2014 - Prep Essentials





College & Post-Grad

College & Post-Grad
College & Post-Grad

Cheers to a Budgeted New Year

Anyone who knows me will tell you that there is nothing I love more than a little glitter. Sparkles, in my opinion, are always appropriate. I am definitely guilty of buying into all of the hype of New Year's Eve specifically because I can't imagine not loving something that is filled with champagne, sparkles, and of course...that perfect sparkly New Year's Eve dress!

Having purchased a small handful of New Year's Eve outfits in recent years, I have learned one pretty important lesson - the dress, much like the rest of the entire holiday, is just another piece of New Year's Eve that tends to be more than a little overrated. 

I have definitely loved some of my outfits in past years, and there are some that I really do wear all the time to this day! But those really sparkly dresses, the ones that you buy knowing full well that they'd never be appropriate for any other normal event...those are worth some hesitation.

People set so many resolutions this time of year - exercise more, eat healthier, try to learn yoga, and another big one: spend less money! So how strange is it that we kick off these resolutions going to fancy parties where we eat too much, drink too much, and waste a bunch of money on events and dresses?!

This year, I'm not "buying" into all the hype. If you feel the need to buy a new dress, go for it! But try to make sure it's something you'll wear often, and well past the actual holiday. Instead of paying some absurd fee for an "all you can drink" party, try hosting a small gathering with your friends somewhere that doesn't cost you a small fortune. At the very least, if you buy a dress because you just can't live without that sparkle, look into selling it online afterwards and earning some of that cash back!

This year for New Year's Eve I'm celebrating with a full wallet and my closest friends.

Cheers to that!

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Blazing The Bourbon Trail

Everyone has their own traditions, but I really think you can't beat the traditions of the South. My extended family and I rented a 15-passenger van today and drove the Bourbon Trail in Kentucky! For those of you who don't know - the Bourbon Trail is basically a map of all of the bourbon distilleries all over Kentucky, where you can tour & taste!

The only thing our little outing was missing was some more Cards Against Humanity and some Bloody Mary's to kick off the day!

By far my favorite distillery was Buffalo Trace - we had the world's greatest tour guide (I'm pretty sure my uncle is planning on inviting him to next year's Christmas party...) Museums and tours used to bore me so much growing up, but I have never learned so many interesting facts as I did today, but I'll just share my favorite one:

There are more barrels of bourbon in Kentucky than there are people! (About 5.4 million barrels vs. 4.5 million people...)

I loved learning about the rich history of my home state - and the bourbon tastings weren't so bad either! Delicious! Definitely some bite to them, but you could really taste the differences and some were much smoother than I expected. 

More than anything, it was just such a blessing to get to spend time reconnecting with my cousins and family members who I hadn't seen in a couple years. I'm so sad to see them leave, but I am already making plans to visit them soon!

Plus I got to wear my brand new J.Crew vest while we explored!

What was your favorite holiday activity with your family?

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Turn The Page

There are a lot of things I love (and am going to desperately miss when I'm no longer a student) about Christmas break, but I think by far my favorite thing is finally having time to relax and read something that hasn't been assigned to me. i try to read occasionally at school, but nothing beats drinking tea in my family's living room curled up with a book for hours on end, completely losing myself in a story. 

My biggest problem is always finding something to read! Sometimes I like to re-read old favorites, and other times I need something new and exciting to spark my interest. I'm constantly looking for suggestions and recommendations so please comment with some of your favorites! In the meantime, I'll happily share a few of mine!

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Deepest apologies for the complete and utter silence on my end these past two weeks...I took a little mini-break to focus on the 4 F's: family, friends, (holiday) festivities, and finals ugh. I'm back now, and with all of this fabulous free time over Christmas break I have some great posts lined up, so don't go away! I'm here to stay this time, I promise!

I'm happily down in Naples with my family, my puppy, and my boyfriend, ready to do some major relaxing and even more blogging! Time to get to work!

PS - could Inslee be any more talented? Check out some of her work here!
Just one of the many things I've been loving (and dying to write about) lately! Stay tuned! 

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Last Day for the Giveaway!

Today is the last day for the C.Wonder bracelet giveaway so don't hesitate! The giveaway ends at midnight tonight, and you don't want to miss out!

I am giving away the C.Wonder Endless Love bracelet to one lucky reader!

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Baby, It's Cold Outside!

The first snowfall of the year is here in Oxford (and seemingly the rest of the midwest), which means I made myself late to class digging around my room for my bins of hats, scarves, gloves and boot socks! Campus looks beautiful...but I could do without the extra chill. I also realized this morning I am really lacking in my collection of winter accessories...at least Black Friday/Cyber Monday is just around the corner!

Here are the winter accessories I have my eye on right now!

What are some of your favorite winter accessories to stay warm? Bundle up!

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Wrapping & Gift Tags & Cards, Oh My!

One of my favorite things about the holiday season is how just plan beautiful everything is. Twinkling christmas lights line the streets, colorful gifts sit underneath ornament-covered trees, and everything the season touches feels warm and festive and bright.

I've written about Sugar Paper before, and they have definitely not disappointed me this holiday season! Their collections of wrapping papers, gift tags, and holiday cards are everything. Browsing their site this morning was making me so excited for all of the fun festivities I have coming up (yes, I know, it's a little early to be thinking about Christmas, but I just can't help it!)

See for yourself, and I guarantee you'll be filling up your shopping cart faster than you can say 'Santa Clause'!

How adorable are these holiday cards?! I've never been a huge fan of plastering a big picture of myself and my family members on a card and sending it out to everyone (plus that is a lot more work!) Now my only problem is choosing which one I like best! Any opinions?

All of their wrapping papers are reversible! I love that because it can mix things up a little bit without being totally mismatched, something that for us Type-A people is very soothing! I can't get enough of that pale pink!

My family always re-uses gift tags from a giant box we bought from Costco, but I'm tempted to buy a couple of these for those very special gifts that I want to look extra-nice this year. 

Now tell me you aren't getting into the Christmas spirit after looking at all of these incredible papers?! Sugar Paper really nailed it this year. And I just found out that they now have products in Target stores!! 

Happy Almost-Holiday Season!

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C. Wonder Bracelet Giveaway!

Christmas is coming a little early this year, so don't miss out on this! In the spirit of the upcoming gift giving season, I have decided to do another giveaway! As I've gotten older, I've noticed that I get way more excited about the look on people's faces when I give them what I hope is the absolutely perfect gift than I do about receiving them. This blog has brought me more happiness than any other project I've ever taken on, and I want to give a little something back to my incredible readers!

I will be giving away the C. Wonder Endless Love bracelet!

Whether you want to keep it all to yourself (no shame, my gifts to myself tend to be my favorite!) or plan to give it to a friend, this little bracelet is the perfect item for the holiday season!

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Cheers to Fears

I'm constantly reading those little quotes on Pinterest about chasing your dreams, not being afraid to fall, and the fact that if you're scared that means you're headed in the right direction. Putting one foot in front of the other, every terrifying step of the way.

I've been spending a lot of time thinking about next year, moving to a new city, leaving all of my best friends behind and starting something completely new. And it is terrifying. Sure, it's exciting, too. But I am pretty sure I am scared of what my life will be like a year from now at least once per day, and I sometimes catch myself feeling like I am the only one. 

It occurred to me this week, though, that it's okay to be scared. Not only is it okay - but I think it means that I am headed in the right direction. I think doing the thing that scares you the most takes a tremendous amount of courage, and is the only thing that will actually get you what you want more than anything. 

I think if you spend almost every single step of the way questioning yourself, it doesn't necessarily mean you're wrong. I might not get every single thing I want, but I think I will get everything I work for, and everything I am supposed to get. Accepting that is the real challenge. 

So, cheers to putting one foot in front of the other, stepping over the ledge, and enjoying the fall.

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Treat Yo Self!

If you've been on social media at all lately, you've inevitably seen a meme, video, tweet, vine, etc. with the phrase 'Treat Yo Self'. I don't watch Parks and Recreation, so I wasn't actually aware of the origin of this rapidly spreading phrase until Aziz Ansari came to Miami to speak in a lecture series. 

People were lining up for tickets, and I decided it was about time to check it out for myself. Amongst all the hype, I started to think more about this little catchphrase, and decided to dedicate this week to treating myself.

I've mentioned before that one of my biggest struggles is to remember to pause, take a breath, and take care of myself. I'm constantly multitasking and trying to do things for other people while staying on top of my own tasks, and it can get really overwhelming very fast. It's hard to find the time to do even the little things, but with a slight lull in my assignments and responsibilities, I figured now was the perfect time! 

Here are a few of my most basic ideas for ways I am going to treat myself this week that anyone (even the busiest people) have time for! 

Even if you insist you don't have time - trust me...you do!
Sometimes all it takes is 5 minutes and you will feel like a new person!

How do you find little ways to treat yourself? I'm always looking for new ideas!

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Universal Packing List

Being a little bit OCD and growing up switching back and forth between both of my parent's houses, if there is one skill I have definitely fine-tuned, it is packing. I can pack for a week-long trip in less than 20 minutes without forgetting a single item if I put my mind to it! I'm constantly making lists, especially packing lists, even though I'm fairly certain I have the essentials memorized by heart.

My friends are constantly asking me to send them packing lists for different occasions, whether it is spring break or a weekend trip to the lake. There is nothing worse than that one little essential item you forgot about! Packing lists are hard to make universal, because it all depends on the weather, time of year, what activities you'll be doing, etc. 

With the holidays coming up and the inevitable travel that accompanies this time of year, I couldn't think of a better time to publish a list of what I believe are essentials no matter what the occasion/location/events/weather! 

Safe Travels!

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November Lilly Pulitzer Calendar!

These calendars are a constant reminder for me about how quickly time is flying, especially now that I am a senior. I do absolutely love November, though. It is the start of the holiday season and all of my favorite traditions, decorations and festivities that come along with it!

Unfortunately, it also means more homework and exams, with finals just around the corner. To make organizing all of those decorating activities and assignments, here is my November Lilly Pulitzer Calendar template! Just download it from this link:

Print it out, and fill it out to your heart's content!


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Playlist: Fall Has Arrived

Maybe it is because Oxford is one of the most beautiful places in the world during this time of year, but I can't stop smiling these days. The leaves have changed, there is a slight chill in the air, and fall has officially settled over my adorable little college town. 

It disappointingly dawned on me last week that this will be my last fall in Oxford, and rather than cry (I swear I'm not crying...I just have something in my eye *sniff*) I resolved to enjoy it as much as I possibly can before frozen winter takes its place. 

One of the top things on my to-do list has been to take a few scenic drives with my friends on some of the incredible country roads surrounding Oxford, especially those back near Hueston Woods where there is nothing but trees and leaves. 

And what scenic drive would be complete without the perfect fall playlist?! There are a couple different moods on this one, but it is definitely for the most part upbeat and perfect for a sunny fall day! These songs have pretty much been on constant repeat for me in my car and walking to class. Enjoy!

Here are the links to their youtube videos as well in case you want a quick listen!

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I'm Alright On My Own, But With Them I'm Much Better

Yes, this is a shameless post about my sorority sisters - but not for the typical reasons one might expect. I know there are a lot of stereotypes and some stigma associated with sororities, but some recent events and the fact that it is my senior year has really caused me to think about what this incredible group of women has meant to me over the past few years and this semester in particular.

I have watched pledge classes leave, and new ones arrive - I have tearfully hugged them goodbye, and tearfully welcomed new ones home. One thing that has always remained constant among the girls in my home away from home is that no matter who it is - we always have each other's backs. I could rant on and on for weeks telling you countless stories of different ways these girls have inspired me, but I won't. 

Being a senior, it is true that I'm not stuck right in the middle of everything; I'm on my way out. I'm still involved and hold a position within the chapter, but my role will continue to shrink as I work my way towards graduation - and that's okay. What has truly amazed me is that no matter what grade, sophomores, juniors, or seniors - even the ones I haven't been fortunate enough to truly get to know well yet - every single girl in this chapter has found some way this semester to let me know that they are there for me. 

My family received some devastating news about a month ago, and we have all been processing it in our own way. Most girls likely don't even know the details of my family's situation - but that hasn't mattered. Every girl in my chapter has reached out to me in some way, offered a listening ear, a warm hug, or a welcome distraction, whether it's driving to the nearest mall or getting ice cream uptown late on a Monday night. I have been absolutely overwhelmed by the support and love I have received from all of my sisters, and I am eternally grateful. 

I wish stories like this were as relevant as the occasional scandals that seem to make national news, but that is not the nature of the media. I just wanted to make sure that I could find some way to let my sisters know how grateful I am for all of their support, and let anyone else who reads this blog know  - especially those that are considering going Greek - that sororities are so much more than what meets the eye.

I'm alright on my own, but with them I am so much better. 

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Fashion Find: World's Greatest Leggings!

I have officially found the greatest pair of leggings - ever. I know, everyone has their tastes and there are tons of different types I love, including Lululemon and my go-to pairs of ultra-thin cotton leggings from White House Black Market. But trust me when I tell you, this pair is the best (and cheap!)

I actually ordered these by accident online when I was trying to replace one of my ripped pairs of cotton leggings from White House Black Market. I received them in the mail today and I was pretty upset to realize these leggings were much thicker, heavier, and a slightly different fabric. I started to furiously stuff them back into the back before I retreated to looking up their return policy when I realized these could actually be exactly what I need.

These leggings are significantly warmer, a little tighter and more form-fitting like my Lululemon pair, and they have lines in the back to make them look like a pair of riding pants (similar to these leggings from J.Crew) which my housemate Kendall pointed out made them a much better option for nicer shirts and sweaters because it gives them a cleaner look. 

After trying them on, I fell in love. They're thicker, warmer, cheaper, and tighter...they look nicer and resemble the feel of my Lululemon's without looking like athletic gear either. Essentially...they're perfect! And the best part is they're only $48, but they are always having sales on their leggings so check back regularly! (I'll be sure to post about them whenever I get emails as well!) They're awfully similar to the ones from J.Crew, except personally I find these significantly more comfortable and they just feel better.

You can find these magical leggings here, they are the 'Signature Leggings'!

Has anyone else worn these or found a pair of leggings they're really loving lately?

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Road Trip: Pittsburgh, PA

This past weekend I ventured out to Wexford, PA just outside of Pittsburgh with the boy to see his family and his adorable dogs for a short fall break from Oxford. 

My instagram feed was filling up all weekend with pumpkin patches and people's younger siblings heading off to Homecoming Dances (ahh...high school - I don't miss you one bit). Our weekend was essentially the exact same thing (what can we say, we're basic) but I had a blast!

It was so nice to get away from school and just relax and enjoy some of this beautiful fall weather we've been having, plus I even convinced the boy to come to the pumpkin patch with me and actually pretend to be as amused as I was! In exchange, I agreed to let him teach me how to play hockey - no judging my form! 

By far the highlight of the weekend was going shopping in a real mall! No offense to Oxford, but we are seriously deprived in our little town surrounded by corn fields. Plus I found a giant bean boot!

How was everyone else's Fall Breaks?

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We Were Liars

All I can say is - Wow. 

I literally only seconds ago just put down the book We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, and I am stunned. Per usual, I devoured this book in only two short days, but it fascinated me in a different way than usual.

I was gripped with the story, watching a mystery unfold right before my eyes, but it was told in such a serene and eloquently written way that it so incredibly rare. This is by far one of my favorite books I have ever read and most definitely my favorite book I have read in a very long time. I picked it up because it was recommended for those who loved Gone Girl, which I read a long time ago and re-read recently before the movie came out (I'm so excited to go see it!)

Even if you haven't read Gone Girl, you absolutely must read We Were Liars. 
I don't want to give away a single bit of it - truthfully I never even read the description which made this all the more fun. 

But for those of you who can't invest in a book without at least feeling certain that you will enjoy it, here is the description from Amazon:

"A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from New York Times bestselling author, National Book Award finalist, and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. 
Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE."

This story is beautiful, captivating,  and devastating all rolled into one. You won't regret it!

Let me know what you think - I'd love to hear from you!

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Obsessing Over Essie

The leaves are changing, my boots (and blisters) have once again been taken out of their temporary retirement, and that beautiful fall *smell* has returned to my gorgeous campus in Oxford, OH. While the return of fall means the return of pretty much all of my favorite things, I think anyone who has been reading this blog for a little while knows that there is pretty much nothing I love more than new Essie nail polish colors!

This fall collection has to be my favorite collection yet - I'm seriously going to buy all of them this time!

I have to say, I am definitely partial to that gorgeous dark red color, called Dress to Kilt. I swear, even if there is a color I'm a little on the fence about, a perfect and clever name will make me buy it every time. 

I'm also really loving the theme of all of these names. Is anyone else as excited to start wearing fall nail polish colors as I am? (I've been trying to hold off until it gets a little colder, so I've been sticking to more neutral colors like Take It Outside, but I want my dark reds now!

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October Lilly Pulitzer Calendar!

I know, I know, I've been seriously slacking on these! But I just made a bunch for the rest of the semester, so I promise they'll be up from now on at the start of each month! Enjoy this free printable calendar to make getting organized a little bit more "Lilly!" 

To download it, just click on this link!

Happy October everyone!

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Fall Color Watch: Maroon

Fall is finally here, and I am already loving being able to slowly work my way back into my extensive collection of fall nail polish and lighter cardigans. I know some people are clinging to #endlesssummer but I LOVE fall - everything about it! (Here are some of my favorite things about fall that I raved about last year!)

I'm already looking to transition my wardrobe to some of my favorite fall colors. Last year I was all about camel-colored things; sweaters, scarves, bags, shoes...I was obsessed. This year, though, I've been inspired by my go-to fall nail polish and I have been absolutely lusting over maroon!

I just love everything about this color for fall, I think it's so gorgeous paired up with all the orange and yellow colors of the changing leaves. I've already been creating some outfits in my head with my  (I wish) closet.

Is anyone else obsessing over this color right now? I'm definitely on the lookout for some good staple items that I can add to my wardrobe without breaking the bank!
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