July 2016 - Prep Essentials





College & Post-Grad

College & Post-Grad
College & Post-Grad

Back To School Bedding!

I've always thought that bedding is the most important decor piece you can choose in a bedroom (especially in a dorm when your bedroom is your entire living space!) My mom was an interior designer and she told me that you should start your design inspiration in the same place you start every day, and to find the perfect blend of comfort + style. 

Whether you're heading to a dorm (is it crazy that I'm so jealous of that?!) or a new apartment or house near campus, you'll need a comfortable and chic bed to crash in after all-nighters at the library and late nights out with friends. 

I'm considering changing out my sheets soon after writing this post because some of these are so freaking adorable! I've rounded up some of the best ones I could find for Twin XL and regular sizing, so no matter where you're headed, you're covered (and cozy!) It's always a good idea to have a spare set of sheets at college so you're never without them while you do laundry, too!

 Geometric Prints

 These are the sheets I have right now and I love them!

There are a million places to find a duvet cover or comforter, and I think people tend to have a stronger personal preference when it comes to those, but I did stumble upon a couple that were just too adorable not to share...and I will suggest that you lean towards a patterned bedspread, because college kids like to eat in their beds a lot, especially in the dorms! Okay, okay...I still eat in my bed. But not nearly as often!

One great way to make refreshing your room year after year easy is to pick simpler bedding and add in some decorative and fun pillows! They're cheaper to change from time to time, and there are so many options!

Don't forget to cover all of the bedding basics, too! Obviously it isn't mandatory, but I combined a feather bed and a foam mattress topper for most of college and in my current apartment, and it feels like a complete cloud. It might not be as good as at home, but it comes pretty close!

There are a lot more of these back-to-school posts coming throughout the rest of this month, but please keep commenting on what you'd like to see! 

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Back To School Edition 2016!

I thought maybe after over a year, the nostalgia and jealousy over students who are starting to pack up their bags and cars and head off to college campuses all over the country (and especially beautiful Oxford) would have faded a little bit for me...but if anything, this year is even more sad to me! It feels so far away now!

The silver lining with August's arrival is...it's time for the Back To School Edition on PrepEssentials! All month long, I will be featuring posts that are all about college, back to school, advice, campus fashion, and answering your biggest questions from sororities to clean eating and everything in between! (For those of you who aren't headed off to school, don't worry - my regular posts will also be appearing on the blog, so get ready for a packed month!) 

I have a lot of posts coming up that I'm really excited about, but what I would love more than anything is to hear directly from you! What are your biggest questions you've been too afraid or shy to ask? What items are still on your shopping list that you haven't found yet?! There is absolutely no topic off-limits here, so email me or comment below on what you'd like to see and I will do my best to cover it all so you are ready for an amazing year!

And for those of you lucky enough to be going to Oxford and attending Miami...take me with you! And enjoy every single second. Every year will fly by faster than the one before it!

In the meantime, definitely be sure to check out some of my most popular posts on college, campus life, and advice for undergrads!

Essentials for a Preppy College Closet

Have You Ordered Your Planner Yet This Year?!

The Ultimate Guide to Bean Boots vs. Hunter Boots

College Studying Tips

Essential Apps for College Students

The Perfect Totes for Class & Campus

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Long Weekend in Mexico - What I'm Packing!

I'm really excited for August because I have a ton of fun things lined up every weekend (making the most of that nice weather while I still can!) but by far the most exciting this month is a weekend trip to Mexico! I haven't been on a beach vacation in forever, so I'm beyond excited for the chance to get some tropical drinks + downtime on the sand. 

After frantically scrambling to get my passport updated, I got the flights booked and started to focus on the more exciting part of the trip: what to pack! Since I haven't spent a lot of time on any beaches in the last year or two, swimsuit and cover-up shopping was a must. I've been dying to try one of those one-pieces everyone seems to be looking *amazing* in lately, but I'm really picky about wanting to try on swimsuits myself before buying (even if they have free returns). 

Luckily I did get a few good ideas from my favorite Swimwear for 2016 post, but again...I like to try it on in-stores which has proven to be much trickier! Here's everything I'm thinking of packing for the weekend...am I missing anything?!

One - Top + One - Bottom | Two | Three | Four | Five Six | Seven | Eight | Nine | Ten | Eleven

Mexico in August is definitely going to be hot, hot, hot so I am planning on staying in the water as much as possible! Shop some more of my picks below for any of your last-minute fun-in-the-sun summer vacations!

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Summer Entertaining Essentials!

August might be just around the corner, but I am going to cling to summer for a long as possible (and given how hot it has been lately, I think Chicago agrees!) Summertime is always interesting in Chicago because it's almost like you live a dual life when you live here - your summer life, and your winter life. 

Summer is filled with nonstop action. Cubs Games, rooftops, brunch (and more brunch, and more brunch), friends in town every possible weekend, and friends' seizing every possible opportunity to grill outside or (if you're lucky) head out on Lake Michigan on someone's boat. Anyone want to take me?! 

Winter is...different. If you move here, everyone will fairly dramatically emphasize how horrible the winters here are. Well, I can't speak for everyone, but I personally really don't think it's anything that the rest of the Midwest doesn't also experience (looking at you, Ohio). Something about the cold weather here though makes everyone hibernate and stay at home. The social calendar is almost completely empty (which could in part be due to the three-months-long and way-overdue nap needed from all the summer socializing!) and people really seem to keep to themselves. 

You might be thinking, well obviously people stay inside in the winter, it's freezing! But trust me, this is different than anything I've seen. I will suddenly go a full month without seeing friends that I normally see several times a week!

With all of that in mind - that means that now is the time to P-A-R-T-Y in the Windy City and I plan to take full advantage! Here are some of my summer entertaining and decorating essentials to help you host the perfect soiree for you and your friends while the sun is still shining!

Lights & Lanterns
Scrolling through all of my "patio inspiration" photos - definitely the most common ingredient is lights everywhere! Whether it's lanterns, string lights, or candles, this is a super inexpensive and gorgeous way to transform the space. Shop some of my favorites below!

Drink Up
Whether you're having a cocktail party with summery and refreshing beverages, or just trying to keep it casual with lemonade and iced tea, it's all about presentation! Help your guests beat the heat and stay cool by having all of the right supplies. (Personally, I'm partial to having fun cups or straws year-round!) There are all kinds of creative, easy and inexpensive ways to store ice and drinks outside, like some of my favorites below:

*Pro Tip: some of the beverage tubs are also perfect for storing firewood in the winter, and you can easily paint them any color you want!

Time to Dine
The best part about summer parties and BBQs is, obviously - the food! I'm all about finger food when it comes to backyard soirees (to keep your hands free for cornhole, obviously!) so having the right serving trays is all you need. Add in some non-breakable cocktail or drink glasses and you're good to go! My parents' friends all swear by these shatter-proof stemless wine glasses, and I totally agree!

PS - can you tell I have a thing for pineapples right now?!

The Little Essentials:
Obviously there are a million ways to style or theme a summer soiree, but with these basics covered, you really can't go wrong! If you're from the Midwest or even farther up north (especially Michigan!) then you know all too well what it's like to experience 95 degree heat and 45 degree nights around a bonfire all within the course of a few hours! Make sure to have some cozy pillows, throw blankets, and of course some games to keep the party going into the night.

Set the Tone
Of course you can't have any party without the right music to set the tone. This playlist is absolutely perfect for keeping up the summer vibes and good feelings for all of your guests.

What are your summer entertaining essentials?

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Nordstrom Anniversary Sale - What's Left After Early Access!

As I'm sure you may have noticed...The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is here again!! Hands down my favorite sale of the year, and the perfect time to stock up on those big items you've been lusting after, or a few key essentials for fall while they're still in stock and prices are so so low! 

The sale can definitely be pretty overwhelming, especially if you don't have a specific item in mind that you're hunting for, and items go fast, so to make things easier on you I've pulled together lists from every category on the sale that I am loving this year (that hasn't already been snatched up during early access), from splurge to steal and everything in between!

The sale is still only open to card-holders for early access right now, but don't worry if you don't fall into that category - there will still be plenty to go around when the sale opens to everyone Friday (July 22nd, mark your calendar!) and I'll be updating the list as it goes along to make sure you can find the best deals still out there!

What items are you hoping to snag during the sale?!

Top Row: Cutout Wedge Sandal | Block Heel Sandal

Middle Row: Tory Burch Riding Boot | Grey Wedge Bootie | Pointed Toe Flats | Peep Toe Bootie | Suede Wedge Bootie | Over-The-Knee Boots

Bottom Row: Steve Madden Peep Toe Wedge | Cutout Wedge Bootie

Top Row: Plaid Oversize Scarf | Aviator Sunglasses Plaid Square Scarf

Middle Row: Marc Jacobs Zip Wallet | Faux Leather Bucket Bag | Kate Spade Wrist Cuff | Tory Burch Zip Wallet

Bottom Row: Kate Spade Zip Wristlet | Kate Spade Leather Hobo | Michael Kors Crossbody

Top Row: Drape Front Leather Jacket | Suede Crop Moto Jacket

Middle Row: Faux Leather Moto Jacket | Draped Utility Jacket | Quilted Hood Jacket | Cargo Anorak Jacket | Wool Wrap Coat

Bottom Row: Hood Collar Jacket | Hooded Trench Coat | North Face Rain Jacket | Zip-Front Hooded Trench

Top Row: Cashmere Cardigan | Knit Swing Dress | Off The Shoulder Chambray Dress | Bell Sleeve Shift Dress | Cowl Neck Shift Dress | Waffle Cowl Neck Sweater

Bottom Row:  Lace-Up Back Tee | Free People Open Back Tank | Zip-Back Cashmere Sweater | Circle Cardigan | Strappy Rib Knit Tank

Top Row: Paige Skinny Jeans | 7 For All Mankind Skinny Jeans

Bottom Row: Madewell Green Skinny Jeans | Joe's Skinny Jeans | Distressed Skinny Jeans | Hudson Skinny Jeans | Black Distressed Skinny Jeans

So...I tried to be as comprehensive as possible, and I think I still landed somewhere a little near overwhelming (oops!) but hopefully this will help you pick and choose the best deals still out there and grab them before they're gone!

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One Year Later: Post-Grad Lessons For the First Year

While technically it has been a little over a year since I graduated, it has been officially one year since I moved to Chicago and started working full-time. While this fact certainly comes to mind often, it also still completely blows my mind. It's definitely been the most challenging year of my life, and the most surprising. 

I think some of the most challenging parts have led me to believe that my first year in the city was pretty rough, but then something small like a fun memory or scrolling through my Instagrams from the last year I realize...I've done some seriously fun and amazing things that I never expected or imagined! 

Don't mistake this for me saying that I can look through the filtered, edited and snapshot editions of my social media accounts as a full-circle representation of reality...but they're a great reminder of all of the best parts. I think it's a little bit easier to be reminded of the hard times because they push you and force you out of your comfort zone (and usually last a little bit longer than a fun party or a great weekend trip). 

I wish more than anything that someone close to me had better prepared me for what was to come - but I also understand why it's something you need to experience for yourself. So with that being said, here are some of the ways my friends and I have come up with to help you combat those feelings of loneliness, nerves, stress, and a general sense of misdirection...for us, the biggest comfort was realizing that everyone feels this way!

Break from your Routine
Establishing a routine is definitely super important, and for a while it felt like that was what was helping me keep hold of my sanity and feel a little bit less lost while I adjusted, but I got so strict with my routine that sometimes the weeks felt completely unbearable. I go to work, go to the gym, cook, clean, shower and take care of little projects here and there. It's great - but I have now realized that I have to remind myself (especially while we still have warm weather and the desire to leave our apartments) that it's OK to ditch the routine and get drinks with a friend, go see a movie, or go window shopping - whatever it is, just something fresh that makes the weeks feel a little less monotonous. Going to work 40 hours a week is already way more structure than you've had for the last four years in college, so there's no need to overdo it right off the bat. The other things are just as important - it's all about balance!

Say Yes
Some of the best experiences I've had in the city so far have been things I wasn't sure I wanted to try, was too tired/cranky/stressed to be interested in, or too intimidated by the unfamiliarity. But once I did them, I walked away from every single one raving about how glad I was that I had finally caved and decided to do it. This ranged anywhere from birthday dinners in the middle of the week to seeing random concerts I'd never heard of, trying new fitness classes, or exploring unknown areas of the city with friends. The more I've said yes to certain experiences, the happier I've been during the weeks. Keep trying to say yes - it will definitely surprise you.

Join In
Think back to when you were a lost freshman in college...what was one of the first pieces of advice anyone gave you? Join a club! Join a team, or an organization, or take a painting and cooking class with your friends. This falls right into the category of breaking up your routine. The beautiful thing about the working world is that now you can afford to try something new once in a while. It doesn't have to be something big, or a large time commitment. It can be as small as joining your company's intramural kickball team (yes, I did this and it was so much fun! Has anyone else missed playing kickball since...middle school?!) There are infinitely more things to try in big cities, and I guarantee friends will want to join too. It's also a really fun way to meet more people...sounds just like college to me!

Be Alone
This year is LONELY. It doesn't matter if you have family and friends and everyone you might want around you...you're going to feel lonely sometimes. You no longer live in a house or dorm packed with large groups of friends, or inside your family's bustling home. You're a busy adult now, and that means earlier nights and people doing their own things more often. For me, this meant learning to be okay with doing things alone, such as: dining at a restaurant with a book, walking through street festivals on my own, going for walks and sitting by the lakeshore by myself, heading to movie theaters without a friend...all of these things terrified me at first, but now I really enjoy it!

Look to the Future
For the past 18ish years, you've had a very clear line of what comes next. Four years of school here, four years of school there...but now you're staring down an endless line of years stacked on top of each other and total freedom for how you choose to spend them. This is an incredibly powerful position to be in,m but obviously it's overwhelming. Fun fact: you don't have to have everything figured out yet. You don't even have to have the next full year figured out. Start with 3-5 things that are very important to you in this first year, set a goal for them, and figure out why they matter and how you are going to make them happen. These can be goals such as getting in shape, reading 250 books, finding a mentor, or making five new friends...the options are endless and totally up to you.

More than anything, just understand that this year is unpredictable, crazy, fun, intimidating, and it will be the fastest year of your life. Don't stress about the little things and lean on your friends when you need them. Enjoy the ride!

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Patio Inspiration!

Moving into my new apartment last month was really exciting for a few reasons, but I definitely couldn't keep my mind off of the fact that I was finally going to have a patio! This was something I've been wanting since before I even moved to Chicago, so I've already had ideas of what I would do if/when I finally got one. 

As soon as I got settled, I immediately headed to my Apartment Decor board on Pinterest (follow me!) to start brainstorming decorating ideas. The first things that came to mind were lights, cozy lounge chairs, and my big dream item was a grill! I was also loving all of the decorative pillows, mini succulents, and little throw blankets for those windy Chicago nights. 

In preparation for the final reveal (I promise it's coming - I'm just too much of a perfectionist!), I've pulled together my inspiration for the patio while I shopped!

*Our patio is technically a shared patio - but everyone has their own space and section, and everyone has customized it in their own unique way. We wish we had a corner section, those people really get to make full use of their space, but we are still loving it!*

One | Two  Three - LeftCenterRight | Four 

I would love a rustic feel with just a hint of nautical with blues, tans and a mix of neutrals. I'm hoping to fill the space with a lot of (fake) candles - it is super windy here, especially on a third-floor patio! - a few throw blankets for chillier nights, and cozy pillows to pile up on. Something about the combinations of linens and woods with twinkling lights is just incredibly relaxing to me.

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July Bucket List!

HOW is it July already?! Time moves faster every single day I swear. At least that means I'm busy and having fun! July is my busiest month, year after year. Travel plans, friends visiting, festivals and street fairs, barbecues and trips to the beach...it makes me want to take a nap just thinking about it! June was a whirlwind, but I managed to still accomplish everything on last month's bucket list!

Now that it is the peak of summer, I'm ready for more time outside and even more socializing!

I am still really loving these monthly bucket lists because they push me to think creatively and try new things around the city - plus I'm too competitive, even with myself, to not check everything off the list! I'm planning on compiling all of my favorite finds and activities into one big bucket list for people living in or visiting Chicago at the end of each season. 

Does anyone have any great ideas that should be added to this month's list?? 

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Summer Wedding Guest Dresses & Shoes (7 Under $160!)

It's officially begun...the slightly dreaded but exciting years in your 20s where it seems as if every single weekend of the year entails another wedding. These events are a blast and it's always amazing to share them with friends...but the cost of attending most definitely add up. One thing that shouldn't be a major source of stress is the outfits! 

After spending more time than ever before searching for a rehearsal dinner + wedding dress for the wedding last weekend, I decided this was definitely something that needed to be made more simple. 

Spare yourself the hours of hunting that I endured and check out some of these picks below to find just what you're looking for (without breaking the bank!) I tried to aim for classic dresses that you could wear again and again, especially ones that can be dressed up or down for events beyond weddings. 

And of course, no outfit is complete without the right accessories. Here are some of my top picks for comfortable wedges that will go with anything and keep you comfortable all night long (even on that late-night food run on the way home!)

*PS - I lean on wedges (no pun intended) for events like this because they tend to be more comfortable when it comes to multiple-hour events, but if you have your heart set on a pump or regular heel, comment below or email me and I'll happily send you over my top picks!

Happy shopping! 

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The Post-Grad’s Guide to Moving to Chicago!

One of the best parts about moving to Chicago was having a large swarm of my friends from college move here too - it’s definitely a huge draw for Miami graduates (and people from Louisville, too!) Now that summer is officially here, a fresh batch of graduates are making their way to the Windy City, and the texts and emails have been pouring in from old friends and acquaintances asking for any advice they can get their hands on!

I was fortunate enough to have a ton of expert wisdom from my older brothers and some close friends from years before me, so it was really satisfying to be able to pass it along now that I’ve been here a full year (still can’t grasp that fact…working on it!) Not that I consider myself the be-all end-all expert of all things Chicago, but I’d like to think I’ve picked up a thing or two by now!

Instead of continually answering the same questions, I thought it might be easier and hopefully helpful to more of you lucky soon-to-be Chicagoans to share some of these FAQ’s and insider tips! (Some of these are also definitely not Chicago-exclusive, so if you’re moving to another city, still skim the list!)

Where to Live
Looking for housing in any new city is always incredibly stressful, especially when you don’t have someone to guide you. Obviously this all varies based on budget, where you work, what type of amenities you are looking for, and what areas you find most appealing...but in general (particularly for post-grads) the go-to areas in Chicago are: Wrigleyville, Lakeview, Lincoln Park, and sometimes Gold Coast (but this can get pricey fast). Another thing to pay attention to is proximity to the train...it makes a huge difference and you can see the train stops on Google Maps!

You'd be surprised how many great places you can find on Craigslist - my first two apartments have been found that way - just make sure you always use caution, verify that it's legit, and never freely hand over personal information. Check out this helpful article on how to spot the scammers! To broaden the search, I also recommend Zillow and Domu.

Getting Familiar with Public Transit
The transit system and street grid in Chicago (in my opinion) is incredibly easy to learn. All you need is googlemaps to find anything, and I still use it to this day, even to places I’ve been plenty of times. The first thing you should (almost definitely) do is get an unlimited Ventra Pass. You can buy these at any train station (also known as the “El” for elevated train, and yes it took me several months to learn where the nickname came from). Unless you are using a car, walking or biking to work, the unlimited pass is by far the best option for you and the best value. You pay $100 for the entire month (many companies do tend to offer a discount or pre-tax option for this, so be sure to ask!) and you can use it an unlimited amount of times on every single bus and train. You can set it to auto-refill, and never have to think twice about doing anything but swiping and going!

One you have the ventra pass that suits your needs, download an app called “Transit Stop”. It’s free, and you can look up when the next bus or train is arriving at any point in time at any location. It tells you any that are arriving within 30 minutes, helping you plan your trip with less time waiting around, or to just ease the anxiety of standing and wondering how much longer.

*Google Maps will also always tell you which buses and trains to take to get somewhere by hitting the public transit option when mapping your route

Re-establishing your "Go-To's"
One of the most time-consuming parts of moving somewhere new is replacing all of your go-to spots you're familiar with. Doctor's offices, a gym, dentist, favorite restaurants, tailor, groceries...the list can get pretty overwhelming. My first tip is to do your research. Yelp is a great place to go for honest reviews, and I've been using it more and more as my needs increase. So far Yelp has led me to my eye doctor, GP doctor, tailor, and gym in a matter of minutes!

Finding A Gym: The key thing here is location. Don't pick somewhere that takes a while to get to, or you'll never want to go. The prices vary, but be prepared to pay more now that you're in a city. Some of the favorites in Chicago include Lakeshore Fitness, Fitness Formula Clubs, Lakeview/Lincoln Park/Webster Athletic Clubs (one for each neighborhood), DePaul Rec Center...take a tour and find one that works for you!

*Fitness Hint - you can almost always get around a "join fee" by playing hard ball and simply repeating that you can't join if the join fee is there because it is out of your budget. They earn commission, and they aren't going to let you walk out the door that easy!

Restaurant Favorites: This is a nearly impossible thing to provide hints on because you can rarely go wrong in this city. Here is a comprehensive guide of the best brunch spots in Chicago! Other favorites include Andy's Thai Kitchen, Kirkwood, Mercadito, Quartino, Mia Francesca, Stella Barra, Taco Joint...the list goes on and on. Taste your way through the city and find your favorites, or email me/comment below for suggestions!

There are obviously an endless amount of questions and things to figure out that I could never possibly answer all in one post (plus half of the fun is figuring it out along the way!) but I love to hear from you, so don’t hesitate to shoot me an email email me about anything and everything!

Welcome to City Life!

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Glass Half Full

One of my biggest (if not the biggest) flaws is definitely the tendency to get caught up in the negative. Everyone does it, it's a natural reaction to everything going on around us - but it's something I've been hyper-aware of in myself the last few years and recently I've really been trying to re-dedicate myself to working around that.

The amount of times a day that I've been catching myself thinking something negative now and forcing myself to flip it around is honestly crazy. It's not like I'm a complete downer to be around, but I definitely have my days where I realize "oh my gosh, I just complained about seven different things!" I certainly wouldn't want to be around that person.

That being said, sometimes you really are just having one of those days, and that's perfectly okay. The tricky part for me is knowing when I should vent, and when I should just change my attitude. Here are some of my favorite ways to turn one of those really frustrating, need-to-complain days into something more positive!

*Full disclosure: sometimes I may even feel fake or a little ridiculous when I try these things...but they always work. I feel better (even if I don't fully believe what I'm saying), my energy has increased, productivity goes up, and my conversations with friends leave me feeling better instead of worse.

Find the Silver Lining
This might seem obvious at first, but it has truly been the most effective strategy for me when I catch myself stuck in a negativity spiral. Even the most horrible situations have a silver lining...it might be meager, and it might be as simple as "it still could have been worse", but I promise you it is there. Identifying the silver lining and focusing on that is the best way to start re-wiring your thinking. 

Find a Solution
Spend the same amount of energy that you would to complain on actually finding a solution to the problem. While I realize that not every single situation is "solvable", at the very least you can use your energy and time to set a plan for moving forward. Sometimes our most common complaints are things that are incredibly easy to fix, and we are just saying them out loud for the sake of speaking...i.e. "I'm hungry" (but then making zero effort to remedy the situation).

Get Perspective
Everything in life has an infinite number of perspectives, and you are the one choosing which one you want to look through. Yes, you might be suffering through something small or something very big, but the perspective you need to take is that it always passes. In time, whatever you're facing won't feel nearly as bad as what you're experiencing right now. Cling to that perspective and focus on the future.

Walk Away
Sometimes all you need in order to change your attitude is a little break. When I get caught in a rut of repeating complaints or voicing negative thoughts just to make conversation, I find a funny or uplifting Youtube video (this one and this one are great places to start), spend five minutes reading my book, take a walk, or listen to some upbeat music. Clear your head, shake the thoughts out and start fresh. You got this!

Enjoy the weekend and keep up the good vibes!

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Wedding Weekend + The Perfect Summer Wedding Dress

I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July with family, friends, food and fireworks! Mine was absolutely perfect - relaxing, low-key, and some quality time spent with my favorite person. We had a wedding in the suburbs of Pittsburgh and it was the best possible weather - and a beautiful venue! 

Saturday was all about the wedding. It was on a farm with a gorgeous Gazebo, a huge barn, an outdoor bar and fun outdoor games like corn-hole (or bags, depending on where you're from!) The inside of the barn was like something straight out of Pinterest, complete with twinkling lights, custom mason jars, beautiful flowers and lanterns to give it a rustic and cozy vibe. It was a blast getting to meet Dalton's friends and neighbors, and I even got him to (almost, kinda, sorta) dance briefly!

There was a lot of thought that went into finding the right dresses and outfits for the various events throughout the weekend (rehearsal dinner, wedding, cocktail hours, 4th of July, etc...) so definitely don't miss my post on Wedding Guest Dresses under $150 later this week (will link it back later!) I unfortunately didn't get to capture all of the outfits this weekend, but am planning on re-taking pictures soon to get the rest!

 Dress | Shoes Necklace (very similar!) | Necklace (Similar #2) | Bracelet (Similar)

*For reference, I am wearing a size medium in the dress and it fit perfectly! No falling down or pulling on it all night long whatsoever. The difference in the medium and large was dramatic, particularly in the chest area so be careful! (They do have free returns, however - so you can always do what I did and test out both!*

The shoes were prefect for an all-day event like a wedding, and definitely the most comfortable pair of wedges I own. My feet felt great all night long (and bonus points that they aren't super tall, keeping me at a "manageable" 6'0"...ha!)

 Necklace (very similar!) | Necklace (Similar #2)

The seersucker material was just the right touch for an outdoor wedding (even if I did make Dalton and I look like a package of cotton candy...guess I should have asked him what color groomsmen were wearing!) I loved that I could get a solid color dress while still having that preppy seersucker look...kept it from feeling too young and still summery!

Capping the night off with a sparkler send-off was a perfect touch, especially since it was a holiday-weekend wedding! It really is the simple details that make the night, and further proved that you don't need to break the bank for a Kardashian-level soiree to have a magical and meaningful night.

Sunday was full of activities, from kayaking around the lake to trying my hand at some golf (hint: still not good, and also reportedly allergic to tall grass...my face blew up like a balloon the rest of the night!) Exploring the area was so much fun, and I can't wait to go back in the fall for more adventuring.

How was your 4th of July weekend? Anyone else have fun summer weddings coming up?? I've been looking forward to this one for so long, and now my calendar feels a little empty! I sense a vacation plan coming up...send out your suggestions!

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