May 2016 - Prep Essentials





College & Post-Grad

College & Post-Grad
College & Post-Grad

Essentials for a Preppy College Closet: Volume 2

The day I started this blog, I was inspired by one singular thing - a running list in my head of all of the preppy "essentials" I was yearning for in my first year of college. Going to a school like Miami of Ohio, I was no stranger to preppy clothing and the most lust-worthy wardrobe items that preppy college students were donning.

I was constantly checking sales and creating my largest Christmas list ever in the hopes that I could pick up some of these adorable items for myself!

Naturally, as it was the inspiration for the entire blog, one of my first posts ever was a collage of what I believed belonged on this list - and for the last three years this post has gone a bit...viral. (Very exciting, and a little surprising to me!) But the more I explored, the more I realized that there was no true place to look up all of these items in one spot.

Since then, I have completed my college career with a transformed style and an ever-expanding list of preppy essentials I've been coveting - so I've decided to make a second version of this ever-popular post in the hopes that it will be even more useful than the first! (Plus I've been getting more and more emails now that graduation season is upon us requesting a list just like this!)

Everything is categorized, from outerwear, to shoes, to jewelry & accessories...I've tried to cover all of the bases here!

Obviously, I have a bit of a vest addiction...(you should see my J.Crew Vest Collection in my closet!) but I just think they're perfect for so many types of weather. I always got hot walking to and from class - so vests were the perfect solution in chillier weather without being totally sweaty by the time I got there. My absolute favorite and go-to piece is definitely my Patagonia 1/4 Zip - it's slim enough to layer under bigger jackets, and matches pretty much everything!

I definitely got a little bit lazier with dressing up for class as I got older...but it was just so easy to throw on a preppy t-shirt and leggings and head to class! (More of my favorite preppy t-shirts are here and here and here) I really miss leggings 24/7 now that I've graduated, but my black jeans and blue skinny jeans are classic go-tos. 

These happen to be the specific shoes that I owned/lived in/still swear by throughout college and now - but everyone has different style, especially when it comes to boots! Storage space is limited, but a great pair of black boots, brown boots, & rain boots are really all you need to cover all the bases. My flats were typically saved for dressier occasions (not for class), but my sandals really covered the most ground across the quads.

If you're stuck deciding between Hunter Boots & Bean Boots, definitely read this first!

I could make 25 posts just about accessories and still not run out of my favorites, but after a lot (I mean...a LOT) of paring it down, I landed on these few meager essentials. Jewelry was definitely the real killer for me - I collect necklaces. It's a bit of a disease. My Longchamp tote was my go-to tote for class every single day, and I used my Vineyard Vines tote for things like heading to the gym. Cross-body bags are perfect for going out on the weekends and staying hands-free, but you don't need tons of them! Just a classic black and a classic brown will do. Bad hair days definitely called for my monogram hat and sunglasses, and you can never go wrong with a great pair of stud earrings that go with everything.

(Can you tell that accessories are my favorite?! ^^ Yikes!)

As I said in the original post, and this is the most important - THIS IS NOT A MUST-HAVE LIST!!! You will NOT stick out, or feel out of place if you don't have every single item (or even some of the items) on this list! This is simply a guide for any girls, preppy or otherwise, that want some help determining what they might want to shop for before they pack their bags and head off to some of the best years of their lives!

I hope this list is helpful, and as always feel free to reach out with any advice or questions about college, fashion, or just to say hi!

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Graduation Gift Guide 2016!

If there is one piece of advice I could give my friends that are approaching college graduation next week it would be this: this next year will challenge you, terrify you, completely surprise you, be absolutely nothing like you expected, and change everything...embrace all of it. The good parts, the bad parts, the really lonely and scary parts, and the ones that put you the most out of your comfort zone.

Realizing it has been almost exactly a year since I wore my cap & gown with my closest friends, packed up the house I called home for two years, and drove away from a campus that changed my life is a very unsettling feeling for seems like more often than not, I was telling friends how frustrated I was with how certain things were turning out for me in Chicago...but now that I'm really looking back on everything this year (trips, work accomplishments, decorating my apartment, making new friends, and exploring such an incredible city) - all of the good more than balanced out the bad, and I have grown more than I ever could have imagined (as cheesy as that sounds, it's true!)

I have a lot of people that are very near & dear to my heart who are about to be in that very same position in exactly a week, posing for pictures and smiling in their red caps and gowns with their families and friends (and with any luck, they won't have the torrential downpour during the outdoor ceremony like we did!) which has had me scrambling to come up with graduation gifts for everyone!

In case anyone else is as stuck as I was a few weeks ago, I've thrown together a little gift guide to help you find that perfect gift - some sentimental, some incredibly practical, and some just personal and fun! 

One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six | Six (Men's) |
 Seven | Eight | Nine | Ten Eleven | Twelve

Picture Frames + A Special Photo
Any sort of housewarming gift is great - decorating my apartment is a never-ending game to me and I loved all of the little gifts I received that helped me make it a home. 

The 52 Lists Project + My Bucket List Journal
I was gifted both of these books when I graduated and I love them - took me a while to start filling them out (had about a million other things going on...) but once I was settled, I loved being able to daydream and start planning things like travel and bucket lists. (Like my bucket list posts here, here and here!)

The Greatest Portable Phone Charger - Ever
No seriously...these things have come a long way. I have never found one that does even close to this little box. It's lightweight, comes in bigger or smaller sizes (there's also one for charging two things at a time for those of you who are super plugged-in!) Holds 3-4 full chargers (but honestly I think I've gotten up to 5 or 6) and it doesn't run down if you aren't always re-charging it either. It lasts for weeks and weeks! By far the most useful and practical thing I've purchased now that I'm always on the go and my days are a lot longer post-grad.

Pamper Them!
Sometimes the last thing you want when you're graduating is more stuff to pack, move, and find a place to cram into whatever small city apartment you might be shuffling off to in the big bad real world. All of the moving & stress can really take it out of you, not to mention the grad parties, family parties, dinners and events that seem to last for months around graduation! Treat them to some pampering with a free blowout (or even a mani + pedi, or massage!)

A Classic Watch
Having a go-to watch is a professional staple in my opinion. Everyone has different tastes, but Michael Kors has always/will always be my favorite when it comes to watches. Classic, timeless (no pun intended!), and always elegant - men and women's watches from Michael Kors are a great place to start.

A "Grown-Up" Wallet
This may not be the case for everyone, but for me and the majority of my friends, we all carried around little wristlet zipper wallets that were pretty cheap (mostly for fear of losing, breaking, or ruining them in our various college weekend activities...) and when I graduated this was the first thing I purchased for myself. I knew I would need a real "adult" wallet now that I was entering the working world, and I have been using it every single day since I purchased it. 

A Spacious + Comfortable Tote for Everyday
I recently did a post on these for absolutely every budget and occasion...but this is definitely a home-run in terms of graduation gifts. Right alongside needing a real wallet, every single one of my friends went out and bought themselves a tote they could carry to work everyday to carry whatever they may need: laptop, documents, packed lunch, gym clothes...I definitely depend on my tote every day!

Coordinates Jewelry
This is by far my favorite on the list. If you want something really personal and thoughtful, this is my recommendation. Leaving your campus and home, with your friends and the sidewalks you've been roaming every day for the last four years is scary and above all, incredibly sad. For me, leaving my house on campus was the hardest part of saying goodbye to Oxford, so the coordinates of that house on a necklace would be something I'd cherish forever. You can also get it for the town or campus itself, or even a two-sided item with their hometown and the city they're moving to next. The sky is the limit!

Personalized Journal + Tumbler
Anything monogrammed makes a great gift year-round, for any occasion. It always shows that little bit of extra thought. Having a tumbler or coffee cup for work every day is definitely a must, but I also remember the first few months after graduating I was constantly making lists. Every single day. Packing lists, to-do lists, moving lists, important things I needed to remember, thank you notes that needed to be went on. and on. and on. Either of these would make a great and useful gift for your grad!

Luggage Tags (or anything travel-related)
In addition to moving, travel is about to (most likely) become a much bigger part of any graduate's life. You can finally afford all those weekend trips with friends, bucket list adventures, amazing getaways, and for some people, work trips are factored in as well! Up until now, most college students have been borrowing their parents luggage, but it's definitely time to get your own (and it can get very it's an ideal gift if you're wanting to spring for something extra nice!)

What was your favorite grad gift you ever received or gave to someone else? Anything else you think my list is missing?!

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May Bucket List!

April was a crazy month, to say the least...I was a little bit MIA on the blog between a lot of travel, work being the most hectic its been since I graduated, and some very strange and frustrating health problems that are finally getting back on track after over a month of endless doctor appointments. Things are still pretty crazy, and about to get a lot busier - but it feels good to be somewhat back into a routine of blogging, exercising, and reading! 

I really needed to take a step back and slow down, so this weekend full of rain (while disappointing) ended up being a blessing in disguise. After some much-needed down time with friends & a night to myself catching up on all of my shows - I'm feeling refreshed and ready to take on May! Unfortunately, with all of the craziness of last month, the things on my bucket list most definitely took a backseat (and the weather didn't help, either). 

I'm determined to stick to it better this month, though - and I have some really exciting things coming up, including (at the end of the month) moving to a new apartment with one of my best friends! I have had no clue for months what was going to happen when my lease renewed, and it was a major source of stress for the longest time. Having a roomie to hang with and a location much closer to the train (plus in-unit laundry...score!) is going to be great. Now it's just time to start packing, tossing, and donating...

I found an amazing GiltCity coupon for a month of unlimited PureBarre and I am so excited to try it out. I did a handful of classes back in high school, but never committed to it enough to see any results or really get the hang of things. One of my close friends has been doing it the last couple of months and she looks amazing, so I'm really excited! I'm going to try and pair it with some cardio at my regular gym too...bikini season here I come?? 

The weather and my health issues made things like bike riding a total no-go last month, but I was super excited about trying that out, so I'm carrying it over to this month with a new determination. 

I can't believe it has been a year since I graduated...there are really no words to describe that feeling...but I'm looking forward to going back and seeing some of my absolute closest friends in Oxford to celebrate their accomplishments!

If anyone knows a great spot to sit outside and read/relax in Chicago - please let me know! I'm on the hunt for a handful of new reading spots now that it is warming up. Preferably not sitting directly in grass (permanent sufferer of allergies) but I love finding great new spaces to get lost in a book and continue my 250-book challenge for 2016!

Has anyone else tried out doing something like a monthly bucket list? What have been your favorite things to try so far?!

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