Home for the Holidays {Boston Bloggers}

Last weekend, I spent my Saturday at an incredible blogging event - Wayfair's Home for the Holidays! This event, hosted by Boston Bloggers and Wayfair, was a fantastic day of events all geared towards bloggers, managing content, and cultivating friendships - new and old!

beautiful home for the holidays swag
beautiful tree with beautiful gifts from Wayfair
The day kicked off with an opening session about content from Christiane Lemieux and Heather Armstrong and then led into 4 amazing workshops - complete with SEO pointers, table setting with Abby Larson, and a few awesome DIY projects! 

in the seo session - helpful and well done!
do i spy a pendant banner?
and a basket full of awesome crafting tools?
part of the tablescape that I helped to create!
eee! loved playing with the table setting!
We enjoyed a delicious lunch from Kitchen Surfing and ended the day with an awesome cocktail party sponsored by Andegavia wines and left with a parting gift from Wayfair. The offices were incredible, the sessions were inspiring, and as always - spending time with my fellow Boston Bloggers was so much fun! 

so delicious!
signed cookbook from Jeremy Sewall and a delicious glass of andegavia wine
my super fun gift from Wayfair!
The conference was such a blast and so inspiring! I'll be posting more in the next few weeks about table settings and DIY holiday season crafts! You can also look forward to a fun series featuring my new gift from Wayfair!

How are you getting ready for the holidays? Starting to decorate? Planning new traditions? Thanksgiving - and the official start of the season - is less than 2 weeks away!
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READ THIS! {The Dinner}

October's READ THIS! choice was a selection from Herman Koch, The Dinner...

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Amazon described it as, "An internationally bestselling phenomenon: the darkly suspenseful, highly controversial tale of two families stuggling to make the hardest decision of their lives - all over the course of one meal. It's a summer's evening in Amsterdam, and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant for dinner. Between mouthfuls of food and over the scrapings of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of polite discourse. But behind the empty words, terrible things need to be said, and with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened. Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son. The two boys are united by their accountability for a single horrific act; an act that has triggered police investigation and shattered the comfortable, insulated worlds of their families. As the dinner reaches it culinary climax, the conversation finally touches on their children. As civility and friendship disintegrate, each couple show just how far they are willing to go to protect those they love. Skewering everything from parenting values to pretentious menus to political convictions, this novel reveals the dark side of genteel society and asks what each of us would do in the face of unimaginable tragedy."

This book, set up to provide intrigue and action, to pull in the reader to a dark and scary world - falls short and fails to deliver what it promised. The Dinner wasn't all bad, but this story - of two brothers and their families - also wasn't great. The story surrounds a dinner between the two brothers and their wives - one brother a quiet teacher and the other a more gregarious politician. The dinner takes place after their sons have been involved in a horrific crime that authorities are investigating. The majority of the book discusses nothing really relating to the dinner and the crime. Instead, we spend most of the novel listening to the narrator describe things in the restaurant, tells us about his life, or complain about how his life is - and we don't even find out what the horrific crime is until more than halfway through the book. 

Overall, I enjoyed the plot, but thought the delivery of it left quite a bit to be desired as it moved too slowly and kept too much at bay from the reader. Did you read The Dinner? What did you think about it? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

And now, November's READ THIS book, We Were Liars by E. Lockhart...

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Amazon describes this book as, "A beautiful and distinguished family. A private island. A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy. A group of four friends - the Liars - whose frienship turns destructive. A revolution. An accident. A secret. Lies upon lies. True love. The truth. We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from New York Times bestselling author, National Book Award finalist, and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. Read it. And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE."

A few friends of mine have read this book and absolutely fell in love with it. It is sitting on my nightstand now, and I can't wait to dive into what is sure to be an amazing novel!

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It's All in the Details

One of my favorite office details are my jumbo painted wooden clothespins...


I was wandering through Michael's one late August evening when I spotted a bin of raw wooden clothespins. And I didn't just 'spot them.' Oh no, I saw them and fell in love. What would I do with jumbo clothespins, you ask? At the moment, I had no idea but I knew that I had to have them and that they needed to be a part of my school office space.

spot the clothespins on the right by the corkboard!
So, I bought the clothespins, and some Martha glitter paint, and when I got home I grabbed some other craft paint, washi tape (I was out of painter's tape), a paintbrush and a ruler with pencil.


Then, I measured out a line on the first clothespin - one line on each side of the clothespin, and taped it off. I didn't have painter's tape but the washi tape worked wonderfully.


And then I painted!



I put about three coats of the glitter paint, waiting approximately 15 minutes between each coat, before declaring this clothespin fully painted.


With the other clothespin, I measured and taped off, and then painted just the bottom for the "dipped" look.




I also put a few coats of paint on the "dipped" clothespin, waiting about 15 minutes between each of them as well. After the paint was dry to the light touch, I took the tape off and allowed to dry fully overnight. 


I am beyond in love with these clothespins. They help me keep some inspiration and motivation on my desk and I love how adorable they are.



One of my favorite quotes, and some amazing words of wisdom from Elizabeth Edwards, "She stood in the storm and when the wind did not blow her way, she adjusted her sails." These pins allow me to bring inspiration and organization together at their finest - and they are a perfect complement to my work environment.
    
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November Is My Fave

I can find something that I absolutely love about every single month. October has my birthday; April brings the first breath of spring; and, now, June will have my wedding anniversary. August has the long days of summer and February has the added reminder of love, but November. November is my favorite.

November is when the air starts to feel crisp and daylight savings makes waking up to the bright sun just a little bit easier. November brings family and home and warmth. And, my favorite part, is that November brings the thank yous.

early morning puppy pawprints and my footprints on fire island summer 2014
I am so thankful for my family and my friends. For the little everyday moments and the big life-altering ones. I am grateful for silliness with my puppy and my husband and I am grateful for a Saturday afternoon curled up on the couch. I am thankful for my students and I am thankful for time spent with them in the classroom each and every day. 

I am so very thankful for everything in life and I am so excited for all of the incredible moments that November has in store. 
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PS. Happy Election Day! Now, go out and make sure to vote in your local, state and national elections!!

Office Space

So, if you didn't know (but let's be honest, you probably did), I am a traveling teacher. 5 classes and 3 classrooms - down from 6 classes and 6 rooms last year. And so, as a traveler, my home base is an incredibly important location. My desk sits in the teacher planning room and is a highly organized and neatly decorated space that will both inspire me and keep me on track for success.

Last year, my space stayed relatively bland, but this year, I got started in August before the year even started and made sure that my space reflects who I am as a person and who I am as a teacher. When I first entered the room, it was a mess. So, first step was to get the room back in order...

Chairs in the middle of the room, recycling bin on the counter and where did the tv even come from?
It's a good thing I own a vacuum...
Sweet! Easy access to my computer!
Restoring order to the lunch area
I know it is blurry, but can we admire the clean carpet?
Order in the back half of the room is also restored! (#iphonephotosfingerhazard)
Genius poetry up, computer ready to go, and yes - that is a replica of the Pantheon from one of my amazing students from last year
Organized shelves
That was all of the progress I made the week before school. I spent a few hours at school one morning and it felt amazing to get organized and get a head start on setting up my area. I am the only teacher in my wing without a permanent classroom and so I have the most freedom when it comes to desk space in the teacher planning room.

Flash forward a week later to day one and my desk momentarily became a dumping ground before I was fully set up and ready for students to start the next day.

Things were definitely looking a bit messy for a moment...
But then they got all cleaned up! 
I am absolutely loving my desk set up this year. I love my dry erase world map (less than $20 at Michael's with a 40% off coupon) and my other pictures and mementos. They inspire me and motivate me each and every day. 

Since the first day of school, my desk has evolved a bit, and currently the space looks like this...

My desk in full swing of the school year - complete with piles of graded work to hand back, a filled bulletin board, a pumpkin to celebrate Halloween, and a space for my brand new cart! 
A close-up of my desk surface. It isn't super streamlined, but it is highly organized and everything is in its proper place.
And in exciting news - I got a cart! My cart allows me to move as seamlessly as possible between classrooms. I keep everything for the week for all of my classes with me at one time and now I also have lined paper, tissues, hand sanitizer and expo markers for each of the rooms that I use. It has made a huge difference.

How do you organize your work office space? Any traveling teachers out there? What works for you and what doesn't? I'm always on the lookout to make things easier for me, and even more importantly - for my students!

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