Thursday, August 17, 2017

End of Summer Favorites from Tuckernuck

I am sure I'm not the only one who has ever been asked "what if" type questions where I am forced to respond. Sometimes when doing blog question and answers those are some of my favorites to respond to. At one point someone asked me "What if you could only shop for clothes at one store, which store would you choose?" If you know me in real life you probably know I don't really like choosing favorites and decisions may not always be my strong suit. However, for this question I could confidently say either J.Crew or Tuckernuck. J.Crew has so many great pieces but sometimes (at least at Furman) I felt like 6 other classmates may have had the same ones. And don't get me started on how many of the same J.Crew pieces Nell and I have in which we feel the need to text one another so we don't end up looking like the Bobsy Twins. For the most part that isn't going to steer me away from J.Crew but instead leaves me with my other option, Tuckernuck. If you've never been to their site then I am warning you now that I usually end up with half of the store in my basket when I've gone to just browse. The clothes are for the most part pretty classic but sometimes embody a modern trend that makes them that much cuter. I would be completely ok if I could only shop for clothes at one store if it were Tuckernuck. They have the type of clothes that would transition perfectly from work to weekend and as I aim to expand my professional wardrobe you can bet I'll be shopping here first.

After sharing some cute picks from H&M with y'all last week I thought I'd do the same this week but would feature some of the cutest new arrivals and items I've had my eyes on from Tuckernuck

I look forward to sharing some posts featuring a few of these items styled in the coming weeks! 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Post Grad Plans

Happy Wednesday. At the end of today I am over half way done with my first work week in the real world. Today's post is a little different than my normal posts but I wanted to have everything down in one place for the people who may not know and ask. Many of you could probably recite this yourself but instead of having my post grad plans scattered among Step Into My Week posts putting them in one place seemed like a good idea. 

So, if you've been following along for a bit and already know this major kudos to you! 

I graduated this past May (2017) from Furman University with a Bachelors of Arts in Elementary Education. The way Furman's education department works, has us graduated in four years however we don't have our teaching certificates until we've completed a semester of teaching. I'll receive my teaching certificate (as long as all goes well) this December. You may be thinking why the heck do they do that and how the heck does she have a job then. To answer the first of those questions, I have no idea why Furman does this when other schools allow their students to graduate with this teaching certificate but in all honesty it serves as a way to rope us into graduate school (which I'll get to in a minute). To address the second question, Furman pairs with two nearby school districts, Greenville County & Spartanburg Districts 1 & 6, to recommend us for hire. As a trade off for us being hired with only an "internship certificate" instead of our teaching certificate we end up only getting a portion of the pay. So, I do in fact have a job and am the sole teacher in my room but I won't receive full pay until after I've obtained my teaching certificate in December. 

To complicate things further, I am also attending graduate school at Furman. Come August of 2018 I will have a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education allowing me to be certified to teach anywhere from Kindergarten to Fifth grade. I began graduate school in June and did a session in June and a session in July. We do have class some during the fall and a little more frequently in the spring but the program is set up so that we can teach at the same time and do the bulk of our classes over the summer. Since as graduates from Furman we pretty much have to stay until at least December of this year I figured it was a wise choice to go ahead and knock out my Master's.

What does all of this mean for Prep In Your Step? Honestly, that is a great question and one that I ask myself frequently. It is my goal to still have posts go up every week although I know in reality I may have to cut back on the frequency of my posts. To be transparent with y'all, I would like to teach for a couple of years and then while I'm young, do something related to blogging/social media/PR. I wouldn't have known about any of that had I not started my blog so it is clearly something I value and love doing and I am going to do my very best in order to keep it up. I've been working in the past couple of weeks to build up lists of post ideas that I can rely on as things get busy but know that if a post doesn't go live it's because I will have to prioritize my job and school work over this wonderful hobby. I also want y'all to know that I have no intention of turning my blog into a teaching blog. A lot of my real life friends ask me this and my response is always the same. I started Prep In Your Step as a creative outlet and plan to keep it that way. Yes, I will post about my classroom and outfits I've worn to work but with plenty of other teaching blogs out there I can guarantee you that me posting "insight" on how to teach or what to do as a first year teacher would not be worth your time since I still have so much to learn. 

I hope that answered any questions you may have about what I am up to and I appreciate the opportunities I have to share my life with y'all! If you recently graduated for college I would love to hear what you are up to now! 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Meal Prep In Your Step: Ground Turkey Taco Bowls

Hi my name is Dorothy and I am not a professional cook or food photographer. In fact, I feel like I have a lot to learn when it comes to both. So, why not practice both right here with y'all in the newest series here on Prep In Your Step. The idea for this started when I was planning out my meals for the week at one point this summer and sent my friends a snapchat of me cooking with the caption "Meal Prep In Your Step." The rest is history. A number of my friends encouraged me to actually share what I have been making with y'all since this may benefit a number of you who are slowly transitioning from the beauty that is a meal plan in college to making your own dishes every day. With a love of puns and "Meal Prep In Yours Step" being all too perfect here I am sharing with you one meal that I eat far too frequently but have yet to get tired of. You'll soon realize in these posts that I either follow a recipe to a T or neglect to look one up all together. For this one we are recipe-less but that's half the fun (and the other half is most certainly eating your creation and looking forward to leftovers). 

Ground Turkey Taco Bowls

When I grocery shop I usually go to Trader Joes since that is where I can find quality ingredients the cheapest. It has become my go-to grocery store leaving me with only a few things to pick up at other places. Pretty much everything for today's recipe can be picked up there and the beauty of this bowl is that you can customize it however you would like which I think is one of the reasons I've yet to get tired of it. 

Ground Turkey (sometimes to mix it up I'll use ground chicken)
Taco Seasoning
Brown Rice (when you want to mix it up use quinoa)
Bell Peppers
Any other favorite taco topping. 

How To Make It
Like I mentioned earlier, this is a recipe-less recipe. If I was bold enough to start my post-grad cooking endeavors with this then that should be proof that this is a breeze to make taking me no more than 15 minutes. Based on the ingredients I buy I can usually make 4 or 5 servings from cooking this once although on occasion I need to make a fresh bag of rice. 

1. Spray cooking pan and place ground turkey to cook in it on medium heat. Add water as needed and sprinkle on some of your favorite taco seasoning. Depending on the amount of ground turkey you purchase I couldn't see this cooking for more than about 10 minutes. You'll want to flip it throughout and once it is browned then you are good to go. 
2. Follow directions on bag or box to cook rice. 
3. Chop bell peppers & avocados.
4. Once the rice and ground turkey are ready place the desired amount in your bowl and top with cheese. 
5. Place additional ingredients into your bowl and enjoy with a Lime La Croix (kidding but it is delicious).

TA DA you have a quick dinner for tonight and some look forward to worthy leftover to pack in your lunch or eat for dinner the rest of this week. It's always a happy sight in the fridge when I make these since it's a colorful meal and so easy to customize to your liking. I'm almost embarrassed to admit just how easy it is to make these and the fact that I could do it with my eyes closed considering I've made this dish at least 10 times. I hope that y'all are excited for this new series and I would love to know any recipes that you adore so that I can try those out as well! 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Step Into My Week

One last week before the kids arrive for me. There is still so much to get done before they arrive next Tuesday but having spent 3 days in my classroom this past week it is starting to look a little bit more like a suitable learning environment. With my car loaded up I made my first trip to the room on Tuesday morning (although I had a few meetings to attend that day) and had just as much stuff to unload on Wednesday and Thursday as well. The poor secretaries who kept having to let me in and out of the building were quite impressed by how much stuff I could pack onto my rolling cart to make fewer trips. My classroom is HUGE as it is actually a brand new kindergarten classroom that will be mine for the year as I teach 4th grade. As a first year teacher with fewer supplies and things in general I almost feel guilty for its size and storage but I am already getting attached. I have a long way to go before it feels put together but once I started making visual progress I started to feel a little bit better about how soon the kids come. I shared a lot of progress and silly tidbits on my instagram stories and plan to continue to do so this week but will eventually do a classroom tour on here. I've been shocked to see how many teacher and education majors follow me on instagram since I've been getting the sweetest messages with ideas and encouragement after each classroom story upload. While I'll be sure to share some aspects of teaching and my classroom I definitely do not want this to become a teaching blog as Prep In Your Step has always served as a creative outlet for me. I am planning to maybe talk about my classroom once a week (maybe every other week) but will need to play that by ear. I also plan to share my teaching outfits with y'all (confession: I am proud to be an outfit repeater) and I'm not sure if y'all would want those in their own post or right here in Step Into My Week posts like I did while student teaching. Y'all will just have to let me know. For now, here is my far from finished classroom. 

In addition to trying to get into some sort of routine in the near future (hello a valiant attempt being made to work out, blog, sleep, teach, etc...) I was able to do some fun things throughout this week. I had dinner at Chipotle with my friend Sarah (read her blog here!) on Wednesday and as per usual it was delicious and so fun being able to connect with other creative minds. In Thursday we celebrated my friend Porter's 22nd birthday with wine and appetizers at her apartment. Her mom and sister were even in town for the occasion and it was the perfect laid back way to celebrate after we were all feeling tired from moving boxes and perfecting bulletin boards. 

This is the shirt I am wearing in that photo and wore during some instagram story uploads that y'all were asking about! This weekend I finished up my book, continued to spend money on my classroom (the amount they expect you to supply is borderline insane), and spent a lot of time printing, laminating, and cutting various items. Yesterday we had our first grad class of the fall semester which was made better by getting our schedule for the semester finally and door prizes. I would up with a stapler and staple remover that will look cute on my desk and some fun friends that may make grading work a bit more bearable. The professors, supervisors, and mentors there definitely know the way to teacher' hearts. I think that about wraps it up for last week but hopefully I'll have more photos for you next week! 

Last Week's Posts 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Work Wear from H&M

After spending time in my classroom this past week it became pretty real that I will be starting my first real job in just over a week. I think my friends and I are all a bit guilty of conceptualizing our rooms and ordering supplies for it that we've almost forgotten that in no time our classrooms will be filled with lots of students ready (or maybe not so ready) to learn. 

While I am excited for those first days in the classroom it is also very nerve wracking. Something that always helps me to feel a bit more confident is a put together outfit. Especially in the first couple of weeks that is how I plan to cope with the nerves, picking out outfits that will be comfortable, appropriate, and give me a boost of confidence. While teachers have a more relaxed dress code than many other professions I am not dying to resort to bland and boring clothes and have found that I am just not a capri, cardigan, and ballet flat kind of person. I am 22 after all. Fortunately I have plenty of appropriate pieces in my closet that getting dressed in the morning shouldn't be a big issue but that hasn't stopped me from browsing around on some of my favorite stores sites to find appropriate work wear. I know many of y'all are probably in the same boat as me when it comes to needing to dress professionally but not being willing to neglect your own style when putting an outfit together. So, I thought I'd share some of the pretty pieces I found. 

H&M is almost like a more grown up Forever 21. I can find better pieces at H&M than I can at Forever 21 and often have a pretty full cart on the site (and sadly leave it that way most of the time #budgeting). Today I am sharing the pieces I've found on H&M's site but if this is a type of post you'd like to see more of including other retailers definitely let me know and I'l try to create that for y'all! 

I'd love y'alls take on appropriate work wear! 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Tips For Being On The Other Side Of Recruitment

How is it already August 10th? I've already started seeing posts on social media of people going back to school and for some, sorority recruitment has already begun! Boy did this summer fly bye. A couple of weeks ago I asked on instagram if there were any blog post topics that y'all wanted to see this is one that came up and seemed like such a fun and unique idea. I definitely hope to tackle many of the others on the list but since sorority recruitment is happening now I figured that this was a now or never (or at least next year) kind of post.

A little bit of background for you so that you can choose whether or not you would like to take my advice (long time readers y'all know this!). I graduated from Furman University in May of this year where I studied Elementary Education. Furman participates in deferred recruitment so the earliest time possible to go through recruitment was in January of my freshman year. I went through recruitment and joined Kappa Delta. KD was one of my major involvements throughout college as I participated in a number of appointed officer roles, became Vice President of Public Relations and half that position from sophomore year to junior year, and then served as Chapter President from junior year into senior year. In those roles I was heavily involved in the recruitment process and I feel like I have a decent bit of knowledge on the subject. I spoke at our Preference Tea every year, rotated through talking to PNMs (potential new members), and even gave our 12ish minute presentation during Sisterhood Round this past year. Just so we are clear, every college campus and sorority on your campus will do things a little bit differently (just like how chapters vary from place to place) so feel free to adapt these tips to meet your own organization's standards. 

Be Confident
Go Confidently, Go KD (am I right?). Ironic that KD has a platform of confidence and here I am encouraging you to be confident but I wouldn't say it if it weren't true. Recruitment can be nerve wracking. That's especially so as a freshman and that may also be how you feel the first year on the other side recruiting members. The sooner that you can feel sure of yourself in this role the sooner you'll be able to make the PNMs feel comfortable and portray yourself and your sorority in the best light. I always had jitters before the first round but after it begun and I reminded myself that it really is just making friends it was smooth sailing from then (well at least till I had to give a speech or solve a problem). Remind yourself that this is an opportunity to make friends and find other girls with similar interests as you and hopefully that will ease your mind. 

Take Time To Think About Why You Joined Your Sorority
While recruitment isn't entirely about trying to convince a PNM to join your individual sorority (ideally you are trying to help them find the best fit for them) if you are passionate about your organization and what you do then that may happen naturally. The best way to go into recruitment with a positive attitude is to think about why you joined your sorority in the first place. KD was an easy choice for me. I had wanted to be a KD since the first informal recruitment event in the fall since those were the girls I clicked with. Maybe you felt that way too or maybe you had a really tough time  after Pref Tea deciding which organization you wanted to put first. Whatever the case was, think back to what the deciding factor was. I can pretty much guarantee it had nothing to do with exterior appearances but instead was based on the values you shared with the girls you met and the organization as a whole. Taking the time to reflect on this will make you feel more attached to your organization and hopefully help to guide your conversations so that the PNMs can see why you are passionate about your sorority but also will hopefully reciprocate that positive feeling towards your chapter. This is a question PNMs may ask you (usually in the later rounds) so having thought about this before hand will make for a more genuine response. 

Make the PNMS feel comfortable
Hopefully this comes as a no brainer and doesn't need too much clarifying. Your goal when talking to a PNM should be to make them feel comfortable. Regardless of if this is a girl you really want or one who may be better fit for a different house you should be doing everything in your power to make them feel welcome. Don't leave them with a sour taste in their mouth because that's when girls can get kind of catty towards other organizations. Ask them how they are feeling, genuinely listen, and try to find something in common with them. For the most part, PNMs are pretty nervous so try your best to calm those nerves by being inclusive. 

Don't Listen To Other People When Scoring The PNM
Hi, scoring PNMs is not a groundbreaking thing that I created. I know the idea of scoring people can be controversial but I'm here to tell you that it happens and if it didn't I'm not really sure how numbers would be narrowed down. The sooner you think about it as helping a PNM to find the best fit house for her the sooner you will feel comfortable scoring her. My biggest piece of advice when it does come to scoring PNMs is to make sure that you are basing your score on your own conversation with this girl and how based on that conversation you think she would fit into your house and not on the silly rumors you may hear from other people. You were paired or chosen to talk to this girl so this is your responsibility not her ex-boyfriend's older sister's score who happens to be in your chapter and is annoyed that the PNM and her brother broke up right before prom or something silly like that. Most of the time scoring isn't based on feelings at all but more so on fact so stick to the score card and your own intuition. 

Have Some Conversation Ideas/Questions and Transitions In Your Head
As I mentioned earlier, it's ideal to find something in common with every PNM. It's usually easiest to do this by asking open ended questions. It may calm your nerves being on the other side of recruitment as a recruiter to have some conversation topics and questions in the back of your mind. If the conversation lulls you can rely on these to get it back on track again! You'll also be transitioning into and out of conversations so try to make those a bit more natural by having ideas in mind! I'm sure no one needs this reminder but make sure that you are following the conversation guidelines set by your chapter and Panhellenic. The 5 B's if you will (booze, boys, Barack, bible, bucks) are ideal to steer clear of since they may be controversial and not every PNM will feel comfortable discussing these things.

Best of luck to anyone recruiting or going through recruitment this year! Joining a sorority and choosing to get involved with it was definitely one of the best things I did in college and allowed me to grow a lot individually, with leadership skills, and branch out. I'd highly recommend it :)
Also, if you're already in a sorority I'd love to hear which one!

Other Sorority Related Posts I've Done:

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Novels With Nell - Eight Hundred Grapes

When I was home this past weekend the most typical thing happened. Nell and I were able to see each other on Friday which was so fun but somehow in the fewer than 24 hours we were together I was reminded a few times of how I really need to read some of the books she has recommended. While I agree with that and wish I had all the time in the world, I know my time is going to feel like a lot less starting in the next couple weeks as the school year begins. Nell was persistent and wouldn't take no for an answer and started pilling the books up to eliminate the excuse of not having them. Y'all, Nell is passionate about these recommendations. After I finish my current read I plan to read this book that Nell recommended. In all honesty, she kinda made me start reading it while we were together on Friday night. Her most recent recommendation was not added to my stack but may be one I need to get from her the next time we are together!

By: Laura Dave 

Well, folks, I hate to say it, but one by one, schools are in session, and summer is winding down. I thought that was a great reason to share a great summer read before the end of the season! It was on Carly’s blog (The College Prepster) that I first saw this book about a year ago. I picked it up from the library and flew through it. This quote sums up my feelings about the book: “I couldn't put Eight Hundred Grapes down! Laura Dave writes with humor and insight about relationships in all their complexity, whether she's describing siblings or fiancés or a couple long-married. Eight Hundred Grapes is a captivating story about the power of family, the limitations of love, and what becomes of a life's work.” —J. Courtney Sullivan, New York Times bestselling author of Maine and The Engagements. It’s a light read as far as content and an easy (and fun) to follow plot line, but comments on these universal themes listed above that we can all relate to. P.S. A bonus: I think the book cover is really cute too!

“There are secrets you share, and secrets you hide… What if your beloved fiancé, he of the crinkly smile and irresistible British accent, had kept a life-changing secret from you? And what if, just a week before your dream wedding, you discovered it?

Georgia Ford, bride-to-be, hops in her car and drives through the night, from Los Angeles to Sonoma, to her safe haven: her family, and the acclaimed family winery. Georgia craves the company of those who know her best, and whom she truly knows. Better yet, it’s the eve of the last harvest—the best time of the growing season, and Georgia knows she’ll find solace—and distraction—in the familiar rituals. But when Georgia arrives home, nothing is at all familiar. Her parents, her brothers, the family business, are all unrecognizable. It seems her fiancé isn’t the only one who’s been keeping secrets…

Eight Hundred Grapes is a story about the messy realities of family, the strength (and weaknesses) of romantic love, and the importance of finding a place to call home.”

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Step Into My Week

I'm back! Sorry for the short break I took on Friday and Monday. I was at home for what felt like the fastest weekend and I was tired so I took a couple of days off from blogging to regroup. I always feel guilty when I do this but I hope that y'all understand. It is my hope to start getting better about planning ahead with blog posts so that as I start teaching I won't have to have it take a back burner. 

This past week has involved a lot of classroom related tasks and today is actually my first day being able to see my room. I am equal parts excited and terrified since I am glad to finally have some of my supplies out of the living room but also know that turning the room into an inviting space will be an undertaking. So, this past week I've been doing what I can to prepare myself before even stepping foot inside. This includes making a ton of labels, laminating just about everything, and still spending way too much money of supplies. 

I ha a new teacher orientation for Greenville County on Tuesday and Wednesday which was long but informative. In all I definitely think it was beneficial and it gave my friends and I the chance to meet other new teachers in Greenville so at least we made some new friends out of it! After each of those days I think all of our to-do lists doubled in size so it was nice to be able to tackle parts of mine while at home. I left super early on Thursday morning and made it back around lunch time which was ideal (considering I was able to take a nap before my parents got home from work).

On Friday I got a haircut and did more teacher-y tasks before heading to dinner with Nell that night. Nell's birthday is this Friday so I planned a little surprise dinner with her friends who were in town at this really yummy restaurant called Five. She was surprised and we had a great time! Saturday morning we went to Barre3 together, walked around downtown, and caught up since we hadn't seen one another since May. The rest of Saturday I spent with my family at home which was so nice! Sunday was pretty similar although we did go to one of my favorite breakfast spots, my grandparents dropped by, and I was able to see a friend who I hadn't seen in 7 months! I left first thing Monday morning so while the trip was short I did pack a lot in which was necessary considering I won't be back home until Thanksgiving. 

All those activities and not a single photo, oops! But I did want to share this really cool print I received with y'all! Jennifer designs map art and sent me this awesome wall print of Greenville that I love. I haven't decided exactly where I want to put it just yet (I feel like it could be really cool in my classroom). It comes in black and white and you can get a number of different places. I think that these would make an awesome gift, especially for anyone headed off to college who you want to take a piece of home with them! Be sure to check out all of the locations done in this style on the Modern Map Art site

This is what my car looks like this morning as I head off with my first load to move into my classroom! 

Posts From This Past Week: 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Last Minute NSale Favorites {All In Stock}

Happy Sunday and happy last day of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale! I am sure y'all are all to the point of exhaustion when it comes to the hype of the sale but I couldn't let the last day to shop pass without sharing some of the in-stock items that I still have my eyes on! Many of these items are still in stock in a number of colors and sizes but here are my favorites.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Updating My Desk Decor For Back To School

When deciding on an apartment and later which rooms would be whose among my roommates I had one wish list item. A room with enough space for a desk. I've come to learn over the years that I am most productive (in the morning) when seated at a space designated for work. I knew that if I wanted to be able to come home and get work done and also manage to keep blogging as my teaching career begins that a desk was a personal non-negotionable. Fortunately, my room has enough space for a desk and it is my hope that this designated area helps me to continue to get work done despite not having the library in a mile perimeter (college, I miss you already).

In college I was a huge proponent of going to the library to do my work. My friends still to this day make fun of just how much I love Furman's library. The large windows, tables with plenty of space to spread out, and silent (and sometimes not so silent) camaraderie with everyone else attempting to get their work accomplished made it one of my favorite places on campus. Since I spent so much time in the library (read: spent hours there during finals week when I didn't have any finals because of how much I love it) I never truly had to make my desk space my go-to place for productivity. 

Now, fast forward to post grad as I have just finished my first summer of grad school and am preparing for my first year as a fourth grade teacher and now, it is ESSENTIAL that my desk is a place for productivity. In addition to creating a space conducive for checking off to-do lists I wanted to make sure that my desk area was still cute considering it's in my bedroom. Naturally, I turned to PB Teen to look for some ways to upgrade my space in a functional and mature way. 

Below you'll find five different items I used to help my desk space become a place I want to go to that is organized and functional. 

The first thing I needed to figure out in my desk area (aside from the desk of course) was how to fill the space above it. In college, I used a desk hutch under which I placed a bulletin board. It didn't take long each year for my bulletin board to become filled with pictures and items from the events of each year. When I came across this Scallop Statement Pinboard I was sold. It is huge and will be the perfect place to house any inspiration that I want to save as well as photos, reminders to myself, letters, and mementos that serve as memories. Right now I have a long ways to go before it's filled but I cannot wait to continue adding items to it over time.

My desk chair was the next thing that could use some appeal. Since I was envisioning myself sitting here to accomplish work I figured I may as well find something comfortable. When I stumbled across this Navy Twill Tufted Desk Chair I decided that it would do just the trick. It feels like a living room chair but with wheels (and the ability to spin!) it makes you mobile from one part of your desk space to the other. The navy definitely gives the white initially found in my desk area some contrast which I love in addition to the comfort and support the chair provides. 


Having a giant inboard in front of my desk left the wall to the side of my desk beginning for something to balance it. When I discovered that PB Teen sold prints from one of my favorite artists, Evelyn Henson, I knew that was the perfect solution. This Framed Paris Print has soothing colors that look good with my decor with a subject mater that makes me take a mini vacation when I look at it. The size was perfect for this wall and I love that it's one of the first things you see when you come into my room. It wasn't until I started to hang up art the difference I saw it make in completing my space. 

Does anyone else function better when you know you have a set amount of time to work on something? I think the reason this works for me is due in part to lengthy to-do lists not being categorized into time frames since I can never be quite sure how long a task will take. Having a visible clock with a timer is helpful when it comes to working on something as I like to eliminate all distractions and work on one specific thing for a set period of time. I'm not tempted to check my phone or suddenly get distracted by my computer since I am able to see how time is passing which in turn motivates me to keep working through something. Whether I set an alarm for 30 minutes or an hour knowing that what I'm working on has an end time makes me more efficient! It also didn't hurt that this New Covenant Garden Alarm Clock is so cute and the perfect color! 

Last but not least, I can't function when my space is messy. Drawer organizers are helpful but I know that having stuff within my reach without having to dig through drawers helps me to stay on task in the long run. That is why I love this Classic Wooden Storage Caddy. With multiple compartments I am able to organize my pens and pencils while keeping notepads and other desk supplies neat and in one place. I also love that this caddy is pretty narrow which makes me feel as though it isn't taking up much of my valuable work space. I am a school supply junkie and if it weren't for something like this to keep it all together there is no telling what my desk may look like. 

With back to school season upon us now is the perfect time to take precautionary measures to ensure productivity and give your desk space a nice little face lift. While I'm sure there will be many long nights spent at my desk in the year to come, hopefully I won't dread it and time won't be wasted due to the organization and inspiration I put in place now! 

I'd love to hear if you have any tips for creating a functional desk space both in school and after! 

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

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Nordstrom Sale Purchases Video!

One of the most frequently asked questions I get is, "when will you be posting another video to youtube?" Honestly, that's a good question since I never know when I am going to have enough time to sit down, film, edit, and wait for a video to upload. However, to help combat the sadness of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale coming to an end on Sunday, I thought it would be fun to share my haul from the purchases I made. I know what you're probably thinking, you already shared them, but sometimes it is more fun to hear my review than read it. That's what I'm telling myself at least. 

So, if you want to hear a little bit more detail about the items I purchased then you are in the right place! I'm including links to the items underneath the video if you're watching this on the blog but if you're watching the video on youtube you'll find the links to the items in the description box! 

I am still nosy as to what y'all purchased so let me know below! 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

July Favorites

Happy August. Happy may be a bit of a stretch considering I am equal parts excited and nervous for what is to come this month with the start of my first "real world" job. Before I start panicking about what is left to be done to prepare for that I thought it would be fun to share some of the items I've been loving during the month of July. I realized that I forgot to share my June favorites with y'all but will do my best to get back on track with sharing them at the end of each month. If you would like to see previous favorites then be sure to check out the "monthly favorites" label on the sidebar of my blog! 

I have been reading a lot this summer. I like grabbing a book and sitting by the pool for a while to soak up some sun while also escaping from my phone and computer. This book was one of my most recent reads and took me no time to get through. For whatever reason I love psychological thrillers (currently reading The Girl On The Train). The Woman In Cabin 10 is definitely the best psychological thriller I've read all summer and left me making connections to different parts of the story hours after I had finished it. It's set on a luxury cruise ship and it's hard to tell which characters to trust which drew me in even more. 

Since I forgot to share my June favorites I couldn't neglect to add another favorite book from this summer, The Defining Decade. From psychological thriller to self hope you never know what you're going to get from me. You can read more about what both Nell and I thought of it in this Novels with Nell post

Cuvee Beauty
If I had to narrow down the products I get sent most frequently I would have to say shampoo and sunscreen are both high on the list. Definitely not complaining about that since neither are all that fun to purchase. Cuvee Beauty connected with me earlier this summer to try out their product line and after spending some time using the products I am hooked. It makes my hair so soft and manageable (despite the fact that I really need a haircut). While some days I will just use the shampoo and conditioner I also have and love the protective treatment and styling balm. I find that when I use these products my hair looks good to go after just blow drying it which I can't always say about other shampoo and conditioner. These products are on the pricier side so if you're looking to give them a try you may want to start with the travel set!

This summer I have gotten into a big kick of waking up early. I know that I am most productive in the morning and I was not going to let having class all day starting at 9:00 get in the way of that. Grabbing my cup of coffee and coming back in my room to work on homework or blog related tasks definitely helped me to prepare for the day ahead and will hopefully help to transition me into this school year as well. The only qualm is that I need to learn how to go to bed a bit earlier but I have a feeling the exhaustion to come with the new school year will cause that to stop being a problem in no time. 

I love having my nails painted. In fact, it's pretty rare for them not to be painted. Something about a new color and freshly painted nails makes me feel a little bit more put together. While Essie's fiji will remain my favorite color, this summer I've found myself reaching for Essie's Peak Show a lot. It's a really light baby pink that almost comes off as a subtle white and it looks so good on everyone (aka the friends who have borrowed it). When it comes to nail polish I am the type of person who has to take it off right when I see a chip because I become tempted to pick at the nail polish and want it either all on or all off. I've used Essie's Gel Top Coat before but re-discovered it this summer and am so glad that I did. It does a great job of protecting the polish while also making your manicure look as though you had it done due to the sheen it gives. I've always gotten this item at Target but I am sure that you'll be able to find it other places as well! 

For the most part I've tried to wear regular clothes a lot this summer since my summer wardrobe is far from lacking (that's what growing up in Alabama will do to your closet, winter is a different story though). However, I have come to realize the days of having the option of looking put together or not are coming to an end. With that in mind I have been gravitating towards comfy athletic attire when I came and my Lululemon Tracker Shorts are a staple in that style ensemble. They are comfortable for just hanging out but also make great workout bottoms as they stay put during runs and the style is flattering. I got the navy pair this summer and have loved rotating those into my comfy clothing attire. 

This is a piece of jewelry that I am not sure I would've picked up on my own. I am usually a silver girl so this rose gold bracelet has been a fun way to mix up my everyday stack of bracelets. The best part though is the fact that it was a gift that I was never expecting. When my brother told me he got me a graduation present I was initially very confused and a little bit guilty considering when he graduated college I didn't even think about getting him something (and gift giving is undoubtedly MY THING). There was never any doubt in my mind about graduating from college so while it's fun to celebrate I definitely didn't think that I needed to get my sibling something when he graduated and I definitely didn't expect him to get me anything (especially considering his track record with Christmas and birthday presents...sorry Gil, the truth comes out). So when he called to tell me that my graduation present was being held at the FedEx distribution center 30 minutes away from our house and was adamant that I go pick it up as soon as possible I was a bit shocked. When I did pick it up I was in shock by how nice of a gift it was and the fact that he had taken the time to customize it. I'm pretty positive his girlfriend must've helped him pick it out (thanks Shannon!) but I know the customization must have been all him. He thoughtfully put the date of my graduation along with Woody, the nickname I gave myself after designating him as mister perfect and the shiny, new toy Buzz Lightyear and referring to myself as Woody. I smile every morning when I put it on and I'm not sure I'd love it nearly as much if it just said Dorothy on it. So, this being a favorite is equal parts due to the bracelet and the thought and unexpected nature of this gift. And if you're interested in your own there is one super similar available in Nordstrom's Anniversary Sale although I'm not positive it is customizable. 

As I mentioned, I've been doing my best to enjoy some time in the sun despite not being at the beach this summer but am sure to do so with caution as there is nothing worse than a bad sunburn and especially when that sunburn is on your lips. This Coola Chapstick feels really light weight and ever since I started using it my lips have felt more moisturized which I can't say is normally the case in the summer. I know a lot of brands make chapstick with SPF so if you haven't tried one and are tired of your lips feeling dry after a day in the sun I'd definitely recommend Coola (I also love their spray sunscreens!). 

So there you have it, a timely collection of the products I've been loving in July! I'd love to know if you had any favorite products this past month or if you have any recommendations for me based on these items. 

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