The Friday Five

July 31, 2015

After praying for some sunshine all summer, I can confirm that we did get sunshine this week. Lots and lots of sunshine. While I did try to spend some time outside (I spent last weekend in Vermont visiting my siblings at sleepaway camp), the air conditioning has certainly been a friend this week! Here's what I've found noteworthy this week

ONE All the Heart Eyes Emojis for Emoji Stickers
Amazon just gets me. I was browsing the "Suggested for You" section and discovered these. They are stickers of the 300 most popular emojis. Now, I've been doing a lot better about avoiding impulse buys so my brain told me "no, absolutely not." But my heart said yes. And they say you should follow your heart, right? I was a little worried I wouldn't know how to use them, but then I realized they are perfect for decorating your agenda! You can bet I've already appropriately placed the holiday stickers on their respective dates!

TWO Vermont Isn't All Log Cabins and Maple Syrup
My family has been staying at the same hotel in Vermont for years and each time we return, it feels so comfortable. The Equinox is one of the nicest hotels I've had the privilege of staying in and its not even your typical vacation destination. It is definitely fun to enjoy a President's Weekend ski trip but there is something so relaxing about Vermont in the summer. As an added bonus, Manchester (where the Equinox is located) is home to amazing outlets (including Kate Spade and J. Crew Factory) and the most delicious breakfast place on earth.

THREE The Final Rose
I don't think it was much of a surprise to anyone that Kaitlyn chose Sean on Monday's Bachelorette finale episode. I mean, she posted a snapchat story of him in her bed two months ago and it was all over the internet within hours. The proposal was cute but nothing all that exciting. If you remember, I attempted to post episode recaps on the blog and failed miserably. Something about this season just didn't do it for me, and while I watched most episode, I struggled to find anything worth sharing on the blog. While I don't judge Kaitlyn for her controversial overnight, for the sake of relatability, I am hoping next season they'll pick a classier Bachelorette...

FOUR What Do I Have in Common with This Baby Elephant?
We both really really really dislike birds. And as if I needed any more reasons to love elephants, here is the most ridiculously adorable baby elephant chasing away a flock of birds. Birds freak me out too. He's my hero.

FIVE Treehouses > Video Games

This video released by Nature Valley (yes, the granola bar company) really hit home for me. It showcases the generational differences in what we do with our free time. It really made me realize . I think it is time that we make a change in this culture consumed by technology and make sure we are not letting it take away from experiencing a genuine life. This video shines a light on how important it is to unplug from technology every once in a while and try to enjoy nature like people have done for so many years before the rise of handheld devices and cell phone addiction.

The Ultimate College Grocery List

July 29, 2015

I am so excited that I was able to downgrade my meal plan for this upcoming semester and as a result, I'll be able to cook/eat more of my own food and stop dreading re-eating the same meals every night at the dining hall (which we refer to as "the pit" at my school). Even if you do have a large meal plan, it is smart to purchase some food for your room- you'll get sick of cafeteria food quickly. Before your parents finish moving you into college and leave with their wallets in tow, make sure you drag them to the grocery store to stock up on some necessities that will last you for weeks. Here are some of the items I lived off of last year. All items are available at Target (otherwise known as a college student's Mecca).

This is the longest list, by far. I essentially live off of snacks in college. It may not be the healthiest/most balanced way to eat but when you're always on the go and your classes always seem to fall during traditional mealtimes, snacks just come in clutch.

Lazy Meals
These items satisfy late-night hunger, or those times when you're too swamped to grab dinner at the dining hall (or simply don't feeling like moving out of your bed...haha sad but sometimes true).
Not much explanation is needed for this one.

Coffee is a necessity but for me, its not the only one. I'm always sure to stay hydrated by keeping these drinks around.

Fresh Foods
It is important to make sure you're getting some nutrients and "real food" even if it may be a little expensive on a college student budget.

Here is a printable list to take with you to the store! Feel free to add and subtract to fit your tastes!

The Friday Five

July 24, 2015

Inspired my some of my favorite bloggers including Carly of The College Prepster and my friend Betsy of The Sweet and Chic Prep, I give you a new series (hoping I'll hold myself accountable to it!): The Friday Five. I'll basically share 5 things I found interesting/funny/cute/cool/inspiring throughout the week. Pretty self-explanatory but hopefully it'll give you some insight into my life!
Without further adieu, this week's Friday Five!

ONE Guac is Extra (DUH.)
This 23-year-old man who ate Chipotle all day, every day for 155 days. And he looks like this! He also claims that his cholesterol levels went down as a result. Over the course of the 155 days, he spent over $250 on guacamole alone.

TWO This Ain't My Mama's Broken Heart
I was so saddened to hear about Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert splitting up. As a country fan, they've always been one of my favorite power couples and it seemed like nothing could get in between them. Its a true example of the notion that media portrayal
and reality can be entirely different things. Wishing the best for both of them as they get through this hard time.

Credit: Betsy Mann

THREE Evelyn Henson Campus Rep
Mom, I'm famous!! I am so excited to be one of Evelyn Henson's Campus Reps for the 2015-2016 school year. Check out my bio on her website and stay tuned for exclusive discount codes throughout the year! This weekend only, get 20% off all prints with code JULYSPARKLE25!

FOUR Kate Spade Yoga Pants
Just when you thought Kate Spade couldn't get any more perfect, they just announced a H U G E  expansion! They're adding to their fleet a line of yoga pants, sleep/loungewear, bridal items, kitchen accessories and (best of all!!) a partnership with Magnolia Bakery! As a huge fan of everything Kate Spade has done in the past. I can't wait to see what's in store.

FIVE Lazy Girl Recipes
As a college student with limited cooking resources, I am all about simple and easy recipes. I have a resolution to cook more of my own meals this year in college and I'm pretty sure this Buzzfeed list of recipes for lazy girls will make it that much easier to stick with my plan.

What's been up for you this week?

10 Things You'll Wish You Brought With You to College

July 17, 2015

If you're anything like I was the summer before my freshman year of college, you've pinned hundreds of "Ultimate College Checklists" and you may think you have packed everything you'll ever need. Once I arrived at school and unpacked everything in my dorm, I found that there were several things I purchased that I would not need, but even more surprisingly, there were a lot of things I wished I had packed which I would later purchase or have my family send to me over the course of my first semester.  So much for being prepared. Here are some of the items I couldn't have survived without first semester that may not be on your mind as you begin to pack for school.

  1. Fabric Steamer. This was a lifesaver. The thought of bringing a clunky ironing board into a small space was not appealing. However, with the limited drawer and closet space you'll likely have, your clothes are bound to get wrinkled and you'll want a solution. I have the Conair Extreme Steam Steamer which is small, heats up quickly, is easy to use and removes wrinkles like a charm. It truly is a must-have and even if you're not an ironer before college, you will find that wrinkles seem to happen a lot more often when your entire wardrobe is confined to the storage in your dorm. So get a steamer. You won't regret it at all.
  2. Bluetooth Speaker. You may be used to streaming music from your computer and that's perfectly fine, however something about having music playing out of a speaker just makes your dorm room cozier and so homey. I loved using my Lilly Pulitzer bluetooth speaker to create a nice calming ambiance in my room or to rock out to Christmas music with my friends (we started listening to our holiday playlists in late October, whoops)...
  3. Baby Picture. This one is a little on the sentimental side. I framed a cute baby picture of me and my siblings and placed it on my desk. Not only was it nice to have whenever I got a little homesick (which was not too often), but it was fun to have on display so my college friends could have a little peek into my childhood (other than #TBTs on Instagram).
  4. Extra Long iPhone Charger. My roommate had a 10 foot iPhone cord which at first seemed somewhat excessive but it wasn't before long that I found myself ordering the same one from Amazon. Due to the limited outlet locations in our dorm, if I wanted to use my phone from my bed, I needed a cord that would stretch long enough to reach me.  
  5. Multiple (!) Surge Protectors. Speaking of a lack of outlets, what if there was a way you could multiply one outlet by 6 or more? Meet the surge protector, your new BFF. You and your roommate will be sharing a couple of outlets and, odds are, you each have many devices that
    need plugging in. Once you factor in your phone, computer, etc., add in a microwave, refrigerator, maybe a TV? Yeah, those plugs get filled up pretty quick. My recommendation is to bring at least 2 surge protectors and you'll be able to charge everything comfortably. I had this "flexible" surge protector along with a normal one and they worked out great all year.
  6. Slippers. I never wore slippers before college. They may seem juvenile (or senile- my grandmother has quite the slipper collection), but I wore slippers all the time in my dorm. The floors can be very cold and sometimes dusty and slippers are the perfect way to keep your toes toasty and clean! They're also great for making runs back and forth to the laundry room. Trust me, nobody will judge you. Especially if you pick up a cute pair like these.
  7. Candle (shh, don't tell the RA). Disclaimer: most schools do not allow candles in the dorm rooms as they are a fire hazard. However, I decided bit of a rebel when I found the most deliciously scented coffee candle from Paper Source. Being the coffee lover I am, I couldn't
    pass it up. The candle was a great way to make my room cozier (and isn't that the ultimate challenge when you're living in a  room with linoleum floors??). I didn't always light the candle-- the scent was still pretty fragrant regardless of whether or not it was lit. I also had friends that purchased candle warmers and melts from Yankee Candle and those were amazing too. They basically melt the candle without using an open flame  and while they were still technically against the rules at my school, they were a little less risky. Always be sure to keep it hidden when not in use to avoid fines. 
  8. Jewelry Organization. Many people bring organizers for clothing and shoes to school but people often neglect their jewelry. If you're like me and have lots of long necklaces and earrings, things can get lost and tangled easily unless they're organized. I recommend purchasing an earring "tree" or at least some acrylic organization drawers for your jewelry to keep things neat and easy to find. 
  9. Baking Sheet. Whether you're a Martha Stewart protégé or your cooking skills don't extend far past preparing toast, there will probably be at least one time you want to make chocolate chip
    cookies at school. Most dorms have at least a shared kitchen for the building and if you're lucky you may have one just for your floor. However, what these kitchens often lack is baking tools. You may be able to share with other people, but if you really want to be prepared for whenever that cookie craving hits, I recommend bringing along a baking sheet-- they hardly take up any space and your sweet tooth will thank you.
  10. Childhood or Hometown Memento. The baby picture may have you covered sentimentally, but you never know when you might feel a little nostalgic. I was surprised when I found out that most of my friends had something from home- anywhere from a favorite teddy bear or piece of a baby blanket (#nojudgment) to a sign with their zip code or town name on it (for the less mushy crowd). I love this option from GibbyGifts on Etsy. When you're living far away it can be really nice to have a little reminder of home around. 
That about covers it for my list of things you'll wish you brought to college! Am I missing anything? I guess I'll find out when  I return to school next month to begin my sophomore (eek!) year...

Royal Perfection

July 10, 2015

Kate Middleton is a walking representation of "goals." Watching her wedding on live TV before sunrise (while sipping a cup of English breakfast tea, of course) is one of my fondest memories. Kate's classic style, elegance, and grace make her a role model and fashion icon. I think this will be the next addition to my mug collection. Since George and Charlotte were added to the family, the Royals seem to get more and more perfect with every appearance. When I study abroad in London, I am making it my mission to catch a glimpse (I wouldn't mind bumping into Harry at a club either, ha)! Sidenote: my friend Betsy of The Sweet and Chic Prep is in London right now and promised to say hello to Kate for me...yay!

I am absolutely obsessed with the photos from Charlotte's christening that were just released. While Kate & Will never fail to impress the cameras, these pictures were just unbelievably stunning and I had to share.

Summer Bucketlist

July 9, 2015

It's hard to believe the summer is halfway over for me. Where does the time go? I feel like there are so many things I hoped to check off my summer bucketlist that I need to get working on! Here are some of the things I want to do before moving back to school.

Learn a new card game. 
Playing cards is a great way to pass time on a rainy summer day or at night with friends after a day at the beach. I love learning new card games (my all-time favorite is BS). 

Start a new routine.
Whether its getting in a new workout routine, washing your face more or getting rid of a bad habit, New Years is not the only time to make a resolution. I've gotten into a pretty regular workout routine this summer and I've found its easier to get in a routine during the summer since things are generally more relaxed than during the busy school year.

Go on a spontaneous road trip.
Since I've lived in three states across the east coast, I have friends and family everywhere! I haven't done anything too spontaneous yet (I am such a planner), but I'm hoping to jump in the car and take a road trip sometime before the summer ends!

Go to the beach as much as possible.
What is summer without a few trips to the beach? So far I've only made it to the beach once (on my vacation to Bermuda!) but that will be changing. I'm only about 45 minutes from the nearest beach so I have zero excuses not to head to the coast ASAP!

Master the art of guacamole-making.
I'm sure you're sick and tired of hearing about my avocado obsession by now but I can't help it. Guac is a summer staple. While I have yet to "master" the art of guacamole-making, I've found that adding a squirt of Sriracha and some lime takes it up a notch!! 

What's on your summer bucketlist?

On Island Time

July 7, 2015

Eeek! It's been so long since I've blogged. And while I know this is no excuse, I've been on Island Time! My grandmother treated me and my cousins to a cruise to Bermuda and blogging seems to have fallen slightly under the radar...whoops! However, if you follow me on Instagram, I did do my best to keep y'all posted (ha, no pun intended) on the happenings of my vacation.  I returned back to the homeland just in time for July 4th and those festivities have kept me super distracted. Forgive me?

Bermuda was fantastic. I have been there a few times before and each time I return I am always so in awe of its beauty. There are really very few places that compare. Bermuda is such a unique island and the beaches are so beautiful. We found a pretty secluded beach called Kings Wharf in an effort to avoid the big crowds at Horseshoe Bay and Elbow Beach (tourist traps). It paid off and the proof is in these pictures.

We also spent a day in Hamilton, the major shopping area of Bermuda, which was so much fun and a nice break from laying out in the sun (I got the worst sunburn of my life at the beach the day was always my favorite color I guess?)

We stumbled on Devil's Isle Coffee Shop and Cafe while walking around Hamilton and I can say that it is the coolest coffee place I've been to in a while. The iced coffee was pricey ($7 for an average size) but I honestly believe it was worth it. Yes I realize how crazy I sound. But this is coming from a self-proclaimed iced coffee connoisseur! Does that justify anything?  I also had the best meal of my vacation there, a kale caesar salad and an amazing ham, asiago and eggplant sandwich.

And if I still haven't convinced you to hop on the the next flight to Bermuda for a coffee shop alone, just look how awesome the decor is. Everything about the place was so charming!

The cruise itself was, well, a cruise. It was so much fun bonding with my cousins and visiting Bermuda but there were a few Titanic-esque moments on the ship (it was a rocky ride), and as cute as Leonardo DiCaprio is, I think I'll stick to flying when possible...

When in Rome?

As much as I enjoyed Bermuda, I was happy to be back in the USA for one of my favorite holidays! The 4th just isn't the 4th without celebrating on United States soil. My family and I enjoyed our annual tradition of fireworks and were lucky to avoid the rainstorm that swept the nation.

 Every 4th I am reminded of how lucky we are to live in the US. This country truly is an amazing gift from God. I hope everyone is enjoying their summers as much as me! What are your plans for the rest of the summer months?