Saturday, December 13, 2014

A Gypsy's Junk

Hey all!  I know I have been M.I.A. for a bit, but I haven’t forgotten about this blog at all.  In fact, I am seriously counting the days until my graduate school program is over, so I can re-dedicate myself to this blog in a new, professional and consistent way.  Yes, I said it.  I aim to become a professional blogger.  Not sure exactly what that will entail, but I am interested in collaborating with more creative folk as I take Learning Style to the next level.  

Below are some photos I took as part of a Holiday shoot with LaMonica of “A Gypsy’s Junk.”

Those of you who follow me on Instagram know that those circular, flat earrings are my new favorites!  And yup, that cloth-colored collar necklace is Gypsy's Junk piece as well, as are those funky, fun rings that I love to wear together.

I look forward to more collaborations with local artists, so feel free to send me a message if you know of someone looking to create.

Love to all,

Monday, November 24, 2014

Loving this Green

Happy Monday!

Here is an outfit I wore recently with a few of the latest additions to my wardrobe, including my new favorite pencil skirt.

I am loving this asymmetrical zip pencil skirt from J.Crew in heather evergreen.  The fit is perfect, the material is very sturdy and warm and the detailing is unique.  There is nothing fake about this zip; it works!  And the color, I can't believe this is the first major piece in my closet in this beautiful, deep green. 

As for the rest of the outfit, I'm wearing a cropped J.Crew sweatshirt in speckled grey over my favorite chambray shirt from Old Navy, Hue tights in opaque black, and Fyre Regina boots in black.

I like the "chill" aspect of a fitted (of course) sweatshirt over an otherwise structured outfit.

This skirt is so structured that I really did need to unzip it a bit to be able to move properly.

I ended up staying out all day and catching up with some colleagues and students to see an off-Broadway show.  This happened to be the coldest day ever, and thankfully, I was well dressed for it... except for my tights.  For true winter, which I didn't realize was in November, I usually wear knit tights at least, if not wool leggings.  Otherwise, my puffer coat and earmuffs did the trick.

My makeup is pretty neutral with powder for shine and my favorite red, Ruby Woo by M.A.C.

Until next time.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Middle School Versus High School

Three months into teaching high school after eight years of teaching middle school, and I can't say I've looked back much except to say: teaching high school is amazing!  Middle school made me who I am, and I am grateful for all the experience I had teaching sweet sixth graders, trying-to-figure-it-all-out seventh graders, and already-grown eighth graders.  I have moments when I share with colleagues that "I come from middle school," as I count down for quiet, teach the students how to give thumbs up/thumbs to the side/thumbs down as a formative assessment, or instruct the class on clapping it up to celebrate an otherwise overlooked success.

And there are times when I say "I had a middle school moment," as I flashback to the sunflower seeds  (see post here) that I found on the plush carpet of the Lincoln Center theater where my sixth graders had just finished viewing a Shakespeare play, or when I think of the time when my scrawny, 11 year-old runner ran off into the crowd outside of the Museum of Natural History.  In those moments, I have to remind myself that the trauma of middle school is over and the beautiful parts-- the handmade decorations with stickers, markers and glitter; the apology letter in the form of an essay with a quoted piece of text evidence from the Bible that I got after a minor incident; and the Holiday gift exchanges and luncheons complete with table clothes and chip appetizers that we used to have in my self-contained days--  will forever be part of me.

Already there have been, and I am sure there will continue to be, many times when my middle-school-teacher skill set will serve me well.  I guess it's time for me to revise my four-word teaching story from "self-contained, six years" to something that does my experience justice more so than "I survived middle school."  Until then, I'm happy to be with students who are past that stage of intense hormones and figuring out all the newness that translates into unpredictable, stressful-for-adults behavior.   And I'm realizing daily that high schoolers are just as playful and wanting to learn as middle schoolers.  They also still tell it like it is, though they may be a little less mean harsh.  Nonetheless, I am grateful to continue having the opportunity to learn as I teach and to witness academic and emotional growth of many.

Miss M

Monday, November 17, 2014

Shades of Blue

Happy Monday!

These weekends are flying by, but good thing are happening and more good is too come.  Here is any outfit I wore recently.  I pulled out my J.Crew denim pencil skirt from deep in my closet, paired it with bright teal tights and the rest is history. 

 Old Navy sweater, Uniqlo oxford shirt, J.Crew skirt, Hue tights, Frye boots and J.Crew Factor necklace.

I am working on my eyeliner hand, and let's just say: practice brings improvement.  Sephora liquid eyeliner, MAC blush in "Fever" and Sephora nude gloss.  Peal earrings from Express.

Until next time,

Friday, November 14, 2014

A Gift: Playing with Style

Happy Friday!

Here are some quick photos that I took afterwork recently in my effort to document an outfit that I really enjoyed.  My students enjoyed this one as well, and let me know it!  

Flannel button down from Target, Bow sweater from J.Crew Factory, tweed pencil skirt from J.Crew, polka dot tights from J.Crew Factory, brown leather pumps by Frye.

Accessories: Ruby Woo lipstick, Warby Parker glasses, Guess gold watch and side pony-tail.  Yup, hair style can definitely be an accessory.

What are your plans for the weekend?


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Teaching Mindfully

Happy Wednesday!

Something that I am consciously practicing this month is mindfulness.  I was fortunate to have the opportunity recently to attend a two-day Mindfulness training held at the ABC Home store in Flaitron.  First off, it was my first time in that space-- a unique, beautiful, commerce-meets-social-change, art-space-- and it is absolutely gorgeous, thoughtful and very expensive.

As for the Search Inside Yourself training, a.k.a. SIY, it was right on time for me.  Ever since I read The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle some time ago, I have been working on living in the present.  I tend to be "in my head" a lot, and an over-thinker, so the idea of living mindfully really resonated with me.  But busy as I am-- graduate school, commuting to a new school, balancing my personal life and maintaining a social life-- I was largely in go mode, just getting things done and making it look effortless.

Truly, presentation is half the battle of most things.  Look the part and the rest will come.  Or maybe that's just the style blogger, fashionista in me talking.  Either way, mindfulness, the state of being aware, is something I strive to do.  This is all to say that having two days of learning how to tap into awareness, practicing meditations, and reflecting on who I am and what's important to me, was just what I needed.  I think when it comes to learning about things that aren't tangible, it's helpful to be open to the process.  I was very open, so I learned a lot.  Ironically enough, the training touched upon the five components of emotional intelligence--self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills also referred to as leadership-- something that has recently become a significant, and named part of my teaching philosophy.

Something that I learned early on in my career is that I need to be aware of my emotional and mental states at all times, because teaching brings out all of who a person is whether we care to admit that or not.  I learned this while struggling through my early years of teaching self-contained classes, and had to learn how to empathize with students while maintaining my joy.  I also had to learn how to leave my personal life at the door, and do my best to be present to the students and adults who I encountered.  I didn't have the language for it at the time, but these were the beginnings of my spiritual journey.  Those were the days before I learned the power of deep-breathing exercises that got me through my last toxic work environment-- seriously people would ask how I was so happy, and really few of them knew that it was truly work for me to be that way.  I would say things like "Today is a good day," and "I will do my best, no more and no less," and I will handle all situations that come up effectively and "in this moment I have no problems, I am okay."  I would also take deep breaths upon entering the building and climbing the steps to the third floor.  I would also greet people genuinely, spreading good energy, love and light around me as I moved through the space.  I would smile even when I didn't feel it.  It may sound unbelievable, but it worked.  I made it through, and in a way, thrived.

The teacher, and person really, I am today embraces the power of affirmations and breathing practices, as well as physical movement like yoga or biking to release stress and other energies.  Whereas in my last job, I posted affirmations behind my desk just for me and my co-teacher to see and use, I now have large affirmations posted in my shared office for all to see, and some specific ones for my students.  One that I refer to often in talking with my colleagues, as well as students is: Always do your best.  No more and no less.  When one of us is trying to do too much and stressing outI literally point to the sign.  When one of my students has just finished talking his exam and is worrying about how he did, I point to the sign and say, you're doing too much right now.  It's amazing how quickly you can teach and reach people through example and keeping it simple.  Students are carrying some of what they learn in the space I created along with my awesome, kindred-spirit, office-mate into their other classes.  The teacher I am today also claims space as a positive space, no longer just through what's said and takes place inside of a room, but literally on my door this year is a sign that reads: This is a positive space and I honor that with my words and actions.  I chuckle to write that, but this is just me being myself and knowing what works for me and in turn those that I encounter.

I continue to be aware that my professional life mirrors my personal life, the common denominator being me and what I bring to all situations.   Prior to experiencing the Mindfulness workshop, I wasn't fully aware of the depths of self-awareness.  It's not just knowing the emotional and mental components of yourself, but also knowing your values, your triggers, your strengths, your weaknesses and being good with it all.  I truly believe that all educators people would benefit from that kind of learning of self and how to navigate the social-emotion stuff that is a huge part of our work lives.

What are your thoughts?

Love to all.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Inspired Through Dress

Happy Monday!

I am committing to maintaining a schedule for my blog.  I will be posting three times a week-- Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

To start off the week, and yet another busy day of work followed by graduate school, here are some photos of an outfit that I wore and loved recently.

Once again I am all buttoned up!  My look this fall in addition to the fun socks and tights, is the button down under everything.  Seriously, I wear button down shirts, buttoned all the way to the top under dresses, sweaters and sturdy shirts.  Here I'm wearing one of my favorite chambray shirts underneath a simple, structured dress.

What I love about this dress is the detailing!  It's a simple, navy dress with a zip up back which makes for a nice silhouette, and it has pockets.  I love, love a dress with pockets.  

I love these tights by Hue, my favorite company for tights for two reasons-- they fit like they're made with my body type in mind and they have all types of prints, like the houndstooth print I'm wearing here. 

As for what I'm wearing: dress and blazer from Target, Old Navy shirt, Hue tights, Fyre boots, scarf was a gift, Madewell backpack, jewelry from J.Crew Factory and Baublebar.

Oh, and I kept my makeup neutral with Exhibit A blush by NARS and a nude lipgloss by Sephora.

Looking my best and showing up to life inspires me to do my best work, literally at work and as I move through the world.  What inspires you all?


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Weekend Style

Some photos from a weekend walk around the neighborhood.

My bright yellow snood from the Gap is perfect for the brisk, windy weather of late.  I'm also wearing my trusty Uniqlo coat from several seasons ago, J.Crew un-sweatpant pants in olive green and my leather, Ugg clog-boots.  

A simple look for a chill day.  What I did: walked to and from Dough for doughnuts, read the newspaper, watched a few episodes that I had missed from the week, cuddled with Almond, went for an evening run to the park, and made dough for pizza.

The doughnuts: pumpkin and salted carmel, my word!

Happy Sunday to all!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Top 10 Instagram Posts of October

I created my Instagram account right before my epic trip to and through Mexico two years ago, and I haven't looked back.  Here are my top ten photos from October:

1. Street art in Bedstuy.

2. A close-up of my latest waist-beads and Nigerian bracelets from a woman I've been buying shea butter from for years.
3. I've been rocking a high bun in different ways for most of the month.  Here I am in front of some street at in boderline Chinatown.

4. Lovely cupcakes and gin martinis at my favorite four-year olds birthday party.

5. My pup and I outside more street art in Clinton Washington.

6. A selfie at work.  My high bun is not pictured, but my lined eyes and my new favorite earrings from J.Crew Factory are.

7. Pausing on a walk through the neighborhoods with my furry love.  Peep the retro Nikes and cords.

8. Enjoying my $10 salad while people-watching in the sun at Union Square.

 9. My pup and I taking a break for a drink during an afternoon walk.

10. A selfie at ABC Home.

Happy November!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Neon Socks in the Village

Happy Saturday!

Here are some photos from an afternoon when I met up with two kindred spirits from my last school.  We met up in the Village to share stories and some tasty eats, and they kindly supported me by taking my picture outside the restaurant.  As I was posing for photos, a random older man passing said: "Nice socks!"  I smiled and said "thank you," as I'm always appreciative of genuine, seemingly- small interactions with strangers on the busy New York streets.

I built this outfit from the feet up.  I've been changing up the way I style outfits lately, and socks with pumps have been my go-to, fall inspiration this season.  I like the pop of neon of these socks, and that they're a different green than the green of the butterfly on my sweater. And of course cut is everything-- a slim yet roomy sweater against a fitted pencil skirt with a blazer is classic.  I like low pumps for work because they're practical, yet give a welcomed lift of confidence with each step.

There is nothing like a mix of textures to add dimension to an outfit.

I'm wearing a J.Crew Factory navy sweater, my favorite black pencil skirt from Target, neon green socks from J.Crew, my go-to leather pumps by Fyre, and a tweed blazer also from Target.


This detail shot is everything! My calgel nails, expertly done at Marie Nails (Nolita location), against my backpack from Madewell, and gold arm candy complete with a few fun rings-- my favorite initial ring that has held up nicely from Urban Outfitters, my favorite pave midi ring from Bauble Bar and my heart ring from A Gypsy's Junk pop up shop.

I know I took a week off from posting, but I am back on track for next week!  Reflective, written posts and outfit posts to come!

Happy weekend to all.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Balancing Out the Drama of a Pencil Skirt

Happy Monday!

Here are some photos of an outfit I wore to brunch and run errands with a friend.  I am LOVING this patterned pencil skirt from American Apparel.  It is super flattering and versatile.  Dress it up or down.  Here I balanced out the drama of a high waist pencil skirt on a curvy body, with an untucked sweater, and styled it playfully with knee highs and wedge sneakers.

I haven't bought any new shoes in a while, though I do have my eye on those silver-grey sneakers I mentioned in my back to school post a while back.  I am practicing reaching into my closet and styling old favorites in new ways.

My classic side-profile.  I've been doing 100 body-weight squats most mornings and I see results!

I've had this bag for what feels like forever, about eight plus years, and it's still go-to.  A bag that goes with everything, that is also interesting in pattern and design.   

Fresh-faced with just a touch of gloss, and rocking some serious arm candy here.  My bracelets are a mix of finds from Congo, market-buys from Soho and a Maasai bracelet from my time in Kenya.

Until next time,

Monday, October 13, 2014

Learning to Transition, Personally

Happy Monday!

Lately, something I've been reflecting on deeply lately is transition, making a change and being courageous enough to do so.  While initially I thought of writing this post simply through the lens of transitioning between jobs or careers even, I acknowledge a greater connection for me is making a more personal transition.  Paulo Coelho, the author of Alchemist,  said something that really resonated with me during an interview on Supersoul Sunday.  He said: "Courage is the first spiritual quality that you need to have" and went on to say "If you don't fear the unknown, the unknown will be kind to you."  Now of course this is easier said than done, but I think trusting, having faith, being an optimist, all of those things contribute to good things coming your way.

The last two years have been extreme growth years for me.  I have learned so much about myself, the world, myself in the world, and identified things to actively work on.  One of which is facing confrontations, having hard conversations and doing so with integrity.  This is something I have actively practiced in work situations-- with colleagues, including my former boss-- as well as in my relationships with my former partner, as well as friends and family.  Sometimes it's a serious struggle to form the words to say whatever it is, but I always feel better for it.  Another thing I am practicing is, recognizing when it is time to move on from a situation, and then actively taking steps to do so.  By that I mean, at times I would prefer for new opportunities to just happen, but usually decisions have to be made and acted upon in order for change to manifest.

This post is a little all over the place, but this is a new venture for Learning Style, so I'm accepting that and going with it.  With that said, I am grateful to be blessed with amazing friends, some whom I met in otherwise largely toxic situations, such as my last job.  That just goes to show that truly during each storm there exists the makings of a rainbow.  That I know for sure.  In terms of my nearly five-year relationship that recently ended, I learned a lot about myself and others.  In a way, I came of age during it.  There comes a time when a person has to know, learn, claim their worth and purse it.  The part of me that held on way too long grieves for celebrates the learning opportunities of that time, and over all, all of me feels... right, whole.  Nothing is truly one-sided, even with the "bad," there are good things to learn and take from.  I truly believe that.

The same applies to my career move.  I took a chance by leaving yet another school, and doing so during a time when I am working towards eventually transitioning out of the classroom, and it worked out.  I think the most important thing is to know and trust that there are good things out there.  After that, all that's left is to take action on that trust.

With that said, I recognize that fear can be very powerful, whether it be fear of the unknown or fear if failure.  Regardless, whether pertaining to relationships or career moves, do your best to do your work and get your learning in.  That way, when you do strike out, you'll have learned what you needed to learn in that situation and be all the better for it.  This I'm learning.

Until next time,

Friday, October 10, 2014

All in the Details

Happy Friday!  

This week has been one of much reflection, as I've been spending chunks of my subway commute journaling, as well as thinking through everything from hopes and dreams (seriously reviving my dream diary in a new form, in the notebook app on my iPhone) to day-to-day interactions.  While I miss riding my bike to and from work, I am also enjoying the daily subway rides, as time to read for work, read for pleasure and lately, reflect in writing. More about that soon.

Here are some photos of an outfit I wore recently: 
Makeup: MAC "Fever" blush and Sephora lipgloss in "Tangy Bite"

The softness and simplicity of this color scheme made me happy! 

J.Crew Factory skirt, J.Crew sleeveless blouse with collar, Old Navy black sweater with ankle sleeves, Gap wool blazer, black opaque tights by Hue, Fyre boots, Madewell rucksack

I thoroughly enjoyed this look.  I am loving my Fyre Regina boots!  As I break them in, the boots are becoming more and more comfortable.  I will likely be living in them soon.  The hint of peach peeking out of my black sweater and otherwise neutral outfit inspired me.  

This detail shot!  Giraffe bracelet is my favorite, from Baublebar, and the pave-link bracelet is J.Crew.  The bow ring is Guess and I bought it at Burlington Coat Factory, which always seems to have amazing accessories for great prices!

Happy Weekend to all!