Left Photo

Left Photo

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Middle Photo

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Right Photo

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Teeny Bopper Tartan

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Heart Shaped Sweat has grown so much over the last few months! It's amazing to see all that has happened here and I'm excited for all that's to come. I couldn't have made it this far without the support from each of you! I'm so thankful for you little loves of mine :)

Helping me celebrate are 24 beautiful ladies...we're giving away a $250 VISA to one lucky reader! The options and entries are endless. With so many wonderful ladies and all the ways to get to know each one of them, I wouldn't dare limit your options!


Sooooooo get to clicking, making friends, and crossing fingers for the winnings!
aMileInHerBoots, TheDomesticGeek, GraceForGayle, TheDomesticatedWorkingWoman, AnnieOneCanCook



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My outfit today makes me feel like a teenager again.  One of my all time favorite prints is tartan/plaid.  I just love the backwoods feel of a flannel plaid shirt.  I got this top from my first Stitchfix.  If you haven't used this fantastic service yet I encourage you to click and take a peek at what they have to offer.  It definitely fits my quality vs. quantity investment piece criteria.

This top is made of a much nicer material than flannel therefore I can dress it up or down.  I have paired it with pencil skirts and worn it with regular jeans and cowboy boots.  It's one of my favorite things I've gotten from Stitchfix.
Sweater: thrifted, Top: Stitchfix, Denim: Gap Oulet (similar), Shoes: Toms, Jewelry: Silpada, ASOS, and Lila's Trunk



Sometimes I forget that I'm almost 30 and I find myself wearing things like this that make me feel young and youthful.  I don't think its a problem necessarily.  Don't you like to feel youthful?

The outfit still looks put together.  I've got my sweater as my completer piece and I'm comfortable in my Toms.  P.S. If you don't have a pair, they are the most comfortable shoes I own.  No joke.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Forgetful Me

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Scarf: me, Sweater: Loft (love this one on sale), Skirt: me, Boots: Jessica Simpson



I forget things that are so stinking easy to remember all the time.  You too?!

Maybe if I make a list of things I often forget I will remember them better?  Or perhaps, one of you would comment saying you do the same thing and make me feel a little better about it?  Hmm?

Sometimes I forget...

to put deoderant on.  
I know, I've only been wearing it for like 15+ years or something, but I do!
In fact, I forget so often that I keep a stick in my desk at work just in case.

to throw my paper towels away.
I leave them on the counter and drive my hubby batty.

to listen to voicemails/return phone calls.

to floss my teeth...okay all the time.

to switch the laundry from washer to dryer.

to text people back. In my head I do it, but in real life I forget!

to paint my nails.

to take my makeup off before I go to bed at night.

to drink enough milk each day.
I love milk, I don't know why I don't drink enough!

to defrost dinner before the night I want to cook it.

how many minutes it takes to heat my Lean Cuisine.

birthdays. Epic failure.

Do you forget everyday things?

I don't know why I forget.  I just do.  And, like I said, its the simplest of things...like replacing the toilet paper on the roll in the bathroom when its out or throwing away leftovers.  I think its really funny that I forget to do the everyday mundane things that are routine.  Especially when I can remember to do other things that are much less important than putting on deoderant.

Perhaps now that I have a list I will remember do do them all.
Or, perhaps, I will forget about my list!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Quality vs. Quantity



Glasses: GlassesUSA, Necklace: eBay, Sweater: JCrew outlet (similar), Skirt: Loft (love this, and this one) ,
Booties: UrbanOG.com, Jewelry: Stella&Dot, Lila's Trunk

As I've embarked on this blogging journey, I've evolved as an individual, but also as a fashionista.  I still love my good bargains.  I still prefer to shop the sale racks.  However, I'm also realizing that I would rather have select quality items in my closet as opposed to an abundance of "cheap" pieces.

There are certain times when a purchase becomes an investment.  The important thing is to know when you are making an investment and when you are making a purchase.  So, I thought I would share some tools I use when deciding on a purchase.

Investment Pieces
These are the pieces that are going to be worn for years to come.  Pieces that are not just trends.  Classics, staples, and timeless pieces that you want to last forever because you can wear them forever.
Some of the pieces I consider investment pieces (and I'm willing to drop more money for) are:

  • jeans 
  • jackets, blazers, and cardigans
  • shoes
  • sweaters
  • skirts and dresses
Now, I am not saying that I never buy "cheap" versions of these items.  I absolutely do.  Especially if they have a trendy pattern, color, or distressed look as those things fade in and out with the seasons.  And, there are times that I have purchased investment pieces that are inexpensive.  Price doesn't always equate quality.  (i.e. my denim jacket above was $25 at Old Navy and I've had it for years)

When making these purchases I generally ask myself some questions before swiping my card:
  • How many ways can I wear this with other pieces already in my closet?
  • Is this truly timeless?  Will I wear this 5 years from now?
  • Is it flattering?  Does it fit?  
  • Does it fit my lifestyle?  Will I be able to wear it often?
It's important to ensure that a piece you want to consider an investment is versatile.  Be sure you know how to properly care for those articles of clothing and that you are willing to properly tend to those items.  If it is delicate, treat it as one.

Non-investment Pieces
There are definitely times when you don't need to drop a wad of cash for a piece you want to add to your wardrobe.  For instance, the peplum.  I love it.  It flatters my body because it hides my trouble zone tummy.  However, I will be surprised if the peplum is still "in" this time next year.

I love stores like Forever 21, Target, Old Navy, and Kohl's because they provide everyone the opportunity to have flattering, modern, affordable wardrobes.  If I'm honest, most of my closet is from these stores.  They give women like us the ability to rock studded collars, colored denim, and emerald green while they are current without breaking the bank and leaving us with closet full of expensive has-beens three months later.  I definitely don't discriminate.  

Pieces I do not consider investments and therefore shop frugally for:
  • trends
  • tights/socks
  • accessories
  • shorts
  • workout clothing
  • camisoles (they are replaced way too often to be investments)
The important thing is to purchase items that are flattering to your shape, fit your lifestyle, and work with other pieces in your wardrobe.  If you make sure to focus on those things, you will be able to mix and match your investment and non-investment pieces to create great style.

If you haven't checked it out yet, I'm cohosting a giveaway for a $250 VISA Gift card!  #winning


How many ways can you spend 250 free dollars??? 
I'll give you a crazy number of ways to win the $250 VISA and you figure all the ways to spend it!


Heart Shaped Sweat has grown so much over the last few months! It's amazing to see all that has happened here and I'm excited for all that's to come. I couldn't have made it this far without the support from each of you! I'm so thankful for you little loves of mine :)

Helping me celebrate are 24 beautiful ladies...we're giving away a $250 VISA to one lucky reader! The options and entries are endless. With so many wonderful ladies and all the ways to get to know each one of them, I wouldn't dare limit your options!


Sooooooo get to clicking, making friends, and crossing fingers for the winnings!
aMileInHerBoots, TheDomesticGeek, GraceForGayle, TheDomesticatedWorkingWoman, AnnieOneCanCook



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Monday, February 25, 2013

Dear Prospective Teacher,

Tales from the Teachers' Lounge
*There are many things about the teaching profession that you do not learn from college no matter how accredited the program you are in.  So I decided to write a letter to future teachers.*

Dear Future Teacher,

You are embarking on a lifelong journey.  Teaching is not a job, nor is it just a career; it's a life choice.  Once you are a teacher, you will never look at things the same again.  The fact that you have a heart for teaching means your heart is open.  Bless you for opening up your heart for children, coworkers, curriculums, families, losses, successes, bad days, good days, ups, and downs.

Many people have probably asked you what you are going to be "when you grow up."  Some may have shuddered or questioned why you would choose to be a teacher.  Don't let them get to you.  Yes, teaching is hard.  No, we don't make enough money or receive extrinsic reward, but those people have never been in your shoes.  Those people have never celebrated with overwhelming joy a child learning to tie his/her shoes.  Those people have never wiped the tears of a child after their first breakup.  Those people have rarely stepped foot within a school (since graduation) let alone a classroom so they don't know.  They don't know what its like to be a teacher.  They don't know the hard stuff or the good stuff.

Once you are a teacher, there is little hope of you being truly happy in any other position.  You are here for this reason: to teach.  Don't stress about the paperwork, the curriculum, the text book, the standardized tests.  Do what you must for your principal and district, but remember this:  In the long run, they won't matter.  Instead, focus on the smiles you put on children's faces, teach them patience, respect, and kindness.  Take time to listen.  I mean, really listen.  Not just nodding your head and smiling.  Hear these children.  Empower them.  Give them authentic ways to learn so that they might be motivated to bring good into this world as adults.  Be a role model for these children.  Lead not by your words, but by your actions.  Be who you want them to be.  Show them how to do the right thing and when to do the hard thing.

Put in the time, the extra time, to be with them after class.  Whether you host a club, coach a sport, or simply tutor them in your own subject.  Take the time after class to get to know them on a more personal level.  Ask them about their families, their desires, their dreams.  Take genuine interest in their hearts and they will do the same for you.  Celebrate the good grades, the high test scores, the growth.  But, don't forget to also celebrate the birthdays, the soccer goals, and making the squad.  You see, to your students, you are an idol.  To them, the things that matter are not from a textbook.  If you invest in those learning experiences, those are the lessons your students will remember from you for years to come.  And if you're lucky, they'll also remember how to graph a linear equation or the time you read them a book that made you cry.

Because you are becoming a teacher, you are already on a pedestal.  You are special.  You are important.  You are making a difference in this world every single day.  Do not allow the small things to take that away from you.  Paperwork, test scores, data programs will always pile up.  There will never be enough time to address it all - take the time to notice what your students need, focus on that, and fill in the gaps with the "stuff" you are required  to do.

For the days that are hard, God bless you.  For the times you don't hear it, THANK YOU.  For the students who don't say it, you rock.  For the days you don't feel it, we appreciate you.

Sincerely,
A Teacher

P.S. You're going to want to check out this giveaway!


How many ways can you spend 250 free dollars??? 
I'll give you a crazy number of ways to win the $250 VISA and you figure all the ways to spend it!


Heart Shaped Sweat has grown so much over the last few months! It's amazing to see all that has happened here and I'm excited for all that's to come. I couldn't have made it this far without the support from each of you! I'm so thankful for you little loves of mine :)

Helping me celebrate are 24 beautiful ladies...we're giving away a $250 VISA to one lucky reader! The options and entries are endless. With so many wonderful ladies and all the ways to get to know each one of them, I wouldn't dare limit your options!


Sooooooo get to clicking, making friends, and crossing fingers for the winnings!
aMileInHerBoots, TheDomesticGeek, GraceForGayle, TheDomesticatedWorkingWoman, AnnieOneCanCook



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stillbeingmolly

Friday, February 22, 2013

Creative Block

I've been having a bit of a creative block lately.  It's not that I don't have tons of ideas floating around in my head, I just really haven't had any desire to do anything with them.  Does this happen to you?

I find a lot of inspiration from Merrick's blog and absolutely love the tutorials she shares with the world.  So when I saw that she and her sisters are doing a 6 week Pinterest Challenge, I jumped on board!  I participated in one on Facebook last year and loved it.
Sisters Share It All: Pinterest Challenge
Here are my pins that I intend to do over the next 6 weeks.  

This reminds me of a coverup in the new Victoria's Secret catalog.  A girlfriend of mine asked me to look it up and see if I could recreate it because VS wants $50 for that thing!  I'm on it.



My friend, Victoria, gave me some great chevron fabric for Christmas and I've been wanting to make myself a skirt with it.  I like this one.  I may go out on a limb and try something on my own.

I've been wanting to try yoga (again) for some time, but haven't found a dvd that I like.  This reminds me of the class I took a couple of summers ago that I loved.  I'm going to try to incorporate it into my daily workout routine as often as possible over the next 6 weeks.

I have a peplum top I bought when I went shopping a few weekends ago and I haven't worn it yet.  I also have an old shirt of my husbands that I'm wanting to attempt to turn into a peplum top.  So I'm hoping to style it and refashion the other over the course of the 6 weeks.

I was devastated this morning when I stepped on the scale and saw the number.  I have been busting my butt in the gym and running.  It's not paying off.  So, I'm going to try to focus on the positive and start charting all of my measurements so that I can see how I'm doing.  I think this will be a great motivator and accountability tool for me.

Making Food Prep Easy

Do you ever get frustrated with the results you are or are not seeing from you workouts?
The scale, the waistband, the sleeves, the belly...  It's so hard to be patient.

I have to constantly remind myself that it didn't take 3 days to put on the pounds so its definitely not going to come off in 3 days.  However, sometimes, I really feel like I work my booty off to no avail.  It's still there! This week I was feeling particularly yucky - bloated tummy, headache, just yuck.  It hit me at that point that perhaps the reason why I don't see any results and I feel so yuck is because I've started using my exercise routine as an excuse to eat whatever I want.

In order to ensure I'm eating healthy, I've started prepping all of my food this week.  In fact, yesterday I even prepped my snack for grad school so that I wouldn't be tempted to swing into Sonic and get something.  So I thought today I would share some recent resources I've found in regards to food prep.





Every Sunday I go to the grocery store and restock our weekly staples.  These staples include:

  • romaine lettuce (I buy 3 heads in a bag)
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 green, red, and yellow pepper
  • 1 bag of carrots
  • 1 tomato
  • any other veggies I like
  • bananas
  • strawberries/pineapple/kiwi (depends on what is on sale)
  • apples
The reason why I always buy these items is because every Sunday and Wednesday evening I make a large salad and divide it into containers.  Each day of the week I bring a salad to work for lunch.  I have realized that buying quality produce makes me look forward to my salad.  (Bags of lettuce and veggies have these preservatives on them and to me, they don't taste as good nor do they last as long.)  To spice things up a bit I also purchase hickory smoked tuna, different marinades for chicken, crispy onions, pecans, craisins, golden raisins, etc. to add to my salad.  It's just as good as a restaurant salad!


Monday night I spent the evening deep cleaning my kitchen and re-organiziing (I wish I'd found this food prepping station idea before I figured it out for myself).  I did several things in order to make healthy food more appealing and food prep less of a chore.

I put my fruit bowl on the counter I see as soon as I walk into my kitchen.  It used to be back in the corner, under the cupboards.  Now it's out in plain view so that those are the first colors I see when I'm in snack mode.  I also put my juicer within the fridge/stove/sink triangle so that it is easy to use and clean each day.  My knives are close to the juicer and I organized my counters so that I have plenty of room to cut fruit right there.
Making a Food Prep Ease Zone
1. Provide plenty of counter space.   
Remove unused items from the counter and store in cupboards.
2.  Keep your highly used appliances within the fridge/sink/stove triangle.
3.  Keep knives at hand in a block.
4.  Prep food as much as possible upon purchase.
5.  Keep containers organized!

When I come home from the grocery store with all those items listed above, I immediately get them all out, clean them, and prepare them by slicing, cutting, etc. as much as I can.  There are some things you can't do that to, but I do as much as possible.  For instance, I clean and cut my celery and keep it in the refrigerator in a container of water (just like they do in restaurants) that way I can just grab what I need.

One last tidbit of info that has made my healthy eating plan a whiz is the salad spinner!  Growing up we didn't have one of these and I'm pretty sure most people consider it a non-necessity.  I'm here to tell you if you are trying to eat healthy every day and incorporate more salads/veggies into your life, you need one.  I cut and dice all my veggies (without washing) and throw them in the strainer part.  Once I'm done with all that, I take the strainer and run it under water, moving the veggies around so they all get clean.  I place the strainer into the bowl, put the lid on, and give it a few spins.  Voila!  My salad is clean, dry, and tossed!  I have this one which I love, but I've seen several versions at World Market and even TJ Maxx that would work well, too.  I bet it cuts my prep time almost in half.
Honor Courage Commitment

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Grey Matters

Blazer: Dillard's (old, similar), Dress: Old Navy, Tights: Walmart, Boots: Jessica Simpson (on super sale!)

Yes, I wore my hair to work like this today.  Judge away.  It's been a long week!



Are things  cut and dry with you?  Do you just see 2 sides to everything?  Black and white?

For me, I'm all grey.  I'm all that in between-ness.  You know, I'm the one that makes everything difficult.  People are all like, "That's not right!"  "That's wrong!"  And I'm over here like, "Well, what if......"  Pretty sure its my most difficult quality.

I try not to be devil's advocate, but its hard!  I think a lot of it stems from the fact that I'm a firm believer we don't have the right to judge.  Now, I fail at this on a daily basis.  Have you ever noticed how many times you judge people on a daily basis?  Do it.  I dare you.  You will hate yourself.  Then remind yourself, you're human and that's what humans do.  Now, try to fend your heart against it so you don't do it anymore.  Every morning I pray that I can walk around judgement free.

Growing up in one area and now living in another has given me 2 very different perspectives on a lot of things.  I'm not saying one is more right than the other, but they are different.  I think that greatly affects why I spend most of my time in the grey area.  Have you experienced this?

Do you tend to see things black &white or do you fall within the grey area?

Linking up with Marionberry Style for her trend of the month

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

3 Little Birds


Blouse: Collective Concepts via Fedora (option, option), Pants: Old Navy (similar, love these!), Boots: urbanog.com, Jewelry: Lila's Trunk, Premier Designs, Stella&Dot


I suddenly have this great obsession with birds.  I don't know why.  So when I saw this blouse I had to have it.  There are little blue birds all over it among the flowers.  It's totally different than anything I already own and I knew it would become a great staple.

When I purchase something I try to imagine in my head styling it at least 3 different ways with items I already have in my wardrobe.  This saves me from making mistakes similar to these.  It's very easy to want something simply because you've seen it around other blogs and I'd be lying if I said I never buy things simply because I see them elsewhere and like them.  But, always envision wearing it at least 3 different ways before taking the purchase plunge.

Do you envision a piece before purchasing?  What do you consider when making a purchase?
pleated poppy
Also linking up with Alisa cuz I scored those pants for $6!  Holla!!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

All that Sparkles

I shared in this post the challenge some of my blog friends and I have set for ourselves throughout this year.
We decided we were going to focus on 2 things we really wanted to work on in 2013. 

1. Cooking a good meal at home: This keeps waistlines skinnier and wallets fatter.  Being that we are all working women (and bloggers), we decided this part of the challenge would be a crockpot meal

2.  Pushing our personal style limits: We've realized that we all tend to stick to what we know and what we are comfortable with when purchasing and styling our outfits.  So this part of the challenge will expand our closets and encourage us to try new things.  Even if its something we wear regularly, we can learn to style it a different way.  We are pushing the pink, glittery, fashion envelope here.

Since today is the third Tuesday, we share our fashion challenge!  This month was sparkles!  
I'm not a huge sparkles person.  I like to add sparkle to most outfits with accessories.  I received some sweet sparkly accessories in my January CARA package and decided to put them to good use for this challenge.  What I love about all this: I've had these sparkly accessories for almost 2 months and have never worn them.  Oh, how our challenge is working since I am moved to try them out now!

So here is my take on the "Subtle Sparkle."
Headband: CARA Box, Glasses: glassesUSA, Blazer: thrift, Top: Kohl's, Skirt: me

Football photo bombed me with his tail.

It's not much sparkle.  I don't know if you can tell, but I do have a black glitter headband!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Sweet Reminders...

Tales from the Teacher's Lounge

Teaching is a hard job.
Not just anyone can do it.
There are days that make you question
why you chose this profession,
why you chose middle school,
how you will make it 30 years...

It is a hard job, 
but it is also a calling.
I can't imagine myself doing anything else.
Teaching is my thing and even on the tough days,
I know I'm making a difference...the smallest difference.

Then there are days where your sweet, sweet kids remind you
why you chose this profession,
why you chose middle school,
and just how the next 30+ years will go.


My students graciously showered me with Valentine's gifts.
I came home with more pounds of chocolate than I know what to do with, cookies, and cupcakes.


This card warmed my heart.  This particular child struggles with the English language as its his second.  There are days he makes teaching or maintaining everyone's attention difficult.  However, he makes me smile every day and this card validated me.  I know that I give him reason to smile every day, too.


I'm not sure if you can tell what this last picture is, but it is quite possibly, single-handedly my biggest accomplishment all year.  The child that created this project is a Newcomer.  He has been in America for less than 6 months.

He recently started attending my class after being in a Language Arts class with a Spanish speaking teacher for the first 18 weeks of school.  To help with the transition, he attends my class 3 days a week, and the other 2 he spends in her room.

The other day he turned in his homework to her a day early.
He said, "May I please stay in Mrs. Gaines' class tomorrow?  We are working on this really cool project and I really want to finish. I did all my work for you.  I can turn it in now."

When she came to me and asked if this was okay, I beamed.
Absolutely!

This is the project he had been working on.  My students have recently wrapped up their book club books and I challenged them to create a visual representation of 1 element of the book in whatever medium they wanted.  Some made collages, book trailers, diarama, comic strips, etc.

This boy had read a book about Hiroshima (in Spanish) and created a comic strip illustrating what happened and an example of what the devastation may have looked like.
Not just that.

He stood up in front of 22 classmates and presented his project explaining why he drew what he drew and how it related to the book.  The entire presentation was in Spanish, but a classmate volunteered to interpret for those that don't know Spanish.
I wish I could share a picture of the smile on his face
or the one he put on mine.

miscellany monday at lowercase letters

Friday, February 15, 2013

Fitness ADD

You know what I'm talking about.  One day you decide you're a runner until running bores you.  One day you decide you are a Zumba-er until you get bored with Zumba.  One day you decide you are on a no-carb diet until carbs come to you in your dreams and threaten to haunt you for the rest of your life if you don't start eating them again.

I'm a huge fan of the gym because there are SO many different things you can do there that there is no excuse for boredom.  However, I don't always get to go to the gym.  So, I've tried my hand at several workouts I can do at home.  I love Pinterest because they are constantly providing different Circuit workouts using body weight or very little equipment.  Here are some of my favorites:








Source: pbfingers.com via Erika on Pinterest

I love that these workouts hit every part of the body and incorporate cardio.  I've recently started doing Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred again.  I'm on Day 5.  I absolutely love it and you can currently find it on Amazon for about $7.99!!  If you have the money and a space with a dvd player - it's fantastic.

It lasts 25 minutes from warm up to cool down and all you need are some weights. It's a fantastic work out.  I can't say any more about it.  It rocks my world.
Honor Courage Commitment