Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Two Day Coast Trip

State Street: The main downtown street of Santa Barbara with all of the main shopping and food

Santa Barbara County Courthouse: This is a beautiful building just to go see and walk through. You can even climb to the top for amazing views of downtown Santa Barbara.

Old Mission Santa Barbara: A historic landmark in Santa Barbara that was established in 1786. This mission is just beautiful to go see and walk around.

Stearns Wharf: You definitely have to walk out on this pier at the end of State Street to see another beautiful view of Santa Barbara. There are also options for food and gift shops out on the wharf.

Mesa Lane Beach: This beach can be accessed by a long staircase tucked away in a neighborhood and it is a beautiful spot to stop and watch the sunset. The view is so worth it!

Cliff Drive: If you are looking for a beautiful drive just to check out other views and gorgeous real estate, then this is a great road for a drive. I would suggest late afternoon and then stopping at a beach access to see the sunset.

Cabrillo Beach Bike Path: A beautiful path just to take a walk along, go for a run, or ride your bike on. This is right along the waterfront in the main downtown area.


Here are some restaurants we stopped at on our trip and others that I have tried before.

McConnell's: If you love ice cream, then you must stop here. There are two locations on State St and another on Mission St. My favorite flavors from this trip were Turkish Coffee and Salted Carmel Chip.

Finney's Crafthouse & Kitchen: If you are looking for a fun and lively atmosphere, delicious food and drinks, and something near downtown SB, then try this place for dinner and/or drinks.

Eureka Burger: If you just want a good burger or drinks, then I would recommend stopping here and sitting on the patio right off of Chapala St.

Sandbar: We did not eat here on this trip, but I have been here in the past and it is really good. A fun, outdoor Mexican restaurant right on State St.

Longboard's Grill: If you're looking for something laid back with a tropical vibe and on the water, then this place has seafood, burgers, and drinks right on the wharf.

On this trip we stopped at Los Olivos on our last morning then headed to Ojai on our way home to check it out. 

Los Olivos: A charming, quaint town that is about a fifty minute drive from Santa Barbara. If you love wine tasting, this is your place to check out. The drive to get here is also beautiful.

Solvang: This is a Danish style town with fun architecture, restaurants, pastries, shops, and just neat streets to walk through. It is also about a fifty minute drive from Santa Barbara.

Ojai: This is actually a city in Ventura County which you can head to on your way to or from SB. The drive to this area is also beautiful! It is another quaint, main street to walk through with restaurants and shops. 


Beauty in Spontaneity

I don't know what it is, but there is something about last minute trips that can be so rewarding. Don't get me wrong, I am definitely a planner! I like knowing where I am going, what I am doing, and making my lists; however, I find that there is beauty in spontaneity.

If we let ourselves get stuck in our routines and plans, we can miss out on these occasional moments that only come around every once and awhile. It is a matter of saying "yes" more, but also knowing when to say "no." Each one of us has our own limits with this and we have to know our own personal balance. I am definitely still working on finding this balance and it is a lot harder during the week with our work and personal schedules.

Despite this struggle, I have found that when I release my grip and say "yes," there is this feeling of rest, peace, and joy that is hard to find when we are trying to control everything. And I think I speak for many of us teachers when I say that we like to feel like we are in control or have everything "together." As a teacher, I am definitely guilty of this.

Recently, my mom and I decided to go on a last minute road trip up the coast to Santa Barbara. We booked our hotel the night before and decided to beat the rain that we were going to have here in San Diego to just enjoy some sunshine by the beach. We tried to do as much as we could during our two days, and let me tell you, we had a blast! Did we plan out every step of the way on our trip? No. Did we know that heavy winds would hit late afternoon as we were walking through town, freezing? No. Did that stop us from eating ice cream outside? Definitely not. Did we know we were going to find a tucked away staircase to the sand? No, but you bet we climbed all the way down to see the view and then all the way back up!
Yes, we had ideas of what we wanted to see on our trip and where we wanted to drive of course, but we let spontaneity guide.

When we let go, make last minute plans, enjoy the present moment, and take in our surroundings, so much beauty can be found. Don't get me wrong, being spontaneous can be difficult and out of our comfort zones at times, but I encourage you to not be afraid of spontaneity. Take baby steps at first if you need to, but don't let the fear of the unknown or the fear of not having a to-do list get in your way.

Make plans for a trip to somewhere you've never been.
Try something new in your classroom that you have wanted to try for a while.
Pack a suitcase and go on a road trip with your family or friends.
Try a new recipe that you have wanted to try.
Start a new workout routine and see where it takes you.

You have to take the first step, and when you do I hope you will find the beauty in the spontaneity.


Saturday, February 2, 2019

Organizing Your To Dos

As teachers, we have a constant list of to-dos spinning through our heads. There is no way around this. We definitely know how to stay busy if we let ourselves, but there is a way that we can prioritize our to-dos where we don't feel overwhelmed by the busyness.

When I was in my first year of teaching, I definitely just had a running list of what I needed to get done and I would feel mini victories when I crossed items off that list. Now, I use a system in which I organize my to-dos which has been such a game changer for me. My list is organized and prioritized by what needs to get done NOW versus what can wait until next week or maybe even next month!

I have designed a Teacher Notes page that can be used in your teacher binder or even a simple folder. These note pages help me to not feel overwhelmed by my to-dos, but rather simply organized and ready to tackle what needs to get done!
I have organized to-dos by:
MY to-dos,
who I need to email,
what I may need to prepare for or send to my grade level team,
and what I need to share with or send to my students' parents.

I think I speak for all teachers when I say that thoughts and to-dos pop up in our heads throughout the day and sometimes we forget what we hoped we would remember. So whenever this happens or I know I need to remember something, I open up my teacher binder to this note page and jot it down in the section that it belongs. This way when I look back, my to dos are organized and not as overwhelming like the never ending list I used to add to.

At the bottom of my Teacher Notes, I have designed a space for each teacher's specific needs. On Fridays, I have certain things that I NEED to get done before I close my classroom and welcome in the weekend. In order to make sure that I get everything completed, I typed in my end of week to-dos at the bottom of my note page at the beginning of the year. For example: Add to student planner, change out subject standards board, update class points, etc. Now of course, as the year progressed, I went back and changed what I felt would work best for me. This way on Fridays, I can turn to my Teacher Notes, make sure I have each to do accomplished at the bottom, and cross them off like I am running through a finish line. Granted, the notes above may or may not still be there waiting for me, but I decide if anything can wait until the following week or if it is an immediate must do. If it is something that can wait, I simply write it down on the next note page I have for the following week!

Staying organized and prioritizing my to-dos has been such a game changer for me as a teacher!
I hope that this Teacher Notes page, which you can find here, will bring even more organization to your routine and your classroom.

Happy organizing!
Blog Design Created by pipdig