Thursday, February 28, 2019

Closet Tour and Organization

Who else follows The Home Edit on Instagram? If you don’t (you should), the cliff notes version of what they do is organize your space so that it looks like it came straight from the pages of a magazine. The little baskets and bins, color coding, and labels instantly put me at ease whenever I come across one of their photos. I nearly asked for pantry organizers for Christmas after seeing the magic transformation they can have on a space (that was until I snapped out of it and remembered that our pantry is not a walk in one like most of what they organize and is instead a tall cabinet).

Fortunately, despite our house being old, the closet sizes are more generous than the pantry. If you remember from a while back, my roommate and I never actually stepped inside our house until after we had already paid the initial deposit thanks to her mom house hunting for us. Once we were set on living there, my roommate sent me photos and videos that her mom took of the space and along with that a text that said something along the lines of you can have the “master bedroom” (the room actually isn’t much bigger than her room but does have an attached bathroom) because you’ll love the closet. Well, Rebecca was right, I do love the closet!

My closet in Greenville was the smallest one in the apartment despite my room being the master bedroom since half of the space was taken up by our water heater. I had to get pretty creative with how to fit all of my clothes (because admittedly I definitely have more than I need) in that small space, so it is such a luxury to have some elbow room (quite literally since it’s a walk in) in my closet in Birmingham. Luckily, with my love of organization, I already had most of the storage pieces I put in it to make it feel like there is a space for everything. Now, my closet feels more like my own personal boutique as opposed to a cramped eye-sore. 


The door of my closet is visible when you first walk into my room so although I tend to leave it closed, it doesn’t bother me to have it open on occasion since everything inside has a place. Over time I’ve acquired a lot of fun jewelry, so I was sure to bring my hanging mirror and jewelry organizer from PB Teen with me when I moved. Having all of my earring and necklace options in front of me as I get ready in the morning reminds me to actually wear the pieces I own and keeps them from getting broken or lost. On the inside of the door, I have a navy hanging shoe rack also from PB Teen that I store sandals, flats, mules, and other thinner shoes on to keep them off the floor. On the blank wall that the door opens onto I hung up a metal coat hanger that I use to hold various purses, tote bags, and duffels. They could be more organized (and some of them should probably be moved to the wicker basket I have on the top shelf), but it makes it easy to grab them when I am on the go.


The closet came with some built-in wire shelves, and I knew that I didn’t really want to mess with those even though they could have easily come out. Instead, I decided that those shelves would be the perfect place to put some of the foldable navy bins that I had from previous apartments and my classroom to store things that I don’t need as often. To the left, as you walk in, there are three of those shelves that I store items that I reach for more often. One of the bins holds hair styling tools like blow dryers and straighteners while the other holds my clean towels and washcloths so that I can easily grab a new one when I throw a dirty one into my Scout laundry basket that fits perfectly underneath. Since I tend to hoard extra hangers, I keep those hung on the bar above the top shelf so that they are organized and easy to reach for when I need to hang something up.

Next to those built in shelves are all of my hang up clothes. I like to organize both by piece and by color which may sound like a lot of work but has actually become a habit for me. I start with skirts and tend to hang two on each of the clipped hangers I have. Behind that, I have some of the pants that I have hung up instead of folded, and then I move into all of my tops. Within each color section, I start with tanks and move my way to short sleeves and then long sleeves if I have those before moving on to the next color (typing this out is reminding me just how Type A I can be with some things, yikes). My shirts continue to be organized that way until they are all hung up. After my tops, I have a few vests and then in the back corner have all of my jackets. The bars nearly intersect in the back making it harder to get to things, so the best way I’ve found to organize my jackets is to keep the ones that I don’t wear as often at the very back with the more frequently worn ones closest to my vests. 

Underneath those pieces, I have two white shoe shelves that are stackable that I found at Target. There is something about shoes being neatly placed that makes a closet feel so organized. Space wise I have found that it works best to place the tallest shoes on top and to have shoes of each pair facing in and one facing out. I like all of mine to look neat, so I make sure that I the right shoe is facing out with the left shoe facing in on my shelves. 


On the other bar, I have dresses and sweaters hung up following the same sleeve length and color cluster method. In the space, right before my dresses I often hang up clothing that I want to photograph for the blog but aside from that the method is pretty much the same. One thing that I am so glad that I did was place a storage organizer with bins from Target along the back wall of my closet to store smaller items like socks and sports bras as well as scarves, folded pants, and workout shorts. Keeping them in the bins makes it feel as though they are organized when in reality I usually just toss them into the bins. I do store a backpack and hat on top of that organizer underneath my dresses, but if I were looking to make things seem even neater, I am sure shallow bins would work well.


The remaining bins along the top shelf contain cleaning supplies, toiletry bags, soccer cleats (still haven’t been able to part with them even five years later), sunscreen, and other miscellaneous items. The wicker basket has become a catch-all for tote bags and travel items that I don’t use as often and honestly probably should go through to get rid of some.

That about sums up the entire space aside from the Scout rug I have on the floor to add some more color to the area that I used to have in a college apartment. I’ve included my organization essentials below for y’all in case you’re looking to get a head start on spring cleaning.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Spring {Break} Shopping

With the weather this week in the 50s and 60s (and no rain until later this week instead of all week long) I am in a spring mentality. While I know there will continue to be cold spells, I’d like to think that we are moving closer to putting away our sweaters and jackets for good until next year. A beach trip this weekend isn’t helping this mentality either, and I have a feeling I’ll be packing relatively impractically based on how I’d like the weather to be instead of what the temperatures will be. My parents are bringing the spring clothes that I left in my closet at home with them this weekend, and it’s going to be all too tempting not to want to wear those the whole time.

At the end of every season, I get to the point where I am really over all the clothes I own since I feel like I’ve worn them on repeat. I know that having my spring clothes back in my closet will make me more excited while getting dressed in the morning but I still can’t help but look online at all the cute new pieces being released. For those of you with spring break on the horizon (enjoy it while you can!), the pieces I’ve found would be fun additions to your suitcase! I did my best to include a variety of price points in this roundup with hopes of giving everyone something within their budget to covet. And if I’m not the only blogger you follow then you probably already now that Shopbop’s big spring sale is happening now. Your discount depends on what you spend so if you’re in the market to stock up on some basics (I just got this pair of jean shorts) it is a great sale to shop!

If you’re interested in shopping any of these pieces, you can click directly on the item to be taken to where it can be purchased.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Revlon One-Step Volumizer Hair Dryer Tutorial + Why I Love It

Have you ever thought about or had someone ask you what little chore you hate that you would pay someone to do for you if you happened to become a millionaire overnight? For me, I without a doubt would have someone do my hair for me. I’m picky in that I want it to look good, but the effort that goes into having to actually do my hair is not something I enjoy. When I see a new tool that makes it seem like it would make doing my hair easier, I can easily be convinced to give it a try. That’s exactly how I came to discover Revlon’s One-Step Volumizer Hair Dryer. If you saw my night routine from earlier this month, you have already heard me rave about this tool and the best part is it that it’s under $60! 

I ordered it while I was home during Christmas from Amazon (also available on Target’s site and Ulta’s) when it was back ordered and was so excited to finally use it once it came in in January. It took a few uses to understand how it best works with my hair, but after some trial and error, I’ve realized it has made my life (at least in regard to drying my hair) so much easier. Since I’m sure you’ve seen the hype for the product on Instagram or other blogs already, I thought it might be helpful to share how I’ve discovered works best for using it in this post. 

Let’s go step by step, shall we? Also, full disclosure, getting photos while doing this was a big challenge so apologies in advance but hopefully, you’re able to still get the gist. 

Step One:
Remember how I said I hate drying my hair? Well to make my time shorter when I dry my hair, I leave my hair wrapped up in a towel for a long time before finally committing to drying it. I would highly recommend either towel drying or letting your hair air dry a decent bit before using this hair dryer. In addition to my hair not being sopping wet, I section my hair off by pulling the top layer into a bun and then separating the bottom layer to both sides after brushing it before taking the hair dryer to it. This makes it easier for me dry and style my hair at the same time. 

Step Two:
The hardest part about drying my hair with this hair dryer is getting the barrel of the brush close enough to my roots to really get them dry. The best way I’ve discovered with doing this is by starting with the dryer off at the roots with the hair I am looking to dry underneath. I brush that section up and out and repeat the motion a few times to get the hair closest to my hair dry. Just like when using a round brush with a hair dryer, the key is to get some tension on your hair when styling it so that the heat helps to hold it in place. 

Step Three: 
Once I’ve gotten the roots of the first section of my hair dry I then use the dryer like a round brush with my hair wrapped around on top of the brush so that I am rolling my hair under (instead of over as I did in the previous step). You could easily flip your hair out if you’d like, but I tend to like the look of mine flipped under better. 

After I’ve done step two and tree for one section, I move onto the next. When the bottom layer of my hair is dry, I tie it back with a no-crease hair tie so that it stays out of the way as I repeat the steps for the top portion. When working with the heavier side of my part (aka the side of my head that has more hair when parted) I like to spend a little bit of extra time focusing on adding volume by wrapping my hair and pulling it straight up as I’m moving the dryer through the section. This helps to make sure my roots are dry without leaving my hair flat. Once everything feels dry, I take out the ponytail holder securing the bottom layer and will run the dryer through the ends curling them under altogether as the finishing touch. 

Overall, this dryer has been saving me so much time when it comes to drying and styling my hair. I find that I can do both in the span of 10 minutes and feel ready to walk out the door without having to use other heat styling tools. I attempted to film a time-lapse for y'all to share on Instagram and depending on whether it cuts down correctly will hopefully have that posted on my Instagram story for you in case you're hoping to see the dryer in action! 

Monday, February 25, 2019

Step Into My Week

I’ve discovered that Monday’s are often my most productive days of the week. On Friday’s I usually add a few things to my to-do list for Monday so that I can hit the ground running when I get into the office. From spreadsheets to feature drafts to responding to comments and emails, I was able to make my way through most of my to-dos. After work, I went to the Y and ran a little bit and stretched and did some strength exercises before heading home. My roommate and I watched The Bachelor while eating dinner before eventually going to bed. 

Tuesday was spent working on organizing my thoughts for a piece I’m working on while also doing some outreach and scheduling social media posts. After work I went to the Y and ran 4 miles and came home to clean up, eat, and get in bed early. It was rainy, so a cup of tea and some new magazines in bed by 8:30 sounded like a dream. I’ve been especially tired the past two weeks even though I’ve been getting plenty of sleep, so an early night in bed was ideal. I read for a bit and was asleep before 10:00. Wednesday was similar with a meeting thrown in. After work, I went to the Y to work out before meeting friends to play trivia at a place called Rojo. For those of you in Birmingham, it’s in the Highlands area, and I believe they do trivia each Wednesday night. I was the least helpful person our team (not surprising there since I don’t know anything about pop culture and can’t remember actors or musicians’ names to save my life) but it a fun change in my typical routine. I got home around 10:00 and quickly showered, dried my hair, and got in bed. 

It was another rainy day in Birmingham on Thursday. I think everyone here can agree that we are a bit tired of being waterlogged and unfortunately rain remains in the forecast for the upcoming week. I was really productive at work, and before I knew it, it was time to leave. I went to the Y to work out and didn’t have quite enough time to get my entire run in before needing to head home to eat quickly before bible study. Bible study ended around 9:00 and I headed home to shower and read before going to sleep. 

Friday morning, I slept a bit later than usual and arrived at Starbucks around 7:00 to work on blog tasks before work. I was reminded of how small a world it is when a guy I went to college with and hung out with our Greenville group this past summer walked in and apparently just moved to Birmingham. I headed to work after being relatively productive at Starbucks and was able to check a number of things off of my to-do list. After work, I went home to start laundry, change, and eat lunch before heading to the Y to finish the previous day’s work out. When I got home, I showered and relaxed before trying to get some blog photos done despite the gloomy weather. Friday night a friend had invited some of us to have a wine and cheese night at her apartment. With the weather being so gross this was the perfect way to be social without having to put in too much effort. 

Saturday was very laid back as well since the weather was pretty gross. The only thing I had on my agenda was grabbing dinner with friends that night. I spent my morning listening to the audiobook of Ghosted which I finished during my run on Sunday and loved. It was a chick flick mixed with a bit of a mystery making it right up my alley. I worked on some blog work for the week and generally just had a slow morning. Around lunchtime I went to get my grocery shopping for the week out of the way at Trader Joe’s while there was a break in the rain. That afternoon I decided to go through my closet and get rid of anything that I hadn’t worn this season since it was just taking up unnecessary space. I don’t always love the process of doing this, but it was nice to have it done. I ended up pulling out lots of clothes that I no longer wear, and now my closet feels slightly more spacious. I do need to figure out what to do with these clothes (sell them/give them away/a mix of the two?) especially since I’ll be wanting to put away all of my winter clothes soon to have room for the spring ones I’ve been storing at home. Eventually, I got ready to go to dinner with my roommate and two of our friends. We had the hardest time deciding where we wanted to go and ultimately decided on Babalu. I had never been there, and it was pretty good. The tableside guacamole was the real selling point in my eyes. Afterward, we dropped our friends off at their apartment, and my roommate and I decided to watch A Simple Favor (more on that below) before going to sleep. 

Sunday the sun finally decided to come back out (thank goodness), and I used that as my motivator to go on my last long run before my half marathon this coming Sunday. I ran 8 miles, and it had been so long since I’d seen the sun that I ended up with a bit of a racerback tan. After my run, I showered and took some blog photos before going to Starbucks to sit outside and write blog posts and enjoy the sunshine (despite it being a little bit cold). I called my parents after that and did some meal prepping. Overall I can’t claim to have had a very eventful weekend, but a little bit of sunshine reassured me that socializing is definitely more of a thing when the weather isn’t so gloomy.


In the midst of my book buying ban (aka me trying to save money by not constantly purchasing books on Amazon and instead relying on the library) I realized that this book by Stephanie Clifford had been sitting on my bookshelf unread. I decided to pick it up as my night time read. Although I’m not very far into it, it seems like a light read. I’ll be sure to keep y’all updated with how it is in the coming weeks.

The other book I’ve been reading is one that I started (read 80 pages in the span of a few hours) and had also forgotten about. The Myth of the Nice Girl has been my morning read and would be a great gift to give any girl applying to jobs for the first time or even just considering a job change. I love the tips the author gives and how the book is organized. I may be a bit of a nerd when it comes to loving career-related books, but if you have any recommendations send them my way! 

Watching: A Simple Favor
Shockingly, this was a movie that I actually had seen commercials for before it was in theaters. I thought it looked interesting, so my roommate and I decided to watch it on Saturday night. We sat there so confused as we were watching it because there seemed to be a lot of plot lines attempting to tie into the overall storyline. I think they were trying to be funny at parts, but it ended up being weird more than anything. I was shocked after when I looked it up on Rotten Tomatoes to see that it scored 86%. I’m no movie critic, but I think my rating would have been lower. 

I am so ready for spring clothes to be acceptable to wear out and about. With cold weather and rain, I know that won’t be a reality for a little while longer. In protest, I’ve been finding comfort on weekends in the best yoga pants I own. They fit like leggings until about the knee (depending on how tall you are), and then they flare out in a flattering way to look more like yoga pants. I’ve had my black pair since high school and got a navy pair on sale a while back and am shocked with how new the black ones still look. 

Listening To: The Lying Game
Remember my new best friend from last week? The Libby app. Well, I made way through another book on it this past week. The Lying Game by Ruth Ware could best be described as a thriller. I really love the author and thought this book was good, but it wouldn’t be one of the first thrillers I’d recommend to a friend interested in the genre. As an audiobook, it was very long (13 hours) and with about 5 hours left I felt like it could have been wrapped up. While there was another twist in that time I got to the point where I was ready to have all of the answers. Next up I think I’m going to listen to something aside from a thriller since I think I prefer reading those as opposed to listening to them. 

I had been extra tired over the past couple of weeks and eventually realized it could be due to not getting quite enough iron. The fatigue mixed with working out longer and a few other factors had me pretty sure that this was the case and being intentional about adding in more foods with iron to my diet in an attempt to combat the tiredness. When I thought about the last time I had had red meat I honestly couldn’t think of when that would have been. I got the ingredients for these easy Meatloaf Burgers that I had shared in a Meal Prep In Your Step post a while back. They are delicious (especially since I’m not usually a burger person) and a nice change from the amount of chicken that is usually in my diet. 

Excited For: A Beach Trip + Seaside Half Marathon
I am so excited for this upcoming weekend because I’m taking a vacation! It’s wild to me that I no longer have to plan when I want to take a vacation around school breaks or the two personal days we’d get for the whole year. This is my first time taking advantage of choosing when I want to take off based on my own desires next Monday and Tuesday. I somehow convinced my parents that we should take a trip to 30A for me to run the Seaside Half Marathon on Sunday since it coincided when they were already going to be off for Mardi Gras. Conveniently my dad has a bike race nearby on Saturday so the timing couldn’t be more perfect and they thought it was a fun idea. So, I am beach bound on Friday after work for a relaxing (aside from the 13.1 miles of running on Sunday) extended weekend in Seaside. We’ve rented a house (that allows dogs, so even Scout gets to join) that has bikes and a golf cart so I have a feeling we will be exploring in style during our getaway. 

Loving: Icy Hot
As I’ve been training for next week’s half marathon, I’ve had an old injury start to bother me again, and Icy Hot has been my savior. While it doesn’t bother me all the time putting icy hot on it before and after long runs has really helped. I have never used the Icy Hot patches but went ahead and got a pack to take with me to the beach in case I want them.

Posts From This Week:

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Saturday Shopping vol. 6

Happy Saturday! Ever since starting to share cute spring pieces it’s hard to want to go back to wanting to share weather-appropriate pieces in these roundups. Here are some of the pieces I discovered and wanted to share with y’all this week. 

If you’re interested in shopping any of these pieces, you can click directly on the item to be taken to where it can be purchased. 

Friday, February 22, 2019

My Favorite Affordable Amazon Workout Gear

With February nearly over, now is a good time to re-address all those fitness-based resolutions/goals that you may have made back in January. What better way to do that than by being inspired by affordable workout wear? 

I’ve been keeping a bit of a secret from y’all that I am so excited to fully let you in on today. I wasn’t holding out because I wanted to keep everything to myself but instead make sure it was fully worth the hype. Enter Amazon as my new favorite workout wear retailer. We all know and love Amazon for the near-instant gratification from a purchase (if you have Prime at least) and the easy returns if you happen not to like something. I kind of anticipated making some returns with the pieces I have tried, but that hasn’t been the case. 

By far my favorite Amazon purchase in a while (eh maybe should say tied with the Makeup Eraser) this jacket seems nearly too good to be true. I tend to like pullovers better than full zip jackets, but this one may have changed my mind. It’s easy to take on and off without worrying about it getting caught in your headphone cords (at least if you’re like me and haven’t taken the plunge into airpods yet) which is perfect when I’m bailing on this layer mid-run. 

The fit of this is great as long as you know about the weird sizing. I wear this in a large and am usually a 2 or 4 in regular clothes and a 4 or 6 in Lululemon pieces. The material of the jacket is stretchy and sweat-wicking which makes it breathable when working out yet still warm. One feature that I absolutely adore on these jackets are the built-in hand covers. My long runs have been outside the past few months making these especially nice. It certainly doesn’t get as cold in Birmingham as some other places, but I think regardless of where you are this is a nice feature to have on a jacket even if you don’t always use it. I have the space gray and clay but think that any of the color options would be equally as great. 

Finding good quality, well fitting, and sweat resistant workout tanks can be a challenge. I’ve found that I’ll discover really cute and affordable ones at Target, but they won’t fit me in the way I want them to. I was a bit hesitant about ordering this one from Amazon but decided to give it a try since it’s a shape I love. Racerback with a scoop bottom that is a bit longer in the back is my go-to especially when it’s loose like this one. The bright blue color definitely helped sway my decision too. I’m really glad that I did decide to give it a try since now that it has been washed and dried once I really like it (the arm holes were a little big before, but now they are perfect). I got it in size small which like I mentioned is perfect now that it has been washed and dried once. The scoop of the neck goes a little bit lower than some of the similar ones I have from Lululemon, but with my next great find, you won’t need to worry about it. 

While I don’t want to say never, it is very unlikely that I purchase another Lululemon sports bra after having discovered these $20 ones from Amazon that are nearly identical but made out of a material I like even better! My only warning with these sports bras is to make sure you get the one linked if you want decent support. I made the mistake of thinking I was getting the same one I already had and ended up with one that definitely didn’t seem quite as supportive due to its thinner straps (although it came in a lot more color choices). The material of these is what really sold me since they aren’t as thick as some of the Lululemon ones and seem to wick sweat better. They have removable padding if that’s a game changer for you and I think I can rank them as my favorite workout sports bras which is great considering their price point. I’d say they run true to size, so I got a small. 

I think Amazon as a workout wear provider really took off when someone discovered that this brand makes essentially the same leggings as Lululemon for a fraction of the price. These feel nearly identical to the Align leggings but may be better for working out than the Aligns would be. I have a long black pair that I find myself reaching for whenever I pull them out of the dryer. I really want to get a pair of the cropped ones with the pocket (my favorite feature on my lulu ones). They do sell out frequently so if your size is in stock and you’re interested pull the trigger while you can. As for sizing, I went with a small and would order that again! 

Below you’ll find some other cute workout wear pieces that I’ve found on Amazon but can’t attest to the quality of. It’s amazing how many of these pieces look so similar to some of my favorite Lululemon items, and if the quality of the items I’ve tried is any predictor of these, I’d say for the price they may be worth giving a try. I’ll hopefully be sharing Instagram stories this weekend of the pieces I do own so be sure to follow along (@prepinyourstep) so that you don’t miss those! 

Thursday, February 21, 2019

My Thoughts On Blogging

This is a post I’ve been sitting on for a while, not exactly positive of how to put my thoughts into words. I realize that is an awfully dramatic start to a blog post, but I don’t mean it to be! I’ve just come to realize over time that each person’s blogging experience is going to be different and I am ok with that.

Let’s rewind a bit. I started this blog during the holiday season my junior year of high school as a creative outlet. Had Pinterest become more popular sooner my blog may not exist because I wholeheartedly believe that would have felt like enough of an outlet for me (granted I joined when it was invite only, and my friends thought I was crazy when I would explain the site to them). Granted, all of this was before blogging was actually cool and more “normal” like it is now. To that notion, I didn’t tell anyone but my parents and my best friend about my blog for the first 6 or so months and even after that I was selective and secretive about who knew. I was terrified that suddenly if people knew that I had a blog, they would choose to make fun of me. I was still in high school after all and a small high school at that that it would have made me having a blog a bigger deal than it needed to be had people found out. In the time I found between homework, soccer practice and games, cross country, and the following year applying to college it was my perfect escape. A place I was able to write about whatever I wanted to talk about without really thinking other people were reading my thoughts. 

Fast forward to college, and I knew going in as a freshman that I didn’t want to be known as the girl with the blog. It’s funny how the smallest things can define you in the beginning as everyone is trying to get to know one another. I hadn’t even told my roommate that I had a blog despite her admitting years later that she had discovered it on her own and read back through all of the posts. Over time as I gained traction, I felt more comfortable sharing this part of my life with other’s which even led to some of them reading what I write each day (which is fine as long as I’m not in the room as they do, ha). 

If I am honest, most of the time as I am writing I don’t necessarily think about other people reading it. While I know they are out there (thank you to those that comment and google analytics for confirming this), it doesn’t always feel like the number of people reading represents the amount of time spent working on the blog. Fortunately, I still blog more for myself than others because I enjoy the creativity it allows me, but despite knowing not to invest myself in the numbers game, it can be hard not to notice. 

Remember how I said I started blogging when it was weird? Now if someone finds out, I have a blog they start naming off all the other people they know that have created one as well (sometimes with a bit of an eye roll). While it’s awesome that so many people have discovered the joys that come from a place to express yourself online, the fact that it is somewhat trendy and normalized to have a blog often leads to a bit less respect (or at least more suspicion) for the work that goes into keeping it up. Most of the time that doesn’t bother me until I start to think about blogs and “influencers” who have been doing this for a much shorter amount of time yet have grown exponentially faster. 

You’ll hear people over and over again say not to compare yourself to other’s, but as humans, it is part of our instinct. Whether it’s the number of people that visit my site or followers on Instagram, my reach hasn’t grown nearly as fast as many other people’s. There’s not necessarily a cause to this although juggling blogging along with school, extracurriculars, and for the past two years, a full-time job makes it so that I definitely don’t have as much time to work on my blog as some people who work on their blog full time. Something I have come to terms with though is that I would much rather have a smaller number of page views or Instagram likes if it means that the people viewing my content found me organically.

Loop Giveaways
There are so many ways now for bloggers to grow their influence in ways that aren’t always the most honest which has become my biggest frustration with the social media side of blogging. In the beginning, the purpose of a blog was more to find someone you can relate to or who is going through a similar life stage as you than it was about constantly sharing sales in hopes of making more commission. Maybe if blogging was my full-time job (which I don’t foresee happening because I love structure way too much to work for myself) I’d think differently but paying to be part of a giveaway in which you are just another of 40 required follows for someone to win a dream trip, designer bag, or $1000 cash doesn’t seem fulfilling to me. Especially since so often the people that follow for the sake of the prize are likely to unfollow you after the fact. 

I am constantly getting emails from platforms that host this sort of giveaway on a weekly basis that ask me to buy in so that I can gain the x number of followers they promise. In my opinion, that’s not making me any more relatable or helpful to readers/followers going against my purpose with blogging. I’m not saying to unfollow people who do these sorts of giveaways but wish instead that it wasn’t so prevalent. 

Social Media
Aside from just Instagram, promoting my posts (and in turn myself) on social media is something that I’ve always found to be a bit weird. Sometimes I am hesitant about talking to others about my blog for fear that they will look at it and view me as narcissistic. Now, with my job involving working on social media for a brand outside of my own, I’ve found that I don’t necessarily enjoy spending as much time curating posts to highlight the content I’ve created (stunting my own growth, I know). I feel awkward when talking to myself on Instagram stories even though I know that it is something y’all enjoy, I’ve been terrible at remembering to promote blog posts on my Facebook page (who wants to do this for me?), and I go through phases of being good at pinning images to Pinterest before forgetting to do that a week later. The good thing I’ve realized about all of this (and I guess myself too) is that as long as I am posting things that I am interested in, I’ll keep it up, but when I feel forced to make a to-do list out of my hobby, that’s when it feels less enjoyable. 

What I Want to Do More Of:
On the note of posting things I’m interested in, I’ve realized that there are a lot of blog and Instagram posts I’ve done in the past that I did because I felt like I was “supposed” to. Instead, moving forward, I want to share more about what I am doing in the here, and now that would be helpful to y'all. I’ve always prided myself on trying to include a genuine mix of helpful, long-form posts with fashion/shopping posts since both interest me. It’s my hope that this shows readers that I’m not all consumed with my outward appearance and instead am able to offer valuable advice (most of the time that I wish I had been told) to make your life easier. This I hope reflects well on my tag line, “prep for your life while stepping into mine.” Even as platforms change and what other people are doing is influenced by how they can monetize more, I hope to continue to stick to my roots by writing about what I like so that blogging continues to inspire me without feeling like a chore.

In December I read an article about the “seven-year itch” which is “a psychological term that suggests that happiness in a relationship declines after around year seven.” Reflecting on this, I’m pleased to say that my happiness with blogging this long hasn’t declined and I hope to keep this the case by continuing to share more of what interests and is fun for me with hopes of inspiring you to do more of what makes you happy in your own life as well.

I’m sure not all of this makes total sense as the thoughts in my brain don’t always connect in a way that is blog-post worthy, but I felt like it was something I had been thinking about for too long not to share. So, if there’s anything specific you want to see whether that be life advice or more behind the scenes of my life, let me know either by commenting or reaching out! 

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

My Favorite Instagram Accounts

It seems like just about everyone has an Instagram nowadays, if not more than one. And for the most part, it’s embarrassing to admit how much time is wasted on the app. I like to know what friends are up to through my personal account, stay engaged and grow the following of the one I manage for work, and be inspired by the people I follow on my blog account. But, at the end of the day that can be a lot more information across the board than I really need to see. 

I’ve found that now that Instagram is a part of my job, I tend to use it less for pleasure since it’s nice to give my eyes a break from the screen and do something else when I get home at night. This means that when I do log in to my blog account it’s usually to post a photo, respond to DMs (which I’m definitely not getting an award for doing any time in the near future since I’m not always the best about this), and catch up on a few accounts that I like. While I have some bloggers whose Instagram’s I check I thought it would be fun to share a few of my recent favorite miscellaneous accounts. I’ve included a link directly to their profile as well as what their bio says about them and a snapshot of their feed. 

“Food and Flower Enthusiast | Stylist | Birmingham, AL

Flowers and food, what’s not to love? Ever since beginning my job working for a magazine, I’ve become more and more interested in photo styling. Since many of the titles at work are food based it has been so interesting to see the process that goes into making food photography pretty. Christina is really talented, and with her being in Birmingham it gives me a chance to discover new places to try that I may not have known about otherwise.

“Seriously. Just things I bought and liked.”

This is precisely what it sounds like. While her feed does share some of the products she mentions, following along with her stories is my favorite. I will say that I thought my phone’s volume was messed up for a bit and then thought her phone’s volume had a problem, but in reality, she just doesn’t speak while sharing the products. Instead, she puts everything you need to know about what it is and why she likes it directly on the screen. It’s also super great that so many of the products she discovers can be found on Amazon. 

“Verry Robin & Co. helps brands tell stories beautifully through photography, prop styling and art direction.”

Another favorite due to my interest in styled photography, Robin does an incredible job layering various pieces to add texture to the photos she shoots for brands. I love that she often uses a monochromatic color palette in her shots and I wish I had known about her calendars before I bought mine for 2019. 

“I have So Many Thoughts #SMT Catch up now by scrolling through my archives. Roving reporter after 10+ years at WSJ.”

You’ve probably heard of Elizabeth Holmes already, but if not, she’s the Instagrammer responsible for explaining and interpreting the Royal Family’s style choices on her stories. It’s something I like hearing someone else’s opinion on because unbeknownst to me, each detail in their wardrobe is chosen to make a statement. She’s funny, a talented writer, and makes Royal Family fashion highly entertaining. 

“Dallas | Fashion Blogger | Personal Wardrobe Stylist at Front Door Fashion.”

I was introduced to this blog by my friend (hi, Allie) who is good friends with Mary Sanford. Although we have very different styles, I love seeing what she is wearing. I’m definitely not cool enough to pull off some of her outfits but am so glad I was introduced to her feed! 

“Home décor line by @briahammelinteriors | Shop our newest collection, Fabric by the Yard.” 

Bright white interiors with hints of color and patterns speak my language. I like that the photos in this feed aren’t overly trendy (read: shiplap) and all seem very liveable. This is specifically the Instagram of @briahammelinteriors home décor line which means that a lot of the products featured can be easily purchased which is a win. 

Now it’s your turn to tell me who else I should add to this list! 

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Step Into My Week

What a coincidence that I forgot to post this yesterday after feeling on top of my game and prepared for the week. Oops. Hopefully you don't mind that it's a day late since it took until 8 last night to realize that I had saved it as a draft instead of scheduling it. Now for what should have been posted yesterday...

I feel the need to start by saying that I am jealous of all of you that have today off for President’s Day. We are in the office today, but I can’t complain since we did get MLK day off. I’m also getting excited because I have my first vacation of 2019 coming up. It’s funny to me that this is the first time that I feel like I am taking a vacation that isn’t dictated by school holidays and instead is based on activities I have planned instead! I’ll share more on that as it gets a bit closer. 

As for this past week, the week went by pretty quickly as things started picking up at work for upcoming issues. On Monday we had a shoot in the office that I got to see more behind the scenes. Mondays often also consist of catching up on emails, social media comments, and any phone calls that may have come in over the weekend. I worked through trying to figure out a new social media scheduling platform we are using and also submitted a draft of the copy for the shoot from that morning. After work, I went to the Y to work out and ended up doing a 7-mile treadmill run which I wasn’t anticipating. It felt especially nice to come and shower after that. I ate dinner while watching the last bit of the bachelor with my roommate before heading to bed. 

On Tuesday I worked on some of the same stuff as Monday with the addition of doing some product returns and working through the resources for two of our upcoming issues. I’ve been going to work closer to 7:00 which means that I leave closer to 5:00 instead of 5:30 which despite being a small difference in time makes me feel like I have more of the day left after work. I met my friend Macy at the gym, and we did a workout together before deciding that we needed a proper catch-up session while enjoying ½ priced margs at Taco Mama after. It was so crowded, but luckily we were able to find a table and eat dinner and serve as one another’s sounding board. It’s times like that when I am especially thankful to have a person that I’ve known since high school in town with me! I came home to a sweet valentine’s day treat from my friend Allie in my mailbox which made my night. After getting clean, I eagerly crawled in bed since I was just about finished with the book I was reading. I fell asleep before finishing it (which really isn’t that surprising if you know me), but it gave me something to look forward to reading the following night. 

On Wednesday I had some things on my calendar that broke up my day a bit. We had our team meeting that morning, and I had an interview to do that afternoon with an artist we are featuring in a later issue. Aside from that, I did various other tasks, and before I knew it, it was time to head out. I went to the Y after work to run for a little bit before coming home. Thursday was similar as well since I needed to transcribe the interview and had a meeting that afternoon that covered web planning for the coming months. We also got the binder of our next resource which meant reading through that to check for errors and hanging up a copy for the rest of the office to look through. Since Thursday was Valentine’s Day, we did get to start the day with an office-wide celebration that morning. I was weirdly excited to head to the gym after work since I knew it would be pretty empty (and I was right). I ate a quick dinner at home before heading off to bible study with friends that evening. 

Friday morning I slept in instead of going to Starbucks that morning like I usually do. While I did miss the routine of that, it felt good to sleep. All week I’ve felt like I haven’t entirely woken up which is weird. Maybe it has something to do with the weather being a bit gloomy but I haven’t felt 100% alert, so hopefully, that changed this week. I spent Friday organizing some ideas and doing research for the article I had done an interview for. I also worked through some emails and social media finalizing. Come 12:00 it was officially the weekend, and I had an appointment scheduled to get fitted for a bridesmaid dress. After that, I ran some errands in preparation for the Galentine’s Day party my roommate and I hosted on Friday night. 

Once I had showered and eaten lunch, I decided to take a nap before we really got to prepping for our evening. It’s no secret that we love hosting and can get into a theme, so this party was no different. We instructed our friends to come in their PJs with their favorite sweet or salty snack, and the spread we ended up with was incredible. We played MASH and Quip Lash before deciding to watch the Clique. Anyone else read those books in middle school? If you did or want a good laugh, you need to re-watch that movie. It made me so glad that I am no longer in middle school and that I never really had to deal with girls like that to that extent. After cleaning up, I think it was close to midnight when finally turned the lights out to go to sleep.


Saturday I really don’t feel like I did much at all. I drank my coffee in bed before finally energizing myself enough to go for my long run this week. I went 12 miles which went surprisingly well, albeit slow, and then decided that constituted spending my afternoon stretched out on my bed after showering. The weather was cold and overcast which made it even more appealing. That night my roommate’s parents invited our friends over to their house for dinner. Despite living in a house, it was nice to be in a home sharing a meal around a big table with friends. We all left feeling very well fed! 

On Sunday Nell and I went to the 8:00 service at church, so I was able to grocery shop before the typical after church rush. I ate lunch and ended up sitting on the couch with my roommate watching the Ted Bundy Files Netflix documentary until we realized we both had work to get done that was not going to be accomplished from the comforts of our couch. We went to Starbucks to be productive, and while I did get some work done, I also ended up catching up on the phone with my brother for a bit. After leaving, I went home to meal prep for the week, clean up, and put fresh sheets on my bed and fold laundry. Really exciting, I know! You could definitely classify this weekend as restful and very laid back. 


This is kind of cheating to classify as reading since I’ve been listening to it on the Libby App, but it’s a book nonetheless. I love thrillers and enjoyed this even though I think it took a little bit of time to get into (which may have been because I was listening to it and not reading it). 

Watching: The Ted Bundy Files

My fascination with thrillers leads to me being interested in serial killer cases making this documentary series something I was intrigued by. I’m glad it wasn’t any longer than it was, but there was so much about this case that I was unaware of. If you like true crime, you’ll probably find it interesting. 

This is the most recent book I’m listening to on the Libby app. It’s a break from a thriller and instead could probably be best classified as chick-lit. It’s by the same author as The Devil Wears Prada and had me laughing out loud while listening to it on my run on Saturday. I’m about halfway through it and find myself turning it on when I’m doing just about anything mindless. 

Eating: A Lot of Salads

I used this crockpot shredded chicken recipe and decided to use it this week on kale salads. To make them a little bit more enjoyable, I added my favorite dressing, cooked sweet potatoes, and candied pecans. It’s easy to make in advance and keeps me relatively full. 

I have a post coming up for y’all that I’ve been working on for a bit but Amazon workout wear is my new favorite thing. I’ve been testing out different leggings, tanks, and sports bras and am excited to give you the rundown on what is worth the purchase. I know I have said it before, but this jacket has become my favorite running jacket and looks identical to/has the same quality of Lululemon and is half the price! I am usually a 2 or 4 in clothes (usually a 4 or 6 in Lululemon), and I stick to the jacket in size large since it runs extra fitted. 

Last Week’s Posts You May Have Missed: 

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Sunday Shopping vol. 5

It's been overcast here in Birmingham this weekend meaning that online browsing paired with movies on Netflix seems like a killer combination. While browsing, I came across so many cute spring items that caught my attention. With stripes, ruffles, and some of my favorite colors it's tempting not to want to purchase one of each of these items for myself. 

If you're interested in shopping these items, click directly on the item in the graphic to be taken to where it can be purchased. This should work for all of the items aside from the ricrac charger keychain which you can find here. 

Friday, February 15, 2019

January Favorites

I feel like everyone has been mentioning this, but January seemed to last for forever. I have to admit that I’m not usually the biggest fan of January despite the fresh start that it brings. Instead, I usually get stuck on how cold and dark it seems. It seems like all of my favorite things for this month are revolving around me attempting to embrace the lack of sunshine and stay warm as the temperatures drop. Since I decided to make this a no shopping month (and am aiming to keep it that way in February), most of these items are things I’ve been loving since December with a few Christmas presents mixed in.

If you caught yesterday’s blog post, then you heard the beginning of my rave about how amazing this product is. Seriously though, I have never found a way to love my hair after just blow drying it, and this has changed that for me. Having a brush and dryer in one makes the process of blow drying my hair so much easier allowing me to style it as I go. I did find that it took a few tries to figure out how to get the roots of my hair dry and smooth, but after trying a few different methods now that is no longer a problem. After using this one night, the next day I had so many people telling me how good and shiny my hair looked. I don’t think I had ever had more people comment on my hair in one day, so if you’re in the market for a time-saving tool that will garner lots of compliments spend the $50 and get this (plus it’s on prime which is a selling point in general in my opinion). 

This year for Christmas it seemed like a lot of family members opted to give cash instead of a physical item. While that is awesome, and I am SO appreciative of the generosity I don’t tend to do the best job of actually spending the money on something I want, and it instead just goes in my bank account and ends up getting used on rent or as of late, bridesmaid dresses. While I was fine with some of it doing just that I had been wanting a new pair of long-sleeve Lake pajamas and gifted myself that via the gift that was Christmas money. If there’s one thing that I look forward to every single night, it’s putting on a pair of comfy pajamas, and Lake’s are hard to beat with how soft they are. 

More than ever lately I’ve seen people on Instagram featuring great finds they’ve discovered on Amazon. If there’s one site that I’m most likely to impulse buy from it would definitely have to be Amazon thanks to free two-day shipping and the ability to order so many different things all from one place. I had seen someone raving about this workout jacket a while back and ended up getting it. Holy cow does Lululemon have something to worry about. I love my pieces from Lulu, but this jacket is at least half of the price with the same quality and a multitude of color choices. I have been reaching for it more than my pullover one from Lululemon and get compliments and questions about it every time I have it on. I’m hoping to try out more workout wear pieces from this brand (and a few others I’ve heard people rave about) and report back to y’all with what I find because if it’s anything like this jacket then shopping for workout wear just got a whole lot easier. 

There’s something that I love about opening a blank planner for the first time. Despite being nervous before writing down the first thing in it, I love figuring out how to organize things, and this Dapper Desk planner was no different. I shared a post all about how I chose to organize the interior, but as a whole have been relying on it a ton as of late. While I know the newness will wear off with time, I do not doubt that this will continue to keep my life in order all year long. 

I sound like a broken record with my adoration of The Makeup Eraser, but it really is as good as it sounds (if not better). Forget makeup wipes or some sort of eye makeup remover cotton round combination since all it takes to remove a full face of makeup is some water and this cloth. I gifted these to my friends for Christmas, and they’ve been raving about them as well. Do yourself (and landfills) a favor by getting one of these. I got mine from Amazon, but you can also get them for 15% off on The Makeup Eraser site with the code CUTIE15. 

I never expected to grow so fond of a coffee mug, but it has happened. I’m the type of person who likes to sip their coffee instead of chugging it all at once but over time realized that I’d waste some after it got too cold to be enjoyed. Problem solved with my Ember Mug. While I know, they are an investment (especially for a coffee mug) I’ve been using mine daily and loving it. Sometimes I’ll even pack it up along with its charging coaster to bring to work; it’s that great. This would be the perfect gift to give for someone who loves coffee but is hard to shop for. 

I have a new favorite piece of jewelry. The Goldbug Tangled Up In Blue ring that I got for Christmas has now become a part of my everyday attire. I realized that I didn’t have any rings and after seeing this one back in October or November knew it would be a great everyday piece. I used to be really picky about not mixing metals, but now I wear silver and gold together daily without thinking twice and love the blue hues this adds in as well. I am constantly getting compliments and questions (everyone assumes it is an antique with some sort of cool story) on and about this ring and am way too overly enthusiastic to share the brand with the people I am talking to. While I only wear it as a ring, the band flips up so it can also be worn as a necklace which is a genius feature. 

After deciding that one of my goals for this year was to be more informed when it came to news, the Morning Brew has helped me take that a step further by paying attention to business news in addition to just politics and world events. The first thing I do when I get to the office is read their newsletter, and I am way too into the trivia they include daily and their weekly quiz. Whatever it takes to stay informed, right? 

I’d love to know what you enjoyed in the month of January (even though February is halfway over already). 

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