Saturday, December 22, 2012

Beautiful Birchbox, Curated Goodies, & Bling!

Sure, I usually blog about technology, geeky stuff, and libraries... but beneath it all the Daring Librarian is a girlie girl who likes bling & beauty products!  So, in the spirit of this holiday season, if you don't know what to get your gal or if you love getting pretty stuffs in the mail each month, let me introduce you to Birchbox!
Basically, for only $10 a month, you receive a collection of beauty products (some sample size & some full size) and it's always a surprise. The fun in this? You never know what you're getting AND it allows you to try a product before you invest a ton of money in something without knowing if you'll like it or not.  Genius, I know. There's also a subscription for the guys in your life! So get that metro-sexual dude of yours great grooming products!
From the site: "Birchbox delivers the best products and the best insider secrets, without any fuss. Every month Birchbox members will receive a curated box of luxe beauty samples. Each box will span beauty categories and deliver exciting products that fit into both your day-to-day routine, and into those days when you want to turn up the drama a notch."
Here's a special VIP invite link for Birchbox -  you may still have to wait a few weeks for confirmation but once you do, you or your gal will get a special box of beauty products & goodies every month!
I've also binged & subscribed to the The New Beauty Test Tube (More cha-ching but also more products!) offered through QVC.  -- Here's what that looks like delivered! From the site: the Test Tube includes a "collection of some of the hottest and most in-demand products in beauty. In this tube, you'll receive the current issue of NewBeauty magazine, along with a mix of full-sized, travel-sized, and deluxe-sized samples from philosophy, Mally, bliss, Laura Geller, smashbox, Josie Maran, Ojon, and Algenist."

There's an Auto-Delivery plan available (I also bought a subscription for my favourite Auntie Lynn last year!) that averages $37.00 a delivery 3-4 times a year. It's sadly not available now (though I got in on it earlier this year and joined a second year!) but it's a whole lotta fun to get these deliveries. You can also cancel at any time.
I am not a fan of lip gloss - too sticky for me! So I always give my GF Debbie the lip glosses - I also have teacher friends who like certain things so if I get a duplicate (rare) or something that's not my colour or style I can pass it along & make a friend smile! YAY!

Now let's talk bling! Of course I love Tiffany, pearls, diamonds, and funky custom jewelry -- (in fact, I have a few artists on Etsy.com who design drusy & other delights for me!) The antique bisque china doll head necklace pictured is a favourite of mine - designed by Louise Black of Project Runway fame.
I also adore fine fashion jewelry (one step up from costume - using precious metals) and for there I go to Ross Simons - they have amazing selections, estate jewelry, great customer service and prices WAY BETTER than brick & mortar mall jewelers. NEVER GO TO JARED!  Jared is a joke and way overpriced!

Ross Simons has great deals, clearance prices,  & I love getting their gorgous catalogs for my water closet reading.

Here's an example: a Set of Seven Multicolored Pearl Bracelets for $29.00! That's much a better deal than you can get at the mall!

To vicariously see a small sampling of my Self-Indulgent Fripperies check out my Flickr gallery. Created for both insurance purposes & to share pics with my afore mentioned Auntie Lynn who is MY diamond guru, mentor, & expert!

Cheers dears & enjoy the season - may it be filled with family & friends, light & love, sparkly ideas, fun & joy! 

What are your favourite beauty tips, daring deals, shiny baubles, & pretty pieces? Love your comments!

The Small Print:
Full disclosure about the VIP bonus link for Birchbox - when I joined I had to wait a month to get accepted - using this link gets you ahead of the rabble - so you get a VIP invite & I get bonus points. Win/Win!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Gotcha Back: An Anti-Bullying Video

Gotcha Back!
 I want to share this amazing video that one of our outstanding, talented, amazing, adorable - ok, I'm a bit of a fan grrl for Denise Adams our new MHMS Guidance Counselor. (Ms. Shuman's pretty cool, too!)  She did this video all by herself! W00t! (With a little help from her kids!;-) Starring our awesome Murray Hill Middle School kiddos.

She used a stop action sports setting on her camera to get the step-effect of the photos. We have an anti-bullying PBIS campaign going in our school and this video supports it wonderfully - and it gets me a little choked up..."I'm all farklempt!"

Here's the video link on the SchoolTubes and the embedded vid below in case the YouTubes are blocked in your district or the embed doesn't work for you!  
 
If it's important, FIND A WAY - to be a How to be a Ninja Warrior Filter Fighter!

Imma B
Another GREAT video for PBIS is this inspiring one from Nashville, TN!  It espouses a real positive message that appeals to my kids, too!  (It's adorable!) As stated on the vimeo page:
"This video was written, directed, produced, and edited by Mr. Rob Dennis from John Early Magnet Charter School in Nashville, Tennessee. Imma Be features several students from the John Early Student Body, and promotes a very positive message for meeting expectations and dreaming big!"
We at MHMS created an activity and lesson plan on our Wikipage   based on this video!  I also took a screenshot from the video & used PicMonkey to make a header. (Of course that screenshot was in the library!)

Imma Be from Michael Kennedy on Vimeo.

Fun side story:  I was so impressed with this video that I wanted to track down the creators & tell em so! So I Googled (of course!) and found the Teacher Librarian at the school where this was shot to let her know that we used it and how awesome we thought it was -it was a shot in the dark! This was my letter:
Hello!
Somehow my assistant principal stumbled across the video that was made at your school called Imma Be and we're using it for a PBIS lesson! I just wanted to compliment you as several of the scenes took place in  your lovely library & the video ROCKED!

Here's the Wikispace page I created for this lesson centered around your awesome vid!
http://murrayhill.wikispaces.com/PBIS

I hear Rob Dennis is no longer at the school but I just wanted to say
Thank you!!!

~Gwyneth Jones - MHMS
And a few days later I got this back!
"Good afternoon!  Thank you so much for your compliments on the video.  We actually made it a few years ago.  I helped out with the lyrics and some of the scenes.  It was fun and the students really got into it.  I love your lesson, and I’ll have to visit your wiki again as I see a lot of useful information there!

Thanks again!!!

Amanda Tucker
Library Media Specialist
John Early Museum Magnet Middle School 

Rob Dennis's profile photoAND then......I got in my gmail account THIS email from Rob Dennis! W00t!

Hello Ms. Jones!
So I googled the Imma be video and can't believe it's being used by a school all the way in Maryland! That is so cool! (Not to mention you look like the coolest librarian in the entire world!)  [[[heh heh aww shucks!]]]

I am honored that the video I made to help keep our kids doing the right thing is having such a big impact.
You Rock!

Thanks,
Mr. Dennis


Isn't that the coolest? That's how our PLN grows, right? AND it says something about shameless sharing, open collaboration, professional generosity of spirit. Letting people know you're using their stuff, giving them props (full attribution!), complimenting them on their hard work, paying it forward...well, it's a good thing!

I sadly came across the opposite of this a few days ago...a teacher who had a threat on every page of her website. 
MY DIGITAL CONTENT IS COPYRIGHT PROTECTED AND CANNOT BE USED WITHOUT PERMISSION AND COMPENSATION.

I HAVE STARTED AN INVESTIGATION OF DIGITAL CONTENT PIRACY FROM THIS SITE
It made me sad, I sorta want to reach out to her to try & win her over to our side...the side of open collaboration and creative commons. To convince her that the more you give the more you get and threats aren't the way to go.  I haven't done it yet, I may even blog about it because it's the antithesis of my credo. It's ANTI-Daring! And it's a downer...after the holidays, methinks!

So let's focus on the positive! Gotcha Back and Imma B rules and threatening other teachers drools! LOL

ps. I never did find out who Michael Kennedy was...the guy who uploaded the Imma B video..but whoever you are, thank you!  

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Edublog Opining, Mentoring, & Haters

Ain't it grand? Freedom of speech, blogs... opinions? The ability to mouth off & share?
Buckle up dear readers, this is a wordy one...I'm gonna opine! Whether one person or one thousand reads it - I think very fact that we can publish to the WORLD freely our thoughts & ideas without license or permission... THAT my dear friends is a true definition of Web 2.0h,  the read write web. And I reckon, THIS is what we should be celebrating not hating on the nomination & voting process of Edublog Awards OR #Eddies12!
I've gotta say being recognized for what ya do feels grand. It would be a load of BS to say otherwise, right? And though being included as a finalist after being nominated by your peers is heady stuff - it's the very fact that WE CAN EFFIN WRITE whatever the hell heck we want to write is the real winner.
For a matter of fact the Edublogs is quite democratic & anyone, anywhere in the world can nominate any blog! It's not an American award, it's a worldwide award!
I've written before about why the Edublog Awards mean so much to me - for building my PLN & I won't repeat it. So, here is my shameless campaign for your vote for me (of course! ;-) and the people nominated who I think deserve the recognition! Though I gotta say, posting this less than 24 hours before the voting deadline means it can't be that much of a hard sell campaign, right? Don't answer that yet!
Best Individual Blog 
It's a first time nom for me for this category and I gotta say WOW! I know I sometimes blog more about tech stuffs than strictly librarian stuffs but I was dead honored to have made this list. So yeah, I'll ask for your vote on this! Cheers! Other amazing noms in this category are SO numerous and amazing that I'm frankly gobsmacked!*

  • NeverEndingSearch – Joyce Valenza
  • Blogging About The Web 2.0 Connected Classroom – Steven Anderson  
  • Teacher Reboot Camp – Shelly Terrell
  • A Principal’s Reflections – Eric Sheninger
  • Blogging About The Web 2.0 Connected Classroom – Steven Anderson
  • Cool Cat Teacher – Vicki Davis
  • Free Technology for Teachers – Richard Byrne
  • Langwitches Blog – Silvia Tolisano
  • Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day
  • Practical Theory – Chris Lehmann
  • The Daring Librarian – Gwyneth Jones (what!?)
  • The Principal of Change – George Couros

  • Great Advice About Kids Blogging... About Kids Blogging
    From Sylvia's amazing blog Langwitches - I found this brilliant idea about Student & Classroom blogs: "....share the classroom blog and student blog list with your students. Let them audit each one, noting components that they like and don’t like. Let them review and articulate their findings and most importantly let them vote for their favorites."

    Here are my two extra cents.  Have the kiddos rate the quality of the writing, authentic voice, variety of topics, creative graphics (!), the posting frequency (have they really blogged lately?) including my pet peev, NOT apologizing for not blogging lately and maybe then have them come up with a random catch-all "likeability" honor! Kids dig that.
    Have the kiddos:
    • create a rubric as a group for judging blogs.
    • choose a favourite & do a laptop gallery walk.
    • defend their choice & giving examples.
    This will encourage kids to read, teach, & learn about blogging!

    WOW...so simple and obvious yet so elegant! A wonderful way to teach great blogging & informative reading at the same time!  Do you smell that? Oh yeah....that's some Common Core cooking, baby!

    Mentoring and the Best Librarian Blog
    Sheesh, this is a pickle, right? I mean, whoda thunk it years ago I would even be ON a list with people like this? It's like the Who's Who in the flippin Library world! Of course always a bridesmaid and never a bride! I've been nominated a couple times since I started this blog but I've never won. It would be cool to win, I can't lie.  This year I was blown away when I saw that the amazing (and slightly intimidating) Carolyn Foote of the award winning blog Not So Distant Future nominated me! WOW! I finally met her (after Tweeting for years!) at #ISTE12 and I have to confess I was unaccountably tongue-tied in her presence! Anyway....this blew me away! Humbled to the point where I feel squirmy. #Awkward
    With this category, it's a true pleasure that the #Eddies12 librarian change agents & movers, shakers, and friends get recognized here! I'm also proud that I've even mentored a wee bit a few of these fine peeps. I'm looking at you Matthew Winner - The Busy Librarian, Librarian Tiff - Mighty Little Librarian, and Jennifer LaGarde -author of The Adventures of Library Girl!  Honestly, on a day to day basis I feel that ya'll inspire & surpass me at every single turn! And that is awesome!
    Be a MENTOR!
    As Joyce Valenza mentored me, it's important to adopt a young or enthusiastic librarian or educator that you have bonded with. You can't personally mentor someone you don't know - or gosh forbid, don't like (insert fakey fawning social-media climbing friend-jumping people here). Instead, find authentic, enthusiastic, positive, RELIABLE, hard-working, innovative, fearless, daring, funny, cool, creative, and amazing people and cheer them on! Offer to be a sounding board. Nominate them for awards & recognition.  If you're offered a speaking gig & can't make it - give the organizers their name! RT their great Tweets and speak about them to others.  
    Here's a real-life example:  in September a writer from Education Week emails and asks to interview me about the Librarian's role with the Common Core - I could speak on it but I know that Tamara Cox & her friends are more expert on this topic AND...they will be speaking soon to that at an upcoming TLVirtual Cafe webinar - so I bow out & give the reporter their contact information. The Education Article Common Core Thrusts Librarians Into Leadership Role is published and the blog post Common Core: Love it or Hate It?  that Tamara wrote to accompany it is nominated for Most Influential Blog Post. Pretty kick ass, right!!? Paying it forward!  Include them. Only by finding & celebrating other amazing educators can we bring up our whole profession. Drop those who are downers, promote those that are positive, and be prepared for the haters.
    A Dirty Little Secret. Haters. 
    I've been pondering for a few months, getting up my nerve to write a blog post about professional jealousy and the people who will hate on you in your district (or school) when you dare try cool innovative stuff in education and maybe get a little attention for it. But I'm afraid a post like that is gonna open me to a bit of criticism, is gonna sound more self-aggrandizing than usual, or come off negative.  I really do TRY and be positive on this blog! Is that something you would like to read? Because it does seem to be the dirty little secret that you find happens when you start stirring the pot becoming a change agent. Mostly passive aggressive stuff, but it hurts.  And it's sad, too! Your thoughts on this are desired & actually really needed!

    Back to the #Eddies12 noms....La la la!

    Best Teacher Blog  - Nicholas Provenzano 
    Best New Blog Level Up Book Club
    Best Social Network Level Up Book Club
    Best Administrator Blog – George Couros
    Most Influential Post - Common Core: Love it or Hate It?
    Best Twitter Hashtag #TLChat
    Best Podcast Infinite Thinking Machine
    Best Use of Media/Video  Karen Mensing (my nom) 
    Best Educational Wiki Webtools4utouse (my nom)
    Best Open PD TL Virtual Cafe (thanks Joyce & Steve!)

    Lifetime Achievement. Since Joyce Valenza already won this last year --- May I suggest two estimable educators for this? Sue Waters (my nom) and Doug Johnson. Both are so well deserving, both are wonderful, inspiring, cool, nice, generous people who give FAR more than they take!

    ANYWAY....those are my picks!
    Click Here to Vote ALL AT Once Now! Sweet!
    Google Communities!
    Speaking of Communities and TLChat ....well, I started a new Google+ Community for us! If you haven't gotten my invite already (they wouldn't let me invite whole big circles!) Please consider this an invite and Join us! 

    More about G+ Communities
    Creative Cursing or Minced Oaths: For middle schoolers & above only! Don't attempt this unless you got the swagga to pull it off - and don't blame me if you get in trouble! Oh and darn you Orbit for taking a few of my favs (oh and Thanks Orbit for giving me a couple extra!)
    •  Shut the front door!
    • OMG WTF! = Oh my Goodness! Where's the fire!?
    • OMFG = Oh my fairy godmother (of course!)
    • Son of a biscuit baker
    • Darlin, sit your Assateague Island down (bonus points for Maryland geography! - After they gasp & laugh, I then ask my kids with a bland inquiring face what Assateague Island is known for?  - Answer...Wild ponies!)
    • Holy Shitake Mushrooms! (then ask them if anyone has ever had one!)
    • Codswallop! (British slang)
    • Oddsblood! (Shakespeare) 
    • By Odin's Beard! (Anchorman)
    • S'Struth! 
    • By the Power of Greyskull! (He Man)
    Curses of the Ancients

    I warned you it was wordy! And Ooops I gotta little overheated up there! I hope my mum doesn't see the "effin" part cause she always said that a substitute for cursing is the same as cursing (hence my creative semi-appropriate for school curses above! LOL)

    Freedom to Blog. Purists might not like my conversational style of writing, excessive use of exclamation marks, my occasional ALL CAPS shouting emphasis, overuse of the word YAY & WOW and my affection for ellipses....but gosh darn it, it's my right and privilege to use 'em! Because this is my blog & these are my never-so-humble opinions   Will you opine differently? Sure, Possibly, Maybe! Is that ok? Nope...it's GRAND! and I hope you give me YOURS in the comments! Cause they make me feel all warm & tingly, your opinions do!

    (*See? Pretentious use of Aussie/Brit term! W00t!)

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