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"You Look Like Something Out of the Late 1940s."

Monday, February 23, 2015

So the couple hours this past week I took out of my life to watch something other than Jane Austen movies I spent watching The Bletchley Circle, Downton Abbey, and Grantchester. The one thing these shows have in common are the loveliness of the women and their clothes. The hair, the dresses, the sweater/skirt combos, the red nail polish. As I mentioned yesterday, I also spent some time Googling "1940s-inspired hairstyles" and bought myself some red polish. I also picked out a fun skirt/sweater combo to wear to school today. I mean honestly, what can I say? I really just love old-fashioned things. Also, I wasn't mentally ready to re-enter this decade (century).

So I trotted myself to school this morning, decked out in my sweater and skirt and hair and nail polish, and I have to say it was a mighty fine way to start back to work after the week off. The result?

One of my students comes to class and says to me, "Miss Lafferre, this might sound really weird, but  you look like something out of the late 1940s today."

I kid you not!

Fantastic.

I live alone and have not mastered the art of the selfie, but this is what I wore today!

A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

I absolutely love clothes and shopping, but for the past, well, almost year now, I've really not shopped a lot. As I'm sure you're aware, teachers don't make much, and Catholic school teachers make even less, so I've been trying to be frugal. Honestly, that's a good thing because I can certainly be materialistic and I need to work on that trait. I also don't need so much stuff.

But ... (you knew this was coming) ... I also love fairy tales and lovely things. I've been dreaming about LC Lauren Conrad's Cinderella line for Kohl's, a line for the new movie Cinderella, which I'm dying to see. I happened to get a coupon in the mail the other day for $10 off $30 or more to Kohl's. Having basically not left my house due to snow in about a week, I figured maybe I'd treat myself to a little present with that coupon that was burning a hole in my pocket. So today after church, mom and I went up to Kohl's.

And I'm not disappointed. I wanted ALL THE CINDERELLA THINGS, but I limited myself to just two things only. One, a skirt that I just had to have:



I'm not going to lie, I twirled. I twirled in the dressing room. It is so beautiful. I took this picture where I did because I have had that wall art hanging over my closet for many years now. I've always loved Cinderella because she was just a regular girl who became a princess.

The other thing I got was this sweatshirt:

(via)


They don't have it in stores, only online, so I ordered it when I got home. Just look -- look at that castle. It's magical.

Truth is, I spent more money than I have on anything in a while. Because usually I shop straight clearance rack. Not sale rack. Clearance rack. If something's been marked down about 12 times, then it's probably in my price range. But I was lucky enough to have coupons and a Kohl's cash donation from my mom, and also Kohl's lets you stack up to five coupons online. Who knew?

I blame two things: first, my week with Jane. I know, I know, she wrote in a way different time period and what does she have to do with my Cinderella-inspired skirt? The truth is, the manners, the clothes, the civility, and the dances, oh the dances, have just captured my heart this week. I also found myself Googling "quick 1940s-inspired hairstyles" this week and trying to copy one, as well as I purchased and applied some sparkly red nail polish today after accidentally running into this show.

I think I just need a return to more lovely things. A lovelier time. And if there's one lesson I learned from Jane this week it's to always make sure you're dressed nicely and your hair is done because you never know who may show up at your door.

(Mr. Darcy. Fingers crossed. :) )


Jane and Me.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

I am pretty shocked that we have not had school all this week. You know the weather is terrible when that happens. I teach at a Catholic school so we don't have to worry about buses making it through back roads and things like that, but we have got a TON of snow, and it is COLD outside. COLD.

It's been a pretty relaxing week, although I am starting to go a bit stir crazy. I make myself do actual work in the mornings. I've done all my laundry, washed dishes, swept, dusted, cleaned the bathroom, cleaned Snicks's litter box, and done a ton of studying and schoolwork for my grad classes, which is nice that I'm so ahead of the game now.

But the afternoons. Oh the afternoons. And the evenings. Those are for nothing time, and that's so nice. A couple of evenings ago (and I honestly can't remember which one because they are all running together now) I decided that I was going to spend my next couple of days in the world of Jane Austen. I love, love, love Jane Austen. Jane Austen wrote for the single girl. Especially the "old" single girl who may have lost/been losing all hope. We are totally soul sisters. Jane Austen wrote what I consider the greatest love stories of all time. So my mornings have been the necessary evil to getting to go back to Austenland, where, I'm okay with admitting, I would spend the rest of my life.


Now, I know I teach English, and I spend a good part of every week saying one of two things: READ A BOOK! or The book is always better than the movie. Correct on both counts. And, with the except of Northanger Abbey, I have read all these books. The truth is, though, some of these Austen books are in my classroom library (can't get there -- see above) and also a lot of these movie/miniseries adaptations are really quite good. A few years back my parents got me several of the BBC Austen miniseries DVDs for my birthday. And I LOVE them. So I collected everything I had and scoured Netflix and YouTube for what I didn't. And I settled in with Jane.


The thing is, I get SO swept up in Jane Austen's stories. She wrote the very best female characters: Elizabeth Bennet, Anne Elliot, Fanny Price, Emma Woodhouse, Elinor Dashwood, Catherine Moreland. And the Austen men? Oh, the dashing Austen men: Mr. Darcy, Captain Wentworth, Edmund Bertram, Mr. Knightley, Edward Ferrars, Henry Tilney. I tell you NO ONE wrote a love story like Jane Austen. No one. You can keep your Fifty Shades of whatever because there is absolutely nothing in this world more romantic than a Jane Austen love story. I am telling you my heart almost cannot take it when the leading characters finally get together. It's a sweet, innocent, deep, and lifelong love. It always is. I tell you THIS is the kind of movie we should be watching all the time. Because this is how life really should be.


Here's what I've been watching:

Mansfield Park -- Fanny Price and Edmund Bertram meet, have some complications, then fall in love forever. 

Both this version and this version. I prefer the second version, but both are good. Knowing that Fanny loves Edmund but he thinks he loves someone else? Ugh. My heart.

Quotes to stop your heart:

"I love you. I was blind. Forgive me."

"How is it a poet describes a wife, Sir Thomas?"
"She's heaven's last, best gift."

____

Persuasion -- Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth meet, have some complications, then fall in love forever. 

This version. You want to cry your eyes out along with Anne. They were separated for eight years. EIGHT YEARS! And what can she say? I don't know how she got out of bed every day. I don't.

Quotes to stop your heart:

"I would never suppose that true constancy is known only by women. But the one claim I will make for my own sex is that we love longest, when all hope is gone."

"She's perfection itself. I've never loved any but her."

____

Sense and Sensibility -- Elinor Dashwood and Edward Ferrars meet, have some complications, then fall in love forever.

Both this version and this version. (I think I prefer the first, but both are good!) The quiet love Elinor has for Edmund just kills you throughout this movie, especially when you learn he's engaged to someone else. But when he comes back? Oh man.

Quotes to stop your heart:

"Every day since I first saw you my love for you has grown. I know I have no right to hope, but I must ask -- can you forgive me? Can you love me? Will you marry me?"

____

Northanger Abbey -- Catherine Moreland and Henry Tilney meet, have some complications, then fall in love forever. 

This version. Probably my least favorite of the stories, but when you think Catherine might decide on John over Henry? Ughhhhhh. I died.

Quotes to stop your heart:

"I told him I felt myself bound to you by honor, by affection, and by a love so strong."

____

Emma -- Emma Woodhouse and Mr. Knightley meet, have some complications, then fall in love forever.

This version and this version (Although I first saw the first one, I am OBSESSED with the miniseries. OBSESSED.) You totally know that Mr. Knightley loves Emma WAY before she knows it, and you just can't contain yourself.

Quotes to stop your heart:

"I cannot make speeches, for if I loved you less, I may be able to talk about it more."

"I examined my own heart, and there you were. Never, I fear, to be removed."

"I do not wish to call you my friend because I hope to call you something infinitely more dear."

"Marry me? Marry me my wonderful, darling friend."

____

Pride and Prejudice -- Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy meet, have some complica -- I think you get it.

This version and this version.

So I know what I'm about to say will shock and upset many people, but -- I know the BBC version is widely considered the best adaptation, and I do very much like it. (Except for that girl who plays Jane. Really?) But I have to say -- I think I like the Keira Knightley movie better. I KNOW! Don't hate. I think it's because the romance is just kicked up a notch!

Quotes to stop your heart:

"I didn't always love him, but I love him now dearly. He is truly the best man I've ever known."

"I will have to tell you that you have bewitched me, body and soul, and I love, I love, I love you."

____

If you haven't seen these movies (or, God forbid, haven't read the books) then you must do so immediately. No, you can't borrow mine. I'm sorry, but I just can't.

I am telling you I just do not have words to describe what my heart goes through while watching these movies. So thank you, Jane Austen. I don't know if you knew what you were doing, but I suspect that you really did. Thank you for giving us hope. It's a wonderful thing.

And now, as it is afternoon, I am off to float back into Austenland.  Be sure to stay tuned for future blog posts about which Austen leading lady I am and which Austen leading man is for me. Oh, and in case you are wondering? The answer is, it is.


I Scream for Snow Cream!

Monday, February 16, 2015

The snow is coming down, down, down where I am. It's more snow than I can remember in many years, and it doesn't look like there's any sign of letting up.






Needless to say, school was cancelled today. I used some time this morning to take a test and complete an assignment for an online class, but once I wrapped that up I decided to take full advantage of my snow day. I decided to make a snow cream!

I had seen people do this before online and I decided to follow this recipe. (I did shrink the recipe since I just wanted one serving ... for now!)



I gathered all my supplies and gave it a go.

It is so tasty! I don't even love ice cream (I know, I know), but this was so delish and fun! If you are anywhere where this light and great snow is falling, then make some for yourself!


Some Presents. For Me.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

My mom brought me a little bag of fun treats to school the other day. (And if that doesn't sound like it's 1995 again, then I don't know what will.)

Look at my new shirts!



It was like they were hand-made for me! Two of my most favorite things ever! My new favorite outfit will be my Once Upon a Time shirt worn with my Once Upon a Time necklace from Story. Because you can't have too much of a good thing. (As a side note, someone noticed my necklace tonight and asked me what it said. I told her, and there was a smidge of silence, so I filled it with "Oh I teach English" rather than "Oh I'm Snow White" because the former required less explanation. :) But then she said, "I love anything that begins 'Once Upon a Time'," so maybe I should have gone with the longer explanation. I did tell her those were my four favorite words!)

There was also this necklace:



My mom got it for me because it is fair trade. It's handmade through an organization called Full Circle Exchange. The necklace is so pretty, but look at what the box it came in says:




Isn't that just the loveliest thing? Incidentally, it also came with a bar of chocolate, which is very good. Really my only complaint with it is I was trying to eat it as I sat here to write this blog post, and the dang wrapper WOULD. NOT. OPEN. so I had to get up and walk about 30 yards into the kitchen to open it with a scissor (as Bert would say, 4:32). Ain't no one got time for that as my students would hilariously comment whilst we were learning about double negatives last week.

At any rate, I hope your week has been acceptable.

Across the Oceans.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

I was recently contacted by a person from a brand new website called Smart Indian Women. It was one of those emails that at first you think might be spam, but I investigated it and checked out the site, and it's really cool! Smart Indian Women is the first e-magazine for women, and its objective is to give women from all walks of life a platform to recognize their efforts and express their opinions. The woman who contacted me writes about women bloggers, achievers and women entrepreneurs. She told me they had recently launched a column called "Across the Oceans" featuring interviews with bloggers from around the world. Fun!

Here is a link to my interview, but you really should stick around and check out their other cool interviews and content. Thanks Arushi!

Plugging in the Holes.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

I have had an awful lot to do this week between teaching and taking my graduate classes. I have stayed late at work or worked late at home every night this week, and I was gearing up to settle in for another long night at school tonight, grading papers and planning.

I did my usual after school chores and settled into my desk around 3:45 or so. I was just jumping in to a stack of papers to grade when two of my students bounded into the room. These girls had been hanging up some flyers for a fundraiser, and they sometimes stay in aftercare. They came by to chat for a while, and a little while later we were joined by another one of my students. And all three of them stayed a while. Then one of them left, but two of them stayed a little while longer. And all these students are just the best. But I watched the clock tick by ...... 3:55, 4:04, 4:15. Thinking about the papers to grade, the plans to make, the lesson plans to type. But then I stopped and took a breath and let it out. Because I realized that nothing I can teach these girls -- no grammar, no reading, nothing -- might end up meaning as much to them in the long run as standing in my classroom after school telling me about their lives. And nothing that I could possibly be doing -- no grading papers, no planning lessons, nothing -- could come close to being as important as listening to them and making them feel welcome. Which I hope I did.

Because I am not the best teacher. No, not by a long shot. I fail every single day and there are always about 11 different ways I could have done something better than I did. But I have some students who like to be in my classroom, who might feel at least a smidge at home there. If they have to be at school after hours, they don't mind spending a little of that time in my room. And I pray to be the teacher that my students deserve. And I praise God for plugging in the holes.

Missy Be Puttin' It Down. Holllllla.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Unless you have literally been living under some sort of rock for a couple of days, then you are firmly aware that Missy Elliott brought the house down with her Super Bowl Halftime Show performance Sunday night. What? you say. I thought Katy Perry had that gig?

I am here to tell you you are wrong.

That show was owned by Missy Elliott. The same Missy Elliott that owned TRL, the radio, and every college party I attended in the 2002-2003 school year.

My friend and coworker Jessica put this up on her Facebook yesterday, and, short of actually having a photo of myself when Ms. Misdemeanor came out, this is the best I can do to show you how I looked:


My mom, dad, and I were sitting there in various stages of snacking and chatting when the halftime show started. Here comes Katy Perry, lalala, riding some sort of mechanical zoo animal and singing one of her many hits. I don't hate Katy Perry; I've been known to download a song of hers every now and then. And as she performed I was like -- cool. She's doing just fine.

But then.

BUT. THEN.

The clouds parted and the sky opened up and there was Missy Elliott, minus the track suit, but still looking good as ever. My parents were like, "Who?" And I was like, "IT'S MISSSYYYYY ELLIOOTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT EEEEEEEE!E!E!E!E!E!E!!E!E!E!E!!!!!!" or something along those lines. (And frankly, at that point, I just wanted Katy Perry to shut it.)

I put up a Facebook status shortly after, and in about 24 hours I had 80 likes. Which is honestly more likes than I've gotten on anything in quite a while. So I started thinking about why. (Other than the general greatness of the Supa Dupa Fly which is Missy Elliott.)



Here's what I think:

Hearing Missy Elliott rap "Work It" brought us all back to being in college. Back when we were young, wore cute clothes, and our biggest worry was getting to the store to buy beer because we didn't have class on Fridays. This was back before we had to worry about things like retirement savings, vitamins, health insurance, and kids. (Which I still don't have to worry about, but the aforementioned Jessica does, so -- solidarity.) Missy Elliott is the soundtrack to driving with the windows rolled down in the sunshine on the way to the mall at 1 p.m. because it's Tuesday afternoon and no one had anywhere to be again till 9 a.m. the next morning.

Somehow we all aged from 20 to 30 in the blink of an eye, but in our hearts we're still those 21-year-old kids who could be motivated solely by the words "DJ, please pick up your phone, I'm on the request line" because we knew exactly what was coming next and the answer is Yes. It is worth it, so let's work it.

The only logical conclusion I can draw here is that the class of 2002 is in DESPERATE need of an all-out dance party, Natty Light included. And we all know what song will be first on that playlist.

So, Missy Elliott, thanks for reminding us who we were. It could not have come a moment too soon.


(Oh, and for good measure, I'm sure everyone remembers when Missy Elliott rocked that trash bag, right?)

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