Tuesday, July 31, 2018

What To Wear During Recruitment {Recruitment Outfit Ideas}

As scary and exciting as it is, the school season will be here before we know it and for many of you heading off to college for the first time recruitment (rush) will be starting as well. Around this time of year, I always get requests to share my ideas of what to wear during recruitment. This is really fun for me since I never did recruitment in the fall and instead had to rely on more muted winter tones and clothes that provided a bit of warmth as I went through recruitment at my school in January.

For those of you who are questioning my authority on knowing what to wear after that last statement that is completely valid although nearly all of my friends went to schools participating in fall recruitment, so I've seen the rounds (no pun intended) of dresses to wear. In case you're new around here, I went to Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina (it's a small, private liberal arts school). I graduated in May of this 2017 and pledged Kappa Delta my freshman year. It was definitely one of the best decisions I made in college, and I was so lucky to have the opportunity to take on leadership roles during that time. I served as Vice President of Public Relations my sophomore and junior year and then as Chapter President the second half of junior year and into senior year. I also held smaller positions leading up to that and would say KD was where I invested most of my time and energy in college. 

Furman has what is called deferred recruitment, so we didn't join our organizations until January. While that may be very different than the schedule of the school you are going to, it is important to remember that each school does recruitment differently. The rounds are called different things, your recruitment counselors have different names, and the chapters vary from school to school. With that in mind, I put all of my picks for dresses you may need into one graphic instead of separating it out by rounds. There are casual and cocktail dresses alike, and I'd be surprised if these didn't come in before any of y'all begin recruitment for good!

Some basic things to remember when dressing for recruitment: 
1. Dress in what you find to be comfortable and make you confident. 
2. Avoid overly short dresses, provocatively placed cutouts, and low cut styles. You are dressing for yourself and other girls so wearing revealing clothes that would be better suited in a fraternity house basement is definitely not the best idea.
3. Think about the weather. At most schools, it will be insanely hot during recruitment. Keep this in mind when you are picking out what to wear and opt for looser silhouettes and short sleeves. 

I'm sure there are some tips for dressing that I am missing so feel free to add them in the comments to help everyone out! I've also made a number of other posts about recruitment and my experience in Kappa Delta that can all be found under the "Sorority" label on the sidebar of my blog. I'll link a couple of especially relevant ones at the bottom for y'all, but that's the best place to go for the full scoop.

This post took forever to put together since I had to do my fair share of "research" when looking into dresses that would be perfect for the occasion. I am confident that there is something for everyone meaning that I would love it if you'd share this with any friends who may be struggling with what to wear. 

As usual, you can click directly on the item you're interested in in the graphic to shop a particular dress. If you're using your phone, it won't work as well so be sure to shop on your computer! There are about 5 dresses below that couldn't be linked due to not saving correctly through the platform used to create these. I appologize for that, and if I am able to find them again will be sure to link them here for you! 

Monday, July 30, 2018

Step Into My Week

Today marks my last Monday of graduate school! I finish up on Thursday night with my final presentation and am pretty excited that the end is so near. That does mean, however, that this week is an exceptionally busy one. With four projects/papers due in four days I have a feeling I'll be spending more time behind my computer than usual. My fingers are crossed that this week goes by faster than the last. 

I was surprisingly productive last week and was even able to get some school work done at my apartment which never seems to happen. Monday started off pretty normal with an early wake up to make sure everything was ready to turn in for a presentation I had due that day. After class, we had some pretty intense thunderstorms which led me to put on my pajamas earlier than ever. I wish I could say that by doing that I went to sleep earlier, but that wasn't the case. Tuesday was the same way although I went to a Cyclebar class that night and then to dinner with a friend. I really can't remember what I did on Wednesday aside from class meaning that going to class and doing work for class was probably about all that I did. Thursday morning I was up especially early and was very productive when it came to submitting some things and attempting to organize myself for the week ahead. That night, one of our friends had tickets to the Greenville Drive game, so a big group of us went. I don't know how I made it through college without going to Drive games, but I feel like post-grad I've become a regular. Friday finally came, and Ellison, Sophia, and I began it the same way we have the past few weeks with Chick-fil-a Friday before heading to class. I had a phone call afterward and then Ellison and I relaxed by our pool for a little while. That night I decided to tackle the task of cleaning out my closet (since I had done most of the rest of my room the previous weekend). It did not take nearly as long as I thought it would and it felt so good to be done. My closet feels a lot more spacious now that I was able to purge some things which will hopefully help to make the moving process a bit easier. The remainder of that night was spent trying to go through things in preparation for moving.

Ellison and I were both shocked by how much Saturday felt like Sunday, but we welcomed that fact gladly knowing how busy this coming week is. I ended up going to Starbucks, and I was able to finish one of the papers I have due this week there which felt like a relief. Then, Sophia and I had plans to sit by her pool for a bit that afternoon. We had every intention of reading but ended up spending the whole time talking and enjoying a bit of downtime. A few of us ended up going to our friend's mom's house to watch a movie and play What Do You Meme for a relaxing Saturday night. Sunday, I woke up and decided to do a deep clean and purging of my bathroom since that was the only part of my apartment that I hadn't really tackled when it came to getting rid of things. I was able to organize everything nicely which will again make packing easier. After that, I went to Starbucks (my workplace of choice) and was able to finish another assignment that is due this week and start working on another. My iced coffee really kicked in which led me to speed grocery shop (I was in and out of Trader Joe's in 6 minutes which is nearly unheard of for me, especially on a Sunday). I also went to Home Depot and got some packing supplies. From what I have been able to tell, they seem to be the cheapest place to purchase moving boxes. Hopefully having these on hand will help to encourage me to start boxing things up so that everything doesn't feel too overwhelming. Sophia came over to our apartment and then she and I went to dinner at Hall's for their $5 burger special. I am definitely glad we discovered that deal and was happy to not have to cook a meal for myself! Once I got home, I called my parents as I usually do on Sundays and tried to do some last minute things to get ready for the week ahead. Maybe after next week Step Into My Week posts will become more interesting!

wearing: dress


Reading: Something In The Water

Watching: Southern Charm 

Loving: Grammarly 

Wearing: These Pajamas (which are on sale)

Listening: The Mamma Mia Soundtrack

Wanting: This Dress

Last Week’s Posts You May Have Missed:

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Summer Shopping vol. 6

Happy Saturday! Somehow yesterday kind of felt like Saturday to me given the fact that I only had class in the morning. Fortunately, we have nearly a whole weekend ahead of us. Sadly I know I have to be pretty productive this weekend to prepare for the week ahead which happens to be my last week of graduate school. I also need to start actually packing up my apartment toward the end of the week since I'll be moving out in mid-August. As I've been going through all of my stuff and doing a major purge, I have realized just how much stuff I have. With that, I have no desire to add any more stuff to my "collection" of things since it means that I would have more to pack. That hasn't stopped me from browsing though. For y'alls sake of course! 

Today's Summer Shopping features so many cute pieces in my favorite colors, blue and white! The best part about this week's finds is that many of the clothing items are very affordable. My personal favorites include these tumblers, highlighters, and embroidered shirt. I'll let you be the judge of what draws your eye in this week. Let me know which item that may be in the comments! 

As always, you can click directly on the item in the graphic below to shop it!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Novels with Nell - Girl Underwater

For me, reading has definitely taken the back burner more this summer than I care to admit. Usually I am flying through books by the pool, but lately that hasn't been the case. I'm sure it is due in part to not loving the beginning of the book I'm reading currently. I'm determined to get through that book though especially since I've heard such wonderful things about it. The sooner I get through that (or begin to enjoy it) the sooner I'll be able to start making it through all the other books stacked up on my bookshelf.

Nell's recommendation for today's Novels with Nell reminds me of a combination of a play I've seen and a book I've previously read. I think it is one that I'd really enjoy, and even reading the description had me pulled in ready to find out what would happen next.

Also, as a bit of a heads up for any of you planners (like me), Novels with Nell may be changing a bit in the coming months. Nell is off to PA (physician's assistant) school, and I couldn't be more excited for her! That means that as I finish being a student she starts back up. Since being a student can come with a hefty workload, her posts won't necessarily be going up every other week. We haven't solidified how often they will be up and there will definitely be some, just not as frequently! If there is another kind of series you'd like to see on Prep In Your Step since these posts will be more sporadic I would love to hear those ideas. I always love bringing new voices and ideas to the blog.

By: Claire Kells

With a little something for everyone, Girl Underwater was a captivating read. It begins as a nightmare unfolds: a cross-country flight at Thanksgiving goes down in the Colorado mountains and only five people survive. Told from the main character, Avery’s, point of view, the book alternates chapters from Avery’s and the others’ struggle for survival while they desperately hope to be rescued, and what life is like once they get back home. I liked being able to read some of the “survival” chapters with a hindsight perspective, since you learn early on that they do make it out. However, coming home isn’t a magic fix to the events that unfolded in the frozen wilderness. Avery has to reevaluate some aspects of her life and decide how she will go on.

“An adventurous debut novel cutting between a competitive college swimmer’s harrowing days in the Rocky Mountains after a major airline disaster, and her recovery supported by the two men who love her–only one of whom knows what really happened in the wilderness.
Nineteen-year-old Avery Delacorte loves the water. A sophomore on her university’s nationally ranked swim team, she finally feels popular and accepted — especially by Lee, her kind and outgoing boyfriend.

But everything changes when Avery’s red-eye home for Thanksgiving makes a ditch landing in a mountain lake in the Colorado Rockies. There are only five survivors: Avery, three little boys, and Colin Shea– the teammate Avery has been avoiding since the first day of freshman year. Faced with sub-zero temperatures, minimal supplies, and the dangers of a forbidding nowhere, Avery and Colin must rely on their talents, willpower, and each other in ways they never could have imagined.
Yet when Avery emerges from her ordeal alive, terrified of the water, conflicted by her emotions, and evasive of her memories, she must face the harrowing realization that rescue doesn’t necessarily mean survival.”

Is this a book you'll be adding to your reading list?

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Summer Shopping vol. 5

I feel like everywhere I look this summer I am finding cute new items that I am dying to share with y'all! That's part of the reason I chose to begin sharing these finds with you in my summer shopping series. This past weekend I completely forgot the items I had rounded up from the previous week and was going to wait until this weekend to share them. That was until I realized that I am already finding a number of cute things for this Saturday's version and would hate for something to get overlooked. So instead, I figured that I would share Volume 5 of my Summer Shopping finds today. 

If you read yesterday's post then you already know that I have been on an intense cleanup of my room in preparation to move in August. The last thing I need to do is purchase new items to replace what I finally decided to part with but some of these are so cute that it is tempting. Instead, I'll just gush about them here and pretend that is the same thing as owning them. This week's top picks from my summer shopping roundup include jeans with the cutest hem (denim and pink), an adorable palm print skort, and an affordable bow tank. 

For starters, I feel like fun hems on the bottom of pants will continue to be a trend into the fall and both of the pairs shown below would easily transition from summer into the next season. I have a pair of white jeans with the same hem as the pink ones and always get compliments when I have them on. They run true to size but the white ones sold out fast so in order to guarantee a pair for yourself you may want to be speedy. The traditional denim pair is adorable but I'm not sure if I am cool enough to pull them off meaning one of y'all needs to give them a try and report back! Sticking to the bottoms trend, I have been loving all the fun skorts I've seen online this year. I have one that is a similar style from Anthropologie that I've worn more times that I can count in the short time frame that I've had it. With this one in particular I love the darker green included on the palm leaves and how that contrasts with the pink! Lastly, I was shocked to discover this adorable bow tank was from Target. If you haven't browsed through all the items Target has been releasing then you're doing something wrong since they are all so cute! This top would be perfect with the jeans or skort pictured and could be worn over and over again with other bottoms making it worth every penny. 

As always, I'd love to hear which item shown is your favorite! 

Monday, July 23, 2018

Step Into My Week

I can’t believe how quickly this summer is flying by. How is July almost over? I’d be ok with putting a pause button on some aspects of this summer but I’m not sure that would help anything. So instead, I’ll stick to sharing what I have been up to this past week. 

I can’t decide if I think this week went by quickly or slowly but as per usual I was ready for the weekend come Thursday! Monday morning it was back to being with the preschoolers that Sophia and I have been teaching for our graduate school practicum. They are so cute and fun to be around and I’ve been surprised by how much I have loved getting to work with this age group. Monday was also Amazon Prime Day so I heard a lot about the fact that products weren’t being shown but instead dogs were popping up on everyone’s computers. I didn’t end up getting anything from Prime Day (although I am continuously tempted by on sale Nespresso machines but adding an addiction to espresso to the dependence I already have on coffee just doesn’t seem wise), but I did enjoy sharing some of my favorite Amazon buys over the years with y’all. Tuesday seemed pretty normal as well in terms of following the routine of getting up early to get work done, spending the morning teaching preschoolers, and going to class in the afternoon. Wednesday was also very routine aside from going and getting ice cream at Spill the Beans that night which was fun. Thursday felt like a long day with a lot scheduled as the week began to wrap up. Overall, the bulk of my week was spent being productive in my typical routine which was nice. Up until the 9thof July I didn’t really feel like I had a real summer routine, so even though my weeks seem pretty consistent now to the point where it is almost boring to share them with you, it is nice to be on some sort of schedule! 

We only have one class on Friday so Ellison, Sophia, and I have made it a tradition to have Chick-fil-A Fridays before class. After class we had tickets to go see Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again. I’d definitely recommend going to see it. It seemed like a little bit more of a musical to me (kinda High School Musical-y at some points), but overall was a feel-good movie that you can’t help feeling happy after watching. I think I can attest for most of my friends that the Mamma Mia soundtrack is all we will have on in our cars for a while. Since I spent my afternoon enjoying that movie with friends, I decided to attempt to be productive on Friday night. Since our lease ends on our apartment in August we are all moving out during/after graduation which means that me dreading packing has already begun. To attempt to cope with this scary fact, I went through every dresser drawer, cubby, desk drawer, and under my bed to get rid of things I am no longer using or need. Fortunately, Nell and I were able to catch up on the phone while I was doing this which certainly made it more fun for me. While it was definitely a chore (and I’m ready to get rid of the bags of stuff I’m donating out of my room) it feels really satisfying now to know that all I have to do when I start packing my room is put things in boxes or bags and not clean everything again. If you have any moving tips I’ll take them because the thought of getting started seems a bit overwhelming. 

Saturday morning, I slept in a little bit and tackled the parts of my room left undone the night before. My next parts to tackle are the hanging clothes in my closet and my bathroom (which I recently organized meaning hopefully it won’t be too bad). I had lunch with my friend Beth whose classroom I was in Senior year for student teaching and who was my mentor at my school this past year. We have gotten really close during our time together, so it was great to catch up with her in person and hear about her summer. We went to my favorite Mexican restaurant which was delicious as always. Saturday night I went to dinner with a few friends at Rick’s Deli before having people over to our apartment before heading downtown. The night was pretty uneventful, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited when we finally came home because I was ready for bed!

Sunday morning, I tried to finish up a project at Starbucks that is due today.  I stayed there until past lunch time and ate something before sitting by the pool with friends for about an hour. Supposedly yesterday was our last pretty day for a while since there is rain in the forecast all week. My fingers are crossed that the sun will show itself some too. 

I know I stink since I have been failing on the video aspect of these posts. A lot of times I don’t remember that I should have a video for them until Sunday night when it is already dark out making it especially hard to film. Next week hopefully I’ll have one and have even made myself a post-it as a reminder. Fingers crossed. Hopefully seeing it typed out isn’t too much of a bummer! 

Reading: ---
Honestly, I haven’t been reading that much lately. I do most of my reading by the pool in the summer and since this weekend was the first time since I don’t know when that I sat by the pool I haven’t been going through books at the rate I usually do. I also haven’t been the best about reading before bed and may make that a goal for myself for this week. 

Watching: Southern Charm 
We will be watching Southern Charm until we finish all five seasons. This may have to be done without furniture and while packing but Ellison and I are determined to finish it together before we move in August! 

Eating: Tate’s Chocolate Chip Cookies
I blame Nell for introducing these to me because they are delicious. I saw them when grocery shopping and added them to my cart which was a dangerous move. I usually don’t like store bought cookies and would much prefer the cookies I do eat to be soft but for whatever reason these are an exception to both of those rules. 

Wearing: This striped dress on repeat!
If you’re on the hunt for the perfect dress to throw on regardless of what you may be doing, this is it! It has pockets, is thick enough to not be see through but thin enough to be perfect in the heat, and it is a modest length! I have it in two colors and would wear it every day if that were acceptable. 

Wanting: Clarity
It felt so good to share this post with y’all, and I was blown away by such supportive responses. As I am trying to figure out my next steps and make decisions I really wish I had more clarity. I know things will work themselves out but right now it has been a little bit overwhelming. 

Last Week’s Posts You May Have Missed:

Friday, July 20, 2018

What I Purchased From The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is finally live for everyone! To celebrate, I wanted to finally share what pieces I decided to purchase from the sale. For each of the many items I purchased I included the size and color I got as a reference to y'all. I also included my thoughts on the product and whether or not I think it's worth it to purchase. I definitely kept it honest when explaining each item which I hope y'all appreciate. 

I certainly did my fair of shopping with this sale but knew that would be the case and start putting aside some money in anticipation for it. As I've mentioned in other posts, my approach with the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is to get pieces I can wear over and over in a number of different ways. I find that this is the perfect way to freshen up my closet and prepare for the season ahead while ultimately saving money! 

Definitely ignore the fact that I had to use an over the door mirror on a chair to get these photos. Thinking that a large floor mirror will be essential in my next apartment!

Size: Small (true to size). Could size up one if you feel like you'll be wearing super thick sweaters under it. 
Color: Black
Thoughts: This jacket had been included in the sale during previous years, and I was so excited to see that it was back this year. Living in the south, I don't need super thick jackets but do want the jackets I have to keep me warm during the cold snaps we can get. This jacket is the perfect combination of those things since it seems lightweight but also locks in your body heat. I think the best part about this jacket is that it can be folded pretty small making it perfect for travel. I know this is something I'll have in my closet for years and was so glad it was included in this years sale. 

Size: Small
Color: Evergreen
Thoughts: I was really hoping to love this as a fall/winter going out jacket but may end up returning it. I don't think I'd ever wear it with the hood so I do love that it is removable, but I don't love where the jacket hits me. I think it's a little short on (I'm 5'7" for reference) and would probably keep it if it came down a little farther. I don't think going up a size would help with length either. Jury's out so I'd love to know what y'all think!


Size: Small
Color: Grey Camden Nep
Thoughts: This is my favorite buy from the sale. I put on this sweater and did not want to take it off. It is the perfect amount of oversized and the zipper on the back is perfectly placed. I'll be wearing this with jeans and leggings (since it is long enough to cover my bottom), and I'm so tempted to get it in another color!


Size: Small
Color: Spiced Rose
Thoughts: Deemed by my roommate as a great sweater for any Clemson fans. She was in my room as I tried on these items and decided that the understated orange of this sweater would make any Auburn or Clemson fan supportive of the team without being too obnoxious. I really love burnt orange and think that the back of this sweater makes it a lot more fun to wear than a regular crewneck. Madewell has amazing quality items so finding this on sale was such a treat!

Size: Small
Color: Ivory-Black Stripe
Thoughts: I recently got rid of a black and white striped sweater that I loved that had passed its time so this v-neck striped  sweater was the perfect replacement. The fit is really cute and it's also long enough to be worn casually with leggings or dressed up with jeans and cute booties.

Size: 4 - I think maybe going down a size would have made the fit cuter on me.
Color: White
Thoughts: This shirt didn't really do anything for me. I think it'll be another item I end up returning. If you're looking for a good white blouse it could definitely do the trick, but I think there are other cuter items out there (like this one included in the sale).

Size: Large - Usually these run on the smaller side so I sized way up since I like my t-shirts oversized. I think a medium would've done the trick, but I'm planning to shrink mine just a bit.
Color: White
Thoughts: I am slowly moving away from wearing sorority t-shirts and trying to build a more normal t-shirt collection. I have another shirt from this brand that I love that says "happy camper" and decided to give this one a go. I know it'll be easy to throw on with jeans, leggings, or shorts depending on what my day looks like so I can run out the door.

Size: Medium - Sized up because I like my t-shirts on the bigger side but this definitely runs true to size.
Color: Ivory Liz Stripe
Thoughts: I'm obsessed with BP t-shirts. I have some from previous sales and think they are a great buy. I wanted the white version as well as the striped one but it sold out so quickly. The great thing about these v-necks is that they are lightweight without being see through! If they are restocked in your size it is definitely worth it to give them a try!

Size: Small
Color: White
Thoughts: I think I live in bandeaus when heading out in the summer due to the number of off the shoulder tops I have. This one is especially great because it feels super secure and is really comfortable.

Size: 27
Color: Rinse
Thoughts: While the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale always has great denim deals, I feel like most people are immediately drawn to the designer names and neglect the steal that some of the other brands become. This pair of jeans is under $30, incredibly soft, and comes in the best color selection. I've tried designer denim and honestly like these better. I've told all my friends about how awesome they are already and think that these are a must buy if you're on the hunt for new denim.

Size: 27
Color: Donna
Thoughts: See my love of these above!

Size: Small
Color: Navy
Thoughts: I figured this would be a hit or a miss. It's not the most flattering dress of all times but it also isn't meant to be. It's hard for me to turn down a comfy sweatshirt dress, so I was thrilled when this navy number looked cute. There are so many style details on this dress that make it look a bit more put together than your typical sweatshirt dress cut. I plan to wear this all fall and winter with slip on shoes and even booties!

Size: 8.5
Color: Cognac
Thoughts: I have last year's version of this boot that was included in the sale and knew that another color would be a good investment. Since my other pair is very neutral I figured the cognac ones would get a lot of wear with my wardrobe. I actually like this version even better than last year's since the cut doesn't go down quite as far meaning that I can wear typical ankle socks instead of solely wearing no-show socks. The material I really soft and the height is perfect on these booties.

Size: Clear Orange/White
Color: 8.5
Thoughts: I like to have a pair of tennis shoes to wear running errands that aren't my workout shoes so that I can extend my workout shoes' life. I've had my last pair of casual tennis shoes since freshman year of college and I think they are about to kick the bucket. I decided to try this pair as a replacement for them and am really impressed with how comfy they are. The color is definitely bright, but I'm a fan!

Size: Small
Color: Cool Pink
Thoughts: I have a matching pajama set obsession. I had seen the long version of this set in the cool pink color on J.Crew's site back in December and was in love from the get go. When I discovered this short set included in the sale I knew there was no point in resisting. I've worn them every night since getting them in the mail so I think they were worth it!

Size: One Size
Color: No Color
Thoughts: I've wanted to try this candle set included in the sale for years and finally decided that this was the year. I could sit and smell these all day. They are votive size and are beautifully packaged that you could easily separate them to give as gifts!

Size: One Size
Color: No Color
Thoughts: Last but not least, one of my beauty item staples: the beauty blender. Beauty sets tend to be a great deal during the sale so I was especially excited to be able to get two of these on sale! While it isn't the most exciting purchase, it is definitely practical to have gotten it now!

Stay tuned for a youtube video featuring all these finds soon!

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Nordstrom Sale Items I Own And Love + GIVEAWAY Hint

I want to start out today's post with a big thank you. Yesterday's post was one that I was a bit hesitant to share, but the messages I've received in response to it have been so encouraging and supportive which I truly appreciate. If you didn't catch the post which includes a big life update I'd definitely recommend it since it goes over the way I've been feeling this past year. 

Now back to the topic of today's post, the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale! Since the sale opens to the public tomorrow, I decided that taking the time to share items that I already own and love from the Nordstrom Sale would give those of you gaining access tomorrow a look at some of the best buys that you'll likely wear season after season. 

For me, the Nordstrom Sale is a time to stock up on classic pieces. I don't tend to gravitate towards anything too trendy and instead like to look at what pieces I reach for over and over again that could use a nice refresh. I've shopped the sale since high school and over time have been able to build up quite a collection of items that tend to be re-released in the sale each year. From beauty products to shoes and house wears, even though the colors may differ a bit the products remain the same. Below you'll find tons of pieces either identical or very similar to pieces I own and love. If you're on the fence about any of these items I would say that going ahead and purchasing them now when they are on sale is going to be better than making it halfway through the season, regretting that you don't have it, and then paying full price. While I could talk for paragraphs about each of these items individually,  I've highlighted a few of the very best pieces below the image.

Barbour Waxed Jacket (also have and love the vest)
I've said this before but one of the best gifts I ever received was my Barbour Jacket. I got it freshman year of college and have worn it nonstop in the fall and winter ever since. I need to get it re-waxed this summer to keep it protected but everyone I know who is older and has one has mentioned just how durable these jackets are. While the one on the sale isn't identical to the one I own, it looks super similar in its dark color and waxed exterior making it worth it if you were considering one since it is over $100 off. You can see the guide I created to Barbour Jackets here if you're struggling to figure out what size you would want! When I was in London after sophomore year I purchased a vest that zips into my jacket for added warmth, and it looks equally as cute styled on it's own as it does under the jacket. I also have a quilted Barbour Jacket that is perfect in the spring time. While it didn't seem like the sale had any lightweight, quilted Babour Jackets, I did find this quilted Barbour that would be perfect for the fall and winter! 

Over the Knee boots were something it took me a while to fully adapt to. For the longest time I thought they were much to edgy for me and that I wouldn't be able to pull them off. After seeing so many friends in theirs over previous years I decided to give this exact pair a try during the sale two years ago. I was kind of picky when it came to what I wanted them to look like and somehow this pair completely fit the bill. With a flat bottom, tight but not too tight shaft, and waterproof coating I was sold and have worn them every winter since. Whenever I wear them my friends always ask where they are from and for a while Nordstrom didn't carry them any more. I am so glad that they have brought them back and have chosen to include them in the sale! This would be a great item to ask for as a gift and save until the time comes since you likely won't be wearing them any time soon. 

I am all about comfort in the winter and jackets like this one are constantly reached for. While the brand of my fuzzy jacket is different than that offered in the sale, the Nordstrom sale option is much less expensive while looking equally as cute (they look nearly identical). Think of it as an acceptable way to wear a blanket in public. While I know they may not be everyone's favorite thing, when I wear mine on instagram stories I always get a number of questions about where it is from and sizing. To address the sizing question, the jacket runs roomy so I'd say getting your normal size would allow it to fit somewhat oversized! 

Confession time...I think I own 4 or 5 different Longchamp bags. Judge me all you want but when you find something good you need it in multiple sizes and colors right? My favorite is my navy large le pliage tote as it is perfect for travel and toting around all my stuff. The sale offers both leather and expandable nylon versions and I would highly recommend looking into these. The expandable nylon one would be perfect to carry to class, as a gym bag, or even be expanded to take on a trip! These always sell out pretty quickly so if you're considering it I would act fast. 

Hunter Rain Boots (short & tall)
Hunter boots have been my rainy day staple since 7th grade when I first received a tall version of these boots. I have them in a deep purple color and while I love that original pair eventually decided to get a short pair. Now I wear the short pair more frequently, but you really can't go wrong with either option. I believe these are only offered in black during the sale which would make them a perfectly practical rainy day buy!

I hope this helps as you begin to add pieces to your cart in preparation to check out tomorrow! If you haven't entered the giveaway I am currently hosting for a $200 Nordstrom Gift Card definitely read how to enter here. We are now on Giveaway Hint #5 and I will be giving a few more hints on instagram stories this afternoon (if you didn't already catch the one I did last night without announcing it)! It ends tomorrow so get to entering!

Nordstrom Giveaway Hint #5:
I got this item and it may be my FAVORITE buy of the sale! 

And remember, all my Nordstrom Anniversary Sale posts can be found here in case you missed something! 

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Major Life Update: What I'm Doing Next Year

Whew, where to start this post. Admittedly, I kind of have butterflies as I’m typing this all up. I do my best to share personal updates on my blog through Step Into My Week posts but sometimes don’t feel like I can share everything. My friends would tell you that it’s kind of shocking that I have a blog and share my life on the internet since in real life I can be very private. They will ask me how a date went, and I’ll respond with “it was good” and leave it at that until they ask for more specific details. Sometimes they hate me for it, but at this point most of them are probably used to it. Part of the reason I may be so private could be due in part to the fact that I do share so much of my life with y’all on the internet. 

With all of these sale posts going live this week I wanted to make sure to give you the more substantial content that any of you may come to Prep In Your Step seeking. I do my very best to mix in product and style content with helpful tips for y’all while giving you a look into my life and this week that has been tricky since there are so many great sales I want to share with you. Hence why this is the second post you’re seeing that is new on the blog today. And I’m finally admitting things both to myself and to y’all that I’ve previously avoided sharing. 

Enter answers to the stream of questions I’ve avoided: Are you teaching next year? What are you doing next year? Where are you moving? Why don’t you share more about teaching? Will you do a post on XYZ teaching related thing?

The honest answer is that I am not teaching next year.

Leaving school on the very last day.
Let’s back track a bit so you have this answer in better context…Second semester of junior year of college I started questioning whether or not I chose the right major. I’m not sure my parents even know that that is when I truly started questioning my decision. Growing up I knew I wanted to be a teacher. I adored the teachers I had, was a good and hardworking student, and I was dead set on the plan I had. My friends all claimed that I would be the one friend that graduated in the same major that I entered college with. While I may have proved them right there were plenty of times I questioned myself. These thoughts came at a time when I was more stressed than ever juggling college classes, student teaching, presidency of my sorority, and trying desperately to keep up with my blog. If you look back at blog posts in the Spring Semester of my Junior Year (2016) you’ll see that posts are few and far between. News flash: you can’t do it all. Trust me, I learned this the hard way. I was consistently getting four hours of sleep and was more stressed than I’ve ever been in my life (resulting in a not so cute stress rash that eventually extended to my legs and would wake me up at night). Again, these are things you definitely didn’t see me talking about on my blog when I did finally upload a post that semester. I do have to also note that second semester of my junior year was also one of the most fun semesters of college I had while simultaneously being stressful. I did some research about other majors at Furman discovering that the Communications major only required 8 courses which could’ve been done entirely in my senior year, but I didn’t pursue it since I didn’t want to just be a communications major and I definitely didn’t want the education department, my friends, or my family to think I was a quitter.  Ultimately, I brushed off the feeling that I was in the wrong major as me just feeling overwhelmed with all that I was trying to do. 

Senior year was a little bit better when it came to how I felt about my major and I think that has to do with the fact that I made it more of a priority to get blog posts live as it became clearer that Prep In Your Step wasn’t only a creative outlet but also a stress relieving life line that allowed me to escape reality for the amount of time it took to work on posts. I also began my student teaching practicum that year and loved the teacher I was paired with and overall enjoyed my time teaching those students. It also helped that I was only taking one education course in the fall and had the opportunity to take two elective classes in which I naturally chose a communication and graphic design course, two of my favorite classes that I took during my time at Furman. Connecting the dots with where my interests lied should’ve happened sooner but I’m stubborn and was determined to tough it out and maybe attempt to enjoy teaching as much as I had imagined I would when I was younger. Putting myself into the box that I had always pictured for my life wasn’t the best idea since it caused me to ignore any doubts I had and question their validity. 

 My classroom in the packing up stage and as I left it for the last time. 

So, I toughed it out, job hunted for a teaching position, and planned to start my master’s degree in Early Childhood Education the following June. That’s a lot of education for someone hesitant that education was the right fit. I had a month off after graduating in May of 2017 and headed home to Fairhope, Alabama to soak up my short summer and work nonstop on my blog until kicking off my grad program in July. We were all pretty whiney when it came to having classes from 9-4 all summer so I continued to brush off the idea that I should have done something different. Fast forward to the beginning of the school year when my fourth-grade classroom was set up, I had met my students, and I was starting to feel slightly more optimistic for the year to come. 

I finished up my first week without a voice and downright exhausted as I adjusted to this new experience. That could describe all of my friends who had just started teaching. We spent that entire first weekend neglecting the need for fun and working instead on lesson plans and things we realized we forgot for our classroom. The second week there was still some excitement but also some very unexpected behavior problems in my classroom that left me in tears wondering how on Earth I would survive the school year. I can’t tell you the number of times I questioned whether or not I would make it through the year. I had a lot of support from my supervisor, Furman mentor, and mentor at my school, but they were equally as challenged by the situation I was in with my class as I was. 

I’m sure y’all have heard the saying “do one thing every day that scares you” but that embodied how I felt going to school most days in the fall. I would feel panicked on Sunday nights and wake up with a knot in my stomach on Monday mornings. The teaching part came easy to me and I really liked lesson planning but the classroom dynamic I was placed in and desperately tried to change made the past year downright challenging. I’m not one to normally stray from a challenge but I learned that year that there is a difference in feeling challenged and trying to face that challenge and constantly wind up defeated. Things got better at times but overall it became more and more clear that if I were to stick this out there would be no doubt that my personal sanity and mental health would suffer. My parents received more phone calls crying than I care to admit and there was a time around Christmas when if I could’ve quit without leaving my kiddos confused I would have. I have already gotten to the point where I am sad that I won’t be there to hug them on meet the teacher and encourage them about how great fifth grade would be but sadly I don’t think the stress and feeling of teaching getting in the way of other passions would really go away. Yes, next year I’d have a different class, but I know that I would still feel as though I was teaching because that’s what I was “supposed” to do and not because it is what I really want to do. I’m certainly not trying to make it look like I’m throwing myself a pity party but instead hoping that you realize that my decision was not made rashly. 

I think it’s important to point out that while a lot of my experience was tainted with stress and absolute overwhelm I’m confident that this was not solely because I was starting my first job and trying to balance out how to be an adult with how to be a graduate student. I am aware that the first year of just about any experience or job can be challenging. In my situation, it moved beyond that and I started to discover that teaching felt as though it was getting in the way of what I was truly passionate about including blogging. If my blog had been where it is at now when I started college, I have no doubt that I would have chosen a different path and major. 

I know that moving forward away from the field of education for the time being will come with its own share of challenges. I’ll think about my students as their new school year begins and will have to come up with another excuse for lingering around the school supply section in Target. I’ll miss those friends I have made at the school where I worked and will probably have a number of days where I doubt that I made the right choice when it comes to choosing a different path that has nothing to do with the two degrees I’ve worked hard for. But ultimately, I feel confident that I am finally starting to make the right decision for myself, one in which I’ve considered for a while but have been too afraid to actually pursue.  

As a planner, it’s pretty terrifying to step away from a solid plan and job that actually uses your major in pursuit of something completely different. BUT, that is exactly what I am doing once I graduate from my master’s program in early August. Ideally, I’d like to move a little bit closer to home. I am at the point where I am kind of tired of going home having to be a big event since Greenville is an 8-hour drive. Since I am looking into more social media management, public relation, or publication jobs, Greenville isn’t necessarily the best place for that. I adore Greenville and if they had more opportunities in this field then I would definitely stay put. The city is constantly expanding, I have an amazing group of friends, and my love for South Carolina has grown immensely. But, I know that whatever my next job may be, I want it to be something I love and right now I’m not seeing a ton of postings of that nature here. Right now, my target city would be Birmingham, Alabama. It’s still about four hours from my hometown but that’s definitely a more manageable drive on occasion. If you happen to have any connections in these fields or know of people in Birmingham who may eventually need a roommate or friend in the area, please please please DM or email me!

I had hoped to make this announcement about changing paths with a plan and job in place for when I leave Greenville but decided to go ahead and share since I have been getting a number of questions as the new school year approaches. I am optimistic for the positing’s I’ve seen and am hoping that I’ll be able to find something that truly embodies what I want to be doing before too long. The lover of efficiency in me is really hoping to have something lined up right after finishing my master’s in mid-August so that I only have to move once, but I want to make sure that my next job is one that I am really excited for. If nothing has panned out at that time, I’m planning to move home for a bit (something I never thought I would do) while I continue to search. Fortunately, if this is the case I’ll be able to focus more time and energy than ever on Prep In Your Step although I can’t foresee myself blogging full time anytime soon (I love structure and routine far too much to be my own boss at the moment). After nearly seven years of juggling school and blogging (and at certain points a full-time job too) this would be a really cool experience to dive into what helped me to realize what I really want to be doing career wise. I also have no doubt that no matter what my next job may be, Prep In Your Step will continue to grow up with me through that next phase as well. 

I definitely feel lucky to have such a supportive family, especially my parents who are trying to do everything in their nature to make the idea of me moving home seem really exciting and fun to counter my hesitations. They have been my biggest cheerleaders as I’ve come to terms with what I want to do and while at times they encouraged me to stick out another year fully realized how relieved and stress free I felt when I finally made my decision. According to our recent family beach trip, some members of my family said that I have never seemed so relaxed (especially given that I don’t have a firm plan for next year), and I think that relaxation comes because I know that I’ve made the right choice. Friends who have listened to me question what I want to do and have supported me in this have also made me feel more confident in this next stage as well. I really am lucky to be surrounded by people who want the best for me even when that means I’m taking a huge risk since the decision would be so much harder without their support. 

While this decision has been made up since early May, I hope that you understand my hesitation in talking about it in full. This also hopefully will give y’all a better idea of why I have chosen not to talk too much about teaching on my blog since Prep In Your Step has served as such an escape. And while I know that y’all don’t necessarily have to agree with my decision to move away from teaching at this time, I do hope that you’ll be supportive and understanding in my reasoning since I am confident that this is the best choice for me at this time. 

That may be the longest post I’ve ever written for Prep In Your Step, but I didn’t want to leave anything out. I attempted to organize my thoughts as best as I can, but with this being a yearlong decision in the making I’m sure some of this may seem jumbled. I am truly impressed by any of y’all who made it all the way through and appreciate you taking the time to read this post! Many of you have been around through so many of my life decisions and I am thrilled to finally share this next big one with you. Here’s to the next chapter!

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