Friday, March 31, 2017

March Favorites

I feel like I just wrote my February favorites for y’all and here we are for another rendition! I think since March was broken up with Spring Break that’s why it went by so quickly. Because of Spring Break I feel like my favorites are a little all over the place since I was at home where it was hot and came back to school with it being colder. Regardless, here are some of the things I have been loving this month.

I received this pair of sunglasses in early March and have been wearing them non-stop since they came in the mail. I love the Ray Ban aviators I’ve had since 8th grade but it was nice to finally find another pair of sunglasses that fit my (child size) face. Plus, these were on super sale so I was able to get a different pair of Ray Bans for my mom for mother’s day and one other pair for myself that I also really like.

I have had this blush and bronzer palette since the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale last summer and have probably used it every day that I’ve worn makeup since. It was such a great find with a number of different practical blush colors that actually look good on my skin tone. It is so easy to pack since everything is in one container and I am really hoping that they bring back a similar one soon since I’ve hit the bottom of a number of the blush colors and the bronzer. I am considering buying those colors to have so that this can continued to be used for travel since it has all in one! This one that nordstrom has currently is very similar minus the fact that it doesn't have the bronzer.

I am not really sure why but my lips have been *so* chapped this month. I find that I am constantly reaching for chapstick to re-hydrate them. I probably have 4 or 5 of these chapsticks in various bags and in my car since it is my favorite and I don’t like being without! Most of the ones I have are in a tin but I also like having the squeeze tube to use as well.

If you follow a number of bloggers on instagram then you may already be aware of this one but LikeToKnow.It released a new app that makes shopping pieces you see on instagram easier than ever before.

As I was wandering around Target one day I happened upon the shoe section and was SO impressed with the selection of shoes that was available at the store. These shoes were under $30, are so comfortable, and are perfect as we begin to transition into Spring and I have been wearing them a ton ever since.

I started using a blog planner earlier this year and love the one I have from Erin Condren. It is the perfect size for any blog things I have going on and writing down the timing of posts and projects! If y’all want to see a blog planner organization post let me know and I would be happy to do that for you.

La Croix (not pictured)
Fondly referred to as alketszer water by my dad, I love La Croix and all the flavors they offer. I guess this is one recommendation of Nell’s that I actually took (add that to the list Nell) since she got me hooked on them. My favorite flavors are lime, grapefruit, passion fruit, and mixed berry!

I purchased this pink bathing suit top last year online when the off the shoulder trend seemed to be at it’s peak. Little did I know that the trend would be back and stronger than ever this year making this remain one of my favorite on-trend bathing suit tops! I tend to pair it with charcoal grey bottoms and love that the top can even be worn on the shoulders to look more scoop necked if I want! It was such a good find and while it isn’t available from the same retailer this year, I’ve linked a nearly identical one here and similar ones below!

It is so crazy to think that April is my last full month of college since I graduate in early May. I know everyone always says this but the time went by so quickly.


Thursday, March 30, 2017

My Workout Routine & Why I Love Barre3

Happy Thursday y’all! I am so excited that it is almost the end of the week and even more excited to have this post for y’all! Over the years I’ve gotten a number of requests to share my workout routine and while I have shared bits and pieces before I’ve never really had a set “routine” so to speak. I enjoy running and doing cardio at the gym but sometimes it takes a lot of effort to get myself to actually go. About a year ago though, I was introduced to Barre3 which has quickly become my favorite workout.  

Barre3 is an hour long workout class that “mixes athleticism, grace, and the latest innovations designed to balance the body.” In a sense, it is a full body workout that uses low-impact movements to fatigue the muscles in order to tone the body making it strong, lean, and balanced. The class is split into sections focused on toning different areas of your body and each part lasts about 10 minutes. The class begins with a warm up to get the body moving and warm the muscles. Next comes leg work typically at the barre, then combo work in the center of the studio, followed by seat work, core work, and finally a stretch. While these areas are focused on during their specific time periods of class, Barre3 does a great job at incorporating exercises that combine these muscle groups allowing them to work for an extended period of time. During each portion of the class you’ll hold a specific exercise, move it small, and then move it big to flush out the muscles after exhausting them. There are a few props that the studio provides that are used during the class such as a ball, resistance band, and weights. They even provide mats so you really don’t have to worry about bringing anything aside from yourself!

I’ve done other barre style workouts and wasn’t as big of a fan of the environment or class as I have been with Barre3. The Greenville studio is so bright with windows and mirrors surrounding the room. The owners, staff, and instructors are always so sweet and it is the perfect escape from student teaching or life at Furman since for the most part at the studio I go to the ladies who attend the classes aren’t necessarily college students. I really became hooked on Barre3 as an escape from school and work that allowed me to do something for myself without being entirely unproductive.  Another added bonus is that I am able to exercise a number of parts of my body within an hour long class that I wouldn’t necessarily know how to tone on my own at the gym. While it would be more convenient to just go to the gym on campus I’ve discovered that I am a lot more consistent with my workouts when I go to Barre3 since I schedule them in advance and genuinely enjoy them. As for the price, Barre3 has membership packages that you can purchase or you can buy a certain number of classes. I always opt for the membership package because it tends to be a better deal depending on the number of classes I can attend in a month. The Greenville studio has a $99 unlimited special for students and teachers and that is what I always opt for. If I am able to go 5  times a week for each week during a month that makes each class equate to about $5 which is pretty affordable. It’s also really nice that as a member you get access to online workouts as well. This makes it so that when I know I don’t have the time to devote to go and workout at the studio I don’t have to completely skip my workout and can do it on our balcony or in the kitchen instead!

I usually come straight from student teaching to workout since it is on my way home which makes it so that I have to pack a workout bag before leaving in the morning. Since I have to leave my apartment pretty early I have found that it is easier to pack my bag for working out at night or over the weekend packing enough outfits for how many times I think I’ll be able to make it to class that week. This makes getting ready for the week and working out a lot easier since I tend to forget parts of my workout attire if I pack it in the morning. I also like to pack a snack in my bag as well! Usually a granola bar or something with a decent bit of protein will suffice.

As for what to wear, the attire is similar to what you would wear to a yoga class or other barre style workout. I opt for a pair of workout leggings, a sports bra, tank top, and grip socks. Most Barre3 studios have cork floors so you can easily go barefoot however, I have come to like wearing socks. My favorite are from the brand Sticky Be. They come in a number of colors with encouraging sayings on them which is helpful motivation during class. At the Greenville studio, Barre3 sells a number of cute workout clothes that would be perfect to wear to class. The leggings I am wearing in these photos as well as the tank were both purchased at the studio. Barre3 has their own line of workout merchandise (including this tank) and I am a big fan of the quality and styles of the pieces I own from them. In addition to the Barre3 line, my studio sells a number of other great workout lines such as Alo (which is the brand of my pants), DYI, and Beyond Yoga to name a few.

I'd love to hear from y'all some of your favorite workouts or if you've tried Barre3 or other barre style classes!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Novels With Nell: The Language of Flowers

Happy Wednesday! The best part of this Wednesday is that Nell is back with another rendition of her Novels with Nell series that y'all seem to be loving! I have loved having another voice here on the blog and have been enjoying her recommendations and I so hope that y'all feel the same way. 

I’m back to talk about another book! I have a confession to make: none of the books I’ve talked about thus far are ones I’ve read super recently. I obviously enjoyed them because I still recommend them now, but they aren’t fresh in my mind for me to talk about… hence the reviews and inside flap descriptions. That being said, I read The Language of Flowers in high school. My grandmother and I often talk about good things we’ve read recently, and this is something she was enjoying reading, mentioned it to me, so I picked it up and read it… and obviously I loved it because I’m sharing it here!

A mesmerizing, moving, and elegantly written debut novel, The Language of Flowers beautifully weaves past and present, creating a vivid portrait of an unforgettable woman whose gift for flowers helps her change the lives of others even as she struggles to overcome her own troubled past. The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions: honeysuckle for devotion, asters for patience, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it’s been more useful in communicating grief, mistrust, and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings. Now eighteen and emancipated from the system, Victoria has nowhere to go and sleeps in a public park, where she plants a small garden of her own. Soon a local florist discovers her talents, and Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But a mysterious vendor at the flower market has her questioning what’s been missing in her life, and when she’s forced to confront a painful secret from her past, she must decide whether it’s worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness.”

Well, there ya have it! The publishers said it better than I could! Have any of y’all read this book?

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Swimwear and Coverups for Spring and Summer

Thank goodness it is starting to get warmer. When I came back from Spring Break and temperatures were in the low 30s when I got up it felt more like winter than it did before I left. I know that by now most colleges have had their spring breaks however, I know lots of high schoolers are probably preparing for their own. Whether you have Spring Break to look forward to or are counting down til summer some cute swimwear is essential.

I have come to realize that I don’t always need to get the matching bottoms when it comes to swimwear so for this post I am mainly focusing on cute tops but don’t worry, I couldn’t help but include cute coverups too! Someone get me a ticket to the beach stat! If you’re like me and would rather purchase cute tops and stick to solid bottoms from everyone’s favorite, Target, then now is your chance to purchase a few new tops to mix it up this summer before the cute ones sell out in various sizes!


labeled by row from left to right
row 1: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4
row 2: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4
one piece row: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4
row 4: 1 // 2 // 3 //
row 5: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4

labeled by row from left to right
row 1: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4
row 2: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 
row 3: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4

Working on this post was like a mini vacation, and while I don’t need any new pieces I filled my carts on a number of sites while looking for the cutest options! I’d love to hear which ones are your favorite!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Step Into My Week

It’s the last Monday in March which makes me pretty excited! I am not sure why but personally, March is one of those in between months that I am never overly excited for. Yes, it’s great to have spring break then but aside from that there aren’t any real holidays to look forward to and the semester seems to be in full swing this entire month. For a Monday, I am pretty excited about today because I am going on a field trip with my students. This will be the first field trip I’ve gone on with them and I am sure it will bring plenty of funny stories! It is also my last week of teaching every subject while student teaching which is a pretty big deal. Starting next week I get to start giving subjects back to my cooperating teacher so that we are tag teaming instruction again.

This past week was pretty busy since I was teaching everything, had a number of meetings and after school engagements, and was trying to do normal things like workout and grab meals with friends. We also had our sorority’s spring philanthropy event which was a lot of fun. We hosted a bingo night and dinner and people walked away with some really great prizes. I wish I could’ve played bingo while working the event but it was fun to feel like I was on campus since I got to see lots of friends at the event.

left: dress (similar, same brand) // flats
right: top (similar) // skirt // flats

On Wednesday I had my final formal observation of student teaching which is pretty exciting since now, any other observations will just add to the notes my supervisor already has. The job hunt is in full swing and is stressing most of us out but hopefully it will all workout. If you have any tips for applying to various teaching positions I’d love any and all insight!


left: ruffle hem top // scarf (similar) // pants // flats
right: top // pants // shoes

Over the weekend I worked on a lot of blog stuff (there is so much to get excited about coming in April on Prep In Your Step), lesson planned, and got busy on painting a fraternity cooler for a formal I am going to next weekend. I am not sure who thought painting coolers for fraternity formals was a good idea but it is way more time consuming than it should be. I actually have a post coming up in the next few weeks about how to make it less of a challenge in case any of y’all have a formal coming up. I’m tooting my own horn here but I am so glad that I have been able to keep up with blogging, life as a college student, and student teaching this semester. Last year at this time it killed me not to have posts go live each week day so I’ve been working really hard to plan posts in advance for y’all. I hope that the time I’ve been putting into posts has been evident since I’ve been really excited about what has been going live! I hope that y’all had a great weekend and that your Monday is off to a good start.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Short Prom & Spring Formal Dresses

As promised in yesterday’s post I am back today with more prom dress options for y’all! While girls at my high school have always worn long dresses to prom I know that it varies from school to school and wanted to make sure that I wasn’t neglecting anyone when putting together prom posts for y’all. If you haven’t seen yesterday’s post featuring SO many long prom dresses, including one I own that would be perfect for the occasion and is under $100, be sure to find that here.

Considering I am in college I don’t exactly have proms to prep for anymore so long dresses aren’t really needed for anything aside from deb balls. That’s why I found making this post for y’all so much more fun since I shop for short dresses much more frequently. Even if you don’t have prom to plan for there are always formals, weddings, and parties that fun cocktail dresses are essential for especially in the spring.

When I found this lilac dress on Asos for under $60 I thought it would be great for events coming up this spring. Ideally, I wish it were an inch or two longer but I love the ruffle detail and overall simplicity of the dress. I paired it with some thicker heels which are super comfortable. The nude color will make them work with a variety of outfits and the style should make them wearable for a number of seasons. To complete the outfit, I put on a pair of Lisi Lerch White Tassel Earrings to add a bit of something extra. I’ll probably be wearing something very similar to this to a fraternity formal I have coming up but will still be on hunt for something else for my own formal in April. As for hair and makeup, I always chose to do my own for prom. I was too nervous that I wouldn’t like what someone else had done so I tried to keep it relatively simple but a bit fancier than what I do everyday.

dress (under $60) // earrings (c/o) // shoes (c/o) // bracelets ( 1 & 2 ) // gold and white bracelets 

I found so many great options when looking for items for this post and I know that even more will be released in the months to come if your proms are not until a bit later. Here are some of my favorites that I found and as always I've included the links to shop these dresses below the graphic!

under $75 row 1: left // middle // right
under $75 row 2: left // middle // right
under $100 row 1: left // middle // right
under $100 row 2: left // middle // right
over $100 red row: left // middle // right
over $100 white and blue row: left // middle // right
over $100 cool color row: left // middle // right
over $100 pink and purple row: left // middle // right
over $100 dark blue row: left // middle // right
over $100 pale pink row: left // middle // right
over $100 blue row: left // middle // right

And since I mentioned Rent the Runway yesterday, they have equally great short, cocktail dresses to rent as well. My one tip when renting a short dress from there is to make sure you don’t spend more money renting it than it would cost you to buy a different dress that you like and could wear over and over again. They offer you the option to rent for four or eight days and send multiple sizes and even let you select a backup dress which gives you a lot of options! Here are some of my favorite of their cocktail length dresses: 

blue asymmetrical hem // navy lace // cobalt full skirt
white asymmetrical hem // green lace // green side ruffle 

I hope this has helped y’all out as you are shopping for more formal events in the coming months! Happy Friday and enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Long Prom & Spring Formal Dresses

Prom brings back lots of funny memories. While the event itself was always fun I never thought it was quite the party that movies and TV shows tend to hype it up to be. Between the stress of “promposals” and worrying about who would be your date and which friends you’d go with I feel like oftentimes trying to find a dress became a little bit less fun. My highschool even had a private Facebook page for girls to post pictures of their dress on to ensure that no one had the same one. While all of this felt like a big deal then it is definitely one of those things that I look back on now and laugh.

Prom at my school was specifically for juniors and seniors and sophomores could go if they were asked by someone older. For my first prom, junior year, my mom insisted that we find a dress in person instead of ordering one online. Well, this was easier said than done considering I had a self imposed no sequin or cut out rule. After looking at countless places and being unimpressed I ended up getting a bridesmaids dress and essentially had to get it reconstructed to fit me. BIG MISTAKE. While the dress looked great and all ended up fine it was probably just as expensive to get it altered as it was to purchase the dress considering we had to make a size 10 fit my size 2 at the time frame. My mom was all about me finding one online and in my size the following year and I ended up ordering another bridesmaids dress from J.Crew to work as my prom dress.

Also, since prom is in the spring it was extra fortunate that we wore long dresses to prom considering I was always in season for soccer and it wasn’t uncommon for me to have a lovely soccer shin guard tan at the time. I remember junior year especially the tan lines were quite prominent which would have made a short dress out of the question without it being obvious. I guess I didn’t have the best luck with discrete ailments around prom since the next year I ended up having a bug fly into my eye during a soccer game which made the inside of my eye lid raw and subsequently made it so I couldn’t open it all the way. I was lucky that got better before prom but I look like I am giving the photographer the stink eye in our class photo since it was really evident then. Moral of the story, if a big event was coming up in highschool you could bet that I would have some sort of bizarre issue right before.

Since I know many of you will be preparing for your own proms or formals in the coming months I thought it would be fun to share one of the long prom dresses I have (that I wore to my friends deb ball here) as well as my top picks for long dresses I’ve found online. I definitely think the selections have gotten better when it comes to affordable, long dresses and I’ve listed some of the less expensive ones by price.

The dress I am wearing was such a good find as it is under $100, still available, and comes in a blush pink and navy color. The bow back is what really sold me and I was so impressed that I didn’t have to do anything with the length aside (I’m between 5’7” and 5’8”)  from put on my favorite pair of heels. I was a bit hesitant with the sheen when I first ordered it but it turned out to be less obvious than it was on Nordstrom’s site. The brand it is from has a lot of great long dresses that are all pretty much under $100 making them a great option when you’re trying not to spend too much. I wore a pair of Baublebar’s tassel earrings in blush pink to add a bit of color to the navy dress which I would highly recommend in the spring.  

Bow Back Dress // Pale Pink Tassel Earrings // Heels // Bracelets ( 1 & 2 ) // Gold and White Bracelets

It was really fun to look at a bunch of different sites to choose my picks to help y’all shop. I would definitely be wanting to wear this dress if I were attending prom this year or needed a long dress for a wedding or event. I just can’t get over the fun pink color or popover style and it fits my no sequin and cutout rule that I still have a tendency to gravitate towards. These are the best dresses I could find for y’all!

under $150: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4
orange/pink row: 5 // 6 (this would be my top pick) // 7 // 8
blue row: 9 // 10 // 11 // 12
multi color row: 13 // 14 // 15 // 16
pastel row: 17 // 18 // 19 // 20

In all honesty, I haven’t actually re-worn my prom dresses since prom since we don’t really wear long dresses to our sorority formals which is why I would highly suggest looking at dresses on Rent the Runway. I wasn’t super keen on that idea when I was shopping for dresses and since you can’t alter them the length can be a little difficult but having the option to order multiple sizes takes away from that hesitation. I’ve included a number of long dresses from their site that would make a great option to shop for prom.

I’d love to hear what you’re planning to wear to prom and if your school wears short dresses then be sure to check back tomorrow as I’ll be sharing lots of cocktail length picks then.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Graduation Announcements, Stationery, and Gifts with Minted

It was brought to my attention when I got back from Spring Break that we only had 6 more weeks of school before summer. Well now that a week has gone by, we have 5 weeks left and that realization, while exciting, is a little nerve wracking considering Graduation kicks off those summer celebrations. Somehow, spring semester always goes by so quickly and this year that is no different. Since I am graduating college, the free time I do have has been sent enjoying friends company, applying to jobs, and making sure everything is all set so that I have a place to live next year. In my mind, celebrating graduation will come later.

One thing graduates can’t procrastinate on too much is graduation announcements. I feel like everyone has a different take on how they do graduation announcements or even if they choose to do them at all. In high school, my school allowed you to order them with our crest on them to distribute to friends and family. After taking the time to address them, insert senior portraits, and place my name card inside each of them I was pleased with the way they turned out although everyone’s looked about the same. While I am a fan of that classic style I was recently introduced to the variety offered by Minted and would certainly opt to order some from there had I decided to send them out for my college graduation.

row 1: left //right
row 2: left // right 
row 3: left // right 
row 4: left // right 
After looking at Minted’s selection of announcements and making my way to their extensive stationery selection I couldn’t help but purchase some new stationery to use for a variety of purposes. While I love the pink monogrammed stationery I’ve had for years I’ve come to realize that writing professional thank you notes after interviews on it doesn’t make me seem quite as grownup. While I’ll still be using that for personal purposes (nothing beats sending snail mail to friends) and thank you notes for graduation gifts (which you will definitely be sending a lot of, especially if you’re in highschool) I decided that now would be a great time to stock up on some classic but still modern stationery options to use.

Due to my indecision this was a much harder undertaking than I had imagined it would be. So, naturally, I ended up with an abundance of new stationery which should surely last me many holiday thank you notes and interviews to come. After finally adding options to my cart, slimming my cart down to just my favorites, and taking the time to customize each option I was so eager for them to finally arrive. The hardest decision for me came with the customization of each specific style. With the opportunity to choose different shapes, color schemes, text, envelopes, and stamps I feel like each of the items I ended up choosing are custom in a way which shows my personality while still looking mature to the recipient.

The stationery arrived so much sooner than I anticipated and I am so pleased with the way all of my letters will be looking thanks to the pieces personalized. I opted for the Simply Bright style and Clean and Crisp style as my more classic and professional options but couldn’t help but add the Organic Strokes style and Cornered style to my cart for other occassions as well. I ordered 25 of each style and am excited to not have to worry about not having stationary for any occasion on hand again.

In addition to all of the stationery that Minted has, their graduation gift section is a great place to start shopping if you know of anyone who will be donning a cap and gown any time soon. While I’ll be sharing other great graduation gifts in a later post, below I have included some of the ones from Minted that I think any graduate would be happy to receive!

As I get ready to decorate my first off campus apartment, I am excited to see that Minted has an extensive selection of home decor pieces as well. I’d love to hear if you’ve purchased anything from that area or any area of Minted’s site!

This post was done in collaboration with but all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Prep In Your Step possible!

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