5/27/2020

Tips for Incoming Freshman During Quarantine


There is a lot of uncertainty about the coming months, but if you’re anything like me, you’re just trying to take it day by day. I can’t imagine how incoming freshmen are feeling right now, but I do know that you have been given a gift of time. There are a few things I recommend doing during this quarantine to prepare for your fall semester and hopefully build excitement for what should be an exciting time!

Make a headboard for your dorm room
Crafting has been a huge trend during quarantine, so why not work on a project you can enjoy all year? I made my own headboard for my freshman year dorm and junior year sorority house room. You can read my post here.

Shop the sales
I’m all about shopping the sales, and right now there are some you can shop for things you’ll likely need in your dorm room. The Container Store, Target and Pottery Barn have been running consistent sales recently and will likely have more specials throughout the summer. It may help to purchase some necessary items like a laundry bin and desk hutch while everything is still in stock — you get to pick what you like! Here are items from The Container Store I use in my room at school.

Set up labels in your school email
My life would have been much easier freshman year if I had started organizing my inbox earlier! As a college student, you will get a lot of emails. Whether it’s from professors about classes, the university or any organization, you’ll likely want a system to keep everything organized. I know classes have not started and you have not joined any organizations yet, but I recommend going ahead and making labels for the classes you register for now so you’re ready when emails start to flow in on that first week. I like to color code my labels using the same colors as my planner too.

Map out your room
For me, this was one of the most exciting parts about moving in to the dorm! My mom found the dimensions of my dorm room on the university’s housing website. We used that to make a smaller scale drawing and played around with different layouts of my bed, desk, bedside table, rug and cubby storage. This made move-in day much easier knowing where everything was going and that each item I brought had a place. I did this with my junior year room too and it saves so much time and energy of moving things around.

Start deciding which clothes you’d like to bring
This is always the part of the packing process that takes me the longest. You won’t need all your clothes at school and will likely want some new clothes when you get there. It may seem early, but take a look in your closet and maybe start putting things to the side if you don’t think you’ll want it at school. You may even find some clothes that can be donated in the process!

I know this is a challenging time with so much uncertainty, but I hope this gives you a bit of inspiration to build some excitement toward this fall. With some extra time on your hands, hopefully these tasks will make the move to college a bit easier. 

5/20/2020

Monday Mix: Loose Summer Dresses


Posting this week’s Monday Mix on a Wednesday because the days all seem to run together right now, ha! I’ve been in a comfy dress phase recently. As I prepare to spend more time at home this summer, I was hoping to find a summer version of a sweater/leggings look: comfy but still somewhat put together. 

I purchased three out of the four dresses in this mix at some point over the past few weeks and now am excited for the weather to warm up a bit more. I love dresses normally because they’re easy to throw on and wear for so many occasions. These four checked my boxes for cute, comfy and loose-fitting to help feel dressed up with no place to go.

Have you been shopping recently? What are you shopping for?

5/04/2020

Monday Mix: J. Crew Finds


If you haven’t heard, J. Crew sadly filed for bankruptcy this morning. I love J. Crew’s timeless and classic pieces that are versatile for numerous occasions. Their website has some great sale items right now, so today’s Monday Mix is all J. Crew products!

This beautiful dress is a great color for spring and summer. Pair with some nude heels and some statement earrings and you’d be ready for any special occasion. 

This light pink sweater is the perfect pastel color for that transition from winter to spring. I love a turtleneck sweater, and it would be easy to dress up with ankle pants and mules or dress down with jeans and slip-ons.

Headbands are all the rage right now, and I love the pattern on this one. Such an easy way to make second-day hair look nicer!

I’m dreaming of swimsuit weather and a trip to the beach. I love this navy suit with the rickrack detailing. 

If your quarantine wardrobe consists of day and nighttime pajamas, you might want to consider this cute set. I have a similar blue pair and love how lightweight they are.

What are you snagging at J. Crew before they’re gone?

4/30/2020

Mother's Day Gift Ideas



They say time flies when you’re having fun, but I think the same could be said of time during quarantine. It’s hard to believe that it’s almost May, which means Mother’s Day is just around the corner! With a little over a week to find a gift, I wanted to share a few ideas. Some are very quarantine specific but can still be loved beyond these weird times.

Liba Shiatsu Neck and Back Massager Pillow with Heated Balls + Hot and Cold Terapy Neck Wrap: Sitting at a desk at home all day can be hard on the neck and back, and I think we’re all likely carrying around some tension these days. Either of these would be a great gift for helping mom relax a bit!

Nantucket puzzle: Puzzles are a fun way to pass the time during quarantine, or really anytime. These pretty photos turned into puzzles are all of Nantucket and would be fun to do with mom.

Burt’s Bees Hand Cream + Tula Butter Hand and Nail Cream: Anyone else’s hands super dry from constant washing? These creams are timely and nice to have, global pandemic or not.

Evelyn Henson face masks: The future is face masks. These Evelyn Henson masks are pretty and perfect for the summertime.

Face massage roller: I have an ice roller and it’s one of my favorite things. This face massage roller is a step up and helps relieve tension while cooling the skin. Talk about the best of both worlds.

Personalized stationery: These pretty notecards are timeless and always good to have on hand. Love that you can personalize them too!

Acrylic stir sticks: How fun are these stir sticks?! Perfect for quarantine happy hour.

Printed dish towels: I didn’t know dish towels could be so pretty. You also can wrap them around a bottle of wine as a cute wrapping.

Yeti: Yetis are always a great go-to gift. Currently $25 on Amazon!

Monogram zipper wallet: With not many places to go, mom likely doesn’t need her whole purse. Love all the different print choices for this personalized wallet!

What are your suggestions for a great Mother’s Day gift?

4/29/2020

Tips for E-Learning and Working from Home


Anyone else feel like they hit a slump while studying or working from home? I felt pretty productive toward the start of quarantine but hit a slump about two weeks ago. I was not getting much done and found it hard to stay motivated. I like to consider myself a highly motivated person and wanted to get out of this funk ASAP!

I changed my routine a bit and wanted to share what helped me maximize my day better. Obviously, times are crazy right now, so there will be different strokes for different folks. I hope that this may help some of you too!

Schedule your day by hour
At the beginning of the week, I like to schedule out my week and look at the deadlines I have coming up. I schedule chunks of time to work on each assignment, test or even just random to dos. This helps me feel like each hour has a purpose and I can see when my day will end. While my days at school felt very long, I have made my quarantine days closer to 9-5, which opens up my evenings to just chill out with my family or Facetime with friends.

Write a to-do before starting your day
Anyone else love the feeling of crossing things off your to-do list? It’s one of my favorite feelings, and I found that writing these to-do lists helps me feel more accomplished at the end of the day. I write down activities I do daily anyway like replying to emails because I love looking at the list and feeling like it was a productive day. I recommend doing this first thing in the morning to help start on the right foot.

Drink lots of water
I have been drinking much more water at home, partially because refilling my glass gives me a reason to stand up and take a short break every once and a while. Being stationary all day has made me feel super sluggish, but drinking water helps me feel hydrated and not so bleh. It’s a super easy way to help yourself get a little break and keep your body happy.

Schedule breaks
When I map out my days, I make sure to incorporate time for a lunch break or even just stepping away from my computer. Whether its back-to-back Zoom meetings or taking a test, it’s important to step away and give your brain a break! I recommend giving yourself a time limit so that the break doesn’t go too long and you lose your productivity, but I have to admit I’m still working on this myself.

Get dressed
I love my PJ sets and would stay in them all day if it meant my productivity didn’t see a dip. But even just putting on leggings and a sweater help me feel a tad bit more ready to get something done. I totally recommend embracing the quarantine wardrobe, but suggest an outfit that’s a step up from PJs ;).

What are your tips for staying motivated and finding a groove in these weird times?

4/25/2020

Quarantine Pick-Me-Ups


I’m not sure what the situation is where you are, but Illinois extended the stay-at-home order until the end of May. As I prepare for another 30 days of quarantine, there are a few things that have made it easier during this time of uncertainty. I thought I’d share in case you’re looking for a few pick-me-ups too.

Book of the Month
After a ton of recommendations from my friends, I joined the Book of the Month program. It’s essentially a $15 monthly membership and you choose one of the five books they offer each month. They are hard covered books and ship for free! I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to find a book I’d like each month, but they pick a good variety of genres and you can pause or cancel at any time. My first book is scheduled to arrive today, and I have been excitedly checking the shipping updates each day. If you want to try it out, you can use my link to get your first book for only $5! I’m already looking forward to picking out my book for the month of May.

Fresh flowers 
My mom picked up a small pot of pink hydrangeas a few weeks ago and they have been the perfect addition to my desk while I e-learn. It can get a bit mundane sitting at my desk all day because I’m used to running around campus every day and I am not loving the complete switch to being stationary. It may be small, but the pop of pink is a nice change of scenery and a great thing to have in the back of my Zoom meetings ;). 

Blown out hair
Another weird transition for me was going from getting dressed up with my hair and makeup done each day to having no reason to. It felt so odd and like I was on a huge break from school rather than just taking things online. I found that blowing out my hair after I shower helps me feel the tiniest bit more put together, even if I’m putting on leggings and a sweatshirt after. I use the Revlon barrel hair dryer and love it. Gets the job done in 10-15 minutes.

Nancy Myers’ Kitchen Playlist
After about week 3 of working from home and e-learning, I was getting pretty bored with my usual music choices. I found the Nancy Myers’ Kitchen playlist on Spotify and have had it on repeat all week. The playlist has a ton of songs from her movies like “The Parent Trap,” “The Holiday” and “The Intern” to name a few plus other songs that fit the vibe. It’s 16 hours long so it doesn’t feel repetitive and is easy to have on all day.

What has helped you feel a bit better during quarantine?

4/20/2020

Monday Mix: Athleisure for Quarantine


Happy Monday! It’s hard to believe it’s already the start of another week. I’m not sure about you, but I’ve been opting for athleisure during quarantine. I still feel a bit put together, but comfort is key for e-learning and working from home.

Today I’ve picked out a few athleisure pieces I’ve been eyeing recently. Each item is under $30 (woo!) and falls into both the cute and comfy categories. I have a feeling that some more athleisure pieces are in my closet’s future, and these items are at the top of my list.

Are there any athleisure pieces you’ve been eyeing recently?

4/01/2020

Five Book Suggestions for Quarantine


Anyone else have reading on their to do list during quarantine? I finished “Little Fires Everywhere” last week and am currently breezing through “Love at First Like.” I’ve really enjoyed a little extra time during the day to read a few pages and especially love reading before bed.

We still have plenty of time during quarantine to knock out a book or two, so I thought I’d share a few suggestions in case you’re looking for a good read during this downtime. You can find great summaries searching the titles online, so here I’ve linked the books and am just sharing why I liked each. Each is pretty different from the others, so hopefully there’s a little something for everyone. These are all books I’ve read already, and I shared a few books on my to-read list below the suggestions!

The Woman in the Window — This was one of my favorite books I read last summer! It’s a bit of a thriller and kept me turning the pages faster and faster as the book progressed. The ending was definitely a twist, and it’s coming out as a movie starring Amy Adams soon.

Playing with Matches — While none of us are really on vacation right now, this book is a good beach read. It’s lighthearted and very chick flicky. I read the entire book on a flight to California last spring, so definitely an easy and fun novel.

American Wife — If you’re into historical fiction or American history, definitely check this one out. The story is based off former first lady Barbra Bush and her life. This is a bit of a longer book, but I enjoy American history and found it really interesting.

Crazy Rich Asians — I saw the movie before reading the book, but absolutely loved the book when I read it. It’s a bit different than the movie, but still kept me laughing throughout the entire novel. The novel is part of a trilogy, and I highly recommend the sequels as well!

Whisper Network — A review I read before reading said it was like a crossover between “Big Little Lies” and the movie “Working Girl,” and I couldn’t think of a better description. A little bit mystery, a little bit office drama and a little 21st Century girl power. Another book that kept me on the edge of my seat until the end!

As for what’s currently on my to-read list…

 Let me know if you read any of these! Have you already read one—what did you think? What’s on your to-read list?

3/30/2020

Monday Mix: PJs for Quarantine


With spending so much more time at home, my time in PJs has also increased. Whether it’s PJs all day or switching sets between day and night, I love feeling so comfy. I always look forward to putting them on.

After spending more time in PJs the past few weeks, I started looking to add to my collection to change things up. I found these five sets that are all cute and look comfy. Best part —each set is under $30.

Have you purchased any cute PJs for quarantine recently?

3/27/2020

22 Things to Do During Quarantine

What a crazy world out there right now. Last week was my spring break, and it looked quite a bit different than palm trees and sunshine. I’m not sure what your reality for the past week has looked like, but mine has been staying home with my family in social distancing.

UA has put classes online for the rest of the semester and Illinois has closed any businesses that are “non-essential,” so I’m gearing up for some time at home. I have more time on my hands than I know what to do with, so I have been working on a list of activities to do during quarantine. I thought I’d share in case you’re feeling a bit bored, too!



FUN
Read: I haven’t had time for much personal reading at school this semester, so I am enjoying having extra time to read at home! Just finished “Little Fires Everywhere.”

Color: My favorite artist Evelyn Henson made her coloring books free to download! Coloring is such a relaxing activity and is a great brain break from schoolwork.

Catch up on a show: I don’t watch much TV during the school year, so I’ve enjoyed watching a few of the shows on my list while I’ve been home. I’m all caught up on “Little Fires Everywhere” and almost through “The Morning Show,” and recommend both.  What are you watching? Any recommendations that I should add to my list?

Learn a TikTok dance: I won’t say I’m any good at them, but I have appreciated a reason to get up and move around for a bit. With everyone home, it feels like there are more to learn every day.

Participate in the Lilly design challenge: Each day on Instagram, the Lilly Pulitzer print designers have an art theme challenge. Last week themes ranged from butterflies to giraffes. Search #paintingalittlesunshine to check it out!

Call a friend: Thank goodness we’ve been encouraged to social distance during this day and age! I FaceTimed a few friends earlier this week and so enjoyed catching up with them. It feels odd to not spend time with people I used to see each day, so I know more FaceTime calls are in my future so I can “see” my friends. If you are feeling lonely or just missing your daily life, a call can make a big difference.

ORGANIZE
Clean out your camera roll: I have countless repeat pictures and screenshots on my phone that have no use now. The number of pictures on my phone is a bit embarrassing, so I am looking forward to cleaning that up during quarantine. Do you know what you have stored on your phone?

Updating my watch/phone/computer: Anyone else guilty of hitting the “remind me tomorrow” every day that your device reminds you to update? This current situation is a great time to hit "update now".

Unsubscribe from junk mail: If COVID-19 brought anything to my attention, it’s the amount of emails I am subscribed to from various companies. Last week I unsubscribed myself from most of my junk mail, and the feeling since has been 🙌I highly recommend it.

Closet clean out: No better time than quarantine for some spring cleaning! I have been itching to clean out my closet and will definitely have a few boxes for Goodwill when it reopens. With classes, you may want to just work on one drawer or shelf at a time.

Clean your desk: With classes online for the next month or so, having a usable workspace will be important. I’m working to give myself some normalcy by creating a place that is easy to work in with limited distractions. What was your workspace like at school? Did you have a desk or work at a large table at the library? Creating a space that feels familiar and comfortable will make it easier to continue working in this new environment.

Organize your digital desktop: I try my best to keep my computer organized with folders for each class, but it inevitably gets a bit busy sometimes. I will be taking a little time to clean it up. Online classes will take a lot more self-discipline and starting with an organized computer will be so beneficial.

PROFESSIONAL
Shop: My parents will not be thrilled I am suggesting this (oops) but hear me out. There are a ton of good sales going on right now. Find a staple or two from Loft or another store that sells your favorite work attire that might help you build a capsule wardrobe or for an event down the line (that won’t be cancelled). You’ll be glad you bought it at a better price!

Update your resume: You may not need an updated resume as soon as this is all over, but you’ll be glad you have it when you do need it. I'll be checking this off my list soon.

Update your LinkedIn: When was the last time you cleaned up your LinkedIn? After working on that resume, update your LinkedIn while you’re on a roll. 

Build a portfolio website: Where are my fellow PR/marketing majors?! Having a personal portfolio website can be helpful to have your writing and design samples all in one place. Mine took some work and time to put together, so now may be a good time to work on that. 

Organize your inbox: Labels on Gmail were a gamechanger for me. I love organizing by classes, work, extracurriculars and pretty much any facet of life. Here’s a great tutorial. (For an extra project, I like to correspond my labels with the event colors on my Google calendar. Type A, much?)

Start a blog: This may sound like a bigger task, but maybe you’ve always wanted to start one but don’t have the time. Now’s a great time to work on any bigger projects or ideas you may have. When else will we get a reason to stay home for weeks uninterrupted?! If you can't get out to create pictures, I suggest developing a content calendar so you can jump right in when it is safe to go back to different locations.

GOOD
Online workout: As much as I’d love to go outside and walk, I got used to the southern temperatures and am a bit chilly here in the Midwest. I have a feeling an online workout class is in my future. There are a ton on YouTube if you search for the type of workout you’re looking for. For now, I have been trying different exercises aimed at key areas.

Help out The Confetti Foundation: Have you heard of The Confetti Foundation?! It’s an awesome nonprofit that throws birthday parties for children in the hospital. They are currently looking for help cutting banners and always accept homemade birthday cards. Find more info about helping hereI enjoy creating cards and knowing that they are going to brighten someone's day.

Order local: Treat yo’self to dinner delivered and leave a nice tip if you can! That's on tonight's agenda at our house.

Create a schedule: This is something I have yet to start on, but I am not the best at getting to bed at a reasonable hour at school. I am hoping to put myself on a more normal 9-5ish schedule while I am at home to enjoy my evenings.


I'd love to hear what you try and if you have any suggestions for how to creatively fill this time.

3/02/2020

February Favorites



I don't know about you, but for me January seemed to inch by. Then I blinked and February was over. I love the month of February because of all the pinks and reds that come with Valentine's Day. I also especially loved a few other items last month, and I'm excited to share those today.

I had been eyeing this pink drop waist dress all month and picked it up on Friday. It's from my favorite boutique, and I can't wait for the weather to warm up to begin wearing it. I think this style is very flattering, and I love the bright pink color.

While I technically discovered Boom Chicka Pop awhile ago, my favorite snack last month had to be the Sweet Salty version. I cannot put these bags down! I love the flavor, and it has become my go-to snack.

I tried out a new face wash after receiving multiple ads for it, and I am glad I tried it. I used the Differin Daily Deep Cleanser each day this month and saw my skin clear up almost instantly. It has a lotion-like feel which I like, but my skin does dry out after use. If you give it a try, I would recommend following with your daily face moisturizer after cleansing to make sure your skin stays hydrated.

My friend Lauren is my go-to girl for all things beauty, so when I needed a new bronzer she recommended the Physician's Formula Butter Bronzer. I love how evenly it applies and gives a nice overall glow. Plus it smells amazing!

This one is a bit overdue, but my parents gave me an Apple watchband for Christmas. I've received countless compliments since, and the tortoise print goes so well with a variety of outfits. I do not work out frequently, so I like a watchband that is a bit dressier than the athletic band it comes with.

What items did you love last month?

1/26/2020

Valentine's Day Finds Under $30


I’m not sure about you, but January has felt like the longest month. Between the new year, coming back to school and the start of a new semester, I feel as though January has gone on forever.

I am excited that February is just a week away! I love Valentine’s Day and being that much closer to spring and warmer temps. Maybe it’s my love for the color pink, but I always look forward to seeing what fun items stores have for Valentine’s Day each year. I rounded up a few of my favorite Valentine’s finds that I found recently, and all are under $30.

I have been eyeing this heart wreath each time I walk into Target. It would be so cute on a door or window. Heart banners also work well to make your space more festive. I just hung my own heart banner in my room this weekend. Window clings are likely the easiest way to decorate for any holiday, and I love the pop of color they add.  

It’s no secret that I love a cut PJ set, and this heart set is super cute. If you want to make your outfit more festive, these tassel earrings would be perfect. They come in a set with white tassels too and would be great statement earrings to have for the spring. 

If you’re getting together for a Galentine’s Day brunch, this $10 waffle maker would be so fun to have. It’s not evident from the picture, but the waffles are mini. How fun is that?!

Have you seen anything fun for Valentine’s Day this year?

1/20/2020

Tips for Starting the Semester on the Right Foot



Happy spring semester! I’m not sure about you, but for me winter break seemed to fly by. I’m so thankful I was able to go home and enjoy some R&R, but it is nice to be back in a routine here at school.

My big and I were talking last weekend about how it feels good to be on a schedule, but transitioning into a new semester can be challenging. Finding your groove with a new schedule and classes can be unwelcomed change after feeling comfortable and liking the structure of the previous semester.

While I am no means an expert on adjusting to change, there are a few things I’ve picked up over the past few semesters that make going back to class a bit easier.

Get an agenda that works for you.
I use my Day Designer religiously and love how it helps me plan out my days hour by hour. Whether it’s a detailed planner, open space planner or digital calendar, finding what works best for you is key. Using my agenda helps me stay on top of those early deadlines and creates structure in my day by knowing what I needed to accomplish in just one glance. Using it those first few days of classes helps me feel a bit more in control of my day, especially coming from break where I’m not working with deadlines.

Add dates to your agenda ASAP.
Before classes really pick up, I like to sit down with each syllabus and add important dates to my calendar. No one likes the feeling of a deadline or test day sneaking up on them, so this is a great time to map out the semester to plan accordingly. 

Clean your room and do your laundry. 
Perhaps some spring cleaning isn’t the most fun, but starting the semester with a clean room and fresh laundry helps me feel like I’m starting the semester on the right foot. When schoolwork picks up, I’ll prioritize that over cleaning. Taking the time now to do these more time-consuming tasks helps me feel like my life is a bit more put together.

Prep your workspace.
Before school started, I made folders on my computer desktop for each class, added new labels in my email inbox, and put all of last semester’s work in folders with previous semesters. These are quick tasks to complete while watching TV and helped me organize my first few class documents. There’s nothing worse than trying to create a folder to save the syllabus to as the entire class is heading out the door. Creating these folders and labels ahead of time is one less thing on your to do list later.

What are your tips for starting the semester on the right foot?

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