Thursday, August 31, 2017

Thursday Thoughts

Okay, first off how CUTE is this stamp I got for my classroom! Welcome to teaching in 2017!

Things I did this week//

* Held an open house for my students & parents. This was a great opportunity to connect with my classroom parents prior to the start of the year.

* Had the first day of school! This was such a great experience and I loved how excited my First Graders were, it got me really excited for the upcoming year!

* Purchased some Fall decor! Fall is my favorite season and lasts all the way through Thanksgiving so I love to take the time to decorate for it. I'll be sharing some of my fall decor on the blog in the coming weeks. 

Things I'm doing this weekend//

*Going to the fair! I love getting to see all the animals & explore all the different food options. I also love looking at all the rides- but count me out on riding any of them! Yikes! Kyle & I are planning on going either Friday or Saturday night! 

* Getting a much-needed manicure. I'm not sure why, but it feels like I haven't gotten my nails done in forever though it's only been 2 weeks. Sometimes you just really need a mani! I'm thinking I'll get a fall color! 

* Laundry!! Does anyone have any tips on getting laundry done/organized!? Somehow I always end up with 15 loads! 

* Baking! I think I'm going to bake some banana bread so I have it for breakfast for the week!

Do you have any fun plans this weekend!? Let me know!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Fall Shoe Essentials

As the weather has started to cool down here in Vermont I've started to reach for some of my fall shoes vs. my sandals. Today I wanted to share what I consider my 'must haves' for your fall wardrobe! I've tried to keep all options under $100 because I know how pricey getting a few pairs of shoes can get! 

I just ordered these the other night & I'm so excited for them to come in. Flats are the most practical shoes for me to wear at work so I love how cute these are while still being comfy. I'm planning on wearing them with a pretty basic outfit like black pants & a simple sweater. 

I also just ordered these because I was in need of a flat pair of tall boots! These are real leather & under $200, such a great deal & they're the prettiest color!

I just purchased a pair similar to these which I featured in my last blog post . They're perfect for transitioning from Summer to Fall as they're not too bulky. I also love the toe shape of these, it's very slimming on the leg!

4 // Slip On Sneaker 
I'm seriously so close to ordering these but I really don't need any more sneakers :( These would be great paired with distressed denim & a tee.

What are your shoe must haves for fall?

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Fall Transition Outfit

Happy Sunday!
I'm so excited to be sharing this outfit today because this top is PERFECT for transitioning from summer to fall. It's super soft and warm but also off the shoulder so you won't get too hot. I love the ruffle details on the sleeve and hem as well as how it's a little longer in the back, this means you could wear this top with some leggings! I paired it today with white denim as it keeps it from looking too bulky for the season. To finish off the look I wore my new perforated Steve Madden booties, I linked a similar pair because I couldn't find a site that had a full stock of the ones I'm wearing. The style is called 'Danese Perforated Suede Bootie'. We've been having some cooler temps in the 60's here so this outfit was perfect for the weekend! I hope the warmer temps stick around a little while longer but we will have to wait & see!

Hope you've enjoyed!
Thursday, August 24, 2017

Thursday Thoughts

Happy last Thursday of Summer Vacation! Well for me at least! Our school year begins for students next Wednesday so it's full steam ahead from here on out. The picture above is of the cutest booties I purchased at Nordstrom Rack this past weekend. They are Steven by Steve Madden. I think these will be a great addition to my closet for fall because they're a great tan color & have a low heel which means I can wear them to work! 

Things I did this week //

* On Sunday & Monday, I was in New York shopping with my mom. We drove to Albany which is about 3 1/2 -  4 hours from where we live in Vermont.  It was fun to get to spend some time with her & enjoy the luxuries Vermont doesn't have like Ulta & Cheesecake Factory! 

* Tuesday I had a meeting to plan out the first week of the school year. We are doing some many fun activities the first few days, I'm so excited! I also can't wait to share the cutest JCrew skirt I got for the 1st day! 

* Wednesday & Thursday were spent at New Teacher Orientation. In total the orientation was about 10 hours- so quite a lot of time. I got my ID badge, district laptop, parking pass and important information like healthcare! 

Things I'm doing this weekend // 

* Going out for burgers. Do you ever just craveeeee a huge burger!? I really want one & some buffalo chicken dip! There's a burger place near us that has the most delicious dip ever!

* Perusing Barnes & Noble for some new reads. One thing my new district really stresses is being mindful and taking care of yourself so you don't get burnt out. How can we really help others if we can't even do proper self-care? I'm hoping to pick up a few books & dedicate a little while each night to reading.

* Cleaning! I really need to get my house in order prior to the first day of school or else it will be messy until Thanksgiving break!

Do you have any fun weekend plans! Let me know!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Back To School Outfit

Happy Back to School Season! 

Although my school years are behind me I wanted to share an outfit that would be perfect for walking around your college campus! (or high school) I love this look because it's practical and comfortable for all-day wear. I'm loving this loafer trend right now and I think it's best to pair them with an otherwise basic outfit, this simple tee & jeans allow for the shoes to be the star! Speaking of these shoes, they're veryyy comfortable which is key for school, you don't need blisters on your way to your first class! I paired this look with my new favorite tote bag! I got this bag because it's huge and sturdy! I can throw all of my things in it for work without worrying about breaking the strap off. If I wanted to wear this look to my job (as a teacher) I would just switch out the distressed denim for some skinny black pants. I just went on a huge shopping trip this weekend so I'm excited to style some more fall looks coming up! 

Hope you've enjoyed!
Sunday, August 20, 2017

How To: Increase Your Blog Traffic

Something that is always on every Blogger's mind is how they can increase their blog traffic, the truth is there is no magic way to gain traffic overnight but there are some things you can do that will definitely help! Over the past few years, I've noted the things that have helped me and the things that have hurt my traffic, so Today I wanted to share them with you! 

Be consistent //
One of my biggest tips when thinking about increasing blog traffic is to be consistent with your posts. I didn't start to see significant blog traffic until I consistently posted, and by that, I mean having a posting schedule and sticking to it. I have increased my monthly traffic by 2,000 visitors this month by simply posting every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday. 

Start a series //
Is there something you love to share weekly? A recipe? A show you watched? Weekend plans? Pick a day and create a series where you share that info. I started "Thursday Thoughts" where I recap what I did that week as well as sharing my weekend plans. It's a fun way for me to share things beyond clothing and shopping. One of my friends Annaliese from Southern Belle In Training  does a weekly post called Midweek Ramblings and I look forward to reading it every Wednesday. By creating a series you are giving your readers something to come back for and expect each week, it's also an easy way to add an extra day of blog posts in! 

Only write about things you would want to read // 
Do you like working out? No? Then why are you writing about active wear??? Only write about things you truly are into. People can tell when you aren't genuine and I'm sure it's not very fun to write about topics that don't interest you. By writing about things you are interested in it becomes easier to build relationships with your readers as they are also interested in that topic. It would be pretty hard to have a convo with someone about what you do at the gym if you've never actually been....

Make connections //
The best part about blogging is how many people there are who you can network with and build your brands together. I have made a lot of friends in blogging which in turn has helped us all with our blogs. Do you have a blog you love reading? Share about it! The more you connect and share the more you are getting your name out there. I also think its nice to comment on the blogs you do enjoy reading, thats an easy way to make friendships with other bloggers!

I'm planning on doing a few more posts regarding blogging and some of the questions I frequently get. Do you have any tips or tricks that have worked for you!?

Let me know!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Thursday Thoughts

Happy Thursday! I've been so busy lately I didn't even realize another week had flown by!

Things I did this week //

* Kyle surprised me for my birthday and took me to the sweetest little inn we had stayed at last summer. We then went to Kennebunkport and had the most delicious dinner at a place called David's KPT, I highly suggest this restaurant! If you go, order the open face Lobster Ravilio, yum! 

*Lots of meetings! As the start of the school year approaches my calendar has been filling up with all sorts of meetings from curriculum planning to parent/teacher meetings.

* Worked on setting up my classroom. I guess I underestimated how much time it really takes to prepare a classroom for the year, I've been there working almost every day!

Things I'm doing this weekend // 

* I really want to go to A&W to get a root beer float, there's one in Middlebury which is about an hour away so Kyle & I might drive up there on Saturday.

* On Sunday I'm headed to New York with my Mom to do some shopping! The stores in Vermont aren't the greatest, to say the least, so I either have to shop online or leave the state. A few times a year my Mom and I take a trip to go shopping! We've been doing this since I was in elementary school & it's something I really look forward to. We're also going to go to the Cheesecake Factory while we're there which I can't wait for!

What are your plans for the weekend?

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Maine Beach Outfit

Hi All! Happy Tuesday!

I just returned from a little vacation in Maine & I wanted to share an outfit I wore while there! This look is perfect for any beach vacation. While on vaca you want to look cute but also need to keep it practical for the conditions. I highly suggest packing a hat because you will not want to spend time fixing your hair. I always find it to be quite windy near the ocean so a hat makes the perfect accessory & helps to keep your hair tame. I threw on a simple white tank & this cute white/blue striped skirt. I love packing pieces that are easy to throw on without putting much thought into it! I paired my outfit with some simple silver slides which were both cute & practical for walking around!

I'm back to the real world today & off to some meetings for the school year!
Hope you've enjoyed!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

23 Things // Birthday

Today is my 23rd Birthday so I wanted to do a fun blog post! I'm going to share 23 things that happened during this past year slash things about me you may not know! This pic was snapped a few days ago from our room on the ocean! 

23 Things // 

1. I am OBSESSED with English Bulldogs like it's probably unhealthy. I think they are the cutest fattest dogs and I reaaaaalllly want one. 

2. I could eat tacos every night for dinner. I make them at minimum once a week #tacotuesday

3. I watched every single episode of Pretty Little Liars since I was in high school and I'm a little bit sad it's over :(

4.  I have over 60 pairs of shoes in my closet yet somehow I still feel there are gaps in my collection #help

5. I love cooking & baking. One of my favorite things to do is make Sunday night dinner at my parent's house. 

6. I refuse to go to sleep unless Kyle rubs my back #sorrykyle. He's rubbed my back every night for the past 3 1/2 lucky am I!!!

7. My favorite place in the world is Disney. Kyle took me there when we were in Florida in April and I was in heaven. Something about that place just makes all the bad things in the world disappear. 

8. Trader Joe's chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter filling are my weakness...If you haven't tried them you need to! 

9. When I was little I made my parents buy me the dog that American Girl dolls had ( a Westie), and subsequently, I named her the exact same name, Coconut. 

10. This past year I accepted my first full time teaching position! 

11.  I have an older sister Danielle who has special needs. I spend 90% of my free time with her. She's the best. 

12. I have a Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Special Education. I am licensed to teach K-6.  

13.  All of my friends and family call me Niki and I rarely react if someone calls me Nicholle in public!

14. My favorite color is blue, more specifically turquoise blue.

15. I cannot watch scary movies because I legitimately will be too scared to get out of bed in the middle of the night to go pee! No thanks!!

16. I took dance for 7 years when I was younger and I pretty much sucked. I would dread dance performances because I had no clue what I was doing! Not sure why I continually begged to take more classes!

17.  I've gotten a perm twice in my life....I do not suggest it.

18. I've watched Princess Diaries & A Cinderella Story at least 50 times...this year :)

19. Kyle & I took a trip to Siesta Key this past April & it was one of the best vacations yet. The water there is incredible!

20. Birds freak me out. Seriously, I'm afraid they're going to charge me and peck me to death.

21. I love tutti frutti jelly beans #yum

22. Swimming in the ocean scares me because I'm afraid the little crabs will bite my toes.

23. I think this is going to be the best year yet :)

Hope you've enjoyed! I'm off to celebrate!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Thursday Thoughts & Fall Picks

Boyfriend Cardigan  // Grey Mules // Dark Wash Denim

Happy Thursday! My family, Kyle & I are off in Maine for our annual summer vacation! This is my last hoorah before I head back to school for our first in-service on the 25th! The summer went by so fast! I put together a little collage of a few pieces I'm eyeing for fall! I'm still not quite ready for the seasons to change but I'm excited to do some shopping! 

Things I did this week //

* Packed! I spent Monday & Tuesday night trying to get things together for vacation. I'm the type of person who likes to have everything planned to a tee so packing can take quite a while. I insist on trying on all my outfits prior to packing them.

* Baked! I've been super into baking recently so I made a loaf of pumpkin bread & some chocolate chip cookies!

* Spent 2 HOURS on the phone with Apple Support! Someone hacked my dads Apple ID and of course, he did not understand how to deal with it #dadprobs so I was left to clean up the mess.

*Drove to Maine. This is about a 3 1/2 to 4-hour drive from our house. Kyle & I love to listen to the XM Comedy Stations or a podcast!

Things I'm doing this weekend // 

* Eating all the seafood. I loveeee seafood and it's pretty hard to get at restaurants in Vermont so I'm looking forward to eating lots of it in Maine.

*Spending time at the beach! Our hotel is right on the ocean- so close that if you throw something it will land on the beach!

* Celebrating my 23rd birthday! My birthday is on Sunday so I will be doing something fun for that! I'm not really sure what though as Kyle will not tell me!

* Enjoying time with my family! I love getting to spend time with my family, this is one of my favorite vacations to go on.

Do you have any fun plans for the remainder of the summer!?

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Nighttime Skincare Routine

Clarisonic Mia w/ Cleansing Gel // Biore Baking Soda Scrub // Pura Organics Moisturizer // Lash Serum

Raise your hand if you hate washing your face at night.....hands up people!! I always always wash my face at night because I can't imagine sleeping in makeup but lemme tell ya I don't like doing it. I think the reason I don't like it is that I'm sleepy & just want to lay in bed and watch Netflix :) Today I wanted to share my night time skincare routine, I do this every single night!

Step 1 // Makeup Wipe
I'm not too picky about makeup wipes, I just make sure to purchase one that is geared towards sensitive skin. Some of the wipes with fragrance really irritate my skin so I also stay away from those. I remove my contacts if I'm wearing them and then wipe off all of my face makeup & eye makeup.

Step 2 // Rinse With Water
I always rinse my face after using a makeup wipe to just get off all of the excess product.

Step 3 // Clarisonic or Face Wash
At this point, I either use my Clarisonic with a gentle cleanser or an exfoliating face wash. I can't use my Clarisonic every day as it will dry out my skin so I use it every other day. On the days I'm not using my Clarisonic I use the Biore Baking Soda Cleansing Scrub. I love this scrub because it starts out as a dry powder & then you add water & it fizzes up. I find it really gets my skin clean without being overly aggressive.

Step 4 // Moisturize 
My biggest piece of advice when it comes to skincare is to never skip moisturizing! When you wash/exfoliate your face you are stripping all the oils from your skin, therefore, it will get very dry. You need to apply a moisturizer to plump your skin back up! I love the Pura Organics firming night moisturizer. There's no strong fragrance in it and its made with all natural ingredients which are perfect for my sensitive skin. I mentioned this product a few months back & have been using it ever since. I actually use this product morning & night and love how it makes my skin look & feel.

Step 5 // Lash Serum
I know this doesn't really have anything to do with skin care but it is something I've been doing every night for around 2 months now. I was so skeptical that lash serums would actually do anything but they do!! I had a bad encounter with a lash curler a few months back & my lashes were not looking good so I thought I would try a lash serum out. After using this product religiously for 2 months I can tell you I see a difference, my lashes are fuller & longer and I've also noticed they don't fall out as easily which is nice.

Are there any products you use every night? I would love to hear!


Sunday, August 6, 2017

Affordable Turquoise Bracelet DIY

Hi, All! Today I wanted to share with you an affordable DIY project for one of my favorite things: Bracelets! I've been looking everywhere for some new chunky Turquoise Bracelets but every one I found was just crazy overpriced! I knew there had to be a better option than spending $50 dollars on a bracelet. These four bracelets in total cost me under $15! & they're real stone! So they're great quality! 

Step 1 //  
Head to your local craft store & pick out some beads! I went to A.C.Moore and found these three strands of beads which were 3 for $10. This store is a great place to find good deals on beads, they're always having deals & there are always coupons available. I found Michaels to be pretty expensive in comparison as one strand of beads there was $8.99! While I was there I also picked up some clear Stretch Magic, I would suggest getting at least the .7 mm as the thicker it is the stronger it is, I ended up getting the 1mm which I really liked. The only other thing I bought was Bead Crimp Covers in the 14k gold plated. 

Step 2 // 
Plan your design! I kept these bracelets very simple as that was the look I was going for but make sure to have a plan before you start! It's really frustrating to have to back track and undo your beading! 

Step 3 // 

Cut the length of the string you will need. My rule of thumb is to do 2 & 1/2 the length of my bracelet. Don't go crazy and cut a ton of string off because you won't need it!

Step 4 // 
Tape off one end of your string! This is my biggest tip, I swear the worst thing that can happen to you when beading is to have an end slip and all your beads crash to the floor so tape off one end to prevent that disaster! 

Step 5 // 
Tie off your bracelet! I always do a double knot & then generally seal it with some clear nail polish, this helps to ensure the knot stays tied. To give the bracelet a more polished look I always add a crimp bead over the knot, that's the little gold bead you see below. You take the bead which is a U shape, place it over the knot and crimp it down with pliers! 

Voila! All Done! 

If you have any questions let me know! Do you have any DIY projects!?