Saturday, August 31

style: A Southern Prep Game Day

If you've been hanging out here for a while you know I'm a proud graduate of the University of Virginia - for a poor girl from a small rural town, getting to attend one of the oldest and most respected colleges in the U.S. was a dream come true.  One of my favorite times of year on Grounds was always football season!  Even though I'm not a huge sports fan, I loved the atmosphere of school spirit and celebration.

It's been over a decade since UVa faced BYU and the Wahoos will be opening our season this year by hosting our non-conference opponents from the midwest.  The game day wardrobe motto when I started college was "guys in ties, girls in pearls," and UVa students were known for the game day "fashion show."  It was a little overwhelming at first for me - at my high school, the height of "preppy" fashion was Abercrombie + Fitch - I'd never even heard of Lily Pulitzer, J. Crew, or Vera Bradley, the brands I was quickly surrounded by and eventually swooning over in college.

Eventually I realized that having a certain brand on my clothes wasn't anywhere near as important as feeling good - and feeling like myself- in what I was wearing.  I decided not to worry about fitting in with the country club set and to just have fun.  Still, I love the way dressing up for football games is a way to embrace a Southern tradition and I think that the first game of the season is the perfect time for girls to break out their cutest sundresses and sandals.  I was inspired (by nostalgia for my undergrad days) to create two very traditional, preppy UVa game day outfits.

UVA Game Day Style

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Disclaimer:  ModCloth items contain affiliate links.

1. Scotch Naturals nail polish in "Flying Scotsman"  2. ModCloth orange swing earrings
3. Lily  Pulitzer Kennett dress  4. Vera Bradley pocket ID clutch  5. Jack Rogers sandals from FarFetch
6. BeBop juniors dress from Macy's 7. Fossil glass dot earrings
8. Pomander Place bracelet from Tuckernuck  9. Lalu Penny clutch from Pret a Beaute
10. Victoria's Secret sandals (similar from Sam Edelman)

What are your favorite Game Day traditions?

Tuesday, August 27

Steeper or Cheaper: Swiss Dot Chiffon Blouses

Steeper or Cheaper: Swiss Dot Chiffon Blouses
J. Crew Chiffon Dot Top (out of stock)
J. Crew Factory Dotted Keyhole Top in navy, Dublin green (shown) and ivory
Old Navy Swiss Dot Chiffon Top in wine, navy, white, coral, and lagoon (shown)

One of my favorite purchases so far this season has been a Swiss dot chiffon blouse.  It's a little bohemian, but still very ladylike, and super versatile.  I snagged mine at Old Navy, and felt very proud of myself when I saw a very similar shirt for a hundred dollars more on the J. Crew website.  The J. Crew blouse is now out of stock online but may still be available in stores; as far as I can tell what the J. Crew and J. Crew factory versions have going for them that the Old Navy version doesn't are a thicker fabric (ON's blouse is super sheer and must be worn with a cami) and nicer cuffs - the Old Navy ones are elastic; both J. Crew version feature a hemmed cuff and button.  Old Navy offers the style in a wider range of colors.  For a teacher's salary and wardrobe, the Old Navy version hits the spot!

fall color: linden and deep lichen green

I'm sure you've already noticed the prevalence of mossy greens in fashion this season.  I am loving these go-with-everything shades, which fall along a spectrum from peridot to dark olive and can be dressed up or down to suit any style.  The Charlotte Russe scarf below and an olive sweater just got added to my wish list for fall.

Fall 2013: Linden and Deep Lichen Green

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Boho look: Charlotte Russe tribal print scarf, Old Navy swiss dot chiffon blouse, Fossil watch, Rescue Beauty Lounge "Liberty" nail polish, Target bangle bracelets

Preppy look: Tom's Bellevue sunglasses, Kohl's sterling silver peridot bracelet, Uniqlo mohair sweater, Old Navy chambray shirt, Chanel "Alchimie" nail polish from Nordstrom, Tom's olive classic flats

Edgy look: Forever21 open-knuckle ring, Chanel "Mysterious" nail polish from Nordstrom, Old Navy boyfriend khakis

Classic look: Ruche bow blouse, George pencil skirt from Wal-Mart, Rescue Beauty Lounge "Orbis Non Sufficit" nail polish, leopard print kitten-heel pumps (same style, similar print)

Style Elixir

Monday, August 26

clicks of note.

get your week off to a colorful start...





Sunday, August 25

sunday simplicity: in the deep heart

Nought I could give today
Would half compare
With the long-treasured riches that somewhere
In the deep heart are stored–

Cloud and the moon and mist and the whole hoard
Of frail, blue-bubbling stars,
And the cool blessing,
Like moth or wind caressing,
Of the fair, fresh rain-dipped flowers;
And all the spells of the sea, and the new green
Of moss and fern and bracken
Before their youth is stricken;
The thought of the trees at eventide, the hush
In the dark corn at morning,
And the wish
In your own heart still but dawning–

All of these,

A soft weight on your hands,
I would give now;
And lastly myself made clean
And white as the wave-washed sand,
If I knew how.

- R S Thomas

Saturday, August 24

inspiration for a coral and teal summer wedding

One thing you should probably know about me is that I love a challenge.  I am most productive when I have several projects going on at once, and most creative when I am faced with an unusual task.  Since I've highlighted teal and coral in my fashion and style posts this month, I challenged myself to gather inspiration for a classy and lovely coral and teal summer wedding.  This was actually the color scheme for the first wedding I was ever a bridesmaid in, but these are tricky colors to work with together because when they're used in heavy doses or overly saturated, a wedding can stray into The Little Mermaid territory.  I wondered, could I find inspiration for a wedding that was beachy in coral and teal without being tacky?  I think I did.

Save The Date from My Publisher

Teal is a classic wedding color for good reason - it's fresh, calming, and elegant.  
It doesn't hurt that teal and white together evokes images of little blue ring boxes...

NOTE:  If you'd like to add any of the images from this post to your Pinterest boards, please click the link below the image and pin from the source so the creators get credit for their work!

Necklace from SimplyBrieDesigns on Etsy

Wednesday, August 21

COLORFUL kitchen and home decor ideas from ModCloth [affiliate post]

You all know I don't do a lot of affiliate posts, but this was one opportunity that I got really excited about because it's a brand I truly adore.  ModCloth is launching a new line of whimsical, retro-inspired home decor items perfect for dorms, apartments, and townhouses like mine.  A lot of their accents are the perfect way to add a lot of style to small spaces. Take a look at some of the new items here: ModCloth - Retro and Cute Apartment Decor.  They have cute kitchen and bathroom items to make your home fit your personal style at prices that fit your budget, and they offer free shipping on all orders over $50.  Here are a few items I especially love from ModCloth's home decor collection.

Colorful Kitchen Updates

1. You are My Sunshine artwork, $15.99  2. Candy hooks, $19.99
3. Owl potholder, $8.99  4. Soda cap cutting board, $29.99  5. Heart spoon, $9.99

Disclaimer:  As a ModCloth affiliate, I am being compensated for writing this post.

Tuesday, August 20

summer color: coral, teal, and gray for work

My last two Tuesday style posts have featured two of my favorite transitional colors for late summer and early fall: coral and teal.  I especially love these colors for late summer because the go with any neutral.  For the end of my first week of work, I paired coral and teal with gray for outfits that mixed casual and dressy pieces.  Here's my favorite.

Cardigan: Old Navy, Tank: Old Navy
Pencil skirt: George at Wal-Mart (this year's version is a bit shorter but still really good quality!)
Sandals: Jacee by Bare Traps at Belk

I wore this coral and gray outfit for the first Thursday of the school year, which was also the day I was in charge of leading an assembly for all of the students on my team.  I've led assemblies before, but they were talent show assemblies - it's been the end of the year and there has been singing and dancing!  Leading a beginning-of-year assembly to go over rules and expectations is a whole different ball game - I tried to challenge my inner camp counselor and keep the tone welcoming and approachable.  I loved this fun print tank when I saw it at Old Navy and I like the way it kind of looks like a colorblocked dress when paired with a gray pencil skirt.  Finally, I can't recommend these sandals enough - they're comfortable enough to wear every day, the pewter color is really versatile, and I've gotten tons of compliments on them.

Style Elixir

Monday, August 19

clicks of note.

get your week off to a colorful start...

Well, I survived my first week with a new crop of middle school students and I'm already loving them.  This year's group is funny, creative, and enthusiastic.  Some of my students have their reservations about reading and writing, but they've all set goals for themselves and are willing to face their struggles head-on.  Right now, my focus is on building relationships with my students so that they trust me enough to ask for help when they need it.

  • New music releases this week include John Mayer's Paradise Valley... is it pay day yet?*  I'm loving the track "Wildfire" (here's a link to the official lyric video) - it's the perfect end-of-summer cookout song.  I'm linking up with Musical Mondays at My So-Called Chaos - don't forget to check out what everyone else is listening to this week!



*No, it's not.

Sunday, August 18

sunday social: taking a look at my life...

I think I've mentioned before that I really like it when Ashley and Neely post more thought-provoking questions for Sunday Social - it makes me a lot more likely to participate.  This is one of those weeks!

Sunday Social

1. What is something you've always wanted to do but are afraid of?

This may come as a surprise, but I've wanted a nose piercing for a long time.  I'm not afraid of the pain of the piercing - I've got pierced ears so I know what it feels like - but I'm afraid of the reaction I'd get from some people.  I live in a small, very conservative Southern town!  I know I wouldn't be allowed to wear it at work and I'm not sure how my in-laws would feel about me having a piercing - even though my Biblical namesake wore a nose ring.

2. Where do you see yourself in five years?

My actual dream house - it's a modular on display in town!
I love the stonework, craftsman style and big windows.

In 2018, I'll be 33 years old.  I see myself living in a home that Mr. Q and I own, somewhere in the country but still somewhat close to town, and raising a family.  I'll be celebrating my tenth year as a teacher, and hopefully I will have published several articles about best teaching practices and be working on applications for doctoral programs.

3. What are you looking forward to before the end of 2013?

Gratuitous picture of me and Breeze making a Jason Aldean sandwich.

My best friend Breeze is getting married in September and I'm looking forward to helping her pull off the most fun and beautiful rustic wedding!  Then in October we have our ten-year high school reunion.  We are both on the reunion committee along with several other members of our senior year lunch table group and I can't wait to see those girls in person.  I think that our classmates will really enjoy the events we're planning for them.

4. What are your hopes for your blog?

On a Bible study retreat in college.

I hope that I can find a balance between privacy and openness - due to the nature of my work, there are just some things I cannot share online because I wouldn't be comfortable with students or their parents reading about them- that's why I don't talk a lot about depression, anxiety, or PCOS.  I also don't want to alienate any of my friends or readers - I don't ever want to sound preachy- that's why I don't talk a lot about my faith.  On the other hand, I want to feel comfortable writing about issues that are important to me and relevant to my life, and I want to be able to connect with other women who are dealing with the same real life issues I am.

5. Do you always see yourself living in your current town/city?

Photo by Mr. Q - why would I want to live anywhere else?

Right now, I do.  Mr. Q grew up here and I think it's one of the most beautiful places in our state.  We have the mountains and the lake, we have a cute little town to eat and shop in, and we're close to Roanoke when we need to do city things.  Our little town is not very diverse, but proximity to Roanoke, Charlottesville, and Blacksburg helps to make up for that.  Most importantly, our parents are within a short drive and so are most of our extended family members, and we're getting to watch our friends' children grow up.  I would hate to be far away and not be able to help my family in an emergency or to have to watch the littles grow up via Facebook.  Maybe someday our little town will get a bookstore and a Starbucks; then it will truly be ideal for me :)

6. What is your morning routine?

On work days, I take a shower immediately to help me wake up, then come downstairs to brew coffee and eat breakfast while checking e-mail/Facebook and watching the local news.  Mr. Q and I get dressed and leave for work about the same time every morning because we live very close to both of our jobs.  I get a little NPR in on my 5-minute drive.  When I get to work, I make sure my copier is turned on just in case, drop my stuff in my classroom and my lunch in the teacher's lounge, sign in and check my mailbox.  I usually say good morning to the administrators and secretaries on my way out of the office, chat with my team to make sure we're all ready for the day, then do any last-minute prep before homeroom starts at 8:00.  I check my e-mail and the local newspapers (in online form) while my students are arriving.  On the weekends, all bets are off because...

sunday simplicity #88 - daylight fading

Tuesday, August 13

style: cool tones for late summer [pantone tender shoots & cockatoo]

My solution to an August heat wave?  Wearing the coolest colors I can find... until the air conditioner repairman comes.

Cool Tones for Late Summer

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Disclaimer:  ModCloth links contain an affiliate code.

Style Elixir

1. Old Navy boyfriend khakis  2. World Market rhinestone stud earrings
3. Vera Bradley phone wristlet  4. Merona striped blouse from Target
5. Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics nail polish in "Wasabi" from Sephora
6. Essie "In the Cab-ana" nail polish from  7. ModCloth teal ballet flats
8. Bath and Body Works "Beautiful Day" 9. Wild Butterfly Boutique bubble necklace
10. GAP lime ballet flats (similar from Piperlime, Target)

Monday, August 12

clicks of note: all kinds of kinds...

get your week off to a colorful start...
  • Today is the first day of school for my students, so I'm off early this morning to work on seating charts, finish my bulletin board, and make copies before they arrive.  I'm praying that the air conditioning in our building got fixed over the weekend! I'd really appreciate any positive thoughts and good vibes you'd like to send our way.

  • My current favorite song is Miranda Lambert's "All Kinds of Kinds" - it's cute and quirky.  The CMA Music Fest airs on ABC tonight and I can't wait to kick back, relax, and hear a few of my favorite performers!



Sunday, August 11

sunday social

This weekend I'm linking up with Ashley and Neely for Sunday Social - the questions were interesting and different!

Sunday Social

1. When you were little what did you want to be when you grew up?  I'm pretty sure I went through cowgirl, ballerina, actress, news anchor, and interior decorator phases, but I always played school and wanted to be a teacher.  I'm lucky to be living my dream.  I've also wanted to see my name on the cover of a book since my third grade teacher stamped the words "FUTURE AUTHOR" in my journal.  I'll get there someday!

2. What was your favorite way to kill time as a kid?  Reading, playing school, playing Barbies (I had about 70), and playing outside.  When we got AOL in 7th grade the Internet gradually started its takeover of my life ;)

3. When did you get your first cell phone?  When I got my driver's license.  I still think that's a totally okay policy for parents and my students are scandalized when I tell them I think they're too young to handle having their own phones!

4. What is your favorite magazine to read?  I'm going to be a big nerd and admit that it's NEA Today, the magazine of my professional organization - it is FULL of great tips that I use in the classroom and I also learn about advocating for myself, my colleagues, and my students.  I like Rolling Stone - I love music but I've also learned a lot over the years from the news and politics articles.  I'm also a big fan of fitness magazines like Shape.

5. What is the one random object people would be surprised to find in your purse?  Glucose tablets.  Until I get my blood sugar in control, they are really nice to have when I get stuck in a situation where I can't eat, but every time I look at them I hear Wilford Brimley in my head saying, "diabeetus."

sunday simplicity: her life would change

"Years later they find themselves talking
about chances, moments when their lives
might have swerved off
for the smallest reason.

What if
I hadn’t phoned, he says, that morning?
What if you’d been out,
as you were when I tried three times
the night before?

Then she tells him a secret.
She’d been there all evening, and she knew
he was the one calling, which was why
she hadn’t answered.

Because she felt-
because she was certain-her life would change
if she picked up the phone, said hello,
said, I was just thinking
of you.

I was afraid,
she tells him. And in the morning
I also knew it was you, but I just
answered the phone
the way anyone
answers a phone when it starts to ring,
not thinking you have a choice."

- "Marriage" by Lawrence Raab

Tuesday, August 6

style: coral outfits for summer and fall

I like to engage in a little shopping therapy (even if it's just window shopping), but we're entering a weird time of year: I know I should be investing in useful fall pieces, but still feel drawn to summer color.  It's still August, after all!  My goal for today was to find ways to incorporate some of my favorite punchy summer colors into cooler-weather outfits as the seasons change.  There are some fantastic details in this set, so check out the links you like even if they're for higher end pieces!

Summer 2013: Coral and Fruit Punch

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Disclaimer:  Links to ModCloth items contain affiliate codes

1. Echo striped scarf from Piperlime  2. Anthropologie beaded hair ties  3. Hazel and Olive sheer blouse
4. Full Tilt hoodie from Tilly's  5. Kate Spade "Live Colorfully" perfume from Nordstrom
6. "Twist and Clout" purse from ModCloth  7. J. Crew Factory belt (similar at Target and Old Navy)
8. Essie nail polish from Target  9. OPI nail polish from Amazon  10. Dior nail polish from Macy's
11. J. Crew Factory shorts  12. Old Navy sandals  13. Michael Kors espadrilles from Neiman Marcus

Linking Up:
Style Elixir

Going Camping: Gray, Coral, and Lemon

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1. Full Tilt hoodie from Tilly's  2. Graphic tee from Target  3. Ray-Ban sunglasses from Zappos
4. Jawbone fitness band  5. Faded Glory cuff shorts from Wal-Mart  6. OPI nail polish from
7. Michael Kors espadrilles from Neiman Marcus  8. Nike Free Run 2 sneakers from Sport Seasons (the ones shown are the men's, but the link is to the women's)  9. Jonathan Adler water bottle from Modcloth

Weekend Shopping: Coral, Fruit Punch and Chambray

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1. Echo scarf from Piperlime  2. J. Crew Factory chambray shirt  3. Revlon lipstain from
4. "Twist and Clout" purse from ModCloth  5. J. Crew Factory shorts  6. Essie nail polish from Kohl's
7. GAP sandals (similar from Aldo)  8. J. Crew Factory belt (similar at Target and Old Navy)   

Wear to Work: Coral and Camel

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1. Dior nail polish from Macy's  2. Hazel and Olive sheer blouse  3. Anthropologie beaded hair ties
4. Ann Taylor stretch bracelet  5. Kate Spade "Live Colorfully" perfume from Nordstrom
6. LOFT capri pant  7. Fossil mini watch  8. Banana Republic bag (similar from DSW)

Monday, August 5

clicks of note: that's how strong my love is...

get your week off to a colorful start...


  • You cannot, in fact, go wrong with Otis Redding.  Once again, I'm linking up with Musical Mondays at My So-Called Chaos.  You better believe I will be rocking the tunes all day as I set up my classroom for the new school year!




Sunday, August 4

sunday social: can't live without...

Sunday Social

1. What are 3 items you can’t live without on a daily basis (water, food, shelter, and clothes don’t count)  

  • My glasses - On days when I don't have to work I stumble around until about noon, which is when I admit defeat.  I have become majorly nearsighted since I started teaching and have gone from only having to wear glasses to drive or see the blackboard, to having to wear them all the time to be able to watch television or to see what's happening across the street when I'm walking around town.
  • My cell phone - I don't actually make a lot of phone calls, but I text on a daily basis and love that I can check Instagram, Facebook, and news and weather sites from anywhere, as well as listen to my Amazon music library.
  • My rings - I wear my college class ring, engagement rings and wedding band daily and my hands feel naked without them.  Those three little rings hold all the significance in the world to me because they represent the most important parts of my life - my family and my education.

2. What is your all time favorite book? Why?

  • The Time-Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.  It was one of the first "adult" books I read in college that wasn't a classic, and I've read it many times since then.  I experience a whole range of emotions while reading Claire and Henry's tale - surprise, heartbreak, and hope.  Even though the plot contains a huge science fiction element, the characters feel very much like real people and their voices ring true.  And at the end of the day, it's an incredible love story.  I even used my favorite page from the book as the table number for our wedding sweetheart table.

3. What is something you’d like to accomplish before the end of 2013?

  • Good question!  I'd like for my students to achieve a higher pass rate on the new state writing and reading tests - because their scores are actually my scores and represent 40% of my overall evaluation.  I just want to feel like I've beaten this test and know how to effectively prepare students for it - which is not how I felt at the end of last year, unfortunately.

4. If you could go back and relive any year of your life which year would it be?

  • I wouldn't!  There are definitely moments that I'd love to experience again - being with my dad and my grandmothers, for sure - but I think I'd be to tempted to change the way I did things, knowing what I know now, and it might have some weird butterfly effect on my present life.  I love my life right now and wouldn't want it any other way.

5. What do you wish people knew about you without you having to tell them?

  • To get a little deep on you, I wish people knew that I deal with clinical depression and anxiety and that it is a medical condition.  I think sometimes people who don't know think I'm moody or even bipolar, and a lot of people just lack understanding about depression and think people can "snap out of it". or pray it away.  I wish those people knew you can't snap out of depression any more than you can snap out of diabetes or asthma.  I've often wished I could tell my bosses at school so that they would understand why I make a really big deal out of things sometimes, but in Virginia I could actually be fired for having a medical condition that could interfere with my job, so I have to keep it a secret.
  • In the same vein, I wish people knew my father had passed away because I can't stand that awkward moment when we're all describing our family's plans for a weekend or holiday and someone asks, "What about your dad?" or when someone I haven't seen since I was a teenager asks "How are your parents doing?"

sunday simplicity: all my varying moods...

"Give me one friend, just one, 
who meets the needs of all my varying moods."
- Esther Mary Clark

Friday, August 2

summer blog loves

blog loves - summer 2013

I thought I'd take some time to resurrect what used to be a monthly column here - this time in a seasonal format.  I'll be shining a spotlight on a few of my "blog-mances" - some newly discovered, some that I've been reading for a while.  These blogs cover a wide range of topics - lifestyle, fashion, home decor, organization, and recipes - and are certainly worth a follow.

I love Corilynn's blog!

Corilynn (formerly La Vie Petite) - I'm always on the lookout for style bloggers who can put together classic outfits, and if they are petite it's a definite bonus because I know the clothes wouldn't look ridiculous on me!  Cori is a fashion designer and sells go-with-everything graphic skirts.  Soon after I started following Cori's blog, she suffered the intense personal tragedy of losing a baby.  Her faith and trust in God has been really inspiring to me.

I love Cardigan Junkie's blog

Cardigan Junkie - I'm pretty sure we'd be friends in real life, not just because the title of this blog describes my closet.  I love Haley's practical, often reader-inspired "what to wear" posts that cover every situation from heat waves to multigenerational family portraits to weddings, and her "5 Things Friday" posts are full of personality and humor.

The Fancy Shack - I found Kimberlee's blog when her awesome laundry room makeover was featured on several of the shelter blogs I follow.  I suppose it's a sign of getting older that I got TOTALLY EXCITED about a pretty laundry room, but seriously - it had mason jars, and damask, and a fabric-lined basket; what's not to love?  The rest of Kimberlee's house is similarly elegant in a creative, vintage-inspired way.  Fans of Dear Lillie should definitely check out The Fancy Shack.

I love Clean and Scentsible's blog!

Clean and Scentsible - I've been following this blog for a while.  Canadian blogger Jenn's tagline is "organize, celebrate, create."  Her posts include seasonal recipes and crafts as well as how-tos for cleaning just about everything- from a wood deck, to a grill, to the fridge. Jenn's also one of the co-hosts of the Inspiration Exchange linkup, which features awesome crafts and projects every week.

Previously featured blogs I'm still loving: Note to SelfRage Against the MinivanThe Vintage HousewifeFabulous KHip Hip Gin GinThe EverygirlThe Fresh ExchangeLittle Tin SoldierA Cup of JoTwo Twenty-OneSkinnyTasteAlong the Lines of StyleThe Daily SparkA Beach Cottage, The Inspired RoomHome Stories A to ZPost Road VintagePerfectly ImperfectDandeeElla ClaireMaking it LovelyThe Swenglish HomeBright BazaarCentsational Girl, Rosie MolinaryGeninne's Art BlogTiny Twig The Gracious PantryA Farmgirl's Dabbles, and Everyday Occasions