Monday, June 26, 2017

Step Into My Week

Today is the last Monday of my first session of grad school and better yet, it's my last day of field work for this short semester! I am pretty thrilled about that considering I've come to realize that being a preschool teacher is not my calling (I'll stick to kindergarten and above please). I am pretty excited for this session to finish up on Friday but know that there is a lot of work to get done in the meantime with 24 assignments (read:projects) due on Friday, blog posts to schedule, and two finals on Friday as well I can pretty much guarantee I'll be sleeping during my flight to the beach. 

I feel like these step into my week posts have gotten more and more boring as the summer has progressed but school in the summer time is a new concept to me and since each session is only a month long there is a whole lot to fit in. This past week was pretty much the same as other ones in June with class from 9-4, barre at some point, cooking myself dinner, and getting work done. I will be sharing some of my go-to recipes with y'all at some point but if you have any quick and easy dinner recipes definitely let me know because mine tend to lack creativity.



Come Friday after field work I was exhausted so I came back and took a much needed nap before spending a few hours by the pool. If you didn't see my instagram, I read The Defining Decade and actually finished it by the pool on Sunday. I really liked it but won't give away too many details since it may just be a Novels with Nell soon. Friday night I made dinner and did some work at Starbucks since my roommate was out of town again. As lame as it seems to do work on a Friday night it actually feels really nice having some of it accomplished so that Saturday and Sunday can be a bit more enjoyable. Saturday morning I got up and went to barre and then went to the Farmer's Market down town with Sophia. Although it was overcast there were tons of people walking around and it's always fun to explore. I didn't end up getting anything especially since I'll be out of town this weekend but will definitely be going back in the weeks to come. After that I went to Home Goods, At Home, and Target to look at various items for our apartment but all I ended up with was a shower curtain and a swiffer. I had been using just a liner so I am glad to have finally found a curtain that I liked and that fit my shower. 

Saturday afternoon I cleaned our apartment, showered, and ended up falling asleep while watching Grey's Anatomy while it stormed outside. Some friends and I went to Chuy's and ended the night by watching Moana. I don't know how I had completely missed that disney had made another new movie (especially considering I am constantly with children) but it was really cute and is on Netflix currently. Sunday I finished my book and did a lot of work. Maybe this week will have some more exciting things to share with y'all but in the meantime be sure to check out all of the posts that went live last week:


Lastly, if you need a good laugh go follow this instagram. I ended up staying up later than I had planned last night and partially blame it! 

Friday, June 23, 2017

Two Outfits Festive Enough for the Fourth

Only one week til I head home for an extended weekend to celebrate Fourth of July with my family at the beach. It will be here before I know it but I have one more week of this session of grad school to make it through before officially checking out. In the meantime, I'll be thinking about packing up fun and festive clothes perfect for the holiday weekend. With that in mind I figured why not share some outfit ideas with y'all as well. 

When it comes to dressing for holidays, especially the Fourth of July, I find it helpful to pair the colors together in a way that ensures that the the pieces can be worn separately for the rest of the season. Earrings are a great way to add in that color that may be trickier to find in your closet. With the amount of blue and white I own for me, that color was red. 

This first look is a bit more casual and would be perfect for any outdoor events you may have going on. Ever since getting this white one shoulder top (available in blue and white stripe here) I find myself reaching for it all the time. The structure of it is so unique and the length is perfect for a pair of jean shorts. These jean shorts have been my go-to for a while now but I really want to try out this pair (how cute!?). Maybe the fact that I'm from Alabama has me thinking about how this would fair in the heat of the summer but I am pleased to reassure you that handling the heat would be easy in this look. Since this top and pair of shorts is something I'd wear normally on the summer these red drop earrings add the Fourth of July flair I was looking for. 








top (currently on sale here) // shorts // earrings // shoes // watch (c/o) // bracelets ( 1 & 2 )

After some searching I finally found a fun red top to add to my collection. In my organized-by-color closet it kind of sticks out like a sore thumb since it is the only piece of red I own but I'm embracing it! This top also is probably one of the softest things in my closet as well. This second look is perfect for any of your dressier Fourth of July plans and ditch the earrings and you've got a cute dinner outfit at your disposal. I was immediately drawn to the tassels on this top and y'all know I've been loving the off the shoulder silhouette. I love the pop it adds when paired with white jeans and the popover layer on it is a style I love. As for these earrings, how could I not choose them with my love of blue and white? The striped one in the middle is so cute and these became the perfect patriotic piece to complete this outfit! With some everyday jewelry and a good pair of sandals I'm set! 









top // jeans // earrings // shoes // watch (c/o) // bracelets ( 1 & 2 )

Other Festive Favorites: 


Thursday, June 22, 2017

Summer Planning With Lauren James

It is no secret that I love a good planner. To-do lists, scheduling, and having everything together in one place is oh so satisfying to me. My friends will tell you that they didn't know it was possible for one person to have so many planners. I am guilty of wanting to try them all and think I am well on my way to be classified as a planner expert. 


This month I've been trying out a new one that I am excited to share with y'all from Lauren James. Meet the Timeless Planner. You may remember this brand from this post and this one and if you remember how much I loved those tops you can imagine my excitement when I discovered that the brand came out with their own line of paper goods. While the spiraling and size may look familiar to some other planners on the market there were a number of features that this planner had to offer that I had not seen before in my other ones. Before I get into those details I do want to specify a couple of things. This is a planner that I will more than likely use for blogging and social media brainstorming however, for the sake of this post I went ahead and filled out what this week looked like for me since I wanted to show y'all how it could be arranged for academic purposes although I left the month section arranged for blog post topics. 



Features I Really Liked:

The Meal Planner - Now that I am cooking myself every meal (talk about an adjustment) I am loving the meal planner aspect of this planner. Unfortunately I forgot to photograph it but it takes up about half of a page and allows you space to write down what you plan to have for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even a snack each day. Filling this out at the beginning of the week before or after grocery shopping encourages adding a bit of variety to your meals and makes meal prepping easy! 

The Water Tracker - This was a feature that  I didn't expect to love as much as I do. With eight water drops drawn on each day that you can check off or color in you will definitely feel encouraged to get your full 8 cups. 

The Monthly Goals Section - I love setting goals. It kind of goes hand in hand with making to do lists I think. Having a section each month to set any goals you may have is really encouraging and helps to keep them at the forefront of your plans (quite literally). 

The Workout Section - While this is a small area to write down your workout for the day I feel like it is really useful. I feel kind of guilty when I don't have a workout written down for a couple of days so putting it in my planner holds me accountable. If you have super detailed workouts it is unlikely that you'll be able to fit all that you want to do in that box but it is perfect for me to write the time of my barre class in! 

That The Planner Lasts A Full Year No Matter When You Start It - This is really handy. Sometimes it can be such a bummer to get so excited about a planner and then have to wait to start using it. June was my first full month to test it out which isn't a month that planners typically start so this feature was extra helpful for me. 




Features that Took Some Getting Used To: 

Not Having The Dates Written On The Monthly & Weekly Sections - This was a little strange to me at first but completely makes sense given the Timeless features of the planner. On the monthly calendar I had to refer to my phone so I could write the dates into each box. I didn't write the dates on the weekly section since I figured I could refer to the monthly overview. This will take some getting used to but doesn't take long to add in yourself. 

Not Having A Time Slots On Each Day - A number of the other planners I have include time slots from 5:00 to 9:00 each day so this planner having a blank box was almost intimidating at first. I found myself still writing down what I needed to do chronologically in the box and even included times. I think this would be better used as a daily to do list with one or two major things you may have going on written down. 

All in all I really like Lauren James' Timeless Planner. There are three different covers to choose from  and the customizable aspects of this planner allow you to personalize it for your own planning needs which is really cool. I'd love to hear what you think and hope your Thursday is off to a great start.

This post was created in partnership with Lauren James. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Prep In Your Step possible.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Your Guide to Fairhope, Alabama

Happy official first day of summer! With that reality I am bringing you a post I've been excited for for a while. I've been working on it for the past month or so and am ecstatic to have it finally going live. I've never really specified where exactly my hometown is despite being attached to all it has to offer. After sharing my Greenville guide last summer I knew that I needed to do something similar for my hometown. So, drumroll please...here is your complete guide to FAIRHOPE, ALABAMA! 

If you've never heard of Fairhope then I would recommend flipping through Coastal Living or Southern Living next time you're waiting in line at the grocery store. It is a picture-esque small town nestled on the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay and I am so glad to have it as my "home base." So now it's my turn to share all of my favorites with y'all. Warning: after reading this post you may find yourself packing up and planning your trip. You can thank me later! 



I've set up this post up by sharing some of my go-to locations around town, a little about them, and what makes these places worth a stop. From where to stay to keeping up with your fitness after eating your way through town I hope this makes your experience (or even imaginary vacation) in Fairhope that much more fun! 


Places To Stay:

The Grand Hotel - While the Grand Hotel is technically in Point Clear it's a beautiful resort right on the bay. With old live oaks and a beautiful garden it's the epitome of southern charm. Don't miss their Sunday brunch or a dip in the pool (where I grew up going as a child) while you're there! 

Little Point Clear - This is a newer event space with the prettiest rooms to rent. It seems more bed and breakfast-y but much, much more modern! Everything about the building is so inviting with a beachy twist. 

The Hampton Inn Downtown - This is probably the most conveniently located of places to stay during your visit. In the heart of downtown Fairhope you'll be a short walk to all the great restaurants and shops and will only be a few blocks from the Fairhope Pier as well. 







Activities:

Visit the Fairhope Pier - Located pretty close to downtown, this is the perfect place to watch the sun set over the bay or go for a walk. With beaches and a grassy area as well as the long pier I'm not sure it could be a trip to Fairhope without a stop here. 

Wander Around Downtown Fairhope - This will be a no brainer once you continue reading about my favorite shops and restaurants! While downtown is pretty small there is a lot to offer! 

Go On A Bike Ride - The Fairhope Store, located downtown, rents out bikes so you won't even need to worry about bringing your own to bike on the bluffs! With a view of the bay and hopefully a decent breeze this is a great way to take in the sites while staying active. 


Coffee:

The Coffee Loft - The Coffee Loft is my number one pick for Coffee in Fairhope. It's a European style coffee house and is definitely more bohemian than a lot of what Fairhope has to offer but it is so delicious! My go-to is their iced coffee or a #41 with mocha instead of heath which is a frozen blend of coffee. 

Refuge - Another great coffee stop downtown, this is a small coffee shop near the public library. The shop is relatively small but the coffee packs a punch and is delicious. 

Latte Da - Located within a book store, Page and Palette, this is the perfect place to grab some coffee while picking out a new book or meeting a local author.


Breakfast:

Warehouse Bakery - Oh my goodness, Warehouse Bakery has pretty much any breakfast you could want and a bakery case that will have you drooling. My go-to is their breakfast sandwich (on a croissant because it is a bakery after all) with egg, cheese, ham, and avocado. I think I'm going to have to experiment making this on my own! 

Soul Bowlz - If you're looking for a healthier breakfast Soul Bowl has colorful acai bowls and smoothies. 

Sweet Olive - Located within Windmill Market this is a quick place to grab something to go or eat outside before exploring the produce and groceries inside the market. 




Lunch:

Master Joe's - Delicious sushi and hibachi, Master joe's is where Nell picks to go when we are in Fairhope. It is so good although it can get pretty busy but is worth the wait. 

Panini Pete's - If you're as big of a fan of Diner's, Drive Ins, and Dives as my parents (I swear they have a standing date with Guy every Friday night...) then you may have heard of Panini Pete's before. This delicious spot has wonderful paninis, burgers, and home made chips and fries!

Bay Breeze Cafe - With a number of good sandwich spots in Fairhope this happens to be my favorite. I like to get half of a wrap (TBG) and half of a caesar salad and love that they give the option to get a bit of both! 



Dinner:

Camellia Grille - Admittedly, I've never actually been to Camellia Grille it is a crowd favorite if you're looking for a nicer restaurant. 

Pinzones - Pinzones is hard to miss downtown as it tends from one side of a block to another. This Italian restaurant has a cool ambiance with seating in different rooms and even outdoors! 

Sunset Grille - Sunset Grille definitely has the best view of any of the restaurants mentioned. Nestled in a marina with a toast to the sunset each night definitely get a seafood dish of some sort while you're here! I love their fish and chips especially since the chip portion involves sweet potatoes. 

McShary's - This is more of an Irish bar but their menu is pretty delicious as well. Often times they have live music outside and I love their buffalo chicken wrap!







Shopping:

The Fairhope Store - I just know y'all are going to fall in love with Fairhope that you won't be able to leave without a souvenir of some sort. The Fairhope store has the best t-shirts, tumblers, and sweatshirts to serve as a memento of your trip. 

Living Well - Living Well embodies its name. The prettiest store for home decor, furnishing, and gifts  everything in the shop looks as if it came directly from your wish list on pinterest. The owner of the shop lives in my neighborhood and I've babysat for her girls for years so it has been so fun to see this idea become a reality. 

CK Collection - Definitely on the pricy side of shops I like venturing in to CK Collection for a bit of inspiration. If you have an event to dress for this is the place to go with a wonderful shoe and cocktail dress selection. 

Sway - Sway has trendier pieces at a more reasonable price. I've found so many cute tops and dresses worth trying on there and the extensive jewelry selection they have ensures that you'll find the perfect accessories too. 

Sadie's - Sadie's is sort of similar to Sway with some slightly more expensive pieces. If you're in the market for a good pair of jeans this is a good go-to. I also love how they organize a lot of their pieces by color since that's what I do in my own closet. 

7 South - This is a newer store located right next to Sadie's. They have pieces perfect for taking your workout attire to errand attire and all of their pieces look so incredibly soft. From leggings to comfy shorts and tops this is the perfect stop for your athleisure attire. 

Shoefly - Shoefly is a shoe store with lots of great brands and a helpful staff. Between my mother and myself we have a lot of Shoefly shoes. The store also has some unique local jewelry and art hanging around so be sure to stop in! 



Snacks:

Mr. Gene's Beans - You really can't leave Fairhope without stopping at Mr. Gene's Beans for a Fairhope Float. This is the perfect place to get your ice cream fix after realizing just how hot and humid Fairhope can be! 

Frios - Frios is located within Windmill Market and sells a number of delicious flavored popsicles. I've never had a flavor that I disliked and they even give you a holder so that your popsicle doesn't melt all over you. 

Fairhope Chocolate Shoppe - Tucked into Fairhope's French Quarter the Fairhope Chocolate Shoppe is the perfect place to satisfy your sweet tooth. With a number of unique combinations as well as more traditional ones this melt in your mouth chocolate would be the perfect afternoon treat. If you decide to take some with you from the shop be sure to keep it cool otherwise you may end up with some chocolate syrup. 

Andres - Andres has a little bit of everything. It is a wine and cheese store with a restaurant and an incredible bakery case. My personal favorite is their brownies with caramel on top! 





Fitness:

Soul Shine Yoga - While I've never tried this out I have a number of friends who love this yoga studio. The outside area of it is cool and inviting and it is a short walk to Soul Bowlz and Windmill Market if you need something to eat after! 

Pro Cycle and Tri - If my dad isn't at home or at his office I can pretty much guarantee he is at Pro Cycle and Tri with the owners, Katie and Joseph. Hanging out at this bike shop may as well be his part time job. while Pro Cycle and Tri has a number of triathlon and mountain bikes they also have plenty of cruiser bikes (more my speed) and biking accessories. You won't be able to miss their bright blue wall and don't be alarmed by the shop dog, Mr. Frank. He is probably only barking because he is afraid of bikes.

Running Wild - You'll notice that Fairhope is a pretty active community so if you're hoping to partake and go for a walk or run but need some new gear Running Wild can help you with that. With apparel perfect for beating the heat you'll be set to go and they do a wonderful job of recommending athletic shoes for your specific needs.

And to make your life easier, I've put all of my suggestions in one image for you. If you happen to be heading to my sweet little hometown then be sure to print this (or screenshot it) so that you can make the most of your experience! 


So there you have it, some of the many reasons I love my hometown! If you are considering a trip to Fairhope and have any questions don't hesitate to ask as I'd love to be the one to offer you that southern hospitality that you're sure to find on your trip! 

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