).

When I started this journey, I think I started with the perspective that I didn't have enough clothes to get me through my teaching year. I was a college student; I'll need so much, I'd think, while poring over websites with clothes I honestly could not afford as a student and still can't as a teacher. But when I looked over my closet before beginning this fall. I realized that I had more than I'd ever thought. Enough for a workable short term feminine/business casual/classic teacher capsule wardrobe. Since then, I've realized the dearth of pants (I had two pairs of jeans in there and that was it), but to start with, I'm fairly well set up. 

It's not perfect, but I'm embracing something I consider the essence of capsule wardrobes: accept that the "just right" closet doesn't happen overnight. Even the people who can afford to spend $500 on clothes every capsule don't get everything just so the first go round. That's the idea of investing in clothes. You have to be patient and wait. So yes, I will be occasionally wearing my 100% polyester blouses that I got for free from my roommate last year that fit and look like scrubs and feel like wearing a plastic bag. I have other needs (see: pants) that are more urgent than making sure that laundry day feels as cute and put together as the first day of freshly laundered clothes.

Monday, August 29, 2016

late summer favorites

I've started school already, so my mind is still a little confused that there's still almost a month of summer left to go before we get into fall, based on the calendar. Here's what I've been loving this summer. 

The Office: Jim and Pam make my life feel better, amidst a complicated move, a depressing world, and helping my sister with her wedding. 

The Batman: My brother and I watched The Dark Knight together, and it was amazing. Absolutely, indescribably amazing. It’s kicked off a nostalgic desire for the Saturday morning superhero cartoons I watched when I was a kid, so I’m gleefully devouring The Batman on Netflix, even if back in the day, I only watched Batman when Batgirl joined in Season 3. 

Breeberry’s bullet journal: I’ve been trying to get more into designing my bullet journal, and her weekly spreads have been super inspirational in that quest.

Burt's Bees lipstick in Lily Lake: Mine was unfortunately destroyed after not too long of owning it, but I loved the color, the practicality of the application and opacity, and the feeling of finally having a truly moisturizing lipstick. 

Tarte Tartelette in Bloom palette: Though I haven’t really had anywhere to go that really merited a dressed up eye look, I’ve really enjoyed the pigmentation and the longevity in my simple little day to day looks. Rocker is one of my favorite, favorite, favorite easy eyeshadows for days when I want to look neatly put together, but not futz around with more than one color.

The Brown Bag Teacher: As I've started teaching, this blog has helped me think through my classroom in ways I hadn't even previously considered. Teacher hero right there.

Colette Patterns Dahlia: This pattern was supposed to be my graduation dress, but it turns out that sewing a dress while studying for finals, being sick, and well, graduating is almost impossible. I’ve instead been chipping away at it during the summer, and the amazing instructions and high quality fit (straight from the pattern!) have me sold on Colette patterns. And probably indie patterns in general.

Unfancy: I’ve loved this blog for a while. Caroline’s style in every possible way is beautiful, from her clothes to her photos to her web design, but her words are even better. I find her take on a simple, “just enough and just what is needed” lifestyle inspiring. Maybe it’s because I’m moving twice this summer, maybe it’s my itch for cleanliness and order that comes with transitions, but I find myself drawn again to her pages, after I daydream about mass consumerism, of course.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

hello again

Hi blog.
Long time no see.

I'd kinda lost interest in blogging after my student teaching ended. That particular over share story can wait for another day, but suffice it to say, when I sat down to start a classroom blog, I was surprised to find posts ideas popping up for this on. For the first time in months, I thought about writing for the Internet again. Or rather, writing and publishing it on the Internet.

So what have I been doing?

I graduated college, with the appropriate pomp and circumstance and silly hat.

I got a job teaching first grade at the very same school where I joyfully student taught last fall.

I decided to move back to St. Louis, where I’ve been living for the past few years.

I choreographed for a few different productions, essentially staging my choreographic swan song.

I sewed a top, tried sewing a graduation dress (that I’m only just now finishing), and knitted a sweater.

I joined the smartphone generation and got an Instagram.

I got a car and named it Judy and made some new moves towards adulthood.

I decided to experiment with a capsule wardrobe for this fall to see how it works at helping me develop a work/adult wardrobe.

I’ve decided I want to come back but in a slightly different way. I do want to write and publish more. I think I like this blog during my transitions -- and I’m facing my biggest transition ever in the coming months -- so I want to come back to the creator side of the blogging community and make something, even if it’s just for me. And with that in mind, I think I’m going to write a greater variety of posts. I’m unsure what that’ll look like, but I know that a few things won’t be first and foremost in my mind, growing an audience or trying to be any one thing in particular. I’m a chispita, unique and prone to going her own way. After all, that’s what sparks do.
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