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Monday, May 19, 2014

Who is Counting Down??

Do any of you have summer fever yet? If I said no, it would be a lie. I absolutely love my job but I am ready to lay out, bring my kiddos to the splash park and library, and have tons of play dates with my BFF!!

Lately, I have been trying to reflect on this year and plan for next year. I have ideas of things I want to implement next year and want to make sure I jot it all down while it's fresh on my mind. Often we have lots of ideas but when we start back and get overwhelmed with beginning of the year stuff, we forget all of those great initiatives!! I am so buying a cute notebook like this to start jotting down ideas this summer. Do you ever just have an idea come to you randomly? I do all the time. This way, I can carry this around and jot it down as it comes to mind.
These cute monogrammed journals along with other cute stuff can be found HERE at The Sister Studio!

 One thing that brightened my week last week were these sweet notes from students. I asked if they were required to make them and their teacher said no which melted my heart even more.

Today, I am focusing on Bullying Resources. I think Bullying Education is so important in school not for the obvious reason of educating our kiddos for prevention but also so parents and kids actually know what bullying is.

At my last school, I held a parent meeting on bullying. I felt it was vital for them to know what bullying is. I used to have many reports from parents and kids on things that were not even bullying and were more one time discipline issues. So we discussed a couple of things:

1. Location (is it at school or home)
2. Occurrences (was it a one time thing or has it happened numerous times)
3. Nature (are they ignoring them because they don't want to be their friend and are being respectful about it or are they purposely excluding them)

We then discussed how to handle various situations and I provided parents resources to take home. It also helped at the beginning of the year to put a name with a face so that we, as the counselor and parents, could build a good relationship.

In the younger grades, I think education on Bully Prevention is SO important. This may include guidance lessons, announcements, words of the week that focus on character, and small group activities.

I must say that I love these websites. They have games, activity ideas, and cute videos for all age groups:



And these are some of my favorite books on the topic:

These would be fun to do book studies on in middle school for small group sessions:


I also have a new Bully Free Kid unit in my TPT store!! You can find it HERE!
I tried to make it kid-friendly, easy to print, and ready to use with no prep!!

I also wanted to share a great new product for your stylish needs!! : )
A sweet reader sent me the 3D Fiber Lash Mascara by Younique. It is absolutely amazing. I had heard about it but I wasn't sure if I would like it. Luckily, she sent me one to try out and review and I am officially in love. If you know me, I am always looking for good eye makeup to emphasize my smaller, almond shaped eyes. This makes a huge difference and one of my students asked if I was wearing fake lashes. Hey I try to look stylish...but ain't nobody got time for that...haha!

I don't know......#middleschoolduckface/puzzledface....lol
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I am not sure why I look much more tan in one pic than the other but it made my lashes drastically fuller and longer. The one on the left is plain ol' mascara (and I have a crazy eye) and the one on the right is the fiber lashes. I have super fine, short lashes so yours may look totally more amazing. For my short lashes.....this is big!

I am never going back...it is so worth it!!! I think that with makeup the eyes makes the biggest difference!!

If you would like to purchase it, contact Jennifer Simard at 978-479-9494 or at

I can't imagine using any other mascara now. So thanks Jennifer for giving me some fab lashes!!

Before I go I wanted to share an easy way to dress up on a jean day without being too overdressed. Our awesome principal gave us the rest of the year to wear jeans!!! On Fridays, I will totally wear a t-shirt and jeans but I am hoping to get creative the rest of the days!

Here is a simple outfit with a little bit of sass.

I got a simple black peplum top on clearance at Charming Charlie, blue skinny jeans (well not on me...haha) on clearance at Target, leopard wedges at Kohls many years ago, and a blue chain style necklace from my fav place, Groovy's.

I hope you all have a great rest of the week and enjoy these last few weeks of school. Enjoy your kiddos and don't forget to jot down all of your great ideas for next year!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A Working Mommy!

Today I read a message a reader sent me. It was a little different than the usual messages I receive. It went a little like this....

Hi Melanie,

I admire that you are so passionate about your career and are able to have a family. I am at a school where someone is pregnant every year and hear about the struggles of having a baby at home and working. I cannot imagine myself not working even when I do have children. Would you consider writing a blog post on this subject. You are able to be a mom, counselor, and stylish at the same time.

Bless this reader's heart. I thought she was super sweet and I felt so bad that people at her school had put this negative association out there regarding being a working mom.

This post is going to be my personal opinion and experience. I won't say being a working mom is right or wrong. I believe you have to do what feels right to you and what works best for your family. I don't believe there is a definite right or wrong. As with anything....it depends on you and what you and your family need!!!

When I first graduated from college and began a job as a teacher, a lot had happened in a short time. From May 2006 until December 2006 (yes, that's 6 months) SIX HUGE things happened: I graduated college, got married, we bought a house, I started my first year teaching, I started grad school, and I got pregnant!!! To say I was overwhelmed was an understatement. Getting pregnant wasn't part of our plan just yet (we were hoping to wait 3 years) but it was the biggest blessing imaginable.

Not working was never an idea that crossed my mind when I had Grayson (my son who is now 6). I taught all day and went to school at night. It was tough but I knew going to school was for a short time and I have an amazing hubby who supported me 100%. This brings me to my next point...a support system! A support system is so important for a working mother whether its a spouse, family member, or friend! This is what has helped me do all that I am able to do.

Now, let me say that every job I have ever had I loved. Now don't get me wrong there were days I would "vent" to my husband but every job I have had has brought me immense joy. Anything where I get to be a part of kids' lives and have a chance to make a difference is AMAZING!! I think that is another huge aspect...I love my job....I love what I do.

When I had Ella (my daughter who is now almost 4), that was a bit more difficult. I had two now and my time was definitely split. I felt like it was harder to keep up. I won't lie, there were days I would cry and want to just stay home but once I realized that God had put me where I need to be, it became easier. I found joy in being a teacher/counselor and I found joy in being a mommy. Some people feel that you can't truly be a good mom while working and I think that is simply not true. Again, it goes back to what you feel works best for you and your family. I have friends who stay at home and couldn't see it any other way and it works for them.

I would have to say that I could outline things that have helped me, I definitely don't think I am perfect and I KNOW I have tons to work on each day to be a better wife, counselor, and mom but these are the things that help me.

-Have a support system.
Whether it's a spouse, friend, cousin, whoever that can be there to help out!!
-Love what you do!
We can choose HAPPINESS. I choose to find the joy in my job and it makes being a working mommy so much easier.
-Be organized!!!
I jot everything down on my calendar. Whether it is a 504 meeting, group counseling session, swimming lessons, or birthday parties. Every bit of info goes down on my planner. My husband and I try to "meet" each week and go over schedules and things happening that week. We also write it down on one central calendar in the house. This helps balancing work and home! I also try to organize our house in a way that helps everything run in a routine manner.

My HAPPY place
-Enjoy YOU time!
Whether it's reading a good book at Starbucks, getting a pedicure, shopping with a friend, or even driving around the neighborhood listening to some of your favorite songs...you need time for you!!! I feel like I can be my best when I have had some rest and relaxation and this is where that handy support system comes in to watch the kiddos!

-Balance time with kids and that special person
My husband and I try to balance time with each kiddo and with each other. With two kids, we try to make sure they have just mommy time and just daddy time and that they get to do things with each one of us without their sibling. They love this and it's neat to see how different they act when it's just them. It doesn't have to be anything big or expensive. It could be a trip to Lowe's or pedicures with Mommy....or a visit to Starbucks to get a cake pop and chat. My husband and I also try to make it a priority to have time with just us. Date nights can be hard so we make sure to spend time together when the kids go to bed. That may be watching funny You Tube videos and talking about our day, just talking, or watching a movie. I have noticed that when we don't have that time together....we seem a little more tense so that's definitely a priority.

-Find the joy in the little things
Being a working mommy means finding joy in the little things. I may not be able to stay at home and cuddle and watch movies all day but I can enjoy time after work playing outside or having a picnic and knowing when to put work aside and focus on them. It's these little moments that are sometimes the best memories.

And last...how am I stylish? I don't know about all that. It was a catchy name and I love fashion...haha. I have always loved heels, dresses, makeup, and jewelry and when I became a mom that was no different. I believe that a mommy can still be fashionable!!! It's important for me to feel good about myself and to set an example of having good self esteem for daughter.
I wear pretty affordable and comfortable things (you may beg to differ on the heels). I just try to add jewelry to jazz up outfits or accessories like scarves or a cute jacket or belt to make a simple outfit look put together.

I also purchase higher end items to add to my clearance finds to balance out my look. For example, the other day I wore a $12 dress with $75 wedges, a $4 bracelet, and a Michael Kors purse...so it's all about balance!!! : )
The outfit above was a white shirt I got for $3.99 at Old Navy, $88 Seven Jeans, $4.99 wedges, $18 necklace from Groovy's, $30 bracelet from Norsdtrom...see all about balance! : )

I hope this post has helped someone out there. I am a hot mess most of the time...no lie...but I love my job and my family...and somehow with a positive outlook it all comes together and just works!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Exciting Things to Come!!

I have a little bit of this and that to blog about. I was home on Friday because I had my wisdom teeth taken out!! No fun! I never knew how much of a rascal that is to have done!!
I could join the Chipmunks!!

I wanted to first blog about our Friends of Rachel group on our campus. If you haven't heard of it, it is a group associated with Rachel's Challenge. You can find out more here. Basically, it is a service group. You may have something similar at your campus. When I was at the elementary level I had a Character Council and we won the Character Counts! Campus Award which was really exciting!!

A couple of things that our Friends of Rachel group has done this year:
1. Buckner Children's Home Toy Drive
2. Making cards for teachers
3. Making cards for Librarian week, good luck notes for our principal who was up for a huge award, and thank you notes for our testing coordinator once testing was complete
4. Valentines for Veterans
I love having this group and I think it is such an important part of a school counseling program. I feel like groups like this can be the example set in the school of good character and an extension of your program.

One thing we did at our last meeting was brainstorm for next year, campus needs, and ideas for our Students Serving Others project. Something about seeing kiddos brainstorm makes my heart happy! I love hearing their ideas!!!

If you don't have a group like this on your campus, I would definitely encourage you to start one!! It is also just a great group to have to get input on school needs and what is occurring on your campus!!

The next thing I wanted to share was what I put together for our counseling intern. She is fabulous and we just love her. My co-counselor and I share her and I created a binder for her when she started. Some of you had messaged me about you getting interns and wanted to know what you could put together for them. I didn't have a ton of time since it's that busy time of year! I decided to create a binder with useful info and resources. You can add whatever you feel they need at your campus. I made sure to include procedures and programs on our campus, fun resources, ways to contact me, and basic things that could help her day to day with organization (like my monthly calendar and to do list)!

Programs and Procedures

Bell Schedule and To Do List

Resources from my TPT store

Counseling Log

Encouraging Notes to start building relationships with students

A place to record questions and answers

My work info and blog info

So that is pretty much what I added. You can put in more or less, whatever you feel is important for them to have!!

Next, I wanted to share a couple of exciting things!!!

Andrea over at JyJoyner Counselor Blog and I will be starting a Counselor Fashion Spotlight! We are sooo excited and I can't wait! We will feature outfit ideas on our blogs focusing on a certain piece or theme!! So stay tuned for that. We will have something coming soon!!

Speaking of fashion, I wanted to share a site with you all that has the cutest stinkin' jewelry EVER and is super affordable. It is called Simply Kate! Tell them Melanie at The Stylish School Counselor sent you! You can find their shop here: Simply Kate
A cute necklace or bracelet goes a long way and adds so much to an outfit. I am so ordering these pieces ASAP!


Need a custom invitation, announcement, or photo card? My super cute sis-in-law has started up LC Designs and can create some pretty adorb stuff. Here is a link where you can liker her on Facebook: LC Designs
Here are some of her invites!

And before I let you all go, I HAVE to give my sweet readers a FREEBIE! This is a countdown until summer. This could be framed on your desk and you could count down with a dry erase marker or could be copied in color and laminated and hung around school (ex: staff bathrooms, workroom, etc) What a fun morale booster!
Get your FREE copy HERE!!

Y'all have a great week! Feel free to check out my teacher appreciation ideas over at my personal blog HERE! 
The ideas I am sharing there are for my own personal kiddos' teachers. With my son having strep last week, my wisdom teeth out, and prepping for their teachers...I haven't thought of anything for my campus... but when I do, I will definitely share!! : )