DECEMBER FAVES

Never has a year flown by like 2015 has.  This year had its ups and downs, definitely, but it's a year I'll remember for a long time.  Without further ado--and since December 2015 is slowly ticking down--here are my monthly favorites from a not-so-white December.

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1. Fair Isle Sweaters:  I was never a big sweater person until this year rolled around (ironically, this year has been too warm to wear them yet).  Before we went to Williamsburg, my mom surprised me with a lovely gray fair isle, and the rest is history. These iconic sweaters make me think of my favorite winter icons:  J Crew, nights by a fireplace, and reindeer.  What could be better?

2. Stationery:  2015 has become the year of the stationery to me.  I've always loved writing supplies, but I never dreamed that I'd be asking for writing supplies for Christmas!  Anthropologie has quickly become my go-to shop for the whimsical journals and calligraphy-covered stationery that we all know and love.

NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS

The end of 2015 is looming, and we all know what that means:  time to start making resolutions.
Making a resolution is a great way to reflect on the past year and get ready for the new year, all at the same time.  However, it's not as rewarding if you can't think of a resolution to focus on (a situation that happens to yours truly frequently).

I've rounded up a list of some very commonplace resolutions that anyone could decide to choose and personalize to their own lifestyle, in the hopes of solving that problem.  And if this list makes you think of a very personal resolution to pursue, that's even better!

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From basic lifestyle changes to travel to spiritual and family matters, there's a resolution out there for everyone.  Now comes the harder part:  keeping the resolution...

OUTSIDE LOOKING IN

Especially around the holidays, society seems more warmhearted and kind.  Suddenly people decide to walk down the street with smiles on their faces because it's December. They open doors, they become attached to the ideas of gratitude and good will. Wouldn't it be lovely if people acted like that year-round?

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Every holiday has a common foundation:  community.  Togetherness.  That's why no one really enjoys spending Christmas by himself.  Everyone wants to be included, especially around the holidays.  That's why exclusion is such a terrible thing.

If you've ever experienced exclusion, you understand.  If you've ever felt like the odd man out, or if you've been ignored by people you know, you've been excluded.  The saddest fact of all is that you probably didn't do anything to deserve exclusion.  It just happened.  I don't elaborate on this to inspire dislike for the people you know;  I elaborate because I understand what it's like to be left out.

BEING A PREP FOR A WEEK: 12/20/15 -- 12/26/15

December 26 is always a little melancholy for me.  Christmas is my all-time favorite holiday, so acknowledging that I'll have to wait another year for it to roll around again is a little disheartening.   That being said, my Christmas was wonderful.  My mom loved the Laudree recipe book she received, and Dad can't wait to wear his new shirt.  As for me, I can't wait to hop over to Target, Old Navy, and Amazon to put a dent in some gift cards.

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Now, on to some of my favorite links from the past week:
The book that I cannot wait to purchase...
Lovely December wedding inspiration.

SECRET SANTA

My favorite day of the year has arrived, and I couldn't be happier.  Sharing Christmas with my family members, four-legged siblings, and even some Internet friends has been a blessing in itself.

I was invited to participate in a bloggers' Secret Santa--an invitation I quickly accepted. Assuming the role of Secret Santa was a blast, and opening up my own gift on Christmas morning was lovely. My Secret Santa, Abigail, was an absolute angel, and she even picked up on my love of calligraphy.  I am so grateful to her for such thoughtful gifts.

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HOLIDAY CHRISTMAS COOKIES

I don't know what your favorite part of the holiday season is, but one of mine is the baking.  In fact, I'm not sure whether I love the preparation or the actual eating more, as both are very relaxing activities that I look forward to every single year.

My mom and I have been making specialty Christmas cookies ever since I can remember, and these peppermint cookies are some of my absolute favorites.  Since they can be made from a store bought cookie dough mix, they're an extremely easy bake that yields delicious results.


BEING A PREP FOR A WEEK: 12/13/15 -- 12/19/15

And just like that, exam week was finally over!

The reason for my long absence is easily summed up:  school.  Exams, chapter tests, ACT practice tests (and even the real deal).  Thankfully winter break has arrived, which means that I am allowed to devote a huge portion of time to all things blog-related.  Look to see exciting changes around here...

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Now, on to some of my favorite links from the past week:
An Instagram account sure to make calligraphy lovers giddy
Vogue's unofficial history of the ugly Christmas sweater (featuring lovely runway views)...

WEEKEND IN PIGEON FORGE

It's not often that I get to go on extended trips during the holidays, so a weekend in Tennessee was an exciting prospect.  My mom and I got the opportunity to spend a weekend in Pigeon Forge, and we had a lovely time all by ourselves.  It's a very tourist-y city, but it has such a cheerful and bustling atmosphere--even more so during the holidays.

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While maneuvering along all of those windy mountain roads, it was hard not to notice the beautiful scenery everywhere.  If you love nature, I'd definitely suggest taking one of the scenic roads through the national park.  There are some gorgeous photo opportunities.

GIFT GUIDE: THE ANIMAL LOVER

Another week, another gift guide!  Before we dive into the world of animal gifts, I'd like to announce that I'll be embarking on a road trip of sorts this weekend (follow along on Instagram), amounting to the absence of an updates post for this week.

Updates aside, this gift guide is one of my absolute favorites.  I think there's a bit of an animal lover inside all of us--what girl doesn't at least love animal prints?  For the more passionate animal and pet lovers, it's easy to customize a gift with an animal of choice, or even with a photograph of a specific beloved animal.  It's something that they'll be bound to love almost as much as their own furry friends!

Gifts For Animal Lovers

THE ETSY GIFT GUIDE

My favorite month of the year is here, which means that my favorite holiday is only a few short weeks away.  In other words, it's time to get shopping.

If you're looking for very personal and heartwarming gifts, Etsy is a lovely place to start looking. There's something for everyone on this database of online boutiques, and prices are always wonderful.  I've rounded up my favorite Etsy shops to showcase some of their best products--products that would be perfect gifts!

1. For the Writer

Lilly Pulitzer Journal
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The Miss Petunia Mary shop specializes in beautiful custom journals that any word lover would be proud to own.  From her custom map travel journals to her charming Lilly Pulitzer printed journals and ornaments, you'll be able to find a lovely gift for anyone this holiday season.

BEING A PREP FOR A WEEK: 11/22/15 -- 11/28/15

I've never been more thankful for a three day break.

My week was pretty exciting academically because I became the first sophomore to ever be inducted into my school's math honors society (perks of having my last name). Going Black Friday shopping was just as relaxing as ever--I've found that window shopping on Google Chrome is never quite as crowded.

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Now, on to some of my favorite links from the past week:
The best Black Friday deals from Kate Spade and Anthropologie.
My ideal coffee table book:  The Dogist.

EASY CRANBERRY RELISH

Happy Thanksgiving!  To celebrate this much-needed holiday, I'm going to share one of the simplest (and most delicious) Thanksgiving recipes ever created.  It's always promptly devoured by my family, and this relish is one leftover that you won't dread eating.

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Ingredients
Food processor with a chop blade
2 medium oranges
4 cups of fresh cranberries 
2 cups of sugar
1/2 cup of pecans, halved or chopped

BEING A PREP FOR A WEEK: 11/15/15 -- 11/21/15

November's flying by, and I must admit, it's a little disconcerting.

I've been a horrible blogger lately, only because my schedule has been extremely bogged down (think "missing three days of honors classes in the span of a week" bogged down).  With holidays coming up, I'm hoping that will change.

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Now, on to some of my favorite links from the past week:
In light of the Paris tragedies, a beautiful perspective on the matter from a favorite blogger of mine.
Gorgeous calligraphy menus that would be perfect for Thanksgiving!

DOG SHOW DAYS

An annual tradition in my household is having an outing to the dog show.  We're all self-proclaimed dog lovers, so stepping inside an arena that's full of the creatures is like waltzing into paradise.  To me, the dog show is also a symbol that fall has decided to make its presence known--and that winter isn't far behind.  First and foremost, I just look forward to being surrounded by welsh corgis.

Since I knew we were going to be walking on a dirt floor in a chilly environment, I opted for a simple long-sleeve and my most durable pair of rain boots.  I should've reconsidered my split-second decision to wear black leggings (dog fur and black don't cooperate), but for the sake of comfort, it was worth it.

PHOTO EDITING TRICKS

Exposure, contrast, warmth, definition.  What do these words have in common?  They all deal with that special art that's becoming very prevalent in the age of technology: photography.

Whether you want to pursue photography as a profession, take photos for a blog or website, or just like taking pictures of things, it's important to know some basic photo editing skills because--sadly--most pictures are not perfect quality when you initially take them.  I'm no photography master, but I've picked up a few easy tips from blogging.  No matter what photo editing system you use, remember to ask yourself four quick questions as you're editing:

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Light Or Dark?
The single most important factor of photo editing is the exposure, or bright light, that you'd like to add to your photo.  Keep in mind that a bit of exposure is almost always a necessity for photos to achieve that nice, professional look.  Decide whether you want to crank it up for a sun-drenched snap or leave it lower to allow for more color contrast.

BEING A PREP FOR A WEEK: 11/1/15 -- 11/7/15

Is anyone else puzzled about how time suddenly picked up its pace and moved us to November?  I understand completely.

Over in my spectrum of the world, there was an abundance of Fiber One Bars being eaten and tests being taken, along with blog posts being written.  And, in case you didn't see on Instagram, Toby and I channeled our inner Halloween spirits.

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Now, on to some of my favorite links from the past week:
@kenthecorgi has only fueled my obsession with corgis--I'm thinking Toby needs one of these Instagram accounts...

PATAGONIA WEATHER

The weather's getting crisp, leaves are falling, boots are stomping, and jackets are being pulled out of closets.  There's always been something appealing about breaking out my jackets in the mornings and being able to see my breath in the frosty air (well, until February rolls around, and then I'm quite ready for spring to come again).

I received my first Patagonia pullover as a Christmas gift last year, and I was so happy to have jumped on the bandwagon.  Patagonias are pretty pricey, but the quality of the jackets and pullovers makes up for it. I'm almost positive that I wore my pullover at least fifty times last winter--that's saying something!

Patagonia+'Synchilla'+Snap+Tee+available+at+#Nordstrom:
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DEALING WITH FAILURE

Everyone knows that life isn't fair.  It's a fact.

One of the not-so-lovely things that makes life unfair is failure;  specifically, the form that comes when we don't have immediate success in some facet of our lives.

Not being able to accomplish something, especially something that took a chunk of time and energy, is frustrating, to say the least.  No matter how much of a downer failure is, you can't let it keep you down for long.


1. Don't Jump to Conclusions:  Our first reaction to failure is usually a mixture of sadness and anger. Don't let your mouth run away with you, and don't begin bashing yourself.  You can't let one failure define you and the others around you.

2. Don't Over-analyze:  This can make the failure swell to astronomical sizes in your head.  Thinking about what could have or should have happened won't help you at all. Even though it seems impossible, try not to dwell on the incident.

BEING A PREP FOR A WEEK: 10/18/15 -- 10/24/15

I'd usually be happy that the week is coming to an end, but this week was quite lovely.

Besides missing school on Monday to participate in a leadership conference, I had a completely normal school routine--which can be rather nice.

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Now, on to some of my favorite links from the past week:
Sneak a peek at the whimsical Gal Meets Glam X BaubleBar collaboration!
The College Prepster's review of the Gal Meets Glam collaboration (what a wonderful friendship)...

BEING A PREP FOR A WEEK: 10/11/15 -- 10/17/15

Hello, thirty degree weather!  What took you so long?

This was a very irregular week for me because I was off Monday and Tuesday, and then on Wednesday I got up bright and early to take the PSAT.  Plus, the auditions for the Alabama Allstate Show Choir were yesterday;  that was an experience that definitely deserved a pint of ice cream.


Now, on to some of my favorite links from the past week:
An Italian travel guide that divides the country into seasons (wisteria in spring sounds lovely!).
Buzzfeed's roundup of the best ways to transform chocolate chip cookies.

OUTFIT: SEARCHING FOR FALL

As much as I would love to break out my sweaters and boots, the weather in Alabama is a bit of an obstacle.  The temperatures are as high as ever, and the fashion is very chaotic. Half of the population is sporting pullovers and booties, while the other half is still clinging to Birkenstocks and shorts.  It definitely makes for an interesting sight!

Even though I can't pull out my sweaters, I've been trying to incorporate fall-esque pieces into my wardrobe, like my favorite version of the blanket scarf and a solid pair of ankle boots.  Perhaps the weather will decide to cooperate...

BEING A PREP FOR A WEEK: 10/4/15 -- 10/10/15

And cue fall break, please!

I'm currently on a long-awaited four day weekend, so I couldn't be happier.  All that free time to work on blog posts and PSAT tests and dog tricks...

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Now, on to some of my favorite links from the past week:
Reese Witherspoon's charmingly Southern clothing line (even the pencils are darling).
A quiz that Gone With The Wind fans (such as yours truly) will be mad about.

THE WORLD OF A PERFECTIONIST

There's one in every crowd, in every school, in every town, and possibly in every home.
Perfectionists are everywhere.  No matter how many advertisements that read "Embrace Imperfection" are broadcasted, perfectionists keep on looking for perfection.  I know, because I am one.

Being a perfectionist is definitely a double-edged sword.  On one hand, it usually results in a wonderful work ethic and a meticulous eye for detail.  On the other hand, this attention to detail often leads to over-scrutinizing, which usually leads to stress.  When a perfectionist spots imperfection (and it's very likely that this will happen), it's like a personal blow.

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If you've ever been upset over a test score that was three points lower than you wanted it to be, chances are that you have a bit of the perfectionist streak within you.  Do uneven lines and asymmetry bother you?  How about cluttered spaces?  If you're a blogger, does that one un-centered picture on your sidebar vex you to no end?

BEING A PREP FOR A WEEK: 9/27/15 -- 10/3/15

I have only two statements that I'd like to declare about my week:  1) it was finally chilly outside and I might actually be able to wear a scarf next week, and 2) I'm so happy that this week is nearly over.

Let's just say that in my corner of the world, this week might go down as one of the not-so-happiest in the record books.

Factory wool plaid scarf
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Now, on to some of my favorite links from the past week:
I think I might have stumbled across the perfect scarf for petite girls and long haired girls alike (if you fall into one of these categories, you understand my pain).
I love the slight v-neck on this Old Navy sweater...

THE TIMES TUMBLR MADE MY DAY (PART TWO)

As the seasons are transitioning, I've been on a huge search for inspiration and motivation everywhere. What better place to start than Tumblr, the database of pretty pictures and witty quotes?

The last Tumblr-themed post I wrote received lots of positive feedback, and writing that post was an absolute blast, so I've been eagerly waiting for the perfect time to reintroduce it.  As in the spirit of that charmingly colloquial proverb, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

1. These are the essentials for a blissfully and beautifully lazy morning.

jenniferclairer:

Perfect end to a perfect day. <3
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BEING A PREP FOR A WEEK: 9/20/15 -- 9/26/15

Where has all of the prep gone?

I want to apologize for the lack of posts these last two weeks (specifically, this series of posts).  I've been on a blogging hiatus because my life's been a bit of whirlwind.  Besides, homecoming was this past week, and that was a nightmare in itself--although my escort and I were immaculately dressed, if I may say so.

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Now, on to some of my favorite links from the past week:
This Q&A book is the perfect questionnaire for sentimentalists and thinkers alike.
While we're on the subject of books, the newest piece of reading material that I've added to my wish list is the classic Audrey memoir, How to be Lovely:  The Audrey Hepburn Way of Life.  It's chock full of facts about Audrey's life, and best of all, Audrey's most memorable and captivating quotes.

LAUREN CONRAD RUNWAY COLLECTION

Lovely.  That's the first word that comes to mind when I think of Lauren Conrad.

Unlike many other fashion designers of today, Lauren Conrad designs light, airy pieces that can easily be incorporated into an everyday wardrobe (as opposed to those frightening shoes you saw during New York Fashion Week).  Plus, her clothes are hanging on the racks of every Kohl's in the country, so shopping around and trying them on isn't a huge scavenger hunt.

How sweet is this dress from the LC Runway Collection?:
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PREP FOR A DAY'S FIRST BIRTHDAY

A year ago today, I made a spontaneous decision (which is a miracle in itself because I've never loved spontaneity).  That spontaneous decision changed my life more than I ever thought it would.

Prep For A Day has slowly evolved into one of the best aspects of my life.  Blogging has given me a new purpose.  It's given me a goal, and it's given me the courage to do some pretty amazing things.
I will admit that my preconceived notions of blogging were so adverse to the reality.  I ran into some unexpected hassles, but I'm all the better because of them.


PAGEANT MISCONCEPTIONS

One of the biggest pageantry events held annually is the Miss America pageant;  not only is it practically every pageant girl's dream to make it to that stage, but it's also a chance for the rest of the country to participate.

Being a pageant girl myself, I am definitely aware of the misconceptions that many people tend to have about pageantry and those who pursue it.  I still cringe at that Miss Teen USA onstage question debacle, but that's a rather extreme case.

The purpose of the onstage question portion of the pageant is not to express your opinion (sometimes on rather controversial topics) and be judged on it, but rather to convince your audience of why you hold firm in your beliefs.  In the same fashion, I'd like to tackle a few of the biggest pageant misconceptions--along with the realities of those situations.

1. Pageant girls have low IQs.

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If you pay close attention during the swimsuit and evening gown competitions, you'll be able to hear and see some facts about each of the contestants.  By doing so, you might have discovered that Miss Hawaii USA studied at Oxford University when she was sixteen, or that Miss America 2015 is trilingual.  The majority of pageant girls have very high GPAs (in fact, the Miss America's Outstanding Teen Pageant gives an award to the girl with the highest GPA).  I think we can all agree that the expression "intelligent pageant girl" is not an oxymoron.

BLOGGING ON A SCHEDULE

It's no secret that most bloggers live rather hectic lives.

From the professional blogger whose day is littered with meetings and events to the full-time student blogger, we're all pretty busy.  When I started blogging as a high school freshman, I wasn't accustomed to having a jam-packed schedule.  Now that I'm a sophomore, the homework level has skyrocketed, and I'm involved with several more clubs and organizations;  to put it simply, my free time has been reduced drastically.  At the same time, this blog plays a crucial role in my life, and I can't go without devoting some of my time to blog posts.  Anyone else in the same boat?

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Since I no longer have time during the week to blog, I try to spend some time during the weekend writing two to three posts for the week ahead.  That includes everything that goes along with them (the pictures, the emails, the Instagrams, etc.).

KATE SPADE FALL ARRIVALS

If I had an unlimited shopping budget for a day, I would most definitely be dropping by Kate Spade.

No other brand can nail that quintessential whimsy and charm like Kate Spade does.  I'm in love with the feminine dresses, killer shoes, and the little hints of winter that have traipsed into the newest arrivals. Confession:  I wouldn't be able to successfully wear about fifty percent of Kate Spade's items, but a girl can always dream, right?



PRETTY LITTLE DESKTOP WALLPAPERS

I am, by no means, a tech-y person.  In fact, I completely surprised myself by starting a blog and delving into HTML and coding.

I'm not very picky about my technology, either.  I just want it to meet two criteria:  a) it functions properly, and b) it looks pretty.  Seems like a rather simple combination.

A few days ago I decided to change around my computer's wallpapers (something I haven't done since April), and I fell in love with about twenty different backgrounds. Since I can only use one, I'm sharing the rest with you, in the hopes that you can give your technology a little update!

1. Design Love Fest Wallpapers


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This website has a plethora of wallpapers (watercolors and quotes included), and they're pretty hard to choose from.  My personal favorite is the "Go For It" print.  Some other beauties include this classic gold print, the light blue "Hello" print, and this stunning motivational quote print.

BEING A PREP FOR A WEEK: 8/30/15 -- 9/5/15

Hello, September (and more importantly, hello long weekend)!

My own little corner of the universe was pretty mundane this week, so I'll hop right into some of my favorite links that I've found over the past few days.

One extremely exciting part about being a blogger is being able to join blogger communities, and so I'm excited to announce that I'm a writer for the Undeniable Report!  My first post recently went live, and I cannot wait to start writing my next one. P.S.  UR's web designer gets an A plus from me!


Now, on to some of my favorite links from the past week:
How beautiful is this Parisian-themed wedding (and those gorgeous chandeliers)?
This Audrey Hepburn-inspired wedding shoot is absolutely stunning.  Plus, they have Audrey quotes plastered everywhere, and that's definitely a good thing.

WORK SMARTER, NOT HARDER

In today's society, most teenagers have a larger problem with understudying than overstudying--most, but not necessarily all.

I am one of those oddities of the teenage universe that tends to overstudy;  whether this is due to the fact that I am a huge nerd or just because education is extremely important to me, I'm not quite sure.

Although not knowing the material is going to hurt your grade, reviewing the material so much that it starts to run together is just as bad.  There's nothing worse than sitting down to take a test and having your mind become as blank as the sheet in front of you (trust me, I know from experience).

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Besides the ordinary schoolwork, there are quite a few aspects of our lives that we tend to overemphasize and worry about.  Practice does make perfect, but that doesn't mean you should practice kicking the ball until you break your toe, and if you sing a song one thousand times over, you'll be so hoarse that you won't be capable of singing in front of a live audience.

ANKLE BOOT ADDICTION

Every time fall rolls around, I start falling in love with ankle boots.

I love riding boots as much as the next blogger, but there's something about a pair of ankle boots that makes me want to buy thousands of them (or, more realistically, just one pair).

Now that school has begun and most of us are back on a budget, I tried my utmost best to find stylish but budget-friendly boots--all under seventy dollars!

BEING A PREP FOR A WEEK: 8/16/15 -- 8/22/15

I know what most of you are thinking:  another one of these posts?

My first full week of school was a tad bit more hectic than I had hoped, and that translated to less time spent with the Blogger interface.  However, now that I'm getting into the groove of things, a myriad of posts should be coming your way!

There has been much candy consumption and laughter in my end of the world;  there was also much remorse about my not-so-lovely outfits...

The new LC Lauren Conrad for Kohl's collection has arrived!
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Now, on to some of my favorite links from the past week:
I have to take school pictures next week, and so while I was hunting around for a dress, I rediscovered my love of Lauren Conrad.  Some of my favorites are this Lilly Pulitzer-esque fit and flare dressthis adorable shirt dress, and the perfect pair of scalloped flats.

BEING A PREP FOR A DAY: A DAY IN MY LIFE

You might be familiar with my weekly series "Being A Prep For A Week" in which I share highlights and tidbits from the past weeks, but I'm excited to also be able to put together an in-depth post about a typical day of my sophomore year.  I'm a self-proclaimed sucker for routine posts and videos;  plus they're typically one of the most enjoyable posts to write (and read)!


6:00 AM:  I've risen this bright and early since I was in kindergarten.  Now I can hardly sleep past this time during the summer!

6:30 AM:  After I've showered, I waltz into my closet and change into my (hopefully) pre-planned outfit for the day.

BEING A PREP FOR A WEEK: 8/9/15 -- 8/15/15

Drum roll please...I just finished my first "week" of sophomore year!  Hopefully you'll all be happy to hear that everything went much better than expected!

Some of the highlights of this first week were seeing old friends, attempting to dance choreography in show choir (that was comedy at its best), and meeting some great teachers.  I also started a very exciting online class--and found that that expression is not always an oxymoron!

Prep For A Day

Now, on to some of my favorite links from the past week:
This isn't exactly a link, but a fun fact I discovered about my wonderful history teacher is that she has the ultimate crush on Theodore Roosevelt.  So, now I know that while Teddy was preparing to give a speech, a would-be assassin shot him.  Teddy then proceeded to inform the crowd of his wound, and then he went on and delivered a ninety-minute speech with a bullet lodged in his chest!  And I thought that I'd been through some hard times!

WHENEVER I FEEL AFRAID...

Picture this:  a young girl sits at her desk, her forehead creased in concentration.  She has every ounce of her energy focused on a single piece of paper.  Her hands are fidgeting, her knee is bouncing up and down, and her breath is less steady than usual.

I just described myself as I will most likely look tomorrow morning.  Tomorrow is my first day of sophomore year, and that piece of paper in my hand is my schedule--which, I pray, is accurate.

Perhaps it's the perfectionist in me, but when I'm not precisely sure about the outcome of things, I tend to get nervous.  As you can imagine, I'm nervous quite a lot.

Prep For A Day

We're all nervous quite a lot.  We all tend to be afraid of the unknown, and a new school year is a perfect example of an unknown territory.

GOLD SWEET GOLD

I've noticed that my school supplies are following a "hints of gold" theme (or they're trying their utmost best to establish said theme).  Social media really has coerced me into becoming a fan of gold, and now I'm thinking that a gold themed dorm room would be just beautiful.  However, that vision can't become a reality for about three more years, so for now I'm dreaming about some smaller golden finds.

BEING A PREP FOR A WEEK: 8/2/15 -- 8/8/15

This is my last weekend before school starts up (cue the organ).  I've really enjoyed shopping for school supplies thus far, although it's been a bit hectic.  Plus, the school messed up my schedule, and you know how that goes...

Prep For A Day

Now, on to some of my favorite links from the past week:
I love this beautiful mint planner from Anthropologie.  Just the calligraphy takes my breath away!

QUOTES FOR A NEW SCHOOL YEAR

Since I'm a professional quote hoarder, I've started adding more prints to my gallery wall.  Surprising? Not really.  As a result, I've been spending even more time on Pinterest, and I've stumbled across some quotes that are just exquisite.

Getting back into the school groove takes motivation, whether you're a teacher or a student.  When you're moving to a new school, it's even more draining.  One million questions are probing your mind: What are the people like?  Will all of the upperclassmen hate me?  What if I can't make the sports team? The list goes on and on. Forget about those little questions, and focus on the meanings of these quotes. As they say, "We are what our thoughts have made us;  so take care about what you think."

Day 171: It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things. -Leonardo da Vinci
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"It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them.  They went out and happened to things." -- Leonardo da Vinci

"Opportunity is missed by people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." -- Thomas Edison 

HOME OF MY DREAMS

I've been frequenting Pinterest a bit too much lately, and I've noticed that one of the boards I pin to the most is my "Home Of My Dreams" board.

Six months ago, if you had asked me any questions about my idea of a dream home, I wouldn't have known what to respond.  It's not that I hadn't thought about it (my mom was a realtor and we watch HGTV religiously), but I just didn't have any idea what my style was.  Now I have a definite idea in mind, and thinking about it just makes me giddy.

If you're wondering what my home style is, just read the description of the board:  "I'll take one extra-nice Cape Cod/ Southern Plantation home, with all-white interiors, a lawn covered in ivy and hydrangeas, and a Tumblr-worthy front door.  A home with a view is preferred but not essential."  To add to that, I'd also like everything to be in corresponding colors of white, navy, and gray, and I'd love one of those driveways that's lined with trees.  I'm definitely branching out, right?

1. Oh, the rafters...

Beach living room - Lacefield Designs Casablanca Midnight ikat pillow Better Homes and Gardens #lacefielddesigns #ikat
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BEING A PREP FOR A WEEK: 7/26/15 -- 8/1/15

It's August, and I'm still wondering where June went.  Perhaps summer decided to go on a long term vacation.

My week consisted of spending entirely too much time on my computer working out blogging deals and trying (unsuccessfully) to understand angular velocity.  On the bright side, I did manage to wrap my head around radians, so it's all good and well.


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Now, on to some of my favorite links from the past week:
If you didn't hear, I was recently interviewed by the lovely Katelyn from The Yellow Spectacles.  That was pretty surreal;  I mean, who would've thought that would be getting interviewed by a fellow blogger? Not yours truly, I can assure you.
On the subject of blogging, I think I've found another of my favorite bloggers:  Julia from Gal Meets Glam. Apparently I'm the last person in the universe to discover her blog, considering her following, but I'm not that concerned.  Her travel photos are giving me a major case of wanderlust!

OUTFIT: SCALLOPED BACK (COLLAB)

Most ladies love scallops:  really, what's not to like?  They're feminine, classic, and oh-so-summery.
Even though summer is coming to a close, my friend Emma and I are still all for scallops. In fact, I think they should become the latest fall trend...

Prep For A Day

A BLOGGER'S GUIDE TO SNAPCHAT

In this latest wave of technology, Snapchat is beginning to make its presence known as yet another social media outlet for bloggers to extend beyond their websites.  Even as the app's popularity is rising, many bloggers are still hesitant to use it.  I definitely was; however, I'm thankful that I decided to take the plunge and venture into the world of Snap-blogging.  This is one of those things that's much more straightforward than it looks.


So, how does a blogger go about using Snapchat?  Here are some of the ways that I make the most out of the app:

1. Blog Post Updates:  I love using Snapchat because the ability to share pictures with others becomes so much easier on the app.  I've found that snapping photos of my newest blog posts has really increased my traffic--and best of all, it only takes about two seconds to share!

2. Self-Promotion:  The self-promoting of your blog and other social medias through Snapchat is also incredibly easy.  However, it's best to do this in moderation.  The people who've added you do not want to be spammed with every link to every social media you have, within the span of five minutes.

BEING A PREP FOR A WEEK: 7/19/15 -- 7/25/15

And then it was August.  Where does the time go, anyway?

My week was very busy;  from haircuts to orthodontist appointments to a total of sixteen hours of learning choreography (all highlighted events on my Snapchat), it was a little chaotic.  Fun, but chaotic.

Another less than enjoyable event that occurred was my nasty run-in with the corner of a cabinet in my room (don't ask).  However, because of said run-in, that cabinet is going to be transferred to another room and I'll have a perfect blank slate for a new gallery wall!  Always find a silver lining, right?

Hanging art by yourself is hard. Ask a friend to help. — NE Photo by Jamie Lauren Photography via Style Me Pretty
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Now, on to some of my favorite links from the past week:
Speaking of gallery walls, Pinterest has definitely been a lovely resource for free prints and inspiration.
Since you all know that Audrey Hepburn is my idol, you won't be surprised that I found and took this adorable quiz that reveals which Audrey character you are.  I got Funny Face Audrey, and I'm hoping Roman Holiday Audrey was a close second!

MY FANCIFUL GOALS

If you've been to a school in the past ten years, I'm nearly positive that you've made a list of your goals. Of course, if you're a Type H personality (the less stressed and aggressive version of the Type A personality) through and through, you've probably made this list about twenty times in the last three months.  One thing I've learned about myself is that I'm a dreamer;  I enjoy thinking about all of the aspirations and goals I have, and how in the world I'm going to accomplish them.

I've been realizing that not all goals are created equal--that is to say, some goals are put aside because they're deemed too small or eccentric to worry about.  Are you really going to strive for just one day in Paris when you could be thinking about a collegiate education?

However, I think it's important to embrace every single goal you have, no matter how idealistic or spontaneous they might seem, no matter how whimsical and small they might be.  You should still focus on college--but don't forget about Paris, either.


1. Be able to stroll through Rome and understand the conversations going on around me.
I love languages, and the language of Italia is one of my favorites.  When in Rome (assuming I get there)...

2. Go to a fancy dinner and have that "Eliza Doolittle" moment.
Having royalty waltz with me would also be dreamy, but the dinner party will suffice.

BEHIND THE SNAP

Instagram is a key tool that many bloggers use to promote their blog views and other social media followings.  Most of us really enjoy using Instagram, not just to post our own pictures but also to gain inspiration from other bloggers and their seemingly effortless pictures.

Instagram, like any other good thing, has a rougher side to it.  After gazing at all of those seemingly effortless pictures, envy can begin to take root inside of us.  Then we start contrasting our own photos with others', and somehow, we end up wanting to completely scratch every single picture we've ever posted.  It's a vicious cycle, and many of us fall prey to it.

However, it is essential to remember that Instagram is not a realistic representation of anyone's life.  We bloggers are especially guilty of staging unrelated things together just to create an aesthetically pleasing picture;  on the other hand, we hardly ever post pictures of that bad grade we received or the blemishes on our faces.

One of my blogger friends shared this thought-provoking quote with me:  "Do not compare your today with someone else's tomorrow."  The same can be said for this situation:  do not compare your own work with someone else's.  It'd be the equivalent of comparing macarons and hydrangeas (in my eyes, anyway).

I've dug into the deepest recesses of my Instagram snaps to share with you the reality of some of those pictures;  hopefully you'll be laughing by the time you've finished reading!

1. "Happy Halloween--XOXO, Gossip Girl"


What You See:  Look, another blogger jumping on the Gossip Girl bandwagon!

The Reality:  I took this picture about thirty times to get my face and hair just perfect.  Fun fact:  I never even dressed up for Halloween, I've never watched one episode of Gossip Girl, and that headband is from the kid's section in Target.

BEING A PREP FOR A WEEK: 7/12/15 -- 7/18/15

Half of July is already gone--is it time to start panicking yet?

The fact that I finally got my permit was cause for much panicking in my household (most of which was done by myself).  Besides overcoming that dilemma, I also went shopping at my favorite store and breakfasted at my favorite place, IHOP.  These banana pudding pancakes were a lovely pick-me-up!


Since I'm a huge Hamptons decor lover, I was thrilled to have found this house, a beautiful template for what I'd eventually love to reside in.  Everything's perfect, except for the price tag, of course!
I'll be honest with you, I've also been religiously reading all of the History In High Heels travel posts.  One of my absolute favorites features all of the lovely aspects of the French Riviera.

SWITCHING SEASONS STYLE

I cannot believe that half of July is already gone!  It's practically August, which means it's practically September, and therefore, practically fall.

This may be a terrifying thought, but what I find even more unsettling is trying to put together a fall wardrobe--without whizzing to the nearest clothing store.  Autumn can be unpredictable in the weather category, and that doesn't make clothing choices any simpler, either.

Though it's tempting to splurge on the brightest and lightest of summer pieces now, it's more proactive to start looking at some transitional items.  Cardigans and simple tees are just a sampling of the "switching seasons" style that we'll all have to adapt to:

Shirts

From your basic striped to chambray to embroidered, simple tees and tanks are lovely staples to add to a fickle wardrobe.


SUMMER READS

Summertime is usually more laid back and carefree.  This can be pleasant for a while, but it becomes tedious pretty quickly.  Since we don't want to lounge around and watch Netflix for two months, we're challenged with finding new activities to engage in.

One of the things I find myself doing practically everyday is reading.  From books to blogs, there's reading material everywhere--and it doesn't have to be for that summer reading assignment.

BEING A PREP FOR A WEEK: 7/5/15 -- 7/11/15

Here we are, in the hottest days of summer, and our pool deflates.  That was a bummer--but thankfully, that was the only real downer that occurred this week.


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Now, on to some of my favorite links from the past week:
If you didn't already know this about me, I love reading other blogs.  Not just because they're one of my main sources of inspiration and because I really enjoy reading in general, but also because I love looking at different blog designs.  When I was a beginner blogger, I had no idea about HTML code or widgets or any variation of the kind.  Now that I've had to delve into the darkest parts of the Blogger interface, I can really appreciate the time it takes to do some of those cool things on different bloggers' pages.  Anyway, I just stumbled upon Quaintrelle, and in all honesty, it's one of the most beautifully designed blogs I've ever seen--paired with exquisite writing.

THE INFERIORITY COMPLEX

Since I've been on this I Love Lucy craze, I stumbled across one of the older episodes, comically titled "The Inferiority Complex."  Essentially, the episode is about Lucy's sudden depression, which is caused by her belief that she can't do anything right.  With all of her blubbering and Ricky's scheming, it made for a pretty good laugh--that is, until I stepped back and realized that I'm going through the exact same slump.

Prep For A Day

Sometimes, I feel as though I can't do anything to my satisfaction.  I can't do anything right.

BEING A PREP FOR A WEEK: 6/28/15 -- 7/4/15

Independence Day's here, and you know what that means:  summer assignments are now added to the grind.  It also means fireworks and outfit posts galore, but to me, it's a special reminder of the last month of summer.

Candice looking casual and gorgeous doing french chic in Paris. LOVE the red skirt, its on fire!
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Now, on to some of my favorite links from the past week:
Since I've been really intrigued by travel as of late, I was glad to have found a realistic packing guide for a European vacation.  Now all I need is my passport and plane tickets.
I've got my eye on this flowy cami on sale at Old Navy...