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What Are You Scared Of?

December 5, 2017

So let me tell you a little story. When I moved to Charleston four years ago I was a fish out of water. I had just started my career in teaching and was still a little shell shocked from all the “real life” lessons I learned from my seven years in Baltimore. Mainly, that people aren’t all good and that they are more self-centered and conniving than any other group of people that I’ve been around. Now, let me offer this disclaimer, I don’t mean everyone from Baltimore was horrible but I met more than a couple handfuls that were. I digress. So here I am in Charleston starting to really get my bearings when a photographer reached out and asked to photograph me. Uhm. excuse me sir. Whatever do you mean. I instantly questioned his legitimacy. See above. Baltimore had tapped into my inner scaredy cat. I could hear my mother’s voice, “STRANGER DANGER!” Besides, this guy couldn’t simply think I was worthy enough to take pictures. I was carrying a few extra pounds and am a girl who’s beauty regime consists of moisturizer, chapstick, and maybe mascara. So, I let fear take over and I admired his work from afar but never took the steps to get in front of his camera. Well, that’s until just recently. FOUR YEARS LATER! I finally silenced that little voice that kept saying, “Who do you think you are taking these pictures?! You’re a teacher girl!” and did a shoot with him.

I led with that story to drive home that when we refuse to step out of our boxes we limit our own growth! Fear has guided many of my own decisions. (It should be noted that most, if not all, of those fear based decisions have never led to a positive outcome). Fear sometimes dresses itself up as responsibility, planning or some other clever guise. It is witty like that, but know that the results are all the same. You shortchanging the joy you could feel in your life. Now, don’t read this and throw all caution to the wind and get wreckless. That’s not what I’m encouraging you to do either. What I am saying is that you owe it to yourself to get a little uncomfortable. Quiet that voice and step outside of your box. Try that thing that your inner self really wants to do. Quit making excuses as to why it won’t work and start telling yourself all the reasons why it will! Now, stop being a scaredy cat and go get uncomfortable.

Shirt available here

The Tortoise With the Hair

December 3, 2017

Ahhhh…. I’ve managed to do it again, run another 5k. In true Angell fashion I waited until the last minute to register for this lovely event. Confession…it was probably because a part of me wasn’t thrilled to do it. While I just ran a 5k on my own terms last weekend, I was still nervous about doing it for real. Well, that quickly got erased when these two lovely ladies let me know they were all in for this race. Whoop Whoop! Then the crafting began. Three snowmen coming up! We sat around the kitchen all night having pizza and making tutus. Funny how the right tribe can make you propel you closer to your goals!

Race time! A wave of nerves pulse through my body. I’m not setting out to win, but my goal is to run the WHOLE time and shoot for a 10 minute mile pace. We start and my friend looks at me and whispers, “you don’t have to wait on us, just run”. I don’t know if she just sensed it or she was being a good friend, but that was exactly what I needed to hear. I took off, or more like puttered away, into the crowd. Pacing is the hardest for me. Trying to manage that while simultaneously dodging dogs and strollers made it even more difficult. I didn’t stop running though. When I approached the 2 mile marker I felt myself get a little excited. I was more than halfway done. I continued to run and take in my surroundings. It’s hard not to when you’re running alongside the Battery. Before I knew it, I could see the finish line. Unfortunately for me, around the same time I could feel myself getting sick. (Starbucks before a race, BAD IDEA. Noted! lol). Silently, I began to pray. Please don’t let me throw up. Please don’t let me throw up….. at least not until I can cross the finish line and do it privately. Hey, sometimes bargaining is what needs to be done!

I’m happy to report my prayers worked and I did not get sick! Oh, and my official race time was 31:38. I know this isn’t the last race I’ll run, but I don’t know how many more I’ll run as a snowman!

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Dear Santa

You just read the title of this post and rolled your eyes. Sorry guys, I’m THAT girl. Technically the turkey leftovers from Thanksgiving haven’t even been put away and here I am talking about the big guy. Well, sorry not sorry! I’m obsessed with Christmas! There’s just something so magical about the season. My student’s have already written to Santa, on my behalf, about having our classroom elf return. I have started to eyeball Ugly Christmas sweaters and I am knee deep in planning my Christmas vacation to Kentucky. I told ya’ll. Christmas is NOT a game for this Angell. (Hahaha you like that play on words right?!)

Well one huge reason I love this time of year are all the holiday parties going on. This is a chance for me to step out of my teacher attire and be glam for a night (or nights if I’m feeling super festive). Wearing red during this time is very cliche, but if you know me at all, I will sneak red in any chance I can get! This red peplum top from my coworker’s online boutique Blushing Sparrow is absolutely perfect for your holiday rounds. The fit is amazing and we all know how magical a peplum shirt can be at hiding that leftover turkey pooch (not that anyone us have one, especially me!). lol. Well lucky for you if you’re looking for some party digs the site has 20% your WHOLE purchase Black Friday, just use code FRIDAY.  Well, having a great top is clutch, what you pair it with says it all. For this look I combined it with a black pencil skirt. A well fitting pencil skirt hugs and celebrates your curves and can be complimentary to almost every top in your wardrobe. WIN/WIN!

Well, while I’d love to chat a little longer about all the party outfits I have planned I have an attic to get into and Christmas decorations to unbox! Don’t you worry though, I got you this season! *insert winking emoticon*

Lady in Red

Most of the time I write it’s because I’m moved by something. That something is often deep and at least mildly inspirational. Well….. this ain’t that post. At least not exactly! There’s no moral compass guiding my fingers to type, but I have been moved. I am moved by LOVE. Love of this red suede jacket! I ordered this gem back in August during Nordstrom’s big sale. It was a complete splurge for me, but I HAD to have it. It was like it whispered my name. “Angell…..Angell….” Well, I don’t know about you, but I’ve been taught to pay attention to people, or things, who know my name. lol.

I listened to the voice and soon welcomed this pretty red thing into my home. I quickly unwrapped it, tried it on, daydreamed about all the outfit combinations that could come from it, hung it up in the closet, and prayed for cool nights to hit Charleston soon.  My prayers went unanswered. So I found myself occasionally checking in on my red joy to make sure it was still as beautiful as I remembered it to be. The days turned to months and sadly they were filled with heat and sunshine. While most people celebrated, I shed a tear every morning knowing I wasn’t any closer to wearing this glorious jacket. (And for those wondering, I am totally NOT being overly dramatic. I was sad to my core). I had almost given up my dreams of wearing this jacket when FINALLY in late October the temps crept into the high 60’s. I whipped out this jacket quicker than a cop whips out a ticket at the end of the month to meet his quota! *singing* GLORIOUS DAY!

While misery loves company, fashion loves friends! That’s EXACTLY why I’m linking all the outfit details. And don’t worry. If red doesn’t set your soul on fire, this wonderful jacket does come in more neutral colors. Whatever your color preference, just know that you’re about to experience a level of joy that you could’ve never imagined. (And no, I’m still NOT being overly dramatic! lol)

Run Your Own Race

November 5, 2017

A week or two ago a mom from my 2nd job and my coworker and friend asked me to be a running buddy for a certain kindergartner. (See cute little curly headed girl in the above picture). While the thought of getting up early on a Saturday to run is not my idea of fun, I love my babies and how could I say no to such a cutie?!

Well, last weekend that day came. My alarm goes off, I put on my bib, and headed downtown. I met up with my downtown school crew and see my little one. Her face looked like how I felt….. sleepy! lol. We found our spots in the crowd and when the countdown was over we were off. Soon after we took off, she grabbed my hand and we made the silent agreement to master this race. (For me, that was to finish without little people tears. You laugh, but I’ve seen it happen. lol)

With Kidz  Bop playing on my Iphone we ran a strong 1st mile. That’s when my little startled to fizzle a little. She didn’t complain, and hallelujah she didn’t cry! We just took our time and ran our own race. It was in mile 2 that she told me that she had already won another 5k. (Funny, that her mom had already told me the story and said she hadn’t even run in that race but somehow got her picture in the paper for the event. Hence, why she thought she won the race). Well, as we closed in on the finish line she turned and said to me, “We’re winning. We’re going to win the race!” And just like that my heart turned to mush! Her words sat with me long after they put the medals on our necks.

About a month ago I decided to actively train for a half marathon. I mentioned it in a picture I posted and suddenly I had hundreds of accountability partners. I questioned my decision. (More the decision to mention it out loud than actually deciding to run. I tend to be a ninja with major decisions, it helps eliminate the distraction that is sometimes other people’s opinions). I was essentially locked in now. Great. So here I am, at the ripe age of 37, deciding to do the unthinkable and train to run for a whopping 13.1. I haven’t picked a race yet but I’m running more than ever and am ready to check this off my bucket list. And from now until I cross that finish line, I’ll be reminded…. When you run your own race regardless of your ranking, you will win!

Thanks Rosalyn for being such a great and inspirational running buddy! Until the next race we win……

Falling For You

October 29, 2017

So I’ve always known and acknowledged my love for Spring. Hello…… I’m a Spring baby! BUT the past couple of years I have come to realize just how much I love Fall. It’s probably because Fall in the South is like Spring in the North. (Uhm, Spring is short lived here in Charleston and often catapults us right into summer, so fall has become my “fix”. lol). I digress.

There is something beyond beautiful about the changing of the leaves, pumpkin everything, scarves and boots. Well, we had a stretch of cool, fall like days this past week and I jumped on it! While I envy my fellow bloggers in their layers and full on fall looks, that is not realistic just yet here in the hot south. So here’s my compromise! The quickest and easiest way to transition to fall is to take something simple and add your favorite fall pieces. If you haven’t noticed I absolutely love denim! A denim dress is a staple in my closet because you can work wonders with it. Here I layered it with a thicker camel scarf and knee high boots. Like we all know during this season, it’s cold in the morning and sometimes on fire by the afternoon. Well, with something like this you can easily off the scarf, and add a belt if you choose, and you still look fab!

The key with this season is giving yourself some versatility. Don’t be scared to layer, just be sure each layer makes sense and can stand alone with your outfit. If you plan this, you’ll look like Mariah Carey on “Cribs” and give the illusion that you’ve had outfit changes throughout the day when you simply just removed a layer! Fall is fun and your outfits should be to!

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“Dear God,” She Prayed….

October 27, 2017

“Dear God,” she prayed, “let me be something every minute of every hour of my life” ~Betty Smith A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

The morning of this shoot I had the scare of my life. Headed from the gym and on my way to work a truck pulled out in front of me and the only way to avoid an accident was to swerve into the next lane. Unfortunately, at 50 mph, it’s hard to maintain control. For what seemed like eternity, but I’m sure was a matter of minutes, I was all over the road. It was in this chaos that I mumbled the words, “Dear God”. Shortly after, I decided the “best case scenario” was to drive into the ditch of a median. It was in this moment that I was flooded with emotions. While the actual scenario shook me to my core I found myself the most hurt from the fact that the other driver, or any other driver for that matter, didn’t even bother to check on me. Humanity disappointed me.

While I wanted to drive home and crawl back in the bed, I knew I had to get to work because I had a parent teacher conference and 24 little people that were expecting me to be there. To say I was emotionally combustible was an understatement. I cried my whole 25 minute commute and said a quick prayer for strength before entering the school building. In true kid fashion my scholars managed to fill my spirit throughout the day. One student got extremely upset because he couldn’t get on the computer because there was a line. Another student came to me and said, “Ms. T, I’m going to give up my turn on the computer to ‘him’ because he’s really upset and I think it’ll make him feel better.” The day continued on and my anger gradually turned to gratitude. I am at a point in my life where I am surrounded by incredible people (big and little) that support me, that love me, and that encourage my dreams. As if that wasn’t enough, right before taking my students I found a note from a scholar that said, “This school is a big community that helps kids. This school is the best at helping kids.” FLOORED! No truer words have ever been said. What I hope that young lady, and all the other scholars that grace those hallways, will one day realize is that she (they) were a part of that community and affected us (the adults) as much as we affected them!

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The Devil’s in the Details

blazer and jeans

October 22, 2017

For those that don’t know I’m a 2nd grade teacher. I love my job and all my little people, BUT there are moments I wish I worked in a posh office where I could wear fashion forward clothes and pretty stilettos. Just as my mind wanders to my pretend job, I am quickly brought back to reality by a 7 year old yelling my name repeatedly about having to use the bathroom and how it is an EMERGENCY and another being sent to the bathroom to wash his nose after a lengthy finger visit to his nose! lol.

Well, that’s what my weekends are for. Playing dress up. Recently I have re-ignited my love for the blazer. It is far more versatile than it often gets credit for. On a cool night it serves as a coat while you can “serve” them when you take it off and reveal a spicy camisole underneath. Oh, and for those ladies that do have an office job you can quickly transform from your 9-5 to happy hour without packing a whole new outfit. This blazer is from H&M and the color is off white so it’s perfect for fall. The jeans are from Express and truly are my favorite. Don’t judge me but I may or may not have bought five pair! (and yes, I CAN feel your judgy eyes but in my defense they are all in different washes.) lol. Oh, and don’t forget the statement necklace. I have come to grips that my style preference for jewelry borderlines on gaudy. I WILL be that old lady in a sweatsuit with a statement necklace and orthopedic shoes. Whatever. I’ll be cute though. Ha!

So while I could NEVER wear this to my job, I can justify each of these pieces because of their versatility and classic nature!

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Check in, Check out!

 

October 15, 2017

Life has been chaotic this week. It was coming for me from all angles! I survived though, I’m good like that. lol. No, but in all seriousness I realized why. While, I had a “to do” list not for the faint at heart, I was sure to make time for me EVERY day. Some days this meant getting up at 4:30 AM before work to get a quick lift in at the gym. I’ve had people ask, “I don’t know how you do it?!” My answer, “It’s not always easy, but there’s no greater feeling than to have accomplished a completed workout before most people have even gotten out of bed. PLUS, even if my world falls apart at 9 AM I’m still feeling good from exercising!”. On days I don’t workout I’m sure to take some “me” time in different ways: power naps, a quick trip to Marshall’s or an episode of reality tv fit the bill.

This week I did better than my usual. I MADE time to work for me. I scheduled, yes I have to schedule it like an appointment, time to write and do other things for my blog. Now, I still have a ways to go to manage both but I’m working, with intention, on balance. As crazy as it seems, because I actually am working MORE, it is beneficial to both my full time job and to my blogging. I am able to “check in” to whatever task at hand and “check out” to the rest of the clutter. Why? I know that the time for that stuff will come. How do I know this? Duh, because I’ve scheduled it! lol. With that being said, make sure to check out of all that too. Go get a massage, get you a pretty mani/pedi, or just turn your phone off for an hour. No matter what it is that YOU need, be sure to “Check in (with yourself), so you can check out (with the world)”. Self care is real and very necessary! Now, let’s go master this week!

 

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She’s Back!

September 30, 2017

She’s BACK!!! Sounds quite dramatic right?! Are you wondering from what? Did you do something amazing? Just come back from traveling the world? Did something traumatic happen to you and now you’re on the mend? Well…… sorry to disappoint. None of the above has happened. Hahaha. I’ve gone back to work. For those that don’t know I’m a 2nd grade teacher at an amazing school. (totally NOT biased!). Going back to work doesn’t seem so bad except teaching is one of the most hands on, intensive jobs one can have. I will spare you the soapbox rant, so I’ll just say I’m just now getting my rhythm down. I now enough creative juices and energy to get back to writing. To celebrate I decided to throw on some cute clothes and take pictures, duh! lol.

I know the off the shoulder trend was set for summer, but HELLLOOOOO I live in Charleston so it’s currently 90 degrees and it’s totally appropriate. Plus with bell sleeves like these it’s hard to pass up. The jeans are my new favorite from Express. I discovered them this summer when I lost weight and needed a new pair of old faithfuls. Lucky for you I linked them AND they’re currently 40% off! I’m actually thinking of ordering another pair in the next size down because I continue to lose with my workout plan. These fringe heels are actually from Amazon ( linked here ) and are a steal for under $20!  I love a fun shoe that offers a pop of color. A lady actually walked by during my shoot asking about the shopping details and of course I paid it forward. That’s enough of my chatter, click the link below to shop for yourself!

It Takes a Village

*Students at our bake sale fundraiser for Hurricane Harvey victims*

September 28, 2017

Today, I had a scary moment. I woke up like usual, had my protein pancakes and cold brew coffee and was plugging along in my lesson. A coworker knocked on my door and we discussed strategies to make a more effective home to school connection with particular students. During this conversation I could feel myself become overwhelmed with weakness. I had a pain in my lower abdomen but I thought it would ease up. Well, during this conversation the pain took over and clearly my body reacted. Again, I thought it would pass so I went in the restroom and hoped splashing a little water on my face may help. I looked at myself and instantly realized all color had been lost in my face. My coworker told me to immediately go to the nurse. I asked a parent volunteer to go to my classroom so they could have adult supervision. I went to the nurse to which I was shown so much love as I sat like a big ole baby balled up and laying down. I sat there for close to an hour to which the pain subsided enough that I decided to “tough it out” and finish the day. As I returned to my classroom I was informed that two of my fellow 2nd grade teachers had split up my class and was monitoring their classwork. Once I returned to class BOTH my parent volunteers offered further assistance both in manpower and in getting me personally squared away.

I say all this to say that we often think of children when we hear the phrase “It takes a village”. Well, today my village consisted of a bunch of adults that have one major thing in common: love of our children! And while I am totally appreciative of all of their help, I think of the impact this series of events had on our little people. It showed we don’t just talk about teamwork, empathy, and love, we LIVE it! When I decided to teach I didn’t realize just what I was signing up for. Little people are watching. They’re always watching picking up on more than just academics. They’re learning what it means to be people, hopefully, good people by the adults that surround them.

*side note* At least I was fashionable in my struggles! lol

For My Future Scholars

Dear Future Scholars,

I first want to start by saying I’m so excited to be your teacher! You may not see it, but I’ve been preparing for you well before my roster was delivered. Today I while seeing some of you I got a little misty eyed. Why?!  I want to be the best teacher I can be to each and every one of you! I don’t have a long term plan as to how, but this I do have….I promise to come to school every day with a loving heart. I will try my hardest to not let my personal struggles whatever they may be interfere with your education. With that being said, know that I am human and there may be days I don’t feel so well, all that I ask is that you treat me as kindly as I treat you. (Worry not, I don’t stay down long!). The favor will be returned because I know that even though you are a child you have “bad” days too.  This classroom will be your safe haven. A place where you can learn, make mistakes, and ask those burning questions even if they may seem a little “silly’. I want to make 2nd grade a year you will always look fondly on. There will be things you don’t like to do (like homework), but there will be lots you will love (like all the STEM activities!). My greatest and year long objective is to not just to grow your brains, but to help further develop you as good citizens. The world is a cruel place and I want each and every one of you to make it better with love! We are a family. Sure, no one REALLY is family but we are. We will spend the majority of our days with each other. It is highly likely that at some point in the year you will mistakenly call me “mom”.(Hahaha, happens like clockwork).  I will tell my own friends and family about my new “kids”. I will pull teeth, wipe tears, and give high fives. You will stick up for each other and coach one another through tough times. You will develop friendships that will last beyond this year. June will come and we will look up and realize just how much we do love one another. I can’t promise this year will be perfect, but I do promise it will be amazing!

Love,

Ms. T

Dear Little Angell

 I was scrolling through Instagram the other day and this popped up in my feed. Reading it almost made me cry. (Sure, it could of been from sheer exhaustion, because I was reorganizing my classroom library. lol.) It also got me thinking of all the things I would tell little Angell. So here it is, my note to my younger self……P.S. y’all know I love me some words so it won’t be happening in two!

My dearest Angell,

You don’t know me yet but one day you will be me…… or at least you will resemble me. I want to start by giving you this nugget of wisdom: You are lovable! There will be people that are supposed to love you and don’t. There will people that should love you and can’t. There will people you want to love you and they refuse. In the moment you will internalize it and wonder what’s wrong with you. I’m here to tell you, absolutely nothing is wrong with you. People’s ability or inability to love is their own. It has NOTHING to do with you. Pray for those people and carry on about your life.

 

Dream big and follow your heart, even if your heart resides in the cake batter bowl! No, but really, it is human nature for others to want what’s best for themselves. This means that sometimes they don’t want the best for you. They will purposely or accidentally convince you that your dream is too far fetched. It’s not realistic. It is too unknown, scary, and therefore not meant for you. Little one, you will never grow if you don’t learn to trust your own dreams! It won’t always be easy and you may fall flat on your face more than once. Get up, dust your self off, pray, and keep going.

Be you. As the saying goes, “Be you because everyone else is taken”. Color outside the lines or on your yearbook picture even though it may bring you a spanking. (hahaha). Don’t fall victim to comparison. Everything and everyone are not always what they appear to be. As you get older this will be harder and harder. Stay strong. Stay true. Here’s a big asterisk…… you are allowed to change! That’s called growth. Just as long as you remain you, it is fine. People will try to convince you otherwise. There is not a single person in history that has not found themselves changing as life happens.

Little Angell I will leave you with this. You are in your beginning stages of greatness! You will see things you never imagined. You will accomplish things you would’ve never dreamed of. You will see places you only thought existed in books. You will encounter people that will change the trajectory of your life. Embrace it all. Your life won’t be easy, but boy will it give you some good stories to tell!

 

Love,

Angell (age 37)