Friday, November 28, 2014

black friday

I already know this post is going to irk some of my friends that read my blog. However, I think the greatest thing about friendship is that we can accept each other's differences right? Right! Haha!

Ok, sorry, I love Black Friday. My family and I get pretty into it, we always have. It's our thing. We don't bond a lot, we bond over this. We all spread all the ads out on the living room floor and go through it together. Then we figure out our plan of attack and go for it. Some might judge that we bond over consumerism and I say to each their own. It works for us!

So this year, the first year of being married AND stores opening much earlier threw my schedule off a little bit, not that it slowed me down much. First things first, when I woke up I got on Target's website and scored a few deals. Then I went to Amazon and got a few things there. I also finally got myself a HELLO sweatshirt. I tried one on once about three years ago and I still haven't forgotten how comfortable it was. So now that they have their site for 40% off, I jumped. I also tried to buy some towels on JcPenney's website (15$ towels for 2.36! Whoop!) but as I was pressing "complete order" they informed me someone had taken the towels out of my cart! Hahah! What the! How does that even happen online? So weird. I was a little bummed out about that. If you are getting married soon, I would highly recommend registering for more than two towels. I do laundry 47 times a week. 

Anyway, Old Navy was my first physical stop, they opened at 4. We were with Mark's family so we were a little late, as usual with Mark's family, i'm actually surprised I convinced them to go with me at all! So what did I score from Old Navy?
Three pairs of jeans, two pairs of dress pants, two button-ups, one pair of boots, two sweaters, three pairs of socks, two shirts. Bingo bongo. 
Also, I really didn't want to support Old Navy opening that early but I mean, I did. However I was happy to say that hardly anyone was there for a long time. Maybe next year they will do it differently.

Then we went to my house for Thanksgiving round two. At 6:15 my Dad said "Let's go buy a TV at Walmart, we have till 7:00." So, holy crap, we ran to Walmart. It was IN. SANE. but also extreeeeemely efficient. The line wrapped clear around the store all the way to the very back but we only waited in line for about 20 minutes. My parents bought a lot of stuff, including a TV, but I managed to only walk away with a set of 3 candle warmers and 4 scents for $15.00. They aren't Scentsy which explains why they are seriously the ugliest warmers I have ever seen but hey, you can't beat that deal! I just hide them from the public eye haha.

Then we ended there. I wanted to go to the outlets and Target but Mark basically said I could buy Alison's Cookie Party if we stopped. So, we stopped! But that didn't stop me from going back to Old Navy early the next morning.....and then again a few hours later. Woops! 

Then today we went to Best Buy to just see if they had still had the doorbuster video game Mark had his eye on. Randomly, one last copy of the game was shoved on the shelf somewhere so we snagged it!

I ended the day at JoAnns. That was..... #woof. I was really interested in their jersey knits (I feel like I should be on Project Runway when I say that) for some Christmas presents and they were 60% off. There were so many people there that there weren't enough carts! I had to haul around like 8 bolts of fabric for over an hour waiting to get my fabric cut. It was a little bit more of a nightmare than I had planned on, but I saved about 80$ on fabric so I walked away happy. Now cross your fingers I won't screw up what I am sewing.

I still have a few stores I want to hit up. I wanted to stop by Target again....for no real reason. I am really trying a specific pair of Jazz basketball shorts that Mark bought at Scheels like, 5 years ago, that are falling apart but they are his favorite sooo... and then I am trying to decide if I want this shirt, it's 30% off but no free shipping! Boo! So it will probably wait. 

Mark just told me we could get chinese takeout if I stopped shopping. So I guess that settles in! See ya Monday, bloggy friends!

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Thursday, November 20, 2014


First of all, this is not a sponsored post. This is like "HOLYCRAPYOUGUYSTHISISTOOGOODTOBETRUE" kind of thing. It's like I have a reallllllllly good secret that I want to tell you guys and now that I made sure it was legit, I can! Ok, let's go. Everyone, buckle up. This post illustrates how nosy I am. 

So last week I was scrolling on Facebook and I saw one of my friends was tagged in this post. So, because I am nosy, I started reading the post. Duh. 

This lady was talking about this website named Twice. Basically if you sign up, you get a credit. If you downloaded the app on three devices, you got a credit. Then she had a coupon code. I was skeptical but I decided to try it. I ended up with about $40.00 in credit once I had signed up and downloaded the app onto three devices. So I started searching through this Plato's Closet- type website. (Though, to be fair, it's a lot more upscale than that) and not gonna lie, I had to do a little digging for some good stuff. BUT ONCE I FOUND STUFF I COULDN'T STOP. So I had to narrow my cart down.  I ended up with two Ann Taylor tops, one Free People top and one Nike workout top. So I applied my credit, put in the 50% coupon code and my total showed $2.80. I didn't even have to pay for shipping. It was an insanely good deal.
This can't be real, I thought. They probably just want my credit card. It took a few days for them to tell me my order had shipped. Then once I started tracking it it said it would be three weeks to get from California to Utah. It was then I realized this was not a real website. 

This was on Monday. Today I came home for lunch, opened my mailbox and LO AND BEHOLD, my pretty package was sitting in my mailbox! I whipped it open and all my clothes were in there. Totally new, tagged, everything. It was amazing.

So here is how you can get a killer deal like I did.

1. Go here to sign up:
(I actually think I get like a credit if you buy something but that isn't why I am doing this!) 
You will get a $10.00 credit just for signing up!

2. Download the Twice app on up to 3 different devices. Apple devices = $10 credit for each download. (=$30 of credit) Android devices= 50% off your total. 

3.Click this link (this part expires 12 hours after you click it, so don't click the link until you are ready!) and get 50% off coupon code:


So here's what I scored: 

Total: $75.80

I Paid:$2.80

So go do some shoppin! They have bags, skirts, pants, dresses, everything! All name brand, all in great condition. Do some digging and see what you get!

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Monday, November 17, 2014

a word (or two) about middle schoolers

This is a running list. 
1. They have absolutely no concept of time
It's very important in this story that you know today is Monday. Monday. Ok, let's continue.
This morning a kid came up to me and told me he has a bad grade in my class.  Ok...why do you have a bad grade in my class? Or the more accurate version, why do you think it is my fault you have a bad grade in my class? 
A: "Well, I turned in an assignment about three weeks ago that you haven't graded yet." 
Me: "Ok, describe the assignment to me."
A: "Well it was about the Fall of Rome and we had to fill out the little boxes.."
Me: "Oh ok, the Fall of Rome worksheet. That we did Thursday. That's not in your grade yet but it will be today."
Somehow this child took something we did the last time we were in class and equated it to three weeks ago. I don't understand this mindhop but alright.
Another time one of my students struggled with time...
Last week, we had an hour long assembly in the middle of the day. I was writing the schedule on the  board and M instantly said "I freaking hate assembly days. Classes are always two hours instead of an hour and a half."
Ok, she couldn't really be serious. We start school at the same time, get out at the same time. She can't really think that by adding an hour of assembly time to our day it makes class time longer. I tried to logic with her by telling her all these things.
"No, teacher. I think you better call the office. Each class is two hours today."
I still tried to keep going.
"Listen, M. If you have a one hour assembly and a half an hour lunch, how much time do you have left for school?"
"Teacher, just stop arguing with me and call the office."
Ok. I will-
2. Speaking of which, they love to argue.
I have two honors classes so this agitates the situation, but I often get in arguments about test questions or homework assignments or just run of the mill stuff. I had to actually send a kid in the hall for viciously aruging with me about one point on his test. 
My favorite argument, however, goes like this...
Me and D were talking about Swig, the soda place down the street from us. He told me Swig was really healthy. I was intrigued, I asked why he thought that. 
D: "Well, you know the flavor add-ins?
Me: "Do I?!? I always get cherry and vanilla!"
D: Well those add-ins are actual fruit.
Me: "....Wait, you aren't saying you think they stick a cherry in a blender with your drink, are you?"
D: "Um, ya Mrs. Teacher."
Me: "No, no, they use artificial flavoring syrup."
D: "No they don't"
Me: "They totally do! You can see all the syrups behind the counter!"
D: "No, I swear. It's real fruit"
Then I realized I was arguing with a 13 year old about Swig so I just walked away. 
3. They are the most hopeful group of kids. 
They actually believe that one day I won't give them homework. Or I will hand them a blank test. Or I will bring them candy. They actually believe this with all their heart even though that has never, ever been the case. 
4. They just need someone to listen to them.
Not all my kids are like this, but a lot of them are. They will come and tell me the most random and/or pointless story. I have found out the hard way it's not because they want a response. They just want someone to listen. 
J: "Mrs. Teacher, I took a quiz today."
Me: "Oh ya, what class?"
J: "No. No. No. Not for a class."
Me: "Oh you are just trying to push yourself?"
J: NO! I took a "How self absorbed are you?" test
Me: Oh, what were your results? (TERRIBLE QUESTION!!)
J: Well, here is how they score it. It's a twenty point score........ (GOES ON FOR NOT EVEN KIDDING TEN MINUTES)
J: I concluded that I am not self absorbed at all!
Me: *Dead*
5. They always "forget"
Everything. Homework, to study, a jacket, their textbook, their pencil, their ENTIRE backpack. Because nothing makes more sense than coming to school and forgetting your backpack.
 I got so sick of it the first week that once they told me they forget I had them pull out their phone. They always have their phone. "So you can remember your phone but you can't remember a pencil?" and the looks on their face are always priceless. 
6. Sarcasm, they don't get it.
The number one question I get DAILY and I hate so FREAKING much is "Are we doing anything today?"  
I always reply
"No, we are just going to sit around in silence and stare at the blank board."
or sometimes I get sassy and say
"Yeah! You guys did so good on your last test we are having a party today!"
To both, they always respond "REALLY!?!?"

Another question I hate... "I am going to be gone all next week. Are we doing anything?"
"No, I am just gonna have everyone wear all black to mourn the fact that you are going to be gone. We will just reminisce about you all week..."
To that I get a weird look. 
They are weird but I love em, even though most days around noon I am praying I can get through the day.
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Sunday, November 16, 2014

book Christmas tree

Months and months and months and MONTHS ago, I saw this picture on Pinterest. I thought it was a cool idea but I couldn't logically figure out how I would find that many books in the same color. Plus it's like, you can't replace a real tree! That's the most Christmas-y you can get! Flip forward a few months and we moved into our house which is very "quaint"====realtor term for it's freaking small. AKA no way we are fitting any tree in here, even if it is super tiny. Plus, trees are expensive! We were trying to figure out what furniture we could move to get a real tree when I ran into another picture on Pinterest of a book tree HERE. I thought it was a lot more do-able since you weren't using all green books but the tutorial said you needed about 80 hardback books. Hardback books are even .50 cents at the D.I so, I knew that was gonna get pricey fast. I pretty much settled with the fact we wouldn't have a Christmas tree this year. Then as I was studying for my Praxis (which I FREAKING PASSED BTW, by three points soooo almost...I didn't pass....but luckily I did!) I stumbled upon the American Fork library. That blessed little place had a whole room of books they were selling for .10 cents a piece. That sealed the deal for me. Originally I bought 50. We started putting the tree together and this is how high 50 books got us.

So, we realized we were going to need more. A lot more. So we went and got about 150 more books. I lost count after 115 but  I think it was around there.

This is where things got annoying. First of all, libraries around the world use freaking NASA ordered tape to secure the paper covers to the actual hardback book. It took forever and a day to literally saw off the covers of each individual book. Then we couldn't get the tree just right. It was short and fat, too tall, too skinny, it took about 4-6 tries to finally get our tree looking like it does.

I really wanted to go get about 200 more books and make it go to the ceiling but we figured it would tip over and we were really tired of ripping covers off of books. Plus the idea was to spend less than a normal tree. So we settled for this. It makes me happy whenever I look at it. We are planning on getting another strand of lights to make it a little more lit up.

In total we have about 200 books with the tree about four feet tall. Since the guy at the American Fork Library thought we were freaking insane for buying all these really weird books (so funny, everything from Regis & Kathy Lee's Guide to the Holidays to really really really funny romance novels) he gave us a deal on the books so in total, we spent $20.00 on everything. 

If you want to see some other book Christmas tree magic, I like this one and this one. We liked having the pages facing outward but the bindings are cute on the outside too. 

This week I  am going to attempt to sew us some stockings?? Mostly because all the ones I have seen in the store cost a million dollars or make me gag. I was going to attempt to do tissue paper tassels in red, green and gold but I have PTSD from the millions I made for my wedding and I don't know if I can go back.

Anyway, there is going to be something big coming to this lil blog in the next few weeks! I have thought about it every day and have gotten so excited. Stay tuned!
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Monday, November 10, 2014

Picking a side, Thanksgiving v. Christmas

I'm gonna go ahead and say that the debate over whether you should start celebrating Christmas in early November or wait until after Halloween gets people more fired up than healthcare or marijuana. All I have seen on my newsfeed lately is people blowing up at those that are putting up Christmas decorations already or people defending their choice of listening to Christmas music! It's pure mayhem, I tell you! I am surprised there hasn't been blood shed about this. Maybe I just need to go through my Facebook friends list. Well actually, I know I do. BUT STILL! The fighting rages on.

I have always been really cavalier about this whole debate. I was usually too involved in my college world to take a real side. All I knew was my Christmas list needed to be to my parents by the second week in November and so I would put it together, send it off and return to thinking about school. It has also been a strict routine that we put Christmas decor up the day after Thanksgiving. That wasn't so much me "picking a side" as it was "try not to stress the crap out of Mom by wanting to put the Christmas decorations up, k thanks." and "Well if we put Christmas decorations up now, where will we put the four foot high paper mache turkey that Mom bought at Quilted Bear?" 
So, ok. I'm married now. Together, we get to decide what traditions we're gonna go with. I didn't ever think this would be a big deal. We'll get each other PJS for Christmas Eve, like the rest of the world. End of discussion. However, as soon as it hit mid-October I felt this weird sense of ....something. I was thinking about our tree. Real or fake? Do I want to go all out and get ornaments we will keep for the next few years or should we just do a popcorn garland and call it good? What are we doing for stockings? What other traditions besides PJs on Christmas Eve are we going to do? What are some good stocking stuffers for Mark? I better make my list! I literally got bugged with the Dollar Store that they didn't have their Christmas stuff totally up by November 1st. I asked when they would have Christmas stuff up and the lady gave me a look. A LOOK. 

After I bought everything for our tree (which i'm so excited for and I hope it will turn out as cool as I am thinking it will) I realized, I had finally picked a side. At least for this year. My Christmas flag is up and flying and i'm READY. Mark has managed to hold me off on putting the tree up but last night I said "Ok, next Sunday. That's the day," and he admitted defeat. Sunday it is.
So what is the deal with us for Christmas? We are giving each other a certain amount of money to spend on things we know we want. Then we are getting each other one surprise gift and doing stockings for each other. Don't forget the PJs. 
Mark wants a video game, records, posters, a shirt that is inappropriate that he thinks I will get him and I will actually neeeeevvver get him. The usual. I have a huge list of things that is going in his stockings and i'm actually really proud of what I put together. 
MORE IMPORTANTLY, what do I want? I want an Arcade Fire shirt, some perfume since I just ran out (suggestions?), some matte nail polish, THE MOST HEAVENLY lotion my nose has ever smelled, black skinny jeans, boyfriend jeans, work pants 1 & 2  some tops for work, a black and white striped t-shirt  (perfectly slouchy with SMALL stripes. I'm setting Mark up for failure and he totally knows it) and a cheetah scarf. Oh, and some long garments. I also bought three pairs of Agnes and Dora leggings but I can't wear them until Christmas. So, they are sitting in my closet, really sad. Begging to be worn. 
Most of my list is going to be crossed off on Black Friday since Old Navy does their 50% off EVERYTHING sale. Last year I got a whole new closet for $150.00 it was insane. Except it actually wasn't insane because no one was there. I shopped in pleasantry for like two hours. Not the mad house you would expect. 
So here we go, into the wild Christmas before Thanksgiving celebratory Riley-fest. It all starts Sunday. Giddy-Up.
But I want to know, how do you and your spouse do Christmas? AND what are you guys doing for Black Friday? 
Well Karly, what do you want me to say? 
**Also, I posted on FB about me wanting to split Alison's Cookie Party with someone. Let me know if you are interested. Also, Blogger Pen Pal.******
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Saturday, November 8, 2014

blogger pen pal update

Last week I generated interest for doing the blogger pen pal project that I put together over the summer. There was a pretty good response so I am most likely going to do it again! If you are interested, fill out this google form and we will get going on this!

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

6 month anniversary, woah.

Ok, so maybe it's not a huge deal but it seems like a huge deal. So we're celebrating because we want to! 6 months, man. It's both felt like ten years and ten days. I bet that's what we'll say at five years, at ten years, at twenty years and at fifty years. But gosh, isn't it true. Our first four months were weird because, ya know, Maryland. As weird as that time was it was also THE best. It's crazy how fun it is to just experience new experiences with someone you love. To explore new places, have new experiences, feel different emotions, all those things with someone else. It's a doozy.
Now that we have been home for almost three months, things are starting to calm down a bit. Being home has actually been challenging in weird ways, but it's also been great to be married with a "normal" life instead of summer sales which is an entire galaxy away from normal.

Anyway, my brain is really frazzled right now so i'm sorry if this post makes no sense....I guess I just have to say, I love Mark. He knows, but I feel the need to let everyone know because ya know, society. He makes me food and is constantly picking up my towels, socks, sewing needles (woops) shoes, and cups. If we want to be specific.

Here are some wedding pictures that I didn't know existed? We have over 600 wedding pictures and I was looking through them all today and found these. I must have skipped over them before, but I found them quite funny this morning.

We're spending the weekend at Snowbird but we are eating downtown tomorrow. We keep going back and forth on semi-fancy places to eat. If anyone has suggestions on the restaurant or what to do in Snowbird, let me know! Please! 

We are also having a no phone policy this weekend (me) so, see ya! 

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Tuesday, November 4, 2014


Thursday is Mark and I's six month anniversary of being married and two year mark of being together in general. Woah, ya know? More on that later. This weekend, we are going up to Snowbird and having a really classy dinner. I knew I needed a dress for the occasion and I was searching high and low but it was really hard to find what I was searching for. At almost six feet tall, everything at usual stores is way too short on me. I am also in this weird place where plus sized clothes are too big but "normal" clothes don't fit me quite right. It's pretty frustrating. I mean, I guess I could go to the gym...but why do that when I can just complain about my white girl problems? So anyway, the dress. I couldn't find what I needed. 
Enter, stage left. EShakti. I had heard about this company first through Elisabeth and then eshakti started popping up on almost every blog I read. I have always wanted to try it out.  So when I finally got the chance, I was so excited! I was on their website for hours trying to pick which dress I wanted to get. They had so many cute ones, it was hard for me to decide. Here is the one I ended up going with!

I wanted to go with something really simple yet classy so I could wear it somewhere nice like this weekend but also throw a blazer on and wear it to work. 
I was nervous picking out the dress because 
1. Garments
 2. I need to be EXTRA modest around my teenage boy students. 

Initially, I found this dress and I knew it was what I wanted but then I realized that the sleeves wouldn't be long enough. With eshakti, problems like that aren't really problems at all because they let you customize EVERYTHING about the dress. I took a very small cap sleeve and added 3/4 length sleeves which is also perfect because my classroom is an ice cave. They have a ton of sleeve options, as seen below.
The customization doesn't stop there.  
Because everything with eshakti is completely custom, you measure yourself so you can get your size just right. This is where I went wrong. I used a ruler and a string because it was all I had, so my dress is a bit big, as you can tell in a few pictures. However, if you do it right, it will fit like a glove! I was just happy that I had sleeves and that I could bend over without flashing everyone. 

Initially, I thought eshakti was a little pricey. However, they offer $30.00 off your first order and then after you order once, you get $25.00 off your next order. Not only that, but they are offering 10% off for my readers. Use the code "rileyjustesen" at checkout to apply the discount.
I have to say that even without the discount, I would absolutely order with eshakti again. I sponsor a lot of posts on this blog, but I think this is my favorite. I genuinely cannot find dresses that are appropriate, it's a huge problem for me. I also like companies that acknowledge that some women not only want but need to be modest for religious reasons, work, etc. 
I already have my eye on a few items for Christmas. I love THIS dress but it's out of stock, for now. So I wait patiently. 

Have fun shopping! Thanks to eshakti for sponsoring this post and for the gorgeous dress.

Thanks to Leah from Ordinary Snowflake for taking these pictures and to Emily for tagging along!

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Sunday, November 2, 2014

blogger pen pal

Hi, friends! I am generating some interest in doing the blogger pen pal project that I did back during the summer. 

I rounded up a list of 15+ bloggers (I don't really remember exactly how many. What I DO remember is how many I emailed that never emailed me back. Rude. Unprofessional.) 
Anyway, I set up a little pen pal system. For example, blogger X who lives in Utah spent $10.00 compiling a package for blogger Y who lives in North Carolina. Then you blog about it! It was kind of neat! Kind of exactly like Reddit gift exchange, ya know. Except you get a friend out of it...and a follower, who sometimes is better than a friend.
If I did this project again, I would probably up the amount spent because a lot of people went over budget anyway. The only reason I didn't is because I had a few etsy shops donate items, so that was cool. Anyway, if you want to see my post about my things, click HERE

If you are interested, comment below, email, whatever you do to get in touch with me. I will probably decide if I want to do it again next week based on the interest everyone has.

Have a good Sunday! I am taking one of my Praxis tests tomorrow so wish me luck! 

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