This Fall's Biggest Shoe Trends

Promptly raise your right hand if you are excited about fall (I can't really tally the count, but I'll just take the liberty of imagining a sea of raised hands)!  As Jordan Baker famously states in The Great Gatsby, "Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall".  I think that crisp atmosphere, that anticipation hovering in the air, that knowledge of bright leaves and windy days and cooler temperatures to come, are what makes fall such a beloved time of year.  Of course, we can't forget fall clothing and, more specifically, fall shoes.  Whether you're eagerly embracing the modified cold by staking out boots of every style or you're clinging to summer temperatures by sticking to flats and sandals, fall is the perfect time to transition your footwear.  What better way to do that than to examine some of this season's biggest shoe trends?

Prep For A Day
Lace-Up Flat -- Suede Ankle Boot -- Tan Leather Bootie -- Back Strap Rain Boot -- Navy Bean Boots -- Suede Lace-Up Heel

Laces, leather, and suede;  rain boots, short boots, and heels:  these are just a sampling of the shoe trends that are emerging for the autumn.  I personally cannot wait to start regularly wearing ankle boots and flats, and who doesn't love the thought of romping around in a well-structured rain boot or block heel?

Tune back in next week for a post all about autumnal inspiration, but for now, let's enjoy this in-between time of the seasons--it's always the best time of year!

What shoes are you looking forward to wearing this fall?

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Being A Prep For A Week: 9/18/16 -- 9/24/16

Let me get this little tidbit over with:  who else is extremely ecstatic about fall's arrival?  Because, as you might have guessed, I have once again come to the conclusion that fall is the best season, Halloween is one of the best holidays, and hot drinks are infinitely better than cold ones.  Anyone else feeling a similar revelation coming on?
Another hectic week flew by in my world;  it was a strange week, full of very high highs and pretty low lows (thank goodness the good outweighed the bad).  I think the major highlight was being able to intern at a local veterinary office for a couple of days;  if you ever get the chance to have an early glimpse into the field that you're thinking about entering, take it!  That experience has already impacted my thoughts about what I'm going to do "when I grow up," and it's pretty exciting!  The major low was feeling a bit sick and run-down for the later half of the week, but I feel better than ever now knowing that some exciting things are on the horizon!
Prep For A Day

Now, on to some of my favorite links from the past week:
Speaking of fall, this Pinterest board is chock-full with inspiration for decorating, baking, and anything fall-related...
J Crew took its newest fall arrivals to Amsterdam, and the resulting pictures are predictably amazing...
I love the stickers that are currently on my laptop, but some of them are really starting to fade.  I think I'm going to turn to Redbubble for a new collection--how pretty are this quote and this Vespa?
This coat is perfect for fall--it's so versatile, as well!
Lastly, I know I'm not the only one who's excited for the live-action version of Beauty and the Beast to be released--and these behind-the-scenes photos are making me even more excited!

Perhaps my week had a few insane moments (and perhaps yours did too), but whatever the course of our actions, we must always remember the outcome:  "Everything that has a beginning, has an ending.  Make your peace with that and all will be well."

How was your week?


The Liebster Award (Part Three)

I know what you might be thinking:  Tori, haven't you done this sort of thing a few times too many?  Didn't you just write a Q&A post a few weeks ago?  The answer is yes--and no.  The Liebster Award is a special sort of topic that started circulating a few years ago, and it's a way for bloggers to connect with other bloggers, as well as for blogging audiences to learn a bit more about the people behind the computer screens; naturally, when Leah from Cute and Classy nominated me for the award, I jumped at the chance to re-explore all of those opportunities.  So, once again, you're about to learn even more about the prep behind the blog--brace yourself.
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1. What is your go-to coffee order?
I'm a bit of an oddball in that coffee isn't my cup of tea--jokes aside, I've never been overly fond of caffeinated drinks.  On the rare chance that I am drinking coffee, I can guarantee that it will be overly sweetened and have a mound of whipped cream on top of it.

2. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I'd jump at the chance to live in the countryside of some European province;  I'm pretty partial to the English, Austrian, and Italian rural scenes at the moment.

3. What is your favorite kind of music?
My taste in music is unique, if I do say so myself.  I'll always have a special spot in my heart for show tunes and seventies ballads, but I'll listen to classical music or Taylor Swift jams any day.

4. What was your first job?
Since I turned sixteen only a few months ago, I haven't really had the opportunity or the time to have a legitimate job.  However, I did start this full-time occupation called "school" when I was six, and I've been at it ever since.  In fact, I still have over ten years left of it to complete;  I'm just happy that the vacation times are pretty long and lenient.

5. What color is on your nails right now?
It's a little something I like to call "All-Natural" and offers more evidence of my oddball-ness.  I haven't painted my nails since I was young, and I don't think I'll start painting them anytime soon--too much time and effort!

6. What motivates you?
Just glancing at a checklist is enough to motivate me to do something very concrete and very productive (like homework, writing a blog post, or studying);  I've found that being outside in nature and/ or around hardworking individuals, on the other hand, motivates me to dream big and to focus on more idealistic goals.

7. What is your ideal Friday night?
On a perfect Friday night, I'm relaxing with my family, watching as many old movies as possible, and gearing up for a weekend filled with productivity and checklists.

8. Who inspires you?
Audrey Hepburn (surprise, surprise), my parents and relatives, and successful individuals in general never fail to inspire me.  In my opinion, nothing is more inspiring than a person who has achieved miraculous things by working diligently and staying true to his or her passions.

9. What is your favorite meal to cook and/ or eat?
The range of things I can successfully cook is glaringly small, but I do love eating any type of steak or crab.  Also, I can't pass up any dessert (especially if it contains whipped cream).

10. Where are your favorite places to shop?
Old Navy is my definite favorite place for everyday clothing;  I also love shopping and browsing at stores like J. Crew, Anthropologie, and Target for more miscellaneous pieces.

Now that you've reached the end of that, I'd like to nominate you for a Liebster Award (you certainly deserve one).  You can answer the questions featured in this post, or you can travel over to the ones I mentioned in my Q&A&Q post, or you can create your own.  I can't wait to see your answers!


Being A Prep For A Week: 9/11/16 -- 9/17/16

Let's just say that this week was one for the record books--but not in a particularly good way.
My blogging and social media posting has lapsed a bit over the past week, and I do apologize.  The amount of homework, tests, and extracurricular activities I had to wade through was somewhat stifling and very stressful.  Looking on the bright side, I got to experience some pretty exciting things this week, such as my first chorus concert of the season and the start of clinical rotations for the health science internship I'm completing this year.  Little by little, things are improving, and for now I'll just be cautiously optimistic about the world's state of affairs.
Prep For A Day

Now, on to some of my favorite links from the past week:
I think the sentiment on this graphic tee is very appropriate, considering everything...
Whether you're a student or someone in the workforce, Grammarly looks like a writer's best friend (and, best of all, it's free)...
Did you catch my collaboration with the lovely writers behind The Millenials?
Something about a perfect chair and a perfect wall print really puts one in a decoration mood, right?
If you really enjoy reading blogs, I suggest checking out the Undeniable Life blog (for which I am a proud writer);  we have some very diverse and interesting content on the site at the moment--it will definitely intrigue you!
A post featuring Audrey Hepburn and fall fashion:  I'm sold!

It may not have been the best week I've ever had, but as the saying goes:  "Give thanks in all circumstances."

How was your week?


Staying Classic In a Trendy World

Audrey Hepburn.  Grace Kelly.  Jackie O.  We associate those names with timelessness: these women and their very names evoke a sense of grace, poise, and elegance.  To put it quite frankly, even in a world that evolves and modernizes every day, their styles have never quite gone "out of style."  Wouldn't it be wonderful if we all could harness that same confidence and self-assurance through our own clothing choices and personalities?
In fact, that process is easier than you might think.  It has become increasingly difficult for individuals--especially young women--to find styles that both reflect their identities and stay true to the fashions of the modern era.  Most of them aren't sure of the self they want the world to see, so they go along with the fashion trends that they see adorning models and celebrities--but those are called trends for a reason.  To find your own unique style, you have to break away from the trends and embrace what I have termed "the classic rules."
Prep For A Day

1. Only Wear What You Love:  Don't wear that shirt just because you've seen thirteen other girls wearing a similar style.  Don't try on that dress just because you know it's "in style," if you really don't like the dress.  Sticking to what you truly love wearing is the best way to keep your style comfortable and uniquely you.

2. Never Have too Much of a Good Thing:  Trends, I'm talking about you.  We've all seen the women who look as though they've tried to incorporate every single current style trend into one outfit.  While there isn't anything wrong with trying out the trends that you like, there is such a thing as being overly trendy--and that is the very opposite of being classic.

3. If You Have to Ask, Don't Wear It:  As far as modesty goes, just remember that if you feel the need to ask about the appropriateness of a clothing item or outfit, it probably is a bit on the inappropriate side.  The same goes for trying out new style combinations; if you have to ask yourself whether you really feel comfortable wearing something, chances are that you should change things up.

4. Embrace Individuality:  Most importantly, having a classic style ultimately means embracing your own unique tastes and combining them with trends (both old and new) you can envision yourself wearing.  Taking that course of action truly ensures that your fashion sense will never go out of style, as you--a dynamic character in the story of life--will never cease being "in style," being someone who both adapts with the times and remains true to her own values.

Thankfully, it is extremely possible to remain a "Hepburn in a Hilton world."  In fact, finding yourself and what you truly love is one of the easiest tasks of life, relatively speaking--and that's the first step to becoming a classic.

What are your thoughts on remaining classic versus embracing all modern trends?

P.S. This post was a collaboration with a wonderful group of writers from The Millenials, a platform for students from all parts of the world to gather and write about their thoughts and opinions.  It truly is an exceptional community, and I hope that you'll give them a visit.


How to Increase Your Productivity + My Desk Space

If I could remain in a completely productive state for the rest of my life, I would undoubtedly be the happiest type-A overachiever in the entire world--but unfortunately, it's rather impossible to be productive 24/7, especially when one considers nagging little activities like sleeping and eating (just kidding).  I've found that my productivity levels are highly influenced by several variables, and I'll wager a guess that the same can be said for you.  Thankfully, I've discovered some sure-fire ways to boost productivity levels pretty astronomically.  Of course, I wouldn't have a productive bone in my body without a functioning work area, which is why I'm sharing my small slice of productivity heaven with you as well.

Now, that being said, a good work space is rendered completely useless without a good work ethic.  Here are some of my favorite ways to become more productive on a daily basis:

1. Set Up a Schedule:  The best way to avoid the procrastination trap is to parcel out a specific amount of time for productivity in your schedule.  Want to get some things accomplished on Saturday morning from seven to eight?  Write it down, and get those things accomplished.

2. Have Water Readily Available:  I'm pretty horrible about drinking enough water during the day, and I've had to learn from experience that dehydration and productivity do not mix.  Making sure that you have a bottle of water near your work space is a key step in establishing productiveness.

3. Turn the Phone Off:  The vast majority of us are somewhat attached to our cellular devices, and while they can be extremely helpful at times, they are also an ultimate source of distraction.  To ensure that it doesn't divert your attention for too long, just turn your cell phone completely off until you've finished working.

4. Organize as You Work:  A cluttered work area can signal a cluttered mind;  as I've learned from experience, cluttered minds and productivity don't mix very well together, either.  Try to clean and organize your work space as you go along in order to avoid feeling overwhelmed or stressed.

5. Have Set Goals in Mind:  My best tip about being more productive is to have a definite list in mind of everything that you want to accomplish--even better, to write everything out on paper.  It's a great way to organize your thoughts and to keep track of what you've done.

Now that you have some inspiration about productivity and planning, here's a piece of advice:  "The best way to get things done is to simply begin."  So, what are you waiting for?

How do you stay productive?


Being A Prep For A Week: 8/28/16 -- 9/3/16

Two college fairs in a row.  One leadership event.  One hulking, terrifying AP Chemistry test.  One other (not quite as) terrifying AP Statistics test.  Two club meetings.  One packet of choral music.  One essay.  Two veterinary science textbooks. Add all of that in to the fact that it's officially September, and you have a wonderful overview of this past week's schedule in my chaotic little corner of the world.  They weren't kidding when they said that junior year was a tad bit stressful, were they?  I can assure you that I (along with everyone else) am looking forward to the three-day weekend that lies before us!
Prep For A Day

Now, on to some of my favorite links from the past week:
Maddie Ziegler's official clothing line just launched!  I remember watching her as a young dancer on Dance Moms, and now she's practically a full-fledged celebrity!
I'm thinking about finally leasing the Lightroom photo-editing software for my computer--but I've heard that the learning curve for the system can be pretty steep.  If you have any experience with and/ or tips about it, I'd love to hear them!
This post really has me missing the Hawaiian islands (although I'd hate to be stuck in that hurricane)...
If I ever considered having children, this is what I'd want my maternity shoot to look like...
J Crew's new arrivals have been especially lovely lately;  my personal favorites are this ruffled top (under sixty dollars), this navy wool cape, and this pair of lace-up heels...

So, in light of this glorious three-day weekend, I'll leave you with just one little thought: "Most folks are as happy as they make their minds up to be."

How was your week?