Semester Essentials

 

Transition periods can be unpredictable with new routines and changing schedules. Don’t forget to check in with both your mental and physical health. Maybe you need to add in some more personal time to read a book, mediate with the HeadSpace app, or simply treat yourself to a new product. For me, the semester has been a whirlwind. I’m off to the Grace Hopper Convention in Orlando, Florida this week and wanted to bring some new products along! 

I have some great products to share with you. They’re all linked and described below.

  1. Milani Cosmetic - Matte Charcoal Setting Spray

  2. L’Oreal Paris - Voluminous Lash Paradise™ Mascara

  3. Innisfree - My Real Squeeze Mask & Pore clearing clay mask

  4. Steripod - toothbrush protector, razor protector, & tongue cleaners

  5. Extra Gum - Extra Refreshers

 
 
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Set for Day to Night

The Milani Make it Last Matte Charcoal Setting Spray was incredible. I sprayed it on after applying a heavier set of makeup and my skin didn’t look as oily throughout the night. The smell was a little strong at first but goes away fast. This is an affordable setting spray that works.

Take your Lashes to Paradise

I ran out of mascara a day before receiving L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise™ Mascara. I couldn’t wait to try it and I’ve been obsessed since. My lashes look much fuller with this mascara. This mascara is great for length, but not as good for volume. The brush was also a great shape that allowed for a swift and easy application leaving your lashes looking long and soft. I suggest L’Oreal’s mascara if you’re looking for a non-waterproof, lengthening finish.

My Main Squeeze

Face masks are a great way to end a long, stressful day. With my sensitive skin, I find it slightly more challenging to embrace the face mask life. I was thrilled when I received the Innisfree My Real Squeeze Mask, but also nervous for a breakout. After cleansing and toning, apply it to your face for 10-20 minutes and pat the remaining residue. The mask smells nice and is lightweight, however, the product doesn’t stay on the chin area too well. But, for a girls’ night, these are easy and affordable.

Cleanse with Clay

After knowing that my skin reacted well to the Innisfree My Real Squeeze Mask mask, I was excited to use Innisfree’s Pore Clearing Clay Mask with volcanic clusters. After cleansing, apply the mask to your dry skin and then let it dry for 15-20 minutes and wash it off. This mask claims to help problem skin: congested and enlarged pores, oily skin, rough texture. Depending on your skin type, you can use it up to twice a week. I have no complaints about this mask. There’s no smell and applies easily! Your skin will feel baby soft afterwards. They explain more of the history behind the ingredients here.

Germ Fighter

Steripod’s Clip-On Toothbrush Protector fights against the germs you can’t see. Avoiding germs on your tooth bush is super important. Steripod’s product is easy to take on and off. These are a must have.

Stay Sharp

There is nothing worse than a dull, rusty razor. Using a razor for too long and not storing them properly can result in an unpleasant experience. Fortunately, Steripod’s razor protector can help this issue! My blade stays sharper longer without any rust. Tip: drying off the razor before storing it also increases its lifespan. To read more about the science behind this, checkout their website.

Palette Cleanser

If you’re anything like me, bad breath is a constant paranoia. The Tongue Cleaners have me excited. They are meant to fight bad breath by gently scraping away build up. There’s a slight difference between using this versus the back of your toothbrush. These do their job and have become a staple in my routine. Find more information here.

Give Extra, Get Extra

Extra has always been my go-to gum brand. The Extra Refreshers Spearmint Chewing gum lived up to my expectations. It’s stiff at first, but softens as you chew. You never know when you’ll need a piece, or when someone else will. Plus, I always remember (& love) the Extra ad. It’s all about the little things. Find more here.

 

This is a sponsored post by Campus Trendsetters at HerCampus. More articles can be found here. All reviews and opinions expressed in this post are based on my personal view.

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Picks

 

It's that time of the year again... the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale (!!). You won't want to miss some of their unbeatable deals. The early sale is currently open to Nordstrom card members until July 18. The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is open to the public from July 19- August 5! I've listed some of my must haves below. There's 3 sections: Under $25, Under $50, and Under $100. Hurry to grab your faves before they're gone!

 
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Under $25

Sleepy Lounge Tee || $15.90

Sleepy Lounge Tee || $15.90

This comes in 6 colors: Black, Blue, Coral, Grey, Pink and White

This Sleepy Lounge Tee may be described for lounging, but it's the perfect everyday comfy tee. In 6 colors, wear this under a cardigan or with a scarf and the day is yours!

 
Beadlink Choker Necklace || $22.90

Beadlink Choker Necklace || $22.90

From Madewell, this adorable beadlink choker will take any outfit from 0 to 100. The classy choker should be a staple in every girl's closet.

 
BP. Raw Edge Pocket Tee || $15.90

BP. Raw Edge Pocket Tee || $15.90

5 colors: Red, Black, Ivory Stripe, Olive, and White

It's hard to find a simple, comfortable long sleeve tee. The raw edge neckline adds to the casual feel of this shirt, giving it a little something extra. Pair it with the Madewell choker for a super chic look!

 
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Under $50

Satin Stitch Embroidered Logo Crop Top || $25.90

Satin Stitch Embroidered Logo Crop Top || $25.90

2 colors: White and Blue

The crop look of this Champion logo tee adds a little flare, making it less slouchy to wear with your fave pair of sweats!

 
Adidas Originals Crop Hoodie || 44.90

Adidas Originals Crop Hoodie || 44.90

The stripes make a bold statement in this Adidas Originals crop sweatshirt! Perfect to wear to the gym, class, or a lunch with friends.

 
Wubby Fleece Pullover || $49

Wubby Fleece Pullover || $49

4 colors: Milk, Bordeaux, Charcoal, and Dijon

The Wubby Fleece Pullover is originally $75 from Thread & Supply Company. I adore this brand. It can be pricy, but the items will last forever with unbeatable comfort.

 
Vintage Tassel Scarf || $35.90

Vintage Tassel Scarf || $35.90

Blue Meadow Dream Print

Scarves are the best part about the colder seasons. A stylish accessory for any outfit.

 
BP. Lace Trim Satin Cami || $25.90

BP. Lace Trim Satin Cami || $25.90

2 Patterns: Beige Burch Leopard Dash and Pink Shock Spaced Tea Rose

Cheetah print is either a hit or miss and this one is out of the park. Great under a leather jacket! The Lace Trim Satin Cami is too die for, taking Cheetah to the classy level.

 
Everything's Going to Be Alright Fleece Sweatshirt || $29.90

Everything's Going to Be Alright Fleece Sweatshirt || $29.90

This sweatshirt is from Project Social T. If you're looking for a simple, extra comfy pullover, this is it.

 
Moonlight Short Pajamas|| $35.90

Moonlight Short Pajamas|| $35.90

Comes in 4 colors: Navy Peacoat, Black, Purple Shake, and Purple Thistle Spring Floral

I'm a sucker for a good pajama set. In 4 colors, you'll look cute and feel cozy in this matching pj set!

 
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Under $100

Teddy Bear Faux Fur Jacket || $58.90

Teddy Bear Faux Fur Jacket || $58.90

Teddy Bear Faux Fur jackets are popular for a reason. They are magically soft and this one is super cute!

 
BLANKNYC Suede Miniskirt || $64.90

BLANKNYC Suede Miniskirt || $64.90

2 colors: Coffee Bean and Soft Fog

Suede Miniskirts are a staple. The front zippers here give this skirt some extra flare. Pair with a leather jacket and you're ready for the day or night.

 
Moisture Repair Jumbo Set || $78

Moisture Repair Jumbo Set || $78

This Moroccanoil set is a great savings. The moisture repair jumbo set comes with a brush, hydrating shampoo, conditioner, and moroccan oil. The 3 bottles help my hair stay hydrated, especially during those dry months. You'll notice an immediate difference in the softness of your hair. Plus, the oil lasts a long time!

 
GrandPro Spectator 2.0 Slip-On || $84.90

GrandPro Spectator 2.0 Slip-On || $84.90

3 colors: Black Snake Print/ Leather, Ivory Leather, and Mahogany Rose Nubuck Leather

These are originally $130, so you're saving quite a bit of money with the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. In 3 colors, these GrandPro Spectator Slip-ons will be your new fave shoes. Looking for a comfy pair of shoes? Try Cole Haan

 
Vince Camuto  Kimora Cutout Shield Sandal || $99

Vince Camuto

Kimora Cutout Shield Sandal || $99

3 colors: Wild Mushroom Suede, Shady Grey Suede, and Black Nubuck Leather

I love Vince Camuto because of how well the shoes are made. Stylish and practical... a hard combo to find.

 
 

4 Workout Classes You Need to Try

 

Exercising is one of my favorite activities. The clothing is super cute and I always feel so good afterwards. Although I enjoy going to the gym, I love to mix it up and try different classes. It's fun to be in a room full of people all there achieving the same goal. The loud music gets you hyped and it doesn't feel like your average workout. It can take some time to find the type of classes you prefer, but once you do, I promise you'll be addicted. The hardest part is sometimes finding the motivation to start. That's when it's time to bring in reinforcements! Grab a friend and try a few classes together. Since I love trying new things, I wanted to share the classes I've done and hopefully encourage you to try them too! 

 
 
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Find Your Soul

I'm sure you've heard of SoulCycle or at least the idea of it.

 
 
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"SoulCycle is more than a workout—it’s an experience.

It's a space to come as you are and celebrate who you are; to emerge feeling stronger and inspired. Because moving your body and working your mind changes your Soul."

Soulcycle is indoor cycling and has taken the world by storm. My first  Soulcycle class EVER was in NYC. If you're like me, you know after one class if the class is a right fit. If you're looking for a class with loud jams, an encouraging instructor, and a room full of equally enthusiastic people, then Soul is the place for you. I fell in love! I knew I had to find a studio in the Boston area. Soul doesn't offer memberships, but rather you purchase class packs. I went this past weekend to the Chestnut Hill, MA studio for a Miley themed ride and during it I thought, "I have to blog about Soulcycle to share how amazing it is." 

The first couple of classes can be intimidating, but the instructors are great and will help you get adjusted onto your bike (do not be afraid to ask for help. Nobody knows how to get on the first time). Once the music starts and the instructor begins motivating you, you feel on top of the world. I have an overwhelming feeling of happiness during every ride. One really feels accomplished during the class and experiences a feeling of "I am capable." Following the class, I experience the feeling that I have the mental and physical strength to tackle any obstacles that may come my way. The instructors are so encouraging and seem to really sense when everyone needs the words "yes you can."  When it comes down to it, Soulcycle is just simply mighty and powerful to both the mind and body. Go ahead, give it a try! 

CorePower Yoga

It's important to find balance, in your life and within yourself. This can be achieved at CorePower Yoga—it teaches you how to control your breathing, and find balance, on the yoga mat that you can take into your life. When most people think of yoga, they often think of a slow motion class learning the tree pose.  CorePower takes yoga to another level. The room is heated, and there's different classes with different temperatures. C1 is the first class everyone should start with, especially if you're new to yoga. The room isn't heated and there's no added humidity. During this class you will learn the key fundamentals. C2 is heated between 95-98 degrees with added humidity. Yoga Sculpt adds free weights and takes sequences from C2. Yoga Sculpt is great  when you want cardio and strength-training! The room is 90-93 degrees with no added humidity. Lastly, there is Hot Power Fusion. The room is 98-100 degrees. I personally have not tried this class (yet) because of the high temperature. My friends say the class is great and that because it's a slower pace, the heat doesn't feel as strong.

 
 
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"Inside our yoga fitness studios, something amazing is happening. With this high intensity workout, you’ll push past physical boundaries with an open mind and a beating heart, turning doubt into security, strangers into friends and stress into sweat."

Barry's Bootcamp

Barry's Bootcamp is a high-energy workout that is effective and fun. First things first, I'm not a runner but I have done Barry's a few times. Barry's motto is simple and powerful: "Work (out) hard and be nice to people." This follows suit with their focus on building a strong community. Barry's consists of a workout in one room with alternating muscle focus. You can either start on the treadmill or on the floor. The instructor, alongside her perfectly curated playlist, guides both through a 50 or 60 minute intense workout. Working on the treadmill will have you switching from a warmup to a jog to full on sprints. You'll be instructed to the settings you should have it set for followed by the floor works on strength training with free weights. You can either do 50% floor, 50% treadmill or 100% floor.

 
 
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The concept at Barry's Bootcamp is fantastic. Switching between both weights and running allows for proper rest periods and maximal training. If you are  a member who goes everyday, Barry's does a specific workout for each day as shown below:

 
 
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Even if you don't go everyday, you can plan your workouts around this schedule! This is super beneficial. I loved that it made me run, something I don't normally do, but I prefer to lift weights at my own speed and not feel rushed. I went with someone who loves running, and she swears by Barry's. It is a fantastic way to workout with other people to upbeat music. This one's up to you to try, but I do promise you'll get a GREAT workout.

Everybody Fights

I have always wanted to try boxing. The idea of punching stuff is simply very  appealing. Having boxing be a workout is a bonus! Boxing may look easy, but it definitely isn't. Everybody Fights is empowering. I have only attended one class, but I know I will be back for more. There's different options for classes, but I  chose the class "bags." 

 
 
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"Anything worth having, is worth fighting for."

As I mentioned earlier, I prefer to try new classes with a friend. So when a friend asked me to go with them, of course I said yes! We had a female instructor who was amazing. Since I was new, she pulled me aside in the beginning to review the punches i.e 1 is left jab, 2 is right cross, etc. It's inspiring to have a female instructor and often, more comfortable. The music was bumping and the tv screen had the round length, duration and combination listed. I found this extremely helpful so if you ever forget, the tv is there to remind you. Some sequences were tough for beginners, so she always had two options (again, something I really appreciate). There's also core workouts along the way with a stretching session to end the class. I loved Everybody Fights, and I think everyone should try it at least once.

Conclusion

Overall, SoulCycle and CorePower Yoga have my heart and sweat. I've only been to Everybody Fights once but I still think it's a great workout class! I recommend Barry's Bootcamp for those looking to add interval running into their routine. But In the end, it doesn't matter what classes you choose as long as you find one you love and makes you feel mentally and physically stronger. I hope you get the chance to try these workouts at least once and if you do, or already have, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

 

February Favorites

 

A New Year's Resolution of mine was to increase my daily water intake. After experimenting with different products and apps to help fulfill this resolution, I found a solution I love enough to share: drinking from a stainless steel tumbler with a reusable straw. It's so simple, and yet the biggest game changer. Of course, I had to share it as a one of my February favorites!

I've shared my favorite tumbler below, along with some other February favorites. Let me know what you think!

 
 
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5 Outfits for Valentine's Day

 

Love is in the air with Valentine's Day fast approaching on February 14th!  Whether celebrating the night with your special someone or close friends, the right outfit will make the moment special.  Pink and Red are often difficult colors to pair together, but are fabulous when you do! Below are outfits that I have created which are guaranteed to ensure that you will look amazing this Valentine's Day.

Casual and Subtle

 
 
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This millennial pink is a subtle way to embrace the day of love. Layer with this cozy North Face vest and oversized jacket to stay warm. Wearing a v-neck sweater is the perfect time to wear a simple necklace. These statement earrings pair well with the necklace and the gold in your boots!

1. Baby V necklace

2. Recycled Polyester Sweater

3. The North Face Campshire Vest

4. Marchesa Stone Floater Earrings

5. Anne Klein Kimmie Over the Knee Boot

6. Mile High Super Skinny Jeans LEVI'S®

7. BLANKNYC Faux Fur Anorak

Relaxed

 
 
Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day

 
 

I’m obsessed with these Kelly & Katie Onalee boots. The bow on the side makes a unique statement. The black faux fur jacket balances out the bright pink sweater. Finalize the look with a little pop of gold.

1.Lulus Thera Gold Hoop Earrings

2. Turtleneck Ribbed Sweater

3. Thread and Supply Northy Faux Fur Jacket

4. Mile High Super Skinny Jeans LEVI'S®

5. Kelly & Katie Onalee Boot

Work Day

 
 
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Curate your office apparel to easily transition to after-work plans. I suggest wearing the jacket unzipped, layered over the sweater to make a statement. Pair with these adorable pants and pink heels to be the icon of Valentine’s Day fashion.

1. Pavé Stud Earrings

2. J.Crew Supersoft Yarn V-neck Sweater

3. Lily Pulitzer® Adore Adjustable Slide Bracelet

4. Leith High Waist Belt Pants

5. BLANKNYC Drape Front Faux Suede Jacket (color: Pink Adobe)

6. Kelly & Katie Rosewell Pump

Pretty In Pink

 
 
Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day

 
 

This is my favorite look. Vests are the best way to accessorize a sweater and take your outfit to the next level. I love Thread and Supply (I posted another pullover here). I also like the teddy jacket trend (especially when it’s pink). It goes well with the black LEVI’S and over the knee boots!

1. Geometric Circle Drop Earrings

2. Open-Knit Sweater

3. Thread and Supply Reversible Fleece Lined Quilted Vest

4. Mile High Super Skinny Jeans LEVI'S®

5. UNISA Adivan Over the Knee Boot

6. Urban Outfitters Batwing Teddy Fleece Jacket

Date Night

 
Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day

 

I love this versatile look! The red and pink layers are sophisticated, yet simple and festive for Valentine’s Day. The Bishop + Young Serena red stripe shirt underneath the pink belt cardigan create a classy and romantic feel. This combo is comfortable underneath the Teddy jacket. The layering provides the best opportunity to remove the jacket and still look perfect for your Valentine’s Day date!

I'd love to hear your plans for Valentine's day! No matter what you're doing, I hope these looks inspire you to wear some pink and red and spread some love this Valentine's Day!

1.Hypnotize Gold Earrings

2. Bishop + Young Serena Stripe Ribbed Sweater

3. Belt Cardigan

4. Kettle Block Heel Bootie

5. Mile High Super Skinny Jeans LEVI'S®

6. Urban Outfitters Batwing Teddy Fleece Jacket

 
 
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What To Wear Athletic Guide

 

The popularity of athletic wear has increased in recent years. Stores like TJMaxx are filled with name brand leggings and sport bras. With so many options, it's important to choose a practical outfit that makes you feel great! I have tried so many brands in hopes of finding my favorites.

Aerie sells one of my favorite athletic leggings. What makes them stand out is their focus on matching leggings to activities. The Play leggings are cozy, extra soft, light weight, and very versatile. Whereas Aerie's Move leggings are medium support, thicker than the play leggings, and designed for your sweat sessions.  

I have an easier time finding quality sport bras than leggings. For cycling and yoga, I prefer a high neckline, while for the gym, my preference is a lower neckline.

Below are my favorite Aerie leggings & other name sport bras. They are all cute and you cannot go wrong with anything you choose!

 
 
Athletic Wear

Athletic Wear

 
 

Products

1.Victoria Sport So Strappy Sports Bra

2. Kate Spade New York Scalloped Sports Bra

3. Outdoor Voices Slashback Crop Top

5. Aerie Move Printed 7/8 Leggings

6. Aerie Play High Waisted Pocket Legging

7. Aerie Move High Waisted 7/8 Legging

Finding athletic wear that makes you feel good is so important for working out. It's not something to overlook! What brands do you love to wear when working out?

 

Bullet Journal

 

Bullet journaling combines my love of doodling and need to be more organized. There are so many different page layouts—inspirational quotes, daily reminders, and even habit trackers—you'll never get bored of your journal. Here are the tools I rely on to design my bullet journal (examples shown below) and stay true to my intention:

 
 
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New Year, Improving You

 

Today is the last day of 2018. It's time to reflect on the past 365 days and create resolutions for 2019. There are always a mix of responses when it comes to making resolutions. Some people love them, some people don't make them, and some people just don't think too much about them. I am the first of those three. I love to make resolutions. Not because I see it as a time to become a "new me", but because it is a dedicated occasion to refocus my intentions. The strict dictionary definition of an intention is "a determination to act in a certain way". In terms of oneself, an intention is something you mean to do, whether you pull it off or not. It brings about the act of working towards a goal, while being more forgiving than a resolution. The idea of intention honors effort and process, not just results.

Ideas, goals, and self-improvements don't just happen, you have to make them happen. That's what New Years Resolutions are all about, improving yourself. Take this time to set intentions for the next year, rather than reflecting on some habits from the past. Here are my intentions for 2019!

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Be Active 4 Times a Week

Being active is essential to maintaining a healthy mind and body. Having dedicated time where I can push myself physically refreshes me mentally. Normally, I do either yoga or soul cycle three times a week. Increasing to four days will give me a purpose to go consistently, rather than telling myself "I'm too busy, there's always tomorrow." You can't go from 0 to 100 over night, there's no reason to.

Self-Reflection: Bullet Journal Daily

I LOVE to bullet journal. But this previous semester I found myself skipping a day or two when I knew what homework was planned for the week. But to make sure I'm always on top of things, I want to write in it daily. I intend to utilize the bullet journal to its full capacity beyond a homework tracker: keeping track of the workouts I've accomplished, daily water intake (intention below), and other intentions along the way. Journaling will help to refocus my priorities. Taking time to do what I love is important, even if it is just 10 minutes of journaling.

Drink (more) water

Drinking 64oz of water a day is hard for me to maintain. I'm hoping that by tracking it in my planner and making a conscious effort, it'll be easier for me to stay hydrated. I want to do this to balance my coffee to water intake. Hopefully, I'll stay hydrated and not just caffeinated. Maybe I also slightly, sorta, kinda, blame Loreali Gilmore for allowing me to think running on coffee is a normal and acceptable part of life.

I hope that this post inspired some resolutions for you. I'd love to hear them down below. I'll see you all in 2019!

 

Fit Friend Gift Guide

 
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The countdown to Christmas has reached single digits (!!). Which means that the pressure to finish Christmas shopping is at a max. This gift guide is for the fit friend—the one who manages to always workout despite her 9-5 and hectic schedule. Keeping up the motivation to stay fit can be challenging. These little reminders will help her to remember that her hard work is paying off (& not going unnoticed). This list includes some of the basic essentials to the lil-extra somethings that make her look as fit as she feels. 

1. Water Bottle

2. Ponytail Holders

3. Shoe Dog

4. Art of Tea Matcha Sticks

5. Ring Hero

6. Outdoor Voices Leggings

7. Zella Tech Running Gloves

I hope this gift guide helps you find exactly what you're looking for. Your fit friend will love any of these gifts.  If you need any more ideas as the countdown to Christmas nears 0, take a look at Gift Guide for the Fashionista ,Gift Guide For The Girl You Don't Really Know, or 10 Gifts Under $20. As always, let me know what your excited about most this Christmas!

 

Gift Guide for a Fashionista

 
fashionista

fashionista

 
 

This is the most festive time of the year! With all the holiday parties, baking, and shopping to do, life is very busy. To help make your gifting season a little easier, here is a gift guide for the stylish, trendy, and always put together girl in your life. Hopefully, this will check one of your to-do boxes off the list and make the fashionista merry.

Summer Hoop Earrings

Jagger Hoop Earrings

Kate Spade Cameron Lanyard

Cuffed Beanie

Birds Eye Knit Scarf

Skylar Marquis Stone Choker

YVES SAINT LAURENT Lipstick

Contrasting Knit Sweater

Slip Sleep Mask

Happy shopping! And don't forget to check out 10 Gifts Under $20for some more great gift ideas. 

 

10 Gifts Under $20

 

Setting a price limit for gifts is easy, sticking to it is the hard part. We all want to give people great presents that they will use! To help you this holiday season, here are 10 great gifts that are under $20!

 
 
10 Gifts Under $20

10 Gifts Under $20

 

What To Wear This Winter

 

In the spirit of giving, give yourself the gift of warmth by cozying up this winter. With the first snowfall behind us, and more to come, we all struggle to stay warm. The cold equals layers, layers and more layers! It’s fun to make a warm outfit look cute. Your favorite plain sweater will look great paired with a cardigan and a vest. Plain to stylish in just extra layers? Music to anyone’s ears. Plus, with black Friday fast approaching, here are some must-haves for this winter’s closet.

 
 
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Tea at the Boston Public Library

 

Being from New England, the cold is nothing new. Rather than letting it get in the way of things, you have to embrace it! It’s a great time to attend the events or programs your school is having or find one around the city.

This past weekend I went for tea at the Boston Public Library with my school. First of all, saying “you’re going for tea,” is just as fun to say as it is to do. Secondly, this is a hidden gem that not many people realize exists! Make sure to book a reservation beforehand. It’s easy to do by simply going on their website and filling out your information. They also host events and do group offerings so make sure to check that out!

Located in The Courtyard Restaurant, you walk through the map room café and enter a beautifully decorated large dining area. Even though the café and library are adjacent, the dining area has beautiful lighting fixtures and classy seating arrangements that make you feel as though you’re in a different atmosphere.

 
 
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Once you’re all settled, you get to order your tea! There are so many delicious options that you can’t go wrong. I chose the pumpkin spice chai latte. Much to my surprise, we were served individual teapots filled with our own specific tea. You then place the strainer in your cup and pour! It takes “spilling the tea,” to a whole new level.

 
 

Then, the afternoon tea experience just continued.

For every four people, we shared a three-tiered food server. The first layer consisted of “savory tea sandwiches.” My personal favorite was the roasted Portobello mushroom & herbed goat cheese crostini. But there was also a lemony shrimp salad with fine herbes on brioche, a herbed chicken salad phyllo cup, a smoked salmon, cured onion & capers on pumpernickel, an English cucumber with citrus cream and lastly, prosciutto, fig jam with ricotta salata. The selections were beautifully arranged and exceptionally tasty.

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Who would have thought such fancy foods could be so tasty?

That was only the first tier. The second tier included the Petit Fours, aka desert. There was a pumpkin spiced bundt cake, chocolate Sinclairs, apple crumble tartlet, white chocolate cranberry cookies, and macarons. It’s not possible to choose a favorite. Each macaron had a different flavor but, as a true coffee lover, I went for the coffee macaron. It was incredibly soft, delicious, AND actually tasted like coffee. The bundt cake came with a strawberry on top so I mixed it with the chocolate Sinclair and I’ve never been happier. The Sinclair was like the most delicious piece of fudge imaginable. (My mouth is currently watering).

 
 

Last but not least, the third tier. This was a good palette cleanser. There were two types of scones: plain & currant. There were three types of spreads: blood orange preserves, lemon curd, & Devonshire cream.  I couldn’t say no to the currant scone with blood orange preserves. It was a scrumptious ending to my afternoon tea at the Boston Public Library.

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Afterwards, I finished off the afternoon by getting a library card. I highly recommend taking advantage of this if you have a Boston address. Not only can you use the beautiful BPL facilities, you can also access the library on your e-reader. If you need any book recommendations check out my previous blog post here

I hope you all get to experience afternoon tea at the Boston Public Library at least once. Until then, cheers!

 
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10 Must Read Books

 

Reading for fun can seem like a chore. It's not until I get inspired to pick up a book that I remember how much I love to read! Recently, the top 100 books were chosen through a survey of Americans conducted by PBS, The Great American Read and a polling service. 

In case you need a book recommendation I picked my top 10 from the list!

 
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#1- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

A classic, must read. Lee writes a remarkable tale, set in the 1930s, through the eyes of a coming-of-age young girl. During a time of malicious prejudice, her father, a valiant lawyer, defends a black man unjustly accused of a horrific crime. If you haven’t read it yet, you need to.

#15- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

If you’ve only seen the movie, you have to experience the read itself. Throwing it back to high school English class, the symbolism in this book is noteworthy. The characters are full of life with descriptions that have you picturing it all. Fitzgerald depicts the American dream as only that, just a dream.

#18- 1984 by George Orwell

While we love to watch the lives of celebrities through reality tv, like Keeping Up with the Kardashians, imagine your every move and every thought being watched and controlled by a higher party? In 1984, the nation of Oceania is in a totalitarian state. No free thought. no expression of individuality. No self. Another captivating classic that everyone should read.

#20- Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand has been criticized in the past. However, I have always found her ideas about man and his greatness fascinating. Atlas Shrugged is a long novel divided into three parts. Rand writes about a world approaching a dystopia. It is a thought-provoking piece that makes you rethink the world in which we live. This is a more difficult read, but the meaning behind her work is worth it.

#24- The Stand by Stephen king

A King fan myself, The Stand is set in a post-apocalyptic world triggered by the breakdown of society following the release of a biological weapon. Although his books are long, they keep you engaged and wanting more. This book is divided into three sections, each one filled with action and anticipation. If you want to buy one book that can last you a long time, this is it.

#29- the curious incident of the dog in the night-time by Mark Haddon

This is a wonderful easy read. The story is written for a class assignment by Christopher, a 15-year-old, autistic boy. Throughout the story, Christopher investigates the murder of his neighbor’s poodle. He discovers secrets about his father and reconnected with his mother. The curious incident is a heartwarming story that leaves you with a smile.

#30- The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

The Catcher in the Rye is written differently than any other novel on this list. The story is told from a teenager seeking psychiatric treatment and the grammar is improper. He explains what happens to him last Christmas. As he does, the relationship between the pain of actual experience and feeling one’s feelings is explored.

#32 The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

The Greasers, a gang of boys who are constantly afraid of getting jumped by the Socs. This is another classic, a society separated by class and looks. One gang feels too much, the other not at all. A wonderful and infamous novel.

#70- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Personally, I would rank this classic much higher. It’s hard to combine a good plot with wisdom and life lessons. But that’s exactly why The Alchemist is exceptionally breathtaking. As the main character, Santiago, grows throughout his journey, you will too. The story reveals the importance of listening to our hearts, recognizing life’s paths, and following our dreams.

#92- Looking for Alaska by John Green

Miles is in search of his great perhaps. He tries to find it by attending a new boarding school where he meets a stunning, and mischievous girl, Alaska Young. This story is an emotional turn of events that you won’t want to put it down.

 

Purse Essentials

 

We all have that one go-to bag that makes us feel like Mary Poppins (or a Mom). You practically live out of it. By the end of the day, your shoulder hurts and you wonder why you carry so much stuff! It's easy to sort through it all and think you (and everyone else around you) will need it all. We have ALL been there. Instead, save you and your shoulder by deciding what you actually use on the daily. This post is focusing on the essentials, and essentials only. Here's what I carry in my bag and absolutely recommend!

 
 
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What to Wear to Your First Hot Yoga Class

 

Other than the actual yoga part, what to wear is often the biggest concern when attending your first hot yoga class. The worst feeling is rolling out the mat and thinking you're wearing the totally wrong outfit. Now everyone knows you're new. No worries, we all think about these things. That's why to (hopefully) ease these nerves, here's what to wear to your first hot yoga class!

 
 
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Tips For a Transfer

 

You are brave to transfer. It can be tough going through it, but here are some helpful tips to ease the transition.

Acceptance

Transferring is easier said than done. Despite your blueprints and color coated notes, no preparation can prepare you for that feeling of walking into an unfamiliar dining hall, alone…again. Your mind is screaming at you that this is supposed to be a freshmen problem and you debate whether you’re actually that hungry. This is one of those mental shifts that take time, but is required to accept when starting a new school. It’s okay that this feels like a freshmen problem and seems totally unfair. Let’s face it, it stinks that you have to do this all again. But also, it kinda rocks because you already know how college works! This is the first step to coming to terms with the fact that the first school didn’t work out as planned.It’s ok that the first environment wasn’t the perfect fit but remember it’s not a “you” problem. In hindsight (which they say is 20/20), the “why” doesn’t matter. What matters when transferring is that you needed to make a change for you. In order to cope, I started to (literally) tell myself “Okay, I acknowledge that I feel weird/uncomfy/lonely/a bit crazy, but I CAN’T focus on that. I need to focus on doing ME.” It sounds somewhat silly, but over time, this will help. If you’re thinking of transferring, remind yourself that YOU are NOT the problem.

Takeaway: Accept that the first school didn’t work out but that you were not the problem. This will be hard (it’s supposed to be ).

Lean on your support system

This is the time to lean on your close family and friends. I was fortunate that my sister and some of my friends were attending school in Boston, the city where I transferred to my new college. More times than I would like to admit, I forced myself to reach out. A quick “Hey, I’m having a tough time. Can I hang out with you and your friends this weekend?” quickly turned my weekends around. Remember, if they’re a good friend, they want to know how you’re feeling.

Takeaway: Having to experience all these emotions is exhausting; being able to just breathe is sometimes all it takes to regroup. We all need reassurance at times and your loved ones will be there to give it to you.

Put yourself out there

This is THE tip when transferring. Starting a new school is a do-over. I would shout the college cliché from the rooftops if I could: You can be whoever you want to be. Ask a classmate to hangout, sit with new girls at the dhall, take that exciting class you may like. Most importantly, try new things.Go to a variety of club meetings whether you’re wicked interested or just think you could meet awesome people that way. That was one of things I missed out on at my first school and I wasn’t going to let that happen again.  My first club meeting was for the school magazine, but I wasn’t feeling it, so I tried some more including one that gave me an opportunity to attend a Harvard Women in Business Conference (!!).  They say third times a charm and HerCampus at Simmons turned into one of my best decisions of the year. I thought one of the girls in the club was cool, so I gave it a chance.  BEST. DECISION. EVER. I’ve been able to make incredible friends, get free stuff, and discover that I want to blog. To top it all off, I am now VP of the communications club.

Takeaway: Try new things and meet new people because you will be pleasantly surprised by the outcomes. You won’t like all the new clubs you try or all the new people you meet, but eventually you’ll be in the group text of your ~dreams~. 

For what it’s worth … it’s never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit. Start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.
— Eric Roth

Find a Hobby

Trying new things can be stressful and discouraging. Some days, you will need a you day. The key is to balance that Netflix binge with productivity. We don’t have time to become stressed about wasting time, which inevitably leads to stressing about the fact that you’re stressing. This is supposed to be relaxing. Stressing ≠ self-careYou will want (need) something to distract you from your own thoughts. Yoga & drawing are great outlets. Core Power Yoga (eventually) became the best distraction (once you overcome the fact that downward facing dog isn’t as easy as it looks & child’s pose may be your new BFF). After fully committing yourself, it can become a quiet place that you really enjoy. Drawing is also something to do in your spare time. It produces an end result and you feel accomplished.

Takeaway: You need an outlet (that’s not electrical) to not go crazy. Simple as that. Don’t get down on yourself if your first semester feels way less exciting than everyone else. Sure, your insta game may be lacking in over the top #goals pics but you’ll get there. Overcoming your own imagination of what your life is supposed to look like will be the game changer. All you can do is focus on you and trust me, you made the right decision. There really is no going back so why not just work on moving forward?!