Saturday, December 20, 2014

Dixieland Monogram Giveaway

I know Christmas isn't for a few days, but it's arrived a bit early here! Dixieland Monogram and I have teamed up to give away a monogrammed tote bag. It's quite a bit like the favorite Longchamp style, but with a big monogram! (And half the price.) Perfect for everyday carrying, weekends away, and school/work.

So cute right? It comes in quite a few colors (the navy and the red are my faves!). The winner will be able to choose the color of the bag as well as the style of monogram! Enter to win using the Rafflecopter widget below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck!
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Friday, December 19, 2014

Santa's Little Helpers

Jess and I have very similar style and taste. We often find ourselves Instagramming super similar things all the time because we like to go to the same places and shop the same clothes. When I found out we had the same Santa hats (extra 25% off with "Jingle25"), I knew we had to do a coordinated outfit post together. The plan was to meet for breakfast and then take photos afterward. (Trust me when I say, Jess and I love our early morning mid-week breakfasts together!)

Now, the funny part is that only our hats were planned. I didn't know what I was going to wear until midnight the night before. In true Carly/Jess fashion, we show up coordinated head-to-toe. I almost wore the same skirt she wore. We probably should have texted each other in the morning, but I think the outfits definitely ended up looking cute together!

I mean, we both had our monogrammed purses and everything!

I'm wearing the Tippi sweater from J. Crew which is one of the most versatile sweaters. I love the weight of it and it can be worn basically all year round. I mostly wear it on its own, not layered over anything actually. Because it has 3/4 length sleeves, a "J. Crew" roll is a must! I swear by this tutorial!!!

Photos by Bekka Palmer

The Santa hats are an extra 25% right now with "Jingle25" at checkout. I know it's cutting it close for Christmas, but I plan on wearing this hat every single December from now on. I've been wearing it around frequently and a lot of people have stopped me to ask where's it from. it's such a fun novelty item, but doesn't look the felt versions from a drug store. Keeper!

I am wearing: Santa Hat (c/o) // Peacoat // Vest // Sweater // Shirt (similar) // Necklace (c/o, similar) // Skirt (similar, more options available here) // Tights // Booties (similar) // Bag (c/o)

Jess is wearing: Santa Hat // Coat // Sweater // Skirt (similar) // Shoes (similar) // Bag // Tights // Ring (similar) // Bow Necklace (similar) // Gem Necklace (similar)

TGIF! Hope everyone has a great weekend!
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On My Radar

This week simply flew by! I feel like I was just in Florida for Thanksgiving, but I'm already completely ready to back this weekend.

Here's what was on my radar from this week:

ONE // Santa Costume

Teddy is on Purse Blog's Instagram this week. The theme of the week is the color red so I pawed through Teddy's basket of goodies and remembered that he had this Santa costume. Honestly, it's a little over the top, but sheesh does he look cute in it! His ears are too fluffy to pull the hood up. It's a Martha Stewart Pets costume and it seems to be sold out online, but you might be able to find it at your local Petsmart. 

TWO // Cutting a rubber band ball in half

I don't know why I found this video so fascinating. I actually was really disturbed with that saw because the guy's hand seems rather close. However, about 30 seconds in, I was totally hooked. I couldn't stop watching. So bizarre. (It gets REALLY good at the one minute mark!)

THREE // Insane Christmas Card

Garrett sent me this video and my response was, "We have our work cut out for us next year." If this doesn't make the usual holiday card look lame, I don't know what will. It's incredible!!! In addition to the "how do they do that?" question, I would also like to know how to get on their mailing list!

FOUR // New Moleskine 

I'm super intrigued by this new Moleskine! Because of the pen that's used and the way the notebook is lined and set up with "buttons," you can backup your notebooks to your iPad! I really want to try this out. I feel like the opportunities are endless with this. Plus, it's just a great way technology and tradition are coupled together.

FIVE // Apple's Holiday Ad

Ending on a sweet, high note, Apple's holiday ad is (as always) amazing. I teared up and it brought a huge smile to my face! I like that it doesn't seem crazy or unrealistic, it's just sweet and happy!

Anything fun on your radar this week?

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Little Things

I finally have ALL my Christmas shopping done. It's actually kind of sad for me because picking out gifts is just too much fun. I ended up finding (and winning!) Garrett's on eBay... I had gone back and forth on what to get him and it finally came down to the wire and I went with it. I'm flying to Florida on Sunday for a whole week and I am counting down the days. I love going home in general, but it's especially perfect around the holidays. We're pretty low-key about everything which means there's not a lot of stress or running around. So great!

Even though I put a lot of pressure on myself to get great gifts and I think watching people open their gifts is a thrill, it's the little things that really add up to make Christmastime Christmastime.

image via Affari

1. Going through the stack of holiday cards // Honestly, this is one of the first things I do the minute I get home. My mom keeps all the holiday cards in a basket in the kitchen. I normally set up shop at the table or on a bar stool and flip through the stack in its entirety. It's so fun to "see" all of our family friends and read snippets of their lives.

2. Eating fudge covered Oreos // Garrett and I love the Oreos and eat them straight from the freezer because, duh, they taste better frozen. I'm using "fudge covered Oreos" as a blanket term for all the delicious candies and desserts that come out for a limited time. My mom is pretty great about stocking the pantry with all of our favorite "winter" snacks. Even though it's cliche, I do love a good candy cane. 

3. Reading every night // With no real schedule to follow, everyone in the family can kind of just catch up on reading. We all love to read and tend to exchange favorites once everyone is home. I love to read in bed– I miss my bed!!!!– or out on the porch if it's a cooler night.

4. Eating on the porch // Speaking of the porch, winter is basically the only time when we can eat outdoors in Florida without worrying about (too many) bugs or sweltering heat. Growing up we always, always sat down to the kitchen table to eat dinner together every night. (I always assumed that's what everyone's family did, but apparently that's not the case.) We still keep up with that when everyone is in the house. Even though the table on the porch is directly behind our kitchen and only a few feet away from the regular table, it just feels extra special!

5. Driving around to look at Christmas lights // My mom loves to drive around and look at all the lights. It's fun to pile into the car and slowly wind up and down the streets around town. Last year we were at the beach and we went to this crazy park where every square inch was covered in lights.

6. Watching Eloise at Christmastime // We have to. Every. Single. Year. 

7. Game nights // At some point during the holidays, we end up playing games. Yahtzee, Taboo, and Mad Gab are our go-tos. We take Yahtzee really seriously, it's actually pretty embarrassing. And Mad Gab is hilarious to play... especially when my dad is up. (He makes the most ridiculous sounds when he's trying to figure it out.)

8. Fire pit and s'mores // My dad had a fire pit built in our backyard (when we finally took down the swing set). You can't sit out there without smelling like smoke for twenty-four hours, but even still it's always nice and cozy. My mom has a fun tray we keep all the graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate on; we sit out there for hours nibbling on the s'mores and burning more marshmallows. (And someone, aka my dad, always ends up throwing in pixie sticks because it changes the color of the flames.)

9. Baking cookies // The house is definitely a house for baking. With two ovens and a mom who literally bakes all the time, there's always delicious things being pulled in and out of the oven. One of the best recipes is my mom's friend's grandmother's (I think) recipe for sugar cookies. So. Good. And we decorate them and/or bring in some kids from the neighborhood to help!

10. Doing nothing // Is there anything better than just not having anywhere to be or anything to do?! We got a taste of it over Thanksgiving; one morning my mom, sister, and I sat on the couch just watching movies and eating doughnuts. I love sitting on the couch upstairs in the Ladies Lounge with my sister watching whatever marathon is playing on the TV. Simply, the best.

All the little things end up adding to the best time spent with family! What are some of your favorite "little things" to do?

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014


I've been loving my Instagram feed lately. There's so much to work with when the city is this pretty and fun.

1 // I've had this vision of doing a photoshoot with Jess and our matching Santa hats. We love getting breakfast together, a fun little tradition, so we met up at Sarabeth's on Central Park South. Bekka joined us and we snapped the pictures in front of the fountain by the Plaza. The water is off for the winter, but it's filled with Christmas trees and twinkly lights!!!  

2 // Love love love the notecards Erisha sent me. They're PERFECT for holiday notes to my girlfriends!

3 // Who doesn't love a good red manicure in December. I have way too many red nail polishes, but they all look different to me... so I try to mix it up every few days.

4 // Snapped these trees the same night as the Into the Woods premier. The white/blue lights aren't typically my favorite, but there were so many of them that it really popped against the rest of midtown!

5 // Best. Decorated. House. Honestly, whoever was in charge of the garland and ornaments deserves a raise. I love how they wrapped the vine in front of the house too. Teddy and I took a longer than usual lunch walk the other day because I couldn't stop looking at all the houses!

6 // Furbish Studio sent me these adorable glasses and that incredible pillow. The glasses were promptly filled with sweets!

Just absolutely loving this season!

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I'm Feeling 25

As I approach the six year mark of my blog, I've been doing a lot of reflecting. I was thinking about how blogging has changed, which led me to really start to recognize how much I have changed.

There are countless things I love about blogging and that I love about The College Prepster; one of those things is that it has turned into a sort of record (albeit public) of the ups and downs of my life over the past six years. I have never been consistent about writing diary entries, as much as I have attempted in the past. But there was something about this blog, something different, that kept me going and sticking with it.

Change is certainly one of those things that happens right under our noses. Occasionally, we have the moments where the rug is pulled out from under us or we have to make a defined decision or we embark on a very specific journey that signals change. For the most part, however, change is slow. A sneaky thing that lurks around in our lives as we go about, well, living.

I'm glad that at the beginning, no one was reading. I think it made me way more comfortable about the whole "public" element. As a result, I've shared a lot over the years. The archive of my blog can be an emotional place for me. I can go back and revisit so much of the roller coaster. Sometimes I'll stumble on an old post and be brought right back to that moment. There's just something about rereading my own writing; I can remember everything about that moment, including where I was when I wrote it and how I was feeling at the time.

An unflattering photo, but I've been documenting the growth of my grey hair– inadvertently– over the years. I promise I'm not totally fixated on my grey hair, I just happen to notice it and it makes me think about aging and almost always sends me down this path of reflection. Case in point, this 2012 post. 

25, so far, has been a good age so far. I feel 25. I used to always feel like I had one leg in childhood and another leg in my senior years; a grandma trapped in a prepubescent body. I think I was working so much right after college (that was a rough year), I didn't have time to really let adulthood catch up with me. Now I feel it. I feel responsible and youthful at 25. Enough responsibility (a business, a dog) without tons of responsibility (I can still play hooky for a day, no mortgage, no children).

I truly feel like I've found, or at least continually attempt, balance in my life. I think back to the way I used to view work, as an obsession, a distraction, at times a self-punishment. Now, I view work as my job. It's simply my job. I do my job... and I have a life. That release alone has brought me so much more happiness that I feel like I missed out on for quite some time.

There is, after all, a certain luxury of being 25. It's been years since (reluctantly) declaring independence from my parents, so the shock factor of that has worn off. The constraints of the educational path ("you have to get a good SAT scores, you have to maintain a good GPA, you have to get into a good college") have long been lifted. What felt like the end of a road, has been reevaluated as the beginning of a long one. I used to find decisions daunting and all-important, but with every choice I make, I realize it's only choosing my next adventure, not choosing my own self-destruction. Life goes on, often unexpectedly, but it goes on!

I hope this post is one I can reflect on when I'm, say, 35 and can smile at. To remember being 25 as a time when I dutifully paid my taxes and binge-watched Gilmore Girls in its entirety. A time when I was learned how to cook in a tiny kitchen and indulged in Nutella by the spoonful for breakfast. A time when I impossibly knew everything and still, of course, knew nothing.

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