Monday, July 31, 2017

Step Into My Week

Confession time... I am sitting in my bed with a cup of coffee on this Monday morning to write this post because my first summer of grad school is over (cue the applause)! While this is pretty exciting currently I still have grad classes in the fall along with teaching full time so this celebration and pseudo summer break will be short lived. I'll be in Greenville for the next couple of days for an orientation but then I get to go home to my favorite place for a few days to relax and refuel before jumping into teaching a fourth grade class! 

This past week involved a lot of tying up loose ends to prepare for the end of our courses. We were given an individual statistics research project on Monday and doing that along with the take home exam made me so happy to be done with statistics. I stand by the fact that I am just not a math person. The other course I was in finished on Thursday which gave me plenty of time to focus on the last of my statistics assignments but having both of those classes complete is quite the relief. 

On Monday we had a field trip and finished early so Sophia and I took advantage of having more time than usual and headed to our favorite crepe place, Tandem. I hadn't been in so long and was reminded that I need to fit that into my schedule more frequently. Is it sad that getting crepes was one of the most exciting parts of the week? Probably. 

This weekend was pretty relaxed although I had intentions of getting a lot more work done than I actually did. I blame that on starting a new book (The Girl On The Train) and also starting Revenge. My brother just told me that Revenge is loosely based on The Count of Monte Cristo which was one of my favorite books that we read in high school. I am embarrassed to say that I am making my way through season one very quickly. I was able to hang out with some friends on Saturday at their pool and enjoyed reading by mine for a while before trying to knock out a lot of photos and blog related tasks. Emails are next on the agenda so I think another cup of coffee is in my future. 

In case you missed them, here are the posts from this week! 

I hope that y'all had a little bit more eventful of a week and weekend and that your Monday is off to a great start! 

Friday, July 28, 2017

My Summer Workout Routine + What I Like To Wear

It's finally Friday! I am so relieved of that fact since come 5:00 tonight (when our individual projects are due) I will be finished with summer grad school classes. Cue a happy dance! I bought a new book to read by the pool this weekend in order to celebrate and relax! One of the good things that has come with summer grad school is a routine. While I don't love having class from 9:00-4:00 and then heading home to do homework and cook myself dinner when I am used to more relaxed summer days the routine I have established this summer further confirmed to me that I am a creature of habit and thrive on routines. 

As silly as it sound, one of the hardest parts about leaving Greenville and heading home last summer was the fact that I was leaving my favorite workout studio and spending the whole summer in a town without a Barre 3. I spent my whole life playing soccer and then from middle school until high school added cross country to that mix so in some ways I am still surprised that I enjoy Barre 3 workouts as much as I do. Going from competitive sports to a workout where my background in yoga and ballet is incredibly limited took some time to get used to but I've pretty much loved it since the get-go. It has been so nice to be in Greenville this summer since I've been able to remain consistent with my workouts and now that the studio is only 6 or 7 minutes from my apartment (compared to the 3 or so from Furman) it has become that much easier to add in more classes! Since I get this question more often than one might think, I thought it would be fun to share my summer workout routine with y'all! 

As I mentioned, I attend Barre 3 classes at their Greenville, South Carolina studio. 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 and some water!

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 class or my never ending to-do list. I really became hooked on Barre3 as an escape from school and KD presidency that allowed me to do something for myself without my phone buzzing or 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 at my apartment 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!

My routine this summer has included about 5 Barre 3 workouts each week. Some weeks I may hit 6 or 7 but for the most part 5 times a week is most typical for me. The one new thing I've started to add to my routine this summer is taking at least one 6 am class each week. Before you roll your eyes and skip over this part hear me out! Yes, waking up and forcing myself to workout that early can be tricky but I get up at 5:15 usually so it's not that I am having to wake up early but instead I am just postponing my earliest cup of coffee until after I am back. I always feel so good once the class is over knowing that I have the whole afternoon to myself to get things done and have already accomplished something significant in the day before 7:00! I am really going to miss the 6 am class once teaching starts up so have been going to the 6 am class more frequently this past week to make up for that. I don't think it's something I could do everyday but if you're looking for a way to change around your workouts give that a try (and if you're worried about that early alarm try to lay out your clothes in advance to make it easier). 

Another way I keep my routine consistent is by scheduling all of my classes in advance. Usually on Sundays I sit down with my Day Designer and the Mind and body scheduling app that Barre 3 uses and I sign up and write down all of my workouts for the week. I figure out which days I want to go early, which instructors I am going to take class with, and what day I might be busiest and need to take off. By scheduling the workouts in the app I am held more accountable even on days when the last thing I want to do is workout. On the days when I don't workout I like to go on walks and my roommate Ellison and I have an ab routine that we were really good about in June. I'm always on the lookout for fun ways to be active without really noticing that you are so if you have any suggestions definitely share them with me!

This is my favorite pullover that I own. It is crazy soft and keeps that feeling after being washed. The newer version is included in the NSale and I can't recommend you snatching this up while it's on sale enough! I throw it on over oversized t-shirts and barre clothes alike. Mine is a medium but I definitely could have worn a small but since the silhouette is made to be oversized fluctuating between sizes of this pullover isn't a huge deal one way or the other. So, if it's sold out in your size definitely try it in a size close to yours and I'd be surprised if you weren't happy by the fit. 

Most of the pieces are included in Nordstrom's Anniversary Sale so after you finish up your workout indulge yourself in some cute new finds! 

leggings // striped shirt (tank form here) // black tank // grey pullover // shoes (similar) // water bottle // watch // bracelets ( 1 & 2 ) // rose gold bracelet

Since the Nordstrom Sale is still going strong I thought it could be fun to share some cute workout wear finds with y'all. I always wear a pair of leggings and a tank top to barre but often throw a shirt or pullover over my tank on the way! My BKR water bottle has been my favorite this summer since it holds SO much and there are two packs included in the Anniversary Sale! You could easily keep one for yourself and share the other with a friend. Here are my initials picks of items offered in the sale but keep scrolling to see all my favorites from the in-stock selections (although a lot of the items below are still in stock!).

In-Stock Athletic Wear Guide

I'd love to hear your workout routine and if you have any workout wear favorites! 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Room For Improvement: Room Updates With Annie Selke

Having been in my apartment for about two months (although we've had the lease a bit longer) I figured it was about time to start giving y'all a look at what I've done with the space. I have come to realize that making a given place feel like home is a lengthy process especially when you're starting with barely any of the basics. My room is getting closer to being done but our living/dining room may as well be a separate entity with how little we've done to make that space more livable. 

My two roommates and I all prioritized making our rooms cozy before worrying about the communal spaces so those will come eventually and when they do I will be sure to update y'all! For now, we are going to stick to my room! Having gone to a college that requires you to live on campus in apartments with furniture provided the process of getting my room set up has involved sleeping on an air mattress, finally getting a mattress and later getting a bed frame (can't recommend this considering mattress are so heavy to lift), struggling to put together an IKEA dresser, and having my first night stand come in broken. Consider yourself lucky if you have furniture to use in your first place since buying all the pieces at once is a lot to deal with and not to forget to mention, expensive! Now that I have most of the "bones" of the room so to speak I am finally getting to tackle my favorite part, the decorating. For today's post I am teaming up with  Annie Selke's Pine Cone Hill to show you how I incorporated their  C3 Collection (Classic, Colorful Coordinates) to brighten my space and the few basics I already had for my apartment. You may remember this brand from my  Living Room Tour last year as I was able to incorporate their products into that room as well! For a space that was as frequently trafficked as our living room, I know that the quality of the items I'm using are durable and can easily withstand day to day wear and tear. While I know that y'all are eager to see the full space I will share that once it feels more finished but for now it is definitely on the right track! 

Fortunately, I was smart enough to order queen size bedding for my previous apartments even though my bed was full size. Because of this, I have been able to re-use that bedding and the fun decorative pillows I had both in that apartment and in my room at home (major perk of sticking with one color scheme). Even with that in mind however, decorating with pillows and accessories of that nature is such a fun part of the process that I couldn't help myself from adding this  Comfy Cable Knit Indigo Throw to the end of my bed. As you'll see, navy and light blue are used throughout the room with the navy giving areas a bolder look. Having this throw on hand has been perfect when I don't want to be tempted by getting under my covers but still want to stay warm while watching Netflix or a movie on TV. The classic cable knit design and size of the blanket make it something that I'll likely have for years that will continue to transition well to different spaces!  

I am in the master bedroom of our apartment and while that has been so nice the way I arranged my room has it split into various sections that can look kind of bland if not tied together with the right pieces. The flooring in my room is carpet so rugs aren't crucial for comfort but instead add a necessary pop to these sections of my space. I chose the  Spot Indigo Woven Cotton Rug to use by my desk to make studying seem more inviting. While I'm not sure anything can really help studying feel this way I definitely think it helped to add a cozier feel to my desk area without being overwhelming. I chose one of the smaller sizes in this rug and while I haven't tried this just yet, it may look so cute that I need a second one for my bathroom! 

One of my requirements when searching for a bed frame was that it had to be tall enough to store things underneath. You take for granted just how much storage space you're given in college and with the smallest closet in the apartment some sort of solution was necessary to avoid clutter. If the underneath of my bed was exposed you'd see so many plastic drawers full of out of season clothes as well as hang up bags waiting to be hung when the right season comes and even a printer. In all, not very pleasing to the eye. Because I like to utilize all of the space I can I've always relied on bedskirts to cover the mess. In the past my handy momma has made mine and when I put the one she made me for the past two years on this bed I realized that it was a smidge too small. I was bummed since I adored the color but happened to find a nearly identical one from  Annie Selke's Pine Cone Hill! This  Stone Washed Linen Blue Paneled Bed Skirt was so easy to put onto my bed and adds more depth to my room than the flat paneled bed skirt I used previously did. Now I can keep the stuff under my bed out of sight and out of mind giving the allusion of having my stuff perfectly organized when that's far from the reality. 

I've really never given much thought to my sheets. When you have twin extra long beds and then full size I feel like the options are somewhat limited and it was easier to go with a basic set of white sheets than get fancy. I have since come to learn the the quality of sheets can be so varied and paying more for them is completely worth the investment. Who would've guessed that sheet thread count could contribute to my overall happiness. Ok, that may be an exaggeration but the first time my parents asked about my apartment and how it was coming along I could not stop raving about how soft and wonderful my sheets were. It's also fun to have a more standard size bed since finding high quality but cute sheets has become so much easier. I love the way this  Petite Vine French Blue Flat Sheet looks with my scalloped quilt and it's just as soft as you'd guess. The only downside? Getting out of bed in the morning has become significantly more challenging due to my comfort level! 

Since organization makes such a difference in keeping my space looking clean I knew that a functional yet cute way to separate my dirty laundry was necessary. It has been so nice to have  washer and dryer in our apartment and the handles on this  French Blue Round Storage Hamper makes it incredibly easy to transport my dirty clothes to the laundry room. I keep it right next to my bathroom so that I can easily place my clothes there after I shower and I also love the pop of color it gives this space. With a white nightstand it could look kind of bland in that space but the blue stripes add color without making it look cluttered. This storage hamper would also be perfect for storing blankets or even toys in a little boys room! It's so large that I could fit in it which may not be the best idea considering that will discourage frequently washing my clothes but it's a price I'm willing to bay for this cute round bin! 

While I know this didn't give you the full look at my room I hope that you were able to enjoy the bits and pieces that are starting to look more put together in my space! I had so much fun collaborating with  Annie Selke's Pine Cone Hill to update areas of my room and I can't recommend the brand enough especially if you're decorating on a color scheme! The  C3 Collection homepage breaks it down to make shopping for a certain color easy and i'm sure it's not hard to guess which color is my favorite!  


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Novels With Nell - The Swan House

Anyone else feel like this week is dragging? I guess in some ways that is good since I have two finals and that makes it feel like I have more time to prepare but I am in disbelief that it is only Wednesday. With it being Wednesday and an every (or other depending on how you want to look at it) Nell is back with another book recommendation for y'all. I just finished my most recent book and need to get another one to read (hopefully) by the pool this weekend so I'll more than likely be scrolling through the "book recommendation" label to see which of her suggestions I should take! Although, when I told Nell that I had heard of today's suggestion she responded with "Oh Cool! Another one you can add to your list of my recommendations you'll never read." Looks like I've got some work to do!

By Elizabeth Musser

I read this book in high school per the recommendation of my sophomore English teacher (s/o to Mrs. White!) and loved it! It has two of my favorite elements in a book: a Southern setting and a setting with historical significance. The Swan House is a historical home that you can tour in Atlanta. And the tragedy mentioned below was a true event. This coming-of-age story explores race relations in 1960s Atlanta, the pains of growing up and learning about the injustices of the world, and the burden of grief. It is considered a work of Christian fiction as well, which I know may not be for everyone. Since it’s been at least 5 years since I’ve read The Swan House, I can’t remember too many specifics, but I do remember how much I (and my mom, who read it after I did) enjoyed it! Have any of y’all read this or been to the real Swan House?

Mary Swan Middleton has always taken for granted the advantages of her family's wealth. But a tragedy that touches all of Atlanta sends her reeling in grief. When the family maid challenges her to reach out to the less fortunate as a way to ease her own pain, Mary Swan meets Carl and everything changes. For although Carl is her opposite in nearly every way, he has something her privileged life could not give her. And when she seeks his help to uncover a mystery, she learns far more than she ever could have imagined.”
Fun fact, I think my mom has been to the Swan House in Atlanta and she may have even read this book! I know that doesn't get me off the hook for taking Nell up on her recommendations but it was worth a try!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

101 in 1001 Update

Lat summer, I made a list of 101 things that I am hoping to accomplish in 1001 days. Since it has been about a year since I made that list I thought now was as good a time as any to check in on my progress. My dad actually gave me the idea for this post since when we were coming home from the beach one weekend in May he asked me how it was going. In all honesty, it's something that I sometimes have a tendency to forget about. A number of goals on the list are things that I've wanted to do for a while and those ones are easy to remember but the reminder to check the list was a good one for some of the more abstract ones. After going through and crossing off a number of items I thought it would be fun to share a few of those with you. If you are looking for the full list and some background on the idea definitely check out this post

Go a week without hitting snooze (April 2017)
Sophia spent the night at my apartment this weekend and for the first time saw just how many alarms I have on my phone. If I had to estimate it's about 100. I am fully aware of how ridiculous that is especially when she told me she makes a new one every morning. Most of my alarms are set about 3 minutes apart which definitely doesn't encourage to get out of bed when the first of my many alarms goes off. So, as silly as this goal sounds it was a pretty exciting one to accomplish! Ever since junior year I definitely haven't prioritized sleep as I should (it has gotten a lot better though) so waking up on my first alarm for a week gave me motivation to go to bed at a decent time. Maybe I need to apply this goal to a longer period of time and see how it goes! 

Post to my blog instagram everyday for a month (May/June 2017)
I am so lucky to have had my blog grow in the way it has over the years. I truly love sitting down to write posts and create content however since it isn't my full time job this can be tricky. There is so much that goes into each post and behind the scenes things that you may not even think about so sometimes something as simple as posting an instagram gets pushed to the back burner in order to prioritize getting a post live or responding to emails. When I was home in May I was able to devote so much time to blogging and loved that! Because I got to treat blogging as a full time job/hobby it was a lot easier to have fun images to share with y'all on instagram which definitely helped me to post at least once each day! 

Join a blog group relevant to my posts (May 2017)
I've been wanting to join a blog group to connect with other bloggers for some time now and finally found one I was really excited about! I joined The Blog Societies this past May and have already had my posts featured on there twice! If you've never heard of The Blog Societies definitely check it out, if you like my blog you'll love the content they post

Share blog more openly with real life friends (Senior Year)
Something y'all may not know is that when I started my blog I told no one (aside from my parents since I was in high school and kind of felt like I needed permission). Eventually during senior year I told my best friend and at the start of college I told Nell about it (which if you haven't seen this confession she made you need to read about that) but I did not want people to put me in a box as the girl with a blog. I wrote one college application on the topic but other than that in my mind it was hush hush. Something about doing something so different and the judgement that could come with that overshadowed the fact that it was something I loved doing and was really proud of. Fast forward a few years and nowadays I definitely am a lot more open about it. I don't turn bright red when people bring it up and if someone were to judge me for having it I probably wouldn't let it bother me too much since I am so proud of what I've been able to do because I decided to go for it. My friends think it is cool and come to my events to support me and ask me questions because they are genuinely interested and not because they are interning judging just how strange it is. I ran into my soccer coach one day at Public last summer and he stood there confused as to why I hadn't told anyone about it in high school since he thought it was so cool. Clearly I've grown up a lot since starting this blog but it's still not something I share that much on my personal Facebook or Instagram but my confidence in talking about it with others has definitely increased. I even had my friends share what it's like to be friends with a blogger in this post

Get a job out of college (May 2017)
Whew talk about a relief! I'll be teaching fourth grade in about a month and am equal parts terrified and excited. It definitely was nice walking across the stage at graduation to get my diploma knowing what is next! 

I have a lot of progress to be made in the family and friends part of my list as well as the travel part which are two of the most fun sections so hopefully I can start tackling those soon! If you've made a 101 in 1001 list and have it posted somewhere definitely leave me the link to check it out below! I'd love to be able to hold one another accountable! 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Step Into My Week

I am writing this post while sitting in bed this morning (cup of coffee in hand) and the sun is just coming up. I love getting started early and am definitely going to miss being able to wake up at 5:15 and have hours to do work once the school year begins (since I'll have to get ready, make lunch, and go at that point). It's foggy out and my weather app says it's supposed to be rainy all week. Today is the calm before the storm in more ways than one. While the gloomy weather is not the best hopefully it'll encourage me to get stuff done since this week is a hectic one. It's my last week of grad school of the summer and with that comes two finals, multiple projects, and attempting to get everything finished up. We shall see how all of that goes! 

As for this past week it was a lot of the same. From workouts to class and presentations I really do feel like I've gotten myself into a routine and now it is almost over. We had a project due last week that took some time to get together but nothing compared to what I am expecting this week with the statistics project we have yet to be given the prompt or research materials for (yikes). One of the best parts about this past week was that we didn't have class on Friday. If anyone has a petition to sign to make Friday a declared part of the weekend I'd be more than happy to sign because it was wonderful. 

When we left class on Thursday it felt like we were about to get a mini vacation! I tried my best to internally tell myself it was a school night to try to accomplish some homework after barre but Netflix and an early bed time won out. Friday was full of new adventures. I woke up early (I swear I can't sleep past 7:30 now) and attempted to get some stuff done before trying out a workout class with Sophia. She loves hot yoga and I've avoided going with her to that for two years but finally caved and went to a Sculpt class (hot yoga with weights). Air conditioning while working out is a very good thing. I spent a solid part of the class looking around and reminding myself how inflexible I am while giggling at how much room for improvement I had in this setting. Overall it did seem like a great workout but you can bet I'll be sticking to barre! The best part of the workout was the food we promised ourselves afterward. We tried out this new place in downtown Greenville called Happy and Hale and I'm already dying to go back (plus I made the dangerous discovery that my apartment is within their delivery distance...). Since it was frose Friday we tried that and I ordered their big salad with chicken and the avocado cilantro dressing. Delicious! I spent the rest of the afternoon at the pool reading The Woman in Cabin 10 before showering and running some errands for my classroom (I'd love similar recommendations if you have them). 

Saturday I got on a major cleaning kick and did so much laundry, vacuumed, and swiffered our whole apartment. Who knew dusting and cleaning could be that satisfying. I met a friend by the pool and continued to fly through my book which I finished yesterday and would recommend to anyone who enjoys psychological thrillers and mysteries. Saturday night Sophia and I went to a sushi place we had never been to called Sushi Go. The food was good although we both wished we had gotten more than one roll. We walked to get ice cream and then headed back to my apartment to work on all sorts of classroom projects. Sophia introduced me to a personal laminator and I spent most of last night laminating things for my classroom. I am obsessed, it's the most therapeutic thing! 

Sunday morning my internal alarm clock went off early again and I made Sophia and I cinnamon rolls before we got a little bit of work done. Yesterday was definitely a slow day productivity wise which isn't the best going into a busy week but I made lunches and dinners for the whole week which will hopefully set myself up for plenty of productivity throughout this week. If you haven't stayed up to date with my blog and instagram (@prepinyourstep) there are two things of note to mention. 1. The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is open to all and completely worth shopping. 2. I am giving away the cutest pair of pajamas on my instagram and there is still time to enter! 

Posts To Check Out From Last Week:

I hope that your Monday is off to a great start and I'm still curious as to what y'all bought during the NSale! Let me know below!

Friday, July 21, 2017

What I Purchased From The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

I hope your Friday morning started with a big cup of coffee and your excitement for fall and winter clothing at too good to be true prices at an all time high. I'm also so excited that you've stopped by to get the inside scoop on what I was able to find on the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale with hopes that you'll share what you chose to purchase as well!

So, here are my purchases from the sale!

And to add even more insight to this post, here is what Nell is planning to purchase!

I'm sure you'll be seeing lots of sale posts today (and have in the past few days as well) and hopefully you're not too overwhelmed! It's my goal to be helpful and not obnoxious when it comes to sharing that details with y'all. I wouldn't be sharing it if I didn't love it and shop it as well. Since I've already shared a number of Nordstrom Sale posts already (found here) I wanted to highlight some of the posts that may help you most when maneuvering through all the merchandise. I've included my guides and 10 different outfit ideas to help you out!





silver MICHELE watch // two toned MICHELE watch // rose gold bracelet // tory burch leather double wrap watch // tory burch two tone watch


grey v neck // white loose sleeve // grey ruffle sleeve // pink open cardigan // navy poncho // grey open cardigan // color block grey // burnt orange pullover sweater // layered grey and white

Athletic Wear:

















Do you have any overlapping purchases with Nell and I? I'd love to hear which items you've been most excited about and what you purchased!

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