Spring Style in the City

Smile Sunglasses Stripes Spring 2018

I’m throwing it back to this outfit from Spring 2016 for part of this post. Why? Because I still LOVE each one of these pieces, I still wear each of them, and this rig is the perfect example of Spring layering at its finest! It’s also an outfit that is perfect for travel to your favorite city during Spring.

When we arrived in Chicago the snow and sleet were flurrying, and as we finished off our trip the sunshine was bedazzling. It could not have been a more Spring-like adventure as far as the weather was concerned. Above are three outfits that work well in nearly every Spring climate. Shirts: a flowered shirt, a striped shirting staple, and a fresh twist on eyelet. Jeans: my favorite Spring to Summer pair, always a pair of white denim, and a button-up black option.

These three outfits are ready for any transition when you add layers of outerwear (or subtract as the case may be). My favorites for Spring city escapes are: an all-seasons trench coat, a down bomber jacket, a long cashmere cardigan, an over-sized jean jacket, and a forever leather jacket.

Then you can adjust your footwear for the prevailing conditions and you’re set. Don’t forget to pack a fun, flirty dress for an evening soiree, attending a concert, or taking in a show. Some of my favorites are: black and lacy, dramatic ruffle-striped maxi, classic white eyelet, or sweet and strawberry printed.

Our weekend plans include a slow Friday evening at home– think quite tunes, a home-cooked meal, and simple relaxation. Saturday we’re slated for another soccer game, and then we’re off to see Hamilton! I am giddy with excitement for my boys to experience this theatrical revolution. Happy Friday, friends!

XX, Megan

Shoes Purse Trench Spring 2018Spring Outfit

Coat, Shirt, Pants, Purse (similar), Sandals (similar), Sunglasses, Ring

Travel Essentials: 9 Carry-On Must Haves

 

Water Bottle, Sneakers, Snack, Headphones, Breath Freshener, Book, Luggage, Travel Wrap, Face Mist.

This past week I traveled with my mom and sisters, and my sweet Aunt Paula to Chicago! It was such a wonderful trip. My travel companions were the highlight of my trip, but Chicago put on a beautiful show. Seriously, I could rave about Chicago all day. I really didn’t expect to love the city as much as I did. But that is a post for another day.

I don’t have the chance to blog as often as I’d like these days, but one thing I still get a lot of questions about are what my travel essentials are– as in, when I hit the road, what do I grab and go with. Below are nine essentials that carry me through every flight, connection, screening, and after airport transportation. The only thing I’d add to this list is Wet Ones sani-wipes. Essential, if you ask me!

I hope you have a WONDERFUL Friday and an awesome weekend. I’ll be back next week with a What to Wear in the city in the Spring.

XX,
Megan

Shopping Your Closet: Winter Boho

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I hope this post won’t come across as overly light. Especially as compared to the one that I wrote at the beginning of this week. It has been another hard week. There have been more hardships at school, but I am going to return to this topic when I have renewed energy and time to go about giving the topic of school safety the effort and investment it deserves.

The highlights of this week included beginning to read The Hobbit with my boys. Yes, I am a J.R.R. Tolkien geek. Just reading “An Unexpected Party” made me smile so many times, I couldn’t help but be transported to the house Under Hill with the round green door. We had some DELICIOUS family dinners including a Korean Rice Bowl with Kimchi and Cucumbers from The Scramble, and a warm, filling, creamy, clam chowder (I based mine off of these two recipes: Eating Well, and Food Network). My six-year-old requested, “Mom, will you write that recipe down for me so that I can make it when I’m in college?”

Warms my mama-heart to have him ask such things, and I readily agreed to do so. Both boys have been practicing their music daily, and it makes for another highlight. Though there are definitely moments of struggle, for the most part they are enjoying the piano and drum respectively.

My husband has been a champion beyond all others. This week alone he cleaned the house from top to bottom, covered dish duty multiple evenings in a row, made sure that the boys were ready for school with multiple costumes for my first grader whose class celebrated Dr. Seuss this week in anticipation of Seuss’ birthday today. Perry made sure that pajamas, blue hair, and a complete Sam I Am costume were in order. I simply could not be more grateful to him for how much he juggles both in terms of work, home-life, and still manages to take a few ski turns in the back country every weekend!

We have more new snow as of tonight, and I really have appreciated this second gasp that winter has gifted us. It simply felt so… wrong that winter had not yet really come to these mountains. To be honest, there is so much less snow than we have experienced since our move here almost seven years ago it has been a surprise.

In terms of the NNTC I have really enjoyed shopping my closet these past few months. One of the reasons that term has come to mean more to me is that I am trying to learn and to recognize that new does not determine any part of my worth. In other words, I don’t need new things to make me feel good about myself. My worth is not in what I wear. I can still fully enjoy the expression of style and fashion without constant closet updates.

Case in point, this outfit. Yes I realize this rig borders on Indian Jones, but this casual boho look really fit how I felt in this moment. Ripped jeans are a weekend favorite for me, as I try to look more polished and professional in my day job. The silk broderie top is over six years old. Wearing these pieces that have become classic, and timeless, at least for my closet feels like a win! Plus, most of them are still on point, in terms of current fashion.

Try this at home! Take a look at your closet. Are there pieces there that you maybe haven’t combined in the past. Lay out three outfits that you might not have worn (in terms of the specific combination) before. Pick your favorite. Put it on. Rock your day!

I hope that all of you have a wonderful and restful weekend. I’m going to eat my weight in sushi, read more of Bilbo Baggin’s adventures to my littles, and enjoy a date with my sweet man. Sending you love and good vibes wherever you are!

XX, Megan

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Jacket: Gap (similar), Shirt: J.Crew (similar), Jeans: Madewell, Boots: J.Crew (similar), Bag: Madewell, Hat: Brixton, Sunglasses: Ray-ban, Scarf: Madewell

My Turn: Student Safety and Gun Safety

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Image: Ginger Williams Cook

I want to take you all with me on my journey last week. It is a road that I should have foreseen when I took a job as a teacher, when I turned my education into educating. But I have to be frank, and tell you that I did not clearly see that I would one day be communicating a classroom plan to each and every one of my students as to how we would “Run, Hide, Fight”– the mantra of school shooting safety.

I want you as fellow parents, and grandparents, and citizens, and teachers, and administrators, and police officers, and lobbyists, and politicians to know what it felt like to stand in front of a classroom of students and tell them that what I want most for them when they come to school is their safety and their continued ability to earn an education that will carry them into the world as thoughtful, hard-working, problem-solving, critical reasoning, readers, writers, thinkers, and speakers who are career and college ready.

I want you to know that I saw both depth of understanding and depth of fear, both depth of care and depth of concern, both the need to be loved and the need to show love, both the desire to be safe and the desire to ensure the safety of others in my students’ eyes as we spoke. If you were standing next to me in my classroom this week, your faith in humanity would have grown three sizes those days.

I hope it won’t surprise you that not one of my students rolled their eyes when we talked about our classroom safety plan. Not one of them asked why we had to engage in such a boring assignment, or if they could take a nap, or if we could talk about something else. None of the usual millennial stereotypes we place on this generation of youth. Yes, I get all of these non-plused reactions to the daily English concepts, learning assignments, creative activities, and formative assessments I give in my classroom. I’m not offended by this in the least. I teach high school English. It’s not everyone’s favorite subject, and six hours in a school desk could put anyone on the verge of a needing a nap. But not one mention of an out, an alternative, an apathetic reply shows you how important this topic is to our youth.

My students were keenly listening, hyper aware, compellingly conversational, profoundly questioning, solution creating, statistic gathering. I know one thing for sure– after this week-and-a-half spent discussing the ways we could best hide in silence, with cell-phones off, not a word uttered, backpacks filled with computers and books placed over our hearts as a best defense against bullets– my students want to live.

But listening to the rhetoric and the maligning of the essential questions about gun control, mental health, and school safety in our country I really have had to ask myself, “Do we want the same thing for them? Do we want my students to live?” Your faith in humanity may have shrunk a bit too at the apathetic responses from representatives, politicians, and spokespersons who upheld the status quo so unmoved by the honest expressions and questions of grief from our youth and their parents.

Why can my students see that the conversation does not logically need go to the extreme of revoking the Second Amendment, but that it would be reasonable for us to speak about universal background checks, and cooling-off periods, and training for the opportunity to buy a firearm? Why does the conversation become the fact that more people die in cars than by gun-shot wounds before we talk about banning assault weapons and making bump stocks illegal?

Why does the conversation become the idea that if guns are regulated they will no longer be available to citizens but only to criminals rather than discussing common sense methods of mental health screenings for those who want to purchase firearms? Why does the conversation become arming teachers and other militant policies that include more guns rather than examining societal support of those who struggle with conditions of mental illness? Do we worship the Second Amendment and its economic and political gains more than the principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Because from my vantage point this week, we do.

Because if all I have in my tool-kit is to continue to train students to duck low and move swiftly to the back of the room. That I will look out into the hall to bring passing students into our classroom the way Scott Beigel did when he was shot. That I will lock and barricade the door with a tall wooden pallet that ironically bears a peace sign. That we will break the glass in the window, hurling desks at it if need be, and exit out as swiftly as we can toward the street. That they need to run as fast as they can to the road without stopping. It feels akin to telling students to “duck and cover” in the event of an atomic bomb, with the full knowledge that all that will be left is their nuclear shadow as a reminder of their existence.

I want you to know these details because I want you to know that I want each and every child in my classroom to live. We talked in specifics. But are we as a society going to work together to ensure that safety? Now is the time that will tell. “Would you carry a gun, Mrs. Dickson?” my students asked, his hazel eyes serious, his mouth poised in a firm straight line once the question exited his mouth. He wanted to know if I would carry a weapon at school, if I would get a concealed carry permit to bring a weapon into my classroom. He didn’t ask in rancor or in pleading. He simply wanted to know what I would do to save him and his classmates in the event of a mass shooting.

What would I do? I had already asked myself this question many, many, many times from the day that the massacre happened at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida to the day that a student threatened the school I teach in on social media. What would I do to keep my students safe?

It was one of those moments where time took on an eternal quality– still, gaping, telescoping toward my need to answer him. “I didn’t take this job to be in law enforcement, or to carry a gun,” I replied. “You have asked me a deep and philosophical question. I do not believe in guns for the taking of human life. You want to know if I would carry a gun to protect you, but I want to know why [a teacher] carrying a gun would be our first line of defense on your behalf?”

Perhaps it felt like a dodging, ducking, pivot, a non-answer like the many politicians and spokespersons we’ve heard from this week.  Maybe it felt to him like I fractured that student’s trust. My students, who will have to trust in my coping mechanisms in the event that a deleterious person plans our death, deserve answers. But I do know my answer to his question. “No.” No, I will not carry a weapon on a high school campus.

The words Alfonso Calderon, survivor of Parkland’s school shooting, rang in my ears, “That’s a terrible idea… As far as I am aware, teachers are meant to be educators. They are meant to teach young minds how to work in the real world. They are not meant to know how to carry AR 15s, they are not meant to know how to put on kevlar vests for other students or for themselves. This is not what we stand for. We stand for small policy changes, and possibly big ones in the future. Because right now I am pretty sick of talking about teachers being armed. That is not even a possibility in my mind. I would never want to see that and neither do they want to do that.”

I care about each and every one of my students deeply. Yet when an administrator asks me “How are your kids?” like Rebecca Berlin Field, I immediately jump into my role as mother to two young boys at an elementary school that seems impossibly far, and feels unpredictably vulnerable and reply, “I was so grateful for the Principal and over thirty staff and faculty who welcomed each and every student to school today. They were standing on the curb in six degree weather when my husband dropped my boys off.” Then realizing my mistake, I quickly say, “Oh, you mean my students. They are scared.” Because this question reaches further than the doors of my high school onto elementary campuses where tiny humans go to learn and to be safe, too.

How will we protect those young students like those in Sandy Hook? I realized this week that it is my turn. If I believe that laws should change, or that monies should be appropriated in a different or particular way, or that students should be protected it is my turn to step up and voice these opinions.

It is my turn to stand beside these brave students from my high school who are looking for real and actionable change to come from the debates surrounding the Parkland, FL shooting. Small changes in national policy can lead to big changes in the safety that exists (or doesn’t) in our schools. It is my turn to be part of solutions that keep my children safe every day at school. The debate doesn’t need to be mutually exclusive, citizens can and do have the right to bear arms, alongside more reasonable regulation of these weapons. We can allocate funds for more sustained support of the mentally ill. We don’t have to throw our hands up in defeat simply because we’ve been asked to do something difficult. If I tell my students every day that they can do hard things, then I should be able to do hard things too. I hope as a parent, a grandparent, a teacher, an administrator or a concerned citizen you’ll consider speaking out on these matters.

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The Last Sweater: My Year of No Shopping

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Wherever you stand on resolutions (you love them, you pooh-pooh them, you think they may be an impetus for change, you don’t subscribe because you don’t see any value), I think that there is merit in examining your life periodically, and setting goals and intentions which move you forward as an individual.

This year I have one main goal I am focusing on. I am setting out on a year of not buying clothing. There are many who have trod this path before me: Colleen Bordeaux, Ann Patchett, James Clear, Cait Flanders, and more. Each one of these individuals had their own structure and set of rules for their shopping furlough. For me, this quest is one I’ve toyed with for a very long time. So why now?

I have enough clothes

I have pursued style and fashion for the better part of my life. While I don’t see anything inherently negative about this, I haven’t been as careful about cultivating my personal relationship with money as I have my wardrobe. In short, I have enough clothing. I want to take a year to evaluate my wardrobe.

Shopping mindlessly wastes time and money

I can’t tell you how much time and money I’ve spent shopping, but I can tell you that it has been a lot. One thing that Ann Patchett found during her year of no shopping was that she had time for other more important and even pressing activities. One of the reasons I initially began blogging was to spend more time writing. Yes, I did write more than I otherwise would have in the last two years if I did not run a blog, but I also used the fact that one of my intended focuses was “style” to shop– a lot.

I want to take a break from the online marketing circus. Constant shopping and buying in the realm of clothing drives the machine of wasteful fashion, one of the world’s largest polluters. The industry is all built on the backs of underpaid, often over-worked people in third world countries. I hope to take this year to evaluate my approach to buying, spending. I really need and want to learn to spend more thoughtfully and responsibly.

I want to realign my relationship with my money

In all honesty I have next to no understanding of money. I have jokingly explained my relationship as one where when the water is running (the money is flowing, there is cash in the bank) then I feel free to spend until the water runs dry. Dry would obviously mean that the money has been spent, the cash is gone. I have never used a budget, and I have certainly never examined how my money could be working for me, i.e. in investments, savings, and other forms of return.

I have to say that this is one of the hardest posts I have written. Not because I am not looking forward to the challenge of “no new things”, but because I am a person that does not like to set goals and then fail and I am a bit afraid of failing this challenge!

I’ll have more of my “rules” and some updates on this first month soon! Have a beautiful Thursday!

XX,

Megan

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