Saturday, February 28, 2015

Ten Things to Pack for Spring Break

One week from today I will be on a plane heading south to the sunshine state for some baseball and the beach. Spring break cannot come soon enough because I am so tired of seeing wool sweaters and snow. Technically I have enough time to pack next week, but I know that if I don't start planning now then I will end up with some random items taking up valuable space and leaving behind some essential item (last year it was my Yankees hat). Plus, I am beyond thrilled to have an excuse to go through my spring clothes! I haven't laid out any outfits yet, but there are a few things that I know are crucial to pack after 4 straight Florida spring break trips.

{get everything here}
One: Cute, Lightweight top
This can be used for day or night, but the key is that it is lightweight. If you're going to a game, like me, opt for cotton because at least it will dry if you sweat a bit (which you will).

Two: Neutral Flats
I love wearing my jacks when the weather is nicer. However, a cute pair of flats is perfect for going to and from the airport. They can also be a nice change of footwear for a chilly evening or just to take a break from sandals.

Three: Hat
Another one that doesn't need much of an explanation. I showed a baseball hat because they're easier to pack in a suitcase than a sunhat. 

Four: Sundresses
I don't think this needs an explanation. Bring a few of these because they take up no space and are perfect for any occasion because you can dress them up or down.

Five: Makeup with SPF
I always wear makeup with SPF because my face is pretty sensitive, but it is especially important to protect your face if you are going to be in the sun all day.

Six: Bathing Suit
Don't be one of those people who goes to the beach, forgetting the one essential item.

Seven: Statement Earrings
It is hot in Florida, at least it is hotter than Virginia. I usually opt for fun earrings over a fun necklace because I don't want anything sitting on my neck that doesn't have to be there. Plus, bracelets and necklaces have been responsible for their fair share of unfortunate tan or burn lines.

Eight: Sandals
Get a pedicure (or give yourself one) and throw on those sandals that have been sitting in the back of your closet all winter. Is anyone else beyond excited for sandal season?

Nine: Sunglasses
Don't get crows feet from squinting your eyes. The sun will reflect off the sand and water so it will be even harsher than usual.

Ten: Cute Sweatshirt
The Florida evenings are much chillier than the days. I always bring a cute sweater or sweatshirt when I go out to dinner because the breeze really gets to you. It is really nice to be able to sit outside for meals in Florida, but, especially by the water, it is chilly enough to want a sweater and jeans.


Friday, February 27, 2015

The Friday Five: White and Gold

Guys, the dress is definitely white and gold. Actually, this little debate that is blowing up the internet is pretty funny and there finally seems to be an explanation for the science behind seeing the different colors. Quite frankly, when I turn down the brightness on my laptop I can see the dress as blue and black. Regardless, it was pretty funny to hear what everyone thought last night!


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

How To: Styling an Oversized Men's Button-Down

I have a confession: my favorite shirts are men's shirts. Not just any men's shirts though, preferably ones that are a size or two larger than I am. It's an unspoken rule in college that wearing a large shirt over norts is 100% socially acceptable, but sometimes I want to be that comfortable in my cute clothes. My solution to this is wearing men's button-downs. I have a couple of my brothers old ones, both dress shirts and flannels, and constantly wish I had more. The flannels are saved for winter finals or cozy winter nights because there really isn't a way for me to make them super cute, but I love styling the dress shirt hand-me-downs. There are so many different ways to style these shirts and everyone has a different preference. Some people can get away with wearing them without a belt, however since that is my slimmest part of my body, I really prefer to still keep some emphasis on it.
There are plenty of women's stores out there that sell buttondowns for prices that probably exceed what you want to spend on a comfy, casual outfit. TJ Maxx or other discount stores (including thrift stores) will have just as good of a selection in their men's section. If you want the fit to be oversized, you may as well go to the source where that fit is guaranteed.


The Perfect Shirt: Piko Tops

One of my friends had a Piko shirt last year and I remember thinking it was cute, but I never realized they would become as popular as they are now. Seriously, I feel like all of my friends are wearing them now, and with good reason. These shirts are so cute and so comfortable. 
I got my first one in the mail the other day and I just wanted to wear it and never take it off. The lavender color I ordered is perfect for Spring and I can't wait to add more of these to my collection! For those of you not familiar with the brand, they're a bamboo shirt which is why they are so soft. While I ordered a springy color, there are tons of options and they can definitely be worn year-round. The length is great to throw on over a pair of leggings or white jeans as the year goes on. Now, if you've seen this brand in boutiques near you, you may notice that the shirts are almost $30 and the tunics can be as pricy as $35, but if you go to, you can get them for $20-21! If the shirt doesn't sell itself enough already, the price definitely should. They have all different sleeve lengths and cuts depending on your preference. I really love the long-sleeve, rounded neck that I have, but you can't go wrong with any of the styles or colors. 
Personally, I am really excited about this shirt for Spring Break because Florida is an absolute sauna compared to Virginia this time of year, but at night it definitely cools off and I prefer a more covering top. I am thinking of styling it with some cute wedges and fun jewelry. It would also be a great shirt for the plane ride because it is cute and comfy, the perfect outfit to cope with any layover.
shirt // necklace // jeans // clutch // shoes //find everything here

I can't wait to style the shirt throughout the spring. Do any of y'all have one of these? Which one should I get next?


Friday, February 20, 2015

Friday Five: Ready for Spring

Guys, it's an important day! Do you know why? Baseball is back! Yes, today the Yankees pitchers and catchers report marking the official start of Spring Training and my countdown to seeing a few games over Spring Break. I am so incredibly ready for that trip to Florida. I mean, mentally I am ready...physically, I could use a few extra weeks of crunches before I go anywhere in a bikini.
Today's plans for me include a little spring cleaning and dinner and a movie...alone. I swear it's not pathetic and I am actually really excited about it. I am going to watch one of the Oscar nominated movies since I haven't seen any of them. If it's not on Netflix, I don't watch it these days.

Kate Spade made the cutest, printable voting slip for the Academy Awards.

Caitlin made a great list of some cute, affordable Spring items to get out of this weather funk.

This Sur La Table marble slab is so pretty and would be so helpful to have in my kitchen with all the baking I do.

I ordered this J. Crew Factory top already because I loved the print when J. Crew had it last year.

These mug cakes actually look delicious and I am seriously considering trying one out tonight.

Have a great weekend and stay warm!


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Pretending It Isn't Cold Outside

It. Is. So. Cold.
I mean seriously, I thought I lived in Virginia not New England! That being said, I would rather be down here where it is cold, but at least I don't have to dig myself out of snow every day. Yesterday I spent some time planning my Spring Break outfits and looking at all the looks from Fashion Week and I am so ready for warmer weather. The reality though, is that I am going to be dealing with this weather for a while longer, so I am coming up with a list of ways to "beat the cold." I could list all the ways to stay warm, but I am hoping you have already figured that out, so these are ways to try to get around the cold weather funk.

One: Leggings under Tights
I used to do the double tights thing, but that was pretty uncomfortable when they rub together. Instead I am wearing a pair of workout leggings under my tights to protect me a bit more from the cold. You can wear whatever leggings you want, but I would recommend avoiding cotton or ones with stitching patterns you will see through the tights. Seriously though, I am so happy to just not be wearing pants today that this was a total mood-changer.

Two: Hot Beverages
Hot chocolate calories don't count when you shiver as much as I am right now. Don't leave the house without a warm cup in your hands, it'll keep your hands warm and you get to feel warm inside while you sip your cocoa/tea/coffee. Having a wine night with your girls? Why not do a spiked cider or coffee? I mean, my apartment is so drafty that I really don't want to drink a glass of chilled anything.

Three: Spring Cleaning
Clean out your wardrobe from everything you haven't worn all winter. Plus, this will make room for all the pretty things you'll be adding to your closet! Then, you can sell the stuff and buy new clothes for spring with that money...or just buy spring clothes regardless of the money you make because now you have space for them!

Four: Flowers
There are so many pretty flowers in season this time of year. I mean, it may not feel like they're in season, but trust me, they are. I got some beautiful hydrangea at Trader Joe's yesterday and they had a beautiful display of tulips, too!

Five: Check Another City's Weather
This seemed like a good idea...until I checked Anchorage, Alaska's weather and it is warmer than Charlottesville, VA! Blacksburg is colder, so you can check there...unless you live there (sorry friends and brothers).

Stay Warm and just remember SPRING IS COMING


Friday, February 13, 2015

Friday Five: Missing Motivation

Okay, I don't normally struggle with motivating myself this much on a Friday because it is still a weekday, but today I am still lounging around my apartment, doing nothing. In all seriousness, I have a lot to do today, but motivation seems to have escaped me. The most important thing I have to do is get ready to have everyone over for our Galentine's Day celebration tonight! I realized that it is the perfect excuse to break out my glitter wine glasses, which have been sitting in a box since we moved in. Maggie and I have quite the collection of cups and glasses between us so I just never unpacked them.
If you want to make your own glasses, here's a tutorial. I love them because people can remember which glass is theirs by which color glitter they have!

Shopping for some new white jeans this spring? Check out Carly's post.

Lauren Conrad saying her favorite position is CEO is still one of my favorite interview moments every and this article has several other equally great, sassy quotes from celebrities.

I need this coffee cup...especially today.

New York Fashion Week is going on right now and Kate Spade debuted their fall collection today.


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Celebrating Galentine's Day

February 14th is Valentine's Day...or if you're single, it's Saturday. Actually, it is still Valentine's Day and there is no reason to be bitter about it. No one said Valentine's Day had to be about romantic love. So instead of sitting around, hating the weekend, some of my friends and I are going to do "Galentine's Day" on Friday. Now, some of you are probably like "OH MY GOSH, Parks and Rec!" and that is totally the correct reaction to have. However, I have never seen Parks and Rec, but my friends mentioned it, and we decided to turn it into a wine night instead of a brunch. Whatever, or whenever (Saturday is good, too), you decide to have Galentine's Day, here are some tips to making it fun and successful.

One: Food
There are no guys around to see you eat a dozen cookies, an order of french toast, or an entire pizza. You can do classy appetizers like baked brie, or you can just throw some Easy Cheese on the table and go with it.*

Two: Music
Spotify has plenty of Valentine's Playlists for whatever mood you're in. You may want to avoid the Barry White, Marvin Gaye one and focus on something a little less sexual. That being said, you don't need to blare Miranda and Taylor and hate men the whole time.

Three: It's About Your Friends
This is Galentine's Day, not Hate Men Day. I mean, you can talk about boys, but don't have a bonfire to get rid of everything your exes gave you, like the one on Friends.** Hang out, talk about boys, talk about clothes, and basically have a normal night...but with a fun title.

Four: Movies
If you want to watch a movie, I recommend "He's Just Not That Into You" or "Bridesmaids." Really, almost any rom-com will do, just avoid "Love Story" or "Titanic," the first one because it's gonna make everyone cry, the second because it is way too long for a girls night!

Five: Wine
Okay, this doesn't have to be a factor, but wine nights are always fun and that is definitely what my friends and I are going to be drinking. You can even make it BYOW and then try each other's bottles of wine and see which ones you like. Or, you can all accept that you're in college, buy some Franzia, and call it a day.***

Six: Laugh
Enjoy the night! Who said that Valentine's Day meant you have to hole yourself up inside and hide from the love all around? Treat it like a Friday and Saturday night because, honestly, it's just the weekend to most college students. #SingleAndReadyToMingle


*I do not actually recommend using Easy it even cheese?
**see below

***Trader Joe's has cheap wine, don't buy Franzia

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

All Black Everything: Styling a Monochromatic Outifit

"Women think of all colors except the absence of color. I have said that black says it all."
-Coco Chanel

I have always loved a little black dress, and my black ponte pants from J. Crew are my favorite thing to wear in the winter, but recently I have discovered a new love for the color black. I used to tell myself to only wear one black article of clothing, at the risk of looking like I am on my way to a funeral or just really drab. But, after seeing everyone wearing black, and totally rocking it, I decided that it really isn't only associated with those things. Black makes you look chic, slim, and sophisticated. Monochromatic outfits can sometimes look like a bit much, but with a neutral, it can make even the simplest outfit look amazing. I'm probably not going to start wearing all black, all the time, but I am definitely entertaining the idea of some more black on black outfits.

One: Mix Textures
A great example of this is wearing leather pants and a cotton top, like my outfit today. If you mix the two, the black doesn't look flat since they have different finishes. If you have a black faux fur vest, that would also look great!

Two: Accessorize
I'm sure you saw this one coming, but you can think of a black outfit as a backdrop for an awesome necklace. If you don't want to do something loud, a subtle gold necklace can be pretty, too. You don't have to wear a "statement necklace" to actually make a statement.

Three: Bright Accents
Red lipstick, a patterned shoe, colorful nails, etc. You can always add a little color to the outfit without taking away from the monochromatic theme.

Four: Mix and Match
This is not the most helpful tip, but try on the black items in your wardrobe and see which ones work best together. If you do this now, you will be able to grab them out of your closet in a rush any time you're running behind or don't want to put too much effort into an outfit.

Five: Keep it simple
Honestly, this outfit can be as simple or styled as you want it to be. Just because you're throwing on a black top, flats, and black jeans, doesn't mean you look sloppy. Just make sure everything is clean, not wrinkled and you don't have last night's makeup under your eyes.




Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Friday Five

My new favorite part of weekend mornings is starting the day with a "progressive breakfast" with Logan. She and I are both early risers on the weekend and it is such a great chance to catch up with her. We start off with a trip to Bodo's for a bagel and after we finish that, we meander over to Shenandoah Joe's for a coffee and chat. With college winding down, I am really starting to value the little things and experiences I have here, knowing that there is limited time left. Also, I picked up my cap and gown yesterday so I am feeling extra sentimental.

Are you participating in a February challenge or Spring Break diet? Here are some really good tips to change your habits.

I know that restaurant food can be unhealthy, but this is crazy!

Hockey fights are significant to the sport and this is a great article by an enforcer on an NHL team.

I love effortless chic style and this article that tells you the 8 pieces you need in your closet to achieve it.

Evidently D.W. was the sassiest little sister ever and I definitely said stuff like this to my brothers sometimes...oops!


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Winter Fruits: Deseeding a Pomegranate

Does anyone else get super excited when they see their favorite fruit at the grocery store for a good price? I am a sucker for fresh fruit in smoothies, for snacks, or to freeze in an attempt to curb my love for ice cream. With Spring Break right around the corner, I am trying to get some semblance of a bikini body ready to hit the Florida beaches. One of my favorite winter fruits is the pomegranate. I always forget that it is actually a winter fruit since I just associate fruit with summer days, but when I walked into Kroger the other day and saw them for $0.99 a fruit, I knew I needed to scoop a couple up.
No, I am not eating a ton of pomegranate seeds all at once, but I did freeze the seeds from several of them for snacking later, and I actually ended up liking the taste of the frozen seeds. I know you're probably thinking that getting the seeds out of a pomegranate is time-consuming and that stores sell the seeds already out of the fruit, but trust me, it's worth it. I read online that you can get roughly 4 ounces of seeds from one fruit, and when I went to Trader Joe's on Sunday, I saw seeds on sale for $5! Guys, it's a no-brainer, just take a little time while you watch Netflix to deseed a pomegranate.
There are a bunch of resources out there that tell you how to deseed a pomegranate, but after totally failing at the 10 second wooden spoon tutorial, I decided to stick with a more traditional method that I can easily do while watching an episode of Friends. Here is the tutorial I used.
After you finish deseeding the fruit, lay the seeds flat on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze for a couple of hours. Don't put them right into a freezer bag because they will all freeze together if you do that! Once they're frozen on the sheet, transfer them to an airtight freezer bag* and enjoy them over the next couple of months!


Monday, February 2, 2015

A Frugal Four Weeks

Do you know why this February is such a great month? It's not because there is more discount chocolate on February 15th than any other time of the year, though that does make February a pretty great month in my book. February being 28 days means that it is the perfect length for a 1 month challenge. 4 weeks, that is all it takes to make a change in your habits and your life. Not only is February the perfect length for one of these challenges, but this year it started on a Sunday, so it is 4 perfect weeks. I realize that this little detail is not going to excite most people, but I found it really exciting. Personally, I am going to embark on a spending freeze for the month.
BYOC: Bring Your Own Coffee
There are some rules for mine, though, because I recognize that saying I am going to spend $0 for 28 days will result in starving myself and getting evicted...

What I Can Spend Money On
Rent and Utilities
School Supplies
Personal Hygiene (i.e. Shampoo)
$10/Week for Beverages

What I Cannot Spend Money On
Items I Want, but Don't Need
Eating Out
Extra Grocery Items (i.e. macarons)

Okay, so there are quite a few items in the "Can Spend" column, but they are there for a reason. I don't purchase those things every day, and I will be more aware of the money I do spend in those categories. The "$10 for Beverages" covers coffee meetings or getting a drink at a bar with my friends because I still highly value those experiences with friends, however, I am withdrawing the money from the bank today and I will be using only the $40 cash I withdraw on these expenses.

Has anyone else ever done a spending freeze before? How did it go? What is your February goal going to be?