Wednesday, September 30, 2015

What I'm Wearing ~ September

There's been a little touch of "Fall" in the air around here lately, cooler mornings, days with less humidity, but still lots of sunshine! Here's a few recent pics of what I've been wearing...

Disclaimer: What I'm Wearing is in hopes inspiration for your closet, that I can give you some ideas from what I'm wearing. What fits you doesn't always fit me. What fits me, doesn't always fit you. So, we all know the style of jeans that work best for us, the brands of shoes we love, etc. I'm not a "linker" to buy all of these outfits here. Truth be told, a lot of my clothes are many many years old and I pick up things all around the place. I'm don't update my wardrobe every season with the latest and greatest. Follow me on Instagram (click here) to see what I'm wearing in between the posts. Hopefully you're just inspired, maybe by you have and didn't think about putting it together or maybe you are just looking for a simple accessory to add in and these posts can give you some ideas.

I picked up this dress recently at Forever 21.  It was $12.90. I'm not a big XXI shopper, but bought a poncho sweater in NYC last year, had on too many layers to try on, so took it to the hotel and then realized no refunds at XXI and so I had a credit. I've searched through there quite a few times to no avail. Then, I found this charcoal knit dress and I really don't have anything this length. It can go sleeveless, with a cardigan, heels, flip flops, boots, booties, whatever, so I'm pretty sure I will get my $12.90's worth.
This Anthropologie jacket is over a year old, but it is still one of my favorites, and another one piece in my closet that goes with anything.  This day was with cowboy boots to speak at and judge a County Fair Queen pageant!  Can also be seen (here) and (here).
This was my Easter dress this year and repeated recently on Sunday. It is a Marshall's dress and I repeated it exactly as I did for Easter. All of the details are also in this post (click here) of Spring Style, which translates into early Fall too!
I've mentioned this shirt before (click here) and it has been on repeat....with shorts, heels and boots! This statement necklace is from Junk Gypsy and the skinny leopard belt is from Old Navy. This was for a night out to dinner celebrating my new job!
Point proven.... 
I love a romper, but have a hard time with them due to my height and being short-waisted. However, Old Navy came through with this one in a fun gray fall floral pattern and in tall size!  I wore it for church one Sunday. Long sleeves and shorts is one of my favorite combos, so this was an easy choice. If you own a romper, you know the only negative...bathroom breaks.
I picked up these leggings last year on clearance at Target, and they have been on repeat evenings and weekends. They are pretty much like a t-shirt in the form of pants and that is a win! This day was part of an intentional weekend of rest after long, hectic, stressful days and I sat in Starbucks with my first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season and read while my dog was groomed.
Last look, school day in a pair of my favorite pants, that are also so comfy. They have about every color in them and go with denim, stripes, solids and this day polka-dots. I bought these on  porch during Texas Antiques Week in Round Top which is going on now too!
Here's hoping for days with the trifecta coming soon...cardigan, scarf and boot/ies!

Happy Fall!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Lettering Lately

Here's a few updates of what I've been lettering lately.....

This one was for an Assistant Principal at my school, with school colors. Canvas is 12"x16"
These 3 12" squares are going over a set of french doors in a family room. Every time I paint I think about the words....where they will go in a space and what they is truly a privilege to create words for home and to gift.
This one is for an adoption celebration. Little Izzy is so loved. As per usual, the iPhone doesn't capture the real colors well, but this was coral, turquoise and gold, and is 16"x20".  You can also see it peeking out from the 3 above.  Has been a busy month of lettering! :)
Our school officer saw the Asst Principal canvas and wanted one too. Since I've created 7 more of these for ISD officers.  I gave this to her on 9/11, also my last day at school, and was just reminded again the sacrifice First Responders make on a daily basis from streets to schools.  Thankful for them and again, honored so many have asked me to create for them.
Sweet little Oliver. I love seeing pieces in their places! His name block (4"x 12") is on a bookshelf in the cutest Harry Potter themed nursery. This little one is special, I babysat his Mama starting when she was 6 weeks old! I love itty-bitty-tiny-newborn babies!!
Speaking of families, this canvas (18"x24") was for a 50th Wedding Anniversary that was a surprise. I loved the numeric counts on this representing years and family, but also the countless memories, blessings and love they have.  50 Years is a legacy, and so thankful for those who persevere together through life's ups and downs, they are a role model for us all!
And, this is a sneak peek for a bride who's getting married this weekend! They will be married in an outdoor ceremony and this is a piece to their decor. I can't wait to see it all together. Finished pic coming next post!
A couple more projects are in the works and I'm always taking orders. Remember for ideas and previous posts click (here) to Lettered Art on the blog homepage.


Friday, September 18, 2015

Book Review: If You Feel Too Much

I found Jamie Tworkowski because of Twitter. I love the internet for reasons like this. The first tweet I saw was between Dave Barnes and Jamie, so I clicked to Jamie's profile and found out about TWLOHA and his recently released book, If You Feel Too Much, which I immediately added to my reading list.  I started talking about this book with a friend, we both ordered it, have had one discussion about it and I'm sure many more will follow.  And, another friend ordered it too after I texted her a picture of one particular page.

I read the foreword by Donald Miller, and immediately had out my highlighter. I have a deep passion for authenticity. To know and be known. Everyone can't know me to the core and I can't know everyone to the core, but I can be authentic and real and honest. I know some days you fake it until you make it, but coming out behind the act and being real is what connects us most.
(Click to enlarge any pics so you can read the excerpts from the book)
IYFTM (If You Feel Too Much) is a book about community. The importance of people. We need people. People need us. Family. Friends. Dating. Married. Relationships are hard. All with their own struggles. But our story matters (I wrote about stories during last year's #Write31Days challenge), even when the story is hard, there's purpose and Jamie continuously pushes reader to believe there is purpose in each person's story. He is authentic in his struggle with depression, seeking help and learning how to deal when he feels too much.  He wants the reader to know, their story matters and no story is worth being cut short.
Friendships are such a gift. Friendships can also be so hard. I am deeply loyal to my friends and often disappointed and hurt when loyalty isn't returned. I let my feelings get hurt and I have a bestie who also is easily disappointed. She and I talk through this regularly, how to be gracious to others, how to keep being a friend when someone else isn't a friend. Jamie gives examples of good friendships, hard friendships and broken friendships but each he's learned from, grown from and mended through tears and honest conversations.
People weave the fabric of our stories. I love coffee shops and sunsets and road trips and airports and songs and most all of them are connected to people because people have met me in those places and walked along side me through seasons of life. 
Loving people is messy. I don't always do it well. But, there is grace and this reminded is a privilege to connect with others, and friendship is one of life's greatest gifts.
Speaking of love, dating relationships can seem to be the ones that tear us apart the most. I have an email from a friend years and years ago about dating: every time you agree to date someone it is a risk. A messy risk. I'm not married so I can't speak to that, but I have lots of friends who are and have seen great marriages and messy marriages. No matter what the relationship, love is a choice. Every day. Jamie makes no secret of his desire for marriage and finding his wife. As someone who also desires marriage and finding her husband, I can relate to these pieces of his story. And, I have been most disappointed in dating relationships. I know that other person isn't perfect. I know their story matters and I know even if they were my husband they would still disappoint me, and I them. But, again, I am reminded love is a choice. Jamie speaks to love several times throughout the book and these were some of my favorite lines.
And, they are familiar lines, lines spoken over weddings for centuries. 
Love is patient. 
Love is kind. 
Love bears all things. 
Love believes all things. 
Love hopes all things. 
Love endures all things.
Love never ends. 
{1 Corinthians 13:4-8}

What if we really believed those lines in our every day life?
In how we see ourselves and our story. 
In how we see others and their story. 

How do we create authentic relationships? Jamie gives great advice, for both sides of the relationship. Be honest and invite them to do the same. Create a space where people see their value and know their tomorrow matters, despite the disappointments of this world. Keep dreaming and going. 

Jamie and his organization, To Write Love On Her Arms, have had great impact and influence in suicide awareness and prevention. I've known people who committed suicide and friends who have dealt with this in their families. God is a big fan of today. The sun does keep rising. Jamie gives an honest look into the struggle to realize that when you're down, and he gives hope into showing up for people. And, people showing up for him. Community. It matters.  

If you feel like this life is too much, please ask for help. 
There is no shame in asking for help. 
Click herehere or here.
Despite his struggles in the space he finds himself - delivering a message of hope and people and community Jamie often finds himself lonely. I applaud his resolve to keep putting one foot in front of the other and to navigate the difficult and the beautiful. Just today, Jamie wrote an open letter to the Atlanta Hawks in regards to an Ashley Madison parody video they released. His letter was met with mocking and controversy. One girl wrote back she's been without her father for 29 days because of Ashley Madison and choices and consequences. His response, "If it was only for her, then i'm glad i did it". One person at a time. Their story. My story. Your story. They matter.  Keep pressing on.

Jamie, thank you for an honest look at humanity. For being authentic. For challenging people. For fighting when it's hard. And, reminding us to do the same. I will be talking about this book, it has reminded me how important showing up is, how my story matters and I will definitely recommend this book to others. Keep dreaming your dreams. And, if you find yourself in Houston, I'd love for you to be sitting across the table in the coffee shop telling your story.

Let's be honest, authentic, real, show up and fight for each other.
The sun is going to come up. Our tomorrows matter.

See you tomorrow,

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The only thing that stays the same....

Somewhere around the turn of the millennium and the panic of anticipation for how computers and all things electronic would function as of 12:00:00 January 1, 2000 a guy named Spencer Johnson wrote the book Who Moved My Cheese.  Shortly after the new millennium I remember being assigned a work "book study" of this book with the anticipation that it would be life changing for all of us. As if we would find ourselves in these brief pages.

It wasn't. 

Big life change doesn't scare me. It doesn't make me wonder what in the world is going to happen. I always look toward an opportunity. I am a builder. I love the challenge of new; creating and developing programs, training, problem solving, designing and implementing systems and  teaching those around me along the way.

{In fact in Tulsa, Oklahoma on December 31, 1999 after spending the day at the World's Richest Calf Roping we went out for a bit and then took to the streets to see what happened when the clock struck the year 2000. Nothing happened. Every red light, fast food restaurant, cell phone and electric switch still worked. I could only think of all those people who had been in such a panic for YEARS leading up to the change.}

Through the years what I have learned there is one constant in life: change.   
Last year as I packed up my classrooms for the summer I had a feeling I wasn't going back to my school in my same position. I had interviewed for a different position at the end of school, but didn't have the years of experience teaching to qualify. I didn't really tell anyone about this, I just knew what was meant to be for me would work out.  I prayed about it over the summer and had a mentor who prayed some very specific things for me as well in July based on my interest, passion and experience. 

As summer was coming to an end, I got a message from a friend about an opening, that would likely fit my skills and combine my classroom and corporate experience.  I applied online and found myself back in my suit the day before my birthday and less than a week before I was due back to work. The following Monday I went back to work, knowing in the back of my mind all things could be about to change.  
After a week of In-service on Friday afternoon before school started on Monday I had the official word. Change was coming. However, I had school to start on Monday, 100+ students coming through my door, 4 various classes to teach through the day and a couple of HR calls to make as well.  I had my room minimally ready, though most of my personal things were still in boxes.
I sat down with my Principal on the second day of school...I had an offer, and would be breaking my contract.  That meeting was fine, I set a last day at school and went on about my day, prepping for the next days classes all the while working on plans for what we've been doing in 4 various classes and  suggestions going forward for the new teacher to keep classes going. A couple of days later, I got a note in my mailbox from my Mom,she sent it the day of my meeting, specifically praying for my change.
Only a handful of people knew change was coming. Those who had prayed for me throughout my interview process and a very few friends at school. I went to our first Football game on Friday night, one week of school done, two weeks to go for me. I was surrounded by dear friends I've made at work and watched our students truly shine. This is the first year for a Senior class, we celebrated the first touchdown of the season, watched the fight in our athletes on the field after a hard year, our fine arts programs performances, the cheers from the student section and the stands were packed full. Brick by brick, the programs and campus have grown. Brick by brick I grew in education too, and that Football game was such a picture of all things from my years in the classroom.
But my passion lies deeper. I believe there is a gap - students who aren't equipped for college or careers upon completion of High School. Students who are missing practical skills and applying what they have learned. Graduation from High School is a student's greatest accomplishment to that date in their lives. They should be ready, not fearful for change into college or a career. 

It is our job to equip them. 

So, that's what I'm going to do at the largest ISD in Texas. Work with programs that are equipping teachers with Corporate experience to apply in their classrooms and partnering with local businesses to offer students real world internships to apply their classroom knowledge.  The perfect mix of my corporate and education experience.

Embracing change, 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

What I'm Wearing ~ Back to Life, Back to Reality

So, the end of summer has come, and it's back to work and back to routine. Fortunately, we have a week of In-service, which helps with the adjustment and prolongs the "professional attire" for one more week.

So, I started back to "school" aka In-service like leggings and T's most every day of the week. A couple of days were jeans and school shirts, but nothing too formal. Mix prints for more fun!
Old Navy star sweatshirt, Target Mossimo T and leggings
And another day..."dressed" this up with my new necklace, a sweet birthday present from a friend. Just FYI if you're looking for printed leggings at Target, they are in the "regular clothes" not in the workout clothes.  A helpful sales girl got these off the mannequin for me, and her words "Yes, we have leggings in regular section now because people wear them for regular clothes.". Ha! Not sure what that says about us, but heck, some days are just leggings days so they might as well be printed and cute.  :)
Target T& Leggings, Walmart Earrings and Kendra Scott necklace
This is one of those versatile sundresses. I wore it during Rodeo with boots (as seen here) and again this summer with wedges for Sunday church.  I am 5'9", so when I feel like dress might be a little short, I toss on a little lace skirt under for safety. :) Same earrings and necklace as above -- from leggings to a dress. 
Target dress, Splendid wedges, Walmart earrings, Kendra Scott Necklace
This was my first day of school outfit.  Seersucker and wedges. This dress was one I have worn before on Sunday for church. As of 10:20 pm on Sunday night before going back to school (with students there) I hadn't put sheets on my bed, made my lunch or picked out what I was wearing. This was a last minute-Monday-morning decision. 
Target dress, Jessica Simpson wedges from DSW, Walmart earrings
I love a cardigan. At this point I'm ready for the fall trifecta: cardigan, scarf and boot/ie. Target had all cardigans on sale for $15 recently (never buy a full price cardigan there -they will go on sale) and I picked this one up. This is the same T as above with leggings, and worked perfect for a school day because the AC has returned to full speed and my classrooms are chilly!
Target cardi & T, Loft skirt, Kendra Scott earrings, Beautiful and Beloved necklace, BCBG pumps
Of course it hasn't been all work and no play. We have seen a couple of evenings that have hit the 70's and that's reason enough for me to pull out a tank + sweater + shorts.  All very unreasonable if you ask my nephew, shorts and long sleeves don't go together. #boys True story, this sweater is one I've had in a Resale pile, but I think it might make the cut to keep for this year...
Target Tank, Old Navy cutoffs, Splendid gold wedges, Ables Mercantile clutch, Kendra Scott necklace
It told the story of this Lilly for Target dress here, and wore it again for Sunday church.  I do love the back of this dress, fun detail for a simple shift.  Earrings are from Sam Moon, if you've not shopped there, they have lots of "look-a-likes" for $3.50! You should check it out!  #BargainShopper For 2 summers and counting Splendid wedges have been my go-to and looks like they will repeat for next year too! Classic cognac stands test of time and simple design also lasts through trends.
Lily for Target dress, Sam Moon earrings and Splendid wedges.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Back to School: Grown Up Supply List

My name is Angie. I love school supplies and office supplies.

Even though it's only been a couple of years that I have officially gone "back to school" every year when school supplies appear in July, I find my happy place in those aisles.  This goes way back, like to when I had a school room and bank in my bedroom and I ran both of those with great precision of paper shuffling. Each business required ample supplies and I loved all of them and begged teachers for extra mimeograph copies (purple ink if you were not born in the 70's) of worksheets and any blank check of sample or some canceled/non-existing account. Of course I needed pens to grade papers and write/process checks.

And I still love pens. Specifically Pilot G2 038. So much so that I put my crazy on full display when I yelled asked out loud in a meeting room "who had taken my pen and that it was a Pilot G2 038", :| #keepingitreal #owningit I mean really, there's more G2s in the world, but they are my favorite and I'm loyal to them.

Recently at TJMaxx I found this acryllic drawer organizer in the bath section and took a pen out of my pencil bag in my purse to test out the drawers and if it would work for me. #repurpose So, what's in it?  All of my Crayola twistables that I use for my journaling Bible. Also, my Flair pens, Micron pens and a few others I use for lettering projects and journaling. It's perfect and I leave it out on my bar and reach into it regularly for a favorite pen!

Here's a collection of things I've picked up lately that are all bargains and deals and perfect for the home "office" desk! I've collected these over a couple of months, so threw them together for a pic. Most are from Marshall's/TJ Maxx, they have great paper and books, but you have to check the stores regularly because inventory always changes. Any of these items could also double as a gift. I often buy things like this ahead for gifts when I see them and have it ready when for a birthday or other occasion.
Choose Happy Book - great gift and good quotes on choosing happy - TJ Maxx
Small gray notebooks - TJ Maxx - perfect for gifts and keep one in your bag to take notes on the run
2016 small desk calendar - Marshall's 
Fun binder clips - Marshall's 
Write on cocktail napkins - Marshall's 
Pause coffee cup - Marshall's 
Thank you cards - Marshall's - used them all up for my birthday blessings! #sendsnailmail
Ruler -Office Depot - who has great back to school really cheap deals!
Polka dot envelopes - Office Depot - great for keeping coupons or receipts handy and organized 
More G2 pens and now they come in metallic!! Swoon!! - Office Depot 
Note cards - Michael's - $1 bin 
G2 Pencils - what?! - Target
Blessed is she who believed notebooks - May Designs - on their 50% off sale

The week before I went back to work I met up with one of my besties who has two sweet littles going to Kindergarten and 1st grade and she gave me this back to school gift, which teachers of her littles will also receive!  Green (my fav color) pen, notebook and cool arrow push-pins.  This was a fun surprise, and helped start my year off "write"!
Finally, the planner. In 2015 I have tried the Day Designer - didn't love it, the Ink Well Press - better than DD, but still didn't love it, and now picked up the Happy Planner from Create 365 which is also available at Hobby Lobby and Michael's. It is a "bargain" at $24.99 compared to most other online planners (I had an Erin Condren teacher planner last year) which range from $50 and up, BUT you can use your 40% off coupon making it about $14! AND, if you're a teacher, you get extra % off at Michael's!  #bargainshopper

What I like about this planner...
- pages are removable 
- there are all kinds of additions to the planner: folders, paper, extra months, budget, stickers, etc 
- lots of good quotes throughout and I love a good quote! 
- monthly reflection page
- morning, afternoon, evening layout - this is up for debate if this will really work for be continued
- no lines!! on monthly calendar page or on weekly blocks! 
For all of you who just bought $$$$ of school supplies, you might not  want to look at another "supply", but find a pen you love, pick up some fun note cards, send snail mail and schedule out some time for yourself. You've earned it! 

*Please imagine this was all handwritten with a Pilot G2 038 because that's really how I prefer to write. :)