Saturday, November 29, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide {Workout Wear}

I am in complete disbelief that today is Saturday. The first time I have ever dreaded the weekend. This break has just flown by and I am not sure I am ready to head back to school to take exams, I think I would rather stay here and help my mom decorate the house and eat yummy home cooked meals avoiding all school work. Since that isn't exactly an option I have come up with a fun solution that benefits us both. I will hopefully (time permitting since school does have to come first) have 2 posts up each day from now until mid December to pass the time. Make sure you lookout for both posts each day and feel free to leave feedback, I love hearing from y'all! 

Also, be sure to check out yesterdays post since there are tons of great deals still to be had!

I'm not sure about y'all but after the copious amount of food I've consumed in the past few days I won't be complaining about heading to the gym once I get back to school. I genuinely enjoy working out but am definitely more motivated by cute and functional workout attire. Whether you have a friend that you think would love these goodies or personally want to add them to your wish list most of these are suitable for the gym and even after when you don't feel like changing (I'm definitely guilty of that). I have gathered all of my favorite workout centered gifts below!

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Best Black Friday Deals and Sales of 2014 {find them all here}

After eating too much yesterday what could possibly be a more fun way to recover than chasing (not literally of course, too much pie for that) after some great deals. I have never done the whole in person black Friday shopping and if that's for you then more power to you (crowds aren't my thing)! Here I have included the best black Friday online sales of the year complete with some of my picks (found at the bottom of the post) from each sale!
if you are looking for loads of different things on sale ranging from electronics to makeup amazon is definitely the place for you to do your one stop shopping!

huge site wide sale

30% off with code TGIBF

20% off with code FIT20

50% off 1 full priced item with code BRFIFTY

10% off with code CYBER10 (I use my Barrington Gifts tote ALL the time)

15% off 2 items with code FRIDAY15

Select merchandise 50% off

30% off cashmere styles

40% off everything + free shipping on orders over $100

20% off with code MANYTHANKS

$20 off all yoga pants and $15 off all running shorts

 20% off orders of $75+ with code HOLLADAY

50% off site wide with code BLKFRIDAY

30% off select full-price styles and additional 40% off sale + free shipping, no minimum with code HOLIDAY

J.Crew Factory
50% off of everything + free shipping over $50 with code THANKS

Kate Spade
awesome surprise sale going on now! check out my favorites here!

Kendra Scott
15% off everything with code BFCM2014

LL Bean
10% off entire order with code THANKS10
It's time to get your Bean Boots

 free gift with purchases at any spend, receive additional gift with purchase of $75+

extra 20% off almost everything + 25% off fine jewelry with code THANKS

25% off entire purchase with code GIFTON

Marley Lilly
free blanket scarf with purchase

up to 40% off no coupon code necessary

50% off entire store

25% off entire store with code THANKFUL25

up to 60% off select styles

Tiered promotion: 15% off $250, 20% off $500, 25% off $1000 with code GOBIG14

30% off all footwear

15% off select brands

select items discounted

30% off select product, and 2 for 1 on mid-season sale items

Tory Burch
spend $300 and receive 20% off / $500 and receive 25% off / $750 and receive 30% off with code LUCKY

15% off with code SHOP15

In case you missed any of my gift guides so far (no worries, I have tons more to come) be sure to check them out since a ton of the products are included in these sales!

Shop all my favorites from these retailers here!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Tips for a successful Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Happy Thanksgiving again to y'all (read my earlier post from today here)!

Let's not forget what today is all about before we jump into the sales! I know a lot of us are thankful for things we already have but that doesn't mean we can't be thankful for sales either though. I know I'll be spending this Black Friday and Cyber Monday ordering the gifts I am giving my friends and family this year! I have never been someone to go out and Black Friday shop so while I don't have much insight on the out and about in person maneuvering I am happy to share some tips for how to shop in your pajamas from home on both of these occasions! 

Just fair warning, prepare yourself and your wallets for some amazing sales and be sure to stop back by here for a round up of all of the deals you need to make this black Friday and cyber Monday the best yet!

Think of your friends.
Now is the perfect time to snag gifts for friends and family. After all if you get something for them on sale you may be able to spoil them a bit more! I have a running note on my iPhone of gifts I would love to get my friends and being able to find those on sale is icing on the cake!

Pre-shop big stores to know what you want before knowing the deal.
We are all aware of major chains having sales. If you go ahead and peruse through the stores site and find things you want (and add them to your cart!) you are more likely to buy things because you want them instead of buying them because they are on super sale and you couldn't resist. I always have a few things in my shopping carts around the web and they are usually pieces I really want but just can't justify purchasing at the moment. If these products happen to go on sale now is the perfect time to snag them. 

Don't get too caught up in the sale, be realistic.
Know your limits! I can't imagine anything worse than blowing all of ones money just because things were on sale. Go into things with a mindset of how much you are willing to spend and more importantly stick to that number. While black Friday and cyber Monday are great if you can't afford something there are sure to be other sales at other times!

Also, think of stuff you may use on a daily basis and see if it is on sale so that you can stock up! 
Best of luck and checkout all of the amazing sales all together in one place here tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

My Christmas + Birthday Wishlist

I know, I know it isn't even Thanksgiving yet (almost but not quite) and I am posting my holiday wish list. Forgive me for the eager posting of it however, my family always asks so I thought that y'all may be intrigued as well! I want to make it very clear that this is a wish list. I in no way expect to necessarily get anything from my list. These are just items I have had my eyes on and love which will hopefully give my family some ideas of products I would enjoy receiving this holiday season.

Whenever I make my Christmas list I always feel a bit like a brat. As you get older the items you love and wish for tend to get more expensive making your list look more and more greedy. It is especially hard for me because I not only have Christmas but I also have my Birthday the day after so it's a double whammy. If I see anything throughout the year that I adore but wouldn't buy for myself it all gets stuck on this list. The past few Christmas' and Birthdays I have been spoiled so I am not really expecting this year to be a blowout since the last couple of years my family has been so gracious. Just keep these thoughts in mind as you are looking at this post and let me know if we have any overlap on our wish lists!

Tory Burch Rollerball Perfume: I have a tiny sample of this perfume and adore the scent. Now that the sample is used up I would love to have a rollerball version. I don't wear perfume frequently enough to truly justify purchasing a full bottle and the rollerball aspect makes bringing it with me when I travel so easy!

Starbucks Gift Cards: This is super self explanatory but I would love gift cards from friends and family who don't quite know what to get me! Starbucks, Barnes and Noble (we have a Starbucks inside of ours at school, and Panera would all be greatly appreciated).

Ruffle Sweatshirt: J.Crew always amazes. I saw this sweatshirt and thought it would be such a fun winter wear. Super comfy with a touch of flare would make those mornings when you don't feel like getting dressed a breeze!

Greenville Map Print: Evelyn Henson's art is just perfect! I have a few of her prints including a map of Furman and would love to have her illustration of downtown Greenville, SC (where Furman is) to add to my collection! (25% off now)

David Yurman Ring: Ok so a girl can dream! I have two David Yurman bracelets that I wear every single day, I feel naked if I don't have them on! I don't really have a ring that I wear on an everyday basis and I have been lusting over this one for a while (I just love the stacked look of it). This is definitely something I hope to own at some point!

Kate Spade Places to Go and People to See Book: Call me a child but books with pretty pictures can entertain me for hours. I was so excited when I heard that Kate Spade was coming out with another coffee table book (I have the first one and adore it) and just knew I needed to add it to my wish list.

Nike Frees: I have owned a pair of Nike Frees since my sophomore year of high school and needless to say they are getting a bit worn down (read: I can see my sock). I love throwing them on instead of my running shoes (don't want to wear down the soles) when bopping around and I can't help but love all of the fun color combinations. This is definitely one of my more practical gifts!

Pajamas: I adore all things comfy and cozy and a matching pair of pajamas always makes me feel like I have my life together. The city print on this pair is just the cutest! (I love the city girl print)

Macaron Mat: This summer I attempted to make macaroons for the first time and they were more successful than I ever imagined and super tasty too. One of the hardest parts of the process for me was getting the sizes of the macaroons to match up and this is the perfect solution. Next year I will hopefully be in an apartment with a kitchen and would love to be able to make them frequently! (This is another version that comes with more stuff and a recipe book)

Scarf: The pattern of this scarf initially drew my attention and I can't get over how warm it looks. I prefer thick and cozy infinity scarves like this one in the winter and would love to have this to wear around. The grey allows it to be pretty neutral while the stripes add a bit of fun!

Jacket: One of my sorority sisters has this jacket and I don't think I have ever felt anything softer. While white may seem a bit risky to some it can be thrown in the wash and looks good as new. This would be the perfect jacket to layer over things or take to the library on a late study night! (I would want a white medium one)

Camp Socks: By the looks of my list y'all probably think I live in Anartica. What can I say, in the winter I just long to be warm. I have a pair of grey camp socks and they are the perfect things to keep my feet warm inside my bean boots and I would love to add a white or cream pair to my collection!

PS FAM I made sure to get this up before all of the sales this weekend so shop wisely!

What's on your Holiday Wishlist?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Soft & Gooey Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

If you HATE soft gooey cookies that epitomize fall with every bite, spending quality time with your family, and consuming loads of food with the people you are most thankful for to kick off the holiday season then feel free to just click out of this post so as not to waste your time (I'll spare you my opinions of how crazy I think you are). However, if that has your mouth watering and leaves you with a warm and fuzzy feeling then you should probably stick around.

I just adore Thanksgiving. We always do pretty much the same thing each year and I love the consistency of the holiday. Today, I am so excited to share with y'all the easiest and tastiest cookie recipe that will surely impress your friends and family. These cookies taste like fall in every bite and remain soft and spongy even a couple of days after making them! My friends and I first discovered these when our friend Olivia's mom made them for us, before we could even finish our first cookie we were already begging for the recipe! I could gladly eat 6 in a sitting (Honestly though, I could probably do that for any delicious cookie but these especially!). One of the factors that makes these so simple is that they derive from a box mix, yes, you heard me right! And for any of you gluten free girls these will quickly become your favorite treat as well. I am encouraging you now to stock up on enough pumpkin for a whole year because once you try these you'll be hooked (you can hate me or thank me later for this because either is equally as flattering in this case)!

The ingredients are more than likely products that you already have on hand with it being the holiday season, for one batch you will need…

1 box of Betty Crocker Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix (sometimes this isn't right next to her original bag mix but you should be able to find it on the same aisle)
3/4 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 egg
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon of vanilla
Extra Chocolate Chips, I used Nestle milk chocolate morsels (the more the merrier when it comes to chocolate chips)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Powdered sugar if desired to sprinkle on the top (such a yummy touch)


First, heat the oven to 350 degrees and grease your cookie sheets
Second, in a large bowl, stir pumpkin, butter, vanilla and egg until blended. Stir in the cookie mix and cinnamon until dough forms. Drop the dough by rounded tablespoons 2 inches apart on cookie sheets.
Lastly, depending on how large your cookies are, bake 10 to 12 minutes or until almost no indentation remains when lightly touched in center and edges are golden brown.

Now enjoy your cookies and bribe someone else to clean up your mess!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Step Into My Week: 11/14-11/20

Fortunately for y'all this weeks Step Into My Week will be a bit more entertaining and photo filled than last weeks + I have lots of fun on my radar items as well!

Friday after class my chapter of KD and Wofford's KDs met up in downtown Greenville to cohost our International Girls Day with the Girl Scouts (one of our philanthropies). I was a Girl Scout when I was younger and that is one of the ways I met my best friend so it is so fun to be able to give back to them. We celebrated confidence and being ourselves with loads of fun stations and games!

Go Confidently, Go KD!

They learned how to do the KD hand sign and were pretty keen on doing it in every single picture, it was the cutest thing ever!

That night a girl from my hometown spent the night with me and we went downtown to eat dinner and catch up. We ended up watching movies back in my room attempting to stay warm as the temperature seems to be dropping. I was so glad I could show her around Furman and my fingers are definitely crossed for her to come here.

Saturday we played one of our biggest rivals Wofford and I got to work in the president's box during the game because of my involvement in an organization called Presidential Aides (we work as liaisons between the student body and Furman's president). It was such a cool experience and the view was incredible! I also couldn't complain that it was inside considering it was FREEZING outside!

I even got to see one of my co-counselors from camp who was visiting Furman this weekend! 

As for the school week… it has been very project filled! I had two big projects due so I spent a lot of the week typing and hot gluing away! I am lucky that those are done going into Thanksgiving break though so I really can't complain.

Now for what has been on my radar!

I have some super duper exciting news to share with y'all that I have been keeping from y'all for a little bit. I wanted to make sure that everything went through before even mentioning it but… I am now on my sororities executive council. This is something that I really wanted to do since before even joining a sorority and I am so excited that I now have this opportunity. I am now my chapter of KD's Vice President of Public Relations and couldn't be more thrilled! My big was just elected as President so I am really excited that we will both be on Exec together!

I know it is still a bit early for Christmas but this video was absolutely adorable! Not to mention that Idina Menzel is coming out with a holiday album!  I am definitely getting into the holiday spirit especially since I head home for Thanksgiving tomorrow!! Eep!

Since I will be driving home tomorrow I (am a bit embarrassed to admit this) will without a doubt be listening to One Direction's new album and Taylor Swift's of course! If you happen to be driving from South Carolina to Alabama on Saturday and see a girl driving with brown hair (belting) singing along to these songs then chances are it is me. 

J.Crew Factory's New Arrivals are perfect! This black dress NEEDS to be in my closet, it is the perfect holiday frock! Shop all my favorites at the bottom of this post!

Kate Spade has released the cutest gallery wall prints! Kate Spade stores always have the prettiest prints in them so I adore that they now offer the option to purchase them (Facebook Exclusive)! Also, their new holiday ads are pretty cute showcasing tons of fun gifts any girl would love to give or receive! 

Be sure to check out the gift guides I posted this week! Monograms & Guys!

Shop all of my favorites from the week right here!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide {Guys}

I definitely think that the hardest people for me to shop for when it comes to Christmas gifts would have to be the guys I know! For me that only includes male family/relatives (dad, brother, etc) but for many I know shopping for a significant other can be especially tricky! I've been sure to include a wide variety of prices for these gifts and hope that if you are still on the hunt that this will help you out! Some of the links may even surprise you price wise and fit in your budget!

My dad reads my blog (hey dad) so I can't say what I plan to get him and I know part of what I will be getting for my brother but the rest is to be determined so I'd love any ideas from y'all as well!

Also, I just noticed that I put a lot of alcohol related things on this gift guide and I am in no way trying to pinpoint that guys want alcohol or gifts related to alcohol for Christmas. My brother just turned 21 so I guess I was considering fun age appropriate gifts I could get for him and that's why I included so many!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide {Monograms}

The time has come for me to begin sharing my gift guides with y'all! I know it seems early but with Thanksgiving being so late I would hate to leave y'all stressed in the weeks leading up to Christmas! I am trying to postpone the Christmas cheer around here until after Thanksgiving and I think this year has been the most excited I've ever been for Thanksgiving so Christmas needs to wait a bit longer!

As for gift giving however, it is never too early to start thinking about the perfect gifts to give and maybe you'll even discover some gifts you are dying to receive through these posts as well! I opted to start with monogrammed gifts because they usually need to be ordered a bit sooner than other gifts because of the time it can take to personalize your product. I love the thoughtfulness and pre-planning a monogram gift shows and I love that it makes something entirely personal. 

All of my gift guide posts will contain a range of products from different price ranges so be sure to click on the products at the bottom, some of the prices may surprise you! Also, bee sure to let me know if you have any specific gift guides in mind and I will be happy to create them!

So many sites now offer personalization so be sure to check out the selections offered from these stores since you can easily get it all taken care of in one place!
gloves (real leather with an awesome sale price) | tote

Shop away my friends!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Step Into My Week: 11/7 - 11/13

As lame as this sounds I really don't have much to report on! I wish I could say that I did loads of fun things this past weekend but majority of my time was spent studying for a big biology test I had on Monday. It was probably the hardest I have ever studied for a test ( I calculated it and I studied around 16 hours for it last weekend) and the test was equally the hardest exam I have ever taken. We all left class questioning if that test was even made for our class because it didn't really have anything we covered in class or in the book. I left feeling kind of defeated but fortunately I did have a little bit of fun this past weekend!

Saturday night was KA's barn party. Last year this was my favorite party that I attended and this year didn't disappoint! It was in a huge field and they had a bonfire, a band, and lots of swing dancing. I went with a lot of girls from my sorority and we all had such a great time aside from the fact that we all came back with frozen toes!

After that test on Monday my next tests are my finals which is a little bit terrifying! The rest of the week was pretty normal with nothing too exciting to share! Although Nell and I went and ENOed the other afternoon which was a blast!

Here are my instagrams from this past week, feel free to follow along @prepinyourstep



Now onto what has been on my radar…

Taylor Swift's new music video for Blank Spaces had me asking questions the entire time and Buzz Feed completely summed up my confusion with some of the props in this article

Thanksgiving break has been on my mind since fall break and now I am only a week away from seeing these wonderful people and my friends! I am being a bit rebellious and skipping two days of class so that I can have a week long break! 

The fact that I didn't have a post go up on Monday has been bothering me all week so check back this weekend to see if I have changed that! I've been spending a lot of time this week working on gift guides so get excited for those next week! As for me, I will be working on two projects to turn in before I leave for break!

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

8 Tips for Keeping in Touch with Far Away Friends

In high school you feel like you know everyones business and they know yours. At least that is how it felt at my high school (granted I graduated with 54). In reality, that isn't exactly the case. You take for granted the frequency of being surrounded by your friends and then before you know it you will be nearing the half way point of your sophomore year of college (when did that happen?). And although you don't talk every day and making time in your crazy schedule to share details of your day with friends isn't always easy it doesn't mean that you care any less!

I have always been someone who is super intentional about my relationships with friends and (although this may sound bad) I would rather surround myself with a group of super close friends than have loads of friends I am not as close with. I am not exclusive, just intentional. College has made it so that I am intentional with a new group of friends and I know my home friends are forming just as wonderful  friendships but sometimes we are so wrapped up in our own worlds that we forget to bring each other into our separate worlds. Staying in touch may come easy for some people but for most we have to work at keeping up with the details of close friends lives while we are far away. 

Last year, one of my best (and oldest) friends Kate and I kept up but not nearly as well as we have this year. A quick overview of our friendship: We met in first grade and participated in a lot of the same activities. Fifth grade I switched schools and so there was a bit of a gap in our friendship until she switched in eighth grade. We still laugh at the fact that she followed me around for the first week of eighth grade as she was figuring out the school and maybe that was what brought us so close. Since then I have always considered her one of my very best friends and it's hard to think of a memory from high school that she isn't a part of. Sometimes if you are lucky enough you find these sort of people who you can spend every waking hour with but never grow tired of and that is the epitome of our friendship. Fast forward a bit and include two crazy summers that put us on opposite sides of the country without seeing each other but we are comforted by the fact that when we get back together it feels as if we were never apart (that to me only happens with incredibly close friends). Our schedules are both crazy busy and we haven't seen each other in over 6 months. Home for us is in the same place but currently she is attending Ole Miss (transferring to Auburn next semester though, she will be closer to me so I can't wait) while I am a few states away at Furman. While it is such a bummer that we haven't gotten to spend much time together recently it has made us much better communicators. Here are some of my best ideas as to why that is the case for Kate and I as well as a few tips to have you rekindling friendships before you know it.

Make the first move (even if it has been a while).
The first step is the one you are probably most reluctant to take and with no reason. The gesture won't go unnoticed and shows your friend how intentional you are and how much you value the friendship. It doesn't have to be anything to formal just a nice thinking of you.

Call them.
My personal favorite! When you haven't talked in a few weeks there is just no way to say all you need to say through text. So they don't answer? A cheery voicemail updating them or inquiring when you can chat will surely excite them! If you are both super busy phone tag may be a result but when you finally catch each other it will be worth your while!

Write them a note.
I am quite the fan of snail mail. Pretty stationery with a sweet note always make their way to be displayed on my bedside table. I may just be a hoarder in the sense that I save letters people write to me. Especially when a note is a surprise it's hard not to be excited about getting mail from a good friend.

Make plans to see each other (when you will be in the same place).
Thanksgiving break can't come soon enough. I am counting down the hours until Kate and my half year separation comes to an end. We will definitely be frequenting our favorite restaurants, catching up on stories from college, laughing about memories we have, and enjoying each others company. By making plans seeing each other becomes much more of a reality.

Send them a gift just because. 
All of my friends say that my love language is giving gifts and I would have to agree with them on that. I just adore treating friends and can't think of a more caring way to show some one they are being missed. Whether it is flowers, cupcakes / macarons, or a busy week survival kit the thought of this warms my heart.

Utilize social media. 
While I am not a huge fan of expressing every feeling you've ever experienced on social media surprising a friend with a notification is always fun. My personal favorite is instagram and nothing beats an embarrassing old picture (bunny ears included) of you and a friend to make someone grin. 

Text exciting details of your day.
I always end up leaving details out when I am recapping on the phone with friends so by sharing details as they happen I am more likely not to leave anything out. I also am a huge fan of sharing stuff you know they would think is funny with them through text!

Make it a priority to keep in touch with them.
Life happens. I know that but it doesn't take much effort to show someone you care and the small amount of effort usually translates to a large amount of emotional connection due to the smallest of gestures.

And for your own personal enjoyment… Kate and I earlier this year compared to our first grade selves, I'm so happy to say that there are so many photos and treasured memories I have between these two photos as well! Even though in my Santa sweater my expression looks fake, Kate never fails to put a smile on my face!

The benefits of catching up with friends are endless. Last Friday night I was on the phone with Kate in Starbucks for over an hour and I hung up the phone so happy and refreshed even though I knew the rest of my night was going to be spent studying. Although we talked about the good, the bad, and the ugly I was in such a cheerful mood just because I had heard from her! The same can be said about when I shoot some of my other best friends from high school a text. I know it makes my day to hear from them and reaching out to them is such a small easy gesture that can also be overlooked in the midst of tests and assignments. I challenge each of you today to reach out to a friend or family member that you may not have talked to in a while and send them a happy hello. It will leave you feeling rejuvenated and is sure to brighten their day!

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