Thursday, December 3, 2015

Hello December!

Wow, the last time I blogged was November 11th. I guess I don't lead that of an exciting life that I need to blog every day, ha ha! Either that or I am just lazy. Or busy. Let's go with busy, shall we?!

Since I blogged last time, some exciting things happened. And some not so exciting things!

My birthday was on the 18th of November! I am officially in the last year of my 20's. Insert life freak out/breakdown here. Back when I was 15, I never pictured I would be single and still living at home at 29 (ahh, the beauty of teenage dreams). But who knows what 29 will bring? I know I am going to be a little more active in looking to have a dating life. And how did I celebrate my birthday, you might ask? Parent teacher conferences! What, what! So thrilling.

Just kidding. Yeah, no I really did have conferences on my birthday but I went out to dinner with a few other teachers (including one who had a birthday the following Monday) so that was nice. The next night my friend Marisa and I went to one of those Paint Nites. We went to a local restaurant. Now, I am no means an artist. I use stick figures for everything I draw when I teach (or clipart I buy on TpT). So when we decided to do one, I chose an easy painting. I got it off Groupon and we went the night after my birthday.

This is what it should have looked like...



And this is what mine came out looking like...


It is a good thing that I don't teach art!! My friend Marisa and I liked it so much we are doing one on the 14th for her birthday! 

We had Thanksgiving at my house and it was nice. I helped my mom clean and it was nice to have a home cooked meal for once. Oh, and to NOT be at work. I did have to work my second job at the restaurant on the weekend but it wasn't that busy. 

I also got my bridesmaid dress for my best friend April's wedding. The wedding is not until March 6 but since her bridesmaids are all over the country, we ordered online. It came from Azazie and the prices were pretty reasonable. They were a custom order and it's a little tight in the back so I have to have it let out a bit. No big deal. You'll just have to wait and see what the color is. But it is a Cinderella blue.

Hopefully this weekend I will get all the Christmas stuff down and begin decorating. Every few years we get a real tree and this year is the case. Last time we had one, I closed the front door and the hole thing fell over! Lol! We tie it down too. 

I don't know if I had talked about it before but at the end of February, I am chaperoning a trip to Quebec with my friend Ronny, the other French teacher. I think there are currently 36 kids going! We leave on the last Saturday and come back Tuesday, March 1. March 3, I fly out for April and Tim's wedding! I am super excited to go to Quebec because I have never been. 

The Saturday before Thanksgiving, I took the CLEP test for French. French was my minor in college and in NYS, you can teach 1 subject out of your content area. I always wanted to get my French certification because not only would it make me more marketable (when I was job searching), my pay would go up and I like it! My minor in college got me 16 credits. So I applied to the state for it last year. They told me I was missing 5 of the 30 required credits (because I was already certified in Spanish, they counted 6 of those credits towards my 30, so 16 + 6 = 22). PLUS, they credited me for my intermediate French 2 class I took my first semester. So I only needed 5 credits and the state content test. The content test for Spanish was ridiculously hard that it took me 3 times to pass that. No one I know has passed it on the first time. I have taken the French one twice and it is equally as hard. 

So after taking the CLEP test on the Saturday, I got the missing credits I needed!!!! I was over the moon. I am now just waiting for the state to update my TEACH account and then all I will have to do is pass the CST. My options to take it are in February, April, and July before they change it so let's hope I pass it!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Holly the Honda!

Well, I did it. I became an adult last Saturday. HA! Just kidding, I have been an adult for awhile. But I felt like I really reached adult status when I went to pick up my new car, Holly the Honda CR-V.

I was a lucky kid and my mom essentially gave me the best first car out of all my siblings. Originally, I was suppose to get my brother's old Corolla when I got my license, drive that for about 3 years and when I graduated college, my mom was going to give me her old Camry til I could get a new car myself. Well, my brother Brian messed that plan up when he totaled the Corolla on his way back to school in a snow storm my freshmen year of college (his junior year). He had also totaled my mom's Suburban a few years before that. So after doing a lot of searching for months (I also didn't get my license until the first year of college was over so that helped my mom out), my mom ended up getting me a 2004 Toyota Corolla that had just come back off a 2 year lease.

I had named her Cora the Corolla. Yes, I name my cars. That car was my baby for the last 9 years. My mom luckily paid it off for me so I just had to pay the maintenance, the registration fee, etc.

But over the last year with my long commute to work and the crappy winters we have had in New York, I wanted something bigger. I just liked the look of the Honda CR-V. My friend Sarah from work drove one and when we went out to lunch one day last year, it drove so nicely. So many other teachers have work have one. I kept reading Consumer Reports and looked at the ratings and all the safety features. I had also contemplated a Nissan Murano and a Nissan Rouge, but I kept going back to the CR-V.

My mom said that she kept reading the Farmer's Almanac and that this winter was suppose to be bad. With my commute on any given day 30-45 minutes, she wanted me in something a little safer/bigger. So we went looking at the Honda CR-V's. The first dealership I went to, I saw a dark blue one and fell in love. I sat in it and was sold. I know that may seem foolish but I was. I wasn't buying it that day but the salesman explained my options on leasing versus buying it outright. And I knew that as soon as I bought it outright, the value of the car depreciates the moment you drive it off the lot.

Logically, I knew with my student loan payments, rent, and all my other bills, I couldn't afford a high monthly car payment. Luckily, having good credit paid off! I decided to lease the car since it was a payment that I could afford. And I plan on buying it out in the end of my lease because *hopefully* I will have more money by that point.

I have been super happy driving it the past few days and really glad I went with this car!




Monday, October 26, 2015

To Lease...or To Buy?

That is the big question floating around in my brain lately!

I am looking to get a new car. I currently drive a 2004 Toyota Corolla. Those things are built to last it feels like. While mine is not breaking apart week by week (trust me...I have had my fair share of HUGE repairs), I drive a lengthy commute to work. It's at least 25 miles there & 25 miles back home. So 50 miles a day times 5 days a week = 250 miles I am putting on my car a week...JUST driving to work! I know some other people drive far for work. But with the amount of snow we had last year in NY and the prediction for this winter, I want something a little bigger.

I have had my heart set on a CR-V. So I went and looked last weekend with my mom. I have done my research for months and it is a highly rated car. Super safe! Love that it comes with the back up camera feature. So we went and looked on Sunday last week and I sat in one. My mom for some reason thought with me being tall it wouldn't be comfortable to drive. Negative! But since I am the type of person that likes to shop around, I knew I wouldn't walk in and buy it. Apparently it is now cheaper to lease the car then to buy it out right at first. You can lease and the monthly payments are pretty cheap. The first dealership I went to was $229 a month for a 3 year lease. I didn't think that was terrible. If I bought it, it would be $399 a month. Again, not terrible but with my student loans I am trying to pay off, I would rather not have something that high. Plus they had a dark blue CR-V which I loved!

So I went to another dealership on Friday night and looked. It was the one my aunt & uncle buy all their Hondas from. Apparently I would only have to pay $299 a month with a .96% interest. The monthly payments to buy it would be $469. The lower payments of leasing are really appealing to me because it is something I can afford.

So I am kinda stuck. I am not sure to lease or to buy. If I lease I have the option to buy it out in the end. My brother asked his friend who does car auctions about it and he said that they almost "push" leashes on you because if you trade it back in, they can make more $$ off it. He is going to see if he can get me a CR-V at an auction with low mileage on it (like 3000). I am not opposed to having a certified pre-owned car...my current car came off a 2 year least with 25,000 on it which is not terrible. (All the pre-owned certified ones at the dealerships have like 50,000+ miles on them ALREADY!). I almost feel like leasing and buying out in the end would be a better option. Yes, I might have to pay more then I would want to in the end but I am looking to make this my first big adult purchase. And its a big one!

I hope to have it figured out soon and in my car by the time the winter is really here! 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Life's musings

We are finally into the second month of school. It's hard to believe that summer flew by in some regards and in other regards, it dragged on. I still need to blog about my Disney vacation [because who does not love Disney?!]! 

The first month of school was a bit discombobulated. Teachers started 9/1 with professional development day, kids came the next day. Then we had a 3 day weekend because of labor day. Then it was a 4 day weekend because we had off for the Jewish Holidays. The week after that, we had Wednesday off for Yom Kippur. So it wasn't until September 28th that we had the FIRST full week of school. Crazy!

My schedule changed a bit the first month of school but it should be going back to my original schedule on Wednesday. Getting to know my one class of my French kiddies has been interesting. I only have 24 kids (15 girls and 9 boys) with 2 sets of twins in the class! Last year I had one set of twins. The boys are probably going to give me a run for my money because they still have elementary school behavior ("He took my pencil!"). Overall, it has been an interesting start.

I didn't pass my French CST test the second time I took it and I need to retake it. I could have taken it this month but did not feel prepared. So I decided to wait until February to take it. Give myself more time to study (which, let's face it, I need to start doing!!!). I can take it February, April, and July if necessary before they change the format for the 2016-2017 year. It is one of my goals to get it because once my friend Ronny, the other French teacher, retires, I would love to remain in the middle school and just teach the 6,7,8 French classes AND then some Spanish classes. I don't want to give up my primary love of Spanish! 

I am super excited though to be chaperoning the trip with Ronny to Quebec in February. Originally, she wanted to go the first weekend in March (because we would be gone Monday & Tuesday which is Foreign Language Week) but that is the weekend April is getting married. And I am the maid of honor in her wedding. So Ronny was gracious enough to change it to the weekend before! So, we leave on a Saturday morning and come back Tuesday night. I am super excited because I have always wanted to go. It should definitely be an interesting trip. 

I went to get fitted for my dress for April's wedding but the one she wanted is no longer available to order which would've been nice for David's Bridal to have told me when I WALKED INTO THE STORE as opposed to AFTER I tried on a dress somewhat similar to it. They didn't even have it in the store "yet" as they said so I had to try on the strapless version. Oh well. As long as I get one soon, it'll all be okay!

Billy Joel Concert!

I apparently never blog anymore. No worries....I am still alive!

On September 25th, I took my mom to see Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden in NYC! It was her combined birthday/Mother's Day/retirement gift. She has always wanted to see him as I have wanted to see him too. I would have tried to get tickets to his show at Nassau Coliseum on Long Island (he played the LAST concert EVER there) but the tickets were too expensive.

I got floor seats and they were pretty good! No, they were not right in front of the stage but that's okay! I used my iPhone to take pictures but sometimes they don't come out the best. Maybe its because I need to update my software! [Or get a new phone since it says I cannot update the software!]







video

What's really cool about Billy Joel is he has SO MUCH material that his set list is never the same every month at MSG. One of the employees was telling us that for the first three shows when he started playing there, he didn't play "We Didn't Start the Fire" (a classic!). Then the fourth show, he played it. 

He definitely played my favorites, "We Didn't Start the Fire", "Uptown Girl", "Piano Man", and "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me." There were some songs I would have liked to hear but it was a FANTASTIC show! Well worth the money and the best part was my mom had a blast. She deserved it!
 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

{Stitch Fix #9 - Review}

I am so bad at blogging lately. It honestly seems like the last thing on my mind or to-do list. I have also been bad at blogging my Stitch Fix reviews because frankly, I forget to do it!

I would do my other reviews from the summer but I don't remember the names of the items or the prices. Yes, I took pictures and have them. But I threw away the card & list that they send you with each fix. To me, I see no point in keeping the card once I send back the items I don't plan on keeping.

So, the last few fixes, my stylist has been Brookelyn and she has done an awesome job picking out things for me! I keep requesting her because I like her choices. This is what she picked for fix #9:

{#1 - Pixley Kathy Striped Fit & Flare Dress - $68}

I was kind of excited for this dress because I wanted more work appropriate dresses and at reasonable prices. This had 3/4 sleeves and a nice back. It fell just above the knees and wasn't revealing. I thought this would be great for school or even a date night (if I ever go out on a date again, haha!) and pair it with a pair of black flats. I don't do heels.

Verdict? KEPT!

{#2 - 41Hawthorn - McQue Solid Lace Sleeve Blouse - $48}

(This picture came out blurry. Let's just say I am not the best at taking selfies and I am not going to ask anyone in my house to take pictures of me for this blog!)


It is hard to tell but the blouse has a lace detail on the sleeves. The color is just gorgeous! I can see myself pairing it with slacks or a skirt for work and jeans for a night out. I don't know how I could ever see myself wearing it with a striped skirt like shown in the style card.

Verdict? KEPT!

{#3 - 41Hawthorn Zappo Printed Mixed Material Sweater - $58}

The first thing I thought when I saw this on the card was "No way!" I really am one that likes prints that are simple and basic or aren't mixed. Like, I can never see myself wearing florals with stripes or zebra print with florals. Yeah, no. But I figured I would give it a try. I put it on and although my crappy selfie mirror pictures are a bit blurry so this probably doesn't do this justice, I knew I couldn't see myself wearing this. Too busy for me!

Verdict? RETURN!

{#4 - 41Hawthorn Benson 3/4 Ruched Sleeve Blazer - $78}

I always see people wearing blazers with cute blouses and slacks/jeans and want to replicate that look myself. So needless to say when I took this blazer out of the box, I was excited. However. I couldn't button it closed. Now some people may wear blazers open and not ever close them but I like to have the option to close them. And I have a blazer from the Loft that is very similar so I could not justify keeping it at that price.

 Verdict? RETURN!

{#5 - Bay to Baubles Gala Stone Pendant Necklace - $34}
 When I saw this necklace I thought it would go well with the lace detailed blouse. However, it was too big for my liking. I like more simple necklaces. 

Verdict? - RETURN!


So while I only kept 2 out of the 5 items in my fix, I was happy with what I chose. I am excited to see what else Brookelyn chooses in my future fixes!


Not familiar with how Stitch Fix works?


1. Go here to sign up. You fill out an indepth style profile with your size. Be honest with what you like/don't like! Link your Pinterest style board if you have one. (This one is mine).
2. Pay the $20 styling fee. Decide how often you want to receive the fix (so far I am doing monthly but if I decide I am buying a new car this winter, I may move to every few months/as needed).
3. They ship you five items. Try them all on to make sure. You send back what you don't keep in a pre-paid shipping bag.
4. If you buy ANYTHING in the fix, the $20 styling fee goes towards that! If you buy all 5 items, you get 25% off your purchase. 
 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

How is summer almost over?

How is summer almost over?! I go back to school on Tuesday. We have superintendent's conference day, which consists of a breakfast at the high school followed by the welcome back, then department meetings at school, then lunch/time to work in our classrooms followed lastly by a faculty meeting. Kids come Wednesday. Am I ready? NO! 

I am only teaching my French 6 class which is every other day because enrollment went down and I don't have my Spanish classes. At least they have me as a TA the rest of the day and I still have my health insurance! That's like golden. Plus, my department chairperson loves me and is trying to keep me there so there's that and my principal& assistant principal love me. I am sticking around and hopefully will have more classes the following year. Not that I am not actively looking because I am (and the only thing I got was an interview for a TA in the social studies classes at a high school for the ESL students for periods 1-4. No thank you). 

Major bonus is that I have most of my lessons/power points done from last year so it is all about revamping them!

I still need to blog about the last two Stitch Fix boxes because before I know it, I will be getting another one next week! I am so bad about it. Plus I *kinda* threw the cards out that tells you the name and the price of them. Oh well. *Note to self - Blog it as SOON as I get the next one!* (I also kind of wish you could go back to previous fixes on your account and look back at them).

I still need to blog about my trip to Disney with my family but it was fun. And it rained. But then again, it's Florida!

Two weeks after that, I went to Georgia to visit my best friend Stephanie! We met in French class in college, were roommates sophomore year and it has been oodles of fun ever since. I am  a bridesmaid in her wedding next October. 

After the fiasco it took to get there (having a 6 hour layover in Baltimore, MD because there were mechanical issues with the plane and having to wait for a new one to come back from Jamaica), we were kind of lazy on Friday. David, Stephanie's fiance, took us to this Korean BBQ restaurant because he was insistent on getting me to try it. As I am getting older, I find myself willing to try new things. It was okay. Later that night we went to a comedy show at the Atlanta Improv and saw Chris D'Elia. It was awesome! Minus the girl that sat behind David, laughed/clapped at the wrong time, fell over on TOP of her chair at one point because she was drunk, and then fell asleep.






Saturday when I was down visiting Stephanie, we went out on her parents boat on Lake Lanier. So much fun! That night we had pizza and hung out at her parents house playing this card game, Phase 10. It took me forever to get the concept of it but I ended up winning!! Sunday, we went to the movies, the mall, Walmart for things for dinner and just watched The Sopranos. Monday night I went home. It was a short but sweet visit and I am so glad I got to see her! 

I think it is time to go get my car washed considering I have been trying to do it since *June*! 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Hello, August!

How is it August already?! In ways my summer vacation is flying by and in other aspects, it is dragging on. I will sincerely miss sleeping in until 10:30 on my days off. Boo. School starts September 1st with our faculty meeting, kids come September 2nd and then it is a crazy month. I looked and we do not have a full week of classes until end of September/beginning of October.

July was a busy month! I did many fun things and not so fun things. My CST was July 11th and I sincerely hope I passed. I am afraid I didn't because I think I messed up on the speaking part. D-Day aka fate day is this Friday. Thank goodness I have off. Either way I am celebrating (or crying) with a big bottle of wine!

I also went to the Taylor Swift concert and spent a week in Disney. I am definitely going to recap that soon. It was a magical vacation, aside from it raining every day.

I have also been productive in making things for my TeachersPayTeachers store.  I look at all the stores I have bought things from and wonder how the heck they are so creative and elaborate with their designs. Part of me is hesistant to invest in so much on clipart and things however, it makes the items more interesting. I hope to create more items and have more followers. TpT was a godsend to me as a first-year teacher when I was *stuck* on how to teach a concept. 

I still have to recap my July 2015 stitch fix (especially since the August is being delivered today!) but first, I have to explain why I will NEVER take my Corolla to one dealership EVER again.

My car is a 2004 Toyota Corolla LE. Its my baby, aka Cora. I got it the summer after my freshmen year in college...when I finally got my license. (Don't get me started on that story). It has been through its fair share of accidents. (One my fault, the rest caused by others). I had contemplated getting a new car this summer but when I found out I lost a portion of my classes & salary for next year, I quickly decided to rethink that plan. My car has 156,000+ miles on it and they're built to last so it is not exactly at the end yet.

I took it in last Thursday because it needed the inspection. Shortly before I went to Disney, it started making a rattling noise. I figured maybe a nut/bolt came lose and that is all that would have to be fixed. Fast forward to my appointment and they tell me that the exhaust pipe/system under my car was rotted and missing a piece that connects it to the muffler. Between the parts, labor, etc it would be $2000. I almost spit my coffee out on the guy. My mom was at home sleeping so she wouldn't answer the phone. My brother called his friend who has a shop and the guy said absolutely not. My friend Pete said to get out of there as soon as possible and go to our friend Mandy's mechanic. 

I told the guy that I didn't have the money (quite technically *not* true) but I would be back when I did. He told me it was unsafe to drive because while I was on the phone, they apparently discovered there was a leak in the gas line and thats why there was a gas smell in the car. Umm, news to me since I drive it every day and didn't smell ANYTHING other than the smell of smoke from when the air is on too long (my car came off a lease from people who had been smokers). The guy at Toyota basically told me my car was unsafe to drive (I live 5 minutes from the dealership) and they would give me a ride home. They wouldn't give me a loaner car unless I left my car at the dealership for them to work on. Umm, No thank you.

I basically told the guy to give me my car back because I didn't have the money and I wasn't allowing them to do the work. Because of this supposed $2000 repair needed (when my car is only worth like $4000 trade in) and the sudden gas repair that would be approximately $45, I wanted to get the heck out of there. They wouldn't pass it for inspection, which is fine. 

I took it to my friend's mechanic (side note: she has been trying to tell me for YEARS to stop going to the dealership but I wouldn't listen...plus my car had another recall that I was trying to get fixed but they didn't have the parts in yet). I didn't tell him I had it inspected at Toyota. I just told him it needed an inspection and there was a rattling sound. He came back and said it needed a new exhaust pipe and it would be $275! $275 vs $2000! I almost died of happiness. He welded it together until I got my work schedule. I brought it back yesterday and had it fixed there. So much happier with him. I will be going there from now on (unless I can't get the recall fixed there and then I will go to the dealership where we bought it from who are a LOT nicer). 

I am so glad I got a second opinion. It sounds so much better and my wallet thanks me!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Hello Summer!

Ladies and gents, year one of teaching is in the books! My kiddos had their finals June 15-17th, my friend Ronny graded all of them on the 18th (I graded all her French 7 finals plus I had to grade 8th & 10th grade state exams for her too!). I only had two kids not pass for the year and only one kid not pass the final....both of which I knew was going to happen. I am going to miss these kiddos a bunch (some more than others!) but I am so grateful to be on vacation....because I need to study more for the CST.

But here's what I have been up to this week.

Monday was the 8th grade & 10th grade proficiency and Regents tests for foreign language. Needless to say, a big day for the LOTE department! My poor chair must have been a nervous wreck all day. I graded all the 8th and 10th grade Regents tests. It's some rule that you can't grade your own set of exams that are tied to a state test (but then it doesn't make sense that you can grade the SAME test for ANOTHER teacher...whatever). After the 8th graders took their tests and we had graduation rehearsal, I graded all of them. I actually went over to the HS because I needed the "read to write task" that is new and couldn't grade without it. 

Overall, the other French teacher's kids did well! Some of the 10th graders had me cracking up with their essays on Tuesday (22 kids X 2 essays each = 44 essays plus all the 8th grade with 2 each). I was snorting so hard at one of them. Looking forward to see what they come up with next year!

Monday night I chaperoned the 8th grade dance. I only knew a handful of 8th graders from the Academic Center this year so I was surprised that I got chosen to chaperone. Apparently its uber selective. I figured if I could make some extra money, why not. Plus, they fed us. It was interesting. Black was the girls' color choice for dresses that night. And I know I am getting old when I didn't know half the songs they played. Especially that "whip" one. 

Tuesday was Fun in the Sun and Chromebook collection. In our district, all students grades 4-9 have a Chromebook that is issued to them by the district. They have it for the school year and return it in the summer (to repair, etc). Teachers can do assignments on them in class and its great for Google Classroom (which I want to use more of next year). I only went to two activities in Fun in the Sun because I was excused to go grade at the HS. Apparently we need to rename it Misery in the Sun. In the span of 2 hours, we had one kid dislocate her knee (within the first 15-20 minutes), one kid barf from the heat, one girl get stung by 4 bees, one girl cut her leg. Glad I missed that!

Wednesday I chaperoned graduation at the HS. It was a really nice ceremony, paying tribute to our awesome security guard who is retiring and an aide at the middle school who passed away in December (her family lives in the community and she worked at the school for over 40 years). So sweet. It makes me sad for next year when I get to see my 7th graders from this year graduate.

Wednesday night I also went out to a retirement dinner for the lady Chere I shared a room with this year. What a sweet tribute. We went to this fantastic Italian restaurant, drank some wine, and just spent a memorable evening together. Chere was one of the first people to welcome me to JFK, could EXACTLY tell when I was having an off day and just wanted to offer that hug a mom would give their upset child and was just a lovely person. 


Myself, Chere, and Ilana, who was Chere's TA and is now replacing Chere. Sweetest girl! Wish I was sharing a room with her next year!  


My lovely co-workers...
Phyllis, Julie A, Julie H, Chere, Dina, Ilana, SueAnn, Myself and Deb
(This would be a perfect picture for the slideshow next year!)


Hard to believe year one is over. Thursday was our faculty meeting and saying goodbye. I am the nutcase that signed up for a 6 hour class on Thursday at school to get credits. Oops? I am also going to take online classes towards my steps. 

Other than that, I have nothing really stellar planned for a few weeks. I am only working Saturday and Sunday next week...perfect time to study for my CST that is in two weeks. And than I am seeing Taylor Swift in two weeks! Here's to the summer of 2015! 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

A little bit of this and a dash of that.

Today was the last day of classes. All I can say is...

The kids totally hit their breaking point and were off the charts loony this past week. Thank god I gave a final for three days and my class that took the final had only 18 minutes today before an early dismissal to homeroom to collect locks. 

I have to proctor a social studies final tomorrow, I have "graduation rehearsal" on Monday morning, chapernoning the 8th grade dance on Monday night, graduation on Wednesday and a dinner Wednesday night for the lady that I shared my room with. She is retiring and her sweet TA Ilana is replacing her. I would LOVE to share a room with Ilana but they moved my room next year (oh, more on that in a second). Thursday next week is going to be a JOKE! If we get out early, I might just go browse the outlets.... ;)

My friend Ronny, who is the other French teacher in my district, and I switched tests to grade. Because of school/state rules, you cannot grade your tests that are attached to your SLO...but you can grade the SAME exact test for another teacher. Literally, it boggles my mind how that makes sense. We scanned each other's tests this morning and in an hour, graded all the essays. I literally wanted to cry with joy because 3 kids got a 100 (kids I expected to), 16 of them got A's. Only one kid did not pass and I feel bad but he'll probably end up taking it again. This made me super happy.

Monday we got our schedules for next year. And due to the upcoming 5th grade class size being small, I lost my 2 Spanish classes for next year. So I only have my 6th grade French class and the other periods I am in the testing room. That would be fine...if I had a lot of stuff to prep for! Things could change if I pass the French CST so we shall see. I should be studying but my brain SERIOUSLY needed a break tonight. 

I have to move classrooms and we have to label our furniture with the name and the room it goes back into. The custodians move our furniture to do the floors. I went to ask/tell the other teacher whose room I would be in that I wanted to move my desk in there. Ilana is going to help me move it next week so we can make sure all the round tables (the bane of my existence in 6th grade. I want desks!) don't have to move. Even though I am only teaching one period, I need my desk! I almost secretly hope I don't have to move because my room changed at the end of the summer so we shall see. 

Once school is over, I have a whole post of "Things I Learned As a First Year Teacher" that I want to share. I can't believe my first year of teaching is wrapping up. Being a TA doesn't really "count" because I wasn't observed four times, didn't write up daily lessons and figure out "What the heck can I do to make this fun?"

Another exciting piece of news is my best friend April went to Disney to talk to them about having her wedding there! She is hopefully getting married in early spring next year (when its not so freakishly hot there!). Last night, she called and asked me to be her maid of honor. I am so excited! I had an inkling she would ask me and I cannot wait to give my speech. She is even being gracious to BUY my dress! Oh do I feel spoiled. Considering I have four weddings to go to next year and I am in THREE of them (two of which I have to fly to and the one I am not in I also have to fly to) , I am super gracious for this offer. Plus, I cannot wait to see how a Disney wedding unfolds! 

Once school is all said and done, my goals for the summer are the following:
-study (& hopefully pass) for my CST
-see Taylor Swift (July 11! Same day as CST)
-have a fantastic time in Disney
-go to the beach at least 4 times
-loose 15 lbs. My plan is to get off my butt and walk more. 
-rewrite the French 6 curriculum (ambitious?!)
-HAVE A BLAST!!!!

Let's see what I can do. I am off to enjoy my first night of NO LESSON PLANS! :)

Sunday, June 14, 2015

9 days left!

There are only 9 more days of school left! 4 days this week are the last days of classes (ending Thursday). Tomorrow-Wednesday my 7th graders are taking their final. Tomorrow is listening all period long! 20 questions that I get to read 2 times each. I have spent the last 3 weeks reviewing so I am crossing my fingers that they do well.

And tomorrow is D-day. Aka the day we find out what we are teaching next year. And while nothing is for certain (because all the middle school French classes have been posted as new jobs and yet they want me to teach those....) because I am re-taking my CST in July, I have been applying to other jobs as well. One was a full-time Spanish in a neighboring district and 2 others were part-time Spanish. I just hope I stay where I am because my principal and chairperson both LOVE me and my chairperson actually told me "You were the only normal one" when I interviewed for my job! Ha! Plus it helped that I was the only one who knew French for the 6th grade class.

My other school (where I worked the last two years) ended classes on Wednesday and they started their finals. On Friday, my old chairperson Jeannette and one of my collaborating teachers Patty both were talking about how much they missed me (one of my old co-workers Georgia clued me into this). Last year I coordinated all the foreign language special education testing accommodations for grades 7-12. I also did all the testing during finals (along with all my other proctoring assignments, which was the most out of ANYONE in the school, and an at home instruction final). Someone else that worked with me last year (she was a leave for my friend Elvis who was the other TA when he was doing the HS leave) was still there and she made a BIG mess up...causing some kid to have a meltdown in my friend's class. Patty said that she wished I was there because I was more organized, knew what I was doing and I wouldn't have let that happen. Oh well, it's good to be missed! 

On Friday night I went out with my friend Marisa. We went to see Pitch Perfect 2. Now, I hadn't seen Pitch Perfect until like January but now I love both of them! We also went out to dinner and shopping. My mission was to buy the new Disney Vans that came out. They have them in Ariel, Jasmine, all the Princesses, Belle slip ons, Pooh, Mickey, Minnie, Donald. I got the Princesses ones....and then because I am psychotic I came home and ordered the Jasmine ones. Because what 28 year old doesn't look cute wearing them?! 
 (These are the ones I got!)

And my favorite part of the weekend? Orange is the New Black season 3 was released 6 hours early this weekend! I stayed up late Thursday to watch the first episode and then watched the next 2 yesterday. I blame my friends for getting me into this. :) 

I am also so excited because one of my best friends from college, Stephanie, picked out her wedding dress yesterday! She got engaged in February and she is getting married next year in October 2016. I am a bridesmaid in her wedding along with her sister, her sister-in-law and her fiance's sister. Her dress is GORGEOUS!! I cannot wait to go visit her in August in my second home aka Georgia! 

Now that school is winding down, I am excited to be lazy. It feels like the school year FLEW by (and dragged on in some aspects too) but I am going to Disney for a week in July, I also see Taylor Swift in concert in July, and then two weeks after going to Disney I am going to Georgia. Oh, and seeing Billy Joel in concert with my mom in late September. So much to look forward to! 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

{Stitch Fix #6 Review}

I received my 6th Stitch fix this past week. It is seriously my FAVORITE day of the month. Who doesn't love getting a box of goodies in the mail?

So incase you're new to the whole Stitch Fix concept, you pay $20 to have a stylist style you. You choose how often you want to receive the fixes (right now, I have chosen monthly...I know others get it on an as-needed-basis). You fill out a style profile, answering all kinds of questions from price ranges, style, size, colors, etc. Once you receive you fix, you have 5 items in it and 3 days to try them on in the comfort of your home. If you keep all 5 items, you get a 20% discount. If you keep even just ONE item, you get the $20 styling fee taken off the total. Whatever you don't keep, drop it off at a post office in the prepaid envelope!

Okay, since I was sooooo disappointed in my May fix, I hoped my June fix would be better! What did I get? (Note: I take horrible selfies haha and I took these in my bedroom. My mirror needs to be cleaned!)


One of my favorite things about Stitch Fix is the styling cards. 


Item #1:
 Maui Crochet Trim Top $44

My stylist, Brookelyn, sent this to me because of the red top that I loved in my last fix but had to send back because it was damaged. I LOVE the color of this! The lace detail on the bottom is adorable. It is see through (why are most tops see through? Who wants to see your bra?) so I would have to wear a cami under it. The white you see under my arm in the picture is a regular tank from Old Navy because all my camis were in the wash.


Close up. The color is beautiful for spring/summer.

Verdict? Keeping!

Piece #2 Aislinn honeycomb Collar Necklace $32
 
 I received a statement necklace a few fixes ago and sent it back because it was so heavy. I really liked this one because it was light and I felt I would actually get more use out of it!

Verdict? Keeping!

Piece #3: Rosco Floral Print Crochet Detail Tank $ 58


I am all about florals. Not sure why. I have seen this as a pin on Pinterest numerous times when I search for Stitch Fix. Brookelyn also sent me this because of the detail. The back is cute!

 Like my horrible selfies? HAHA! I am the worst.

It is also sheer so I would have to wear a tank under it but so cute! 

Verdict: Keeping!

Piece #4: Ibis Straight Leg Jean $108




The top in this picture is from The Loft last year but this is me wearing the jeans. I HATE HATE HATE shopping for pants so once I find one I like the fit of, looks good on me, I buy in all colors! These pants were just too tight and I have a much comfier pair I just got at the Loft.

Verdict? Sending back!

Piece #5: Stacey Scallop Hem Cut-Out Detail Skirt $ 64

 Scalloped hems are all the rage right now. I saw a pair of shorts on Pinterest that I would love. This caught my eye when I took it out of the box! Loved the color combos (I am getting more wild in my color palette choices as I get older). 

However, my big butt prevented it zippering all the way! :(

Verdict: Sending back

Overall: Keeping 3/5!

I was much happier this fix and felt like the stylist actually took the time to look at my board. I may request her again!






Sunday, June 7, 2015

{Stitch Fixes #3-5 - Reviews}

I am really slacking in this department! Since I just got the email on Friday that my 6th Stitch Fix has shipped (and I should receive it by Tuesday!), I might want to review the others before that comes. Haha!

So if you're not familiar with Stitch Fix, here is how it works!

1. You fill out your online style profile on StitchFix.com. They ask you all sorts of questions about sizing, pricing, preferences, colors, etc. This is where you need to be honest because it helps them style you. If you have a Pinterest style board, link it to your profile because they look at it! (One of my stylists told me she saw I had so many polka dots pinned so she sent me a dress with them for that reason...and I kept it!)

2. Order your 1st fix! They charge you a $20 styling fee but if you keep something from your fix, that $20 goes towards your purchase. I have always kept at least 1 thing from each of my fixes otherwise it feels like I am squandering money. They also always send you 5 items and if you keep all 5 items, you get 25% off. Pretty cool!

3. They send you a pre-paid envelope to send all your returns back in so all you have to do is drop it off at the post office! (For my first few I was waiting in line until the guy told me to just drop it on the counter and run, haha). You have 3 business days to try it on at home and then checkout online. You tell them what you liked and why, was the price too high/too low, how was the fit, etc. BE HONEST IN YOUR CHECKOUT. I was so disappointed in fix #4 that I was honest in my check out so I have high hopes for this fix on its way.

Make sure you note how often you want to receive your fixes. I like receiving monthly fixes...it almost cures my itch to go to the mall/outlets and plus, who doesn't like getting a box in the mail?!

Okay, so let's rewind to MARCH for my fix #3.

I saw this top on Pinterest and liked the colors. I am finding myself veering more out of my "neutral" colors I always choose when I shop and being bold. However, I did not like the way it fit me. It had a white cami that went under it which was too tight (normally I wear a large in tops) and I tried it with another white cami of my own under it. Too sheer. And because it has been a few months, I honestly don't remember the prices or where my cards they sent me are. For my June fix, I am going to do it shortly after I get it!

Verdict? Sent back.


loved this when I took it out of the box! I have seen a few other people get it in fixes so its popular. I also love the coloring on it. I always ask for versatile pieces that I can either dress up for school or wear out. I have worn this a few times. (Looks great with white pants!) I believe the price was $58.

Verdict? Kept!


I also wanted some dresses. My stylist sent me this chevron print and I fell in love!! It fit me right (one of my first fixes I got a dress that was snug in all the wrong places). I loved it so much I wore it on Easter!

Verdict? Kept.


Skinny pants. I have such a big butt it's hard to find skinny pants that fit. I always get pants in my fixes because I have said I have a hard time shopping for them. I might have to change that but I haven't kept one pair since the first fix!

Verdict? Sent back. I did not like the fit nor the price (too high).


These were high waisted trousers I was sent. So tight that I couldn't even get them on both legs!

Verdict? Sent back!

March Fix: Kept 2 out of 5 pieces.


{April Fix}

Stitch Fix sent me this dress (I am on the left). It reminded me of the chevron dress from the previous month. I loved the fit and the feeling of the material. So obviously I kept it because here I am wearing at my friend Anjelica's son's christening!

Verdict? Kept!



 Ahh...gotta love the bathroom selfies! Only good place to take it. I got this teal top. I don't have anything in this color. Loved it!

Verdict? Kept!


I also pinned this top on my Pinterest style board so I was excited to see it! I figured it is something you can wear with jeans or dress pants (both of which I have done) and I have paired it with a cardigan.

The necklace I also received in this piece. I am hesistant on statement pieces but this one was too bulky for my liking?

Verdict? Kept the top and SENT BACK the necklace.


I also received this top, something else I had pinned on Pinterest. At first, I thought it was a repeat from the March fix, but it was different. This also came with a cami underneath it but that was too tight. I just didn't like how this felt on my arms. Loved the color though!

Verdict? Sent back.

April fix: Kept 3 out of 5 pieces. Not bad!

{May Fix}
I have to say...I was the most disappointed with this one of all mine so far. I think I keep getting different people that style me, which is fine. But some of the pieces in this fix I felt like had nothing to do with what I asked for (I wanted some wrap dresses) and were just not me. Once I do find a stylist that I like, I am going to request her!


This was the first time I received a bag in any of my fixes. When I took it out of the box, I knew this was something I would be sending back. While it is reversible and big for school, it is definitely not my taste and it also SMELLED. I thought it smelled like cat pee. Yuck!

Verdict? Sent back.


I was sent this white lacey shirt. Looks great...but not on me! It was snug in all the wrong places.

Verdict? Sent back.


This floral dress was so light weight. Plus, it had pockets! Any dress that has pockets is a winner in my book. I knew it would be good for the summer. I remember it was $54.

Verdict? Kept!



 I loved this top! The color is definitely something I do not have in my wardrobe and the lace was just gorgeous. I totally would have kept this but it was ripped at the bottom. :( I contacted Stitch Fix to see if they could help me. They did not have any more in stock so in order to help me, they gave me a $20 credit. I was grateful but hope I can get something like this (perhaps in another color) in a future fix.

In the above "Selfie" picture, I am also wearing jeans that they sent me. They actually fit perfectly in the waist (which is usually my biggest problem) but I didn't like how high rolled up they were on the bottom. I wish you could have rolled them down. You couldn't. So back they went. :( 

Verdict? Sent top back due to damage and also Sent back the jeans.

May Fix: Kept 1 out of 5. I was the most disappointed by this fix so I am hoping I like June's better! It shipped Friday and is suppose to be here by Tuesday. Can't wait to see what I get! :)

 

Monday, June 1, 2015

In the home stretch!!!

People, we are in the home stretch! This is my second to last full week of classes. We have this week, next week and then the 18th is the last full day of classes. My 7th graders take their SPEAKING portion of the final in class today-Wednesday (if needed). They take their final in class the 15-17. Almost done planning! 

Somehow I lucked out and don't have to give my French 6 or Spanish 6 a final. SCORE. Plus I didn't have to make the 7th grade one. Only had to send it to the copy center.

It is hard to believe I am almost ending my first year of teaching. Somewhat on a sour note in a way. I had to take my French CST in April because they want me to get certified in French. I did not pass. Considering I haven't been in a French class (as a student) in 7 years, my chair said I did pretty well when I told him the score (you need a minimum of 220 to pass). My highest part was the speaking...oddly enough, the one I was worried about the most! I am already registered to take it again July 11th.

The reason why it is so sour is because I am being pushed to quickly get certified because they want me to teach French 7 & 8 next year. Its all dependent upon the numbers for ESL/ELL. When I had my new teacher meeting with my principal last week, he said that enrollment went down and there was a shift in the language classes so I am probably losing my Spanish 6 and Spanish 7. So I go from 3 classes to 1. I can still be a TA. But I don't find out contractually until June 15th (This is TORTURE!). 

I was petrified because I love it there, the kids are fantastic. I emailed my chairperson to talk to him and he had no idea it was going on. He was kind of upset because he is trying to make me full time and then I lose sections? I get that it is all on numbers but go figure! I finally found my niche and to have it taken away would really suck. Luckily, I have an amazing chairperson who is totally on my side and has told me he does not want to lose me. Same goes for my principal and assistant principal. So we shall see. I met with our human resources person on Thursday (as per her request) and she is really wanting me to get the certification (hey, if I do, they have to pay me more! score!). But like I said, it is all dependent upon the numbers for the ESL students. My chair told me it was a struggle to find someone who knew French (I was one of 3 people they interviewed and the only normal one apparently) and even the human resources person said the same thing. So maybe that's a good thing?

Just keep good thoughts and prayers going for me until July!! I really need to pass this. My friend Georgia who was the French teacher at the last school I worked at is giving me a bunch of books to practice. 

Aside from that, all I do is work. I am going to Disney in July, which I am super excited about. Then Georgia in August.

Final stretch, people! Off to go finish the review games for tomorrow's French quiz and then to bed.

 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Life Lately

I am literally so busy I feel like I never have time to blog anymore. I spend the majority of my free time at school trying to get ahead and thinking about what I am going to tweak for next year. Like the current topic I am doing with my 7th graders (La ropa aka clothing). I am using the same vocabulary as the other teachers but not the same packet (we shared the first 12 packets and then I had to make my own which I was fine with). There are things I would like to improve upon, make more hands-on activities and I plan to start early this summer. {Let's see if I actually follow through}

Because right now, this is my current state of mind:

I am pretty sure my 9th period class is over school. I know I am ready for finals. We have 23 days of class left! Our last day of classes is June 18th but the last official day of school is June 25th. My 6th graders don't have a final (yes!) and the 7th graders take their final in class June 15-17. So I really just have to finish their review packet and send it off to the copy center. I am CRAZY and decided to do 3 different packets...one of all the speaking questions, one that is SPECIFICALLY grammar/notes, and one that is vocabulary. One of the HS teachers in our district did this and I think it breaks it up. Otherwise they would have a 100 page review packet.

But I am mentally shot. Really ready not to wake up at 5am every day. Every night this week I came home and laid on the couch because I couldn't keep my eyes open.

Plus working doubles every Saturday and Sunday means I have no life and I never have a day off. Like next weekend when I have to do a kids party. It's not rocket science to do one but knowing me I will get the one with the neurotic parent (because we get those that write in a complaint).

Next Friday I get the results from my French CST and let's just say...I am already setting myself up to know that I did not pass. It was super hard and it took me 3 times to pass the Spanish one. Granted, I went in blind not knowing anything for the Spanish the first time and I got a 216 (you need a 220 to pass). I only had to take it for a 3rd time because I got a 219 the second time (thank god I got a 221 the third time). I have spoken to my chairperson and principal about it because it is possible I can teach the 7th and/or 8th grade French classes next year depending upon our ESL enrollment (they would take 2 of the other language teachers who have their Masters in ESL and have them teach a few classes in it in addition to their language classes).

I actually told my principal "It would suck to have this job taken from me when I finally found my niche" (he's a cool dude so he laughed). I finally feel like I found my place and to have to start over would not be cool. I am lucky because my principal said he would love to have me back there and my chairperson is thrilled. After our department meeting on Tuesday, I showed him the letter I got from NYS about only needing five more credits for French (in addition to the CST) instead of 8. He was super thrilled and when I said that I didn't know how hard it could be to find someone certified in Spanish and French, he chuckled and said "Believe me, it is difficult. You were one of three people who applied for your job, the only one who knew French, and the only normal one. So don't worry!" That made me feel better. Generally speaking the chair and the principal have a say of who they want (especially who the principal wants in his building) so having them in my corner backing me up is icing on the cake. Now its just to pass that CST.

I had to work all day on Mother's Day so I didn't even really get to celebrate with my mom. Boo. I actually bought her a combined birthday/Mother's Day/retirement gift (she is retiring soon) and got her tickets to see Billy Joel at MSG in NYC!!! She has always mentioned that she wanted to see him (my brother was suppose to have gotten her tickets for Christmas but he never bought them) and being a Long Islander like Billy Joel, I wanted to see him too. So I splurged and we have floor seats. Side note - it was more expensive to see Taylor Swift than Billy  Joel! I have floor seats at MetLife in July for Taylor Swift and it was like $100-$120 more.

I still need to update about my Stitch Fixes 3, 4 and now 5. I got my 5th fix and I have to say, I was disappointed in this one. The bag they sent me was NOT my taste (plus it smelt like cat pee and I actually wrote that in the review) and one of the tops I wanted to keep was damaged. So I only ended up keeping one dress that was $54 and between the $20 styling credit and a $20 discount they gave me because I couldn't fix the top (nor did they have a replacement in stock) , I only paid $14. It's cute and has pockets! Hopefully i will get my act together and post it soon.

And that's life lately. I can't believe the school year is winding down and once school is done, I need to blog thoughts I have about what I have learned as my first year of being a teacher.