An Open Letter to High School Graduates

May 29, 2015

It's hard to believe I graduated high school just a year ago. It seems my life has transformed completely within such a short time span. 

"Bittersweet" is a world you'll hear thrown around a lot during these weeks surrounding graduation.
Many things may feel like they are coming to an end all at once: the end of high school, the end of living at home, the end of seeing your friends, and - for many of you - the end of life as you know it. I challenge you to stop focusing on these endings and goodbyes. Whether you're taking a gap year, getting a job, or as many of you are, going off to college, the future is a great unknown. And while you might be caught up in the excitement of graduation (the parties, proms, and caps and gowns), I also know that you are probably a little nervous. Scared, even. 
Change can be frightening. It is disruptive, mysterious and often uncomfortable. But as I have learned in the one year between where I am today and when I standing in your shoes, change is always worth it. What if you get to college and hate it? What if it end up being the best four years of your life? What if your post-graduation plans fall through? What if they don't? No matter if the outcome of change is good or bad, there is a reason for everything (even those things that don't go as planned)!
It is time to stop the worrying. I was, and still am, a worrier. But in my times of uncertainty and when I have pits in my stomach, I turn to the proverb: Worrying does not change the outcome. 

A sea of unknowns before you, the best thing you can be doing in this awkward limbo stage is focus on the positive. How can you advance your future before it begins? What can you do to get pumped about what's to come?

By the end of senior year, I was a conflicted individual. I had succeeded in high school and was preparing to attend my dream-college in the fall, but I failed with some of my friendships. I was sick and tired of my high school, and frankly everyone in it, the epitome of teen angst.

I write this now after an amazing year, a transformed person. I have grown in maturity, faith and confidence. I have succeeded both academically and in my relationships. This is not to say I don't hit bumps in the road. But isn't that what life is about?

I leave you with this: graduation marks more beginnings than endings. So dive in head first and prepare for the ride of your life.

New Lilly Agendas

May 26, 2015

The Lilly Pulitzer agendas for 2015-2016 have arrived! I am a huge planner person. For the past 4 years, I've used Lilly agendas to keep track of my busy life and school work.  However, within the past couple of weeks, I have been looking into some other, more advanced planners, such as the Day Designer and the Emily Ley Simplified Planner. I love that these two agendas offer a daily view, since I often run out of room for individual days in my Lilly, which is set up in a weekly format.

However, after seeing the designs for the 2015-2016 Lilly planners, I may reconsider my plans (ha) to switch planners. I'm particularly excited about the release of the covered spiral version. My pet peeve in regards to my Lilly agendas was when the metal spirals would bend and contort, making the pages difficult to turn (and it just looked ugly). However, with a cover on the spiral, this becomes a nonissue! Bonus: the designs on the covered agendas are ridiculously cute.

You can preorder them now (they're sure to sell out quickly) on Lilly's website!
My personal favorite! In LOVE with this pattern.

Memorial Day Sales

May 20, 2015

There are a ridiculous amount of sales going on now through this weekend in honor of Memorial Day. I have no idea where to turn-- the steals and deals are abundant. I should've known this was bound to happen just two days after I swore I would start saving more money. Welp. That's down the drain.

But I'd rather be broke and fashionable than have money I can't spend and nothing to wear!! That's logical right?!?

Here come the sales. Brace yourself (and tell your credit cards to do the same)!

  1. Kate Spade Surprise Sale. I already blogged about some of my favorites from this sale here. Hurry up on this one as it is not really a Memorial Day sale. Ends May 21st.
  2. Kendra Scott. There are so many beautiful pieces on sale. It is actually overwhelming. Iridescent Danielle and Skylar earrings are my pick. Some up to 70% off.
  3. Nordstrom Half Yearly Sale. This one is insane, y'all. I scored this gorgeous hot pink tassle necklace for under $9!! There are also lots of gorgeous handbags on sale, including the Kate Spade Scalloped Tote, which is now under $200!
  4. Jack Rogers Memorial Day Sale. It's the perfect time to stock up on a summer necessity! Many styles under $90!!

Bachelorette Recap: Episode 2

The two-night Bachelorette premiere continued last night as the chosen Bachelorette was announced and men were sent home in the season's first Rose Ceremony. Warning: spoilers below!

And the Bachelorette is....


As I said in my last recap, I am totally #teamKaitlyn so this announcement spurred a sigh of relief for me. She is so cutely excited when she gets the news from Chris Harrison

The 5 Stages Of Finding Out You're the Bachelorette



I would like to thank not only God, but Jesus.

And Chris Harrison.

Britt, on the other hand, a notorious dramatic, has never handled rejection well. She reacts initially with pure shock, then hysterics. Bless her heart.

The 6 Stages Of Finding Out You're Not the Bachelorette

Excuse me, what? I'm not the bachelorette?

I don't think you don't understand. My dad is gonna sue.

Well this puts a damper on my plans for world domination.

Chris Harrison: Bye Felicia!

What's so great about Caesar!? Brutus is just as cute! 
We should totally just stab Caesar!
When the men find out Kaitlyn won the vote, their reactions are mixed. Many of them voted for Britt and are unsure of the appropriate reaction. Jared decides to lay it on the line and be completely upfront that he voted for Britt. Of this, Kaitlyn is appreciative and says she would be upset if he hadn't told her. Uh oh, she has a lot of other men to be upset with...

Kaitlyn awards the coveted "First Impression Rose" to Shawn, the man who put a dagger in Britt's heart after exiting the limo and professing his love for: Kaitlyn.  Maybe this is Kaitlyn's way of rubbing salt in Britt's wound? Fair enough.

Then comes the Rose Ceremony. Many of the men who voted for Kaitlyn comment how unfair it is that those who voted for Britt are getting roses while others, who were there for Kaitlyn only are being sent home. I'm wondering if ABC started to realize this too. Their idea of 2 bachelorettes may not have been their brightest yet...

We say auf wiedersehen to four men. Well, five, if you count Brady, who interupts the Rose Ceremony to confess to Kaitlyn that he only has eyes for Britt. He then discusses his love connection with Chris Harrison asking if he can go see Britt. Cameras cut to a sobbing Britt in her hotel room and Chris Harrison says "yeah, I think we can make that happen." Looks like Princess Britt is getting a happy ending after all. Nice save, ABC.

Sent home are Bradley, David, Shawn E. (aka hot tub guy), and Josh (aka stripper). I'm sorry, what? Does this mean that she kept Tony? Also known as guy that talks to plants? Also known as admittedly anti-social? Also known as guy who lists his job description as healer? Yeah, not cute.

Nice going producers, you always gotta keep viewers annoyed AF at the end of every episode. Thanks a lot.

Kate Spade Surprise Sale

May 19, 2015

Have you seen some of the amazing deals going on right now as part of the semi-annual Kate Spade Surprise Sale? Bags are mostly 50% off or more, with accessories and jewelry mostly under $30. Everything is such a steal-- it's the perfect excuse to splurge. Here are some of the items on sale that I'm loving!

Bachelorette Recap: Episode 1

Who tuned into the ~most dramatic season premiere of The Bachelorette~ in Bachelor history? HA. Just kidding, it wasn't all that exciting. But I'm sure Chris Harrison would beg to differ.

The men. Where to begin? I'll start by saying I really wasn't all that impressed with this season's selection of men. Sure there are a few standouts, but the overall attractiveness of the group pales in comparison to past seasons. But that's just me being ridiculously shallow.
Kaitlyn, right, stuns in a sparkling navy gown.

Britt and Kaitlyn wait outside the mansion as the limos pull up, and Kaitlyn is much more anxious than Britt, who at least was able to fake a sense of composure. (It's okay, Kaitlyn's dress was much prettier than Britt's so that made up for her nervous energy!)

Some of the men make it extremely obvious that they were only on the show for one of the two women. This is potential for some serious awkwardness when the newly engaged Bachelorette sits on the living room couch watching the premiere, only to hear an on-screen public admission that her fiancĂ© was on the show for another woman! Oops!

That said, of the men, some definitely stand out as front runners in my mind. Ian, who ran track for Princeton, was hit by a car and had to stop running until he could rehabilitate. He is on #teamKaitlyn, and when he gets out of the limo and introduces himself, her whole disposition changes and her nerves begin to calm. Another favorite of mine is Ben Z., a personal trainer who lost his mom at a young age. He seems like a sweet, genuine guy and let me tell you, he is not hard on the eyes.  Jonathan from Detroit, is openly #teamBritt. He has a five year old son and seems nice enough, but then, anyone who thinks Britt is wife material has some issues in my opinion. Then comes Shawn B., who confuses viewers when he runs to Britt from the limo, picks her up and spins her around, only then to move on to Kaitlyn and profess that he is here only for her. This induces some serious jealousy from Britt, who said she experienced "love at first sight" when she saw him. Catfight potential. Later when Kaitlyn shares one-on-one time with Shawn, he gives her a drawing his adorable nephew made for her. They seem to have good chemistry, making him a potential frontrunner.

In true Bachelorette fashion. There were certainly some crazies. Josh is a law student by day, and a stripper by night. Ew, ew and ew. Trashy. Then we have, Ryan B. who greets Britt with "Hi Disney Princess." He's definitely a huge pretty boy.  There is Shawn E. (a self-professed amateur sex therapist...what?) who shows up in a hot tub car. As he's driving up to the mansion, Ryan M. (who has already been in the mansion long enough to become extremely intoxicated) pops out of the shrubs screaming "You suck!" at hot tub man. This ~almost~ leads to a fist fight between the two men, but soon enough, drunk Ryan M. is escorted out by security and Chris Harrison sends him home before he can do any further damage. However, the biggest crazy has to be Tony, a "healer" and yoga freak who describes himself as antisocial, talks to plants, and greets the two Bachelorettes with the same speech, verbatim.  Of course Britt likes him though. Because you'd have to be INSANE to think Tony is anything but weird...

At the end of the episode, the men all vote for which woman - Britt or Kaitlyn - they want as their Bachelorette, and of course, just when you think it will be revealed, this scrolls across the screen.

More to come tonight on ABC at 8|7 central! (Synopsis to follow on the blog!)

Bachelorette Premiere Recap Coming Soon!!

May 18, 2015

I have always been a huge fan of the Bachelor/Bachelorette series. Yes, I understand how contrived and somewhat gross the whole concept is, but I am not ashamed to say I find it entertaining. (My grandmother watches it too and it's always fun and hilarious to call her and recap episodes with her on Tuesdays!)

For the past few years, I have loved reading bloggers' recaps of episodes and finding out if they think Kristin H. (or Ashley M. or Caitlin B. or Julia S.) is as big of a *bleep* as I think she is. (I always count on @PrincessProbs on Twitter to keep it real with her live tweets!) 

I've decided that I'm going to speak my mind on the blog this season! I'll be talking frontrunners, fashion and OH NO (S)HE DIDN'T! moments.  So tune in after the premiere (it airs at 9|8 central on ABC) to find out what I thought of the episode! Warning, spoilers will be present.

Who are you rooting for as Bachelorette? Britt or Kaitlyn? (I'm #teamkaitlyn all the way!)

Rekindling My Tumblr Lovefest

May 16, 2015

I was obsessed with Tumblr in high school. As a matter of fact, this blog was born on the Tumblr platform in 2011. It started out as a fashion page called "The Gorgeous Things." As time went on, my tastes evolved, I changed the name to Blessed Brunette, became a "preppy" Tumblr page, and eventually switched over to the Blogger platform to allow for original content and the ability to write more, continuing to keep running my Tumblr on the side whenever I had the chance.

As of late, I've picked back up with my obsession, updating my Tumblr regularly and I've rediscovered why I loved it so much to begin with. Personally, my Tumblr is like an endless inspiration board that never gets old since its always being updated. You'll look at it and instantly figure out my favorite things on earth: peonies, anything pink, stripes, dogs, dessert and Michael Scott.

You probably already know that I am Pinterest's #1 fan (my 16,500 and counting pins are proof of how much of my existence is dedicated to it), but there's something kind of awesome about the disorder of Tumblr. Your page can reflect your mood or whats inspiring you in that moment, and that's something Pinterest just wasn't designed for.

So check out my Tumblr if you're feeling it, and if you don't have one, sign up! Your inner-procrastinator will thank you!

Shoot me a message on Tumblr and I'll check out your page!)

Spring OOTD

May 15, 2015

The weather today was absolutely beautiful and the perfect excuse to break out my Lilly Pulitzer Elsa top (which conveniently matched the sky)!

Outfit Details: Top (similar) | Bracelet | Nail Polish | Shorts | Sandals

What I Had Wrong About College

May 13, 2015

My friend Betsy (The Sweet and Chic Prep) recently blogged about her freshman year and the 15 facts/fictions she learned through her experience. In her post, she mentioned that no matter how many blogs you read in preparation for college, you truly have to learn how college will fit into your life based on your own experiences-- you will never be fully prepared simply because you read an article on Her Campus or have a Pinterest board chock-full of advice.

This could not be more true, and I'll use that as a disclaimer going into this post. What I am going to share is personal and based off of my own experiences in college. My advice may not be 100% relevant to you, but I share it in hopes that you can feel slightly less intimidated if you're preparing to start college in the fall.  To read more about my freshman year experience, check out my reflection.

Without further adieu, I give you

The summer before my freshman year, I thought I knew what college was going to be like. I had scoured the web, read tons of blogs and was certain I had a pretty good understanding of what to expect. But I was wrong about a lot (and that's okay because college ended up awesome anyway)!

I'm always going to be busy!
False. I had a decent amount of free time freshman year. When I wasn't doing homework, I used this to catch up on Netflix, do some crafting and ~occasionally~ tidy up my room. This free time is precious so use it wisely!

Me and my roommate will be besties (we have so much in common)!
Whether you get to pick your roommate or not (mine was assigned randomly), there is NO guarantee that you will be friends. Before you start sulking in the corner, hear me out. It is best to go into it with the priority of cohabitation- not friendship. It is most important that you and your roommate live and coexist well than that you're BFFs. In some cases, you might end up making good friends with your roommate but focus on respect and consideration, primarily. I thought based on Facebook likes that my roommate and I had tons in common, but it turned out we couldn't be more different.

It's super easy to skip class!
I go to a school with small class sizes (nothing bigger than 30 students), but even in my largest classes, professors take attendance daily. Usually this attendance counts towards your grade so I've found that its really not worth it to skip class. If you have problems with morning classes, I recommend trying to schedule some later morning classes so you don't run the risk of oversleeping. Even if attendance is not a big deal at your school, I would try to minimize skipping classes unless you have a really good excuse-- your GPA will thank you.

My papers are going to triple in length from what I wrote in high school.
If anything, my college papers have actually gotten (believe it or not!) shorter and a lot more reasonable than high school papers. Professors are busy people and (minus a few exceptions) they are not extraordinarily demanding people. They assign relatively fair work and many are willing to allow you extensions on assignments if you ask.  Build relationships with your professors-- not only will you then have a built in mentor, but someone to write you recommendation letters for on-campus positions as well as jobs and internships!

If I don't get in X sorority, my life is over.
I am living proof that this is completely false. I went into sorority rush clueless and confused as to what I wanted. After completing the entire recruitment process, I found a sorority I loved and listed it as my top choice on Preference Night. Long story short, I got a bid- but not from the sorority I wanted. I tried it out for a few weeks but ultimately decided not to be initiated. This sorority was not the right fit and I am happy with my decision not to continue with something I knew in my heart was not for me. Though my school is very dominated by the Greek culture, I am still happy as a GDI ("God damn independent," HA!). With many friends in a variety of sororities, I get to meet tons of people and attend functions with many different Greek organizations. I am considering rushing again next Spring, but we'll see how next year plays out. 

It's scary easy to gain the "freshman 15."
This is wrong. To gain 15 lbs in nine months takes a serious change in your eating habits. While there is certainly access to junk food at college, there are just as many healthy options. If anything, I changed by health habits for the better. I got into a routine at the gym and changed my meal plan to eating several small meals over the course of the day.

I am going to be so homesick.
I hadn't spent much time away from my family and being nine hours away from home made me certain that I'd get really homesick. However with FaceTime and phone calls, I made it through until breaks when I would get to see my family. I found that if I was happy and having fun at school, I didn't get all that homesick.

Orientation is going to be a blast!
Despite the various events that make orientation seem like its going to be a great time, the truth is that it will be awkward and boring, but you will do it because everyone has to. Orientation is the acclimation period where you learn your way around campus, listen in on rules and safety seminars, an engage in awkward ice breakers with other nervous freshmen.  It may not be the time of your life but this awkward hump has to happen at some point, so don't set your expectations of orientation too high- just be yourself and meet as many people as you can!

No rules? I'm gonna go crazy!
After coming from a strict all-girls Catholic high school and being brought up by relatively strict parents, the idea of "no rules" seemed so strange to me. I wondered if I would rebel against everything I'd been taught and go wild. This did not happen. The truth is, you'll probably end up behaving the way you're used to because its comfortable. That's not to say college won't be any different-- there are crazy parties and lots of drunk people. Frat boys were not always frat boys-- the truth is most people in college continue to uphold their morals (at least in some sense) and you will continue to obey (at least some of) the rules you were raised on because they are part of who you are.

Summer starting in May is going to be the best thing that ever happened to me.
While it is certainly nice to be back in my own bed with no looming homework assignments hanging over my head, I already miss college. My best friends are not living within minutes of me anymore and the life I got used to has ended abruptly. While I don't miss shower shoes, dining hall food or computer science, I will miss college so much this summer and am already excited about going back in August!

A Blessed Brunette Birthday!

May 11, 2015

Birthday tulips from my mom!
Nineteen years old! Where did the time go? (Thankfully) the last year my mom can refer to me as a "teeny bopper." Last year my birthday was on Mother's Day but this year my mom and I each got our own special days (not that I really cared about sharing)! I was spoiled with a massage in the morning and a fun dinner with my family at night.

I woke up to see a beautiful butterfly perched on my windowsill. Being that I rarely see butterflies, let alone such a big and beautiful one, I think its safe to say my grandmother (who passed away last month) wanted to send me a birthday present of her own!

Today reminded me why I love the phrase "treat everyone like its their birthday!" I was truly showered with love by my family and friends and if I didn't realize it before, today showed me how many people care about me and gave me so many reasons to be thankful for the blessings in my life.

It was so fun to have people I haven't spoken to in forever come out of the woodwork, sending me texts and Facebook messages-- who knew birthdays were such a great opportunity to reconnect with old friends?!

As if all this wasn't enough, I was treated with chocolate peanut butter cheesecake (my absolute favorite flavor!) for dessert!

Good day? Great day.

Celebrating with my sister
(who is now taller than me...what!?)

Summer Nail Colors

May 9, 2015

Almost anyone I know could tell you I wear hot pink nail polish year-round. I always tell myself that I am going to try other colors but can never seem to surrender the bright pinks. However, I am thinking as the summer rolls around, this could be my season to try out some other fun colors (all brights of course)!

Here are a few shades by Essie that I am currently eyeing. I love Essie polish and I have found that it lasts very long (with their trusty top-coat of course)!

  • Fiji
  • Peach Daiquiri
  • Brides to Be
  • Butler Please
  • Bikini So Teeny
  • Fiesta (had to stick my fave hot pink on the list somewhere!!)

What are your nail polish go-to's?

Freshman Year: A Reflection

May 4, 2015

I am finding it so hard to believe that my freshman year of college is coming to a close. Time truly flew by this year and while I'm excited to be finished with work for a while, I can truly say I'll be sad to leave this place for the summer.

I came into college as a nervous freshman, clueless as to how college would be and having never spent more than two weeks away from my family. What I did know, however, was exactly how I planned on decorating my room (my dorm Pinterest board was born long before I knew where I was going to school).

With a car jam-packed with pink and green pillows and Lilly Pulitzer storage bins, my whole family headed south last August to move me in. I remember feeling nauseous as we pulled onto campus, begging my parents to turn the car around (but I am so glad they didn't).

I had been assigned to the "worst" of the freshman dorms - and it was no hotel - but it turned out having the best community and residents!

The transition wasn't seamless but it definitely could've been worse. In the first semester, I made friends with the girls on my hall but we didn't become close until the end of the semester. Now, I don't know what I would do without them and I can honestly say that I've never had a better group of friends in my life.

Shower shoes were a necessity and there was mold. I got pneumonia  (thanks to my ancient dorm) but didn't die. Actually I got sick a lot, and learned the value of taking Vitamin C as many times a day as possible.

Sorority rush didn't go as planned but it wasn't the end of the world. Everything happens for a reason and I'm already starting to realize the plans God had for me despite the fact I entered college way too eager to become a "sorority girl."

Parties were fun (every so often) but cuddling with friends and watching movies proved to be just as enjoyable.  Cookout was always there to validate late-night milkshake cravings.

I missed my dogs a lot, but Puppies on the Quad, an event held multiple times a semester, had me covered.

Classes were difficult. Homework was taxing. I passed some tests, and failed some others, but still ended up on the Dean's List. I learned to accept failure and avoid panicking even when it seems like a class is ruining your life (pro tip: it's not).

my beautiful hallmates!
I can't say college was everything I expected it to be, but I can say that I wouldn't trade my freshman year for anything else. I can't wait to see what the next three years have in store!