Staycaition Diaries: Nordstrom Trip

Staycaition Diaries: Nordstrom Trip

So I did it!  I took my tax check to Nordstrom and WENT. TO. TOWN!

We only have a Nordstom Rack in Louisville and all of the endless racks really stresses me out, so I drove up to Indianapolis with my friend Anne and met up with my friend Carey at her old stomping ground, the Fashion Mall at Keystone Crossing.  That is one fancy mall, there is a Crate and Barrel in there!

I had used a personal stylist once before, when I had to buy a (beautiful) bridesmaid dress and had no idea what to wear over it (wrap? jacket?) under it (spanx? 10 spanx?) and on my feet.  The stylist got my dress, helped me figure out what else to get with it and even had a tailor come and fix the straps.  Everything was free and incredibly helpful!

Results of first Nordstrom Trip!  

This time around, Carey set me up with her old friend Josh, who is so stylish that he can pull off wearing scarves inside.  Sigh, that never looks right on me!  Before the appointment he emailed me with a list of questions.  Things like, what colors I liked (jewel tones), what my goals were (different styles for curvy women), what kind of jewelry I liked (GOLD) and so on.  When I got to the Nordstrom I was lead to a big dressing room with great lighting, bottled water and eight different outfits to start with, down to the shoes and jewelry.


There were things here that I would have never tried.  Boyfriend jeans?  A horizontal striped boxy dress?  A olive green jacket?? But I did, and I loved them all and I bought them all.

So there are a few morals to this story.  First, don’t wait until you have your perfect body or perfect life to treat yourself to some new clothes.  Buy clothes that fit you now, that make you feel good now, instead of waiting till you get back into your size 8 Anthropolgie dress.  Second, always go shopping with wonderful friends that will make a fuss and ohh and ahh no matter what you wear and will cheer when you finally decide to put down some cash. And finally, go to Nordstrom and get a personal shopper.  You deserve to be treated like Pretty Woman without having to be a prostitute!



The T says it all

The T says it all

I am heading to Nordstom tomorrow with some girlfriends.  The goal?  To get me some stylish clothes for work and going out!  I am excited and nervous about this because I will be meeting with a personal stylist like a fancy lady!  Once I have my basics down, I want to start a collection of t-shirts that say things, and, you know, wear them with blazers and look cool.  Here are some that speak to me:


Now I know this is not about real libraries, and instead something that people say on RuPaul’s Drag Race.  But I think I can pull it off because I am a librarian! And any middle school student that knows it is from RuPaul will be my new favorite.



If only I could Be Yonce!!  I can settle for the t shirt instead.


When I ask for a pop in Louisville people look at me like I am asking for a ride to Neptune.  This has made me double down on calling my Diet Cokes pop!


For real, never forget!  I certainly didn’t when I had to weed out all of the astronomy books in my library that were published before 2006.  We lost a lot of books that day!


A perfect sweatshirt for how I know I will be feeling after my amazing staycation is over next week!



And finally, something I find myself needing to say often:


Louisville Zoo

Louisville Zoo

I have been living in Louisville for a year and a half and I haven’t stopped by the zoo yet!  I thought that a not-too-cold day in the winter would be a good time to come by and I was right! It wasn’t very crowded with people, the animals were out and running around because of the cold and you get to see some animals that are usually hiding like the snow leopard.

The zoo is also a great place to get some steps in, they even mark out a mile loop for you.  I live close enough that I am considering getting a membership just so I have a place to take some interesting walks/runs when it gets warmer outside!  I also realized what my favorite animal is (something that comes up more than you would think while working in an elementary school) a FLAMINGO!  I love the color AND their diet is mainly shrimp.  Loved ones that have seen me fill a plate with only shrimp at a buffet get this.  It is no surprise that one of my favorite picture books is Flora and the Flamingo:


Molly Idle’s wordless picture book about a girl having a dance off with a Flamingo.  Yes. Please.

Other picture books I like about animals and more specifically about zoos are:

 Wild about books by Judy Sierra and My heart is like a zoo by Michael Hall.  The are both beautifully illustrated picture books that rhyme that have been crowd pleasers during storytime!

Tone it Up!

Tone it Up!

I should hate these women:


Their names are Karena and Katrina, also known as the Tone it Up girls.  They have (or had?) a tv show on Bravo.  They do a lot of workouts on the beach and make you watch long intros of them posing in underwear before you get to their workouts.  But you know what?

Their workouts are really good.

So I made a plan to start most of my mornings with Karena or Katrina or both.  They have a lot of free videos on YouTube, going from 10 to 30 minutes.  Right now I am doing the “Love your body” series.  The series is supposed to get you ready for Valentine’s day.  Karena and Katrina work out in what looks like Regina George’s bedroom in Mean Girls withflower petals thrown around the Yoga mats.  When I first saw it, I rolled my eyes.  But when Katrina made me start doing kettle bell swings and I shut up.  Now I’m hooked and have a whole routine.  Here it is:

Monday-10 minutes of arms and abs with Karena 

Tuesday and Thursday-Kettlebells with Katrina (16 minutes)

Wednesday-Legs and Butt (I’m sorry, booty!) with Katrina (15 minutes)

Friday-HIIT Training with Karena and Katrina for 20 minutes  

I did this for a week and almost lost 2 pounds. Pretty crazy.  They have lots of other videos to check out, which is great for people like me who need to mix things up.  Oh!  And they wrote a book:


I will not be buying this book.  But I WILL check it out at the library!

Soup night: Spinach and Orzo

Soup night: Spinach and Orzo

I am very lucky to have a partner that loves to cook and I am very happy to let him take the reigns on this household chore.  I mean, the fact that he doesn’t consider it to be a chore says it all!  But schedules change up and life happens and I offered to take over cooking on Mondays.  Gulp!

I decided that during the winter I would try out different soup recipes that I find on Pinterest.  The idea is that it is more difficult to mess up soup than, say, stir fries or things that go in the oven.  My first soup attempt of 2016 was this winner from Gimme Some Oven:


Nicely plated!!  Where are all the spills everywhere!

The recipe was very easy and had a great vegetable to pasta ratio (meaning, lots of pasta).  I added some sausage to it, just some Italian flavored chicken sausage because, well, because sausage tastes good!

I’m starting to get more comfortable here!  And if I run out of Pinterest ideas, I can always go the 641.8 and find a great soup cookbook!


Soup and Bread?!?!  Yes please!  



When I was young, my favorite book character was Claudia Kishi from The Babysitters Club series.  My love went so deep that I started hiding candy in my room like she did until my mom found out and was afraid that I was becoming a hoarder and made me stop.  I loved her style, the fact that she was artistic, her poor spelling, and the fact that she wasn’t white.

Most of my books were about white girls, all of the rest of the core babysitters (until Jessie appeared later in the series), all of the cheerleaders in Fear Street.  The twins and almost all of her friends in Sweet Valley High (except for the girl that was hiding the shame of being secretly Mexican, wut??), the list goes on and on.  I thought that if I squinted a little, Claudia Kishi, who was Japanese could look kind of Puerto Rican.


No?  Well I tried!

This is one of the many reasons why I am so happy to see Marley Dias’ bookdrive receiving so much media love!  Dias is an avid reader who wanted to see more characters that “looked like her” in the books that she loved.  As she aptly put it, she was tired of reading books about “white boys and dogs.”  Oh yes, I remember this feeling.  Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and a place for Shiloh and Where the Red Fern Grows.  But it is 2016 and we still have a very unequal representation in children’s books.  It shouldn’t have been as easy as it was to list all most of the books that I have in my library that feature African American girls as main characters.

The campaign has a hashtag (#1000blackgirlbooks) and a goal, to collect as many books as possible for a bookfair in St. Mary, Jamaica.  Here is her interview:

HERE is a link to Marley’s non-profit.  The book drive has ended but you can still send money to her non-profit BAM.  Suggested donation for this project is 10 dollars!

What I Read: January

What I Read: January

I started a program at the school library called Nerdbery, inspired by a project of the same name that I found in a book called Reading in the Wild.  Traditionally, Nerdbery projects require a reader to finish all of the Newbery winning books starting in 1922.  In honor of my school’s 50th anniversary, I challenged the middle school to work together to read the Newbery winners going back to 1965.  In January, I read three Newbery winners:


I started on New Year’s Day with Shadow of a Bull.  This was the first book on our list, the 1965 winner.  The book was written by Maia Wojciechowska, a woman with the most remarkable author bio that I’ve ever read.  She escaped Poland during World War II, worked as a Private Eye, radio interpreter, and a bullfighter.  She is actually the person that taught Earnest Hemingway everything he knows about bullfighting.  Cool, right?


M.C. Higgins, The Great was written by Children’s literature legend, Virginia Hamilton.   It is about a young boy who dreams of leaving the mountain where he grew up.  On the top of his 40 foot steel pole, he sees two strangers on the mountain.  He sees a man who is rumored to be traveling to record singers from the area performing folk songs.  Higgins is convinced that this man will record his mother’s beautiful voice and be their ticket away from the mountain.  He also sees a young girl who is traveling alone, he becomes obsessed with her freedom and tries to get her attention.  This book had a shaky start for me.  Higgins is not the “greatest” in my mind.  He is rude and bossy to his only friend Ben which makes a little sense because he has to keep this friendship a secret from his superstitious father, and his introduction to the girl is very off-putting and near violent if not straight up violent which I still just don’t get.  Maybe I missed something in my reading, but because of this, I can’t see myself recommending it to any of my students.  The story goes on to touch on interesting things like family, growing up, rural life (specifically on the Ohio River, local to my new home), and social issues of strip mining and poverty.  So, I don’t know, I’m kind of mixed on this one.


The last book I read this month was Bud, not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis.  This book reads fast, giving a great feel for life during the Great Depression.  Bud (not Buddy), is sharp, smart and very funny.   You follow him from his escape from a foster home in Flint, Michigan, his journey to Grand Rapids to find the man he believes to be his father, and through his disappointments and triumphs.  That’s really all I can say without giving too much away.  Most readers that I know have already read it.  But if you have any elementary students that like historical fiction who haven’t read it, give it to them right away.

I hope to read a lot more this year, including books for grown ups!  Wish me luck!