Okay, I know that I have really been sucking at keeping up with the show notes, but I’m going to try to do better, I promise! I have three episodes worth of goodies for you, so hopefully that will make up for the major delay. And if you haven’t already listened to the most recent episodes of Down to Fangirl, check them out!
A couple of weeks ago, we talked about our August book club book, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Check out Episode 8 of the podcast for all of our thoughts, but suffice to say, Brianna and I both loved it. We also celebrated Harry Potter’s birthday with some HP themed games, because you can never have too much HP.
On Episode 9, we talked about A LOT of books, all of which are pictured and linked below. Check out the episode for specifics on what we thought of each one!
We also announced our book club pick for September, Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, which we’ll be discussing on our September 5th episode.
On our most recent episode, I talked about the fun read One of Us is Lying, and we talked about two new shows we’ve been watching: Friends from College (B) and Bachelorette (me). If you see a theme with our podcast/TV show choices, you’re beginning to catch on. And I of course have to mention the highbrow musical stylings we’ve been taking in: Biggie’s Greatest Hits and “Perm” by Bruno Mars.
Pretty much every year when fall rolls around, I start to fantasize about moving to the East Coast. Winter comes and I change that opinion pretty quickly, but for a couple of months, I dream about leaves that actually change color, football games that actually require a jacket, and pumpkin spice lattes that are hot, not iced. The truth is that I love fall, but since I live in Los Angeles, I rarely get to experience it. We are lucky to maybe get a couple of weeks of real fall weather, and I look forward to those few weeks all year long! And one of my favorite parts of fall is the fashion. I live for sweaters and scarves and boots, and I start planning my fall wardrobe in July. Luckily, since our winters are pretty mild, I get to stretch most of my fall fashion finds into my winter wardrobe, so that’s one plus (also, no snow shoveling). These are just some of the items I am coveting for my fall closet!
One of the bonuses of mild weather is that I can still wear dresses, even in the fall and winter months. I love long sleeve dresses like this one because they are so versatile. You can pair it with boots, wool tights, or leggings. You can add a scarf (see above!) or a cardigan or jacket to the top for extra warmth. The whole look is put together, but still super comfy and cozy, which is really my main goal with fall fashion. Plus, this particular dress comes in a bunch of different fall colors.
I LOVE SWEATERS!!!! Nothing says cozy and warm like a sweater. I want them all. I love how this particular sweater looks so soft and comfy, but is still stylish enough to look chic. You could pair this with jeans, trousers, or leggings and be good to go.
You can’t have a fall fashion round up without boots. I am a big fan of tall brown riding boots. I feel like I buy a new pair every year and I love them all.
As much as I love my tall boots, I am determined this year to try to find the perfect pair of booties. I feel like I’m going to be pushing myself out of my fall fashion boot boundaries with these, but I think that’s a good thing. I love the buckles on this pair!
And of course, you gotta have an awesome bag! I don’t know what it is about fall and brown leather, but this bag screams fall fashion to me. I love the color and the shape, and I love that this is big enough for me to fit all of my mom stuff, while still looking cute.
Are you lucky enough to experience real fall where you live? What are your favorite things to wear during the fall months?
This is a sponsored post. I was compensated in the form of a product, discount, or monetary payment to write this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
This post is being sponsored by Sodexo, the worldwide leader in Quality of Life Services.
Alright my lovely readers, you know I never lie to you, and today’s topic is one that has had a real impact on me over the past two years, which means it is about to get really real up in here. I went through a lot of career related changes two years ago. The school where I teach got a new principal and I also started working part-time so I could stay home with my son. To supplement my income, I started taking on a lot more weddings to coordinate and expanded my business. Over the past two years, my teaching position has really shown me what it is like for employees who go unrecognized in the workplace (which I had never experienced before), while on the flip side, my wedding coordinating business has shown me just how rewarding work can be when appreciation is shown for a job well done.
I’m not going to go into tons of details about how much my teaching job has sucked the past two years. Suffice to say that despite the fact that I run a thriving theater program (one that is continually ranked in the top ten in Southern California), that does not equal greatness in the eyes of my administration. I can’t even remember the last time one of them complimented me and the work that I do. And, surprise surprise, I will be leaving teaching and my program at the end of the school year. However, what I really want to talk about today is the good stuff, the positive feedback I have gotten in the past as a teacher and how it impacted my teaching experience.
My first six years of teaching were by no means easy. I started teaching in the heart of the recession and worked my first five years without a single raise. The number of teachers who quit within the first three years (whether in a recession or not) is staggering, and yet I stuck with it, without any financial gain. And I did that because I loved my job. And I loved my job because I felt appreciated. Students are not always great at showing their appreciation for teachers, especially when they are teenagers, as I taught. But when they do show their appreciation, it is so heartfelt and meaningful. I have saved every single letter and card a student has written to me for the past eight years of my career. So yeah, I was making crappy money and had forty students in my classroom and no supplies except for the ones I paid for myself, but I felt like I was good at my job because my students told me that I was.
I had only been teaching for two years before I was asked to join my school’s Professional Development team. Just being asked was recognition in itself and it pushed me to work harder and be a good leader. Recognition can be hard to come by in a school environment. There are no bonuses you can earn, and the one real award (Teacher of the Year) is given to one teacher per year per school. It should probably go to about twenty teachers per year per school. While recognition from the students can be the most meaningful, school administrators can’t rely on kids and teenagers to be providing the encouragement needed to teachers. There are some really awesome ways for teachers to feel appreciated by their peers and I have seen many of them make a real difference in the culture of a school and the motivation of its staff. Many schools do an informal teacher of the month award that is typically passed out at staff meetings. At our school we have Rave Reviews, where anyone on staff can submit a quick thank you to someone who has done something helpful for them. Reviews are then read at the staff meeting and each person gets a small prize like candy or hand sanitizer (teacher essentials). These are small but impactful ways for teachers to feel recognized, which leads to happier teachers. Happier teachers are going to work harder, and that is good for everyone.
As teachers, we are taught that students need to hear more positive feedback than negative if we want them to improve. We are given tricks like the compliment sandwich (one compliment, one piece of constructive criticism, another compliment) to use with our students. The problem comes when administrators don’t use these tools with their teachers. We use them with students because they work, and that is a principle principals (see what I did there?) should keep in mind themselves. Most of the recognition I have seen at schools is teachers appreciating other teachers, and while that is awesome, it is not the same as recognition that comes from a boss.
There are countless studies that show how much more productive happy employees are and the detriments of ignoring hard-working employees. The benefits of employee recognition are undeniable, 81% of employees say they work harder when their boss shows appreciation for their work. Luckily, there are now services that can help companies and schools, and their leaders, create a working environment that is positive and healthy for its employees. Sodexo is the leading provider of these services and they are committed to a better quality of life for employees. Without the recognition that I feel like I deserve, my quality of life has dropped, and because of that, I will be leaving my job in the next few months. Teachers in particular do not expect much, and I am a great example of how a few compliments could have made a huge difference. I truly hope that with the help of companies like Sodexo, and maybe even this post, there will be a conversation about the recognition of teachers. It’s great when it comes from students and their parents, and even other teachers, but it needs to come from administrators too.
This is a sponsored post. I received compensation in the form of money, a discount, or a free product in order to write this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
This might make me sound like a bad mom, but I am constantly looking for ways to exhaust my child. Squirt has A LOT of energy and after just an hour of chasing him around the house, I’m beat, but he’s ready for more. So I was stoked to see that Sky Zone Sports is going to be coming to our area. A whole play space made of trampolines? Jumping around encouraged? Yes please! And anncoupons.com is going to give me a ton of great discounts for Sky Zone? Sign me up!
If you have not been to a Sky Zone location yet, you definitely need to check one out. They are located all throughout the US and Canada and they’re basically every energetic kid’s (and their mom’s) best friend. It’s pretty much a room filled with giant trampolines…
Sky Zone has lots of open jump times, but they also offer some more structured activities like trampoline dodgeball…
And if you are interested in some serious calorie burning (1,000 per hour!) they have structured aerobics classes…
All ages are welcome (as they say, if you can walk you can jump) as long as children are able to follow the jumping guidelines.
Sky Zone is also available for birthday parties and group events. As you can imagine, kids LOVE this place (and you will love how well they sleep after a day of constant jumping). The discounts provided by anncoupons.com are the perfect opportunity to try out Sky Zone if you haven’t before. Or they’re a great way to save some cash if you are a Sky Zone frequenter. They have multiple discounts available on everything from parties to dodgeball to free jumps. Head over to anncoupons.com to score your deal and get to jumping at a Sky Zone near you!
You may start to notice some changes around here over the next couple of weeks. Don’t worry, the Disney is not going away (that could never happen!), but I am going to start diversifying the content of my posts a little. I really want to be able to share all of the things that are going on in my life, and while that will always include Disney and Disneyland, it also includes a lot of other things. When I named this blog A Disney Mom, I was thinking about it as a mom who frequently goes to Disneyland and creates Disney related projects. Now it means more to me. Whether I am at Disneyland or working on Disney crafts, or doing something totally unrelated to Disney, I am a Disney Mom. Disney encompasses a lot of my thoughts and ideals about life, and to me, it is so much more than a theme park. So everything in my life is about a Disney Mom, because that is who I am!
With that being said, you are going to see some new stuff on the blog! You all know we recently moved, and we are doing a decent amount of renovating our house, which I will be posting about. I will also be posting about some of the new design projects I am working on to decorate the new place. As time goes on and Squirt gets a little older, I will have many more parenting topics to post about, and a lot of those are going to include travel tips and advice. I also am hoping to do a blog redesign soon, which I am super excited about. So basically it is going to be an exciting and crazy busy time for me over the next few months and I want to be able to write about all of it! I am looking forward to sharing all of my new adventures with you and thank you for stopping by!
It’s hard to believe, but we are almost halfway through 2015. When did that happen? In January, I made a list of goals both personal and professional that I wanted to accomplish throughout the year. I thought now would be a good time to check in on my progress and see how things are going (and see what I still need to work on).
Here are the goals I came up with for myself:
Blog/Social Media Goals: 1. Tweet at least twice a day 2. Get up to 500 twitter followers (currently at 300) 3. Post at least one pic on Instagram each day 4. Get up to 300 followers on Instagram (currently at 50) 5. Post at least two new blog posts each week 6. Get up to 10,000 pageviews a month (currently at 1,000) 7. Get up to 2,500 followers on Pinterest (currently at 2,100) 8. Make some income from the blog 9. Be invited to some sort of event because my affiliation with the blog (preferably a Disney event) 10. Actually utilize my Facebook page for the blog Personal Goals: 1. Actually do some running in the Never Land 5k (which I am participating in in May)–the past two years I have walked the whole thing, this year I would like to run most of it 2. Complete the Disneyland 10k in September 3. Buy a new house, which means selling our current house, and of course moving 4. Maintain the healthier lifestyle I started this year (before holiday splurging) 5. Apply for the 2016 Disney Parks Moms Panel and make it to round three.
And here’s how I’m currently doing:
Blog and Social Media Goals
–I’m currently at 427 followers on Twitter, only 73 away from my goal. I do tweet at least twice most days, though sometimes I cheat and count my Instagrams as tweets. But there have definitely been days when I tweeted more than twice, so I think that makes up for slow days. I’m trying to engage more on Twitter and not just post links and that’s something I still need to work on.
–I currently have 227 followers on Instagram, only 73 away from my goal. I have seen a lot of growth in terms of my followers on Instagram, which has been nice. I’ve also been pretty good about posting at least one picture a day. I would like to work on editing my photos (I never even use filters) to make them pop a little more.
–Despite having some crazy busy weeks, I have posted at least two blog posts a week, which is awesome. However, my pageviews are hovering around 2500. That’s good growth, but nowhere near my goal. This one is frustrating because I don’t have a lot of control over it. I just have to keep producing quality content and keep plugging away!
–I have crushed my Pinterest goal already, I currently have over 2700 followers on Pinterest. It wasn’t a specific goal, but I have also seen some Pinterest success with a lot of my DIY projects getting lots of repins, which is nice.
–As of now I have not made income specifically from this blog and I have not been invited to any events, but I will keep on working toward those goals in the last six months of the year!
–I have used Facebook a little, but nowhere near the amount I should be. That is also something I will work on in the remaining six months of the year!
Two of my personal goals are going to transpire in September (10k and Moms Panel) so no updates on those. We did buy a new house that we should be closing on next week, which I am very excited about. I can’t wait to decorate my new office and get to work on Squirt’s big kid room. While it was not as much as I would have liked, I did do some running during the Neverland 5k (race recap can be read here). We ran enough that we were able to stop for most of the photo ops, which we’ve never done before, so that was awesome. As far as a healthier lifestyle, I just ate a caesar salad and mac n cheese so I’ll let you make your own judgement there. I need to step up my workout game to be ready for the 10k and for my sister’s upcoming wedding. If a bridesmaids dress isn’t workout motivation, I don’t know what is!
All in all, I am pretty proud of myself for all that I have accomplished so far this year. I hope to continue the work throughout the rest of the year!
If you have a Disney loving mom (hint, hint) you are hopefully on the hunt for some Disney inspired Mother’s Day gifts. Search no further! I have put together some of my favorite items that I would love to receive from my little one or my husband (hint, hint). So get to shopping and show my fellow Disney Moms some love!