College & Post-Grad

College & Post-Grad
College & Post-Grad
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Books To Read This Summer!

Nothing makes me love Chicago in the spring and summer quite like reading by the water or sitting on the back patio of my apartment with some wine and a good book. Truthfully, my reading has taken a bit of a pause with how busy things have been on my travel schedule, but now that things are slowing down I'm getting more and more excited for all of the upcoming days I'll spend curled up with a book somewhere. 

Here's what I've been reading (and loving) lately!

1. You - Caroline Kepnes | This one really messed with my a good way! I'm still loving the psychological thriller style novels, and this one certainly had me on edge. It follows a similar concept to what you'd expect from a 'Gone Girl', but is told from the perspective of the villain. The really mind-warping part is that you find yourself cheering for him the entire time, and getting frustrated when things don't go his way! 

plus the sequel...

2. Hidden Bodies - Caroline Kepnes | This is the sequel to 'You', and it surprised me how different the two books seemed. Still very similar in concept as you continue to follow the main character Joe, but overall I think I actually much preferred this follow-up. If you enjoy the first, definitely continue reading. 

3. Small Admissions - Amy Poeppel | I picked this one up when I was looking for a light, amusing and easy read for my recent beach travels. It didn't blow me out of the water, and in the beginning I even found myself thinking it was a tad boring, but suddenly before I knew it, I couldn't put it down! I ended up finishing it in two days and really enjoyed it overall. If you feel bored like me in the beginning, I would recommend giving it a little more time. I loved this insider look into the confusing and baffling world of admissions into Upper East Side NYC early was hilarious!

4. Only Ever Yours - Louise O'Neill | Unlike anything else I've ever really read, I was totally absorbed into this book from the moment I read the description. The story describes a world where women are not created naturally anymore, and are instead 'designed' and raised in a school where they are taught to become the perfect 'companion' for men, an instructor for the school, or what could only be compared to a twisted version of a prostitute. The world this author created was so bizarre, and yet it mimicked and pointed out a lot of the major feminist issues today in a really creative way. 

5. The Assistants | I loved (and was surprised) at how weirdly relatable this book was. Not relatable in the sense that it's something that has ever happened to anyone, but in the sense that I could totally understand from the beginning how the main character got into the whole mess in the first place. Being the assistant to the most powerful and wealthy media mogul in the world, $20,000 is a really small amount to some, and a huge amount to a regular 20-something trying to pay off her student loan debt. The rabbit hole she falls into was really just the beginning...and I loved what a light and fun read this was!

I have a feeling that now that things are warming up, I'll be spending more and more weekend afternoons along the lakeshore and on my patio with a good book, so I'm sure I'll be adding more and more books to my list very soon! 

Does anyone have any great reading suggestions they've picked up lately? I'm always looking for new books to try and add to my list!

Essentials of the Week

This week went by pretty quickly, and I'm lucky enough to be sitting with some of my very best friends (some of whom I haven't seen in over a YEAR) in Oxford back on Miami's campus for what I *believe* will be the very last time (at least until I have kids who want to tour the campus, a million years from now). 

I still absolutely adore Oxford and Miami, but I think it's definitely time to stop coming here so often! It's all too tempting with friends still on campus, and I truly forgot how beautiful it is during the spring, so being here this weekend is a special treat. I'm planning on savoring every minute of it!

Here are my essentials of this week.

1. A Unique Tour of My City - This video of a bird hitching a ride on a car as the man drives around Chicago was too cute, and I loved the man's reaction! That's one way to see the city!

2. The Solution to Coffee Stains - I'm not a coffee drinker, but plenty of my friends are, and they often commiserate about the fact that it's so frustrating that it stains your teeth. This clear coffee that just came out seems a little too good to be true - so someone who drinks coffee needs to try it and let me know if it still tastes great...I'm so curious!

3. The Perfect Tank for Summer - Tassels? Check. Seersucker? Check. The most adorable top for spring and summer? You bet. I need this in my closet asap!

4. Seven Positive Steps for This Week - I love the idea of this cute little printable with a "to-do" set aside for each day of the week to bring some positivity and health into your life and routine. If you've been looking for a reset, give this a try on Monday!

5. Pretty Blue Espadrilles - The moment I saw these online the other night, I knew they had climbed to the very top of my current wish list. I was immediately envisioning all of the different outfits I'd wear them with this summer, and that blue is just so pretty! 

Graduation Dresses!

I can't wrap my head around the fact that it's already this time of year again, but I've already had a few friends reach out frantically looking for ideas and suggestions for what to wear under their gowns on graduation day.

I happened to get lucky when I graduated college, as I randomly found the most perfect, light and comfortable white linen dress that I knew I could wear again and again (and wouldn't clash with my Miami red!) a few weeks before the ceremony at a little boutique uptown. I ended up repeatedly wearing it for all of the various ceremonies, dinners and parties that occurred in those busy few weeks before, during, and after with no shame. 

My high school had incredibly strict rules of floor-length long white gowns that had to be approved beforehand, so my experience in that arena is hardly helpful, but I think overall college and high school graduation attire expectations are the same!

I personally think it's best to stick along the lines of simple, classic, and something you can wear again and again (like my little white linen dress). That being said, it's a celebration and a great excuse to get something fun and memorable if that's more your style!

Simple black and simple white both look great whether your gown is fully zipped up or not. Personally, I tend to have more fun in the shoes department, since that's what you can see the entire time whether you have your gown on or not! Just be sure to select something comfortable!

Whether you're indoors or outdoors, I strongly recommend something light and airy. Those gowns get hot, and weather can totally make or break the day as it is!

White Dresses

Black Dresses

Patterned + Colorful Dresses

I have to admit - more than anything else I found, this black tassel dress was my absolute favorite for the occasion...I think it would look so cute for the day with the cap! Fingers crossed it comes back in stock soon for those who love it too! 

Spring Cleaning My Closet!

I have a small confession to make...I have really only gone through my closet and gotten rid of clothes once in my life. No seriously...

All throughout high school and college, I always managed to convince myself that I would wear something again. Even for the items that I knew I was done with, I didn't want to throw them out until I could replace them with something. I did a slight overhaul when I graduated college that I felt pretty proud the time. 

In recent weeks, I've suddenly become completely fed up with how overstuffed my closet is with items I haven't touched since the first half of college! Life lesson number one: Just because an item was expensive, or well-loved at the time, does not mean you keep it five years after you stop wearing it. Oops. My bad. 

That's as far as I'm going to admit because I have fallen way too far down this hoarding rabbit hole of clothes to go into further detail, but I think you get the point. That's why this past weekend I blocked off my entire calendar and promised myself I would go through the strictest closet overhaul of my life - and I'm never looking back!

I ended up being able to get rid of over FIVE garbage bags worth of clothes! More importantly, my closet has never had so much space. I had some pretty major anxiety moments of - "oh my gosh, I am not going to have a single thing to wear ever!" but realistically, I'm not wearing these things anyway. They're actually blocking me from being able to see what I do wear, and now I'll be able to put together great outfits so much easier by seeing what can go together!

I tried to follow a general set of rules during the cleanout process, and overall they guided me away from hanging on to a few items that had no place in my wardrobe:

1. Have I worn it in the last year? Some people follow this rule a little bit more strictly, such as six months, but I wanted to account for certain seasonal items.

2. Would I buy this in a store today? This one by far helped me get rid of the most items. SO many things in my closet are not my style at all anymore, and I realized I wouldn't even give them a second glance in a store, nonetheless shell out money for it.

3. Do I have anything similar to this that I prefer/wear more often? I had a pretty long period of time where I was buying a lot of very similar items. This isn't necessarily the worst thing in the world, but do I really need to own 3 or 4 white t-shirts when I only reach for my favorite one every single time? Not exactly.

These three simple rules were pretty game-changing for me, who tends to want to hang on to every little thing that I once loved (even if I don't love it anymore). For the few remaining items I kept trying to sneak into the 'maybe' pile, knowing full well it didn't belong there, I imagined that one of my friends was there overseeing the process and asked myself if she'd let me keep it or not. Hint: she wouldn't, for any of them. 

I wasn't expecting to get much in terms of selling items, but every little bit helps, and I treated myself to a few new pieces from Zara with the earnings. 

My next goal is to be way more mindful of what gets put into my wardrobe. I want classic staple pieces that all bring something unique and important to my closet. I'll be talking more on that in another post, but I'm really excited about what's to come, and about continuing to rid myself of clutter that I don't truly need!