Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Absence

Y'all I am so sorry to say that the next two weeks are an absolute nightmare and school work always must come first. Therefore, blog posts around here may be slim to none for a bit! I hate to have to do this because I have been so pleased with my consistency and post quality these past months but it it midterm and things are CRAZY! I may have a few photo posts for y'all and I really hope you understand my absence!


Lets hope absence makes your heart grow founder! 
See ya soon and if you really miss me check me out on social media!
Until I come out of hiding…

Friday, February 21, 2014

Shop Bando - The Perfect Party Accessories!

I've heard a saying spread around before that states, "life is a gift, that is why it is called present."Although I do not know where that originated from, I have somehow remembered it! With that being said, presents/gifts remind me of parties and I feel like that could be translated as live each day as a party. What makes a party even better is fun decorations and accessories! That is where Shop Bando comes into play! Their products scream fun and festive!

As the sister company of Lifeguard Press they are experienced and of course, perfect for the job of entertaining girly girls who love a little bit of color and sparkle in their lives! Each of their pieces looks like its own little party and can surely accessorize yours! With products ranging from hair accessories to  glitter shoe clips you will surely find something that makes your eyes twinkle!

I recently got one of their fabulous Girl Talk Headbands and precious Frills hair elastics!


While I would probably get some looks by wearing a Hooray headband to class at Furman you can bet that I will be incorporating it into any event possible. Who doesn't love a visual exclamation all the time!


A bit more on the practical side of things are these precious no crease hair elastics that are bright enough to be noticed but calm enough to be worn on an everyday basis! I love the bright colors, sparkles, and patterns on these and have already put them to good use!


Who could deny a motto that says "Have Fun, OK?"



Definitely check out Shop Bando for inexpensive jaw dropping accessories that will surely make a statement!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Class Clothes Lately

Everyone really seems to love outfit posts and outfit of the day pictures however I always forget to do them! Instead, I have been trying to remember to take photos of what I wear to class each day to share with y'all since it it of interest to you! While I genuinely do wish that I remembered to take pictures of my outfits daily I simply do not instinctively think of it!

Below you will get to see some of the outfits I have worn to class in the past month! I haven't "dressed down" for class yet (major accomplishment on this end) and most people at Furman try to dress decently for class! I hope to do these posts more frequently but that will require me remembering to take pictures each day of the week! Also, these are iPhone mirror photos so bear with me on the quality! Also, if you can't tell by this post, I love vests and think that they are the perfect way to add some color to a wintery outfit!


Barbour Coat / White Sweater (similar) / Chevron Scarf (on sale) / Jeans / Tall Socks / Frye Boots / Pearl Headband (not pictured) / Daily Jewelry

 


 




 





White Blouse (similar) / Jeans / The Best Flats Ever / TB Pink Wrap Bracelet / Watch (on sale now) / Gold Monogram Necklace / Long Necklace


Sweater (old) / Ruffle Top (old) / Jeans / TB Flats (the best/most comfortable ever) / Daily Jewelry

Which outfit is your favorite?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Blogging Tips and Advice for New Bloggers

One of the most frequent emails I receive is what advice I have for new and beginner bloggers. Instead of responding individually each time and potentially forgetting some tips I thought it would be beneficial for all if I shared on here some of the tips I have and personally think to be the most useful.

Even if you aren't a beginner maybe you will be able to be reminded of some effective ideas and techniques to use while blogging!

(PS. I do not really have any tips for layout or side apps considering I struggled with that too! Google will be your best friend if you are looking for advice in that department!)


1. Start blogging for yourself not for followers.
I feel like this is one of the biggest mistakes that can be made when starting a blog. Immediately thinking that you are going to be incredibly popular with 100s of followers is a sure fire way to be discouraged by blogging! If you start for yourself you will likely be more consistent and create engaging and interesting posts because of your genuine interest in the subject which will likely cause you to continue blogging based on your personal enjoyment in creating posts.

2. Make it unique, don't steal someone else's name or content.
As a blogger this is the absolute most frustrating thing to see. Personally I spent days trying to think of a clever name for my blog and searching around to make sure that it did not already exist. Seeing people create blogs, instagram, twitters, etc with any spin on the name Prep In Your Step (ie. prep in my step, a little prep in your step etc.) frustrates and discourages me. Seeing someone else take something that you labored over is not reassuring (in all honesty the phrase "imitation is the best form of flattery" is false) and is instead discouraging due to the thought you put into it being taken with no thought behind it at all. The same goes for posts, while it is great to take inspiration from other bloggers (hello, we are all hoping to inspire you) it is not fair to steal direct content whether it be photos or text from them without giving credit where needed. I know this sounds like I am lecturing on plagiarism and I will not deny that! If you feel like something is bordering on copying shoot an email to the blogger or give credit where it is deserved but whatever you do, do not claim something for your own if it is not!

3. Utilize social media.
I have a very strong belief that social media is one of the reasons that my blog is where it is today. I entered the blogging world to have an outlet from homework and soccer and share fun ideas I have with others if they cared to read them. I hit it at a time where people were looking for things and ideas like posts I had and the rest is history but I have since worked to grow some by utilizing social media. Have a pinterest? Link it! Clever on twitter? Share that with your readers? Took an amazing photo of a stylish outfit you wore? Put it on instagram! By reaching people on many different social media platforms you are expanding your potential reader base infinitely! If your images or blog graphics are creative then pin them to pinterest! Pinterest is one of my most highly used means of finding other stellar blogs to follow and it has been the same thing for my blog!

4. Write down ideas as you think of them.
If you are sitting around and suddenly have an epiphany about a fabulous post idea I encourage you to write it down right away! At some point I feel like every blogger goes through a phase when they feel as though they have nothing to talk about. If you have been writing down ideas as you think of them then you now have a wealth of ideas to pull from and be inspired by! I keep a notebook and it is a saving grace to me! I also have amazing friends who I talk about my blog with and they are always awesome about providing feedback and ideas for me to use and brainstorm on! Also, if you are feeling in a slump with no ideas then ask your friends/readers/family for ideas you never know when you may hear of something you've never seen done before! Chances are if you spontaneously think of a blog idea then it is most likely pretty creative so do your best not to loose the idea, write it down, and save it for later! This leads me to…

5. Schedule blog posts in advance and when you have time, be consistent.
This is kind of like 2 tips in 1! As a student I know what it is like to have a limited amount of time and although I love creating blog graphics and posts as study breaks sometimes I am just too swamped! When that happens I am super thankful for the option to schedule posts in advance (that is how this is going up now!). This is where your notepad of great blog post ideas comes in. When you have time or when you are feeling particularly bloggy one day write a few (or 10) of those post ideas up to have for later! This will save you when you are randomly assigned to read a book, research for 2 papers, write bibliographies, finish a paper, and take a test all in one week (aka this week). Now on to the second part of this tip! By having all of these posts saved up from when you were really in the mood to blog you now have the ability to be more consistent! Consistency is key with blogging. By consistency I don't mean that you need to blog daily but instead you need to have an uploading schedule so that your readers can begin to understand what to expect (but hey, you still better be blogging for you!). For me personally at this time I do my very best to have a post up each weekday at 8:30 CST. This is what works for me now but is subject to change at any time and it is unlikely that catastrophe will ensue as long as I am consistent with my upload schedule if it changes! Lately I have been contemplating cutting back on the number of posts just so that my content is seen by more people not because I don't enjoy creating posts (because believe me I do)! I feel like this is a major struggle of bloggers, wanting more people to read each post that you labor over but being too excited to post your next idea to hold out on posting it!

6. Use good quality photographs, preferably your own.
I am well aware that not everyone has access to a fancy camera or even a digital camera to take good photos with. If you fall into that category by no means have that stop you from creating a blog! However, I find that people are more drawn to my posts if my photos quality is better! I too am totally guilty of finding photos on pinterest and posting them on here and if you are inspired by them go for it, that is great but throwing in photos of your own is one of the best ways to capture your audiences attention (and it would be great to share on social media, tip 3 as well as being unique, tip 2). Also, bonus tip, try to include at least one image in every post! That will be the reason people click on the post but the content will surely invite them to stay!

7. Share your advice and open up to readers.
Hmmm, I wonder if this post falls into this category… Kidding, but honestly your readers will think more highly of you if you are relatable in some sense and often the best way to do that is to share your advice and experiences with them and be willing to communicate with them. Why do you think I share details about my life? First, so that I will be able to look back on all of this and secondly because I want y'all to see me as a human being that can relate to all of your emotions and perhaps help and share in any way possible!

8.Welcome feedback and connect with your readers.
Kind of ironic that I am saying that considering I am terrible about getting around to responding to emails (SORRY!). Respond to comments, be active on twitter and tweet back, appreciate feedback, all of this will make your entire experience more worthwhile!

Whew, did you make it?
I really really hope that many of y'all found this helpful since this post has been a labor of love and over 2 years of learning and growing with Prep In Your Step to make it!

I would really appreciate hearing what you think about my tips and would graciously allow any other tips people may have to be posted in the comments!


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Spring Favorites from Lilly Pulitzer

A few weeks ago Lilly Pulitzer released their new Spring line! I found myself gravitating to the items with the brightest prints and fortunately this collection has lots of those prints! I am also a huge fan of Lilly Pulitzer bringing back some of everyones favorite prints featured on their "Elsas of the Month."

Check out which items are on my lust list below!


The Robyn Short Sleeve Dress  (top left): I adore this dress! The print is so fun and it could easily be dressed up or down and looks as though it could be worn spring-fall! Under $100 this dress is an absolute must!

Murfee Scarf in Pop Pink Southern Charm (top middle): Such a fun bright pop of color that could be paired with a sweater now or chinos and a t-shirt come spring and summer! I've found that all Murfee scarves are pretty versatile and you can surely find ways to wear these year round!

Eaton Shift Dress (top right): Not only is the print fabulous but I love the cut and the detail on the bottom! This dress is definitely more geared and targeted towards college and high school aged girls due to its lower neckline and shorter hem but it would be such a fun one to wear to formals!

Callahan Shorts (middle): Callahan shorts in fun prints are such a staple in my wardrobe! It is so effortless to throw on a pair of these and a simple v-neck for the perfect spring time look! You know that is what I'll be wearing all spring and summer!

Hotty Pink First Elsa (bottom left): I have one Elsa top and am eager to get a few more! These are awesome to throw on with just about anything blue jeans, shorts, skirts, or white jeans! Everyone had a fit when this print was first released and Lilly was smart to bring it back especially in an Elsa. It is a definite win win for everyone!

Shorely Blue Sunnyside Riley Infinity Loop (bottom middle): Infinity scarves are such an easy addition and especially this light weight one! This print is super cute too, if you haven't seen my dorm room then you probably don't now how partial to light blue and light green I am!

Bright Navy Tusk In Sun Elsa (bottom right): Another fabulous Elsa, if you need any more reason to buy this then peak at my reasons listed for purchasing the Hotty Pink First Elsa!

What are your favorite new Lilly pieces?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Monogram Monday with Marley Lilly's Flash Sale

Happy Monogram Monday friends! Didn't know that was a thing? Now you have an excuse to break out your favorite monogrammed items every Monday (although we are all aware that you don't need an excuse to wear monograms). 

Want to know what can make your first monogram Monday even better, a flash sale from Marley Lilly of course! And tonight they are even including their 'Merican Made Spirit Jersey + a free gift with purchase!

The flash sale lasts until Midnight tonight so do not hesitate to purchase your favorite pieces!
I personally have the 'Merican Made Spirit Jersey and what makes this one so unique is that you can get your monogram on the front which I haven't seen on any other spirit jerseys!

Honestly, I find myself lounging in mine far too frequently but how could you not want to when something is so comfortable and still cute! You can even dress it up a bit by ditching your leggings and tennis shoes and instead throwing on jeans, riding boots, and even a fun vest! It is even perfect to throw on over a short sleeve t-shirt as a lightweight jacket!

 


 

Have an American themed party coming up? This would the perfect comfortable and cute shirt to wear to it or any patriotic occasion! I have mine in a medium so that it is plenty oversized and my monogram is in the Interlocking font and I love the way it looks! Want one? Go get it now while it is on sale

Also, check out all of Marley Lilly's fun pieces and find me on their blog The Monogrammed Life with tons of fabulous other bloggers!

Happy Monogram (Merica) Monday!

(Be sure to say you heard about this from me! Put my blog name in the "Where did you hear about us?" box!)

Friday, February 14, 2014

PJ Salvage

*HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!"

I'm sure it comes as no surprise to y'all that I am a lover of pajamas, especially matching ones (see post here)! Recently, I discovered an adorable new site to fuel my pajama loving obsession, enter PJ Salvage.

I have a pair of pajamas from PJ Salvage and they are the softest pair of pajamas I own! They are made of super soft cotton with a really comfortable elastic waist band that allows optimal comfort while lounging around!

Check out some of my favorite sets they have to offer at the moment...


Another great thing about this site is that they offer majority of the sets in separates as well and if you aren't a fan of pj pants then be sure to check out their shorts options as well!

Which are your favorite?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Dressing for Winter in the South

Thank goodness I attend college in the South, I am not sure I could dress for enough warmth that Northern weather would require! For me, Furman is more Northern than my hometown so the temperature is slightly different during the seasons, which I now get all four of!

Here is my winter wear for chilly Southern days!

  


 


  



   

For me personally, layering is what works best!

I start with a basic oxford and put a heavy cable knit sweater on over it! Jeans are always a must for me and I tuck them into some cozy camp socks and throw on my L.L. Bean Duck Boots. To make sure I stay extra warm I throw on my Barbour jacket! For even more warmth I put on one of my favorite J.Crew vests, a scarf, and some mittens of gloves!

| Barbour: Pink Bee West End (mine is the beadnell in sage and I wear it at least 4 times a week) | Sweater: Forever 21 and another awesome F21 option (goes with absolutely everything and wear it far too often, definitely recommend) | Button Down: J.Crew Factory | Jeans: Banana Republic | Socks: Camp socks from J.Crew | Boots: L.L. Bean 8 inch brown on brown | Daily Jewelry: see post here |


How to Dress for Winter in the South

Other favorites for layering!



How do you dress for winter in your area?
And happy second snow day here at Furman!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Snow Day Photos

Exactly two weeks ago I experienced my first snow day of college! Today I am lucky enough to have another snow day so in honor of that I am sharing some pictures from our last one!

We definitely enjoyed our first one and hopefully this one is even better! This is expected to be a crazy storm with up to a foot of snow so keep your fingers crossed for me!

Anxiously awaiting the snow!

Furman with some snow, this was before it got really snow covered. It looks magical!



 




 

Pardon all of the "gang signs" as my dad would call them this was the week after bid day so we were a little "gang sign" happy!


 






 

 

 



So much love for these sweet friends and winter days with them! 


Keep your fingers crossed for lots of snow and multiple snow days!

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