Flowers, Demonstrations, and Persuasion

Friday my students delivered their third speech: the speech of demonstration.  Some of my students have made a lot of progress and have really found their stride where public speaking is concerned.  And, some of my students still aren’t quite hitting the mark.  Sometimes my heart breaks for them when they start going astray.

I always want to be encouraging to my students and use the “fluff, poke, fluff” method when I am delivering feedback.  I often find myself paying particular attention to the judges on different television shows, i.e. American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, The Voice, The X Factor, etc. to see how the judges respond when someone just doesn’t rise to the challenge.  This sometimes helps me to applaud effort while still critiquing technique.

After the speeches, I gave them a crash course introduction to persuasive speaking.  Although they weren’t assigned the chapter yet, I knew that I needed to give them some of the vital information from the chapter since I handed out their final speech packet.  For their persuasive speech they are required to use the Monroe’s Motivated Sequence and I wanted to explain to them what it was.  I know that they may have felt a bit overwhelmed with the information, but my hope is that when they read the chapter and start constructing their outlines that the pieces start to fall into place.  At the very least, I know that they will come to class next week with tons of questions.

I debated about when to make the deadline for their outlines, but I ultimately decided that I would rather short them on the initial preparation time and give them more time with a graded outline to revise and then use to prepare their speech as opposed to giving them more time to create the outline and less time for the revisions.  I know that many of them wait to the last minute to do their homework and this way ensures a better success rate because it demands more from them up front.

Friday was a nice Spring day, but it was calling for rain and I wore dresses both Tuesday and Thursday so Friday was definitely a pants day.  I picked this shirt up sometime last week during one of my near daily trips to Wal-Mart.  I was drawn to it as soon as I saw it and put it in the cart with nary a second thought.  But, I tend to rationalize very quickly.  I knew that I could pair this three-fourths sleeve top with

1. black pants (skinny or dress)

2. black skirt (pencil or A-line)

3. khaki pants (casual, skinny, or dress)

4. khaki skirt (pencil or A-line)

5. new coral knife pleated skirt

6. new red silk skirt

7. royal blue skirt

8. denim bottoms (skinny, bootcut, or trousers)

9. Shorts (black, khaki, denim)

And that was all off the top of my head in the women’s department at Wal-Mart.  (Admit it, you are impressed.)  These days that is kind of my test of buying a new item.  Does it work with at least three items that I already own?  If it doesn’t, why am I drawn to it?  Is it because it is different and I want to branch out, or is it because of some completely unrelated reason?  And, let’s be honest,  it’s not like I don’t have clothes to wear.

Are there any rules that you impose on yourself when it comes to buying new items– whether it’s clothing or something else? Do the rules work or do you break them more than you follow them?

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ONE HUNDRED!

One hundred. One hundred. One hundred.  Can you believe that this is my 100th post?!  I know I can hardly believe it.  I was thinking while I was in the shower and did some quick figurin’.  I started this blog in August 2011.  Since it was the beginning of a new school year and I wasn’t sure of a lot of things pertaining to this blog, it started out a little slow.  Then, I started reading more fashion blogs and learning more about wordpress and blogging in general.

For the sake of easy shower math, I rounded the number of months to 8.  So 100 divided by 8 is. . . . somewhere between 10 and 15.  (Give me a break I was in the shower!)  My handy-dandy calculator tells me that it is 12.5.  And, now let’s divide that by 4 weeks in a month and we have 3– if you are in the shower, and 3.125 if you are sitting in front of a calculator.  Needless to say, this whole bombast is to show that I have posted an average of 3 posts per week for 8 months.  Which, I might point out, is longer that I can commit to working out.  I was working out about 3 times a week from January-March.  Then, I gave myself the week off for Spring Break.  And then it was one thing after another.  But, yesterday I went and worked out.  So, now I am back on the bandwagon.

Also while I was in the shower, I was thinking of the different ways in which to celebrate my 100th post.  But, I knew that I had to decide quickly because it was going to be the next post.  Er, this post.  And, so I thought about all the things that had to do with the number 100.  But, that was a little daunting, so I decided to try and figure something out with the number 10.  I thought about buying 10 items for under $100, but then I realized that that is not much of a challenge.  Then, I thought about other things with multiples of 10 or having to do with 100.  This is what I came up with:

But, this photo collage isn’t enough for you guys.  So, here are 10 new items that I purchased yesterday to incorporate into my wardrobe—all for under $25!

But, the fun doesn’t end there.  Let’s face it, those 10 new items are for me, not for you.  But, I do have something for you.  Don’t get too excited, though. I would like to increase the number of comments that I receive on each post.  To help nudge you into commenting, I am proposing a contest.  Once this blog post reaches 10 original comments (not fake ones, or spam ones) I will take those 10 commenter’s and throw them into random.org to select a winner.  And, what do you win?  A $10 Starbucks giftcard.  I told you not to get too excited.

Let the comments begin!

 

Variations

I can’t believe that today is Friday.  It feels like it was just Tuesday.  Somehow, I have lost myself a couple of days from this week and in doing so I have gotten behind on my posting!  For that, I apologize.

The outfit that I wore Tuesday was a variation of the closet play session that I had on Monday.  I went shopping in an attempt to add some new dresses to my wardrobe that are not black, white, or gray.  Hanging in my closet right now I have at least 5 dresses that are white, gray, black or a combination of the two.  What ends up happening, is that I always pick a color or two to wear with them.  Generally, this results in a cardigan, or belt, or jewelry.  And, while there is nothing wrong with that, per se, it starts to feel a little bland.  (C’mon, do I really need an excuse to go shopping?!? O.K. call it a birthday present to myself.)

I chose this dress because of the myriad of colors in the print.  I could easily pull out any one of those colors and add accessories to style the dress.  Or, I could choose two or three colors for a more daring and bold outfit.  Lastly, even though it is a black background (old habits die hard), I think that it helps to make it remix-able for all seasons.  (That may be a post of its own.)

Here is my photo shoot from Monday with this dress:


The first picture is the dress with black patent sandals for a Spring time look. In the next photo, I have added some jewelry. Particularly, a green statement necklace, gold chandelier earrings, and a gold watch. In step 3, I made it more teaching/weather appropriate by adding a basic black cardigan. I wasn’t loving the jewelry choice, so in the next picture I have removed the green statement necklace and added a gold-ish shell cuff, instead. I also switched out the fabric belt that came with the dress for a black patent belt from a skirt. I was pretty satisfied with this outfit. I also wanted to re-mix a fun and casual outfit, so I threw on my chambray button-up, tied the ends in a knot at my waist and put on some preppy penny-loafers. (I am still struggling with re-mixing my chambray shirt. I think it’s too big.)

On Tuesday when I woke up, I had three or four outfits pre-planned from my Monday session. I wanted to wear the magenta shirt and khaki skirt outfit (featured in my last post), but I thought I would save it for Friday. So, I wore this flowered dress. And then, I remembered that I don’t have class on Friday.

Flowered dress: Target. Black blazer: (thrifted.) Earrings: Wal-Mart. Black patent belt: borrowed from a skirt. Black pumps: Payless. Gold watch: Wal-Mart.

As you can see, I did make some changes from the outfit I planned.  First, I changed out the cardigan for this blazer.  I thought that it made it slightly more professional.  I think the sleeves are a little long, though, so I rolled them twice for a slightly more casual look.  Also, because it’s Spring!  And the shoes.  Because it felt a little chilly, I wanted to wear nylons and I still have a hard time wearing open-toed shoes with nylons.  So, I opted to wear these basic black pumps.


What do you think? Do you have a favorite of the umpteenth variations?

Casual(ity)

I don’t usually create posts based on my casual wear— after all the main point of the blog is about being a young and stylish teacher.  But, sometimes I do.  This is one of those times.  There are two reasons for this groundbreaking decision.  First, I really liked my spur-of-the-moment casual hairstyle and I think that this may be a farewell post for this cardigan.  There are several pieces in my wardrobe that I think it is time to part with.

Argyle boyfriend cardigan: Old Navy. White long sleeved t-shirt: Old Navy. Silver earrings: Wal-Mart. Bootcut jeans: Target. Gray boots: Old Navy.

Many of these are items that I purchased long ago and have gotten adequate value from.  While others are items that were so cheap I just couldn’t resist.  I am really trying to break myself of that habit, though.  What is the point of having 4 different white dress shirts hanging in the closet if one of them looks a little dingy, one is 3/4 length sleeve and wrinkles easily (re: non-professional), one is a man’s dress shirt and isn’t tailored for a woman, and the last one is just O.K.– good for wearing under blazers or sweaters but not as a stand alone piece?  Right, there is no point.  Remember a few posts ago when I mentioned the possibility of cleaning out my closet?  While I still don’t have time for the major undertaking that I know the project is going to be, there are at least 5 pieces off the top of my head that I know I can purge.

I digress.

This sweater is cute, but it is starting to look a little ragged.  Plus, there are very few pieces that work well with it– a white shirt, a charcoal shirt, a purple silk shirt, and that’s about it!  So, the offenses of this item are 1. raggedy worn look, 2. minor ability to mix and match.  And, for these offenses I sentence this cardigan to the garbage can.  (I don’t even think that this is Goodwill worthy.)

How do you justify letting an article of clothing go?  And what criteria do you use to determine if it is swap-worthy, donate-able, consignment shop material, or garbage?

 

Matchy-Matchy

I am still trying to break the stigma of my Friday class– both with what I wear and how I teach.  I made sure to put in some extra preparation time for this week’s material, created an outline for my notes, and an outline with key words missing to hand out to the students to help them take notes.

I was all excited to wear my $2 pants today, even though it meant pairing them with a top that I just wore last week.  But, even the best laid plans can go awry.  The pants were marked waaaaaay down.  I tried on one size, but they were a little snug for a professional pant.  (They would have worked for casual wear, though.)  I went back to the clearance rack and found another pair two sizes up.  Of course I didn’t feel like going back to the dressing room, so I took the $2 gamble.  Well, I lost.  The pants are too loose and I didn’t noticed that they don’t have belt loops, so I can’t belt them and make them work.  Sadly, I think that tomorrow I will be returning the $2 pants.  (But, that doesn’t exclude the possibility that the other location won’t have the size that I need.)

In the spur of the moment, I had to come up with another outfit.  While this outfit won’t be winning any style awards, it was an outfit that I felt very good in.  Plus, I was pretty proud of myself for the near match of the shirt with my current nail color and the similar shade of the lipstick that I chose.  Sometimes matchy-matchy is good.

Hot pink button up: JC Penney. Astrology necklace: Target. Earrings: Wal-Mart. Black dress pants: JC Penney. Black belt: Target. Black pointy-toed shoes: Shoe Carnival. Silver watch: Fossil.

Not only did I feel good in my outfit today, I felt good about my class. I had 7 of 9 students present. I’m not sure what caused the dramatic shift, but it was nice to have nearly a full head count. I almost felt claustrophobic. (Not really.)  Feeling good in my clothing most certainly helped me to successfully deliver my lecture on delivery– that and the extra time I spent prepping helped me appear confident and comfortable.
Can I be so lucky as to have that many students next Friday during my evaluation? I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Valentine’s, Teaching, and Shopping

Tuesday was back to the grind– my students are back at square one of the speech making process.  This time, though, they are armed with more knowledge about the overall process.  That includes selecting and narrowing a topic, writing the specific purpose and central idea, audience analysis, researching, and outlining.

I try to stress to them that I want to see improvement the second time around.  They have the ability to redeem themselves and correct any mistakes that they made the first time around.  Hence, the reason why the first speech is called a “Basic Informative Speech” and the second one is “advanced.”  Now that we have discussed audience analysis, finding research materials, introductions and conclusions, and outlining I expect more from them.  I want to see them utilize the information that they have learned.

For this Valentine’s Day I made it a point to wear red.  Sort of.  I still want to be taken seriously.  This is the reason that I don’t wear apple appliqued vests and drink from a coffee mug that says “World’s Greatest Teacher.”  I want to be chic and stylish teacher.  So, for my Valentine’s Day offering, I chose a burgundy silk top.  This top also happens to be new.  Now, before you start to launch into a lecture about buying new clothes when I have a closet full of items that I have yet to wear this semester, let me just say that it was $4. YUP!

Beige cardigan: Old Navy. Burgundy silk blouse: JC Penney. Gold earrings: Wal-Mart. Khaki trousers: JC Penney. Gold Watch: Wal-Mart. Nude heels: Target.

And purchased new.  Not thrifted.  Still think that I deserve a finger wagging lecture?  Me neither.  My secret?  J.C. Penney’s.  You’ve probably seen the commercials announcing their new pricing strategy.  They are going to have most items at an everyday value price.  A price that is so reasonable it will rarely go on sale.  Then, they will have their items that are featured for the month and will be on sale for the duration.  The third category is what they call the best price.  These are items that are marked down the first and third Friday’s of every month.

Their new pricing strategy is working for me!  My BF and I stopped in there because we had a few minutes to kill before seeing Safe House last Saturday.  By my calculations, that is about a week after they would have taken their best price markdown.  I found several items dirt cheap.  Like $4 dirt.  I showed considerable restraint, mostly due to the fact that I only had a few minutes to shop and my BF was there, and merely purchased the silk burgundy top for $4, a black and gold brocade-esque pencil skirt for $4, and a black lace skirt for $9.  Although the black lace skirt was a little much, I had actually purchased said black lace skirt back in November or December for $25, but ended up returning it because I felt guilty for buying myself items during the holiday season.  So, I feel like it was somehow meant to be.

Long story short, I have always shopped at J.C. Penney’s, but now I will be certain to stop by much more frequently– especially on those best deal Friday’s.  Look for me to wear my newly acquired items very soon.  Also, check out this great Winter Remix that I participated in, along with 70+ other gals, over at What I Wore.  So fun.

Preparing for Spring– Semester, that is.

I am preparing for Spring semester.  And while that means that I should be writing my syllabus and gathering together my teaching plan, it currently means adding a few items to my teaching wardrobe.  Oops.  I won $50 at my 2nd job and immediately knew what to spend it on– this dress that I lamented over in an earlier post.  Then, by some stroke of luck, I found $100 that I had forgotten about.  (Maybe it’s because I started out the New Year with pork and sauerkraut!)  I combined that with the $50 bonus and a $50 Macy’s giftcard from Christmas and was off to the store!

My Wish List

  • Pointy-toed black heels
  • Black blazer
  • Gold dress
  • Chambray shirt
  • Career Basics (skirts, button down shirts, etc.)
  • Boot tray
  • K-cups
  • baubles

I wanted to look for a pair of black pointy-toed shoes at the thrift store– I am just venturing into pointy-toed shoes and I don’t want to spend a lot on something that is a new trend for me.  But, I went the wrong way and ended up re-vamping my shopping trip.  My first stop ended up being a plaza with Payless Shoe Store, Famous Footwear, and Dots. I found a pair of over-the-knee boot socks and a peacock ring (!) both on clearance.  When I went to pay, I was informed that they were having a buy 2 get 1 FREE clearance sale.  SCORE!  I grabbed another pair of over-the-knee boot socks.  Payless and Famous Footwear were a bust, so I drove down to the other end of the plaza to check out Plato’s Closet and Shoe Carnival.

Dot's Score

Next to Plato’s Closet was a new store called Clothes Mentor.  I didn’t know what it was, so I went inside to check it out.  It is just like Plato’s Closet, but it caters to women in my demographic, where Plato’s Closet is geared more towards juniors.  There, I found a great skirt with the tags still on!  It was originally $40, but I purchased it for $6.  I also found a nice long-sleeved silk top from Target for $5.  These two items will make great additions to my teaching wardrobe.  I did walk next door to Plato’s Closet, but I didn’t find any shoes or really feel like looking through the racks.  Next, I went to Shoe Carnival.  There, I found several styles of black pointy-toed shoes priced very reasonably.  I purchased a pair for $20.

Next up, I went to the mall.  I wanted to go to JC Penney to try on the gold dress and look at their career wear.  I also wanted to look at Macy’s since I have a giftcard and Old Navy for a chambray shirt.  I went to Penney’s first and grabbed a medium in the gold dress.  I also tried on some black blazers.  The gold dress was a little big, so I wanted to try a small, but the only one was on the mannequin.  I didn’t feel like hunting someone down and asking them to undress the mannequin, so I passed.

On the way to Old Navy, I stopped into Bath and Body Works.  I don’t traditionally shop there, but they had lots of mini’s on sale for 3 for $10.  I did end up purchasing some cashmere hand lotion, blackberry face mask, and aloe self-tanner gel.  My time in Old Navy was short-lived, I knew exactly what I was there for and I didn’t do much browsing.  I did go to Macy’s, but I had some trouble navigating the store.  It was over-crowded with clearance merchandise and I couldn’t figure out where I should be shopping–misses, women’s, etc.

After the mall, I went to Target.  I wanted to look for a boot tray that I had seen in the Dollar Spot earlier this season.  No such luck– they were sold out of all boot trays.  They did have k-cups on sale which made it all better.  I purchased some earrings and some cosmetics, as well.  That was the last stop of the day, so after that it was time to head home and spend time with my BF.

Earrings and Makeup

I can’t wait to start mixing and matching outfits for school.  And, tomorrow I will have to write my syllabus.