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Resident Tourist Link Up

March 28, 2014

Today I'm linking with Quaintrelle for her Resident Tourist link up. Since putting our house on the market 2 months ago I have been trying to make sure to see all the good parts of my city before we end moving. Living in such a touristy city such as Orlando it can be a challenge to show others that there is more to this place than Mickey Mouse. One of my favorite places in town is actually a city 45 minutes away from the theme park area where people from all over the world spend their vacations.

Winter Park is actually the area of town in which I grew up and still one of my favorite parts of my hometown. Winter Park is known for its great restaurants and shopping along beautiful Park Ave. The best Turkish food I've ever had is at Bosphorous Restaurant. It is not on the inexpensive side, but definitely worth the splurge for a special occasion. I love walking around here on a nice sunny day.


How to transition out of teaching

March 25, 2014

So you are thinking of leaving the teaching profession? But how do I go about changing careers after investing years into it, you may ask yourself. I’m not going to even pretend that I have all the answers for teachers, but I can share what works for me. Last week marked a whole year from the last day I stood in front of a classroom adorned with the tile of teacher. I’ve written a few times about what factors played into my decision to walk away from the blackboard jungle. In the year since I left the world of public education I have been asked by several former co-workers on how I did it and what advice I could give them. This past weekend one of them was a teacher who I last remembered being so passionate about helping her students and showing enthusiasm in the classroom. Sad to think that she is also thinking of leaving the profession.

  1. You need to wrap your head around the fact that this is not an easy or smooth process. 

I had thoughts about transitioning from classroom teaching for 2 years before actually deciding that I was going to move forward in the process. You need to ask yourself if you are just having a tough school year or if you really want to walk away. Only you will know when you are ready to move on and find another job.

   2.  Revising the resume is a must to get a non-teaching job.

The resume you use in the education world is just not going to get you noticed outside of it. Unfortunately to many employers they will just see teacher on your resume and think that is all you can do. Unfair, but it is the harsh truth. Personally I invested a little money and had a career counselor help me update my resume for me. It was completely worth it. You want to have a skills-based resume that highlights all the great skills that come with being an effective educator. Remember to sell yourself!

3.  Make sure to let everyone know that you are looking for a new job.

Keep your mind open to all career possibilities. Teaching has many transferable skills that would make you good at a variety of positions.

4. Realize that you probably won't start out making the same amount of money in your new job.

The hardest part of making this decision is coming to terms that to make a change you will more than likely have to take a pay cut. Only you will know if this is something you can comfortably handle with your finances. For me yes I'm making less money, but my work-life balance has never been better. 

5. Be patient with the process.

It is not easy to successfully change careers. I went on lots of interviews before landing the job I have now. You constantly have to sell yourself as more than "just a teacher."

Just for a moment lets be still

March 19, 2014

I'll be happy when. How many times have you caught yourself saying that? I know I am so guilty of having the "I will be happy when" mindset and have been that way since I was young.  The harsh truth is that I constantly struggle with how to be happy and truly live in the moment. And I hate that about myself.

This particular weakness of mine has become more apparent in the last few weeks. The house has been put on the market, we have made the decision (over many long talks) that leaving our home state is what is best for T's career goals, and now we just wait. The waiting is the hardest part. Once we decided on everything something shifted mentally for me. It was almost as if I was in the middle of reading a chapter in a book but couldn't resist skipping over to the subsequent chapter. Instead of soaking in what could possibly be my last few months of living in Florida, I find myself rushing to get to the next part.  Slipping into daydreams of what this new phase of my life could bring is so much easier than existing fully in the now. But the problem with this way of thinking is that I am missing out on the beauty of my life right now.

Yes, the stressful, uncertain, in limbo present that is my life at this point has its own beauty. A beauty that is easy to ignore and won't come back. So I'm going to try to learn how to be still in the moment.

Superstition is the way

March 13, 2014

Tomorrow marks 60 days since we put our house for sale. Two months of constantly cleaning the house in case we are called for a showing. I kept hearing about how burying a St. Joseph statute in your front yard brings good luck in selling one's house. So last week I succumbed after yet another week of no offers and googled it. I found it selling cheap on Amazon and read many of the 100 5 star reviews where home sellers raved about how shortly after burying him they received offers on their house. I was sold. What did I have to lose by trying this out?

Monday afternoon I was greeted by a small package in my mailbox. St. Joseph had arrived and I was oddly excited. We dug a small hole by the for sale sign and buried him per the directions in the box. The next morning I got a call from my realtor asking if we could show the house the next day. We still haven't received any feedback or offer, but hopefully we will have a turn of luck coming our way.

Falling for thrift shopping

March 10, 2014

I have always loved shopping and scoring a great deal, but lately I have really become smitten with thrift shopping. That great feeling of finding a great piece for a low price has become addictive. A few weeks when looking for some cute spring skirts I found a Loft black and white one with the tags still on  them for just $7 dollars. I came home so elated on my good luck.  This weekend my co-worker suggested a Goodwill that recently opened in the east side of town that I had not yet ventured out to.
I managed to score a pair of jeans that retail for $58 ( I googled the brand after purchasing them and found this out) for only $2.99. While I'm fairly new to the world of thrifting I thought I would share some of what I have learned about a successful thrift store trip.

1. Eat before you go.

I know for myself that if I don't eat before heading out to the store I will get distracted. Part of the trick to finding the sweet deals is to have the time to dig through the racks. You never know what you might find hiding inside.

2.  Be patient and look at everything.

Thrift shopping is different than going to just a regular clothing store with its perfectly outfit mannequins. You have to set aside the time to look at what they have and imagine how it could work in your closet.  It is also a good idea to give everything a through look before deciding if you want it. A shirt that looks awesome from first glance might be hiding large stains or too much wear and tear.

3.  Don't be swayed by designer labels.

I will admit that I love certain labels. Finding a designer label that I love when scouring the racks always makes my heart happy. Sometimes I get blinded by who the designer is and I contemplate a piece of clothing that might not be a good pick for me.

4. Learn the sale schedule of your local stores.

For example Goodwill's have a color of the week that changes every Sunday. If you buy anything with that assigned color tag you get an additional 50% off. That is how I got my jeans so cheap this Saturday.

Anyone else into thrift shopping?

True Life: Teacher Edition

March 05, 2014

It's crazy that this time last year I was wrapping up my days in the classroom. Even though my teaching days are firmly behind me I still find myself defending the profession when people talk negatively about teachers. Once a teacher, always a defender of teachers. The public definitely has a lot of misconceptions about the job, so I thought I would share some of the realities of working as a teacher.

                                              Things Only Teachers Know

  1.  Summer vacation is one of the nice perks of teaching, but you don't get paid for lounging around the pool and getting a tan. Teachers can get a percentage of their paycheck added to a summer account in which they receive a lump sum payment at the beginning of the summer. I can't even tell you how many people used to assume that I got a paycheck during the summer. I knew teachers who actually had to get summer jobs to make ends meet.
  2. Teaching is the only job I know of that an employee has to buy their own office supplies. I shudder to think of how much I spent on paper, pencils, etc on my students through the years.
  3. Overtime is expected and never compensated. You will never have enough time in the day to get everything you need done.
  4. An unsupportive administration is more common than not. If your administrators don't back the teachers in terms of discipline, it will be a bumpy year.
  5. A brand new teacher (without student teaching experience) is often given a week of pre-planning and a set of keys prior to teaching kids.
  6. Teachers are not allowed to sit down for state mandated tests. You are expected to walk around the room for 2-3 hours.
  7. Lunch time usually means having 15 minutes to cram some food down your throat. Some teachers just choose to skip lunch.
  8. Teachers are skilled in making it through without a bathroom break. Good luck trying to find someone to cover your class to make a bathroom run. 

Feels like spring

March 03, 2014

The Rachael Way

The weather here in Orlando was definitely making it feel like the arrival of spring. I know we can't really complain about the weather in Florida. This weekend brought beautiful sunny 75 degree days and that made it an ideal weekend for our realtor to hold an open house. We spent all of Saturday morning (no real sleeping in which I was not a fan of) and afternoon deep cleaning our house and sprucing up the yard. Selling a house involves lots and lots of cleaning since you never know when a potential buyer will want to schedule a showing. It can get old pretty quickly, but that is just the deal in selling a home. We treated ourselves to a late lunch at Burger Fi in Winter Park. If you have one near you, it is definitely a quality burger joint.

All week I had a desire to color my hair. I just got it cut on Tuesday and wanted to add some red to my black hair. I bought some Clairol semi-permanent hair color in Burgundy and tried it out Saturday night. It looks more reddish in the sunlight, but it was not as dark as I would have liked. It did cover my two gray hairs and added some shine. Oh well. I tried.