Thursday, May 31, 2018

Post Grad Travel Style with Vera Bradley

This post was in collaboration with #VeraBradley. As always, all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Prep In Your Step possible!

As graduates turned their tassels this month and officially adjusted to calling their school their alma mater it hit me that a year has gone by since my own college graduation. To add to that realization, it has been five years since I graduated high school. Entering into a new stage is both overwhelming and exciting. My first year post grad has been full of new experiences, friends, and adventures. I continue learning that the adjustment takes time and that allowing yourself breaks (both mental and physical) is important.

If you just graduated college chances are you’re not eager to give up on summer just yet. While the real world seems so exciting once college is over, taking advantage of summer as a time to recharge and take a break from your new “adult” responsibilities still can’t be beat. To those of you who are jumping straight into a job after graduation, I so hope you have fun weekend escapes planned. And for those of you who aren’t sure what is next, or are waiting to start grad school in the coming months, take advantage of this time off. Regardless of what category you fit into and the vacations you plan to take this summer, you’re going to need something to pack in!  I am thrilled to be partnering with a longtime favorite brand of mine, Vera Bradley, to share some cute bags that would be perfect for any recent college graduate's summer travel plans!

Now that you’re getting ready to tackle the real world of bills and all, don’t settle on just any bag. Make sure and mix in durability with Vera Bradley’s stylish and practical bags as you plan your excursions! The vibrant colors and patterns and versatile designs offer something for everyone.

I can’t think about Vera Bradley without thinking about the patterned duffels that became a staple sports bag for all the girls I knew in middle and high school. My Christmas list always seemed to include a new Vera Bradley piece in the Capri Melon print I loved so much. These bags were among the first things (aside from American Girl’s Bitty Twins) that I can vividly remember saving my money to purchase. The best part is, I STILL have many of these same pieces years later. Heading to Vera Bradley’s website and perusing the patterns and pieces brought a wave of nostalgia as I struggled to narrow down some of the cute new pieces in my cart. I found two bags in particular that I know I’ll be reaching for as I prepare for my summer adventures and I just had to share them with y’all as the perfect gift or “treat yourself” item for a college graduate.  

If you’re familiar with some of Vera Bradley’s vintage (did I age myself by saying that?) prints then you may remember that Capri Melon had the prettiest hints of pinks and oranges in the pattern. After discovering the Straw Beach Tote in the Woven Coral color, similar to my old favorites, I knew it was meant to be. I am a firm believer that you can’t have too many amazing totes which has led me to try my fair share in the past. As if the generous size of this Straw Beach Tote wasn’t enough, the adorable pom poms on the front coupled with an equally fun design inside had me sold. I can’t think of a graduate who wouldn’t adore packing this tote up to take to the beach or the pool as a mini vacation from the real world.

For those recent grads who moved far from home, or have friends spread out all over the country, chances are you’re going to need something a little bit bigger as you travel to see everyone. Having a duffel that can easily be thrown in the car before hitting the road, or rolled through an airport as a carry-on bag, makes life on the go so much easier. The Lighten Up Foldable Rolling Duffel allows me to have both options in a single bag. The Cut Vines Pattern has the bright colors that Vera Bradley is well known for. I love that the navy backdrop of this duffel helps it look as good as new even after using it on road trips and through airports time and time again. The handle can easily be pushed down and zipped into place so that your bag is ready to be used in a moment’s notice. When I get back from a trip I can easily fold my duffel into a compact size to be stored away, without taking up much space in my small apartment. While all aspects of the bag are incredible, I have yet to mention my favorite part…the separate zip compartment for shoes or other bulky items allows the main compartment of your duffel to be more organized!

Now that you have the perfect bag on your wish list, or to give a recent graduate, where would you plan to use these stylish pieces?
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Vera Bradley. The opinions and text are all mine.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Summer Swimsuit Finds

With Memorial Day and the unofficial start of summer here, I know that vacation is on a lot of people’s minds. With that on the radar, I thought it was about time to share some of my favorite swimwear finds so far this season. Before heading on vacation this past weekend I scoured the web to find some cute bathing suit options. Going to the beach with friends has me wanting to plan other fun weekend getaways so my fingers are crossed that I can get to that soon!

I will admit that I mainly focused on tops when it came to putting together this post since I am very picky about swim bottoms. If I can’t try them on and rest assured that they aren’t cut weird and will in fact offer some coverage then they are a no go to me. A lot of times I end up finding cute tops and pairing them with classic Target bottoms in a solid color that compliments them to avoid any sort of hassle. While I prefer a matching top and bottom this has become what works best for me. Occasionally (aka more often than I should admit), I use this as an excuse to purchase more than one cute top if I know that they are going to match bottoms I already have.

I’d love to know where your favorite place to shop for bathing suits is. I’m always on the hunt for great new online retailers that may not be the ones that I always rely on.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Step Into My Week

This past week has been the craziest one in a long time. I felt like I was on the move nonstop with school and blog work, a field trip, and preparing for vacation. We finally finished up state testing on Tuesday which was a relief to both my students and myself. We celebrated on Wednesday with our big field trip of the year to Atlanta. I’m not going to deny being very nervous about this trip. Taking a whole bunch of fourth graders anywhere outside of the school building is a bit overwhelming. For the most part the trip went well and the students had a blast. Unfortunately, however, the bus I was on got a flat tire 15 minutes into our drive home. We had to wait 2 hours for that to get fixed causing our 7:30 ETA to be closer to 9:45. That made for a long day especially considering I arrived at school close to 5:30. Thursday I was absolutely exhausted as were most of my students. They have started to get a bit more rambunctious knowing they only have 6 and ½ more school days so my fingers are crossed that they can hang in there a bit longer before all the summer energy is released.

I only remembered to take pictures of my outfit twice this week (oops) but wanted to share those with y’all below since many of you say that you like getting ideas from what I wear. I’d love to hear your suggestions for an easy way to see all of these outfits in one place so that I can provide that as a post once the school year is over. If you have any sort of suggestion I would really appreciate it.

dress (similar)

Friday by 3:00 I was out the door and ready for vacation. A friend invited a bunch of us to stay at her grandparent’s house in Sea Island. I had never been before and was looking forward to exploring a new place. My friend Chandler and I rode down with our friend Jack after school on Friday and finally arrived close to 9:45. When we got to the house we put our luggage in our rooms, did a quick change, and went out to explore the island. We went to a bar with live music before calling it quits on the day.

Saturday the weather was perfect for a beach day. We ate some breakfast before packing up our bags and walking to the beach. Between stints sitting in the sun we explored Sea Island’s resort and pool which were beautiful. I definitely want to go back at some point on vacation. We ended up staying on the beach until close to 4:00 that afternoon before coming in to regroup before dinner.

That night, we went to dinner at our friend’s parent’s house who relocated to Saint Simons Island a few years ago. They made us the most delicious low country boil and it felt good to be out of the sun for the night. We played some pool before eating and had her parents join us in a few games after dinner too. We decided to try another local spot after dinner that night which had great outdoor seating and was packed with people our age before going back to the house for the night.

Sunday it was supposed to be rainy all day so our morning started off pretty slow. We made pancakes and sat around drinking coffee for a few hours before the girls decided we wanted to get out of the house. We stopped at a few shops before heading back to the house to determine our game plan for the rest of the day. We played a few rounds of What Do You Meme which was a hit especially with such a large group. I made guacamole for everyone as an appetizer while the guys set up some other games before dinner.

Monday morning, we all woke up early after a fun night to clean up the house and get on the road. Unfortunately, it was still pretty rainy on our drive back and I think it is supposed to be like that for the better part of this week.  I’m hoping that it will be clear for a bit this weekend so that we can sit by the pool and relax!


Reading: The Breakdown
I really thought that I would have read more while at the beach but with a big group of people and activities constantly going on I think I read maybe 4 pages. I had started The Breakdown at the pool a few weeks ago and am really excited to really get moving on this book when I finally have some time.

Watching: Riverdale
My Riverdale binge has continued into this week as season 2 was put on Netflix right after I finished season 1. If you like murder mystery style thrillers I would highly recommend the show.

When going on vacation I definitely tend to make some sacrifices when packing and one of those sacrifices before going to the beach was not taking a travel size container of my favorite shampoo and conditioner. I’ve talked about it before and it really is the best shampoo and conditioner I’ve used. I wish it weren’t so expensive but I can definitely tell a difference when I haven’t used it which reminds me of how much I love it again.

Growing up I tended to get a new bathing suit or two each summer since we would spend a ton of time by the bay or at the pool. While I wish the time spent by the water was still the same my love of getting a new top or two each year has remained. I searched tons of sites (which will benefit y’all in a post to come this week) for cute bathing suit tops and settled on this blue smocked one. While it was pricier than I would normally spend I was shocked by how great the quality is. It is one of those bathing suit tops that I’ll have for a long time since it won’t show wear as evidently as some others.

Wanting: A New Pair of Brown Sandals
My brown sandals are at the end of their lifespan but the problem is that I haven’t found a good pair to replace them. I like the lace up look but still want them to be easy to get on and off. I found this cute pairof sandals but they don’t fit the bill of exactly what I’m looking for but I love the style of them.

Proud Of Myself For: Embracing Vacation
While I was so excited to go to the beach I was also a bit nervous because I tend to use weekends as my time to get ahead. This is especially true with blog post and other behind the scenes blog work. I have a number of really exciting collaborations coming up so I had a bunch of drafts to finish before leaving town. While I did have to do a little work while on vacation to communicate back and forth with these brands, for the most part I was able to let loose from work and fully enjoy the time spent with friends.

I apologize for missing a few posts last week. The post that I was so excited to go live Friday had to be moved to this week so I didn’t have anything else to go live that day. As the school year winds down I am hoping that I’ll be back to my consistent 5 day posting routine but until then I so appreciate y’all bearing with me.

Posts From Last Week:

I hope that y’all are able to finish out May strong and enjoy your week!

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Novels with Nell - The Great Alone

We are nearly to the single digits when it comes to my classroom's countdown to summer vacation which means that I will finally have a chance to pick up the books that have been waiting to be read on my bookshelf. Admittedly, I hadn't even heard of this book before Nell wrote about it although it did remind me of a book that I read to my students. While the similarities may be a bit of a stretch,  Alabama Moon, the book I read to my students, is about a young boy who lives off the grid hoping to make it to Alaska after his father passed away. The adventures the boys take in  Alabama Moon seem to be slightly more lighthearted although I'll have to add  The Great Alone to my own list to see if there are some similarities between the two books. 

By: Kristin Hannah

New this year from Kristin Hannah, author of The Nightingale among many other books, is The Great Alone. I went through this book quickly and really enjoyed it! Leni Allbright and her parents move to the Alaskan bush seeking a new way of life. Her father is a Vietnam vet and hasn’t been the same since the war. He can be angry and volatile and hopefully this new place will be a fresh start for everyone but things don’t always work out as planned. You’ll have to read the book to find out how this adventure turns out in the end - a captivating read!

“Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.
Thirteen-year-old Leni, a girl coming of age in a tumultuous time, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, dares to hope that a new land will lead to a better future for her family. She is desperate for a place to belong. Her mother, Cora, will do anything and go anywhere for the man she loves, even if means following him into the unknown.
At first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers. In a wild, remote corner of the state, they find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the Allbrights’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources.
But as winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates and the family begins to fracture. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own. In the wild, there is no one to save them but themselves.
In this unforgettable portrait of human frailty and resilience, Kristin Hannah reveals the indomitable character of the modern American pioneer and the spirit of a vanishing Alaska―a place of incomparable beauty and danger. The Great Alone is a daring, beautiful, stay-up-all-night story about love and loss, the fight for survival, and the wildness that lives in both man and nature.”

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Post Grad Apartment Living Room Tour

It is crazy to think that I have now lived in my apartment for about a year. Technically our year lease ended in April, but I didn’t fully live here until right around June of last year. We will be in this apartment until August and it has taken until now for parts of our space to actually feel complete. I’ll be the first to admit there are still some other things I’d love to do in this apartment but since I’m only here until August it just doesn’t make sense.

I have convinced myself that even though our living room doesn’t look perfect (and to some it may not even look complete) it is about time I share it with y’all. We’ve got plenty of empty wall space, room to move around due to a lack of a coffee table, and a rug that continues to shed and fill the vacuum faster than it should but it feels like home to us.



When it came to decorating the space, we went with especially girly colors and enough seating for our friends to be able to come and hang out in our space comfortably. In that regard, I think we succeeded.

I already had a couch from my living room in college (see that here) which was especially great as it served as our only furniture for longer than we should admit. In January, my mom and I went to ikea and she got the matching chair for me to section off our living room a bit more. With two other roommates, we were able to all pull together what we had in an attempt to complete the space. Ellsion had the gold side tables and Caroline had the two pink chairs and the TV stand. Once the bulk of the space finished then came the fun part, decorating.


 The room started to look more cohesive once we found our rug. I found the rug on overstock for a great price and have been really pleased by the quality and vibrancy of the colors. With the rug in place it became clear that we were going to look with pinks, purples, and oranges as we added accessories. We also tried to stick with gold accents since our side tables were painted gold. The round mirror above our TV and the two lamps on our side tables were awesome Target finds. Lately, they have had the best decor that it has taken a bit of self restraint when it comes to not purchasing all of the cute pieces they have that just happen to match our decor. 

 I know it has been a long time coming before finally sharing this post, but I certainly hope it was worth the wait! Although it's not "finished" it certainly feels like home! 

Monday, May 21, 2018

Step Into My Week

After today, I only have one more Monday of the school year. How wild is that? I already know that this week is going to be crazy busy so I’m sure I’ll have lots to fill you in on next Step Into My Week post (which will more than likely be on Tuesday instead of Monday next week due to Memorial Day).

At school it has been survival mode since the kids are starting to get overly excited for summer, we have a big field trip coming up that has taken a decent bit of prep work, and we have had typical end of the year deadlines and testing all at once. With all of those things going on, I would have expected this past week to fly by when in reality it felt so long. It took scrolling through my camera roll to even think about all that has been going on.

On Monday, I had a lot to do at school and also had a decent amount of regular work to get done. I didn’t go grocery shopping last weekend since I was out of town so I ended up doing that and then meal prepping on Monday afternoon. Doing all of that after work reminded me of how nice it is to have that and laundry done prior to the start of the week. That night, a group of my friends and I went to a free yoga class that was part of the BMW Charity Pro-Am. Sophia’s fiancé, Judson, works for the tournament so it was a great way to show our support for what he was doing while catching up with one another and enjoying free Happy and Hale. I am not good at yoga and I’m sure that was evident to others at the class but it was fun to do something as a group outside since I’m looking forward to those sort of things this summer. Tuesday was pretty normal and Wednesday was busy as per usual. Thursday after school I got a bunch of blog work done and then had kickball that night. Friday started a little bit hectic but I was so glad it was finally here since the week felt so long.

top (old) // white jeans // similar shoes

Friday night I got dinner with a friend before calling it a night. Saturday was definitely the most fun day of my weekend. I wish I could say I woke up early to watch the royal wedding but without cable and in need of some sleep I didn’t watch it live. As I mentioned earlier, Sophia’s fiancé works for the BMW Charity Pro-Am which meant that Sophia and I were able to go with great tickets to watch. We were in the tent at the 18th hole which gave us a great viewing spot for the day. There were a number of celebrities playing in the tournament which added to the fun. After a number of hours at the course, we headed back to prepare for our evening plans. Since Sophia, Ellison, and I weren’t together for Cinco de Mayo we decided to have a do over de Mayo. We started with guacamole and margaritas at our apartment before venturing to a late dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant. We met up with a friend for a bit downtown and then all agreed that it was bedtime. Sunday was spent getting a lot of blog work done since I have some exciting upcoming posts and I won’t be in town to work on them next weekend. The afternoon ended up being especially rainy which was not conducive to knocking out pictures but did give me an excuse to be cozy while working on things.



I haven’t had too much time to read this week but I am definitely missing getting to read this book. I am hoping that some time at the beach next weekend will allow me to get through this book and a few other ones I have been wanting to read.

Watching: Riverdale
I can’t remember who brought up Riverdale as a good show to me recently but I decided to turn it on while doing work one night and didn’t get much work done. Y’all know I like mystery/thriller books and this show encompasses that well. It can be creepy at times but is overall a good Netflix watch, and I am excited to see what happens.

Best. Find. Ever. While this is a bit pricey, the quality of this brush is amazing and it does wonders when you want your hair to look done but need it done quickly. It heats up fast and leaves my hair so soft. If you’re like me and end up needing to touch up pieces because your hair sometimes can’t make up its mind, this is definitely worth a try!

I have been wanting one of these tops for years and had my eye on this particular color of embroidery for a while. It was out of stock in a small each time I would check so I still hadn’t bit the bullet. After seeing it in stock in a small I finally made the purchase and have wanted to wear it everyday since. I know this is a piece I will have for years due to the amazing quality and versatility of it.

Wanting: An Extra Day of the Weekend
I think this applies to most people so I don’t feel like it needs an explanation.

Proud Of Myself For: Not Opening My Computer On Saturday

Anxious About: Getting Everything Done Before Leaving Town This Weekend

Posts From Last Week:

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