money, shopping

Thrift Store Finds

Last month I stopped by the thrift store to see if I could find any decent work clothes. I used to find a lot of good work clothes about five years ago, but I was smaller then and wore shorter skirts. I wasn’t too sure what I would find now, but I knew even a few nice tops would help, because I already have some plain black pants I wore at my last school job.

I’m not one to share or enjoy “haul” videos or posts, so you’ll have to take my word for it when I say I got a great haul that day!

I got four plain tops that can be mixed and matched with several things I already have. I got two tank tops for layering with stuff I already have. I got a printed top (still work appropriate) and two solid cardigans, because I need to cover some of my ink at work. I got a casual dress, a long skirt, and a knee-length skirt I will most likely wear with colored tights or leggings I already own. Everything I got mixes and matches together and with stuff I already own, except the dress which stands alone.

08D50BEF-F156-49FD-89A5-CF170DD88372.jpeg

BONUS: I got this dress at the thrift store back in 2013 and wore it a lot with a yellow tank underneath. That tank expired in 2015, so this dress semi-retired even though I love it. I wore a white tank under it sometimes but it looked like bra straps and I didn’t like it. I found a pale yellow tee at the thrift store once and wore it, but the yellows were off and it bugged me even though they were complementary. One of the tops I found this thrift visit was the PERFECT yellow! I am so excited and have already gotten compliments on how well the yellows match. Plus, the yellow shirt looks cute with the new skirt I bought.

I also got six frames of various sizes that I put photographs in to hang on a gallery wall, which looks great! I’ve been wanting to spice up this wall forever so I was glad to find cheap but quality frames at the thrift store instead of having to spend more for lower quality to buy new at a store like Michaels. Plus getting them at the thrift store made it a one stop shop!

Twelve articles of clothing and six frames cost me $40. Some shirts were a dollar or two, while the dress was closer to seven, and the sweaters about four. Still, everything was cheaper than buying new, plus better for the environment than buying new!

I know I technically could have done without some of these clothes, but I like having options for work. I never would have been comfortable buying myself this much new – t-shirts alone could be $8! But now the stuff I have can last me year-round with layering, so I don’t see having to buy anything new for awhile (knock on wood).

home life, money, school, working

Montessori School

I have a lot of thoughts on the public school system, from my memories as a student (skewed, I know), to being a teacher, to being a prospective parent. I’ll try to not get too… opinionated here, because I know every school system is different and the more specific I get to my district, the less helpful my insights will be to others.

I worked in an elementary school in a middle class area; the school had high ratings and incredibly high enrollment – there were over 860 kids there when I was there. We were understaffed, even if no one would admit it or no one could fix it. Classrooms pushed 30 kids, and that was way too much. I worked as a librarian so I saw all of these kids on a rotating schedule, and I always dreaded the 30-kid classes. It’s too much.

My son went to an inclusive preschool three days a week, mostly for socialization. They learn a lot there, but the pace is different since there are so many kids with different abilities. He used to go to a different school 5 days a week, full days, when I worked full time. He fit in there and learned a lot, including Spanish. But it seemed like he was on the road to behavior problems, because he always acted out with one friend. Those behaviors disappeared once he was in a classroom with kids ranging from 3-6, and with drastically different abilities. I loved this preschool because he saw so many differently-abled kids and worked with them on their levels. He has told me about some of his friends and it makes me happy that he has this understanding and compassion from a young age.

Now he is going to a Montessori school. Well, right now it is the school’s summer camp. I got a dream job at the school so I am prepping my classroom this summer while he attends camp. I think Montessori is perfect for him because he loves to learn, and has specific interests, and wants to be able to learn at his pace and on his level. Again, he will be in a class with 3-5/6 year olds. I think this is great because he will see older kids as role models, and can strive to be a good role model for those younger than him.

I was so anxious about putting him in public school. I detest our system as it is, and while I know he would adapt and socialize and fit in, I didn’t want that. I don’t want him to become a cookie cutter kid when he is so smart and curious. I want him to move around and pick his tasks and learn practical life skills from school, instead of being pushed to read and write and do worksheets in kindergarten.

I really wanted to homeschool him, but couldn’t find a way to make it work. When I was working from home, I was working 15 hours a week while he was in childcare. If needed, I worked some at night after he was asleep. And I loved working from home, and wanted to continue to do it for the flexible schedule. But now, I will be working in the same place as him. I will know what he’s learning and how. I’m still learning about the Montessori method, but I know some from a previous job at a learning center and really agree with the approach. I think this is the best compromise to homeschooling – being near enough him (no worries with drop off and pick up times at school coinciding with my work schedule!) and knowing he is learning in a method that will encourage his growth and individuality. Plus, as I said it’s a dream job for me, and teaching there means a discount on tuition. I was looking forward to public school being free, but if that’s the only perk to an education, it’s not a perk at all!

I’m eager to keep learning about Montessori as it applies to me as a teacher and parent, and I’m eager to see how he reacts to it. I’ll definitely be sharing more as I build my classroom and curriculum.

 

home life, money, natural living, working

Questions

I’ve been interested in zero waste, minimalism, and more along those lines since 2010. I’ve been interested in recycling and reusing since childhood, when I made dollhouse furniture out of toothpaste tube lids and toilet paper rolls. I have a long history in this category, but I still have a lot of questions.

Sometimes I don’t realize I have a question until I read something written by someone else. The bloggers I listed in my Inspiration post are especially good at this – they have different experiences within the field, so I will read something and want to know more because of what they’ve said, even if it is a topic I never thought about on my own.

Sometimes I have questions because of how I’m changing my own life. I’m working from home and now my son attends a preschool just a few minutes away. How much money am I saving versus how much I was earning and spending before? How much gas am I saving? How much less pollution am I producing? Does it make a difference that taking him is more stop and go on side streets instead of speeding down the highway?

How much money am I saving buying everything online? How much pollution am I creating by having things delivered to my door instead of driving to get them myself?

What toothbrush is best for my teeth? What toothbrush is best for the environment? What kind of packaging does this product come in? Is the product worth it to me, or would I rather buy a different brand that uses recyclable materials?

What will grow in my garden? Is it worth the time and work put into a garden for what we reap from it? Will I grow more produce if I plant it over there? Or there?

What do I need versus what do I want? What will make me happy versus what will be the best for everyone, for the Earth, for the environment? What am I supposed to do with my life?

You know, just your typical, everyday questions.

money, working

Photography

Photography has been my passion since I was young. I used to take tons of film pictures, filled albums, owned a band photography business, and even had an application ready for art school… but I got cold feet. I didn’t think I could make photography happen for me, so instead of sticking with it and trying, or even just keeping it as a hobby… I quit.

It was sad. I was sad.

Within the past few years, I have picked photography back up as a hobby, and am now turning it into a business. I have watched videos on how to actually learn my camera, because I am purely self-taught. And by “self-taught”, I mean I picked up the camera, figured out basic settings, and started photographing what moved me. And it’s worked for me, but I feel like to get anywhere, I need to know what I’m doing.

Hence studying my camera, settings, the technical side of it, and the business side of it. I’ve been self-employed and worked freelance for years, so I can do the financial side and the taxes. But the marketing and the clients and all that jazz is totally foreign to me.

I’m excited about Allison and Her Camera. I wish I knew when I was in my early 20s that being a photographer, and not just a wedding photographer, was possible. I wish I had found some encouragement to follow what I loved, because I would be so much farther along now.

But you can’t go back, and you can’t change anything. So now I just have to hustle and work hard and learn all I can. I want to make it happen, so I can. And I will. Everything has been happening this year, happening quickly if you realize it’s only April.

This doesn’t have much at all to do with money, or possessions, or anything like that. You could delve into it and make it about that – about digital photos over printed photographs on display. About owning a camera and lenses versus renting them. I can twist anything into being about money and finances. But for this… I didn’t want to. I wanted it to be purely about my passion for photography and my drive to make it happen for me. So it is.

home life, money, working, writing

Freelancing

Part of the reason I wanted to leave my “typical” job was because I wanted to spend time with my son. When he was born, I was getting my Masters, so I was lucky to stay home with him for 2 years. I would have loved to be a stay-at-home mom, but something in my makeup pushed me to work outside the home. I was healthy, smart, able, and had worked nonstop since I was 16; I felt there was no reason for me to not work. Which is kind of messed up because there was also no one pushing me to work. I had just always done it, so I felt like I always had to.

Of course, now I have to work to an extent. But I am trying to find exactly what I want instead of settling for jobs that sound good on paper. I am tired of picking a job because of the title, or because the salary sounds so good (though I will admit that is a HARD temptation to push past!). I know I want to work from home, and not just because I prefer being as hermit-like as possible. I like not having a commute. I like the flexibility. I like being there for my kid when he needs me, instead of not being able to leave the office for a reason.

I am lucky to have a background conducive to freelancing – I have a degree in graphic design; a degree in English; a lot of years of experience writing, blogging, and managing my time efficiently. I had a photography business for a few years, long ago, and am starting that back up again.

I am also lucky that doing one thing all the time bores me. I admire people who can find their calling and stick with it and be passionate about it, and I know so many people like that. But I have always found myself getting restless after doing anything for a period of time, ranging from 3 months to one year. So I like the idea of cobbling together a living of writing, photography, working on different projects, doing different things for different people. Who knows if it will be a long-term venture, but it’s important to me, and I tend to push really hard (past the 3 month-1 year expiration date!) for things that matter.