You Have to Know What You’re Looking For. 

fashion, Technology

The saga continues…First of all, I want to say that TheRealReal did reach out to me today and it appears someone is paying attention. Furthermore, just remember that every time you deal with a customer service representative, you’re dealing with someone totally unrelated to the problem. They’re just doing their job. So be nice to them. Today I spoke with Stacy who help ease my worry. It turns out that the company is NOT stopping their investigation, which is what I want. I want to find this bag. End goal. I kinda feel as though the money is already lost, but I want that bag found. It’s a personal pride issue. And I remember a time when I was home on maternity leave that this money would have made a huge difference, so I want to make sure that it doesn’t happen to anyone else. 

Here is what I learned today:

– First, the offer of $200 was based on them looking for the wrong bag. Yep. Not even looking for the correct bag. They were looking for a Speedy 30. Mine is a Speedy 35b. That’s a significant price difference. And now I have them trying to find the correct bag. For the record Speedys range in size from nano to 40. 40 is like luggage. I’d originally thought I’d use the 35 as a diaper bag, but it was just too large and cumbersome for my 5’2” 95 pound frame. I actually got tangled in it once. The “b” stands for BANDOULIERE. What it really comes down to is the “b” has a crossbody strap where the classic Speedy does not. The current retail price of this bag is $1,410. The retail price of the bag they thought they were looking for is $970. 

– Second, according to them, the monitory offer is not a settlement. It does not mean that they stop looking for the bag. I did not get this impression from the original email, but…maybe that was just the way I interpreted it. 

– Finally, although camera footage was requested, it was never obtained. Interesting. It was requested again at the time I was on the phone. 

So…we shall see. The fact that the company is willing to work with me says a lot. And now we’re looking for the correct bag, which makes a huge difference. Again, I shall keep you posted as the saga continues. 

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A Very RealReal Problem With Online Consignment 

fashion, Technology

In 1951 Ray Bradbury predicted a futuristic world in which people wouldn’t leave their homes electing instead to remain indoors “Everything went on in the tomblike houses at night now, he thought, continuing his fancy. The tombs, ill-lit by television light, where the people sat like the dead, the gray or multicolored lights touching their faces, but never really touching them.” (“The Pedestrian”). Well, Mr. Bradbury, you were correct but it wasn’t television that dehumanized us: It was the internet. I’m going through a particularly stressful situation with a consignment company called TheRealReal. They’ve lost a fairly expensive bag I sent to them in July and are attempting to get me to settle for a nominal amount of money. I do want to be compensated for the bag (a Louis Vuitton Speedy B 35 purchased 8/4/16) but more than that I want to find out how this could have happened and prevent it from happening to anyone else. So how is this the fault of the internet? Technically, I guess it isn’t, but at no time in the past three weeks since the discovery of the problem, has anyone from the company called me personally. My only telephone conversation was initiated by me and despite the customer service representative acknowledging the fact that I was clearly upset no further personal communication was ever attempted. Everything was communicated via email. I find this an insult added to my injury. 

Let me explain exactly what happened and how the bag went missing:

– At the end of July 2017 I consigned five bags with TheRealReal, a highly reputable online consignment business. The company sent me a packing list which had all five items and assigned them each a bar code. 

– Shipped the bags. 

– I received an email that the bags were received and that I could expect a combined selling price of around $4,000. At this time all of the bags were accounted for. No one told me a bag was missing. They sent me a packing list for five bags, I was given an accurate and fair price for the five bags. Everything was in order. If a bag was missing, I’d assume this would have been the time to mention it. 

– All five bags were listed in my account. 

– Mid August I checked on the bags and they had all sold with the exception of the bag in question. I did not check on the remaining bag until mid September. 

– The bag had been removed from my account and when I made an inquiry, I was told the bag did not exist. 

What. Just. Happened? 

As soon as I discovered the bag was missing I called (the customer service rep said someone would call me shortly after looking into it, which never happened), emailed, and tweeted the company. When I hadn’t heard from them after a week I emailed them again. Finally I was told that there was camera footage from the warehouse. Thank goodness, right? Fail safes in place. Nope. I was told a week later that they could not locate the bag. So sorry. Please accept $200. I can’t tell you how sick to my stomach I felt after reading that email. 

The problem is I have no idea what I could have done differently. The bag was received and listed on my account. I should have paid closer attention, I guess. If this can happen to me, it can happen to anyone. 

I have no idea what happened. Like I said, this is a reputable company and I’ve had positive experiences with them in the past but the way this was handled was (is…I’m not letting it go. I want to see that camera footage along with proof that they confirmed every LV SpeedyB 35 in mono print sold between 7-28 & 9-18 2017 was credited to the correct account) inappropriate and unacceptable. 

* As an amendment: I have all of my original emails concerning the consignment. After sending the bags they were received by a consignment specialist in the LA area. She held the bags, inspected the bags, and assigned them a value. It is 100% my fault that I did not realize that the bag in question was not named in the validation email. It was assessed and given a value, ironically enough, but not specifically named. I take full responsibility for not catching the error and I will post all of my email correspondence, but should that be a 1,000 dollar error? This woman had my bag in her hands. I’ve emailed her and am eagerly awaiting her response. My next step is to do a screencast of the email chain to send to customer service. I would like to believe that this is a clerical error and that somehow my bag was accredited to another account and not some “funny business” and at this point, I believe this is the case. Since tomorrow is Monday, I assume that I will hear from the company. I have no plans to reach out to them tomorrow since I’ve already sent several emails and tweets over the weekend. We shall see what happens. 

Skinny for Summer 

fashion, Technology

Summer is a time to downsize, which is ironic since I’m a small bag girl in general. Even my large bags have very few embellishments. Downsizing for me is moving from a small Chanel 0 case to a Louis Vuitton key cles. Most of my personal bags are minis. Even my ultimate toddler mom bag (which I’ll be reviewing this week) is technically in the mini category. I’m not a crazy small bag person, my Chanel WOC is being sold on consignment as I write this, but I’m clearly in camp mini. And as my bags migrate into the summer months, so does my iPhone case, making Twelve South’s Relaxed Leather case with pockets my mommy mini bag travel companion. Personally, I think the term “with pockets” is a bit of an overstatement, with slots is a bit more realistic, as very literary there are two slits in the back of the case for credit cards. Calling this a “wallet case” is also a misnomer since it won’t replace your wallet (hence the LV key cles). What this handy item will do is: provide easy access to one or two cards you are currently using when out and about maintaining a slim profile. The design of the case is pretty basic. Really, I think it’s just a plastic case with a leather cover which retails for $50.00 (steep)but it’s a trusted brand and the leather is of good quality. I also like the fact that the case comes up over the sides of the phone, it makes me feel as though if I were to drop my device, it has a fighting chance at survival. 

Because this case isn’t a full wallet, I do believe it is often overlooked. At the same time, it is a niche market that will find this case useful, as in ladies with small bags. I could see this case being a liability for someone who carries their phone in their pocket as the cards could become loose and dislodge (they’re in there pretty good, but it could happen). So, if you’re jumping on the mini bag trend, give this case a try. 

I’m Back…

Fitness, Technology


Wow! Where have I been? I realize I’ve neglected this blog, but at the same time, I have a pretty valid excuse: I finished my master’s degree and had a baby. Not just any baby, mind you, I had Tabitha. Tabitha the “I’m coming 3 weeks early and you can’t stop me” baby. The baby who wouldn’t eat so we had to wake up every two hours to feed her, the baby who wouldn’t sleep, the baby who everyone has admitted is a “sibling killer”. Aka: Tabitha the only child. Tabitha who I love more than anything and wouldn’t trade for the world. Add in a little postpartum depression at the fact I didn’t have a 22″ waist two weeks after birth and my epic return to work…longer story involving cheerleaders. I have a plethora of apps to review. A whole bunch of stories. My mind is working all the time and I have no outlet for my musings. So I’ve decided that it’s important I return to writing. And it’s ok that my writing isn’t just tied to one topic. I’m making peace with that. I’ve read so many articles about blogging and building an audience, branding yourself, and sticking to only one subject and I respect that. I understand the logic to that but that mindset has also caused me to stop writing for almost a year. So, I’m back, but my blog is changing. It’s no longer just about teaching with technology it’s about how technology assists in all aspects of your life: work (for multiple careers), fitness, parenthood, & relationships. The first thing I’m going to tackle is getting my body back in shape. The baby is almost a year old! I believe it is time. Right? I recently came across an article on how Kim K lost 7 lbs (not a fan, personally) in two weeks. Perfect. 7lbs. would put me back at 95. I think my ideal weight is between 98 & 100 so if you take into account that I may mess up a few days…

My tools are my Apple Watch, my iPhone 6, and the Myfitnesspal app (user name Tabbycat00 feel free to add me). I’m starting this Friday July 8th with my goal finishing date being July 22nd. I can’t do bikini before and after pictures, not because I’m ashamed of how I look in a bikini, but because my school district will not allow me to post them on social media. Trust me on this one. But I can post photos in tank tops and shorts. My goal is to prove that everyday women can have “Hollywood” results. You don’t need a personal trainer or cook…remember I could be wrong. I’ll blog my food intake and exercise for each day and sometimes I’ll post videos of my workouts so that you can follow along at home. Here is my lovely “before” photo in my messy bedroom. 

I’ve Got My Eye on You: Cameras in the Classroom 

Education, Technology

Iowa school district asks principals to wear body cams
It’s no secret I’m a fan of technology in the classroom. I’ve even told my students that I’d love to have a camera filming my awesome and unique teaching style. I could be headed for stardom, society has made all the Kardashians celebrities, why not me? Not to mention, this would be a great way for kids who are absent to catch up on what they’ve missed, parents to become informed and involved in their child’s learning and a great excuse for me to expand my (already vast) wardrobe. But I have a problem with what Burlington, Iowa is proposing. 
The implications here are clear: We want to monitor you because we believe you will do harm simply because of the position you hold in society. You (teacher, principal, vice principal) are a bad person by default because there have been some bad people in your position before. Look at the example given, a police officer who beat a suspect. Again, is that indicative of all cops? Absolutely not. It used to be that if you wanted to be a hero you became a police officer, a fire fighter, a doctor, or a teacher. Now in order to achieve hero statis you have to change your gender. Civil servants are no longer respected but appraised with suspicion and scorn. Something is seriously wrong here. 
I’ve been on the losing side of this argument twice now. Growing up in the 80s and early 90s there was no teacher blame. If I wasn’t doing well in school it was my fault, not the teacher. 
My 5th grade teacher would have been considered abusive by today’s standards: she allowed other students to pick on me (sometimes using racial slurs), she called me stupid in front of the entire class, she really did not like me, and do you know what my parents said about the situation? “She’s the teacher”. That was the end of the discussion. My father worked at the school as a part time music teacher, he knew the woman, he’d visited the class, it didn’t matter. She’s the teacher. End of story. Same situation today and we’d have lawsuits and news coverage. Two out of three times when I encounter a parent in a parent meeting I’m there to defend myself because our culture says that the student is always right. Giving a student until the end of the semester to make up late work for full credit isn’t enough I also need to shorten and simplify the assignments, drop the lowest test score, and stay after school until it’s convenient for the child to come in because their child is “busy”. That’s the pervasive parent position. Our culture is changing. iPads failed those poor LAUSD students they deserve their money back, guns kill people not the psychopath pulling the trigger…
Go read Harrison Bergeron, Brave New World, and 1984 (think of Big Brother as political correctness). Tell me you don’t see life imitating art. 
Put a camera in my room, not on my body. Put a camera in my room because I’m awesome (most days) and you are genuinely interested in seeing the way my classroom works. Put a camera in my classroom because it could benefit student learning if they had the opportunity to hear the same lesson twice. But don’t put a camera on me because you assume I’m going to do something harmful to your child. It’s not action I have issues with it is the approach. 

Resistance is Futile: Tech is Coming Into Your Classroom 

Education, Technology

   The biggest hurtle in the adoption of technology in the classroom isn’t lack of devices or teacher training. The biggest thing holding back the advancement of technology, or more specifically BYOD, are the teachers who refuse to allow students to use said technology in their classrooms. Now I’m not advocating forcing teachers to do anything in their classrooms, I believe every teacher has the right and responsibility to choose curriculum wisely, create rules to promote equality, and to establish guidelines which they feel comfortable with but I do have a few things I wish my colleagues would consider before completely banning smartphones and other tech from their domain. 
Argument #1: Students are Distracted by Technology:

Yes. Yes they are. Students are distracted by a lot of things. Students are distracted by their peers, their hormones, independent reading books, lined paper to draw on, sports, what happened at lunch…squirrel!!!! Allowing students to use cell phones does pose yet another avenue of distraction but it isn’t like the technology is going anywhere. In the past five years, in addition to teaching, I’ve worked as an actor, a fitness model, a fitness instructor, photo double, and freelance writer. I also finished my Master’s of Education. In every situation having a cell phone, let me be more specific, having a smartphone (an iPhone to be REALLY honest in some situations) was mandatory. And, it has never happened (not once), that an employer has taken away my phone. Why? Because real life doesn’t work that way. No one comes into your classroom, your cubicle, the courtroom, and takes away your phone because you’re texting. They just fire your ass. If you can’t do your job because your iPhone is distracting you, if your work doesn’t get done, you get fired. You lose your job and when you lose your job you lose your paycheck. No more paycheck and you can’t pay your rent, your car payment, or buy food. Now you’re homeless and hungry…and then you die (Bit too dramatic? Ok. Maybe a little. But it could happen). All because you couldn’t keep your hands off your cell phone. That’s “the real world”. Wouldn’t it be better if we taught our students how to be responsible with their technology in a controlled environment? The novelty of having a cell phone out in class wears off pretty quickly but if they have to learn a lesson about responsible use and consequences I’d rather have them fail Language Arts 10 than fail life. 
Argument #2: BYOD is “Unfair” Because Not Every Student Has Access to a Device:

Yes. Again. It is unfair. Life is unfair. I know this because my parents reminded me of it every time I wanted something my friends had and my parents said I couldn’t have. The thing is, it’s true, life isn’t fair and that’s…ok. Equality isn’t always giving everyone the same thing, it’s giving everyone what they need to achieve the same results. Should I have petitioned the school board to get rid of football scholarships because as a 5’2”, 88 pound girl I wasn’t eligible? Or, should I have looked at my own talents to find the scholarships which I was eligible for based on my specific abilities? For every assignment I’ve offered this past year which incorporated BYOD there was a corresponding assignment in retro style (pen and paper). Some of the students who had devices elected to go old school hipster on me and use pen and paper anyway. To each his own. My job is to give students the opportunity and present them with options but I firmly believe that since technology is here to stay, it should be offered as an option. 
Argument #3: Students Need to “Think for Themselves” Not Rely on Technology: 

Oh how my math teacher loved to expound on this when I was in high school. I clearly remember his argument “what if the cash register goes down…” It was, in 1994, not such a bad argument but in 2015 it doesn’t stand up so well. What if the case register goes down? Then I’ll pull out my cell phone. What if my battery is dead or I forgot my phone in the car or I have no wifi? In 2015 if you don’t have your cell phone one of your coworkers will. Or, the guy who you’re ringing up or the guy behind the guy you’re ringing up. The fry cook, the janitor, the six-year-old waiting in line for a Happy Meal. Someone has a calculator! It isn’t that students in 2015 have it “easier” they have it differently. The world has changed. I used to be able to use the excuse “I was absent” if I missed a test or a due date for homework. My students need to check online, submit their work to turnitin.com, or email me. Students can check for their homework online when they are absent and their parents can see up to the minute grades. I could tell my parents that I got lost if I was late coming home, these kids have GPS. I couldn’t call because I couldn’t find a pay phone and even if I had, I didn’t have a quarter. Cell phones killed that excuse. Do you know that you can find your child using Find My iPhone? Think for themselves? Any kid who can still come up with a reasonable excuse for missing curfew has my vote for creativity. We don’t just want our students to think for themselves though, we want them to think critically. Having access to the Internet doesn’t change the skill. I had to evaluate the credibility of a source in the library and my students have to do it on line. At least in the library you could rest assured that someone felt the content was publication worthy eliminating some credibility issues. Now anyone can publish their ramblings…you’re reading some right now. So can we really argue that technology has taken away a student’s ability to think critically or has it just changed the landscape the way streaming music and Netflix have changed entertainment? 
   The use of technology is still a very personal choice for teachers but for teachers who are a part of an ecosystem adopting common core, the transition will be inevitable. As the poster children for BYOD personified will tell you “Resistance is Futile” we have the power to teach the next generation how to use technology responsibility. 

Evernote is Like Lipgloss, You Can’t Live Without It. 

Education, Technology

     If you’re going to ask your students to download one app next year, let it be Evernote. Maybe you’re still not comfortable with students using their smartphones in class, which is fine, Evernote is a great way to manage your classes and your life as well. EverNote is a wonderful note taking, app which allows students to take typed or auditory notes, save photos and web clipping in one place. Since students’ information is stored in the cloud, they will always have access to the documents they need for class. Teachers can share handouts and articles with ease to the entire class as well as add comments and suggestions to student writing. Students are able to share folders with teachers and classmates for simple collaboration. Evernote is available for Apple, Android, Windows, and Blackberry (does anyone still own a Blackberry…probably not. But, if you have an old one hanging around your house and you want to disipline your teenager just swap out their iPhone and give them the Blackberry for a day or two). 

    Practical uses for Evernote in a Language Arts classroom would include keeping separate notebooks for units of study or for keeping a class portfolio. Class portfolios could span their entire high school career and easily be shared with teachers of upcoming grades.

     Evernote can be utilized in a general education classroom as well. For example when breaking down a long unit of literature, such as William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar teachers can ask students to create a notebook for each act of the play (Caesar is part of the public domaine and therefore can be downloaded free of charge through sites like Project Gutenberg). In each notebook sub-sections, or notes, could then be created for each character, class discussions, charts created in class, and vocabulary. 

    The uses for EverNote are fairly limitless although it is more ideal for a management tool as opposed to an annotation tool. For example you can not annotate PDF files within the app or use natural handwriting nevertheless this app is a valuable tool for any classroom from elementary through college level instruction. 

Why Journaling Should Be a Part of Your Curriculum

Education, Technology
   We recently finished reading “Julius Caesar” in my sophomore Language Arts class which ended in a discussion on the merits of tragedy as a genre. I explained to the students that Aristotle, who coined the term, meant for audiences of tragedies to introspectively think over the events of the play and use the experience as a form of catharsis. Then I spent the next ten minutes explaining what catharsis meant. After which I asked them: How do you vent? What methods do you use to expel yourself of emotion and reflect on life? The answer, shockingly, was Twitter. Twitter! “Yeah” my students said “Twitter rants”. Evidently a “Twitter rant” is where you tweet about a subject consecutively and in short order (no pun intended although Twitter only allows for 140 characters to be tweeted at a time). Am I the only one who sees a problem here? It’s a wonder we don’t have students running wild and burning down the schools. Oh wait, one of our students tried to light the school on fire this past week completely destroying two palm trees and causing the campus to be evacuated. I believe we have a problem.
     I have nothing against social networking. I’m a member of many social networks: Twitter (@CarolynNicole), Instagram (@Cinnamonmouse), Snapchat (@Mrscgrayson), Facebook, Pintrist, Tumblr, WordPress…you get the idea. The point is, they’re called social networks for a reason: they were designed to share ideas with the rest of society, to network, and connect. I’m not exactly sure catharsis applies. It’s difficult to be honestly introspective when you’re writing for an audience. What I’m posting here is not my journal, it is not my private soliloquy (although I do write in prose, which is much more intimate than formal writing) this is intended to be read by other educators who grapple with similar issues. In other words, the next generation doesn’t reflect, they perform. And how are you to acquire a sense of self when you’re always putting on a mask for the approval of others?
The kid who set the palm trees on fire? He posted it on Snapchat.
     Students need a way to open up and be honest with themselves, to really analyze the way that they are feeling, and to have an outlet for letting some of those feelings free. One solution to this is giving your Language Arts or Creative Writing students class time to write in a journal. Not a graded journal, not something which is turned in for credit, but something private for themselves. I experimented with this idea this past year as we read “Night” giving students the opportunity to choose a bound notebook or the use of Evernote (iOS/Android/Windows). It was a short experiment but one I think I will pick up again when I return from maternity leave (for the record I’m happy I’ve kept up my workout routine while pregnant. In case of an emergency I’m still pretty quick and nimble at 7 1/2 months).
Isn’t this a waste of class time? 
No, like everything else, you have to practice in order to get better. Just because students are writing on a non-assigned topic doesn’t mean that they aren’t practicing writing. Have your students look back at past entries on some days. Have them correct their mistakes as well as recall memories. Any assignment you give which you believe is for the betterment of their education and for the improvement of society is not a waste of class time.
How do you grade them? They won’t do it if it’s not worth credit.
I walked around the room, I looked over their shoulders, I monitored but didn’t intrude. Sometimes I would have them flip through their journals in front of me to prove it had entries even though I didn’t read them. They did it. Most of them did it. If I was monitoring them and they were writing they received credit. If they were playing games or off task they didn’t receive credit. You have students in your class who aren’t going to do anything regardless of incentives or grades. That level of disregard of school, authority, and their future comes from their homes and from society. We all try to improve student attitudes and inspire them in 55 minute bursts for 180 days but sometimes you can’t undo 16 years of apathy. Let them know you care about them as people that’s all you can do.
   If your interested in journaling and the importance of keeping a journal check out these resources:

Top Three Social Networks to Connect With Your Students 

Education, Technology

The top three social networks teens use and how you can connect with your students: 
1. Twitter:

Twitter is a great resource for teachers because you can connect with teachers and students at the same time and not just teachers from your own district but from all around the world. Students can follow you but you don’t have to follow them back which saves you from exposing yourself to information about their lives outside of school which you might rather not know about. 

– Find interesting articles and share them with your students. 

– Get a hashtag started to promote school spirit.

– Connect with other educators to share ideas and inspiration.

– Tweet out extra credit assignments or reminders for students to check your teacher website.

– Openly communicate with students when you have a sub without the exchange of any personal information. 
2. Instagram: 

The popular photo sharing app is another great way to keep conversations going outside of the school day. Again, students can follow you without you having to follow them. Parents can also follow you and see what has been going on in your classroom. Just remember to have parent and administrative permission before you post any photos of students. I even cut student names off of any assignments I post. 

– Post classroom charts for later reflection.

– Promote upcoming school events.

– Take photos of spirit events. 

– Post examples of upcoming assignments. 
3. Snapchat:

This one gets a little more complicated. I currently have a student trying to convince me she used Snapchat to turn in late work before the deadline despite the fact that I don’t friend students. So, students will try to play on that misconception that they know more about technology than you do. I’m in for an interesting conversation tomorrow but there are still ways you can use Snapchat by making your story public.

– Send out photos of trips or events you are chaperoning.

– Send out play by play updates from sporting events. 

– Use Snapchat to send out photos of your daily agenda on the whiteboard. 

– Visit a local college and take your students on a virtual tour. 

No Program to Fix it

Education, Technology

This is such a powerful and well supported article on blended learning and the myth that it will “fix” education. My personal belief is that education’s troubles stem from a society which no longer has a strong family unit which no longer supports education. Rap artists and reality television are the new upper echelon of society. Are they educated? Do they promote hard work, the power of a well written essay or the necessity of learning geometry? Blended learning won’t change our society and if school districts aren’t careful they will be sucked into a whole lot of hype costing millions of dollars. MYTH: Blended Learning is the Next Ed Tech Revolution – Hype, Harm and Hope