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Happy Birthday to Schoolgirl Style!

Well, it is official.  Schoolgirl Style is 1 year old TODAY! Whew!  What a year!

birthday cake

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that this would be my life.  I always thought that I would be a teacher FOREVER.  It is funny how life changes in such a short period of time. 

When I had the idea about this blog, I kept it quiet and told only a few close friends and family.  To be honest, my parents thought I was crazy.  My husband didn’t understand it.  But, you know what?  I didn’t care.  I knew I HAD to do this.  In my heart, it felt right.  Teachers needed this!  So, I forged ahead and didn’t look back.

she believed she could

My biggest obstacle was learning to be myself when it came time to write a post.  I felt extremely uncomfortable putting my thoughts and feelings out there for the world to read.  What if I offended someone?  What if someone doesn’t like me?  I am learning to let all of that go and just write.  Maybe it is the result of getting older, but my confidence is growing.

anxiety girl

As my numbers grew, my decision to do this blog became validated.  In only one year, I have almost 6,000 followers, I’ve sold 9,000 products, and have 200,000 hits on my site each month.  AMAZING!!!  I am so grateful for all of the support that I have received.  I feel like I need to pinch myself on a daily basis.  Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!

My biggest highlight of the year came when Creative Teaching Press called me.  Talk about SHOCK!!!  Creative Teaching Press has always been my favorite teaching supply company, so I felt honored and humbled that they loved what I was doing.  I can remember being so nervous on the phone, I could barely talk!  I was actually hyperventilating into the phone, but at the same time, I was trying to act cool and calm about it all.  Seriously, I was a wreck, but so excited too!  We would eventually form a partnership, which created another big change in my life…

ctp logo

If you follow my blog, you know that I also made the decision to leave teaching this year.  Creative Teaching Press asked me to partner with them, my blog was growing  rapidly, I was staging rooms, designing décor and I was trying to teach 27 first graders full time.  Oh…and lets throw in three kids and a husband…talk about sleep deprived and drained! 

It was such an emotional decision.  It is still hard for me to talk about it.  After 15 years of teaching, I decided to take a leap of faith and just throw myself into Schoolgirl Style and never look back!  How’s that for gutsy?!? Smile

decide what to be and go be it

This year has also brought about new friendships!  I have some of the BEST supporters and followers out there.  Do you know that I read every message? Some of you have sent me the kindest, sweetest emails.  Sometimes the emails are so heartfelt and touching, they make me speechless or bring tears to my eyes.  Your support and beautiful messages keep me going.  I may not be in a classroom teaching anymore, but I  hope I can stay connected to the profession through YOU.

  I also love my new Creative Teaching Press family.  What a great group of people to be working with!  I am so thankful for the opportunity to impact the teaching community.  Being a part of their Back-to-School catalog was an unbelievable experience.  Seeing the catalog for the first time with MY styling in the first few pages was surreal.   I can’t even explain how grateful I am for the opportunity.


Another big highlight of the year was expanding my Schoolgirl Style Shop. In addition to printable décor,  I decided to start selling poms, daisies, and lanterns.  This decision compounded the craziness in my household, but I believe it was a necessary step.  There have been some hiccups while taking on this big endeavor and I certainly wasn’t equipped for the volume of products being shipped out.  I am learning along the way and committed to providing excellent customer service to all of you!


Overall, it has been one crazy, fulfilling, happy, emotional, mind blowing year!  I have learned so much and feel more fulfilled than I ever have in my entire life.  My parents no longer think I am crazy.  My husband finally “gets it” and together, they are my biggest supporters!  I am learning to not worry about what I write and just speak from the heart.  I am becoming stronger and more confident in who I am and who I was meant to be.

When I stand before God quote

A birthday wouldn’t be complete without PRESENTS! To celebrate my first year, I am having a HUGE birthday GIVEAWAY!!!  Three people will win an entire theme of their choice PLUS poms, lanterns, or daisies to coordinate with your theme!

Please use the widget below for an easy entry!



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  1. Elizabeth Tierney says

    Congratulations!! I love the Erma Bombeck quote. That’s going on my refrigerator!

  2. Stephanie Stewart says

    The first birthday of many I’m sure! I love the way you bring *beauty* into the classroom. You’ve totally inspired me to re-d0 mine and I can’t wait to finish decorating my classroom this year. Cheers to a year of success and dreams come true!!

  3. Heidi McKnight says

    Happy Birthday!! Today is MY Birthday as well AND my first ever day of teaching!!! Many blessings to you in the year ahead!! 🙂

  4. Jeanne D. says

    You are inspirational! I am using many of your ideas in my classroom this year. AND I am seriously thinking about starting a blog. Keep up the great work! Teachers do need you and others for inspiration!

  5. I'm following you on Twitter, too! says

    Happy Birthday, Schoolgirl Style! You have made starting this school year a blast with all your fantastic stuff!! You go girl!!

  6. Kim says

    Happiest Birthday Wishes, Schoolgirl Style! You deserve it! I love the Erma Bombeck quote as well. I really admire you for giving thanks to God and expressing your faith in Him on your blog. You are an inspiration in more than one way!

  7. Gigi says

    Hello! I love. love. LOVE this site! YOU ARE AMAZING! Never stop going for it! Happy Birthday!x

  8. cheryl alexander says

    What an incredible journey, with so many more things ahead of you! Congratulations on all of your successes. Happy Birthday to your wonderful creation. Now, if I only I could win!

  9. Amy Tomblinson says

    Happy, happy birthday and CONGRATULATIONS! I adore your site and it has given me a new enthusiasm for my classroom decor!

  10. Rissa Hanneken says

    Happy Birthday and thank you! You have ignited my teaching passion again and my Bird Theme room is going to be amazing! Enjoy your success – you deserve it!

  11. Teresa Russell says

    I too decided to leave teaching this year…it is kind of sad cause I was soo looking forward to decorating a room with one of your themes this year…well I only took a leave of absence so hopefully next year when I return (or maybe not) I can use this if I win…or I can make a good friend really happy! It was a tough decision but I know in my heart I did the right thing! I wish you all the best in your new endeavors.

  12. Connie Copenhaver says

    “Hopes and Dreams” will be the theme of my new adventure as a teacher of gifted education. Your blog spot gave me the theme from your Rainbow collection. School Girl Style…you go girl!

  13. Tina says

    Happy Birthday!!! I have LOVED your site since I first found it months and months ago. I seriously get SO excited every time I see an update. THANK YOU Melanie for helping so many teachers 🙂

  14. Paula says

    Thank you for giving this “seasoned” teacher some new products to spice up my classroom. I am sooooo looking forward to teaching this year!!! Thanks!

  15. Hannah Strickland says

    Happy birthday! So excited for you…it’s great seeing your stuff with Creative Teaching Press! 🙂

  16. Felisha says

    Happy Birthday!!! I love ALL of your work!!!! If only I was rich!!! Keep up the excellent work!!!!!!

  17. mary says

    Happy happy! It has been wonderful to watch you ‘bloom’ this past year – it has been a fun ride. You are part of my Google Reader and I always enjoy opening up your blog post.

  18. Tracy Clark says

    HaPpY bIrThDaY tO yOu! Congratulations on your amazing achievements, Melanie, and for having the courage to follow your dreams! You are an inspiration to us all! 🙂

  19. Asiyah says

    It feels good to just “do you” doesn’t it? This site has so much of your personality that I feel like a next-door neighbor.

    I’m not in the teaching profession yet, but am taking steps to prepare…just putting one foot in front of the other.

    Happy birthday!!

  20. Katy says

    Congrats on one year and congrats on following your heart! I really loved this post today, it really spoke to me. I have had something I have been grappling with for a long time in terms of my own teaching career and it made me decide that something I have been tossing around for awhile is the right thing to do, take a chance, go for it! After 24 years, it is time…thank you for that little push! Enjoy all that is coming your way!

  21. Tiffany says


  22. Michelle Brand says

    Your Erma Bombeck quote “touched” me greatly! My philosophy is that WE CAN ALL DO ANYTHING THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS US! Happy Birthday! I PRAY THAT GOD BLESSES YOU WITH MANY MORE!!! <3

  23. Michelle says

    I hope one day I can accomplish 1/2 of what you did in one year! Happy Birthday and to many more!

  24. Ashley Terry says

    Happy Birthday to school girl style! It is amazing that
    you decided to follow your dream and are having such great success! Good luck
    with continued success!!!

  25. Stephanie Allgood says

    WOW! What a great accomplishment. Congratulations! Wishing you great success in all your future ventures.

  26. Think, Wonder, & Teach says

    Melanie –

    You are truly an amazing, talented woman and I am so lucky to have met you through this site. Each of your posts are felt with love and I can see how you give 120% each and every day to teachers all around the world. You make us better!!

    I went to visit a mentor yesterday and I saw you EVERYWHERE! I heard about your amazing site from veteran teachers offering me advice. I saw classrooms that were thrown together previously shine with new decor and themes. I saw catalogs opened to your tips with teacher busy trying to recreate the look or utilize a tip you mentioned.

    Congrats on all you have accomplished! Here is to another year full of more surprises and adventures that you have yet to imagine. God Bless! HUGS!

  27. Kim says

    To say you are an inspiration to teachers is an understatement! I love that you provide ideas to make our classrooms an inviting place for students. I have never taken so long to look through a CTP catalog as I did this recent one with all of your gorgeous classroom settings! Happy birthday and keep dreaming and creating!

  28. Kerry says

    Congratulations!!! Thanks for all the inspiration. Wishing you many more years of success and happiness 🙂

  29. Queen of the Click says

    Happy Birthday to my favorite teaching blog. Melanie, when I saw what you did in your room, I knew it was special. I hadn’t seen anything like it in 17 years of teaching. And you know as well I do that there are so many new names for old concepts, but there aren’t that many new ideas being shown. So I hung paper flowers and double border to copy the ‘SchoolGirl Style.’ I had been teaching in this room for 15 years already, but this year it was beautiful. All year long people walked into my room and complimented the room. And when I saw Creative Teaching Press scooped you up, I thought that was a good move on their part. Now there are “Designer Classrooms” because of YOUR style inspiration! You are inspiring teachers all over the United States (and maybe worldwide) to pump up their classrooms because if they look beautiful, everyone will want to be there!

    And I love that Creative Teaching Press has Monday with Melanie!!!!

    Congratulations Melanie – you are a teacher who inspires teachers!

  30. Christy Jordan says

    Happy birthday! Your style is absolutley amazing and gets me thinking about how I want to decorate my first classroom! I am so happy that I found you! Congratulations on all your success this past year and in the future!

  31. JJ Shaules says


    This is my first comment on your blog – I found you through Pinterest and immediately loved your colors, ideas, and enthusiasm for the art of teaching and creating environments that would entice and excite children in learning.

    You awoke my tired spirit and I’m looking forward to having time to decorate my halls for the new preschool year. Looking forward to getting parents inspired with their first steps into the program.

    Blessings to you on 1st birthday! Blessings on your hard work! Thank you for being brave!


  32. Michelle Whitehead says

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! I am absolutely blown away with your creativity and the fact that you have seen your vision through! Congratulations! You have so inspired me to do better in my class and make it more than just a theme –but a comfortable environment that I love to teach in and the students love to be in. Thanks.

  33. Trish says

    Happy Birthday! So excited about this giveaway. I adore your products and cannot wait to send you some pictures of my room. I bought your carnival theme and I went for it in my classroom. I’m not quite done, but once I am, I will be taking pics and crediting it all to you and your amazing talent!!

  34. Amy says

    The Dash by Linda Ellis

    I read of a man who stood to speak
    At the funeral of a friend.
    He referred to the dates on her tombstone
    From the beginning to the end.

    He noted that first came the date of her birth
    And spoke of the following date with tears,
    But he said what mattered most of all
    Was the dash between those years.

    For that dash represents all the time
    That she spent alive on earth
    And now only those who loved her
    Know what that little line is worth.

    For it matters not, how much we own,
    The cars, the house, the cash,
    What matters is how we live and love
    And how we spend our dash.

    So think about this long and hard;
    Are there things you’d like to change?
    For you never know how much time is left
    That can still be rearranged.

    If we could just slow down enough
    To consider what’s true and real
    And always try to understand
    The way other people feel.

    And be less quick to anger
    And show appreciation more
    And love the people in our lives
    Like we’ve never loved before.

    If we treat each other with respect
    And more often wear a smile,
    Remembering that this special dash
    Might only last a little while.

    So when your eulogy is being read
    With your life’s actions to rehash
    Would you be proud of the things they say
    About how you spent your dash?

    YOU are living your DASH! YOU do make a difference in the lives of others! You know my story of two very dear friends who were/are not only amazing educators, but phenomenal human beings! Treasure each day!

    So happy for you and proud of you! I am so glad we “met” and blessed to call you “friend”!

    Hugs from Georgia!

  35. Maggie says

    Happy Birthday to SGS and its wonderful creator, Melanie! We have watched you grow into something beautiful!

  36. Alison says

    That is an AMAZING story!!! I can’t believe its only been a year! Your ideas are so professional. You’ve been such an inspiration 🙂 Happy Birthday!!!!

  37. Mary says

    I found this website about a month ago and I can’t believe I have been decorating without it!!s I will have the most stylish classroom this year. Happy Birthday!! Keep it coming!

  38. Stacey Trepanier says

    Happy Birthday to you…..Thank you for giving us all the chance and share in your Birthday wishes!

  39. Jessica Berggren says

    Congratulations on your new adventure. Reading your blog makes me realize anything can happen when we trust in the LORD. I just started blogging in March, but didn’t really get serious until this Summer. I was blessed when Really Good stuff Contacted me to do a product review and giveaway–I can’t wait for the opportunity and feel so blessed over something so small. It’s amazing what happens when you let go, and let GOD. I am so happy I found your blog. I would love if you would stop by mine some time, when your not designing or doing laundry :0)

  40. Melodie says

    Happy Happy Birthday! I love all the themes. Enjoyed reading the story of your first year. Wishing you many more happy years.

  41. Patti says

    Just wanted to stop by and say, “Happy Birthday Schoolgirl Style!” And to you Melanie, I’ve never had any doubt this blog would do well… not sure I expected it would change your life this dramatically, but I’m not surprised either! Congrats on being able to combine your passions of being a teacher and decorating/designing to evolve your career and make it even more rewarding! Keep up all the great work and tell Mr. R. we appreciate his support for without it, many, many children would be walking into less inviting classrooms this fall.

  42. Less says

    Awww! We celebrated my only son’s first birthday today too! It’s so admirable to watch make a dream come true!

  43. Jessica Kennedy says

    Happy Birthday School Girl Style!! Amazing accomplishments this year! Where do you see yourself in five years??

  44. Leah says

    Happy Birthday!! I am so glad I stumbled uoon your site this year. My classroom will never be the same!. You are amazing and truly inspirational!

  45. Jacqueline says

    Happy birthday Melanie! I truly enjoy looking at your great ideas on your website thanks for always sharing. I always feel so inspired after seeing your great ideas!!!!

  46. Jessica Kennedy says

    Happy First Birthdat School Girl Style! It has been an amazing and productive year! Where do you see yourself in five years?

  47. Andrea Banks says

    You are the only blog I follow! I think you are amazing! Please keep creating awesome themes!

  48. Sandra says

    Congratulations! taking a different path than what was thought is wonderful! I really enjoy everything you do.

  49. Misty K says

    I’m so glad that I found Schoolgirl Style. You are super talented. Keep up the cute designs! Happy Birthday!

  50. Ann Burton says

    Oh my word! You are amazing and I congratulate your wonderful success and hard work! What a blessing to have found your site and THANK YOU so much for blessing so many with your ideas and tips! Happy birthday!

  51. Shelley Ritchie says

    Happy Birthday to Schoolgirl Style! This is truly an amazing website. Follow your dreams. You are still contributing to the educational field through your ideas and inspiration. Teachers will be able to create the most spectacular classrooms with your help. Look what you brought us while teaching. Wow!!!!!! The possibilities are endless! I wish you much success!

  52. Sharon Winter says

    Your site is fabulous. I am madly in love with your apple theme classroom. I too am a sucker for back to school and the look of it all. Happy birthday to you!

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