Saturday, June 30, 2018

Summer Shopping vol. 2

Happy Saturday! I am hoping that the weather where you are is equally as sunny as it is here. Currently, I am inside working on a paper for grad school which is less than ideal but will allow me to enjoy my plans for this evening and the rest of the weekend. I feel like everyone is a bit confused as the whether we should be celebrating the Fourth of July this weekend, Wednesday on the Fourth, or next weekend. I'd love to know when you're actually celebrating. I am saving the celebrating for the fourth through that next weekend since that is when I'll be at the beach.

After a great response from last week's summer shopping post, it is back again today with equally cute and summery finds. I have to make a disclaimer before you look through each item though, I didn't purposely stick to a pink theme but instead continued to find cute items in various shades that it turned out that way. All you have to do to shop the products is click on them directly in the image aside from the adorable otomi beach towel which can be purchased here in navy or blush.

Specific items of note today include the Outdoor Voices set, cute tassel mules that are perfect for summer, and small Day Designer planner from Target. Sophia and I decided that this summer we were going to try some fun workout classes and we started with spin classes at Cycle Bar in Greenville. While I'm not sure I'd wear a sports bra to workout, the cropped length of this top along with the high waisted bottoms make it a little more modest but equally sporty. It gets SO HOT in the room so I may have to try a top of this nature before too long and I know ordering matching leggings would be so tempting. The cute grey tassel mules are a pair of shoes that I actually own and love. They look especially great with white jeans, and I know I'll wear them well into the Fall. Lastly, I was browsing on Target's website recently and realized that Target and Day Designer teamed up again to release some great affordable planners. I was especially surprised to see the same print I have on my Day Designer on this Target version.

Friday, June 29, 2018

10 Things I've Learned Since Graduating From College

It has been over a year since I graduated from college. I don’t think this reality has fully hit home for me since I am still a student and am getting my master’s degree at the same school where I got my undergrad degree. I vividly remember this time last year so in a way it is shocking that a year has passed but thinking about life month by month makes it seem more fitting that it has been a year since college came to a year. I’ll be the first to admit that I learned a lot about myself this year. Your first year truly on your own is full of lessons big and small. I felt like it was about time that I shared some of the things I’ve been reflecting on recently with y’all. While summing these life lessons up into a mere ten was challenging I decided to mix in some little things alongside some much bigger life lessons to keep things interesting. 

1.   I love learning. 
I honestly think that the older I have gotten, the nerdier I’ve gotten. With a year of teaching under my belt, I’ve come to realize just how much I enjoy being a student and learning. I can take notes, study, and listen to topics I’m interested about gladly. I have a whole new respect for the effort put into lessons after spending 180 days on the other side of the desk. If I could be a student forever taking classes on my varied interest I totally would. Sadly, I don’t think that is fully practical, so instead I’ll read books and articles to learn about different things instead of relying on a professor. The number of business/career books I have on my bookshelf certainly confirm this love of learning. 

2.   Emptying the dish washer is my least favorite chore. 
Welcome to the real world of owning an apartment and having to run the dishwasher in order to have clean dishes to eat off of. Even in high school I didn’t love emptying the dishwasher but of all the chores I’ve realized come with apartment cleanliness, emptying the dishwasher is definitely my least favorite. I would love to know why I find this to be such a pain since in our tiny kitchen, I can stand in one place to put everything away. If this is as bad as it gets I’m considering myself pretty lucky. 

3.   I am used to things naturally working out for me. 
In high school and even some in college, I was lucky in that many things naturally worked out for me. That’s not to say that effort didn’t have to be put in since it most certainly did, but usually things would go the way I wanted them to. While that may sound great, life doesn’t work that way and at some point, the reality of that and my mentality towards it needed to change. It wasn’t until my mentor was the one who helped me to realize that I was used to that and helped me to realize that on top of everything I was trying to do, learning that things aren’t;’t going to work out in your favor every time no matter how much effort you put in was an important lesson over the past year. 

4.   For sanity’s sake, Saturdays should not be spent working. 
Do I still get work done on Saturday? Yes. Do I sit at Starbucks all day to try to get work done like I used to? No. I can be so guilty of trying to use the weekends as a time to get a ton of work done but what I’ve realized is that instead of making the next week easier, it often makes the next week more exhausting. In the Spring I was much better about using the weekends to get ahead on “life” related things such as cooking and cleaning but once I finally allowed myself more time for fun without worrying about work my weeks got better. If you’re like me and still want to get things done over the weekend, try doing it on Friday night or Sunday and really give yourself a full day off on Saturday if you can. You’ll still feel ready (or as ready as you can feel) for the week ahead but will also have had time to decompress and relax which will hopefully give you more energy too! 

5.   Done is better than perfect. 
I definitely fall into the Type A “perfectionist” category. But, if there is one thing that my first year out of college has taught me, it’s that done is better than perfect in a number of situations. I can get so caught up in the details that it makes me spend far too long perfecting something when I could have been halfway through the next thing on my to do list if I had just accepted it for what it was. There are sometimes when you may still need to perfect things, but if you can get more done in less time with the end result not affecting the outcome then don’t worry about perfection.

6.   Your first job doesn’t have to be your forever job. 
Since I am such a planner, this was a hard reality to swallow for a while. I am a people pleaser and the thought of letting anyone down made this idea even harder. It’s very rare for someone to land their dream job directly out of college (and if you happened to, congrats). Plus, you change as a person over time meaning that you may outgrow that first job causing you to look for something else. The most reassuring thing for me to think about when gaining some perspective towards this was something that my college counselor told my graduating class. She always told us that, “over half of the jobs you will be applying for when you graduate college don’t exist yet.” With technology changing at the rate it’s going so far and different needs existing in careers because of that, it’s ok to change your mind.

7.   Investing in friendships is well worth your time. 
I’ll be the first to admit that this year was a tough one for me, but fortunately, it was made a lot more fun thanks to the friends I have here in Greenville. Taking the time to invest in the people around you (whether friends or coworkers) is always going to be worth your time. Now when I think about my first-year post-grad I can’t do that without thinking of the hodgepodge of friends here. While many of these friends are people I went to college with but only knew in passing, having been in the same place and stage in life with them post-grad has given us a reason to all come together. I know that my situation in unique since I lucked out with many of my friends staying put in Greenville with me, but constantly adding new people to our group and making plans both big and small has made such a difference!

8.   You’re expected to take care of a lot of people and no one is necessarily taking care of you. 
Although college comes with responsibility, the responsibility you feel once you graduate is a little bit different. I am very independent, hate asking for help, and have never felt like I needed to be taken care of until I felt like I had no one doing that for me this past year. Don’t get me wrong, I have a very supportive family and great friends who would be more than happy to help me at a moment’s notice but in a way, I had to figure this out on my own before even knowing how they could help. As a teacher especially, I had to prioritize my students, their parents, coworkers, administration and everyone else which constantly put myself last on my own to do list. It doesn’t have to be this way, but it helped me to realize that if no one else is taking care of me and I’m exerting all of my energy on other people then I need to make a change. While I still wasn’t the best at giving myself what I needed first (think of the oxygen mask in a plane and how you need to secure your own before helping others), I definitely got better over time.

9.   Frozen pizza is not as bad as I once thought. 
It took me until I was 22 to stop being a diva and figure out that frozen pizza is actually quite delicious and convenient. My parents would occasionally make this for dinner when I was younger, and we had somewhere to be or a busy night and it never failed that I complained and announced that I didn’t like frozen pizza. On a whim at Trader Joe’s when settling into my apartment I decided to pick one up and my life has since been changed. I now highly recommend their frozen margarita and spinach prosciutto pizza, and I also owe an apology to my parents, ha!

10.The phrase “college is the best four years of your life” makes a lot more sense.
I could never fully get a grasp on how people could determine that college “was the best four years of their life.” Yes, it was fun while I was there, but it also came with its fair share of challenges and less enjoyable times. Well, hindsight really is 20/20. I now understand that in college you really do have it made to an extent. Not having to worry about bills and work to the same extent really was a treat that at the time we weren’t fully aware of. So, while I’d like to have the mindset that whatever phase I’m in is going to be the best part of my life, sometimes it takes closing a chapter to really understand what it meant to you.

For any other recent college graduates out there, I’d love to hear some of the lessons you’ve learned since graduating! 

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Thursday, June 28, 2018

June Q&A

Surprise! Videos are back for the summer. It always makes me laugh that y’all are interested in seeing videos from me. I tend to feel a bit awkward talking to myself with a camera filming my ramblings but I am excited to bring some video content back to blog for those of you that enjoy it. Typing up blog posts can be pretty time consuming so when I asked y’all to ask me any questions you had for me I knew that sitting down and answering these questions in a video would allow me to elaborate more for y’all.

Usually, I ask y'all to ask me questions either through Instagram comments or DMs so if you have any burning questions that is the best place to ask them. I will say, I avoided answering teaching-related questions since I am planning a comprehensive post to answer those questions for you next month. It's a lot to talk through so I wanted to make sure I had those answers in one place for those of you interested.

For those of you who are used to reading blog content, I included the questions being answered in this video below, BUT you’ll have to watch to find out the answers.

Q: How did you start blogging?

Q: What does a typical day look like for you in the summer? 

Q: What are some tips for bloggers in high school?

Q: What do you miss most about college?

Q: What is your go-to weeknight meal?

Q: Are you staying in Greenville, SC?

Q: What is the clothing brand you can always rely on to have the things you want/need the most? 

Q: What inspired you to blog? 

As I try to film more video content for y'all I would really love your ideas of what you want to see. I am a lot more likely to be consistent with your suggestions of what you'd actually like to watch. Fingers crossed I'll have about two videos up a week thanks to Hannah, the sweetest intern, helping me to edit videos this summer. Two heads are better than one and with your ideas, I have a feeling videos this summer could be better than ever!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Updated Room Tour with PB Dorm

After finally sharing our living room on the blog earlier last month, I thought about how other areas of our apartment have changed since I last shared them with y’all. I am attempting to move past the fact that a room has to look “perfect” before sharing it so that instead y’all can see that it is a process. When I was originally decorating my room, I knew that I wanted white furniture and silver hardware accents. I also knew that I wanted to incorporate many of the same pieces that I had used in college for my post grad bedroom. With the same blue and white bedding and a few new pillows, the canvas was set for my room. With the changes made to my bedroom since last sharing them here I feel like my room is at the point where it looks as complete as it is going to be right now. It’s amazing what a few new pieces can do to pull together a space and make it seem a bit more cohesive.

I was thrilled to be able to team up with PB Dorm again to answer some questions and share a more updated look at my bedroom with y’all. If you’ve been around for a while you may remember me sharing how PB Dorm helped to complete my desk space and that’s one of the few areas in my room that has gone pretty much unchanged since the first time I shared my full room tour (aside from a few more pictures and mementos on my pin board). Additionally, after teaming up with PB Dorm to share how I maximize all of the space I have in my apartment bedroom, the organization I have discussed for the back of the doors in my room have continued to work perfectly as well.

The area of my room that has undergone the most changes over time has been the corner between my large window and dresser. Purchasing furniture outside of the essentials was something I was hesitant about which was why deciding on a chair for that corner proved to be especially challenging. I know that I may not always have space for a chair in my bedroom so I had to be conscious about picking something that would match with what I already had in the living room as well as fill the space in a strategic way. I finally settled for a tall cream-colored chair that needed some brightening up with a fun pillow and blanket. Next to the chair are two of my most used storage spaces, my leaning bookshelf and window bench. With new curtains above my window bench that lighten up the room during the day and keep it dark at night (thank goodness for great blackout curtains) the room really feels complete.

I have friends who walk into my room for the first time and comment that it’s “so Dorothy” or even better “the epitome of Prep In Your Step.” Decorating your room is the perfect way to reflect your personal style and it seems as though I’ve done just that with these updates to tie everything together. Whether you’re decorating your first dorm room or apartment or even giving the bedroom you’ve lived in for years an update, finding pieces you love that reflect your own style will help to make your space feel more like home.

The PB Dorm team asked me a few questions that will be shared on their blog, but I couldn’t help but share my responses here as well since it may answer some questions you have about my space. On their blog you’ll also find additional picture of my homey space.

1.   How would you describe your style?

I think that for the most part my style tends to be more classic with modern touches thrown in. I love the idea of purchasing high quality, timeless pieces that I know I’ll be able to have for years to come that can easily be freshened up with more modern pieces. My mom is definitely who I should be thanking for my love of blue and white and much of the inspiration behind my room. The way in which we choose to put together our blue and white pieces is different but she has certainly influenced my personal decorating style. I’m definitely not afraid to mix many shades of blue and patterns in my space to give it a more modern feel while she would be much more likely to stick to one particular pattern in a single blue shade. In that way, modern touches allow my space to be more youthful and showcase my personality while still being classic enough to use these pieces for years to come.

2.   How long have you lived in your apartment?

I moved into my apartment about a year ago. It didn’t take long for me to figure out that getting it to look the way I wanted was going to be a process. My room was my main priority since I knew with roommates it would serve as my own space to retreat. Once I felt settled with the way my room looked I was able to focus on the communal living areas more. Even after a year, there are still things I’d love to add to our space. However, since we are in an apartment I am trying to be conscious about the pieces I purchase and how they may be able to be used in future spaces since at this stage in my life living arrangements are not permanent.

3.   What’s one favorite way to instantly update your room?

If you asked any of my friends, they would tell you in a heartbeat that I am indecisive. Because of that, I am going to skirt the rules when it comes to this question since I can’t choose just one way and instead have three different ways that I love to instantly update my room. Hopefully you’ll forgive me for my lack of decisiveness since I think in this case it works in your favor!

Cute throw pillows are definitely one of my favorite way to instantly update my room. I used many of the pieces in my room in college and was able to make this space feel fresh by changing up some of the pillows. For a while, the chair in the corner of my room looked kind of boring since I kept the pillow that came with it. After finding the Fringe Border Monogram Pillow on PB Dorm’s site the space immediately felt finished and more cohesive.

Another way that I have recently updated my room is by changing out the curtains I have. The window in my room faces to the East which means that without blackout curtains I am up when the sun is up. It didn’t take me long to invest in some blackout curtains but since I was desperate to sleep past six I didn’t put much thought in the way they looked. When I discovered PB Dorm’s Pom Pom Blackout Curtains with navy pom poms I knew I had settled. The quality of these curtains far surpasses the ones I had previously and are definitely more stylish with the fun pom pom accents.

Lastly, my Scallop Statement Pinboard has become a focal point for my room since it draws the eye in almost instantly when you walk into my room. One easy way to update my room has been to change some of the pictures and items on the pinboard. Quotes, photos, and items that inspire me hanging in front of me while I study can be motivating and make working a bit more fun while adding a new element of décor to my overall space.

4.   What do you like better about grad school vs. undergrad?

Unlike some people, I opted to get my master’s degree at the same school, Furman University, where I went to undergrad. Because of that, sometimes it feels like nothing really changed when in reality there are definitely some differences.

Furman is unique in that all students live on campus all four years of college. I loved this about undergrad, and I think that it really allowed me to ground myself in what I was doing in college and the people I was surrounded by. Having classes within walking distance, friends around constantly, and access to a meal plan at all times was so convenient.

When I graduated last May, I moved to an apartment off campus and closer to downtown Greenville with a few friends which definitely contributed to feeling more independent while taking a step toward the real world. While I do miss having all my friends close by and the convenience of living on campus, I have been able to branch out more now that I am in graduate school which has given me a new taste of Greenville. There are certainly pros to both stages which is why I think you have to close one chapter to fully appreciate all that you had at that time while learning to appreciate your new stage as well.

5.   What is currently your favorite thing in your room?

Although I have already admitted that I am indecisive, there is one piece that stands up above the rest when it comes to my favorite thing in my room, my window bench. With such a large window giving me a lot of natural light I knew I wanted to find a functional way to embrace it despite the awkward amount of space beneath it. I didn’t want to block any of the window but couldn’t leave all that space empty so the storage benches (I put two together to fill the space) became the perfect practical space filler. I covered the tan cushion with fabric from the headboard I used in college and have been able to store miscellaneous items in the bins below.

6.   Any tips on mixing and matching décor? How do you make sure that everything pairs well together? 

With a love of mixing patterns and shades of blue, finding some commonalities in areas of my room helps to make sure that it doesn’t look to mismatched. When purchasing furniture, lamps, and even accessories, sticking to the same either gold or silver accent has helped things to look a bit more cohesive. I decided to stick to silver accents to help tie together the different areas I’ve created. With silver accents on my bedside table and desk, silver lamps and a silver frame above my dresser I felt more comfortable mixing and matching other things throughout my room. I recently incorporated some Shimmer Stripe Bins on to my bookshelf which helped that area to finally feel like it fit in a bit better in my room. I also tried to make sure most of my big furniture pieces were white since that created a blank canvas for me to add in cute blue and white pieces around my room without the mixing and matching feeling too overdone. By making these choices ahead of time and keeping them relatively simple yet practical, the items I have added in overtime appear to pair better together since they aren’t competing with items already in the space.

7.   What is your piece of advice for someone thinking about getting their masters?

For any of you considering graduate school, I’d highly recommend trying to start soon after you’ve finished college. By doing this, I hadn’t lost the time management and study skills that I had throughout undergrad, and I was already in the mindset of being a student. My situation is a bit unique since the program I am in has us getting our master’s degree while also teaching full time in a school. Because of this, balancing being a student while also having a full-time job and trying to keep up my blog has time management at the forefront of my mind and makes a work/life balance essential. If at all possible, choose a day of the week where you don’t worry about getting work done at all. For me, that is Saturday however in order for that to be possible, I often treat Friday night as a work-night instead of part of the weekend. There is a lot of trial and error that comes with creating this type of balance but I can assure you it is possible!

8.   What is your favorite decorating hack?

When it comes to decorating, especially in a smaller place I love being able to utilize often overlooked spaces in my room. As I talked about recently in this post, finding organizers for the back of my doors has been a real game changer both for organization and décor. The Behind the Door Jewelry Hanger is the perfect way to display and store some of my favorite jewelry pieces while also giving me more mirror space too! If you haven’t started using the back of your door for both storage and décor that is one decorating hack I’ve learned I can’t live without.

I hope that y’all loved getting to see an updated look at my room décor and hear more about the process behind decorating it. Walking into my room, I immediately feel more relaxed knowing that it is a space all my own that reflects my personal style while being functional for my lifestyle! In case you’re looking to update your space, I’ve included some of my favorite PB Dorm pieces for you to shop below.

Thank you to PB Dorm for collaborating with me on this post. As always, all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that make Prep In Your Step possible.

Other Posts I've Done With PB Dorm:
Room Redo 2015
Gearing Up for Grad School
Updating My Desk Decor
How To Maximize Space in College


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