July Faves

There was never a more fearsome sentence spoken than, "July is almost over."
For me, that signals one thing:  school starts in t-minus twelve days.  Am I ready to go back, assignments-wise?  Practically.  I actually enjoy the academic part of school, and I'll enjoy getting out of the house, but...there's always a part of me that wants to savor that extra hour of sleeping in.
In the meantime, I've rounded up a few things that I've been mentioning throughout the past thirty days (if you read my blog or follow any of my social medias, some of these will look a bit familiar).
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1. Gallery Wall Art:  As I stated above, if you follow along with me on Instagram, Snapchat, or via blogging, you know that I was ecstatic when I finished up my gallery wall.  All of my prints arrived courtesy of Pinterest, but there are still millions of shops and boutiques that sell lovely wall prints (and I loved looking at those for inspiration).

2. Light Wash Jeans:  Since it's almost fall, I decided to try out one of the more recent fashion trends:  light wash jeans.  There are some shirts that cannot be worn with navy jeans or black leggings, and so I'm hoping that these will solve the problem.

3. Kendra Scott "Mystic Bazaar" Collection:  This new collection really is all the rave, and it isn't hard to see why.  From tassels to marble to everything in between, Kendra Scott really hit the nail on the head with this one.

4. Kate Spade School Supplies:  Last month I raved about Kate Spade's agendas, and this month I can't pass up the chance to rave about the company's school and office supplies.  Fun fact:  I want this gold stapler simply for the aesthetically pleasing element it could add to Instagram photos...

July, how you fly.

Any faves from this month that you'd like to share?

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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...
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This top is the first piece of scalloped clothing that I've ever bought, and I'm very happy with it.  It's a bit sheer, but slipping on a tank top underneath it fixes that problem.

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I was happily surprised when I stumbled across my old gold and mint wrap bracelet--it matches the shirt perfectly!

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The continued scalloping on the back of the top is such a lovely accent, and the crossed back adds a little twist.

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For another take on the scalloped shirt, drop by Fashionably Emma!

How do you wear scallops?

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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.

3. Speaking Through Videos:  For the most part, the only way you can interact with your readers is through a computer screen and keyboard.  With Snapchat, on the other hand, they can literally hear you speak to them, and that makes you much more approachable.  That also makes you (and your blog) more likely to leave a lasting impression on them.

4. Interacting With Followers:  Since Snapchat isn't a very formal app, the people who follow you will feel more at ease with sending over a quick little message, as opposed to having to send you a direct message or email (just from a blogger to blogger standpoint, those options can seem a bit daunting).  I really appreciate being able to have ordinary conversations with other bloggers and my readers;  besides, it's a blast!

5. Informal Snaps:  One downside to image-oriented apps like Instagram is the ever-present need to capture the perfect picture.  From staging to lighting, everything has to be perfect for one photo.  As you might have inferred from the name, Snapchat is for doing the exact opposite.  Want to take a picture of your food or your dog or anything within the vicinity?  With this app, you can forget about the staging and editing, and focus on the sharing.

Do any other bloggers out there love using Snapchat?


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!  Pinterest has definitely been a lovely resource for free prints.
Hanging art by yourself is hard. Ask a friend to help. — NE Photo by Jamie Lauren Photography via Style Me Pretty

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!
Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face. Inspiration for my senior prom dress I had made :). One of my favorite movies!

Lastly, these marble-esque earrings from the newest Kendra Scott collection are stunning--perfect for a trip to Rome, I believe.
Kendra Scott Fran White Howlite Earrings #laylagrayce

How was your week?


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 A through and through like yours truly, 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.

3. Be able to understand every question on the ACT Math test.
Even if I don't calculate every answer correctly, at least I'll know how I should go about calculating.

4. Go to Salzburg, Austria and blare out "The Sound of Music."
What a wonderful photo opportunity, and what a lovely chance to scare the locals.

5. Sing onstage and have that "Christine Daae" moment.
If I can somehow force myself to become a primadonna, I'll be singing with the utmost confidence.

6. Wake up in a premier hotel and have coffee and macarons for breakfast.
Another wonderful photo opportunity, and an opportunity to fully realize how wonderful life is.

7. Have a library that's overflowing with books.
If I ever have free time in between veterinary things and pageantry and blogging and traveling, I'll take the time to live--and snuggle up in a library of my own design.

8. Own at least five dogs and two cats.
This is more of a requirement than a goal;  my household will cease to be a home until animals are occupying it.

9. Have a garden full of hydrangeas and roses.
At least I'll have an excuse to get off of the computer and actually venture into the sunlight.

10. Have an Audrey Hepburn kind of day.
You know, where everything's just darling and you somehow know that everything will be perfectly fine.  I'd like to have a lifetime of those days.

After all, everything starts with a dream.

What are some of your most fanciful goals?


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.

2. "Obligatory snow day picture"

What You See:  Look, another blogger who's out of school and in the snow!

The Reality:  The snow you see in this picture was only about one inch deep, and that was supposedly the greatest extent which we were going to receive.  About an hour after I posted this, snow started pouring down, and suddenly we had six inches.  If only I'd waited an hour...

3. "My spring break essentials (sandals and bathing suits not included)"

What You See:  Look, another blogger who's going to be stylishly chic even as she stays home, watches Netflix in bed, and eats protein bars for a week!

The Reality:  My spring break consisted of watching old movies on my handy dandy Kindle, doing some extra schoolwork, and eating anything other than protein bars (or anything moderately healthy).

4. "The weather outside makes me shiver, but the flowers beg to differ"

What You See:  Look, another blogger who's starting to take pictures of flowers and other spring-y landscapes!

The Reality:  This was taken at Home Depot, and the weather outside was, in fact, more humid than I had hoped for;  this resulted in my Patagonia jacket heating up like a furnace.

5. "Well, what do we have here?"

What You See:  Look, another blogger who's stepping out in her sophisticated ensemble, only to find yet another package of assorted goodies on her doorstep!

The Reality:  When this package did arrive, I knew I needed to take a picture of it because, contrary to what social media portrays, I don't receive J. Crew packages every other week.  I rushed in my room, threw on a dress and sandals, and proceeded to rush outside and sweep the doorstep clean of leaves and dirt--all in front of the neighbors.

6. "Thank goodness for coordinating pool floats and phone cases"

What You See:  Look, another blogger who's taking photos with her sunnies and aesthetically pleasing pool floats!

The Reality:  I really wanted an excuse to show off my new phone case, and after testing out numerous backdrops, I finally decided that a pink pool float would do the trick.  However, I didn't consider the fact that the wind was blowing, which eventually resulted in my backdrop and props floating away to the middle of the pool.  That was a mess!

7. "If anyone asks, just tell them I'm loafing around in a garden full of hydrangeas"

What You See:  Look, another blogger who's posing with a fresh bouquet of hydrangeas!

The Reality:  Those hydrangeas are nowhere near fresh:  they're not even real!

I suppose, in the end, a blogger has to do what a blogger has to do.

What are some of your funniest "behind the snap" moments?


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!
Classic Hamptons Beach House for sale. Do you have $29MIL? Me neigther, but we can still dream. Click to see the rest of this gorgeous home! #HouseTour #RealEstate #Hamptons

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.

Along with blaring out soprano notes, working on school assignments, and frequenting Snapchat more than I should, I've been bracing myself for the school year yet to come. Oh, summer, why'd you have to be so short?

How was your week?


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:

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

Cardigans and Scarves
When those premature winter blasts come disguised as benign fall days, airy sweaters and cover-ups are a welcome precaution.

Unfortunately, flowy shorts will cease to be appropriate attire;  however, flowy pants are the perfect substitute.

Since fall also has a reputation of being positively sweltering, having a few skirts on hand can be a lifesaver.

Shoes can be tricky, but I've narrowed it down to my favorite slip-ons and not-so-summery sandals.

Are you looking forward to fall?


Those 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 that summer reading assignment.
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1. The Accidental Empress:  Even if you aren't a fan of historical fiction, you'll enjoy this read about Sisi, a fifteen-year-old duchess who suddenly finds herself engaged to one of the most important men in the world.  Fun fact:  the book's teaser featured both Kiel and Sarah James Patrick as models!

2. Cruel Beauty:  This is one of my favorite versions of the Beauty and the Beast tale we all grew up on.  It takes a little while to fully understand the story's setting and different elements, but once you do, it's a book you cannot put down.

3. To Kill A Mockingbird:  Initially I didn't care for this book, simply because it was a summer reading assignment.  After I gave it a chance, however, I really got into the plot and characters.  By the time I'd reached the end of the last chapter, it had become one of my favorite books to date.  Plus, those little nuances of a stereotypical Southern town were absolutely uncanny (I should know).

4. Fairest:  If you're looking for a lighter read, Fairest is another gem from Gail Carson Levine.  With magic mirrors, gnomes, princes, and more, it's very interesting and comical.

5. Blogs:  If you are absolutely opposed to cracking open a hardback, then you can always browse through the millions of blogs that occupy the Internet.  If you can dream it, then there's bound to be a blog all about it.

What are some of your favorite summer reads?


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.
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.
ash persifor edit

The other blog I'm fervently reading is History In High Heels.  Since I really want to make this European escapade a reality, I've been loving all of her insider tips and tricks for making the most out of each country.  Who knew there was a certain ritual to drinking coffee in Italia?


And if we're going to stay on the blogging subject, I should proudly declare that I've figured out how to create my own Pin-it buttons!  The tutorial made it sound so easy, and I suppose it would've been, if I hadn't accidentally deleted that one piece of code...

Perhaps by next week, I'll have figured out how to center the sidebar!

How was your week?


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 same slump.
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Sometimes, I feel as though I can't do anything to my satisfaction.  I can't do anything right.
This complex didn't come on for any particular reason;  I suppose a bunch of events snowballed into a huge downer.  A lot of things have been happening lately, and they haven't been the happiest.  Plus, with all of this free time to go outside and be active, I'm reminded of just how terrible of an athlete I am.  This also contributes to the body image crisis, which is one I really haven't struggled with until recently.
I'm trying to better myself in different areas, like my singing technique, and yet, I don't feel as though I'll ever really get any better.  I want to boost my blog and social media followings, but as of now, I'm stuck in a bit of a rut.  I wish I could improve my relationships with my friends, but none of them ever seem to be around.  Honestly, I'm tempted to think that the only thing I'll ever be able to do to my satisfaction is keep my nose stuck in a book.
I recently read a post about trying to keep faith in times when faith is hard to find.  To keep blogging, even if a blog only has three followers.  That made me realize something: even though I'm stuck in this rut, I won't be stuck forever.  I've come so far in so many things, and I just can't recognize that.
One day, I'll look back and remember where I am today, and I'll laugh.  I'll laugh at how very small I seem, and I'll laugh at the fact that I never thought I could do what I'm capable of doing.
I may be a bit down today, but tomorrow, I'll be ready to take on the world.
So, if you're stranded in an inferiority complex, just remember:  when we're down in the darkest parts of life, the only place we can go is up.


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.
I didn't notice this until recently, but the Fourth of July's arrival also means that a myriad of sales are going on.  My favorite has to be the Old Navy sale (I bet that surprises you). By shopping the "Red, White, & New Sale," you can find patriotic pieces at patriotic prices.  I've got my eye on this flowy cami...


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.
Candice looking casual and gorgeous doing french chic in Paris. LOVE the red skirt, its on fire!

Since I'm always intrigued by baking, I'm very excited that my mom and I are going to attempt some watermelon cupcakes for a cookout this afternoon.  I prefer the cupcakes to the fruit!
Watermelon Cupcakes So they should be healthy since there watermelon!"Let's Follow each other and share all the good things on Pintrest!!"  Christy Tusing Borgeld

So, whatever your plans are for this weekend, I hope you have a Happy Fourth!

How was your week?


Outfit: July Stripes (Collab)

I have a quick confession to make:  I've never been a huge Fourth of July fanatic.  We definitely celebrate it in my family;  however, while everyone else is out gawking at fireworks, we're usually inside gawking at the dinner my mom has whipped up.
Fourth of July fan or not, I am in love with stripes.  I'm surprised that I don't have twenty striped shirts in my closet.  Since stripes are such a staple--and they're truly patriotic--Katelyn from The Yellow Spectacles and I have decided to share our favorite outfits from our striped inventories.
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Toby also happens to love stripes (although he admits he'll always have a special place in his heart for paw prints).
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This is my favorite striped shirt because a) it's from Old Navy, b) it has the perfect neckline, and c) it's one of my favorite shades of blue.  Plus it coordinated with Toby's leash--how much more perfect could it get?
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You know I couldn't resist adding just a touch of red...
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To see more of the striped craze, drop by The Yellow Spectacles and read Katelyn's post (you won't be disappointed)!

Wishing you a Happy Fourth!

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