Thursday, August 15, 2019

Tips For Your First Day Of A New Job

This time of year tends to come with lots of new beginnings. If you’re heading back to school, that means new classes, potentially a new living space, and more. But, for those of you that aren’t in school, it may also mean a new job and all that is to learn there. I’m feeling extra thankful this year that I’m not in the midst of a move and a job hunt and am instead getting to feel relatively settled in all that I’m doing. However, last year at this time I was preparing to start the job I currently have and thought it could be helpful to share some of my tips for that first day for any of you that may be in that position. 

Come Prepared
Maybe this is my love of new office supplies talking but packing your bag with a planner, notebook, pens, and anything else you may think you need will hopefully have you enter your new office with a bit more confidence. Since all jobs are different, it would be worth checking whether or not you need to bring your own computer or if your office supplies you with one and other logistics of the sort that hopefully, the HR manager has mentioned. Beyond the material items, come prepared on your first day to make a good impression. Put on an outfit you feel confident in (when you’re not sure of the dress code it’s better to overdress!) and arrive a few minutes early. 

Pack Your Lunch
As a planner, I was dead set on packing my lunch the night before I began my first day of work. I had packed a meal I was excited for, and it wasn’t until my hour-long lunch break came around that I realized I left it at home. Talk about a bummer. That day for lunch, I had to figure out what was actually close to our office and ended up eating McDonald’s in my car alone. It’s a funny story now but felt very anti-social at the time. Company culture is going to vary from place to place but packing a lunch will have you prepared whether your co-workers are more likely to eat at the office during their break or head somewhere nearby. It’s an equal split where I work whether people stay or head home during their hour lunch break, but I’ve found that I was able to make friends at my office because I choose to pack my lunch and stay put. Whenever we have a new hire I try to make it a point to tell them that I usually eat lunch outside at 12:30 if they don’t have other plans and would like to join so that they don’t have to eat alone on their first day! 

Take Notes & Ask Questions 
Remember that notebook I mentioned? It’s sure to come in handy now. You’ll likely be trained for your role during your first couple of weeks and if it was anything like that time was for me you’ll discover there is a lot to learn. I’m an avid note tacker any way but especially when someone is explaining something to me one on one about how to be successful in my position. Since the person training you is probably pretty familiar with the information they are sharing (why else would they be training you) don’t be afraid to ask questions about things you may not understand! 

Make Your Space Feel Welcoming & Like Your Own
It took me until about a month in to finally bring in some items to make my cube look a little less sterile. When you spend so much time in a place, you may as well make it feel welcoming with your personal touch. I could use a few more items to spruce up my space but have found that pictures and bulletin boards covered in cute fabric have made it seem happier! 

Introduce Yourself To Co-Workers
On my first day, I was taken on a tour of our office, where I was briefly introduced to everyone who happened to be at their desk. Talk about overwhelming. Thankfully I had LinkedIn stalked the other members of my team, but aside from them, I didn’t remember many names. I was so grateful to discover that people’s nameplates had pictures so I knew I could depend on those as time went on but really appreciated the people that made it a point to re-introduce themselves during the first few weeks knowing that there was no way someone could remember everyone on that first day. In turn, I try to do the same for new hires with hopes that they will feel more comfortable having a familiar face around and a name to go with it! 

What other advice do y’ all have for people on their first day of work? I’d love to hear your ideas! 

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Tuckernuck Sale Finds (Additional 30% Off Sale Finds)

Anyone else out there feel like they are tired of what’s in their closet by the end of a season? I hope I’m not alone on this, but after reaching for the same pieces over and over again as summer winds down, I find myself kind of bored. Don’t get me wrong, I love my clothes and am lucky to have options, but it’s not uncommon for me to start looking forward to switching things up a bit as a new season approaches. Unfortunately, in Alabama, we wait a while for it to actually start feeling like fall and given that we’ve been getting heat warnings this week I suspect this year won’t be any different. So, no matter how excited I get to be able to reach for sweaters and more fall-like dresses I’ll be in summer clothes for a bit longer. The one perk to this is that now’s when a lot of those summer pieces tend to go on sale meaning that if I am especially desperate to find something new, it will likely come with a heavily discounted price tag.


 Those of you that have followed along for years know just how much I love Tuckernuck. I think if I could only shop at one store for the rest of my life, then that would be it. My cart on their site is constantly full, and the pieces I do own from the store are the ones that I tend to get the most compliments on when I wear them out. The top above was my favorite buy of the spring and is currently on sale on their site. As a matter of fact, everything in the sale section on Tuckernuck’s website is now an additional 30% off. Today’s the last day for it and sizes are starting to dwindle, but you can bet I’ve browsed and picked out a few favorites. Since I didn’t want y’all to miss these deals, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite things that are significantly marked down and have shared them below. If you see anything you’d like to purchase you can click directly on the item in the image below to be taken to where it can be shopped! 

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Routines To Establish During The Back To School Season

Today marks the first day back to school for many students in my area. And although I don’t have to deal with the traffic since I get to work before the school day begins, it still has been noticeable to me that school is back in session. Yesterday when I was at the gym, it seemed like suddenly more people were motivated to come in after work for a workout. I’m not sure if that is coincidence or this time of the year inspiring people to reevaluate what they are doing to find a routine that is better suited for them. 

While I have been working all summer, aside from a few trips, even I feel motivated to get organized and make sure that the routines I’ve established are working in my favor to make life easier. Because after all, that is the purpose, right? Whether you’re heading into a new school year or are like me and thrive on routines, I thought it could be helpful to share some of the habits I’ve found worth establishing (and reevaluating) to make a typically busy season a little easier on myself. 

The first time my mom came to visit me in Birmingham was when I realized that cleaning an entire house takes a LONG time. My mom can be a bit of a neat freak and hadn’t seen my house since we shoved all of the boxes I packed into the living room so naturally, I wanted to make a good first impression. I spent hours dusting, swiffering, vacuuming, and wiping down every visible surface before she arrived. Her four-hour drive was finished before I had finished cleaning the house (and it wasn’t even dirty, to begin with). That’s when I realized that cleaning needs to be done in spurts over time and not all at once. Since that visit last October, I try to alternate vacuuming and swiffering each week, so it seems more manageable. Things like wiping down the kitchen counters, cleaning my bathroom counter, etc. happen weekly for me but breaking up these larger tasks so that you’re not spending an entire day doing a deep clean has been helpful. 

Laundry is another thing I attempt to have a routine for. I tend to like to do my clothing laundry on Friday afternoons so that I can wash towels or sheets on Saturday or Sunday. Having a habit of this makes it so that I don’t really have to think back about when the last time I did laundry was, and it ensures that ’I’m starting my week fresh. 

Other smaller cleaning routines worth establishing include unpacking your bags and car each day so that those spaces feel orderly. I also recommend having a specific place for everything since I tend to make more of a mess when I don’t have somewhere to go with something. For example, I am never in a frantic rush to find my keys when I’m running late because I have a dish for them on my desk where they always go. While cleaning isn’t a fun routine to establish, breaking it up and doing little things each day or week will make it feel less like a chore and more like an easy task to check off your to-do list. 

What would a post about routines be if I didn’t include something about having a morning and nighttime routine? The other day a friend who I taught with asked me what it was like to be able to sleep in before work and not wake up at the crack of dawn. I had to laugh for a minute because now that I have the option to sleep a little bit later due to when work starts I choose not to (granted the difference is all of 30 minutes between the time school would begin, and the time my workday begins). I have learned that I like getting up earlier so that I can start my day without feeling rushed. One of my guilty pleasures is getting back in bed after doing my hair and makeup to drink my coffee, read, and eat oatmeal. I could definitely sleep in later instead of doing this, but I’ve found that by giving myself time in the morning, I can better create a routine I love. I’ve learned exactly what time I should get back out of bed to get dressed and make my bed to make my lunch and still leave at 6:45. The consistency of this established way of doing things helps me to start my day on the right foot.  

As a girl who loves her planner a little too much at times, one thing I love to do on Monday mornings is write down what workouts I want to do during the week. This helps me to break up what I am doing when I go to the gym while knowing when I can expect to do them during the week (although if something fun comes up on a weeknight, you can bet that I’ll probably skip the gym and do that instead). If you’re someone who doesn’t go to a gym and goes to a studio/takes classes, getting in the habit of scheduling all of your workouts for the week at once and writing them down makes them seem like more of a priority. For me personally, I go to the gym after work since I know that if I go home first, I won’t want to leave my house. 

Since I work out at night, I also shower at night, which is why I consider my nighttime routine to start as soon as I get home from the gym. Typically, I’ll shower before I do anything else (I only wash my hair every other night but at least wash my body and rinse off nightly). Once I’m comfy in my pajamas, I’ll unpack my gym bag and re-pack it for the next day and then do the same with my lunch bag. Then I typically make my dinner (read below to see more of what that entails) and sit on the couch watching a show and/or working on my laptop before heading to my room to read a bit later. I try to make it my goal to have my phone on my nightstand around 10:00 (if you’re a friend and text me after that on a weeknight you probably won’t get a response till 6:00 the next morning) and have my lights out at 10:15. Sleep used to be my last priority, and now it falls high on the list! 

Grocery Shopping/Cooking 
One of the hardest parts about graduating college was no longer having a meal plan with access to a variety of different foods for “free” whenever I was hungry (yes I know that meal plans are paid for, but the food felt free since you had a certain number of swipes). I found that when I would grocery shop and cook on the same day, it would take the fun out of trying new recipes and learning to feed myself. I remember calling my mom after making my own meals for a couple of months and apologizing that I ever complained about having something for dinner that we had had the previous week. Now I cook two recipes and rotate them for lunches/dinner for an entire week surviving off of leftovers. 

I try to do my grocery shopping on Friday or Saturday so that on Sunday it doesn’t feel like as much of a chore to cook for the week. What I’ve found that works best for me is making two very different recipes and eating them all week. This gives me enough variety to not get too bored with eating the same thing over and over again but also makes it so that I don’t have to cook on weeknights when I get home and instead heat things up. 

Outside Responsibilities
As great as independence is, it comes with plenty of responsibilities. Whether you make a routine for when you pay your bills or work on a side hobby (hello, Prep In Your Step) having a dedicated time to do things tends to result in being more successful and getting things done. If you’re in school, this means figuring out when you’ll be most productive getting your work done, studying, and balancing extracurriculars. Write down some of the things that need to occur weekly or monthly and figure out a time to work them into your schedule so that they don’t get pushed to the back burner! 

I tend to do my best work when I am consistent with my routine but sometimes find myself craving opportunities to ditch the routine on occasion which in turn allows me to appreciate it better when I do come back to it. Life can feel monotonous if your schedule is continuously the same where all you do is go to work, go to the gym, come home, and sleep. While mine often looks this way even adding in the smallest change like grabbing dinner or drinks with friends on a weeknight can help to make it so that a routine feels more like a luxury than a bore (Starbucks Fridays are one of my favorite ways to mix up my morning routine).

I’d love to hear what routines y ’ all find to be important to establish in your everyday life! 

Monday, August 12, 2019

Step Into My Week 8.12

When thinking back to what I’ve been up to the past week, I realized that last Monday feels as though it was two weeks ago instead of just one. Needless to say, it was a long week but a good one. Since we are in the midst of working on all things Christmas in the office, it may come as no surprise that things are very busy and I think my to-do list for this week began on Wednesday if that’s saying anything. 

I somehow got in the habit this week of waking up even earlier than normal, which isn’t the worst thing and will probably work in my favor as school starts back and traffic becomes more congested. For the most part that doesn’t affect me since I am at work at 7:00, but I’m attempting to use it as a motivator to keep this trend up! I wish I could remember exactly what I did each day, but since my to-do lists were so long, I didn’t write them in my planner and instead wrote them on a sheet of paper I tossed at the end of the day, oops. I was at the office until around 8:30 before heading to our second of three Christmas cover shoots for The Cottage Journal. I had to make a pit stop for the stylist on the way to grab a few props necessary for the shoot but was there for most of the day. This was an easier shoot to set up for since we didn’t have to decorate the tree quite as extravagantly since the focus was on the place settings. Once we got the go-ahead from everyone that we had the shots we needed, we disassembled everything and loaded it in the van to be unpacked at the office. I got back there around 3:00, unloaded and headed straight to a meeting to talk items to call in for three more upcoming Christmas shoots. Once we had talked through all of those things, I had less than an hour at my desk to get a few things accomplished before heading out for the night. I went from work to the Y to get in a workout before meeting my roommate and our friend Allie for dinner at Saws in Homewood. I was tired by the time we left dinner around 8:30, and I was happy to rinse off and get in bed early.

Tuesday morning, I woke up early again and decided to shower in the morning which is really random for me but would mean I wouldn’t have to wash my hair that night which seemed like a win at the time. I was excited to have a full day in the office to work on the three different pieces I was working on and tackle some of the tasks that needed to get done. I spent most of the day trying to identify specific Christmas ornaments in a spread I was working on and also had a lot of products to check in on the status of. Between writing, pulling images, and emails the day flew by. After work, I went to work out and then came home to get clean, eat, and watch Bachelor in Paradise (which I am so confused by). I got in bed around 9:00 and started to make some progress on the book I’m currently reading

Wednesday, for the most part, was spent working on a book review article and outlining an additional article I was assigned for a Christmas issue. We also started to receive a lot of the Christmas products for one of our upcoming shoots, and I had to move most of them to another area because they were beginning to overtake my space. I’m excited to see how that shoot comes together this week. After work, I decided to go home and go for a run, which was very, very hot, and I was excited to take a cold shower afterward. I worked on some blog stuff, ate dinner, and watched the second half of Bachelor in Paradise before calling it a night. 

On Thursday, I pretty much spent the entire day writing. Aside from that, there were emails to send, boxes to unpack, and social posts to schedule, but those seemed minor to how long I spent working on one of the pieces I was assigned. Come 5:00, I was exhausted, and since my foot had bothered me the night before I decided to skip working out. My friend Macy and I tried to decide whether or not to go to the baseball game and ultimately decided to hang out at her new house and have dinner there instead. Her new house is beautiful, and I’m so jealous of the kitchen space and how bright and airy it is. I stayed over there til around 9:30 before heading home and getting in bed before an early alarm on Friday.

Friday kind of feels like two separate days now that I think about it because of how much I was able to fit in. I started my morning with a workout class at True40 downtown with Macy before showering and heading to work. After work, I got a haircut, ran a couple of errands, did some chores around the house, showered, and had time for a nap before getting ready to head to a friend’s house for a get together before heading to Art on the Rocks as a big group. We had done this same thing for the last Art on the Rocks event, and I’m sad that they are now over for the summer given how much fun they have been. We got to the event around 8:30 and headed straight to the food which wasn’t quite as good as the last time. We grabbed a drink and eventually made our way outside to where the band was playing. We danced for a while out there before heading back inside for another drink and to actually view the art since we failed to do that last time. Some of us watched the band finish up outside before reconvening as a group and heading to the after-party at a bar called Paper Dolls downtown. We stayed there for about an hour and a half and then made our ways to Lakeview to go to Moe’s for a bit before getting tacos from a taco truck there and heading home. It was a late night but a fun one! 

Saturday morning called for sleeping in before doing just about anything. Macy and I ended up exploring together, heading to different stores to look for some things for her new house before grabbing lunch at a new salad place called Greenhouse and getting ice cream at Big Spoon. She came back to my house so that we could go for a bit of a walk and although it rained on us some it made the heat much more bearable. She headed home to meet her mom, who had come to town, and I stayed put at my house and showered and took it easy for a while. Around 7:45, I headed over to her house to get dinner with her and her mom. We tried to go to GianMarco’s Wine Bar, which is a favorite of mine, but the wait was long, so we went to Roots & Revelry instead. The service, drinks, and food were incredible, and we all left feeling very full. I headed home after that and was going to watch a movie in bed but found myself so tired that I went straight to sleep instead.



Sunday seemed like a bit of a lazier day, and I definitely should have worked further ahead on blog tasks to make this week go more smoothly. I did manage to grocery shop, meal prep, and go for about a five-mile walk while catching up with people on the phone. My roommate was back from her trip to New York, so we were able to catch up and have a night in together, which is always a treat. I got in bed around 8:30 and caught up with Nell before reading and falling asleep. This past weekend also marked one year of officially having the house we are in! Below is a glimpse at how empty my room was at the get-go!

I’m hoping that this week goes by a little bit faster than the last but as you can guess I’ll be updating you here next Monday! I hope that y’all have a great start to your week and are feeling energized instead of overwhelmed. 

Friday, August 9, 2019

July 2019 Favorites

Happy Friday! This week felt like a long one, so I am especially glad the weekend is here. Odd in a similar sense, I’m kind of excited for August to have arrived as well. Don’t get me wrong, July was great, but in my mind, August comes with a fresh start in the back to school mindset even though that doesn’t fully apply to me anymore. I don’t want to fully dive into August (even though it’s already the ninth) without first sharing the products I loved in July with y’all. 

This year I’ve been all about affordable workout clothes. My go-to’s have been Amazon and Old Navy, and currently, I’m on a big Old Navy kick. After discovering how comfortable and lightweight their workout shorts are, I stocked up on plenty, but then I saw this polka dot pair and had to get those too. 

I discovered this product a while back and was so sad when I ran out of my first tube. It’s expensive, so I kept putting off re-purchasing until I saw that a mini size was available. With lots of summer airplane travel on my planner for the second half of the season (for me at least) I knew I wanted my skin to feel refreshed when I stepped into the airport after the flight especially given the events I’d be attending. I applied this a few times during my flight, and fortunately, my skin felt soft and stayed relatively clear after being on a plane which isn’t always the case. It also doesn’t hurt that I think the packaging is really cute. 

Since this is our busy season in the office and the Superbowl of months with blogging, I feel like my eyes haven’t left a computer screen. I always keep my blue light glasses at my desk at the office and found myself wearing them much more often than not this past month. Mine are by the brand Penn Avenue Eyewear, but I’ve linked an under $20 pair here

I am the type of person who finds a recipe they like and make it over and over again. That’s the case with Elisabeth and Butter’s Baked Oatmeal Recipe. If you read my post on Wednesday, you likely saw that it was another recipe by Elisabeth and for a good reason. She shares recipes that are easy enough to make but delicious enough to impress. I think I made her Baked Oatmeal three out of the four weeks in July since it’s my favorite mid-morning snack during the week. If you’re looking for something to make this weekend give it or this recipe a try. 

Y’all I have bad news. I think this swimsuit is sold out. If you weren’t interested in it, then I guess that’s not that bad of news, but boy am I glad I got it when I did. I love the style of this suit given that it’s not skimpy and instead makes a positive statement. I didn’t buy the bottoms but now that they are on sale I may consider it since the quality of the top is so great and I know I’ll be wearing it summers to come. 

You’ve seen me mention Ashley Woods Designs a bunch in the past month and I am sure I will be continuing to talk about her designs given how often I wear the pairs I own. The pair pictured has been my go-to for all of the more formal events I’ve attended this past month. If you’re looking for something more suitable for every day I have the “Dorothy” pair (have I mentioned how much I love the owner for naming this pair after me?) and love wearing them to work! 

This was my one Amazon Prime day purchase after hinting to my parents that I have wanted one of these for months with no avail of it suddenly arriving on my doorstep. I felt silly buying something like this given how ridiculous it looks but I now have no shame when it comes to wearing this since it has been a game-changer when sleeping on a plane. 

I’d love to know what you’ve loved this past month or if we have any overlapping favorites! 

Thursday, August 8, 2019

PIYS Reader's Top Buys in July

July was a whirlwind now that I look back on it. As months go, I don’t think I’ve had a busier one in a while. From spending the Fourth of July at the beach with my family and Nell (who may as well be counted as family at this point), decorating multiple Christmas trees and writing copy to go along with it since the magazine world works that far ahead, attempting to bring y’all useful Nordstrom and Amazon sale content, and flying to Seattle to be maid of honor in my best friend’s wedding it’s no wonder that I feel like I can’t catch up. When my roommate and I were filling out our shared fridge calendar, I was happy not to have quite so many things to add to the board. As of right now, I’ll be around until I head to my brother’s wedding in California at the end of the month. And honestly, I’m kind of happy to be staying put since this is definitely our busiest time of the year at work.

After sharing some analytics about products clicked on and purchased by Prep In Your Step readers last month, I thought it would be fun to start making it a monthly post. I’m nosey and like to see what other people are interested in and when looking at my analytics can see that. Since I know that isn’t the case for everyone; I’ll share them here! Below you’ll find the top ten items purchased this past month from Prep In Your Step posts. If you see anything you’re interested in you can click directly on the item in the graphic below to be taken to where it can be shopped. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

My Favorite Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

If there’s one thing that it is rare for me to turn down, it’s dessert. Somehow, no matter how much I’ve already had to eat, I can always make room for something sweet. That’s especially true when that something sweet involves the combination of chocolate and peanut butter. My roommate and I love the combination so much that we keep a container of Trader Joe’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups in our freezer at all times. 

Growing up, I baked a lot. Most weekends, I would use baking as my stress relief messing up the kitchen on a Sunday afternoon when I should have been getting ahead on school work for the week ahead. In college and in my first year after college, I didn’t find baking quite as enjoyable since the kitchen space I had to work in was limited. Fast forward to now, and although my roommate and I still have a relatively small kitchen in our house, I’ve started to bake in it more. The other weekend I was feeling especially in the mood to whip something up and settled on Elisabeth and Butter’s Salted Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. I’ve followed Elisabeth for a while and given that all the other recipes of hers I had tried turned out deliciously I did not doubt that these would be any different.

What I didn’t expect was just how much I’d crave making these cookies again. Since we have a test kitchen in our office that puts the food they make in our break room to eat it’s not too challenging to get my cookie fix, but that hasn’t stopped me from wanting to make (and eat) these again. I think we can all guess what I’ll be adding to my grocery list this week…

You can see the whole recipe on Elisabeth’s site here, but I’ve also included it below in case you’re interested.

1 stick salted butter, softened to room temperature
½ cup creamy peanut butter (I used JIF Natural)
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used Ghiridalli and definitely added a few extra)
½ cup chopped dark chocolate bar (I skipped this step and opted for more chocolate chips instead)
Course sea salt (to sprinkle on top)

1.   Preheat oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2.   In a mixing bowl (or kitchen aide), beat the softened butter for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add the peanut butter and both sugars and mix for 1 more minute. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until combined.
3.   Turn the mixer to low speed and add the flour and baking soda until just combined, being careful not to over-mix. Stir in the chocolate chips and chopped chocolate.
4.   Using a large spoon, scoop the cookie dough on the parchment paper lined baking sheets and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned on the edges but still soft in the center. You don’t want to over-bake these cookies. Transfer to a drying rack and let cool completely.

Definitely a recipe worth writing down and keeping on hand! I’ve even shared some of the cutest baking/kitchen supplies below to inspire you in case you need extra motivation to make these. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Last Minute Recruitment Dresses

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 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 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 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. 

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!

Monday, August 5, 2019

Step Into My Week 8.5

To sum up what you’ll figure out from today’s post, coming back to work after a week off can make for a hectic week. Busy isn’t always bad, but come Friday afternoon I was exhausted and ready to close my computer for a bit. This meant that I definitely didn’t get as ahead with blogging or caught up on as many emails as I would have liked, but I’m telling myself that there is always this week and weekend for that. 

I’ve always been someone who thrives on routine and was surprised by how much I craved getting back into one after last week’s trip to Seattle. This past week was a start at that, but hopefully, I’ll settle back into it fully in the week ahead (and maybe remember to take more pictures too). 

Since I got back late last Sunday night from Seattle, I had chosen to use Monday as a vacation day, and it felt needed to get caught up. I slept in until around 10:30 before throwing on workout clothes (and being excited that there was no reason to put on makeup). I made some coffee, started my laundry, and headed to the grocery store so that I’d have food to eat for the week. After that, I grabbed a salad for lunch and took advantage of being able to go to the gym when it wouldn’t be quite as busy as it is at 5:30 when I usually go. I got in a good workout and was able to head home to finish my laundry and unpacking before watching part one of the Bachelorette finale with Nell and my roommate.

On Tuesday it was back to work and a lengthy to-do list. From scheduling social posts, making sure everything was set for a shoot to finishing a content management program and catching up on emails it was no wonder that the day went by quickly and that was just the first half. I spent the rest of the day going through a binder that I forgot would have that day and finished up those resources before heading to the Y to work out. I hurried home to shower so that I was ready to watch when part two of the Bachelorette finale came on. 

Wednesday was another day of playing catch up with a lot of time spent product sourcing for upcoming Christmas issues. While online shopping is fun, it’s a bit challenging to feel encouraged to shop for Christmas at the start of August. I turned on some Christmas music in an attempt to get in the holiday spirit, and I’m not sure it helped. I was able to pack up some products to be shipped back which felt like an accomplishment, worked through some social posts, and helped plan a Christmas shoot that is taking place this week. My afternoon was made even better thanks to packing a K-Cup in my lunch box, and I think I may have to do that more often. There’s nothing quite like a warm cup of coffee in a cold office to motivate you. After work, I met my friends for dinner at a Mexican restaurant near my house so that we could brainstorm what we wanted to do for our bible study and catch up before some of them leave town this week until the end of August. 

On Thursday I felt like I was regaining footing when it came to catching up at work and was able to route a lot of copy, continue sourcing Christmas products, and pack up props for the shoot this week. I started a piece for an upcoming issue and before I knew it 5:00 rolled around. After work, I went home to quickly change before meeting friends for dinner before seeing the play Matilda. I had seen the show in New York with my friends on our freshman year spring break trip, so it was fun to get to see it another time. I had forgotten a lot of what happened in it, and we all left feeling glad we went.

I knew Friday was going to be a busy day, so I woke up early and made my way to Starbucks to attempt to get some blog work done before going to the office. Once in the office, I met with one of our editors to continue coming up with ideas for products to feature and quickly scheduled some social posts before heading to set up for our Christmas shoot around 9:15. The stylist and I struggled when it came to getting the tree to actually light up which was a bummer but eventually we made it work. I came back to the office to get a few additional props and ran those back by the location as we finished setting up at noon. Since I had minimal time at my desk that day, I worked from home until about 2:30 requesting products and trying to make this week a bit easier on me. When I did stop working, I went ahead and changed into workout clothes for the True40 class I was attending that night and cleaned up my room and finally finished unpacking everything. Nell picked me up for our workout class around 3:30, and when the class ended, they had cake and champagne to celebrate the studio having been open for a year! We went to dinner at a pizza place called Basil near where we live, and the weather had cooled down a bit that we went for a walk afterward. We ended the night with ice cream at Big Spoon, and I was excited to get into bed kind of early.

Saturday morning, I slept in a bit before drinking my coffee and working from bed. Around 11:30, I decided to go ahead and tackle my grocery shopping for the week and spent a lot of Saturday treating it like it was a Sunday. When I got back from my errands, it started to storm, so I cooked, did laundry, and camped out on the couch for a bit to watch Netflix. Later on, I went to a friend’s house where a group of us played Scrabble (and I won) and then ate a grilled out meal. I had plans to meet up with another group of friends later that night, and we headed to The Grand Bohemian for a drink. I was home by 11:00 and asleep soon after.

On Sunday morning, I did a bit more meal prepping before going with Nell to Starbucks to get work done before church. After church, I finished cooking for the week and decided to go on a long walk to catch up with Sophia since she was back from her honeymoon. Toward the end of my walk, it started to pour, and I eventually had to hang up so that I could run home since it was storming. I showered and then put away my laundry and talked on the phone with my parents before watching a movie with my roommate that night. 

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Sunday Shopping vol. 21

Happy Sunday! This is a day later than usual but after a couple weeks without a new Saturday Shopping post, I didn't want to wait another week. Hopefully this month I'll be more consistent with these posts but for now enjoy these colorful finds!

If you see anything you're interested in click directly on the item to be taken to where it can be purchased. 

Friday, August 2, 2019

One Piece Four Ways (Nordstrom Sale)

Happy Friday! Even though this was a short week for me it has felt like I've had to fit a full work week into three and a half days. Needless to say, I am happy it's the weekend and I can attempt to get my room (and life) back in order after being gone last week. Before I get to that I wanted to remind y'all that this weekend is the last bit of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. If you haven't seen my previous sale posts you can view those here but for today I thought it would be fun to share four different ways to style two pieces available in the sale. Creatively putting these looks together was so much fun for me and is hopefully equally as fun for y'all to see! 

To shop any of the items featured click directly on the product in the graphic to be taken to where it can be purchased! 

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Bridesmaid Gift Ideas

Holy cow, how is it August? This summer has flown by, but in my mind, it isn’t quite over until Labor Day weekend since that’s when I round out the last of the summer weddings I am in. That means I have one more wedding gift to purchase, dusty blue bridesmaid gift to wear, and maybe if I’m lucky one last bridesmaid gift to receive. As I’m sure y’all recognize, the wedding industry seems to be getting more and more elaborate with meticulously panned proposals and gifts given to those attending. While it’s a treat to be asked to be in a wedding, it doesn’t have to be done with a gift, but that seems to be the trend. The same goes for bridesmaids’ gifts. For both of the weddings I’ve been in so far, the bride has graciously given the bridesmaids gifts as a thank you and since I love what I have received, I thought it would be fun to share some bridesmaid gift ideas I came up with in case you’re looking for a way to thank those friends you’ve asked to be in your wedding. While some of these ideas came straight from what we received, some of them were ones I came up with as well. 

Since your wedding day will likely begin bright and early, why not give your girls something to be comfortable in while getting ready? Especially since so much of the day is photographed, it’s fun to have a matching PJ set, possibly in your wedding colors, for your bridesmaids to wear. I am the proud new owner of two pairs of soft pajamas from the weddings I’ve been in and find myself thinking of my friends’ wedding days each time I put them on. They are a practical gift that feels like a luxury and will be worn long past the wedding day. 

If you know me in real life then you probably already know how much I treasure handwritten notes. I have a box filled with any note/letter I’ve received since being in college and love looking back through them on occasion. If someone has asked you to be in their bridal party, then, likely, you’re pretty close. A thoughtful note from them explaining the impact you’ve had in their life or sharing their excitement for the big day would be something sweet to include. Think of it as a reverse toast although you could save the sentiments for a thank you letter as well. 

Memento From The Location: Hat + Mug
Something I love the idea of including in a bridesmaid gift or welcome bag for guests is a memento from the location where the wedding is taking place. Maybe your town is known for something specific if so include that! If not, I love Evelyn Henson’s map mugs and Aviate’s airport code hats. While there aren’t necessarily items, you would be dying to use the day of, they show appreciation for those friends that have traveled near and far to celebrate and serve as a souvenir of sorts. 

Jewelry To Wear: Earrings + Bracelets
Who says practicality needs to be boring? If you want to do something specific when it comes to wedding day jewelry (ex. something other than pearl studs for those of us in the south) it’s helpful to gift the item directly to the bridesmaid, so they don’t have to go out of their way searching for the item, and you can ensure it’s exactly what you envisioned. Simple gold bracelets are a classic, but I’ve loved the bold earring trend I’ve seen among wedding parties as of late! Specifically, once I was introduced to Ashley Woods Designs! She has the most beautiful gold, pearl, and rattan options that would be what my bridesmaids would wear if I were to be getting married anytime soon. I have found myself wearing this specific pair to the rehearsal dinners and dressier events I’ve attended lately and have even had friends borrow them for weddings they’ve attended and been in. Click the “wedding party” tab on her site to see some of the different designs she has created for brides or shop her collection of earrings that include both formal and more casual styles. 

Chances are as a bride you’re going to want your bridesmaids to have their nails painted in a color that matches your overall scheme. To give your girls a color idea without having to come across as picky gift them exactly what you’d love to see. For both of the weddings I’ve been in so far this summer that color has been a light, neutral pink. For one, I wore the color linked above, and for the other, we went and got our nails done, so I wore that on my toes. While it will come down to the bride’s preference, I think the color is a real winner! 

Toiletries: Makeup Eraser + Lotion
While the word toiletries may have you envisioning the travel-size aisle at target, think more specifically about what would be useful on the big day. One item I don’t travel without is my makeup eraser given how well it removes my makeup. Yes, even when a professional has done it. Buying a back of travel size makeup erasers and putting it in your bridesmaids’ gifts would be useful once the wedding day is over and even after that fact. Another item that a bunch of us kept asking/looking for while getting ready was lotion. When Sophia asked us to be her bridesmaids a while back, we got the most delicious smelling Beautycounter hand lotion that eventually had me purchasing the bottle made for your body! 

I love the idea of gifting something that could potentially be useful every day for your bridesmaids. A small piece of art or a pretty handmade dish are excellent options for that. I received this beautiful piece of pottery for my high school graduation and have taken it with me everywhere I have lived since. At Kate’s bridesmaids’ luncheon, we received a small dish like this that her grandmother had hand-painted with a scene of the bay and our name. The thought that went into that gift was touching and like the piece I received for graduation, I know I will love having it to display wherever I live from here on out. 

If you ask me, you can never have too many makeup bags or toiletry cases. Between lip glosses and touch up items for the wedding day and shampoo and conditioner when traveling, I can always find a use for a pouch. I love the ones that the brand Truffle makes, but there are so many options out there that you could easily find something that suits your fancy! 

I hope that this list of ideas was helpful for any of you brainstorming gifts for your bridesmaids! If you have any other ideas or have a favorite item, you have received in the past, be sure to leave them below. 

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