January was a Free Pass

Most people embark on the New Year’s Resolution train on the dawn of January 1. I used to be one of those people. It would also be true to say that two weeks into the full steam ahead plan to overhaul your life in the upcoming year you burn out and resort back to the comfort of old habits.

This year, I decided to give myself a one month trial—January would be a trial month to test out potential plans for a better me in 2018.

Among some of the ideas were the following:

-organizing different areas of life (home office, closets, classroom)

-getting on a sustainable work-out plan

-possibly leaving the gym (to save money)

-pay off one or two credit cards

-focus on saving money (see above…I will be saving $220 a month when those credit cards are paid in full!)

-meditating or practicing mindfulness

-cooking more often


While I am working towards all of these, two are already in progress/completed. I was unable to leave the house one day because of a snow storm we were having. I signed into my bank account and noticed that my gym had increased the amount of money they were charging me per month. I vaguely remember them mentioning (back when I first signed up two years ago) that once my contract commitment was up, my monthly payment would increase.

This made my wheels start turning. I have a space in my house where I can work out. I just need something as motivating as the classes that I love going to. I specifically joined this gym because they offer classes: ZUMBA, yoga, barre, Bodypump, Spinning….

I didn’t trust myself to wander around the gym going from machine to machine to complete a workout. Mind you–this was my entire life in my late teens and twenties. I lived to go to the gym and work out. I felt strong and empowered. I grew up a little and my priorities changed a smidge at first and then a lot later and I realized I didn’t need to be a gym rat in order to feel good about myself.

Going on behind the scenes, the flu epidemic is so widespread this year it makes me crazy thinking the air outside my home could potentially contaminated. I was not planning on going to the gym until the height of the flu was over. I, personally, was not infected. But I also resist getting the flu shot every single year. To date, I have (knock on wood) never had the flu.

So, it is not surprising with my now paying extra for a gym that I have not used since Christmas, coupled with the fact that I am trying to resist coming into contact with any additional and unwanted germs that I should be on the hunt for a new workout plan.

Alas—I find one—back on that snow day while scrolling through social media. It was an ad for the FitBit coach. It promises motivating and tailored workouts of varying lengths and intensities. I tried it and enjoyed it.


Having given it a week, I decided that I would be A-Ok if I called up and cancelled my gym membership for 26.change a month, plus a once yearly $40ish maintenance fee. Butterflies engulfed my belly as I made this earth shattering decision. While I still have access to my gym through March, I intend to go back to the classes I went to originally and use the app in my spare time (ehh hmm ;)).

My second feat of the year is to begin organizing my life. I have made some headway in this department, but plan to make a different post about it later as  I make more significant developments.

To give you an idea of where the improvements will be made:

-the hallway linen closet

-my closet full of clothes

-my office and optimizing the use of space

So there you have it! Come back to the blog for updates on the progress soon. 

If you have any tips or tricks for organizing or cleaning out the closet, be sure to drop them in the comments section!

Thanks for reading and have a great day! 🙂





Fix #15


Happy Fix Day! It feels like I just celebrated my last fix not too long ago and already I am back here on the blog to share my latest picks with you!


New to Stitch Fix? Not a problem!

Click here to read my review of this fabulously easy and convenient styling service!

I am going to jump right in to share you the head to toe fix Emilie styled for me this month! Emilie is one of a few stylists who seems to be filling in for Nicole, but I would have never guessed based on the awesome picks she sent my way.

LuLu Juliet Knit Infinity Scarf

Emilie sent a super soft, cozy off-white LuLu Juliet Knit Infinity Scarf. Just based off of the feel of this scarf  (and the extreme cold we had been experiencing) I knew I was in for a treat. When I went to wrap it around my neck, I noticed that it was a bit tight to wrap around a third time, but it was slightly loose to keep it wrapped only twice. Regardless of the loops it made around my neck, it felt so cozy and warm. It was a very nice texture to add to my wardrobe. So, this infinity scarf was definitely on my ‘keep’ radar!


Seychelles Snare Leather Ankle Bootie

I was excited to see a pair of shoes and more so to see a shoe labeled a bootie in my fix. I requested a black shoe (either in flat or bootie). When I took them out of the special pouch and looked at them, I was a bit miffed at these Seychelles Snare Leather Ankle Bootie. They were not what I was expecting, but equally as much of a pleasant surprise. The teacher in me loved the way they sounded against tile or wood flooring. They make a click-clack sound that is reminiscent of my school days and teachers or the principal walking down the hall. The Seychelles were a bit stiff at first, but after several wears they were finally a touch more pliable. The shoes were in the maybe category until I decided what I was doing with the rest of the fix.


Melanie K Elanore Space Dyed Hooded Pullover Sweater

As I pulled the Melanie K Elanore Space Dyed Hooded Pullover Sweater from the packaging, I was excited to see a pretty grey sweater. This pullover was lightweight and slightly snugger than I would typically prefer for a top. But when I put it on, it fit pretty well. I also didn’t mind this pullover when it was covered by the snazzy vest Emilie sent.


Pistola Audrey Moto Detail Skinny Pant

I was interested in these black pants as I pulled them out of the box. They were not your average black skinnies. The Pistola Audrey Moto Detail Skinny Pants had texture half way down the leg. I might also add they fit like a glove! One thing I love about Stitch Fix is how accurate they have been with sizing on pants for me—even right out of the first box. It didn’t take any guess work or returns. They got it right from the very beginning. These Pistola skinnies were no exception!

Marc New York Haley Faux Leather Zipper Pull Puffer Vest

The last item Emilie enclosed was a very red Marc New York Haley Faux Leather Zipper Pull Puffer Vest. I had been wanting something red and this puffer vest certainly satisfied that need for me. It was comfortable and not overly puffy. It was comfortable to wear under a typical winter jacket.


I loved this fix for many reasons. The most immediate reason was that Emilie styled a complete head-to-toe look for me and when I donned all the items, it looked awesome! I was definitely ready for a cozy, winter day.


The Verdict

LuLu Juliet Knit Infinity Scarf……………………………………………………$38.00 (KEEP)

Seychelles Snare Leather Ankle Bootie…………………………………..$140.00 (KEEP)

Melanie K Elanore Space Dyed Hooded Pullover Sweater………$58.00 (KEEP)

Pistola Audrey Moto Detail Skinny Pant……………………………………$88.00 (KEEP)

Marc New York Haley Faux Leather Zipper Pull Puffer Vest…..$98.00 (KEEP)

Total: Not Important….I got a fabulous fix out of the deal! Thank you Emilie!

I know what you might be thinking…”Man, is she a sucker for spending money!” or “Wowzers…that is a small fortune.” But the reality is, it would have cost me more money to just pick and choose the pieces I would have wanted to keep rather than just purchasing the whole fix.

When I was faced with the decision, I saw that my Buy 5 discount (25% off my order) was going to save me a little more than $100, meaning that I would basically get the puffer vest free. I found it too hard of a deal to pass up. Besides, I really did enjoy my head to toe fix.

To recap, I was a little hesitant about the shoes initially. Since making them mine, I have worn them more than any other shoe Stitch Fix has sent me.

If I Wasn’t a Teacher

This winter, I am finding that I feel pretty unmotivated. I am dragging just to get through the work day, let alone the work week. Its not that I dislike teaching. I love it. I love the kids and seeing their innocence. I believe I learned from the best to be the best teacher I can be at this point in my career. But part of me couldn’t help but wonder what it would be that I would be doing if I was not a teacher.

Let’s take a walk back in time…

My time at Salve went by entirely too fast. I think most would agree that it flies. While I was there, I was always envious of those who just knew what they wanted to be and knew what they needed to study/major in before they got there. I was not that driven. I loved going to school and I loved most all the subjects. It was no surprise that I loved taking different classes while in college—except for maybe Economics and religion classes….I would have skipped those if I could have.

As I worked through my time there, I started racking up some credits in the English department and it was advisable that I declare an English major. Without room to disagree, I became an English Communications major and loved the classes. I would have argued I probably would have loved being any major—except for Economics or religion, that is.

I learned about new media (today it would be old media….this is circa 2007-2010) like podcasts and blogs. I learned about AP citations and style guide references, dabbled in public relations, made my own press releases, wrote countless articles, created faux front page newspapers with images and captions. We were given experience in the field through internship opportunities. I interned at the New Haven Register and loved it. It was a good mix of people interaction coupled with my desire to conjure up my creativity and love of writing.

I graduated and did not pursue a job in communications (it just wasn’t feasible at the time) but allowed myself to continue blogging (yay!) to keep this outlet open in the meantime. One thing lead to another and I ended up going back to school to become a teacher. I had an award-winning mentor and cooperating teacher who inspires me to be the very best.

I love having my own classroom, my own students. There are times where I still sit at the teacher’s desk, look around, think, “Wow!” and wonder when the real teacher will come. Moments after that, it dawns on me that I am the real teacher. This is reality. There are moments before I fall asleep when I reflect on my day, my week, my accomplishments and wonder if I feel satisfied with everything.

There seems to be this dim light in the back of my mind that wonders what life would be like if I was not a teacher. Yes, I would be walking away from things like snow days and summer vacation. But, what if I worked a job where I could come in, make whatever progress I could and not have to plan or prepare things in my absence? What if I could work in a profession that allowed me to leave it all behind when I left for the day or a week vacation and did not require that I prepare for it in the same manner in which I prepare for the highest moments of the school year? What if I could work in a place that still allowed me to interact with others as much as it granted me the opportunity to embrace my love for writing or creating?

I am unsure what that profession would be, where I would find it and what it would look like, but in an ideal world it would allow me to get my feet wet in a low-committment, on-the-side kind of way before diving in head first.


Dear Domino

I loved you from the very moment you arrived home that rainy day in December. I was so excited for you to be here and it was from then I vowed to give you the very best life outside of the shelter as I could. I think most would agree that you live the life of Riley, Puppy Dogs.

You are so loving and cute and cuddly. I love waking up to find you nestled on my shoulder, with your warm (and sometimes stinky) puppy breath on my neck. I love coming home to your wagging tail, smiling face and wiggly butt.

Without a doubt, you changed my life and how I live it. You made me more accountable and responsible by having to think beyond myself. Sure, there are times where you are stubborn and track mud in the house and shred tennis balls to bits and leave the mess behind. And sure there are times where I feel guilty for missing so much time with you, but I have to work to support your love of destroying Kong Tennis balls.

I would not change a thing.

For the most part, we speak the same language: love. Unconditional love. We continue to build trust and confidence in one another.

Perhaps the hardest part for me is figuring out what troubles you about certain people. Why do you let some in and make it very clear others are not welcome in our home?

I wish you could talk to me and tell me what is wrong. I wish you would trust that I would not let “the bad guys” in.

We continue to work and train on this particular area. I have no doubt in my mind that with time, all things are possible and that we will overcome what feels like our greatest hurdle.

I believe in you, Domino. Mommy loves you very much and always will!

Photo on 10-17-17 at 8.56 PM


Fix #14

Inquiring minds want to know why I love Stitch Fix so much. Well, I am here today to tell you just that.

This post contains affiliate links. Each time someone makes a purchase through one of the links, I receive a small commission, which helps to support my blog. I am so thankful for you as my readers and supporters for your eagerness to follow me in my Lifestyle Menagerie.

A friend and colleague turned me on to Stitch Fix about a year ago. At the time, I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into, but I knew I was good at spending money and I loved (and still love) shopping for clothes!

What I learned about Stitch Fix is that they have many different stylists who work tirelessly to review your style preferences and budget needs to pull together a box filled with five unique items tailored to you. Some of the brands are familiar, but others are Stitch Fix exclusives. In the event you did not see stars with one or more of your items, Stitch Fix sends you a pre-paid USPS envelope. Load in the items you don’t totally love, seal up the envelope and put it in your mailbox. Easy. As. Pie.

I was in awe at how accurate the sizing was and how closely my stylist matched my clothing preferences. This still continues to blow me away. My stylist has never laid eyes on me. She only has the information I’ve provided her and she sends me pants and jeans that fit perfectly. No gapping in the back, no bagginess in the front or rear. Perfect.

What is helpful for me and for my stylist is regularly pinning new clothing ideas to my Pinterest Clothing Board. This way, she can take a look and see the things that I have been pining over and perhaps send a pleasant surprise.

While I typically tend to keep my whole fix nearly each time, there are times when I don’t completely love everything and make some returns. This was the case for my current fix.


Take a look below and see if you would agree.



In my style note, I asked Nicole to be on the look out for a couple of different shoes. Specifically, I asked for flats in either brown/tan or black. I was also on the hunt for a new black bootie. This fix was styled by someone different, and the shoes she sent, while still in the brown/tan family, did not give me my Cinderella moment.

The base of the Lucky Brand Aviee Lace Up Flat was quite comfortable, but the top of the flat had an elastic lace up that sat tightly across my foot. It was unflattering and made my feet look wider and larger than they are in reality.



My fingers passed over the super soft knit cable sweater and may have instantly fell in love. The Collective Concepts Chaka Cable Textured Pullover sweater gave me all the feels. I could dress this cream colored sweater up or down and it looked great and felt so incredibly comfortable.


I loved how it was longer and a big bulky—perfect for the deep freeze we are experiencing up here in Connecticut. This would be perfect for a day lounging at home or for a gathering at the local bar for a warm libation. As you can probably guess, judging from my verbiage, this pullover was going to be a keeper.



I hemmed and hawed about this blouse. I generally liked the Skies Are Blue Spooner Lace Inset Blouse. In fact, there was time before I had to check-out that I even hung it up in my closet under the idea that I may just end up keeping it. The fit was great–not too tight or short. The sleeves were comfortable. When styled, it looked nice with pieces I already had in my closet. In this particular photo, I styled the Spooner Lace Inset Blouse with my black Rune Glynn Faux Leather Detail Moto Legging from Fix #8 and my $20 splurge black booties from a Black Friday sale at Kohls. The fabric was a black sheer material. There were pleather and lace accents on the shoulders and chest. I generally liked this top, despite it having an edgier flair. I could not decide right away whether or not to keep this blouse or send it back.



I was a bit puzzled by this top. I enjoyed its texture and rich indigo color. I was amused and confused about it being a one shoulder long sleeve shirt. The one sleeve it did have had pleated, cascading layers. I could see the Collective Concepts Altha One Shoulder Velvet Blouse being a statement top to a more formal event or holiday party, dressed up with the right pants, shoes and jewelry. I tried it with several different pieces and just did not have my runway moment with it. So ultimately, this blouse was destined to go back.



Excited to see a dress in my fix and specifically one that had features of those I had been pinning on Pinterest, I eagerly pulled the Adorne Mariah Pleated Lace Dress from the box to try it on. The black lace detailing of the dress was light and beautiful. The lining of the dress was a nude fabric that gave some stretch to the dress. For those of you who know me, I am still hopeful to grow an inch or two (never going to happen, I know). This dress hit me at an awkward length—in the middle of my shins. My inclination is that on a woman of average height, this dress would have came to the knees or slightly below.

When I had it on, I would say that it fit generously in the chest and waist, perhaps too generously. I loved the idea of this dress. When I sat down to review what Kate had sent, I considered where I would wear such a dress and came up without an answer. Ultimately, the dress would be sent back.

Let’s review:

Lucky Brand Aviee Lace Up Flat…………………………………………..$69.00 (RETURN)

Collective Concepts Chaka Cable Textured Pullover……………..$64.00 (KEEP)

Skies Are Blue Spooner Lace Inset Blouse…………………………….$58.00 (RETURN)

Collective Concepts Altha One Shoulder Velvet Blouse………….$64.00 (RETURN)

Adorne Mariah Pleated Lace Dress……………………………………….$98.00 (RETURN)

Total:                    $64.00 plus tax

Leave a comment to let me know what you think of this fix and if you would have kept different items!

Happy New Year!


I have so much to say and so much that I am wondering and the one person that beholds all the answers appears to have shut me out.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am here to tell you yet another sad story about dating culture.

I was amidst another round of online dating and my profile got hacked by some lonely woman seeking old men—men that could feasibly be my grandfather. Except, she brainlessly hijacked my profile, tweaked my preferences and left me receiving all of the interactions. It was extremely uncomfortable getting hit on by Pops McGee rocking a toupee and dentures. Times 10. My email blew up—I hardly ever received that volume of messages. But I think, I too, would get a shockwave of excitement if I saw someone young-looking showing interest in my old-ass—assuming I was 80 and modeling in Geritol commercials.

So in the middle of all of this, one legit message found its way to my inbox on the site and one that was from someone who had been messaging me before we lost touch. So I was pleasantly surprised that he remembered me and sought me out again.

As luck would have it, we made plans to meet out and had a great time. A first date turned into a second and a second date turned into a third and fourth and so on….all points were looking like this was heading into something great.

There were many reaffirming words and actions exchanged that would lead even the lay person to believe that it was heading in a very positive direction. Around the same time, life for him started getting a little busier—this time of year can be dreadfully stressful for some people in their professions, and this fellow was no exception. And I am very empathetic—there are parts of my job as a teacher that are more demanding than others, so I get the job stress. I made sure to tell him that I was there for him and was understanding if he wanted to spend time in rather than going out and would be willing to help him or support him in whatever he needed.

Talking to him changed from back and forth messaging through the day to later in the day to early evening and not at all. And the message body evolved from being very sweet and cutesy to inconsistently cutesy and sweet to blunt/to-the-point to minimal and then silence. The minimal messages were enough to keep me afloat—he told me how his job was demanding more and more of his time. It seemed believable, at least.

But what I couldn’t stand was the silence. It was deafening. We went from a quick exchange on a Saturday evening to a question left unanswered. However, something like this has happened before and he did get back to me a day or so later. So, I carried on hoping and wishing. Fast forward to Tuesday morning and my patience was wearing thin, I caved and messaged a bit of sass. If my displeasure of not having heard from him didn’t ring through, then the message was not loud enough.

When I did finally get a response, I felt like it was cheap. It was a quick and easy cop-out.

“I’ve just had a lot going on”

Ok—I get it. Everyone is busy this time of year. But do you not have 30 seconds to send a “hey, hope you’re good!” or call fast and just say, “I am so sorry for not getting back to you, but X Y and Z was going on and it has just been one thing after another.”

And maybe in his defense he did have a lot going on, but I feel like I am owed a little more than a vague “I’ve just had a lot going on.”

So, I tell him how I would have appreciated more communication and I get a response that expresses a lack of time management for self, for family and for this relationship. OK—a little bit better, but how hard would it have been to come to me and say, “Look….I like you and I want to be with you (or I am no longer interested…) but I am having a hard time finding the time to balance all those things that matter to me and have time for me….”

I would have been understanding.

However, I have been wrestling with increasingly more bitter feelings towards this whole situation mixed with hopeful feelings that maybe he is just in a funk and just going through the motions of each day, struggling to find a moment of sanity for himself and maybe will come out of this and realize what a good thing he had.

The bitter feelings that gnaw away at me always come back to some version of me being back in the same spot—-single and alone again after being myself, being truthful and honest and sharing my greatness with another all to be back at square one A-gain. And so close to the holidays, too. Being single this time of year SUCKS.

I can’t help but think that maybe I ought to be dishonest and deceitful and more of a bimbo and maybe a guy will want me for longer than a hot second. But that was not how I was raised and not a representation of who I am. I feel guilty for even uttering the thought.

The whole thing is just so frustrating.

I just want to find someone who appreciates me for all that I am, accepts my flaws and encourages my strengths and supports my weaknesses. I want someone that is going to be affectionate and welcome my affection. I want someone who is understanding and empathetic, intelligent and independent. And most of all I just want to find that person that walks into my life when I am least expecting it and teaches my heart to love and let love in after it has endured so much needless heartache.


Now You See Me….Now You Don’t

One afternoon as I was driving up to my house, I noticed a van parked in my driveway. I knew I wasn’t expecting anything or anyone and instantly became curious. As I drove closer, I realized that it was the Wallingford Flower Shoppe and within moments became excited at the thought that someone may have sent me flowers. I parked in the driveway and got out of the car, getting ready to receive the beautiful bouquet. The man saw me and motioned a “one moment” to me. When he walked over, what he said literally rained on my parade.

“I’m sorry these aren’t for you. But here is a mouse pad.”


My expression must have changed instantly. The man piled back into the van and drove away.

My disappointment quickly morphed into a fit of laughter because this, right here folks, is a Classic Christina Moment—something like this could and would only happen to me.

Now, fast forward a few days. I get a delivery notification on my phone and instantly think it is Domino’s Chewy delivery that I forgot to postpone because we are swimming in treats and bones and toys right now. I panic at the thought of getting more.

I arrive home later on that same day and what to my wondering eyes should appear? But a box of flowers laying outside my back door. I did a double-take to be sure that they were addressed to me and sure enough, they were!

I unbox them, cut the stems and place them in the vase they came in and now realize I have a new mystery…the card is unsigned.

Recently, I started seeing this new fellow. So I meekly ask him….”Did you send me these…?”

He said that he wished he did but he didn’t yet know what my favorite flower was. My first thought was “the kind I can’t accidentally kill….” but I told him “star gazer lilies” and moved on.

Well, that put the kibosh on that thought!


I put out a generic thank-you on social media—which stirred up some attention, but none that revealed who the sender of the beautiful bouquet was.

To this day, it still remains a mystery—or does it…?

Aren’t they so purrrrty?!