Tuesday, September 19, 2017

My Sunday Routine with prAna

Thank you prAna for sponsoring this post.

It wasn't until graduating college that I really got a taste of what people meant when they referred to the Sunday Scaries. Yes, in college you have another week ahead of you and likely have homework to do and tests to study for but you also het some time throughout the week to accomplish these things. As I've entered into the "professional world" (does teaching count as professional if I am working with children?) I've realized just how real the Sunday Scaries can be and how important it is for me to make the most of my Sundays in order to prepare for the week ahead. Forget Sunday being the day of rest because instead I choose to utilize my Sunday to get things done so that when I come home from school and meetings after work I may get a moment of rest on weeknights instead.

So while ignoring the idea of Sunday being the day of rest I should also admit that I also end up ignoring the concept of Sunday bests. Since I am no longer in college and can't get away with occasionally wearing workout wear throughout the week I like to be comfortable on the weekends and especially on Sunday. I love that athleisure has become such a trend since there are so many ways to look cute while still being really comfortable. I recently discovered prAna and was so impressed by the versatility of clothing they offer from comfy loungewear to pieces that are completely practical to wear out and about to feel put together in. While I opted for a more casual look for my Sunday routine it's a combination that I wouldn't hesitate going out in public in due to it being equally cute. And as if you need another reason to opt for something comfortable to go through your weekly routines prAna shared an awesome video all about Why Organic Cotton Matters that is worth a watch. One of prAna's visions is to make clothes that help you thrive in any environment and these pieces do just that. 

So now that you've got the perfect pieces for relaxation and getting things done, you can find me wearing this outfit to complete my Sunday routine which includes the following:

Clean & Do Laundry
I may be in the minority of people who love to clean. There is something about cleaning that makes me feel in control and put together. Sometimes I'll clean a bit on Saturday so that I don't have quite as much to do on Sunday but I tend to vacuum our apartment, wipe down the counters and mirrors, clean my bathroom, and every other week I'll stiffer any wood or tile spaces. Knowing that I am starting the week with a clean apartment calms my nerves about having 5 days of 5:15 wake ups and afternoons when I never know when I'll actually get home. Coming home to a dirty space would not be relaxing so I try to avoid that at all cost. Additionally, the weekends are usually my time to do laundry as well. Maybe y'all aren't surprised by my weirdness at this point but because of my laundry detergent I actually LOVE doing laundry. I wash my sheets every other week but usually have accumulated enough laundry from the week to do a load of clothes and towels to make sure everything is fresh and ready for the week.

Meal Prep 
This may be my least favorite part of my Sunday only because I tend to stick to the same recipes each week. Having all of my lunches and dinners (and even snacks already in their zip locks) makes so much of a difference during the week. I usually carve out an hour to an hour and a half to knock this out in preparation for the week ahead. This week I'll be having a few different salads for lunch at school and turkey rice bowls for dinner. I even decided to make some delicious and filling peanut butter granola bars to have as a snack throughout the week as well. Doing all of my cooking on one day helps to keep the kitchen a bit cleaner during the week and emptying the dishwasher a chore that only has to be done a couple of times.

Schedule Content 
This is one routine that I am still trying to get into the habit of as I am not used to not having much time at night to work on blogging related tasks. Scheduling out all of my blog posts over the weekend allows me to be better at responding to emails, highlighting my posts, and sharing my content throughout the week in a stress free way. Usually if I miss a post on a weekday it is due to me not planning in advance so I've been trying my hardest to make sure that this is done in advance. Fortunately this is a task I love doing and am able to do while sitting in our living room with my roommates while watching my newest guilty pleasure, New Girl.

Go For A Walk & Call Home
Since a lot of my Sunday rituals involve accomplishing tasks inside my apartment I make a conscious effort to make sure I get out of the house and enjoy the fall weather we've been having in Greenville. Since I tend to call my parents on Sunday anyway I have found a park near our apartment to walk through as I update them on what's been going on here while also hearing about anything exciting happening at home. These walks & talks have become one of my favorite Sunday rituals as they are relaxing and remind me to take time for myself and enjoy where I am right now.

Plan For The Week Ahead & Relax
I'll be the first to admit that I am not very good at relaxing and also have found that with teaching there is no way to feel ahead. So instead of stressing I've been trying to make sure that I am relaxing and doing what I can to plan for my week. From scheduling in workouts, writing down tasks, responding to and drafting school emails, and even closing my computer to enjoy my friends company Sunday nights spent with other people make the approaching Monday seem to loom a little less. The more I know what to expect for the week ahead the more prepared I feel and in turn the less terrified I am. 

sweater (c/o) // pants (c/o)
couch // blanket // rug // pillows (similar)

With clothing that is Mindfully Made and my effort to get in the right mindset I can't recommend prAna's clothing and preparing for the week ahead over the weekend enough! If you're interested in shopping prAna's pieces be sure to use the code F17CGDW for an exclusive discount!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Step Into My Week

Happy Monday, friends! It's a bit of a tease claiming that considering this is only my second Monday of the entire school year, yep you read that right. The last time I had a five day week was the second week of school so you can go ahead and bet that I'll be dragging come the end of the week! With labor day and hurricane days I'm also not used to weekends feeling so short but I suppose it's about time to face the reality of a normal week. 

Since our last Step Into My Week I ended up getting an extended weekend which was a happy surprise. Sunday night an email was sent out that school in Greenville County was canceled for Monday and I don't think we could have been the least bit more excited. Then on Monday afternoon we were informed that schools would stay closed on Tuesday. As wonderful as those two days were I quickly came to realize that I am so much more productive when I have a set schedule and I used those two days to relax and hang out with friends and do very little more than that (oops). We (my friend group here in Greenville) have recently become obsessed with Scattergories and played at least three times this week. Despite never losing power we still defaulted back to our childhood ways of making fun without electricity even when that didn't have to be the case. We also took a little bit of time to start brainstorming how to get our apartment living room looking a bit more put together and I'm excited that we are finally making progress. We now have two more chairs, a mirror above the tv, and have cleaned up some of the communal areas which is major progress. I am so impressed by people who magically have their spaces done when they move in but considering we just started getting paychecks and have been in the space since June it seems to be about time. 

Considering we only had a three day week sadly I only have three outfits to share with y'all this week and it's a bit of a tease since we had jeans days all week. Meaning these are not the most professional outfits but being comfortable at work is never something I'll complain about. 

top // jeans // shoes

top // jeans // shoes

I had a fun dinner meeting on Thursday night and left school that day feeling really put together and ready for this coming week. Friday was a busy day but I was able to leave relatively early for me without having to bring home anything to grade or put in the grade book as I was able to do that before I left. Whenever I start to feel like I have it together more work seems to come to my plate but it was nice to have that feeling two days in a row. Friday nights as I've discovered are meant for an early bed time and being lazy since I tend to be too exhausted to do anything else (although sometimes I will grocery shop on my way home on Friday). Saturday night my friends and I decided to go out to dinner so that we'd be out of the class and wouldn't have to cook. We went to one of our favorites, Rick's Deli, but not without a stop to see the dog one of my friends was dog sitting. This dog looked like a pig and was so fun to play with before we left. I definitely don't feel like I am capable of taking care of anything but myself right now (and I guess the 26 kids I teach) so it was fun to be able to play with a dog without any responsibility. 

I hope that you all had a great week and are feeling prepared as this new (long) week kicks off! 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Books I Read This Summer

One thing that I have already begun to realize that I am going to miss as this school year picks up is reading for pleasure. I've never been the best at closing my laptop and picking up a book before bed since I always find that there is more work to be done. Somehow in the summer when the workload lessens and sitting by the pool becomes an option I am much better about getting in the groove of reading. If you've somehow missed the book recommendation series I have going on the blog, Novels with Nell, then you may not know that I'm also not the best at straying from my preferred genres and reading what friends recommend. In my defense however, one of the books on this list is one that Nell recommended (for the better part of two years...) so maybe I am getting better at that as well. 

I am including below all of the books I read this summer either by the pool, in bed, or on a plane. I honestly think I read more this summer than I did all of senior year. It's amazing what you make time for when you have a bit of free time to spare. I decided it would be fun to go ahead and say whether or not I'd recommend each of the books since I did read some that were a bit of a dud in my opinion. Different strokes for different folks though and y'all may love one of the books that wasn't my favorite so I may as well include them all. 

Some of y'all may remember from previous posts that my taste in books is a little funky. I like to jump from scary psychological thrillers to self help books which makes my book shelf look a bit strange. With that disclaimer aside I think that there is just about something for everyone on this list. 

Self-Help / Nonfiction

You Are A Bad Ass (toss up)
This was a pool side read between psychological thrillers. While it definitely is good and worth being talked about (as it is by so many people) it wasn't one of my favorite self help style books. There are different sections in the book that include money, love, etc and while there are some good takeaways overall it wouldn't be the first book I'd recommend.

The Defining Decade (my top recommendation of this list)
I flew through this book. Holy cow was it good! I had a number of friends look at the title of this book and think it as going to be discouraging to 20 somethings but it is the exact opposite. This book highlights why your 20's can be such a pivotal time in your life without scaring you that you're not making the most of them or making you feel behind. I have recommended this book to so many friends and continue to do so. Nell and I actually read this book at the same time and I piped up on her Novels with Nell about it because I liked it so much. Not only does it include tips but it also includes stories about the difference that taking these tips to heart can make. 

Love Lives Here (recommend)
If you've ever read Love Does by Bob Goff you may recognize this author considering it is his wife. This is a faith based book with short chapters making it the perfect before bed read since you don't have o completely remember the last chapter for the book to make sense. The stories in the book relate to some life experience or impactful decision that the author made and it's a nice encouraging non-fiction read. 

Psychological Thrillers

Bittersweet (wouldn't recommend)
I read this book at our beach house this summer and was so mad at the ending. The decisions made by the characters were not the most "moral" and ended up frustrating me so much that I left the book at the beach. In retrospect I probably shouldn't have done that since someone may think to pick it up and read it but then I'd have someone to vent my frustrations of the book to. 

The Girl on the Train (recommend)
I think this book is hyped a little bit more than it should be. The cover and a number of reviews compare it to Gone Girl (which I read and loved) but I didn't think it pulled the reader in quite as much. Regardless, it is still really good and the ending was a bit more surprising than I had anticipated. A good pool side read if you like a murder mystery that is written in diary-esque form. 

This was my favorite psychological thriller of the the summer. After I finished reading it I was still making connections to different parts of the plot which is the sign of a good book. It's set on a luxury cruise liner and you can't help but believe the protagonist throughout the story. Would highly recommend this book. 

The Husband's Secret (recommend)
This was one of the first books I read this summer. It took a while to understand what was happening with the three different families that took over various chapters but once you made the connection the plot really started to pick up. This book is written by the same author who wrote Big Little Lies. It does switch perspectives a lot but was a good read with a lot of unexpected aspects. 

In a Dark, Dark Wood (currently reading)
I just started this book the other day so I don't feel like it is fair to state whether or not I recommend it. It's written by the same author as The Woman in Cabin Ten so I'm expecting to love it as much as I loved that one.

Beach Reads

Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'Easter (Nell's recommendation)
I am finally reading this book based on Nell's recommendation. I'm a little over halfway through with it but picked up In a Dark, Dark Wood to read at the same time. While this book is good I don't think I've really gotten to the point where it's really hooking me. If you like girly or southern books then this is a good pick for you! 

I hope that y'all are enjoying your Sunday!


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Bell Sleeve Blouse & Jewelry with a Purpose

This past week it felt so much like fall out. I wanted to spend every moment outside of the classroom outdoors enjoying the nice breeze and lower temperatures. While I am not quite ready to take all of my summer clothes out of my closet I would be lying if I said that I wasn't looking forward to all things fall; hikes, the changing colors of the leaves, hot coffee, and pumpkin flavored things dressing for the in between of summer and fall can prove itself tricky. 

I couldn't believe my luck when I stumbled upon one of fall's biggest trends for under $25. This trumpet sleeve white blouse has proved to be a closet essential in the short time I've had it and have loved finding ways to mix it up. Although it looks so cute with dark wash jeans I've been finding myself reaching towards these fun purple/grey jeans (last seen here) instead. I've also found it to be cute with a flared skirt to wear to work. With a couple of different color choices and a variety of ways to wear it from dinners to work this is one of those items in my closet that I know will be worn nonstop. 

top // pants // necklace // watch // bracelets ( 1 & 2 ) // rose gold bracelet

The best way I've found to make it look like I'm not overbearing this shirt (because I definitely am) is by accessorizing with different jewelry. I have been a fan of the Starfish Project for a while now but started ordering some of their pieces this summer and am hooked. Not only do they have the prettiest pieces of jewelry on their site but they also have a great mission. The Starfish Project restores hope to  women escaping human trafficking and exploitation in Asia. The brand provides life changing opportunities through their Holistic Care Program that allows women training and skills while building authentic relationships. What could be better than cute jewelry and a wonderful cause? I'm including some of my personal favorite Starfish Project products I own as well as some I'd love to add to my collection soon!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

My Favorite Netflix Shows

I am currently on hurricane day number two here in Greenville. Yesterday it got windy and the power flickered a couple of times but it really wasn't too bad. I was shocked to find out that we don't have school today, and I think the people making that call may regret it. Since we have been stuck insider we've been epitomizing some lazy days with pajamas on pretty much all day and Netflix playing on the T.V. When I watch T.V. I like to do so while doing other things (which some of my friends hate). I'm not good at just sitting and watching a show and would much rather spend that time multitasking. If you have me watch a movie with you without me multitasking then you are just asking for me to fall asleep.

Since we've been on a Netflix kick over here (thank goodness for having power) I thought it would be fun to share some of the T.V. shows I've watched and enjoyed on Netflix. When putting this together I came to realize just how carried my taste is when it comes to shows but hopefully that means everyone will find something they like from this list. As for those of you who disagree with 13 Reasons Why, I understand where you're coming from. I do not necessarily agree with the subject line but once you start that show it is hard to stop. The writers definitely did a good job of pulling the viewer in. So, even if you don't agree with that one some of the other ones may still be of interest. I started watching New Girl yesterday and can not believe I didn't start watching it sooner. If you want a good laugh (and my roommates can attest to how funny I've found it so far) definitely watch it.

I'd love to hear what shows y'all love to watch on Netflix so I can add them to my list! 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Step Into My Week

Happy Monday. You may have noticed this post went up a little bit later than usual but after getting an email yesterday about being off from school today my productivity yesterday fell to the wayside. Originally, South Carolina was supposed to get hit pretty hard by Irma but now it's looking like the wind will be our biggest threat but regardless it has allowed me to have a slow morning and skip the 5:15 alarm. Growing up on the coast I'm semi used to hurricanes but you;don't have thought about getting hurricane days so far inland in South Carolina. I hope that all of my readers in Irma's path are safe and sound and are dealing with minimal destruction. 

This past week flew by due to Labor Day last Monday but I am completely ok with a quick week. I think I'm slowly starting to get my groove when it comes to teaching and planning ahead but I suppose only time will tell. There isn't much exciting to report on from the past week (I feel like these posts get more boring each week haha) but there was some fun mixed in with the business of school and meetings. Last Monday night my friends and I decided to walk to a local pizza place that is about a mile and a half from our apartment while enjoying the unexpectedly cool weather we've been having. Nothing beats having leftovers for lunches even if that meant having to carry a pizza box the whole walk back (although the picture below is deceiving and not entirely accurate). I didn't have time to do much other than work during the week but on Friday night Sophia and I decided to walk around downtown Greenville to catch up (with ice cream in hand). I spent most of Saturday working out on our porch because this weather is incredible and managed to watch some football and nap before going out with friends that night. Yesterday was spent doing a little bit more work (it never ends) and then celebrating having a day off from school today with a long walk in the afternoon and watching movies with friends last night. 

This week my goal is to get back into a solid workout routine in addition to staying on top of all the other stuff I have to do. I am definitely learning that balancing everything is tricky so we shall see how that goes! Here is what I wore this week.

dress (similar) // sandals // hoops // watch

top (similar) // jacket (on sale) // pants // flats // hoops 

top // pants (on sale) // necklace // sandals // watch

See you back here tomorrow! 

Friday, September 8, 2017

The Perfect Alternative to White Jeans

For some of us who "play by the rules" we've officially given up our white jeans this week and are resorting to figuring out how to embrace our wardrobe without this staple. I went out with some friends this past Saturday night and we all showed up in white jeans and a number of people commented asking if we had planned it. We all had the same thought, gotta war them while we still can! Don't get me wrong, I am all about wearing winter whites (if you don't have a pair of white corduroy pants or something of that nature it's the perfect winter version of white jeans) but as a rule follower it's a challenge to put on white jeans after labor day. I recently stumbled upon the PERFECT alternative. Drum roll please... grey jeans! I decided to give this pair a go after seeing them on sale plus an additional 25% off and I've already gotten wear out of them as an alternative to white jeans! The pair I have has almost a light purple tint to them which I happen to love and surprisingly still makes them wearable with so many different tops! 

This top is another favorite of mine. If you don't like blue and white then you probably aren't too fond of my outfits, apartment, or classroom for that matter because now more so than ever it seems as though everything I own is blue and white. Despite it being a classic color combination this top includes some fun elements that modernize the color scheme a bit. Since it's always freezing in my classroom I've already found myself wearing this top to school and even my students were complementing the tops. I love the tassels and embroidery and the fact that I don't freeze when I wear it. Double win. Two of my friends have even purchased it since seeing how versatile it is on (the first time I wore it I wore it with jean shorts) and the fact that it is on sale and an additional 25% off doesn't hurt either. 

top // bottom // sandals // watch // bracelets ( 1 & 2 ) // rose gold bracelet

I hope that y'all are looking forward to the weekend as much as I am. I'm sad that it's not a long one like this past one but am always okay with a little rest and relaxation! 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Dear Freshman Me {A Letter to My Freshmen Self}

 Last Tuesday was the first time I went to Furman and felt out of place. Since I am taking grad school classes there while teaching I had a reason to be there but it was hard. Seeing that Furman continued to go on even after we left was something we knew would happen but my friends and I discussed how hard it was to see it so soon after leaving. One of the weirdest parts was realizing the all those freshman walking around were people that we would likely not get to know and would probably be experiencing Furman in a different way than we did. Moral of the story? Let the wound of graduating heal before heading back on campus. Maybe I'm in a bit of denial considering this weekend I finally changed my instagram bio from college blogger and still have photos on my phone that I can't bring myself to put into a senior year Facebook album 1. because it's really delayed and 2. because I'd be admitting it's actually over. Despite how much I'd love to do it all over again I think it is about time I came to terms with reality. If I knew then what I know now. As a 22 year old recent college graduate I won't even for half a second pretend that I've got things all figured out, but throughout college I learned a lot of textbook material and even more about myself that I wish I could tell myself as I was going through it. Hindsight is always 20/20, isn't it?

Dear Dorothy,

Congratulation on making it through high school. While it was a good experience for you with a lot of opportunities and friendships Furman is one of the best decisions you could've made for yourself. It will be hard at times to see friends at Alabama and Auburn constantly running into one another and experiencing recruitment sooner on in their experience and football games that people actually attend but you won't want to exchange your tight knit experience with that of being another face in the crowd. Trust your gut even on the days you question being eight hours away from home with very few people you know. The adjustment to college will be a bit more challenging than you'll expect but you'll be thankful for the time management skills you develop from learning to balance classes and all the free time that is suddenly yours during freshman year. 

It is completely acceptable to focus on quality over quantity when it comes to friendships but don't sit in your dorm room the first nights of college expecting someone to come in and introduce themselves and instantly make friends, take it upon yourself to take the initiative. Through this experience though, you'll quickly realize that one of your very best friends (who will continue to hold that title even after college) just happens to be the person with her bed across from yours who you fall asleep talking to at night and whose alarm wakes you both up the next morning. Don't take this for granted but know that even when your time as roommates comes to an end this will still be the person that you call every other week to have 3 hour phone calls with just to catch up on every detail of what they've been up to and neither of you will know how to hang up and end the conversation because as roommates you knew the conversation would continue the following morning. Rely on your friends and be intentional with them because when you deal with challenges they are who you will come crying to or look for to eat a meal with you even though they've already eaten. Ignore the fact that college will still be cliquey and do your best to not let it get you down since most of the time it's due to convenience and not exclusivity. Also know that you'll make one of your best friends junior year and it is never too late to add more people to your circle. You'll be thankful to get another opportunity to live with some of your closest friends after graduation and will be so grateful to have the one friend that became one of your best friends junior year in the same city with you post grad!

Allow yourself to fail. No, don't fail your classes but be open to the idea of things not always working in your favor because in reality, it's about time. In high school things worked out in your favor more than they maybe should have. There are so many opportunities on campus with clubs and extracurriculars but with so many students who are used to being the ones who did everything in high school, got awards on awards day, and were used to getting everything you're bound to sometimes have things not work out in your favor. Yes it's ok to be bummed when you don't get something you apply for but also realize that the time you're not spending doing that will be able to be spent on other activities and leadership roles making it worthwhile.

Take classes about things you're genuinely interested in earlier on in your college career. It may have allowed you to realize that despite majoring in education being something you are capable of and enjoy in the classroom you'd be less afraid to change your major and try something you are truly passionate about. Realize that you don't have to finish your GERs (general education requirements) right away although there is a lot of convenience with that. Take the communication and digital illustration classes that sound interesting to you while looking at the course catalogue. You'll realize that senior year when you finally do this that it would've been helpful to discover how interesting these courses were to you much earlier on. If you were to do it all again and were able to go back for a second round your major would be different this time around. Be thankful for parents who support you with your decisions as well as your varied interest to maybe eventually take a job that has nothing to do with your major but instead better aligns with your passions because you'll realize that not everyone has that support.

Don't let people box you in, you'll be proud of yourself for proving them wrong and pushing outside of your comfort zone in the process. Freshman and sophomore year you'll stay within your comfort zone a lot. While that's not a bad thing, junior and senior year are a lot more fun because you're tired of people forming their own opinion of you without knowing you. Be open about exactly who you are and stop hiding the fact that you have a blog because people are much more receptive to passions of that nature than they were in high school. Come senior year it will be the topic of a number of conversations even if there is still a tinge of confusion or judgement but also don't let them pin you down as a blogger and just that. Do the way out of your comfort zone contest that you joked about doing at the kitchen counter with your roommates while avoiding studying for a math test and know that even if people do put you and your personality in a box it's because they haven't taken the time to get to know you.

Be real about what you're going through. You'll later be surprised to hear just how many of your friends were mentally and physically exhausted after sophomore year from living on the hall with your friends non stop. Despite everyone  categorizing this as one of the best parts of greek life there are times when everyone felt the way I did and had we voiced that sooner we would have realized there's no reason not to feel isolated because of those feelings. Don't put up a front about having it all together because you probably don't and upon entering the real world that has never felt more real.

Don't let people saying that college should be the best four years of your life affect the way you look at what you're doing now. There is a lot of pressure that comes with a statement like that and honestly every moment isn't going to feel like the best ever. It's unfair to yourself to put that kind of pressure on yourself. While yes, college is a ton of fun and you should try to make that a priority I think that it would be better to consider whatever time frame you're experiencing now as the best x years of your life. I wish I had realized this earlier on in my college experience since it made me question whether or not I was doing it "right" and there really is no right way to experience something since your experience is based on your own interpretation. Maybe that's just me but I'd rather not box my most fun years into one set time frame since it makes the future seem less optimistic.

Even after long weeks when you're exhausted, months that are far from the best, and weekends where you had too much fun that they flew by leaving you unprepared for the following week each day will come with a new set of challenges and opportunities. Take advantage of them while you can!

Some tips to the current college undergrad:

1. Take advantage of free stuff and your meal plan. The real world has a lot fewer opportunities for free things that it seems like college campuses are constantly offering. Also make sure your meal plan becomes your best friend. Cooking after working all day is not my idea of fun hence why I prep all of my meals the Sunday before so that all I have to do is heat them up and sometimes even that feels like more effort than I'm willing to exert. Stand and wait in 4 different lines so that you have 8 very random food options on your plate because before you know it a meal that you haven't cooked and one with variety will be a lot less common.

2. Do things for yourself and not your resume. This may sound like the opposite of what you'd expect to hear but make the choices of your major, extracurriculars, and internships based on what will interest you and build you up as a person instead of just looking good on your resume. Yes, being president of my sorority looks good on my resume but is the skills and responsibility it taught me that allow me to convince people of that, not the title.

3. Call your parents and don't forget to thank them for the little things you miss the most. When my parents came to visit me during my Parent's Weekend freshman year they admitted to me (and themselves) that they had been way overly nice to one another since they weren't quite used to what it would be like living at home without me. Thank your mom for doing your laundry, cooking delicious meals (see number 1), always being right. Thank your dad for dealing with car maintenance, never failing to make you laugh, and always encouraging a second bowl of ice cream. You'll miss them more than you think and will be trying to convince them that a post grad parent's weekend is necessary just so that you can see them more than every 3 months.

4. Do something everyday just for you. If that's sitting in your room with your lights out and an episode of a tv show on, do it. If it's going off campus to workout, do it. If it's getting off campus to work at a coffee shop, taking a walk around the lake, taking a bath (although if you're in a dorm be sure to clean the bath tub first), going for a drive, staking out at your favorite table in the library, do it! This is good for your personal health.
5. Have fun. After graduation you'll realize all of the opportunities there were for you to have fun with little effort and planning since all of your favorite people lived within spitting distance of you. Now, I feel like having fun is almost a chore (but worth it). You don't have plans made for you constantly and your friends may be more spread out. this summer my parents jokingly told me, "you took college way too seriously." Honestly, they are probably right. Junior and senior year I chose to step out of my shell and branch out more and it was so worth it. Yes, I was stressed frequently but despite junior year being so stressful (I had stress rashes on my arms and legs to prove it and who knew that was even a thing) I look back at those times with fond memories because I was still able to do fun things to decompress. Don't graduate and have your parents tell you that "you took college too seriously" but on the flip side it's not meant to last forever so make sure you take it seriously enough.

Here's to freshman year in the real world with lots to learn. If you're still in college, have some fun for me, be efficient with your work, and invest in yourself and others. You won't believe that it goes by too fast until it's over so remember that even when the days feel long. 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Novels With Nell - The Hideaway

Last Novels with Nell week I made the exciting announcement that I was actually reading one of the books Nell recommended. It's extra convenient when she sends me with her copy so I have to go to no effort to actually read it. Admittedly, I fell asleep by the pool reading the book she suggested and am doing my best to get through it in a timely manner with all the other responsibilities on my plate. 

This past weekend when Nell and I were catching up on the phone she was telling me about a book that she was reading currently and I have to say that despite falling asleep reading one of her suggestions I'll be continuing to give them a try. This week's suggestion hits close to home highlighting an area that seems nearly identical to my sweet little hometown. Maybe I'll save it for a week when I'm feeling a bit homesick to be transported back to the traditions and comfort that my small town on the bay has provided for me.

By: Lauren Denton
Another week, another book, and this is one that’s from my go-to genre. It has a Southern setting, family secrets, love interests, and a relatable character, a few of my favorite book elements. Another thing that I loved about this book is that the fictional town of Sweet Bay, Alabama, is set not too far from where I grew up. It was fun to see names of places that I know well that hold fond memories for me, or to be able to picture exactly a beautiful sunset on Mobile Bay. The same goes for New Orleans as I’ve spent my fair share of time on Magazine Street. This is Lauren Denton’s first novel, and (good news!!)  it looks like she already has another one set to be released in 2018. Open The Hideaway and get to know Sara and Mags- you won’t regret it!

“When her grandmother’s will wrenches Sara back home, she learns more about Margaret Van Buren in the wake of her death than she ever knew in life.
After her last remaining family member dies, Sara Jenkins goes home to The Hideaway, her grandmother Mags’s ramshackle B&B in Sweet Bay, Alabama. She intends to quickly tie up loose ends then return to her busy life and thriving antique shop in New Orleans. Instead, she learns Mags has willed The Hideaway to her and charged her with renovating it—no small task considering her grandmother’s best friends, a motley crew of senior citizens, still live there.
Rather than hurrying back to New Orleans, Sara stays in Sweet Bay and begins the biggest house-rehabbing project of her career. Amid drywall dust, old memories, and a charming contractor, she discovers that slipping back into life at The Hideaway is easier than she expected.
Then she discovers a box Mags left in the attic with clues to a life Sara never imagined for her grandmother. With help from Mags’s friends, Sara begins to piece together the mysterious life of bravery, passion, and choices that changed her grandmother’s destiny in both marvelous and devastating ways.

When an opportunistic land developer threatens to seize The Hideaway, Sara is forced to make a choice—stay in Sweet Bay and fight for the house and the people she’s grown to love or leave again and return to her successful but solitary life in New Orleans.”

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Prep In Your Step's New Look

Tuesday is kind of an odd day to be overly excited about but this Tuesday (aka today) is an exception. I am so excited to announce that Prep In Your Step has gotten a facelift. Depending on when you're looking at the site you may be one of the first ones to see my new logo. The last time I re-did my logo design was right before heading to Furman my freshman year so it was about time for a little bit of an update. So now, as a freshman in the real world I came up with something a bit more mature that reflects my style and will be able to continue to grow up with me. 

Last summer I updated the temple I was using which I really like so I knew I wanted to do something that would still look good with that since the overall design is pretty accessible for you, my reader. I had a general idea of what I wanted my logo to look like but wasn't exactly sure on how to achieve that on my own. Part of the reason it took so long to make this change was because I wanted to find a designer I loved that could not only do the logo design but also an illustration as well. I have been pinning designs and type that I liked and this past spring discovered Kelly of Kiki & Co and realized that she would be a great fit for my design. I reached out to her early this summer and she definitely brought my ideas to life. I am so excited for this update and couldn't recommend her enough! 

I sent her a mock up of what I wanted (sounds controlling, I'm aware) and the way she executed it was better than I could even imagine. She was able to send me a couple of different design ideas to choose from and modify from there which for someone who has a hard time being decisive you'd think would've made it harder but what I went with was my clear favorite. So, so long little logo that matched my old template much better and hello to a fresh new look! 

I've had a number of requests for Prep In Your Step stickers and was curious whether or not that is something you'd like? If that is something you're interested in definitely let me know because I would love to do those for y'all! I'd also love to hear what you think? I couldn't be more thrilled! 

Monday, September 4, 2017

Step Into My Week

I can not tell you how ecstatic I am to not have had to wake up at 5:15 and head to teach. This week will only be week 3 but wow was I ready for a tiny break. I'd be lying if I told you this week was a great one. It was one full of challenges, exhaustion, and some students testing their limits. We had curriculum night on Monday which left me at school until 7:40, Tuesday there was an incident that left me tired and feeling and then I had class that night. I don't think I left school before 5:30 a single day this week but on the flip side I feel pretty prepared for the week ahead although there is always more work to be done. 

Y'all really seem to be enjoying me sharing the outfits I've been wearing within these posts so I plan to continue doing that until I hear feedback that you'd like them somewhere else! At the end of the week my feet were killing me so I had to rely on my comfier shoes as opposed to sandals. We had another casual day on Friday which was awesome and I was able to pull out one of my favorite long sleeved tops because the weather has been so nice here (and my classroom is freezing). 

dress (similar) // sandals // watch 

top (similar) // skirt // sandals // watch

top // pants // shoes // watch 

I got my first paycheck this week and told myself that once I got that I would finally treat myself to my favorite detergent since I've been out for about a month. Kind of feeling like a dork for that one but it has made doing laundry this weekend so much more fun! I blame my mom for introducing me to this Glamorous Wash detergent considering it's expensive and definitely a luxury item but I've found a way to make it last a bit longer. I use all free and clear (which is unscented) and a cap full of this which makes the $25 bottle last a really long time! 

Friday night I was exhausted so I hung out at my apartment after running some errands that night. After sleeping in (kind of) on Saturday and spending the morning in bed grading papers and putting them in the grade book I was happy to have plans Saturday night. I went to one of my favorite mexican restaurants with a friend and then another friend met us at a rooftop wine bar after that. Since we are all education majors and going through our first year teaching together it was so nice to be able to talk to one another about what all was happening in our respective classrooms. We were able to sit outside and watch the Alabama game and then meet up with some other friends at another location downtown. The night ended with Sophia and I trying out a new 24/7 diner in downtown Greenville before heading home. We both got their short stack of pancakes which were under $3.00 and delicious! 

Yesterday was pretty laid back as well. I was able to get some stuff done that needed to be done, I sat by (/fell asleep by) the pool for a bit, responded to emails, and was able to not feel stressed on a Sunday for once! Porter and I decided to walk to dinner at our favorite pizza place, Sidewall, which ended up being closed so we continued walking and would up at Happy and Hale downtown. After walking back we watched a movie in her apartment to recover from our 3.5 mile walk (which with weather as nice as it has been was incredible) and work on other things simultaneously. I talked on the phone with Nell for a while last night catching each other up on life and plan to get a lot of work done today. In my head I had it that I would be able to sit back and really enjoy today but I've come to realize that the week is a lot less stressful when I can get more done over the weekend. I force a long walk in my plans and will maybe even treat myself to Starbucks for a change of location! 

I hope that y'all are enjoying your labor day and I HIGHLY recommend you come back to the blog tomorrow to see a fun surprise I've been waiting to share with y'all! 

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