Sunday, June 23, 2013

Finally, Summertime & Awesome Giveaway!

Happy Summer everyone! 

I have to admit I was a little surprised Friday, to open Yahoo and find out that it was the first day of summer. Not that I'm not completely and totally enthused. I use almost any excuse to turn an ordinary day into a celebration, but my days have been plenty sunny, bright, AND HOT since school got out in May. 

But the announcement of summer's official start  served as a little restart in my brain. It's almost a signal to appreciate the fun things that happen in summer like barbeques, beach days, ice cream, Victoria's Secret swim suit sale  (best time of the year!) and tan lines. I am plenty busy this summer with two summer classes, grad school studying, a job and an internship that sometimes I forget to just slow down and enjoy the little things like the wonderful summer sun. So here's to summer! 

Some of my current, favorite summer items: 

Hello, Summer

Another amazing thing about summer is the freedom to cook whenever and try new recipes.

With that said, one of my favorite bloggers Whitney of Sometimes, Always, Never, is giving away a brand new Calphalon Convection Oven that retails at $199! These ovens are amazing because they preheat within minutes, are so easy to use and (most importantly) are big enough to cook a full cookie sheet!

From now until next Friday, June 28th, for every $5 you donate to her Africa campaign, you'll be entered in a raffle to win! The money also goes to an awesome cause because it helps send her to Africa!

There are a few more ways to enter like mentioning @wbiber when you tweet a link to the giveaway and posting a link on Facebook! 

It's super simple, so click on this link to enter and visit Whitney's blog :) 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Intern Outfit

This is my first summer with an internship! 

Throughout the school year I have been taught how to interview, how to prioritize, how to give presentations to clients and a whole long list of things that lead to success at an internship. The just of all this information, is basically to work your absolute hardest and make great impressions in the company. 

However to me, the key to making a great impression, starts with a stand-out great outfit! 

With that, I have had so much fun putting together the perfect intern outfits this summer. It's been strange going into a store and staying away from impulse swim suits or crop top buys and sticking to office friendly attire instead. Lucky for me, my internship is pretty lenient on what is appropriate and it's allowed me to have had so much fun playing around with patterns, jewelry, skirts and flats

Let me know what you think of the first outfit I wore to the office (my beautiful sister and live-in dress up doll Sarah is modeling *thanks again sis*) 


Monday, June 10, 2013

The Ultimate Friendship Bracelet

Lily and Laura

I used to envy those girls with the one and only, can't live without, been together since diaper, no questions asked, future maid-of-honor, type of best friend. Some of you may know exactly what I'm talking about because you have that friend yourself, and can name her instantly If that's true then that's so awesome and truly special. But since growing up my family moved around every two years up, that role had usually been filled by the time I came around. Although I always had many close friends, sometimes I felt that my relationships weren't as special as the others because of some idyllic picture I had of two best friend babies with bottles, probably goo goo-ing over who knows what because babies can't even talk. 

Summer after 7th grade all that changed. 

I met who is now, my best friend and more. Although we didn't know each other straight outta the womb, I could not be more lucky to have a talk on the phone for six straight hours, teach you how to do laundry, discuss One Tree Hill, bike ridin', late night walkin', partner in crime type of best friend! More importantly then all of that, my best friend and I are unconditionally there for one another.

Summer '11 Leah and me repping our colleges!
Step by step tutorial here!

Although her family moved away summer after Sophomore year of high school to Texas, Leah remains a sense of sanity for me. Periodic phone calls, Skype sessions and letters are common, but last winter break I got to fly and visit her at her Texas A&M Campus. 

When we're together we usually try and get something matching (typical BFF move) and this time we bought Lily and Laura bracelets

These bracelets are amazing, not only because they come in any color imaginable and act as the perfect accessory to any outfit. They also make the best gifts because the money made from these bracelets go to improve the quality of life for woman in Nepal who make them.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Happy Weekend!

Happy Saturday everyone!

Today is my sister's grad party which means finding a fun put together outfit to wear, that won't leave me dying after a couple Volleyball rounds. I realized quick that my dress options weren't going to cut it, so I decided to mix and match an outfit of stripes and lace for the occasion!

Take a look here:

Graduation Party Style

Let me know what you think! What are your weekend plans? 



Friday, June 7, 2013

Hot Summer Reads

Every since I can remember, creating a summer reading list has been among my favorite traditions.

As a kid I tended go a little overboard and even start collecting titles mid-January. While the longest list most of my friends kept were for the big red guy in December, I saved my excitement for when I would have an three-whole long summer months to read whatever I wanted.

Ever since stumbling on a sight called,  compiling a list that has the perfect mixture of pool side chic lit and Austen satisfying descriptions has been made much, much easier.

Good Reads is amazing because it's basically exactly like Facebook, but for books. Each book has its' own profile where you can add it to your already read ("friend"), To-read ("like") of any other bookshelf category you want to create. For book-crazed fans it's like Facebook Stalking, taken to the greatest and best possible level.

Take a look at a few of my to-read books for this summer!

Title: The Group
Author: Mary McCarthy

I've been told it's like Sex and the City, just set in the 1930's! Follows the lives of a clique of friends who went to Vassar College who have to transition into the working world in New York City. Yes, yes & yes! 

Title: One True Thing
Author: Anna Quindlen

I had to get this book for the sole reason that Anna Quindlen is one of my favorite essayists. She has a quote that I have on a sticky note in my room, that says, "The one thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself." This book is based on a mother-daughter relationship. The daughter puts her career on hold in order to care for her mother who was diagnosed with cancer. It reveals that the notions she held about her parents as a child, weren't what they seemed. 

Title: A Total Waste of Makeup
Author: Kim Gruenenfelder

Definitely classified as a pool-read. Charlie has a pretty great life in Los Angeles with an awesome house, job and friends. One thing that isn't so awesome is that she's 30, single and the maid of honor at her younger sister's wedding. Looks like a fun and quick, laugh-out-loud read! 

Title: No Angel
Author: Penny Vincenzi

For those who love tackling a thick novel, this is the book for you! British Housekeeping wrote, "an absorbing page-turner, packed wtih believable characters and satisfyingly extreme villians, eccentrics, and manipulators." 

Title: Where We Belong
Author: Emily Giffin

After falling in love with Giffin's 2008 novel, Love The One You're With I have tried to stay current with her newest books. This one was released last summer and while I haven't gotten the chance to read it yet it's going to be a pool bag necessity!  

Title: A Wrinkle in Time
Author: Madeline L'Engle

Throwback! Who didn't read this as a kid? If you haven't revisited some of your childhood favorites in a while I highly recommend it. Each summer my list has at least one or two, last summer it was The BFG and this summer I decided to travel through the tesseract with Meg, Charles Wallace and Calvin O'Keefe! 

What are some of your picks for summer must-reads? 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Perfect Present

Today is my sweet, beautiful younger sister's 18th birthday! 

Forever Matching! 

Since we live in a small town and store options are limited, birthday purchases are usually done online. However, this year I opted for a nontraditional approach.
  Presenting the perfect DIY Birthday Present! 
Next year my sister will start college, which means hello new dorm room and redecorating! I'm sure Sarah's room will have a gorgeous colors, textures and organization, but to start her off I thought I would make a little wall decor displaying her Redbird pride! 

Here's how it's done

1. You need:
Square Canvas,
 Acryllic Paint (in school colors)
 State Print Out
Paper Plate for Paint
Not Pictured: Paint Brushes (don't forget these!)

2. Carefully cut out the print out of your state and slowly trace it on the center of your canvas

2. Paint outside the traced lines your first color, wait for that to dry and apply a second coat.
Then, paint inside the traced state your second colorwait for that to dry and apply a second coat. 

3. After all the paint has dried, draw free hand a heart over your college town. Then, paint inside the heart your first color.

Happy Birthday Sarah!


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Oh The Places You'll Go!

This summer I've had the privilege of assisting with freshman registration at the University of Illinois. I look forward to going into work each day and meeting the bright and eager students anxious to register for the first semester of what make up their college experience at Illinois. While each student takes extreme care in planning their schedule so that they satisfy general education and departmental requirements, some fun questions are bound to come up simply because they have only just begun. 

Should I take Dance or Ice Skating? I got 14 credit hours, so I'm all set? And how about I just don't schedule class on Fridays? Are all some of the wonderful questions I have been asked. As I answer their question a sharp nostalgia brings me back to when I was in their exact shoes. And while it's perfectly fine to sign up for dance, have 14 credit hours, and no classes on Fridays as a first semester freshman, there are some alterations that might make life a whole lot easier a little bit down the line. 

With that - whether you are an incoming freshman or a rising junior like me, here is some advice I have found to be extremely useful throughout my college path.

1. Set Goals. 
So you don't exactly know what you want to study and definitely don't know what you want to do for the rest of your life. Doesn't really matter. One of the best things about college is the freedom it gives you to explore each and every interest you may have. With that, it does not mean blindly putting yourself into courses and experiences without having expectations for yourself. It's so important to set goals, no matter how small they are. Even if you don't have a distinct direction, everyone should know what type of student, club member, or leader they want to be. 

2. Get Involved. 
One of my biggest regrets from freshman year was not "owning" my freshman experience. In high school things are so different because the number of clubs offered and your class size are both tangible concepts. It's easy to see where you fit in, in the bigger picture. At college things aren't exactly like that, and your picture is multiplied by like a thousand. While that is definitely not a bad thing - it can make picking a club a little daunting. Still, do your research on what you want to be involved in and then join. One of the biggest reward is being apart of something and watching it grow. 

3. Look ahead. 
Now, this isn't to say look so far ahead that you become overwhelmed and aren't enjoying the present. However, there is a common misconception that college takes place in an alternate universe that isn't directly connected to the "real world." As fun and exhilarating as that idea may be, it's just not true. While college is an absolute blast, a time to explore and a time to be selfish. It's also a time to learn, develop and a time to create yourself platform. If done correctly, this platform can position yourself to truly take on the world and achieve your goals. 



Sunday, June 2, 2013

"The More The Merrier" - Essie

Weekends are the perfect time to bust out the polish and go on a nail painting frenzy. During the week it can be hard to find time to dress up my nails. It's either paint before work and have clothing induced smudges or paint before bed and wake up with cover imprints. Not fun. That's why weekends are my favorite time time to sit out on the porch, relax and leisurely paint away! Lucky for me, I just opened four new Essie colors from my aunt and this weekend I tried them all! Results?  Pretty fab if I do say so myself, but take a look for yourself :)

Color: "Full Steam Ahead" 
Brand: Essie
 Color: "The Girls Are Out"
Brand: Essie
 Color: "Rock the Boat"
Brand: Essie
Color: "The More the Merrier"
Brand: Essie

 All the beautiful summer colors together!