MARCH FAVES

I can't believe that March is already over.  It practically flew by!  I'm hoping for some warmer weather as we transfer into April, but I won't count on it.

March seems to be one of those months that is forgotten about more frequently;  perhaps it's because none of the "major" holidays usually occur in this month, or maybe it's because the weather is always unpredictable.  Regardless, this past month had its highs and lows, but I'm always looking forward to what the next month will bring.

Prep For A Day

1. Ruffle-Back Tops:  A few of my favorite bloggers have been sporting this trend, and I can't say I blame them.  These tops are easily paired with other pieces, and I have a feeling that they're pretty flattering on most body types.

2. Lauren Conrad Jewelry:  Nothing makes me happier than looking at dainty necklaces and earrings, so I'm happy whenever I get to take a look at the Lauren Conrad jewelry collection.  Her pieces are whimsical and feminine, and she uses just enough rose gold to tie everything together.

BEING A PREP FOR A WEEK: 3/20/16 -- 3/26/16

I may not have gone on any trips during spring break, but it was a wonderful week nonetheless.  I'm the type of person who prefers going on small outings with her family to extravagant vacations, so I really enjoyed the past week.  I went shopping one day, saw a movie on another, and I tried to get in some much-needed relaxation time.

I've gotten some work accomplished as well (thankfully) and I've read three novels;  I'm currently reading Pride and Prejudice, and I can't put it down.  Now that my "break" is technically over, I'm just looking forward to celebrating Easter--and its many foods--with my family.

Prep For A Day

Now, on to some of my favorite links from the past week:
This article about Caitlin, the hugely popular blogger at Southern Curls and Pearls, has caused some controversy to arise in the blogging world.  Is fashion blogging just a money-making scheme now, or is it something entirely different?  I really admire Caitlin for giving her opinions so honestly in such a situation.
Who wants to know how to make a chocolate chip cookies and milk cake?  I've come to your rescue.

GINGHAM ON GINGHAM

You've heard about J Crew's glorious new spring collection that has it, and you know that Easter dresses everywhere are featuring it.  Gingham is one of this spring's most sought-after patterns.  I couldn't be happier to embrace such a quirky trend after going through the dark staples of winter.  As a sort of challenge to myself, I wanted to see just how much gingham I could find in my favorite stores--needless to say, I was not disappointed.

Prep For A Day

Cami Dress -- Cropped Set -- Pleated Skirt -- Lightweight Shorts -- Linen Tunic -- One-Piece Swimsuit

THIRTY WAYS TO EMBRACE HAPPINESS

Easter is almost here, birdsong rings through the air, flowers bloom endlessly:  what's not to be happy about?  So many of us view spring as a new awakening, a chance for the earth to come back to life in full force.  I don't think I'm alone when I say that I find myself being much more optimistic during the springtime;  I find myself doing things that make me purely and utterly happy, and in the spirit of spring, I've decided to share a few things that never fail to put a smile on my face.

There's an activity for every day of one month, and whether you can envision yourself doing these activities or you find them ridiculous, I hope they inspire you to seek a little bit of happiness in every day.

Prep For A Day

1. Read a new book (check out my past recommendations).

2. Go outside for the fun of it.

3. Watch a long-lost film.

BEING A PREP FOR A WEEK: 3/13/16 -- 3/19/16

Two words:  spring break.

After the whirlwind of a week I had, I really appreciate a week-long break.  Monday was Pi Day, a holiday that I absolutely delight in celebrating.  Tuesday night I had a choir performance that lasted into the later hours, and Wednesday I had a trip with my leadership group to the Alabama capital (a long trip that included touring in museums, singing in churches, and eating meals in fabulous places).  Thursday was report card day, and Friday was just busy in itself.  My plans for today are reading, writing, and relaxing: never been a better time to take in the spring air!

Prep For A Day

Now, on to some of my favorite links from the past week:
Took another trip to the bookstore and added a Selection series novel, a Jane Austen classic, and the quirky coffee table book I've been wanting since Christmas to my cart!
This look from Gal Meets Glam is one of the best spring outfits I've seen so far...

HOW TO EFFECTIVELY STUDY FOR THE ACT

If you're in high school, you know what the ACT is.  It's the standardized test of standardized tests, and for many students, it's a success determiner.  We're all told the importance of our ACT scores in a simple yet terrifying anecdote:  if you don't make the score, you don't get in the school;  if you don't get in the school, you don't get the job and then life goes downhill from there.  Terrifying is an understatement.

The next available test date is April 9, which is a little less than a month away.  I am by no means an ACT expert, but if there's one thing I know how to do, it's how to study for a test.  If you really want to boost your score on that fine April Saturday, there are a few things you can start thinking about now in order to increase your performance.

Prep For A Day

1. Start Preparing Now
I know it seems a bit far-fetched to start studying for something when it's a month away, but that's because your idea of studying may be a little different than mine.  Should you start looking at ACT materials for at least two hours each day until the day of?  No, of course not.  Should you take a few minutes each day to quiz yourself on common questions and tricks?  Yes!  I love using ACT's question of the day generator for quick practice.

2. Don't Overstudy
This may seem a bit hypocritical and/ or ludicrous of me to say.  I know that when I was told this tip for the first time, I was very frustrated;  after all, the ACT is a very important test and everyone around me seemed to expound upon that fact, so overstudying was the least of my worries.  After taking the test for the first time, however, I realized that I performed better on the areas that I had not studied constantly rather than the ones that I had pounded into my brain.

Spring Inspiration

I have no idea which season is my favorite, but I know that I've always loved spring. There's something different in the atmosphere, something that makes the world seem lovelier and brighter than before.  Being the blogger that I am, I was craving some inspiration for the season, and I thought I'd share my favorite shots with you.  Now it's time to sit back, relax, and listen for the sounds of nature awakening (or to engage in some wishful thinking)...

1. Hydrangeas and lace?  I'll take five.
 :
Via

2. Speaking of hydrangeas...
oak leave variety does best in zone 8 with need for water, full sun or partial and grows to 8-10 ft:
Via

3. Spring in England looks lovely, doesn't it?
The pretty walk home in Plymouth, Devon, England • photo: Hazel Mansell-Greenwood on Flickr:
Via

4. However, a Parisian spring doesn't look too shabby...
Paris Photography - Paris Je t'aime - Paris in the Springtime - Pink Cherry Blossoms Eiffel Tower - Paris Home Decor - Blush Pink on Etsy, $30.00:
Via

5. The best part of springtime is the animal life, after all.
How to Take Meaningful Photos of Your Dog by @Jennifer Tonetti-Spellman for iHeartfaces.com:
Via

6. Spring is the wedding season for a reason.

Via

7. Bright bikes are the best ones...
Spring forward / photo by Cindy Loughridge:
Via

8. I'll never be able to get enough flowers.

Via

9. Who's excited for spring colors to come into play?

Via

10. I couldn't end without a springtime quote...
The Earth Laughs in Flowers, Watercolor Print by SariasCreates on Etsy:
Via

Here's to sunny days and blue skies:  spring is here!

What's your favorite thing about spring?

Love,

BEING A PREP FOR A WEEK: 3/6/16 -- 3/12/16

Where in the world has this blogger been?  Not out of the country on some spring break trip, I'm afraid, but I've been somewhere nonetheless.

Last week was insanely busy because I was participating in the Alabama Vocal Association's Allstate Chorus Festival from Thursday until Saturday.  If you aren't familiar with Allstate, it's a huge gathering of choral students from every corner of the state.  The students are required to audition for one of the Allstate choirs prior to the festival, and if they make it, they travel to the festival to rehearse several pieces with their designated clinician;  after two days of arduous rehearsals (think standing up for two hours straight and then continuing on for another three), the choirs showcase their pieces at an enormous concert.  It's a wonderful experience altogether, and I look forward to it every year--but it isn't the best environment for blogging.

Never fear, things have slowed down this week and spring break is approaching, so this blogger should be getting back into her groove!

Prep For A Day

Now, on to some of my favorite links from the past week:
Feeling blue?  Checking out the College Prepster's new puppy will brighten your mood!
I recently stumbled upon VSCO's explore feature--talk about photo inspiration!

CYBER CLEANSE

As a blogger, I often have overly idealistic expectations for my technology skills. If I can piece together HTML code, I can easily fix a small glitch in my web browser, right? Wrong; in fact, I ended up deleting all of my meticulously organized bookmarks and email data before I fixed the problem. Although I was very frustrated by the situation, it gave me the opportunity to really sort through everything I have on my computer, and more importantly, to get rid of the files I no longer needed. "

Cleaning” out your computer and other devices doesn’t seem like a very meaningful task, but when you’re feeling buried under mounds of work or other stressful things, having a clean workplace is key. Another added bonus of a cyber cleanse:  it doesn’t take much time, but it saves you so much time in the long run!

Prep For A Day

How does one go about having a cyber cleanse?  Focus on three major areas:

Files
If you don’t do anything else, make sure you go through all of your major files and downloads.  You’d be surprised by how many of the PDFs and text documents you’ve accumulated are useless reads (such as that syllabus for your eighth grade history class), and if you get rid of them, you can easily make space for more important documents that you’ll need in the future.

FIVE WAYS TO FIGHT STRESS

My generation seems to have a serious problem with stress;  sometimes I go entire days listening to conversations centered around how stressed my classmates are.  I'll be the first to admit that I'm not the best at dealing with stress, either.  However, I've dealt with it so much lately that I've figured out a few tricks to counteract the negative effects it can have on one's body and mind.  My theory is that if I can win a few key battles against stress, I'll be one step closer to winning the war.

Prep For A Day

1. Stop Everything:  If you've ever been in a stressful situation, you know that your mind is very tempted to make any small issues snowball into catastrophic problems.  The best way to keep this from happening is to stop whatever you're doing, step back, and take a breather.  After all, you can't fight the symptoms of stress if you still feel overwhelmingly stressed.

2. Make A List:  I've found that I become stressed the most easily whenever I feel as though I have too much on my plate.  If you can relate, the best advice I can give is to make a list.  Prioritize everything you have to accomplish, and check things off as you complete them.  Being able to actively visualize your progress will give you an even greater sense of accomplishment.