January Faves

January is an odd month for me:  in some aspects it seems to have flown by, and in others it seems to have lasted an eternity.  The most gratifying thing I've accomplished this month is actually a group of things;  I've managed to stick to almost all of my resolutions, which is a new feat for me.  If that's another indicator for the rest of the year, I guess I'm in good shape.  How are you doing on your resolutions?
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1. All the Light We Cannot See:  This book definitely deserves every award it has received.  I'm being completely sincere when I say that I've never read a book like it, and I'll probably never read something similar to it ever again.  The writing is gorgeously detailed, and the plot isn't too sloppy either.  Be warned:  the ending is absolutely shocking.

2. Boyfriend Tees:  I've gotten better about embracing the casual chic style that has been all the rage lately, although there are still parts of it that I'm not overly fond of . However, one item I've come to love is a boyfriend tee, which is basically a dressy alternative to a t-shirt.  They are extremely versatile pieces that can be worn with any outfit, during any season, with any accessories.

3. Swing Dresses:  Another casual piece I've come to terms with is the swing dress.  I've always thought that these dresses were shapeless, but after trying one on, I'm convinced that they're almost universally flattering.  Did I mention how comfortable they are?

For those of us who can't wait until the end of January, I've got some Confucius wisdom:  "It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop."

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

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Being A Prep For A Week: 1/24/16 -- 1/30/16

This week kept me playing catch-up:  catching up on schoolwork, catching up on sleep, and catching up on adjusting to the new weather change.  And boy, it was a change; last week I was wearing fleece pullovers and now I'm back to wearing light jackets.  I'm also trying to balance some blog maintenance and much-needed exercise with college prep. As you might have guessed, I'm happiest when I'm busiest.
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Now, on to some of my favorite links from the past week:
Barbie has finally come out with a new line of "realistic" dolls with different body types and sizes--what do you think about the company's decision?
Check out the gorgeous color of this boyfriend tee
A post detailing one of the major reasons I want to go back to Disney World:  the food
In case you missed it, my post about the fashion blogging empire
Kate Spade's stationery never ceases to amaze me

Since we should all step into February happily, my quote for today is:  "You do not find the happy life...you make it."

How was your week?


The Truth About Fashion Blogging

In a world where blogging is rampant and bloggers are landing on national television, fashion blogging has become an enterprise.  In fact, the majority of "famous" bloggers specialize in fashion.  I love looking at fashion posts for inspiration, but there are a few not-so-lovely aspects about the new world of fashion blogging that decrease its glamorous appearance.
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1. The Staging
Almost all bloggers (including yours truly) stage their photos to make them more visually appealing to an audience.  However, there's a fine line between staging and completely reinventing;  if you've ever seen a blog photo that looked so meticulously edited and organized that it seemed unreal, it probably was.  There's nothing wrong with wanting to produce beautiful photos, but it's important to figure reality into the picture.

2. The Quality
As I stated above, everyone loves a pretty picture, but when I read someone's blog, I want to read it.  It's tempting for fashion bloggers to become reliant on their pictures alone, and so the few words they put into a post usually lack style and organization.  A reader ideally wants to relate to the blogger, and the only way for a blogger to effectively convey his own feelings and beliefs is through words.  High-quality pictures can only do so much in the place of thoughtful and unique words.

3. The Authenticity
We've all seen the disclaimer:  "This post is sponsored by..."  Fashion blogging is a business for hundreds of people, so it's no surprise that it's been monetized.  The irksome part of the business is the emphasis on designer labels and brand sponsorships rather than putting together outfits that the blogger and his audience love.  Several fashion bloggers have admitted to showcasing outfits that they would never personally wear in public. Are the fame and brand partnerships really worth the loss of the blogger's own taste?

I have always loved fashion blogging, and I continue to admire many fashion bloggers, but the enterprise has taken a turn for the worse.  Hopefully, the next generation of bloggers can transform it from deceptively glamorous to genuine and realistic.

What's your opinion on the new fashion blogging enterprise?


Being A Prep For A Week: 1/17/16 -- 1/23/16

I guess Mother Nature's been listening to my complaints, because winter weather has moved into the South.  That's right:  snow is in the South!  It's a little odd that we get so excited about snow, but since that natural phenomenon only occurs a few times a year here, we use any excuse to celebrate it.  In fact, my family is planning a bit of an outdoor excursion some time in the near future--but first, breakfast and blogging are in order!
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Now, on to some of my favorite links from the past week:
This teacher's parody of Adele's hit song is hilarious (and she's a lovely singer)
Breathtaking artist tributes in memory of Alan Rickman
Look at all of these modern-day fairy tale adaptations
Speaking of books, my current reading list
This blogger and her website are equally sophisticated

In the spirit of snow days, remember:  "The future lies before you, like a field of fallen snow;  be careful how you tread it, for every step will show."

How was your week?


Winter Loves

Over the long weekend I had some extra time to peruse online;  the end result of my web browsing was a list of lovely items that I'll be adding to my next birthday list (unfortunately, I have a summer birthday).  I noticed a few trends that I gravitated towards, such as bright winter whites and statement earrings.  I absolutely love the color combination on this J Crew sweater, and the style of this high-necked blouse is very elegant.  On the jewelry side of things, I adore these gray tassel earrings, and the history nerd inside of me cannot help admiring these "Tudor" drop earrings.
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What are some trends that you've been loving this winter?

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Books Lately

One of my resolutions for the new year was to read as often as I could.  To my pleasant surprise, I've been keeping to that resolution pretty well.  I used to be an avid book reader in middle school, but when I got to high school my free time gradually dwindled away;  sadly, books were put on the back burner.
I've really missed being able to read, and I decided that I could make time for books. My major motivating factor is a parcel of books that's coming my way--what's better than a new stack of reading material, after all?
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How to be Lovely:  The Audrey Hepburn Guide to Life:  You know I couldn't resist an Audrey Hepburn novel.  This little book is full of Audrey quotes and facts that reveal new meanings about ways to live life the way she did:  happily.

The Screwtape Letters:  I am beyond excited to read this C.S. Lewis masterpiece.  The novel is a collection of letters written by the wily demon Screwtape to another young demon;  his writings are instructive memoirs on the best ways to lead humans astray.  It looks like the perfect mix of satire and hidden wisdom, all in one book.

Unbroken:  After reading excerpts from this book in one of my history classes, I've always longed to finish the entire story.  I've heard wonderful things about the novel and its portrayal of one of the most amazing testaments to man's resilience and determination.

The Great Gatsby:  F. Scott Fitzgerald is one of my favorite writers, so I thought it was about time that I read his most famous work.  Plus, I might as well get ahead on this summer's reading assignment!

All the Light We Cannot See:  Carly from College Prep has given such strong reviews about this book (and it received the Pulitzer Prize), so I'm eagerly anticipating reading it. It's another World War II story that's sure to be remembered.

So, if you were wondering what I'll be doing in my spare time, you have your answer!

What's on your reading list?


Being A Prep For A Week: 1/10/16 -- 1/16/16

Another lovely week has passed by, and I still find myself waiting for snow flurries.  Is anyone else longing for snow?  My week was fairly uneventful (surprise surprise), but school has kept me bustling along the academic trail;  my planner has been an absolute blessing.  I'm still desperately trying to adhere to my 2016 resolutions, but it's proved harder than I thought.  In short, January's going along just swimmingly!
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Now, on to some of my favorite links from the past week:
If you're in need of a smile, check out this corgi's Instagram account
The new Harry Potter coloring book--for adults!
Take a peek inside the apartment of J Crew's current CEO
The graphic tee of my dreams

In the spirit of determination, I'd like to conclude by saying, "The best way to get things done is to simply begin."

How was your week?


Sugar Paper LA

I've yet to meet a person who was adverse to the idea of pretty stationery, journals, and planners.  If there's one good thing about this generation, it's its love of office supplies.
One of my favorite paper brands is Sugar Paper LA, and I love it because it's helping me start off 2016 on the right foot.  I finally switched from my old school brand planner to one that suited me better;  while I was at it, I also decided to purchase a calendar for miscellaneous dates. Guess what brand both of these are from?  I'm thrilled with these purchases, especially my planner.  Its design is simple yet stylish, and it has so much room to write things down (twelve lines per day)!  The calendar maintains that simply sophisticated yet functional look.  When I say I'm thrilled, I'm not exaggerating!
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Planner -- Calendar

There's a lovely Sugar Paper collection at Target, but the brand also has its own website and designs (albeit for higher prices).  If you're a stationery lover, you'll be smitten with Sugar Paper LA.

Shop more of my favorites:

What's your favorite stationery brand?


Being A Prep For A Week: 1/3/16 -- 1/9/16

If this week is foreshadowing the rest of the year, I think 2016 is going to be a good year.  I'm back in the school routine at last, and standardized tests are looming nearer. As an added bonus, Alabama has finally decided to embrace cold temperatures with open arms.  Winter is here at last!
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Now, on to some of my favorite links from the past week:
An interesting set of facts about the Mountain of the Butterflies to commemorate the 41st anniversary of its discovery
The app that I cannot wait to use for college applications
My favorite things combined into one adorable shirt
A thought-provoking post about the nature of the past
The HGTV Dream Home 2016--it's the best one yet

Since a new year spells out hard work, remember to "work hard in silence, because your success will make the noise."

How was your week?


A Friendly Chat With Prep Avenue

I gain a huge portion of my inspiration from quotes, but I also seek inspiration in people, especially other bloggers.  One of the first bloggers I ever started following was Shannon from Prep Avenue;  her sweet personality and whimsical site were, and still are, a lovely pick-me-up.  Shannon attends Furman University, but she hasn't been limited to a Southern campus.  She's interned in Paris (what a dream), and she just returned from a semester abroad in Italy, complete with weekend trips to surrounding European countries.  She's definitely designing a life she loves, and I'm here to share some of her insight and experience.
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What inspired you to become a blogger?
I knew it was something I always wanted to do.  I loved reading other blogs and needed something creative to do in my free time!  I was a senior in high school and going through the college application process while still getting used to a new school. Blogging was the perfect way to escape!

What is the most important lesson that you've learned about blogging?
Hmmm, that's a good one!  I've learned so much about myself through the process, but I think one of the most important lessons I've learned is how dangerous it can be to compare yourself.  It's easy to compare number of followers, page views, comments, etc. But when it comes down to it, I blog because it's something I really enjoy doing. Nothing ever good comes from comparing yourself to others!

What has been your favorite part of studying abroad?
I've always loved to travel!  I think that exploring new places almost every weekend and experiencing so many cultures has to be my favorite! 

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If you could travel to one place in the world for a week, where would you go and why?
Well if I had to choose somewhere I've been before I'd have to say Paris.  Paris is a city for me that will never get old!  If I could choose somewhere I've never been before it would probably be New Zealand or Australia! 

Who are your favorite bloggers?
I have a few favorites!  My two favorites have to be either Mackenzie or Carly.  I also love reading Studio DIY!

Lastly, because of my fondness for words, I have to ask:  what is your favorite quote?
Oh goodness, I don't know if I can pick one quote.  I'm obsessed with my quote board on Pinterest, but I've always loved the quote I close every one of my blog posts with, "Don't ever let anyone dull your sparkle!"

Shannon's travels are giving yours truly the travel bug!  Head over to Prep Avenue to peek at more postcard-worthy shots from her trips and read some of her bright and sunny posts!


Being A Prep For A Week: 12/27/15 -- 1/2/16

Typing out "2016" is a strange new quirk I'll have to get used to.  I was still writing December dates as if they had taken place in November, so I guess it really was time that I broke down and purchased my own calendar.  My last full week of break has been spent researching, reading, and blogging (I won't mention eating because that's a given). If you notice any little facets of the site that have been moved or improved, now you know why:  if I'm given too much time, I'll start redesigning everything in sight.  Aside that, I was blessed with a wonderful holiday season, and now I have a list of resolutions to tackle--I hope the same can be said for you!
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Now, on to some of my favorite links from the past week:
The modern-day Audrey Hepburn blog:  Kelly Golightly
My new planner for a new year (think gold and polka dots)
The mecca of college application essays and comparative questions, all in one website
Calling all bloggers:  a foolproof tutorial on how to add a search box to your navigation bar

With the knowledge of a new year ahead, remember that "there is wonderful joy ahead!"

How was your week?