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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Creating our Wedding Album {Wedding Wednesday}

It's been almost six months since I posted a non-honeymoon recap related Wedding Wednesday post - and I am so excited to be back with some deeper looks into the wedding. Today, as I've been deep in the wedding album development process, I thought I'd give you a glimpse at how I've been working through choosing the photos for our final wedding album.

Our photographer gave us a client login for his website that has all of our proofs digitally shown. We also chose to have all of our proofs printed and so we have those as well. The plan is to put our favorites into a giant album - but that's another post for another day. In order to create our official album, though, I've been using the digital proofs and I created an awesome spreadsheet to organize everything.

As I go through the pictures on the website, I choose my favorites and I click to add them to my online album.

Images are available in small icons, individual shots, or full screen as a slideshow - I prefer the small icons or individuals
Matthew Douglas Photography was incredible - and we love our pictures!
As I add my favorites to the online album, I also add them to my Excel document where I include the image ID number and a description of the photo.

Yay for Excel Organization! And you can see a bit of the photo screen selection process behind the spreadsheet.
This process is certainly not an easy one, but so far it is working really well. After I've gone through all 1500ish photos (I've made it through about 300 so far), Josh and I will go through the online album together to narrow it down to our absolute favorites. It's so exciting to think that we are getting so much closer to having a physical copy of this album in our hands and we cannot wait to finalize our choices.

How did you organize your wedding photo album selection? Did you go the spreadsheet route or did you have your photographer choose the photos for you? I'd love to hear what worked for you and what didn't! 

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Birthday Weekend Shenanigans

What an awesome birthday weekend! From my birthday on Friday to a relaxing Monday off, the weekend was absolute perfection.


On Friday, my friend Kate decorated my desk and my close friends treated me to lots of love and happy birthday wishes. Then, after taking Nash to the dog park, Josh and I headed into Boston for a surprise dinner at ... Mistral! It's a fantastic French restaurant in the South End and it was absolutely perfect. We shared carpaccio (our fave!) and I had the salmon and Josh had the sirloin - we talked about life and giggled the night away. Instead of dessert at the restaurant, we headed home to have ice cream and snuggle on the couch. We were in bed by 10 and it was the perfect low key way to welcome in the last year of my twenties.


On Saturday, I spent the day with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law shopping and then got surprised by a flower delivery from my best friend Kal and her husband and daughter. At night, we met Josh's mom and dad and his sister and her boyfriend at Abe and Louie's in Boston to celebrate Josh's dad's (and mom's and mine) birthday with the whole family. Dinner was delicious (omg short ribs) and dessert (OMG skillet cookie) was even more amazing. 

Sunday was spent winning week 6 in fantasy football and enjoying the return of the Walking Dead. Monday followed with tv catchup (Homeland and the Good Wife) and getting ready for another week at work. It was a relaxing day that we enjoyed to the fullest - including a trip to the park with the pup!

Did you have a great Columbus Day weekend? I hope you enjoyed yours as much as I enjoyed mine!

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29

Ever since I was a little girl, I've loved birthdays - especially my own. When I was in elementary school, I would get waffles for breakfast on the "reserved for special occasions" Beatrix Potter Peter Rabbit plates. When I was in middle school, I would get a special lunch delivered to the office for me (my usual request? Burger King!). With high school and college came more adult celebrations and bigger milestones - my license, voting, legal drinking - and celebrations to remember. My mid-twenties brought Josh into my life and some truly incredible birthdays - including Vegas and celebrations with old and new friends. Every year brought something new and fun, and I have loved every moment of every birthday.

This year feels different though. I am still just as excited to celebrate and I still love birthdays just as much, but this year it feels like it is less of a big deal. So much of this past year led up to our wedding and the incredible celebration that followed, and it seems as though this birthday is sort of hiding in the shadow of this year's bigger life moments. And I'm 100% okay with that. The last 28 years have taught me that life changes and moves and evolves and that if we do anything, we need to change and move and evolve right along with it. So, this year, I'm taking my adult birthday and enjoying every moment of it - even if I didn't start counting the days down until today weeks ago.

I am looking forward to an awesome weekend of celebration - beginning with my students in school today (they are so adorably excited for it to be my birthday) and then enjoying a romantic dinner tonight with Josh. Tomorrow, we're going to go to dinner with Josh's parents and his sister and her boyfriend to celebrate the birthday trifecta - myself, Josh's dad and Josh's mom all have birthdays within 6 days of each other. Then, we're going to enjoy the long weekend and time with the pup and watching lots of football and spending so much time relaxing. And I can't wait.

In the past, I've made birthday goal lists and general life lists and mentioned big dreams and big plans. This year, I'm not going to share lists and plans, but instead, I'm going to share a few of my hopes and wishes for the upcoming year. 

This year, I hope to continue to live the best life that I can live - to be more loving and more giving and to be less judgmental and less critical. I wish that this year will be my best year yet, and I will keep smiling because I know that this wish will come true. This year, my last year of my twenties, will be a year of wonder and of joy, of dreams and of hopes, and of finding the best moments that life has to offer.

Here's to you, 29 - let's live life to the fullest.

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Summer Salmon with Wild Mushrooms and Leeks

A few weeks ago, I posted a delicious scallop with parsnip and chive puree recipe, and I meant to share the accompanying salmon recipe the following week, but then things got crazy. And even though I'm calling this is a summer salmon, you can definitely make it well into leaf raking season.


For the salmon and wild mushrooms for 2 people, you'll need the following:

Salmon:
2 6-oz. salmon fillets
salt and pepper
2 tbsp unsalted butter
PAM cooking spray

Mushrooms and Leeks:
4 oz mushroom blend (baby bella, shitake and oyster)
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 leek sliced
1 tbsp evoo

To cook the salmon, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Coat a baking dish in PAM cooking spray. Season each salmon fillet with salt and pepper, and place into the baking dish. Put 1 tbsp of unsalted butter on top of each salmon fillet. Cook for 20 minutes.




While the salmon is cooking, cook the leeks, mushrooms, unsalted butter and extra virgin olive oil together over medium-high heat until softened. 



Remove the salmon from the oven and serve over the wild mushroom and leek mixture and enjoy!



Salmon has become one of my favorite types of fish to cook and I love pairing it with new sides! What new combinations have you been coming up with lately? I'd love to hear about them!

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