Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Exciting Announcement: Check Out My Pottery Barn Dorm Catalogue Feature

So, I've been keeping a secret from y'all and now is officially the time to let the cat out of the bag. Blogging has led me to some really amazing opportunities but so far this is the highlight! Back in May I was contacted by a member Pbteen's social media marketing team asking if I was interested in being featured in their dorm catalogue to be released this summer. I distinctly remember that I was in the library studying for my Environmental Science final and it took all I had not too squeal when opening my email during that study break. Thank goodness in the email I was reassured that no this email was not an accident or typo because otherwise I would have sat in utter disbelief. I immediately responded to the email with an absolute YES and hurried outside to call my mom and dad and tell them the exciting news. 

I remember as a child sitting at our kitchen island whenever the newest pottery barn kids (or as I got older, teen) catalogue came in the mail, flagging pages of all the products I would love to redesign my room with. Although it was always imaginative it's probably a good thing my parents never allowed that to happen since once I was finished nearly every page was dog-eared with at least one item circled per page. 


It took all of my willpower to not spill this excitement on social media before it was released although I did hint at it a few times. Well, Sunday I saw the feature in person for the first time! For whatever reason the catalogue never came in the mail to my house so my mom and I ventured to the Pottery Barn store near us and were determined to get our hands on the catalogue for ourselves. The ladies in the store were probably so confused as to why we took about 5 copies a piece. I was super grateful that so many of y'all sent me pictures of the feature but there is just something about having it in person that makes it that much more real. 

They had asked me to put in my "expert advice" in regards to a dorm photo they styled and 3 other bloggers were featured as "experts" in the catalogue as well. The dorm room I focused on was filled to the brim with greek letters, preppy prints, and all things navy. What could be a more perfect design for me? While I don't think y'all want me to quote myself word for word (that would be a bit conceded) from the catalogue if you're interested in my commentary check out page 15 of the newest PB dorm catalogue. 


 Let me know if you've seen it, I would love to hear what you thought! And thanks for sticking around and reading Prep In Your Step. If it weren't for y'alls constant support this opportunity wouldn't have presented itself to me! 

Monday, June 29, 2015

A Day In My Life - Summer Edition

Y'all really seem to love when I do more personal posts on the blog and I love that it is a way for y'all to get to know me a bit better. I have done a "Day In My Life" post once before back at the beginning of this past school year and y'all seemed to like that so I thought it could be fun sharing a summer version. While a lot of people crave the care free ability to have no schedule in the summer I've always done so much better with a bit of routine. While there is a lot of flexibility in my summer schedule each day tends to progress in the same manner.

photograph via

This summer I am working as a nanny for a family in my area who have three kids. Y'all I wish I had a video camera following me around daily because the conversations I have with them are hysterical and I know y'all would be so entertained. They have been so much fun and will surely have me laughing all summer long not to mention that this is the perfect summer job for me since it still provides me with plenty of time to blog and create fun content for y'all! Definitely a best of both worlds since I am able to hang out with kiddos I adore and blog all summer long. 

As for my schedule with them it tends to vary and our activities are always changing. When nannying I am driving to and from swim lessons, dinosaur camp, tennis lessons, the pool, the library, the park, and their house depending on what we want to do on specific days so I didn't go hour by hour when I am with them since there is no typical day (one of the reasons it's so fun to work with kids). 

illustrations via my favorite print artist!

Are y'all like me with a love of routine or do y'all like to keep your summer schedule free?
I'd love to know! Happy Monday!

Friday, June 26, 2015

London Favorites : What to do in London

I know, I know y'all are probably tired of hearing me gush about my trip to Paris and London to kick off the summer. Well, sadly for me (and maybe fortunately for you) those posts are winding down. London was the last place we went while on our trip and sadly we only spent 4 days there. Even more sadly, each morning from 8:30 until 12:00 we were stuck in starbucks listening to each persons 20 minute project presentation. In retrospect this was poor planning on the teachers part (this was the first year this specific trip was done so now they know) as we didn't end up with much time to see and explore London. I left London disappointed that I hadn't seen any sights or monuments but that of course gives me the perfect excuse to go back.

Keep in mind the limited time and tight schedule which limited our explorations to classically british sights. With that being said I was able to do some fun things with the limited free time I had and because of that I have a few recommendations for y'all. If you are planning a trip to London any time soon please plan your trip so that you can see plenty of touristy attractions and sprinkle in my recommendations for a more well balanced trip.

FOOD:



- Sketch Tea Room - It is said that this is the most instagrammed tea room in London. I had seen Sketch as a recommendation from another blog and another girl on the trip also saw that it was a fun and girly tea room to visit while in London so we knew we had to make a trip. With multiple different rooms that are all themed we were lucky enough to reserve our spot in the precious pink gallery that made all of us feel like more mature versions of Eloise. While it is a bit pricey the tea was yummy as were all the tea sandwiches and sweets brought out on the cutest black and white china. I was tempted to sneak the tea pot out of the restaurant because it was just that cute! Also, while you're there you must take a trip to their bathroom which I know seems bizarre but the toilets are in little white pods that look like eggs.


-Ffionas - One of the best brunches I have ever had. This restaurant is absolutely adorable with even better service. Ffiona herself took our order and sat with us to chat a bit while we devoured our delicious meals. Super reasonably priced entrees (I got the French toast, amazing), sides for about a pound, and an array of freshly squeezed juices and coffees to complete your meal. I will recommend this to everyone heading to London as I am already ready to go back just to sit in this restaurant and enjoy its blue and white decor. There aren't too many tables so if you don't want to wait then call to make a reservation. 


 - Fish & Chip Shop - Fish and chips are a staple in London and this was a great place to enjoy them. I ordered the fish as they traditionally cooked it and my chips as truffle chips. Both were perfectly battered and fried and I was sure to save room for dessert. I ordered a toffee chocolate pudding dish that had brownies and ice cream in it, so good! 


- Gelupo - Supposedly the best gelato in London (as claimed by one of our teachers) and I would have to agree. I had a chocolate hazelnut and cinnamon combination that left my tastebuds spinning. They had so many unique flavors to choose from and we all left wanting more.

- Granger & Co - Ok, so I didn't actually go to this restaurant but I've heard so many people rave about it that I just had to include it! 

SHOPPING:


- Liberty London - A must see department store in London. Bright and fun floral prints on just about everything in this old Tudor styled building. I left with tons of great gifts for my friends and family (and myself). They also carry loads of other brands with rooms filled with everything from fabric to makeup and home decor to shoes and clothes. 


- Scribbler - The cutest stationery stores in London. These are scattered all over the city and I wanted to find an excuse to buy every single one of these cards! 

SEE:


- High Society - A hysterical broadway type show focusing on family dynamics and marriage with plenty of music mixed in. We were all laughing throughout the entire performance with its wit and sets! The stage is so unique as it is in the center with seats all around. Definitely go see this show! 


- Notting Hill - My love for color isn't news to most of y'all and the doors and houses in this area had me gushing with their rainbow like exteriors. I was about ready to move into almost all of these houses and I couldn't help but think that Annie and Hallie were about to pop out of some of them (parent trap anyone?).

What were your favorite places to go in London?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Paris Favorites : What to do in Paris

So as I am sure most of y'all know, I was fortunate enough to get to spend two weeks in Paris at the beginning of this summer. What a treat it was! I had an incredible time and am already wishing I were back. All of those fabulous adjectives you've heard to describe Paris are 110% true and the city is an absolute must see if you're planning any sort of European excursion.


Being able to spend two weeks in any place is such an awesome experience and allowed me to really discover and get a feel for Paris. While I am never ready to leave when it is time to check your bags and hop on a plane I left Paris feeling confident in how to navigate it and content that I was able to see and experience so many amazing sites.  For my own memories and reference to anyone who may be fortunate to be heading to the City of Lights some time soon (please pack me away in your carry on) I have decided to put together a city guide of my favorite places I visited in Paris. While I wish I could say that I am an expert and could confidently plan out your future vacation since I've seen so much of the city I know that there are still hidden gems and areas that I was not able to visit on this trip that are just as noteworthy! That just gives me an excuse to go back, right?


FOOD:

Of course I have to start with what is most important, right? French cuisine is taken very seriously and so meals were always something to get excited about! Between endless crepes, macarons, ham and cheese (would you like that via quiche, sandwich, or crepe) going hungry wasn't exactly an option. Here are some of my food favorites including restaurants and places for sweet treats. Unfortunately I never did a really fancy 3 course Parisian meal but when I go back you know that will be at the top of my list! 

sweet treats 


 


- Angelina's - You absolutely must get their hot chocolate while in Paris. Their original location has the most beautiful decor and is worth the visit although you can find other smaller Angelina's set up at Versailles and other locations around the city. They also have delicious macarons and other pastries that are as pretty to look at as they are to eat.


-Berthillon - Arguably the best ice cream in Paris. Their flavors are very rich and distinct and be sure to grab plenty of napkins in you get a cone as we ended up with ice cream all over our faces. Yes, it is that good. I tried the traditional chocolate and salted caramel both of which I would recommend. 

-Cafe Pouchkine - Think gold dusted pastries that melt in your mouth and that is what Cafe Pouchkine has for you to indulge in. We just happened upon it and grabbed a few macarons (so delicious) and their chocolate caramel truffles and made it a point to go back for more.

- Laduree - What could be more French? Although the line can seem long (it moves fast I promise) visiting their stores throughout the city are a treat in and of themselves! With beautiful pastel decor and the biggest variety of flavors for macarons you can't go wrong with a trip to Laduree. Also, the Champs Elysee location has a bar that serves macaron cocktails which looked like such a fun experience although we didn't try them out.

real meals 
-Le Caveau de L'Isle - Great Prix Fix (price set) meal option! I had Onion soup and Salmon with Green Beans!

- Le Petite Prince Cafe - Another great Prix Fix dinner choice in a neat area. The restaurant is in an alley near other pretty restaurants and gave us the chance to explore another arrondissement.


-Welcome Cafe - Along the Rue de Rivoli and right down the street from Angelina this was the perfect sophisticated lunch spot to fill up to buffer our bodies from all the sugar we were preparing to consume. I had a delicious French (in Paris they obviously leave out the French in the name) Onion Soup and Chicken dish while visiting.


-Esmeralda - Ok, so this cafe isn't necessarily all that much tastier than other cafes you see scattered about the city but with an incredible location (right behind Notre Dame) and the cutest decor it was a winner in my book!

PLACES:

museums




- Louis Vuitton Museum - Nope this isn't what you think! This is an incredible impressionist and modern art museum (with only 2 LVs to be seen). I loved exploring this museum, viewing recognizable art (think The Scream painting among others), and getting the chance to wander the surrounding area which contains the most amazing park!


- Picasso Museum - So much less crowded than other museums of its kind with art work spread out in the spacious building. I love that it was easy to maneuver and I find Picasso's work fascinating!


- Musee d'Orsay - Incredible architecture as this museum used to be an old train station (think Grand Central Station-esque). I most enjoyed my time on the fifth floor (impressionist with Monet's water lilies) and the 2nd floor. It is a pretty good museum so if you are aiming to see it all then be sure to carve out a big chunk of time. Also, we got the audio tours here which was kind of a waste since most pieces didn't offer an audio explanation. 

gardens



-the gardens at Versailles - I would almost skip the insanely crowded house and go straight to the Gardens. So much to see due to the monstrosity of its size with many fun activities (wooden boats, trains, zoo, and restaurants) scattered about. Be sure to go on a pretty day to fully take it in and put on comfortable walking shoes so that you're able to explore without blisters.


-Monet's house and gardens in Giverny - One of my favorite things I did on the trip although this is a train ride outside of Paris. Monet's gardens are magnificent and the surrounding area (Giverny) gives the French countryside village feel without having to travel too far. If you're going to see the gardens try to get there as early as possible since there will be fewer tourists in the background of your bound to be breathtaking photos.


-jardin des Tuileries - I spent a very brief time strolling through but loved the serene feel this park gave while still in the middle of the city. Grab a sandwich and pastry to make your own picnic as a break from wandering through. 

monuments


 

-Eiffel Tower - You're in Paris, you must see this! We went up to the top as the sun was setting and it was such a cool way to take in the city. Be sure to watch it sparkle at night for 5 minutes at the first of every hour from 10:00 on.

-Notre Dame- One of the highlights of my trip was climbing to the top for the views of the city. With such a rich history and located in a wonderful area I found myself back by Notre Dame quite frequently.


-Seine River Cruise- Not exactly a monument but a fabulous way to get a new perspective on the city and monuments you've already been able to enjoy. Most depart from docks near the Eiffel Tour! 

SHOPPING:
In the Fashion capital of the world you couldn't expect me to leave before getting plenty of shopping in, right? Even if you're just browsing the store fronts are fabulous and will make you wish that you came with a bigger budget.

cooking



-E.Dehillerin - Julia Child's favorite cooking store. If you love to cook and bake like me this warehouse style shop is worth a walk through even if it is to just lust over their beautiful copper pots. I purchased one while there and it is already receiving plenty of use!

books



-Shakespeare and Company - Arguably the best bookstore in the world gaining its fame from inspiring so many timeless authors. I was reading A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway while in Paris and this was Hemingway's favorite. Knowing the history before following the crowds in makes the experience more special.

high end

-Galeries Lafayett - Five floors of French fashion that is worth just mindlessly wandering through. The architecture in this building is so unique and is a great place to go if you're looking for something from a variety of different designers.
-Champs Elysee - Contrary to popular belief, the Champs Elysee doesn't really have that much high in shopping but the streets that peel off of it do so that is why I am categorizing it in this way. From Chanel to Hermes and Cartier to Louis Vuitton prepare to pick your jaw up off of the ground at the site of these goods and their price tags! 

smaller boutiques

-the Marais area - This area of the city has an excellent selection of smaller Parisian boutiques!

-any stationery store - As a lover of pretty paper goods I could not pass up popping in 

I am honestly shocked that I got through writing this post without spontaneously booking a flight to go back. So are you already planing a trip? If you've already been what would you add to your favorites list?

Other Parisian posts:

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Turn Over A New Leaf With This Summer Heat







ROMPER: old navy | WRAP BRACELET: tory burch | SANDALS: target | NECKLACE: kendra scott | BRACELETS: david yurman (1 & 2

I had almost forgotten how much fun it can be to dress for the summer heat and now that sumer has officially begun its time to spruce up your wardrobe. (Too many hidden leaf and garden puns thus far? Oops!). Typically I am at camp and live in workout tops and nike shorts but with being at home this summer I am finally able to rotate back through my summer favorites since I've been dressing in regular clothes each day. Some mornings I am not feeling quite as encouraged to put together an outfit (since lets be honest the 5, 6, and 9 year old I nanny for couldn't care less) and instead I toss on an easy summer dress or my new favorite, this romper! I've always been pretty hesitant when it comes to rompers since so often they seem to run short but I went into Old Navy last week and tried on this fabulous palm print piece and was instantly convinced that I needed it. 

At under $25 I walked triumphantly to the cash register and immediately started to think of how I could style it to add my own personal touches to it. Fortunately since it is already one piece (talk about easy when getting dressed in the morning) all it needed was a bit of jewelry and some of my favorite brown sandals to "make" the outfit. While this is a bit more adventurous than my typical ensembles I think summer is the perfect time to break out of your shell and rotate in some bolder pieces. I know I'll be adding a few more rompers to my closet since they are the perfect flowy pieces with thin straps to beat the summer hear while still looking relatively put together no matter where you're going! 

Check out some of my other favorite romper picks from this post!
PS. Shopbop just put their sale on sale and it is more than worth shopping since they have so many great pieces marked a substantial amount off of their original price! 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Fourth of July Outfit Inspiration

The Fourth of July definitely falls pretty high on my list of favorite holidays! I honestly don't think I have ever been at my house for the holiday which may be one of the reasons I find it so fun. The past 5 or so years I have been celebrating the holiday at camp and before that we always go to my grandparents beach house to celebrate with our family. From fireworks to good food and plenty of time on the water I am excited to be able to celebrate the holiday with my family this summer although I will miss the temporary tattoo, face paint, and snow cones that a Fourth of July at camp has to offer.

Since I won't be spending the day corralling campers and decking out to theme in silly clothes and accessories I put together some outfit ideas that are patriotic but still practical. Mixing and matching red, white, and blue pieces ensures that you can still wear the individual pieces of clothing more than once but I couldn't help but include some other pieces that just scream Fourth of July. Since you still have about two weeks until the holiday there is plenty of time for all of these pieces to arrive at your door step pre firework celebrations! 


popsicle tank (my personal favorite) // american flag jacks // red & white sail to sable
nautical flag dress // red scalloped flats // tassel bracelet (comes in more colors for $10) // espadrilles 

As childish as it may look I am loving that white popsicle tank and would love to throw that on with some red or navy flowy shorts for my Fourth of July outfit (although it would look precious with that navy scalloped skort). Even if you already have the perfect pieces for the occasion adding some new fun accessories would be the perfect way to spruce up your ensemble. 

Which would you want to wear for the Fourth?

Shop the pieces above as well as some other red, white, and blue favorites below by clicking directly on the image! 


Monday, June 22, 2015

Lush Summer Lashes with Physicians Formula

So soon after sharing my latest makeup favorites with y'all I have a new favorite to add to my beauty bag arsenal! Mascara is definitely what I spend the longest time applying when doing my makeup as I love it when my lashes look long and thick. Makeup usually only takes me five minutes to apply and in the summer I like to keep it simple. If I can find a product that enhances one part of my face then oftentimes I skip some of the other steps and that is what Physicians Formula their Eye Booster Instant Lash Extension Kit has done!


I've never felt a need to wear false lashes and they seem like such a hassle (and I am always terrified someone is going to pull off their real eye lashes when taking them off) but there are times  where I wish my lashes had a bit more definition. This product is the first do it yourself lash extension kit that brings life changing results and instant lash glam according to the company and I can't say that I disagree. 

After my first use I was shocked at how thick and long my lashes looked and I am already considering grabbing another kit to have when I run out of this one. It is relatively easy to use but following the directions is the key to successful application. I started by curling my eye lashes and (1.) then applying the lash boosting mascara from the kit onto one of my eyes. Solo this mascara is super great with a relatively wet formula but when I (2.) then applied the brush on extensions to the upper lashes while the mascara was still wet I saw even more convincing results. The extensions are essentially tiny all-natural fibers that adhere to the mascara to give an illusion of false lashes without the trouble of glue and the fear of your lashes falling off. (3.) Reapply the lash boosting mascara to set and seal the fibers and then you are ready to move onto the other eye. If you'd like even more drmatic results you can repeat steps 2 and 3 but I didn't see any need after how satisfied I was with how my lashes looked the first time. The formula is made to be 24 hour long wearing which is extra ideal in the summer when the last thing you want to worry about is your mascara smudging while running around all day in the heat.



Physicians Formula has so many great products (all made especially for sensitive skin!) that would all be beneficial to have in your makeup bag but this mascara is by far my favorite offered by them so if you're looking for something to spruce up your summer makeup routine then you should definitely give this a try! 

This post is sponsored by Physicians Formula and Her Campus Media. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Prep In Your Step possible!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

So Much to Celebrate! Father's Day, Summer Solstice, and National Wear Your Lilly Day (+Free Gifts)!

This Sunday seems to be one jam packed with fun things to celebrate. From Father's Day to the Summer Solstice, and even National Wear Your Lilly Day it's a good thing that this is the longest day of the year so that you can make sure to properly celebrate all of these various things! 

Firstly and arguably most importantly, Happy Father's Day Dad! Now that it is actually Father's Day unlike when he thought it was Fathers Day a few weeks ago and was convinced we had forgotten (read about that here) we can finally celebrate "your" day! We don't have anything exciting planned as dad wanted to watch golf this afternoon  but we do have a big and delicious dinner planned which seemed perfectly good enough to him!

Here are a couple old and more recent photos of my dad and I that I thought would be fun to include! 


Secondly, happy Summer Solstice or as us Lilly lovers like to call it, National Wear Your Lilly Day! I adore that Lilly looks to celebrate all things bright and cheery and that this summer they are not only promoting National Wear Your Lilly Day but encouraging this bright and cheerful mentality all summer long with their #summerinlilly! By tagging your photos with these hashtags you have a chance to be featured on their website, how cool would that be? 

I have been oohing and aching over all of the pieces Lilly has released lately and I can't help but love the retro twist put on some Lilly classics. If you are like me and have your eye on pieces from the site then today is the perfect day to shop since all purchases come with a free gift! And, if you spend $150 you get a free sticky note set, any to do list makers dream gift with purchase! Below I have included some of my favorite pieces from their summer collection and I've included even more pink and green preciousness that you can shop by clicking below the image. How cute would the sticky notes look in your agenda? Which if you are planning to purchase a Lilly agenda you may want to go ahead and do that now as well since you'll get a free gift + free shipping (and they are available now, you don't even have to wait to preorder them)! I am still trying to decide which agenda print I want for the coming year so weigh in your suggestions here

Hope you're having a great day celebrating!


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