Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Stitch Fix HOME RUN and a Giveaway

I am well of aware of the fact that it is not baseball season, but my latest StitchFix hit it right out of the park for me.  Spoiler alert:  I’m keeping it ALL. 

You know it's a good sign when you come home in Stitch Fix only to find your new 'fix' arrived.  I had gotten a couple of cute sweaters in my last box, and the Michigan weather of late has allowed me to make great use of them unfortunately.  It's been pretty nippy.

So I was crossing my fingers that my stylist had something wonderful and Fall-ish in my latest box.  She did NOT disappoint.  

Take a look at these colors . . . rich browns, olive and rust.  I adore fall colors and this box was full of them.  And I love when they show me how to wear my pieces, because, quite honestly, that's the hardest part for me.  

I'm just so excited about what arrived in my box, so let me show you real quick.  

First up was this amazing Bennie Heathered Stripe Knit Infinity Scarf from Octavia.  Look at these colors!  There's tons of orange, rust, gold and some flecks of blue that make it a perfect combo for jeans and a casual shirt.  It's so me!  

Next up, a Chrisley Raglan Seam Sweatshirt by Kut From The Kloth.  When I first saw the description of this piece, before I had actually seen the piece, I thought 'sweatshirt?'  But can see that is not your typical sweatshirt.  At least it's not mine.  This one had a great weight, not too bulky, and I loved the born color.  Just to give it some character, it also has a zipper and gold pulls running down the back. I loved the fit and the feel.  It was definitely a keeper.  

I tried to wrap the camera around my head to get a shot of it, but I was only able to get you a little glimpse.  (It's harder than you would think to get a shot of your back when you're the person taking the picture.)

A Cartwright Pointelle Ombre Cotton Top by Skies are Blue was next.  I'm hoping for a couple of more warm September days before Fall is officially here so I can where it.  Although the sleeves are a little shorter than I would usually choose, I love the colors  Olive is a favorite of mine and I'm so glad it's paired with a ivory color and not white. 

Stitch Fix has sent me several pairs of jeans, but I only have kept on pair of Kenzie Skinny ones a couple of fixes ago.  I love those jeans and didn't think I'd find another I liked as well, but these Jimmy Ankle Length Skinny Jeans by Just Black are a great fit and with my short legs, that's a miracle.  I just had to keep them.

Finally, my stylist added a Kaley Chevron Maxi Skirt by Gilli (I have a green and black chevron maxi by Gilli that I love, too.).  The colors where perfect for me.  I could match this one up with all the black or brown tops in my closet easy.  I just hope I see a couple more warm days this fall so I comfortable wearing it, because come snowy weather, any dresses that don't include tights and a pair of boots are put to the back of the closet until April.  

So you're probably wondering, how you can get it on this great gig of having someone pick out clothes for you, aren't you?  Well, let me give you a quick run down of how it works. 

Stitch Fix is a personal shopping/stylist service that comes right to your door.  Seriously, you get great clothes without ever having to step out of your sweatpants to go shopping.  All you have to do is fill out a personal style profile and answer a few simple questions about your style and color preferences, and then for $20.00 a stylist picks out 5 items of clothing for you to try in the comfort of your own home.  Giving your stylist information about your preferences, size Pinterest style picks and any special events coming up in your schedule really helps them select amazing pieces for you.    And if you have a hard time 'seeing' how pieces should be worn, they even send you a style guide to show you different ways to wear your 'fix' with items that you may already have in your closet. (I like to call it my 'how to dress for dummies' guide, because I desperately need all the help I can get.)    If you decide to keep a few or all of the items after trying them on, all you have to do is head on over to their site and check out.  They apply your original $20 to the balance of your 'fix' plus you will earn 25% off you bill if you choose to keep your entire fix.

In fact, that is exactly what happened with my fix this month.  I decided to keep everything, all five pieces and I ended up with a total of less than $200.  That means I got 5 pieces for an average of $40 each.  I didn't have to drive anywhere, I didn't have to find a babysitter for my boys, I didn't have to be bothered with sales people that wanted to kindly help me to a fitting room (I hate trying on close in a store.) and I didn't have to dig through shelves and racks of clothes to find something that looked good and fit me.  That's a good deal in my book.  

But let's say you don't like anything they send you.  Well, then you simply place all the pieces in the prepaid shipping bag included with your fix, and it all (or some) goes back.  You don't even have to pay for shipping.

It's amazingly simple and such a fun service, I just have to share it all with you.  So, I'm giving away a gift certificate this month to one person to get them their own Stitch Fix started.  All you have to do is enter below. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I promise you, it's a ton of fun and what do you have to lose?  In fact, why don't double your chances of winning by  heading over to my pal Maria from Kinder-Craze's blog and enter her Stitch Fix giveaway too.  It will double your chances to win, and you can check out her fix for this month as well.


I'm crossing my fingers for you!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

A Differentiated Kindergarten (and Freebielicious Girls) Are Giving Away Gift Cards Galore!

I’m so excited to be teaming up with my favorite freebie-friends for a BIG giveaway to help get you going this school year! 

Even if the nearest one is an hour from my house, it's still a favorite!  Who doesn't love those Dollar Bins I ask you? And they just have EVERYTHING a teacher could possibly want from decorative pieces to fun colored tins.  I LOVE TARGET.  So, of course, I want to share the love with all of you.

So, if you’re needing some cute paper clips or a packet of gummy worms, you can totally get them.  Just below enter  for your chance to win a $25 gift card to Target. Woo hoo!

Please enter with integrity, using the Rafflecopter below. I’ll choose a winner a week from today.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

But, wait! I'm not done!  The Freebielicious ladies know how much of your own hard-earned money goes into buying supplies, tissues, books, and classroom décor to get your classroom “kid-ready,” and we want to be able to put some of that money back in your pocket where it belongs. Over at the Freebielicious blog, we are giving away a $300 Visa gift card! YES…YOU READ THAT RIGHT! $300!!!

To enter the BIG GIVEAWAY, click HERE or on the button below!

Also, while you are there, be sure to check out what the other Freebie-ladies are giving away. Be prepared for some AMAZING prizes. Take a peek at some of them below!

I know you're not going to want to miss any of these so head over to Freebielicious and get started!


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Come Get Your Twitter Feet Wet and Win Some Prizes Too!

I’m no Twitter guru!  In fact, when it comes to Twitter, I’m as green as a kinder baby stepping off for the bus for their first day of school.  But if you’re like me and have been wanting to venture out into that great big twitter chat world, I have an amazing opportunity for you to do it in a safe, non-threatening environment designed especially for teachers new to Twitter.

And on top of learning how to chat via Twitter, you’ll get to bounce ideas off from other like minded teachers from all around the country AND have a chance to win some neat prizes. 

 Teacher education chats have really started to become an amazing source of professional development and you can't even imagine all the 'great stuff' that being shared during these sessions.  If you want to find out more about education chats, click HERE to see an article that includes and extensive list of educational weekly Twitter chats and their times, including #teacherfriends!  There's really something for everyone and it's an amazing way to expand your professional network.

#teacherfriends (all chats are associated with a hashtag so you can follow specific subjects and groups of people) is this great teacher chat community designed especially for new teacher tweeters interested in chatting it up with other teachers, but who don't know where to start and want to practice in a safe, nonthreatening environment. They chat every Tuesday evening at 9pm EST and this coming week, they asked me to be the guest speaker as their topic will be Differentiated Instruction.  

I’m going to tell you straight out, I was very reluctant to have anything to do anything with Twitter chatting.  It is SO far outside of my comfort zone.  I mean, I tried it once and was so completely overwhelmed that I never went back. True Story!  But #teacherfriends chat group made it so easy for me to learn and practice twitter chat, and there were so many great conversations taking place and ideas exchanged that when they wanted to go ‘Differentiated Instruction’ for their next subject, I accepted the challenge to get my Twitter chat on.  

And now, of course,  I want you to join me.  I would LOVE for you to come with me as I take the plunge into the Twitter chat water and get my feet wet, because, let’s face it, I’m a big chicken about being a guest when I'm so new to twitter chat.  But also, I just really want my friends there right with me AND twitter chat is so much more interactive between the participants.  It's instant conversations and engaging, even more so than facebook or blogging.  I feel like we could really ‘chat’ ya know?  And I did mention there would be prizes, right?

So I'm going to walk you through how you can get yourself set up to join me Tuesday.  I will do my best to help you step by step (because I needed those same instructions myself), but if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me, and I'll promptly get the answer from someone who knows better than me.  

First thing you need to do is to make sure that you are signed up with Twitter.  Go to www.twitter.com to get it done. It's an easy, painless process that takes all of about 5 minutes to do.  Make sure you follow me when you do!  I'm @DifferKinder!  

Once you have your Twitter i.d., you will want to sign up for Tweet Deck.  Tweet Deck is the site that is going to keep you sane as tweets go by.  It will allow you to see and organize your reading of chat sessions taking place as it's happening.  

Once you sign up for TweetDeck, you can go and sign in.  It should take you to a screen that looks something like this.  Use the search bar to search for #teacherfriends.

Once your search results for our #teacherfriends comes up, click this 'add a column' button at the bottom. 

 This will allow you to see any Tweets coming through as they are coming through within #teacherfriends' community.  They will all be right in that column for you to see and scroll through.

You'll see people posting questions, answers and ideas.  Now if you'd like to answer a question or share a thought, all you have to do is make sure that when your are typing, that you include the hashtag #teacherfriends so that anyone following in that chat room can see your post.  Without the #teachefriends tag, they won't be able to see it.

As other people are chatting it up, you can either favorite something they post . . .

retweet it (which means it will come up on your feed for all your followers regardless of whether they are part of the hour of chatting or not) 

or reply to the person who posted.  

I promise you.  It will be easy.  If I can do it, so can you and, hey, we're in this together.  You know I won't leave you standing in the corner by yourself.  You come sit right next to me, and we'll chat it up together.  And no, you can't use the excuse that you didn't know how to translate Eastern to Mountain time or Pacific time.  I've included a cheat sheet for you.  (Remember you can come a little early to 'practice' at 8:30 if you want before the official chat starts at 9pm.)

Ok, so here's another important part.  You can actually sign in as early as 8:30pm EST on Tuesday evening and there will be "moderators" there to help you with any technical questions you might have (They're really just a bunch of my really nice teacher/blogger/twitter chat friends that want to help all us newbies.) and help you get started before the real 'Differentiated Instruction' Chat starts at 9.  I highly suggest you stop in a few minutes early to just get comfortable and say 'hi.'

Ok, so promise me you'll try to stop by.  9pm on Tuesday!  I really hope you can come.  Even if you have to come a little late or leave a little early, I'm dying to have you join in this fun group with me and see if we can beg, borrow and steal some differentiated instruction tips and resources from each other.

There's no need to RSVP.  Just get there when you can.  Did I mention there would be prizes?!

I can't wait to chat it up with ya.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

First Day Labor Pains and Giving Birth To A New Year

The first day of school has come and gone, and I’m still here to tell about it.  Whew!  If you are a kindergarten teacher, I know you know what I mean by "whew!"  Each year it’s the same thing, we anxiously and nervously anticipate the arrival of a new set of kindergarteners who will become part of our school family for the next 180+ days.

It struck me today just how very similar all this first day of school business is to preparing for the arrival of a new baby and then giving birth.  We spend hours preparing our room for the new arrivals.  We make plans and give careful consideration to how we will welcome them and make them feel safe and loved. 

And then it's here . . . it's time . . . they're coming.  The arrival is sometimes a bit traumatic.  There is quite often a lot of confusion, a sense of uneasiness and sometimes a bunch of crying (and that's just from the parents and kids).  We might feel like we'll never make it.  We question whether we are adequately prepared for the enormous responsibility.  We question our abilities and wonder if we'll be 'good enough' to complete the task.

Yep, welcoming a batch of new kinders feels mighty close to welcoming a new baby.  And like a new parent, when it's all said and done, when that new batch of kindergarteners (our babies) start making progress, growing and learning beyond our wildest dreams, we, like a new mother, often forget the painful first days (child birth) with our students and how difficult it was.  All the hard work it took to get them where they need to be is a bit of a distant memory as we bask in the beauty of the bright, beautiful kindergartener standing before us ready to embark upon first grade.  But let me tell you, in the fall, after the first day of school, those labor pains are FRESH, and we all question whether we will be able to get them where they need to be, love them enough and give them everything they need.   

Today I experienced those yearly labor pains and felt the excitement of welcoming my newest kindergarten class.  I survived and so did they and . . . we even started laying the ground work for Daily 5 stations by learning routines, procedures and expectations while we explored and practiced using materials.  I'm always of the mindset that it's better to just jump in and get started . . . I breathed through the painful moments.  It was shaky at times, not always pretty and some handled it better than others, but we were all brave enough to give it a go on the first day and we did it.   Tomorrow will be even better and the next day better than the first until these labor pains are a distant memory.  
Alphabetic principle
(Alphabet mat for beginning guided reading)

Until then, I'll leave you with some first day pictures.  

(Pokey Pin Names)

Congratulations on the arrival of your new class.  Enjoy them while they are little, be patient with them (and yourself), because before you know it, it will be May and they'll be all grown up.

(Rainbow writing names)

(More Pokey Pin names!)

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Stitch Fix #8 and A Giveaway

Just in time for Back To School, my Stitch Fix has arrived.  There's just nothing like working in your classroom all day (and feeling like you're still not ready . . .) and coming home to find your favorite box with the big blue circle.

If you're familiar with Stitch Fix, you know exactly what I mean.  If you aren't familiar with Stitch Fix, let me give you a quick run down of how it works.

How It Works:  Stitch Fix is a personal shopping/stylist service that comes right to your door.  All you have to do is fill out a personal style profile and answer a few questions, and then for $20.00 a stylist picks out 5 items of clothing for you to try in the comfort of your own home.  Of course, you stylist takes your personal styling preferences, size, Pinterest style picks and any special events you may have coming up into consideration when planning your fix.  And if you have a hard time 'seeing' how pieces should be worn, they even send you a style guide to show you different ways to wear your 'fix' with items that you may already have in your closet.    If you decide to keep a few or all of the items after trying them on, all you have to do is head on over to their site and check out.  They apply your original $20 to the balance of your 'fix' plus you will earn 25% off you bill if you choose to keep your entire fix.

If you decide not to keep some of the items, just put them in the prepaid shipping bag that is included in your box, slip into to the nearest mailbox with the flag up and you're items are on their way.   Next, go to your account and check out by indicating which items you are going to keep and which you are returning.  It's always good to give LOTS of details about what you liked and what you didn't like so that your next fix is even better.  

Fix #8:  This month I asked my stylist to think 'layers.' Yes, it's going to be hot for the first couple of weeks of school in September, but, generally, it cools down quickly and before you know it, Michigan winter will be upon us.  I also asked her to think of Earth Tones for colors.  This will be the first fix I am actually NOT getting something in that jewel green color.  I was ready to spread my wings a little.

First Up was this Rivera Feather Print Henley Blouse.  The material was very comfortable and the fit was very good.    But somehow, I kind of felt like one of the Golden Girls in this.  I'm not a big fan of large prints, and, even though it might be true, it made me feel like an old lady.   I would have loved this blouse in a solid color, but as it was, it was going back.

Next, my stylist included this Braddon Airy Knit V-Neck Sweater.  I love the weight and feel of this sweater and the color was very versatile.  I could wear it dressed down with a pair of jeans and boots or with a dark pair of slacks and heels.   This one was definitely a keeper!

One of my most favorite pieces from Stitch Fix was a pair of Margaret M Cropped Paints.  I absolutely adore how they fit and feel.  This pair of Eme Diamond Print High Waisted Cropped Pants by Margaret M had the same feel.   I loved how they fit, but I just couldn't get past the print.  So these pants will go back . . . dang I LOVE how they feel though.

My stylist also included this cutie patootie Yelena Colorblock Paneled /Sheath Dress. I loved the colors which were just perfect for me, but it didn't feel like it fit just right.  It felt a little boxy and the hemline was a bit short for kindergarten.  So this is another piece that I'm sending back.

Because you can never have too many sweaters, my stylist also included this Analisa Twisted Seam Mixed Knit Sweater.  She suggested I pair it with a dark pair of pants or jeans.  I didn't think the front on picture did the sweater justice so I had to give you a side view to see the two different mixed knits patterns.  It was loose and and soft, and I kinda loved how comfortable it was when I put it on, so this one is a keeper as well.

So that's this month's Fix.  All in all a pretty good one.  I have two sweaters to start the fall out with and I'm looking forward to finding out what my stylist will include in my next box.

If you'd like to have a chance to have stylist pick out some fabulous pieces JUST for you, why don't you give Stitch Fix a try.  Click HERE to learn more, or click on any of he pictures to take you there.

And here's an easy way to do it.  I'm giving away a gift certificate for $20.00 which will cover the cost of your first Fix.  It's easy to enter, and I promise you, it will be a ton of fun.  So enter below and take a chance. 

And when you're done.  Head over to my blogging bestie Maria from Kinder-Craze to check out her fix this month.  She's having a giveaway too.   So don't miss out.  Enter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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