Recent Purchases: Fall 2017

7:00 AM

Hi Y'all,

You're probably going, you've already bought everything for fall? Yep. I have. See, I'm student teaching so I knew I had to be on top of it this year.

I definitely hit up the Nordstrom Sale; however, I saw enough posts on it, so I didn't want to hit y'all with anymore than necessary.

Overall, I haven't really felt like I need to buy too much (more like get rid of instead).

Anyway, I definitely stuck to things I would "need" for student teaching and for my future teaching career. Sometimes, I can be practical.

Everything but the gingham dress came from Nordstrom during the #NSale. The Gingham dress is KJP's Jamestown Picnic Dress.

What are y'all have your eye on?

with southern grace,

Back to School Necessities

7:00 AM

Hi y'all,
It's now August, which means it is officially Back to School season! Fall and Back to School are my two favorite things season wise, so I'm so glad they're right next to each other.

As I am starting to move into the teaching realm and not so much the student realm, I realize what is actually necessary to buy versus what is not.

I sat down to write this post and really thought about the things I used while I was in school. I know that my mom was always the one to buy everything on the list, in reality we rarely ever needed it all.

high school:
-binders with loose leaf paper in it (this was a necessity at my high school)
-pens and pencils (I always preferred mechanical pencils).
-backpack (in my high school, you carried around everything all the time, no one uses their lockers).
-agenda (there are so many great ones out there!).

-textbooks (buy or rent).
-spiral notebooks
-pens (pencils if taking math)
-tote bag (great for looking professional)
-backpack (great for a rainy day)
-sticky notes
-dry erase board and markers
-sticky notes
-agenda (you probably need a bigger one than you did in high school).
-water bottle
-pocket tissues
-ID case/holder (great for keeping your money, phone, and ID all together).

What are your necessities?
with southern grace,

Teacher Prep: Lesson Planning

7:00 AM

Hi Y'all,
As well all know, we're getting closer and closer to the start of school (if it hasn't started already for some of y'all!). This means lesson planning time is here! I prefer to start my school year as prepared as I can be.

I am one of those people that gets really excited about the start of the school year and even though I'm still super anxious/stressed out about it. Let's be clear, I'm not anxious/stressed out that school is starting because it's school, I'm stressed out because I still don't have my student teaching placement!

I had to do a unit plan for a class this past spring. We had to come up with 10 lessons and an assessment. I talk all about it here. We were required to use the "WhereTo" model and Backwards Design by Wiggins and McTighe.

In this model, you start with the Essential Understandings and Essentials Questions (essentially what you want students to know). Here in Virginia, we have the SOLs to go by, thus making this part super easy.

Next you decide the assessment aspect. Basically, how do you know your students understand the Essential Understandings and Questions.

After you decide the assessment part, you write out the actual lesson plan (how you present the information to your students).

Last but not least, write down everything you need for the lesson (this includes things like the white board/smart board, markers, etc).

I really like how this works because it makes it super easy for sub plans!

Mint...the Money Making App

7:00 AM

Hi Y'all,

I am normally not one to rave about an app, because quite frankly I rarely use an app enough to rave about it.

However, the Mint app is one that I keep coming back to. This app helps you with all your financials. It even gives you tips on how to make more money (for instance, it suggested that I look into some online banks for a savings account because I could be receiving a higher interest rate than at my home bank). I ended up doing this, and I'm glad I did!

I love that it helps you create a budget, and alerts you when you're close to/over it. I tried (and failed) at using a google sheet to budget. I always had to manually go in and change it. Then, if I used a gift card somewhere I felt like I still needed to write that down. But, with the Mint app, it doesn't even know the gift card exists and really focuses on your bank account information.

In fact, I love this app so much that it made it onto my bookmarks bar (which has important social media, one of my banks, school, and medical sign in places).

One of my favorite aspects is you can link every account you have. I have two savings accounts, checking, and multiple credit cards that are all kept on track in one place. This also means that the app takes all this information into my budgets so I don't have to do it. 

Plus, all of this information is right at your finger tips, no more toggling back and forth between all your credit card companies, banks, etc. 

This app lets you know when you made a big deposit, or if you've got low funds (great if you use a debit card). It also lets you know when your bills are due for all your linked accounts. 

The only fault that I can find with it (and it might be my bank's fault) is that it disconnects from my primary bank. This is obviously frustrating, but it also lets me know via email that this happened. 

Do y'all have any apps that you love? Comment below and let me know!

with southern grace,

Making Money Fast

7:00 AM

Hi Y'all,

I don't know about y'all, but money is always important. I know that money doesn't make you happy and other things like that, but it definitely improves your quality of life. In fact, I had to get a tax return transcript, I was able to see all of them from when I started filing my individual taxes. I was able to see when I only had my job at school, versus a job at school and another job in the summer, and then when I worked started working full time post grad. Now, I will say I have been very fortunate: I am able to pay for school without going into debt thus far. I know not everyone is that lucky.

While having a job is great, it can also be really time consuming depending on where you work. I'm fortunate that I have down time at my job as well as can ask for days off when I need them. During the traditional school year, I was working two jobs. Granted, one did go with my licensure program so I was able to do part of my school requirements on the job.

However, there is one website I absolutely adore. It's called Swagbucks. Essentially, you earn points (Swagbucks) for doing simple things like surfing the web, taking polls and surveys, and even watching videos. I'm able to earn about 2500 points a month, which equals about $25. This isn't too bad when I'm spending maybe 10-15 minutes a day doing it. A nice perk to Swagbucks is that if you hit your "goal" for the day, you get a bonus and then they give you a bonus goal and even more bonus swagbucks (you get the bonuses at the end of the month).

Wait, only $25? Well, if you take more surveys and spend more time you can earn more. But, let's put that $25 in perspective:
-a little more than a tank of gas (I typically hit around $21-$22 for a tank).
-two meals at Panera
-two+ months of Netflix (depending on your subscription)
-19+ songs on iTunes (at $1.29 each)
-a 20 oz. Yeti Rambler ($24.99)

All of a sudden that $25 is looking better isn't it?

You receive your "money" in gift cards (literally to anywhere it seems) or you can get it in a PayPal gift card. It deposits directly into your PayPal account.

There's several other places like Swagbucks, too. I also use opinion outpost (surveys only), just not as frequently.

Make sure to use my referral code if you want to sign up!

with southern grace,

All the Deets: Shopping Local & Small Business

7:00 AM

Hi Y'all,

I for one have worked both corporate and locally owned retail jobs. I'm a big proponent of small, family run businesses (both my parents are entrepreneurs); however, both my brother and I work/will work for larger companies/the local government (my brother works in IT and I'm finishing up my teaching licensure). 

There are tons of perks to shopping your local community:

1. Money stays in your community. Often times when you shop with a big corporation, the money has to go to other aspects of the company. When you shop local, it has no where else to get!

2. You know the people. You know who you're shopping with. You have probably grown up knowing the person who is assisting you the in the store.

3. Better customer service. Who doesn't want better customer service? We want you to shop with us, so we're willing to work with you.

4. We can get what you want easier. Since the employees have direct contact with the buyer (or can make suggestions to someone who does) over a company that only looks at numbers. The employees can say things like "I've had multiple women come in interested in this type of product by this company". Then, the owner or the buyer can look into getting in stock. Likewise, custom ordering something is often easier. 

5. Improve your community/Make it what you want. Wherever you chose to give your business will succeed more than a business people aren't buying from. Personally, I've stopped shopping at some local businesses because they've upset me so much.

Do y'all shop local? Or do you chose to go to department/corporate stores?

with southern grace,

Book Review: Sarah Dessen's "Once and For All"

7:00 AM

Hi Y'all,

This book is all about weddings. The main character, Louna, works for her mother: a wedding planner. Louna's outlook on life can be called skeptical at best after a recent event, and the amount of weddings her mother helps to plan (often the second or third wedding) don't help. This book isn't complete without a bet that with all facts figured in, both are going to lose.

If you're familiar with Dessen's other books, it reads very much the same way: some situation has happened in the past, and overtime that situation comes to light and then you understand why the character acts the way they do. Personally, I've been a big fan of her work since high school (and eagerly checked out her books at both the school and public library).

This book (like many others in the market today) tries to talk about a difficult societal issue. Dessen keeps the information to a minimum throughout the majority of the book. I liked this slightly hidden plot element because it allowed for the rest of the plot to really shine through.

Overall, this was definitely a well written book (like all of her novels have been). However, I feel like this one was captivating unlike any of her other novels. This story has a different mix of characters (a mom, a deceased father who never played a role, and a gay father figure). Of course, we have our usual trouble maker. My only real complaint is that I feel like the ending is very obvious.

with southern grace,