Polka Dot.Com

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You can never go wrong with black and white. People are constantly throwing parties with black and white themes because black and white clothes are easily accessible. People buy black and white for work, interviews, church functions and the list goes on. Therefore, I keep black and white stored away for those occasions that call for the neutral colors I generally shy away from.

This number was found on the clearance racks at a small store called Shasta. It was reasonably priced and a quick find for a 40th birthday celebration. Like most of my dresses, I tried to find something that was multi-purpose. I figured I could always pair it with a pair of white canvas tennis shoes or heels. This dress could serve as attire for a party, a picnic or to hang out on The Boardwalk. When shopping, do you think long term and  look for versatile pieces or do you buy attire to satisfy the need in that moment?

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Polka Dot Power

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Can we talk comfortable, cute and casual? This number from New York and Company is a must have if you love polka dots and maxi dresses. This dress is definitely multi-purpose. It can be worn to church, work, dinner and can even be worn as a cute, casual spring look if you’re going out for coffee or lunch.

Initially, I wanted to get the length of this dress altered but after putting it on and wearing it out of the house, I realized I loved the flow of it. It drags the ground but it’s not so long that I find myself tripping over it. I also like the fact that it is a full wrap dress that can withstand the wind without revealing anything and it allows me to move freely.

Similar to the last number, the dots are sizable which makes the dress more lively. I prefer longer dresses and skirts because it gives a slimmer appeal. And by the way, I always look for blue and white polka dots first. Do you have a preference of colors when selecting polka dots? Do you like prints and patterns or do you stick to the basics?

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Patterns and Polka Dots

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My love affair with polka dots today is as strong as America’s love affair was with polka dots in the 1920’s. While polka dots are popular for kids, I have always been obsessed with the playful pattern. Polka dots are very feminine and “extra”. It’s definitely a pattern that helps you stand out in a crowd.

During the month of September, I’m going to sport some of my favorite polka dot outfits. I’ll start with this little number I found on Amazon. I loved this dress not only because of the polka dots but also the mixture of patterns and colors. Initially, I purchased this to wear to church and/or work but after receiving it, I discovered that was not going to happen. Although it was a cute number, I did not find it appropriate for either setting. However, I was so fixated with this dress that I decided it would be used for date night. This dress has enough stretch to hug all your curves and the length is perfect for taller women. The split in the front definitely adds a layer of sexiness to the dress. While this dress did not become my first Sunday communion uniform, it was definitely a date night hit.

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Cancun, Quintana Roo

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Every summer we take a family trip and this summer was no different. This year we pulled out the passports and headed to Cancun, Quintana Roo. After having completed my first graduate class, this trip definitely gave me a renewed strength. And it also gave me an opportunity to cross some things off of my bucket list.

Being the only female in my household results in me taking many adventures. Because of this, I know being dainty is not in the agenda. This year was no different. In my mind, we would relax on the beach, enjoy a few cocktails and watch sunrises and sunsets. In fact, I searched long and hard for cute bathing suits for lounging purposes. And then, I was presented with the agenda. It was nothing I would have imagined doing in Cancun.

Day one, we got settled and sat on the balcony relaxing and enjoying our view of the beach. Then we went to a nearby restaurant and had the most amazing, authentic mexican food ever. Day two is when the games started. We went from riding ATVs to ziplining to horse back riding to swimming in the Cenote’. Lord knows I was out of my comfort zone, but I was not one to ruin the party. I went through one adventure after another faking it. When it was done, I was happy I had gone through each experience. When my husband asked if I would ever do it again, my reply was, “If I never do it again, I will always be able to say I’ve done it once.”

Activities for days three and four were more relatable to me. On day three we spent time during the day shopping at Mercado 28. That evening we went to the nightly food festival at Parque las Palapas for more authentic mexican food. We ate and drank until we could barely walk anymore. From tacos to nachos to churros to cotton candy, we wanted to delight in everything. The next day (day four) we took a ferry ride across to Isla Mujeres and rented a golf cart to drive around on the island. We decided to take a break and enjoy lunch before heading to the beach for pure relaxation. The water was blue, the sun was bright and the noise was calming. I’m not sure which one, but one member of our party of three was so relaxed they went to sleep before making it to the water.

By the time we left Cancun, I was so relaxed I didn’t want to go back to adulting. The trip was so refreshing and relaxing it made me lose sight of my professional commitments and obligations to myself for a brief minute. The calm I experienced gave me an opportunity to really understand how important it is to clear my mind of clutter. This trip brought me so much more than an exciting adventure, it magnified my awareness of the importance of self care. What are some of your favorite places to visit when you want to clear your mind?

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Quirky Teacher Habits

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Summer Break is officially over and the kiddos are back in the mix. It’s amazing how students are able to pick up on the habits of their teachers in a very short period of time. They notice EVERYTHING and will quickly go home and tell their parents. They seem to believe our conventions are created for their entertainment. Listed below are five of my habits students and colleagues have picked up on and find quite hilarious.

  1. I eat two boiled eggs almost every single weekday during the school year. I usually treat myself two Fridays out of the month to something different and more exciting.
  2. I keep a log/journal of what I wear to work daily.
  3. All chairs in certain areas of my classroom must match. All the chairs assigned to student desks are a match. All chairs assigned to tables match.
  4. I do not keep Kleenex in the classroom for students because I prefer they step outside the room to blow their nose. Restrooms are literally outside of my door. Leave please!
  5. No matter what content area I am teaching, students are required to have a book available in my classroom and keep a reading log.

What are some of your daily practices? Do you have routines or do you simply ride the wave? Do you change your patterns of behavior when away from work? As crazy as these things seem, the people around me have become accustomed to them very quickly. I’ve had a teacher actually go to my journal and write down my outfit for the day and the kids always inquire about my eggs.

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45 Trips Around the Sun

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Birthdays are occasions that should be celebrated. Whether it’s a party, small intimate dinner or just a group of the people closest to you singing the obligatory, “Happy Birthday”, I think it’s an honor for people to acknowledge the day God gifted you to your loved ones.

Sunday, I celebrated my 45th birthday. And while it did not consist of a typical birthday celebration for our household, my family tried their best to make sure I had an opportunity to relax.

This year I decided to do something totally different in recognizing my 45 years. Since I’ve accomplished most of my goals set at the beginning of the year, I decided to establish 45 goals for MY NEW YEAR in celebration of my 45 trips around the sun.

  1. Read 45 books.
  2. Complete my graduate program.
  3. Celebrate/Acknowledge an accomplishment of an immediate family member at least once a month.
  4. Become more intentional in telling people, “Thank you” and “I love you”.
  5. Cherish every moment with my son as he moves into his senior year. The beginning of the end of this chapter…
  6. Take the time to make others feel important.
  7. Exercise more often.
  8. Go to a professional football game.
  9. Become more involved in volunteer/service projects.
  10. Rid myself of things that serve no purpose in my life (this includes people).
  11. Blog consistently.
  12. Start/Join a book club.
  13. Learn how to swim.
  14. Clean out every closet in my house.
  15. Pay off credit card debt.
  16. Spend more time with my parents.
  17. Take family portraits before the time comes and my son can tell me he’s not going to do it.
  18. Get a massage.
  19. Take one trip every season.
  20. Create a photo gallery/room in my house.
  21. Worry less (God is in control).
  22. Take my youngest Goddaughter on a trip.
  23. Carve a pumpkin.
  24. Go roller skating.
  25. Learn to really love my flaws.
  26. Go on a picnic.
  27. Create albums of family vacations.
  28. Host a garage sale.
  29. Go to the beach.
  30. Color
  31. Host a game night.
  32. Take a cooking class.
  33. Go to the gun range.
  34. Go to an open mic night.
  35. Try yoga.
  36. Go on a family bike ride.
  37. Go to the rodeo.
  38. Pick strawberries.
  39. Make homemade popsicles/cool cups.
  40. Go to the movies.
  41. Create a senior year scrapbook for the kiddo.
  42. Be the loudest parent at my son’s sporting events.
  43. Learn how to cook pancakes and waffles.
  44. Attend a dance class/session
  45. Laugh more.

Whew! That’s a lot to do in 365 days. I need an accountability partner to see how well I’m doing on this journey of appreciating life. What are some of your goals or things on your bucket list to do?

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Be You

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Summer break has passed and we, educators, are back in the swing of things. Day one of learning was filled with activities to help us understand and identify who we are and who we are aspiring to become. We did one particular activity that required us to write a personal mission statement and I was shocked by how much my values have changed over the years. We were posed with three questions and my responses made me realize how simple life can be when we stop letting worldly things get the best of us. When answering these questions (see below), I simply let my heart guide my thoughts and I am proud of who I am becoming.

  • What brings a smile to your face? Response: God’s grace, my family, genuine relationships/friendships, and impacting the lives of students.
  • What is important to you? Response: God’s love and forgiveness, family, seeing kids progress, helping others, peace of mind, self-care and being the version of me.
  • If there was no concern about pay, what would you be doing? Response: ministry that includes serving and meeting the needs of others such as feeding the needy/homeless, stay at home mom, coaching, tutoring, supporting/assisting students with getting accepted into college.

By answering these questions I was able to develop a personal mission statement that read: I exist to become a faithful steward for God, the best wife, mother and supporter, while impacting the lives of students (young and old), I will do this without neglecting myself and my own well being.

This was a great start to the beginning of the school year. Although this was a personal mission statement, I know this is going to be very beneficial to my professional career.

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The Pain of Peace

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“The journey into self-love and self-acceptance must begin with self-examination…until you take the journey of self-reflection, it is almost impossible to grow or learn in life.” Iyanla Vanzant

The picture above is typical me. I am often alone, minding my business and avoiding drama. When I was younger my parents would tell me, “Mind your own business and you won’t have any issues with people.” I went through school following that rule. I never had a lot of friends or associates and therefore I never dealt with “he say, she say” foolishness. I went through life thinking this was acceptable. I wasn’t causing anybody any harm so it was all good. My life was peaceful.

Last week, while completing several self-assessments/reflections, I started to notice a pattern. No matter what type of assessment I completed, it kept suggesting or revealing to me I had a difficult time interacting with others and forming relationships. One assessment even revealed I was considered “high task, low people” suggesting I am more than capable of getting a job done but with little regard for others. The “high task” was not shocking to me as I create a “To Do” list for personal and professional responsibilities weekly. But with little regard for people????!?

These assessments made me question why I don’t enjoy forming bonds with others. Am I living by my parents’ rules or do I have layers of scars that cause me to fear interpersonal relationships? Is there a lack of trust? Do I feel I give more than I receive in relationships? Do I find my priorities to be more important than relationships? I’ve lived most of my life excited about the fact that I don’t have drama but this new revelation saddened me. As an educator and a mother, how can I teach quality relationships if I’ve failed to build any? Last week I spent a few moments feeling empty but I was thankful for being able to recognize my deficiency and attempt to develop it. I am now looking forward to rediscovering myself. I’m going to make a conscious effort in the next six months to come out of my shell and find a few quality connections to help me enjoy this life. While I’ve enjoyed my peace for years, I’m starting to realize it’s caused me a little bit of pain.

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Summer Bucket List

DSCF6939Now that the school year has officially ended and I’ve completed my required summer trainings, I’m ready to settle down and create a routine that embraces and affords allotted times for my new commitments. Even with new endeavors ahead of me, there are still some fun and relaxing things I want to take the time and enjoy this summer. If I achieve them all, GREAT! If not, I’ll have fun trying.

  1. Eat a bowl of cereal – While this seems very simple, eating a bowl of cereal is difficult for me. I am not a morning person so I plan my mornings with having  enough time to leave the house and arrive to my destination on time, without having to rush to get there. This means I often eat breakfast in the car and we all know eating cereal and driving is not a good idea. If you know me, you know sitting and having a bowl of cereal means I am in a mode of total relaxation. Eating a bowl of cereal means my day is going to be slow and deliberate. These are days I can stop and smell the roses. I am hoping to eat a bowl of cereal at least twice a week this summer.
  2. Attend an Astros game – I have not been to an Astros game since I was a kid. Even after winning the World Series title, I still failed to jump on the bandwagon and support the home team. This summer I would like to revisit my childhood by going to a game and enjoying peanuts and a Dr. Pepper while sitting in Minute Maid Park with the roof open.
  3. Take another wine tour – I am definitely what one would consider a social drinker so I don’t know much about wines and whatnot. However, after attending a couple of wine tours/tastings, I have enjoyed assessing different wines. What I’ve discovered about myself is while I dislike blueberries, I love wines with blueberry flavor.
  4. Read at least six books – My reading has fallen off in the last couple of years. I use to read 2-3 books/month. Now I read 5-6 books a year. I want to get back into the habit of reading and enhancing my knowledge of different topics. One of the reasons my reading has fallen off is because I’ve expanded my choice of reading selections. At one point my library consisted of mostly drama and erotica. I am now reading more self help, nonfiction books and children’s fiction. This adjustment has caused some delays in my reading goals but I’m very task-oriented so I’ll make myself uncomfortable to achieve this goal even if it’s only for the sake of satisfaction and elation.
  5. Attend a drive-thru movie – Again, this is another pastime favorite. As a young girl, this was one of our monthly outings as a family. My small family went to a drive-thru movie a few years back. My son really enjoyed the movies while my husband and I enjoyed relaxing, napping and the concessions. It was a very quiet evening and time well spent with the ones I love.
  6. Participate in restaurant week – Restaurant week occurs around the time of my birthday. I usually pick a new restaurant to enjoy dinner for my birthday but this year I would like to make an effort to try at least four to five new restaurants during this time. I will probably go during lunch hours since the prices are slightly lower. I know the portions are smaller but I would rather a sample before spending the big bucks.
  7. Take an impromptu trip – My trips are usually planned well in advance. I want to pack a bag and take a small getaway at the spur of the moment this summer. It doesn’t have to be a far away destination, it can actually be a staycation. I just want a chance for a different scenery for a brief moment.
  8. Attend an outdoor concert – I attended my first concert a couple of years ago and I would have never imagined having the fun I had. I love music but I am not a fan of crowds so I didn’t know if I would be able to relax and focus on the music instead of the people. My husband and I were were able to get seats with very few people behind us and even fewer people on the same row. Since I love being outdoors, I want to combine my passion for music with being outdoors.
  9. Improve my photography skills – I took a photography class some years ago. I was able to meet some dynamic people and many potential photographers. I learned so many things I was doing wrong not only in taking pictures but having others take pictures of me. I practiced a lot after taking that class but in an area like photography, I need reinforcement. Because I did not continue to practice the craft, I went back to just snapping pictures.
  10. Use my passport again – The process for my passport was quite overwhelming. Due to some name changes that were undocumented, it was a tedious process for me to gather paperwork to support the name listed on my ID versus the name on my birth certificate. With all the trouble I went through just to get the passport, I think I owe myself a few more stamps.

What are your plans for the summer? Are you planning fun-filled activities, trying something for the first time or are you “just coolin”?

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Summer??? Is That You?

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With less than two weeks to go in the school year, I am anticipating the last day of school. In an effort to leave on the last school day when the clock strikes 12:00 (noon that is), I have started my own check out procedures. I am looking forward to taking time away from other’s kids and spending more time with my own. I want to have a moment of selfishness and relax, focus on my family and live life as if I have not a worry in the world. Yes, it’s safe to say I am looking forward to summer (break)!

My summer break has to include trips to the beach. I can’t swim but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to go to the beach and listen to the sound of the waves. The sound of water mixed with laughter is pure joy to me. And besides hearing sounds of pleasure, I also like putting on a cute bathing suit.

Another reason I look forward to summer is the thrill of taking our summer vacation. We finally narrowed our options down to two choices and before summer ends, I will surely post about our destination of choice and the fun we had.

In the midst of finalizing travel plans, taking a trip to the beach, coaching and starting school, again, I am looking forward to having down time. I am planning to catch up on my reading, watch all the reruns of Law and Order until I fall asleep, go to the gym for Zumba classes, and lounge around the house listening to my son’s stale jokes. Oh, and I plan to intake at least half of calories I burn at the gym eating “fun foods”. Hurry up and come through summer, this girl has been waiting on you!

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