May 25, 2015

On my Reading List

One of my all time favorite things about summer is the fact that I can read for myself again. I always say that during the school year I want to make more time to read books for fun but it never happens. The second the weather gets warm I start reading all the books I put on my list during the school year. I honestly fly through so many books during the summer and I couldn't be happier about it. When I'm sitting on the train to go to work, laying out by the pool, or cuddled under a blanket during the rainy days I always opt for reading during the summer.

I thought I would share some of the books that are on my reading list this summer! I would love to hear some of all your favorite reads so I can add them to the list.  Also, if you want, I might do a post listing some of my all time favorite reads :)

Vanishing Girls Under the Never Sky It's Kind of a Funny Story All the Rage Saint Anything The Girl on the Train All the Bright Places Mosquitoland Go Set a Watchman Image Map
Vanishing Girls || Lauren Olivier
Under the Never Sky || Veronica Rossi
All the Rage || Courtney Summers
Saint Anything || Sarah Dessen
The Girl on the Train || Paula Hawkins
All the Bright Places || Jennifer Niven
Mosquitoland || David Arnold
Go Set a Watchman || Harper Lee

What is on your summer reading list?


May 21, 2015

Sophomore Year in Review

Two years done.  I honestly cannot believe that I am officially half way through my college career.  It feels like yesterday that I was packing up my suitcases to head off to Boston.  Also, the fact that I only have three semesters left at a place I now call home is incredibly sad.  Sometimes I feel that sophomore year can go unnoticed, the sophomore slump becomes real, and the entire year can be wasted.  I thought I would share a few things that I took away from this year and some of the things that made it the best year yet!

one || Freshmen year isn't supposed to be perfect.  I know that it might look like all your other friends are having the cliche college experience but they probably aren't.  Each person struggles and freshmen year is the time to struggle, and struggle hard.  At the end of my sophomore year, I finally realized that my struggle is okay and normal.  I learned to accept my own life and compared it less to others.

two || Along those same lines, I didn't post as much on social media about my college experience.  I uploaded photos every once and a while but I made sure to not cast my college experience different than what it actually was.  That being said, I also didn't judge my own college adventures based on those I saw my friends having. 

three || I joined a lot more clubs and become even more involved.  While my initial intentions for joining more activities weren't the best, I became obsessed with everything I was in and loved that I did it.  I made new friends and found myself putting 100% into these new commitments.  And yes they were time commitments, but I loved them so it was worth it.

four || I took classes I enjoyed.  Sophomore year is usually the time when you can take classes in your major and ones you find relatively interesting (no more core!).  While I did have a few remaining core classes to finish (and sadly still do) I was able to take classes I found  beyond interesting with professors I loved!  It honestly makes a huge difference taking classes with amazing professors because you actually want to pay attention.  For the first time in a while, I actually looked forward to a bunch of my classes.  This shows me that in the next few years, my classes don't have to be boring, if I don't want them to be :)

five || Because I started caring more about my classes I actually did the best I have done yet.  Studying material you find interesting no longer becomes a chore.  In addition, I cared less about my grades this year than ever.  The realization hit that my GPA was just a number that doesn't define me. Whether its a good number, or a bad one, it still isn't you who are.  I took classes I loved no matter if they would look good, or give me a good GPA.

six || There is always a light at the end of the tunnel.  Sophomore year definitely had its downs but I wouldn't have traded any of them.  I ended the year on an ultimate high which made all the little things that were once bad feel so insignificant.  In the end, the small things may feel big at the time, but in the future, when you look back, you will always remember the amazing, wonderful things that happened rather than the bad ones.

Thanks sophomore year for the best one yet!


May 19, 2015

Mixing Prints

I've talked about how much I love the print combination of stripes and leopard on the blog before.  And I definitely cannot get enough of it because I decided to pair the two up again for one of my work outfits this week.  Chicago weather has been up and down all week.  One day its 85 and I'm tanning in my backyard, and the next day its 55 and I need to bring out my thick sweaters and jackets again #typical.   However, because I am already in dress mode and don't want to put them away, I love pairing chunky sweaters on top of dresses.  This way, only the skirt of the dress peeps out but you get a really cute look from it!  This look pairs together two of my favorite things: stripes and leopard, and sweaters over dresses :)

I paired my all time favorite Madewell black sweater on top of a black and white striped dress.  I added my favorite leopard loafers from Target which are almost three years old to complete the look. And for jewelry, I added a beautiful BaubleBar necklace, my Michael Kors watch, and two dainty rings that I wear everyday that I got from an art fair.  Because it was quite chilly I needed to bring my J.Crew jacket for an extra layer of warmth.


Black Sweater Madewell (similar here) || Dress Target (similar here) || Jacket J.Crew (old, similar here) || Leopard Loafers Target (old, similar here and here) || Necklace BaubleBar (old, similar here) || Watch Michael Kors

What are some of your favorite patterns to mix?  Also, I promise I will get better with the photography #stilllearning :)


May 12, 2015

Summer Fashion Essentials

When I found out I got accepted to my two summer internships I jumped for joy!  Not only because I am beyond ecstatic about both of them but because it meant I got to so shopping for summer clothes.  I am not normally one to wear dresses or look cute in the summer (hello Nike shorts and tshirts) but this was the perfect excuse to get nice dresses and cute clothes.  I thought I would share with you some of the clothes I bought as well as a few things that I saw, really wanted, but had to say "no" to because your girl is on a budget.  But these are definitely pieces that are sure staples for the summer.  They can definitely be worn as casual pieces but can also be paired with nicer blazers and jewelry (aka my favorite!)

Denim shirt || Paired with white jeans or tucked into a pencil skirt this is an easy piece that can be worn so many different ways!

White jeans || Speaking of...haha!  I don't think I can pick a more classic summer staple.  I actually recently just got rid of my old white jeans and really need to purchase a new pair.  I am looking at the J Brand Maria High rise ones because I have them in two other colors and love them to death.  But if you guys have any other favorite white jeans please let know!!

Patterned pants || I have been eyeing these ones from J.Crew for the longest time and want them so bad!  Wouldn't they look amazing with the denim shirt?  I'm hoping they will go on sale soon so fingers crossed -- if they don't I might just have to make the splurge anyways because I envision so many outfit ideas when I look at them.

Denim dress || I bought this!  I couldn't help mylsef because it was on serious sale it just looked so pretty when I tried it on and I couldn't resist it.  I think this would look amazing with a navy blazer for the office and some nude flats!

Colorful print dress || I will be the first to admit that I am not one to normally buy Vineyard Vines.  I don't quite like the flashy whale patterns on some things (even though I love the whale logo itself!).   I walked into the store because this dress (I can't find it on the website anymore) called me from afar.  I went in, tried it on, fell in love, looked at the price tag, cried, and left the fitting room.  However, on my way out of the fitting room I saw this dress on a sale rack and knew I had to have it!  Plus, it was on sale so it made the dress normal price.  I am in love and cannot wait to wear it :)

White sneakers || I am in love with my white Converse.  I wear them almost every day in the summer months because they honestly go with everything.  Because I wear them so much they have definitely seen better days.  They are very worn and dirty now.  I saw these new Converse made my Jack Purcell on Atlantic Pacific and loved how they were a little different.  I want to see what they look like in person but I might have to get these and toss my old converse out.

Jack Rogers || A summer staple.  To be honest, I have never owned a pair of Jack's but I think this year might have to be the year.  I just love looking at them and really want a pair and the Platinum color is so pretty and...yeah #swoon.

A sun hat || This is a must for beach trips or lounging by the pool.  Sometimes I find wearing sunglasses to be extremely aggravating while reading a book outside so wide brim hats definitely help.  It definitely took me a while before I was brave enough to wear one of these outside, and it actually still kind of makes me uncomfortable.  Sometimes I just opt for a baseball cap instead but either works wonders!

A large tote bag || This is essential for work as well as trips to the beach.  I would carry a leather tote to work and then a canvas tote to the beach!  I have had my favorite Dooney and Burke cognac leather tote for a little over five years by now and the edges are wearing down.  I might have to replace it soon and I just love the ones from Madewell!

Sunglasses ||  This is one is kind of obvious but we all need a great pair of sunglasses!  Its important to protect your eyes from the harmful UVA and B rays.  I am normally one to just buy cheap ones at Target but they always break on me.  Maybe its time I invest in a more expensive pair that will last like a classic pair of RayBans.

Now that I am home from college I plan on doing more outfit posts so keep your eye out for posts featuring some of the items I listed here!  What are some of your summer fashion staples?


May 5, 2015

Know your elevator story

I meant to write this post a while back after writing my first post about the Own It Summit.  This one targets a more professional / working mantra.  I think the toughest question anyone can ever ask me is "Tell me about yourself."  It is just so vague that I never know where to go with it.  Clearly they don't want to hear my life story but do I tell them what I do at college or what my goals are... where is the middle ground?  After years of interviewing for internships and jobs I wish I could say I had this down pat.  It still trips me up and it still makes me nervous.  I think its the fact that I absolutely hate talking about myself or putting the focus on me.

While at the summit a wonderful woman, Supriya Hobbs, said something that really stuck with me.  She lead a breakout session called "Creating a Story" where she discussed the importance of telling your life through stories.  Its easy to push this aside by thinking it is too obvious and don't we already do this.  And yes, we do this all the time in our lives but that's the point.  Think of how many stories you tell in a single day.  They prove a very vital role in our daily lives.

Now here is the kicker, what is your story?  For every person you run into you have to shape your life in a new way.  Whether it is for an interview as a consultant or at a fashion magazine your story needs to represent you and your goals.  You can use the same story for both interviews but you will frame it differently.  Learning how to do this can be extremely helpful in your life.  

You should be able to comb through your life and create a short, 30 second story about yourself (your elevator story).  If you and the head of a company you dream of working at (for me let's say its Amy Astley the Editor in Chief of Teen Vogue) I need to know how to present myself to her.  I can't let the elevator ride go to waste.  I should have my elevator story ready to introduce myself to Amy.  You can use this elevator story while networking at events or even just in interviews.  

It definitely takes time to get there but I recommend practicing in the mirror or with your friends.  Once you have it down, you can learn how to tweak it on the spot depending on who your talking too.  The key is to have a great first and last line.  Start with an intriguing hook and end with a final line that leaves them wanting more or asking a question.  During delivery, even though its only 30 seconds maintain good eye contact.  Good luck!


May 3, 2015

How to survive finals week

Studying has never been more of a struggle than it is right now.  I know everyone always says they are a procrastinator but I take it to a whole new level.  Seriously I can have you all beat.  It's bad.  My roommate and I joke that if I didn't have a deadline to get things done I probably wouldn't every complete it.  Deadlines help me get my life together.  They give just that push and urgency to wake me up from my Netflix coma and kick me into gear.

Finals in the winter are always so much better.  Its snowing and cold outside so its okay to lock yourself in the library for hours on end.  Finals come Spring semester though are the exact opposite.  Its 70 degrees and sunny outside and all you want to do is go on adventures and move your legs.  You just spent the entire winter cramped up and now its time to be free.  All of a sudden all these great day trips come to mind and the last thing you want is to be stuck in the library for one more week.  And no matter how much you tell yourself you can read that history book while sitting on a bench outside, you can't.

So I have given you a few tips that always work for me on how to survive the death of finals week.  Trust me, it can actually be quite enjoyable if you plan it right.  I did a post last year about study tips for finals week as well if you want to check it out!

Organize || This is my favorite part.  If I could organize everything and then just stop I would be a happy camper.  Organization is half the battle when it comes to studying.  Print all the material off that you think you are going to need.  make a folder for each subject and stick all your notes and readings inside it.  If I took notes in a notebook I will rip them all out, staple the sections, and put them in the folder.  Not only does this take up less space, but its easier to flip through and to take on the go.

Put the computer away || We live in a digital age where our phones and computers are just extensions of our limbs.  But when it comes to finals studying, they are extremely detrimental.  I can easily distract myself on a computer for hours (aka what I am doing right now while writing this post).  There are some websites that will block the use of Facebook or other sites for a few hours so you can focus but I still somehow find a way.  This goes into what I said above about printing everything you may need.  Therefore, when you go the library you don't even have to bring your laptop.  It will feel bizarre but your studying will improve.  Bring those highlighters and post-its and go at it the old fashioned way.  Studying with paper vs staring at a screen has shown to increase test scores.

Change scenery || I cannot study in a library.  Watching people freak out around me causes me anxiety.  I prefer coffee shops or quiet classrooms depending on what I need to study.  If I do want to go to a library, I prefer to go to one that isn't at my school.  If you are in a city go to the public library there because usually its less packed with students and more packed with cute old ladies looking for their next book club book.  My favorite thing is to find a new coffee shop every day.  This way I don't get bored, I get my tea, and I get to walk to get there.

Go outside || By definition finals week is a time where you basically move from bedroom to study location and back.  You get little exercise and your body can start to feel suffocated.  Whatever form of exercise is your favorite, do it!  I know it is taking away from your studying but its better for your health.  It also does wonders to de-stress you.  I just like going for walks to clear my head and jam out to some of my favorite tunes for about half and hour.  Just a little something to help me relax and to take my mind off all the work I have to do. 

Enjoy it || Okay I know this sounds ridiculous but just listen.  Name one other time of the year where you don't have to go to class for an entire week.  Your only responsibility is to study for an exam.  Yes that exam might be worth a lot but all you have to do is study.  This will never happen again in your life.  Go to brunch with your friends or go on a hike.  Not every day has to be committed to studying.  If you plan and organize well at the beginning, you should have plenty of time to do other things.  This is also the last time you will see some of your best friends for a few months so don't let the time go to waste because you are too worried about your exams.  In the end, they are just tests.  Don't let them consume you.

I wish you all good luck on your finals and let me know if you have any other tips!


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