Saturday, March 28, 2015

The New Side Gig

I couldn't stay away from business long.

Almost exactly four years ago is how long it has been since I quit my job as the head of one of the most successful retail locations (with my old company) in the Midwest. It's been almost exactly SIX years since my job before that was dissolved due to a liquidation I am STILL in mourning over that one).

What I loved about both jobs was the sales plans and the challenge of working towards a goal. I loved motivating a team, making sales plans, earning trips, recognition and other incentives. It was fun! I very rarely did not make my monthly sales plans and was well known to hit my sales regularly. I had a plan, I worked the plan and somehow always made it happen.

Probably because I was having fun.

I love teaching now. I know without a doubt that I made the right decision in my career. Despite my post last week about not wanting to go back to work after spring break, I do love going in to school everyday. I love seeing my "kids". I love building relationships with parents. I love teaching and learning - because I learn so much everyday.  In fact, I don't even call it work - I call it "school"! Haha!

However, something has been missing. I did not realize it was missing until recently when I signed up to be a Stylist with Stella & Dot.
Top necklace: the Sanibel. Bottom necklace: Devon layering necklace
During the month of January there was a fantastic deal. A deal where you could earn back the investment you made if you sold so much in the first 30 days. I thought about it literally all of January.

Talked it over with Bill a lot.

With every conversation, he encouraged me to do it. I still hemmed and hawed over it though. How can I possibly squeeze one more thing on my plate? I have summers off, so I can do this in the summer, but what if I don't do well? What if nobody comes to my trunk shows? What if people start avoiding me because, "here comes Amber and all she's gonna do is talk about jewelry?!"
Pave arrow cuff and Interlock Cross bracelet
I bit the bullet though and did it.

I hit my initial goal within a couple weeks and I was having fun. Lots of fun!
From left: Renegade bracelet, Enlighten bracelet and the Inspiration bangle
My friends were coming over and we were having "trunk shows", drinking wine and trying on jewelry. I have made friends and added two people to my "team". Yep, I have a "team" again! The best part is ... I do not have a district manager breathing down my neck. I am not required to work Friday nights, Saturdays or Sundays (if I don't want to) and when I do work those days, I can easily make over $250 in a couple hours. Yep, that's not a typo. Plus, it is enjoyable. So enjoyable! See more information below)

Besides something "missing" from my career right now that was sales driven, my why for signing up was also driven by some hefty long-term goals that Bill and I want to achieve in the next 5-10 years. Goals like pay off our home and build a "dream" home in the country right outside of Des Moines. We've always known that to do something like that, we would need to supplement our income somehow.

I truly believe that Stella & Dot is the answer to those tough questions we have been praying about.

So, that's my new side gig! I am loving it and cannot believe I've only been doing it a couple months. In a very good way, it feels like I have been doing it much longer!

If you could do any side gig, what would it be?

Top: Somervell in white and gold. Bottom: Engraveable charm with  my wedding date engraved on it and Elephant charm. 

If you are interested in learning more about Stella & Dot, I would love to touch base with you. Email me at with stylist questions, questions about how to hold a live or online trunk show, or about updating your jewelry collection. I would love to help!!

Monday, March 23, 2015

What NOT to tell 9-10 year olds...

Well, you all were right. Getting back into the swing of things was nice and I always realize how much I missed my kids once we are all back!

However I learned the hard way that you do not EVER tell fourth graders that you can't hear.

Explanation ...

My kids asked if I was feeling better because I was really sick the week before Spring Break. I told them about my two trips to the doctor's office and how it turned into a double ear infection by the second trip to the doctor and that it felt like I was under water. It is really hard to hear sometimes!! They definitely took it upon themselves to talk a tad more ... oops!

During math they were playing math games and I was walking around making sure everyone was playing correctly and I was about 10 feet away from a group of three playing and one of the kids goes, "Here comes Mrs. Kuehler!" in slightly above a whisper. I giggled a little to myself and when I got to them, said, "Ya know ... my hearing is not THAT bad, now why weren't you three playing the game?!"

Oh, kids. Gotta love 'em!

Have you ever told kids something and then thought to yourself, "well, that was dumb!"

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sunday, bloody, Sunday.

It's the Sunday before going back to work after a week long vacation. You feel depressed. You try to pump yourself up for structure again. Then you tell yourself not to think about it. Just enjoy the rest of the time off you have. Enjoy the evening with your husband/family.

You've had this before, am I right?

I have it bad. The Sunday Night Blues. Except it's The-Sunday-Night-After-Vacation-Blues, which is worse.

I so enjoy my free time. Especially lately now that I have another business venture to focus some time on.

Then again, I love what I do. I love teaching. I love my kids. So, why do I dread going back to work so much? I know once I get there I will feel happy to be back. Happy to see my kids.

Ugh. Oh, Sundays. You're not my favorite day of the week.

Do you get the Sunday Night Blues?

Friday, March 20, 2015

Looking Forward

Happy Friday!

Well, it's not so happy for me. I'm being a baby, but it's the last day of spring break. Yes, of course I have the weekend, but still ... this week went by SO FAST! Time off always does, right?

It's been awhile since I've been in this space updating you all (I'm pretty sure all my readers are IRL friends now... if not, come out of the woodwork!). Since it has been awhile, I figured I would do a looking forward post as a way of updating you on the goings on in my life!

This weekend ... tonight we are celebrating a dear friends birthday with a girls night out! We are getting mani/pedis together and then heading out for dinner. I am excited to see all the girls! As we get older, it gets harder and harder ... Also this weekend, I have TWO trunk shows scheduled for Sunday! What's a trunk show, you ask? Well, in January I signed up to be a Stella & Dot Stylist due to this amazing promotion and I am so shocked by how much fun I am having with it! It is completely my own business and I can do as little or as much with it as I want, which is PERFECT for me. Anyway, this is all for another post! I will explain everything! :)

This week ...  I am taking a class for work (where we get graduate credit for FREE. Love my district!) that I am really excited for. That's about it ... pretty slow week ahead!

This month ... This month is about over! I enjoyed March though. We got a taste of some spring weather and I am very excited for more in April!

Next month ... April is going to be busy! We've got quite a bit going on ... We are going to a Murder Mystery Dinner in a small town about two hours away with a couple friend of ours that I am really excited about! We are heading to Minneapolis for a weekend to visit friends. Also that weekend Jodi Picoult is doing a lecture about the research that goes into her books, I am really looking forward to that, however I am worried that since I have seen her so many times she will be repeating everything I have already heard. Since the ticket cost $40 I am really hoping that is not the case ... Also that weekend I am attending a furniture refinishing party called Women, Wine and Wood Workshop. I need to find a piece of furniture to refinish, but I am really looking forward to learning this new skill!

This summer .... There is already a lot going on this summer! July is packed with Ragbrai, a trip to Vegas for Stella & Dot, and some curriculum training in Ames. I am so excited for this summer because I'm not planning a wedding and I will have a true summer off and to myself. Possibly my last summer "alone"?? Who knows...

What are you looking forward to these days??

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2015 and some landmark to-dos

I have really gone back and forth about making resolutions for myself in 2015, but after some thought, I realized that I really like setting goals for myself. It is cliche to set these big goals for New Year's, but it just makes sense! I wouldn't be me without having a few things in mind that I would like to accomplish in the next year.

Below you will find my goals, concisely bolded for those that may not enjoy my rambling prose (is rambling prose an oxymoron? Ha.) Rambling is therapeutic for me. Don't judge.

Exercise consistently throughout the year. Consistently being the key word. For the past two years, I worked out very consistently 3-4 times per week from January to approximately October, then, after October, it all fell apart. In 2013, I was in my first year of teaching and from August to October, I was always training for something (Capital Pursuit 10 miler and then a half marathon in October). After the training was over, I let the stress of teaching take over. November is a stressful month in my building and then December brings about its own unique challenges personally and professionally.  I think everyone is just trying to get to winter break in one piece. I found that 2014 was no different. I worked out consistently until October and then, I just stopped. Last year I had a wedding dress to fit into and I knew I would be looked at by 200+ people, so that really motivated me to get in shape. In 2015, we hope to get pregnant, and honestly, for me personally, that might be more of a reason to drop some extra pounds and get into shape. I am terrified of putting on weight from being pregnant, and I know that if I am not in shape when I get pregnant, not only will it be hard to exercise throughout pregnancy, but it will be hard to lose the extra weight.

So, um, that naturally leads to another goal of 2015. Get pregnant. I am hesitant to talk too much about this goal of ours because my heart aches for those that struggle with infertility. I am not assuming this will be easy for us, and I realize that this goal is not controllable. Obviously, we do what we can to control it, but at the end of the day, there is a plan that I am not privy to knowing. I trust that plan. What I will do, all I can do, is take care of my body and be kind to myself.

My next goal is a financial goal. I have really, very willingly, given the financial reins to Bill in the terms of managing our finances, but we both agree that we need to be a team. We need to hold each other accountable to our spending and we need to continue building up our savings. Money stress is the worst kind of stress for me. It takes over my thoughts and turns me into a different person. I can feel my chest tightening up just writing about the stress over money. I hate it. When we have money saved for emergencies, I feel much better. I would love to take Bill Ramsey's course Financial Peace University this year so we can work on becoming better at taking care of our marriage and avoiding fights over money.

In the second year of teaching we are required to complete a portfolio. It is due before spring break and is a list of 10 standards, with several sub-standards underneath that. Each standard requires an artifact that demonstrates how you have met that standard. Overall it is about 43 artifacts, with captions. My goal was to finish my portfolio by the new year, but that is clearly not happening. My new goal is to complete my professional portfolio by the end of January. I. Can. Do. This.

In 2014 I read a measly 35 books. Much different from the 57 books in 2011 and 71 books in 2012, however, 2014 was BUSY. We planned a wedding where we did everything ourselves (except the cake. I thought about making a cake, but then realized, I don't bake well). We bought a house and combined two lives (and stuff. Lost of stuff). We were busy. I was busy. Reading for pleasure was a luxury that my scattered brain had a hard time focusing on. In 2015, I want to protect my reading time and will aim to read an average of one book week and read 52 books for the year. 

That's it.

What is one big thing you would like to cross off your to-do list in 2015?

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Miles, Looks, Music, Movies & Books - November

I have not done a MLMMB post (inspired by Lisa) since September. Not because I did not want to, but rather because I forgot. The past few months whizzed by and I cannot believe I have one trimester of my second year of teaching done. I have learned so much and made so many changes to the way I go about my job, but that is a post for another day!

Also, did you notice? I added a new category. Movies!

Zero miles. Yep. Zilch. However, if I had kept track of the number of miles I have done of Zumba, I am positive it would be high! During the month of November I took at least 3-4 classes each week, and with Zumba burning 500-700 calories per class, it is just as good of a workout as running is. I do miss running though and plan to begin again soon.

For the month of November I had a goal for myself to repurpose some of my summer clothes and turn them into winter looks. I only made two outfits, but I got so many compliments on both of them! For some reason, I can only find one photo... I must have accidentally deleted the other!

Also this month I won a free pair of Zumba compression capris and I have been wearing the heck out of them!

I will definitely continue this challenge of Summer-to-Winter outfits into December.

Nothing really new here ... I'm still loving Taylor Swift's Shake It Off (I admit it) and really wish that her new album was on Spotify. I just can't see myself buying an actual cd... Other than that, I'm gravitating towards more upbeat tunes that I can dance to.

We did not see any movies in the theater, but we did watch The Giver at home and we both enjoyed it! There were many differences from the book version, but I think they did a decent job. However, I still strongly encourage everyone to read the FIRST.

November was a little crazy between state testing, report cards and parent/teacher conferences so my reading was a little on the slow side. I finished four books, which honestly, is very good.

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult (it was okay, but was easy to put down)
The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin (awesome! Hard to put down)
Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin (just okay. Easy to put down)
Shopaholic to the Stars by Sophie Kinsella (ehhhh. Very easy to put down)

How was your November? Stay tuned for a recap on my November goals!

Thursday, November 27, 2014


A loving and supporting husband.
A loving and supporting family and new family.
Health and fitness.
A desire for health and fitness.
Close friends.
Knowledge and opportunities.
Twenty-eight healthy, happy children in my classroom five days a week.
A warm bed.
Two furry friends that love us more than life.
A love to read.
Brick and mortar bookstores.
A wedding we will remember for the rest of our lives.
Not being in debt due to a wedding. 
A sturdy and warm home that we own.
Blogging and the people that come with it.
The Internet.
Transportation options.
Clean water.
A career and position I love.
A city that I love.

There is always so much to be thankful for. Of course I try hard to be thankful all year, but it is nice to create a list in this moment of what I am truly grateful for.

What tops your list this year?