Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Burberry Holiday

One of the best gifts I have received in recent years were two Burberry quilted jackets from my mom. She got me a classic tan and a metallic silver during my freshman year at Georgetown. It was such a thoughtful gift and definitely one of the more luxurious ones! I'm a big fan of practical gifts... like when I asked my parents for a Cox Box– Google it– for my eighteenth birthday so I could have my own for crew practices.... however, there is something extra special about getting something so glamorous that I wouldn't dream of buying myself. I still have and wear the jackets and always feel so special when I wear them. (Plus, because I live far away, it feels like a little hug from my mom every time I put one on!)

I think Burberry makes for an extra special, not-your-everyday gift! They have great options for men, women, and children. (If you have a little girl, how cute is this!!!)

A great idea is one of the Burberry scarves. I thought this option was perfect. It's not quite the traditional plaid, but still has that Burberry check! It is so soft and I love how extra long it is. Talk about cozy. The scarf would also work as a gorgeous shawl if tied around your shoulders! 

I've always thought Ivanka Trump shoes were amazing, but these totally take the cake. Talk about perfect for the holidays. 

Thank you Nordstrom for sponsoring this post.
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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Kate Spade Surprise Sale

There are definitely going to be some killer sales coming up this weekend. But I have to say, I'm relieved a lot of brands are starting them early. (I like to enjoy my holiday weekends, not stress out about getting the best deals for gifts.)

Shop my favorite picks below:

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The title of the post totally makes me want to start singing songs from Hair at the top of my lungs. I do think in a very stereotypical girl way that it could be an anthem for my life. I don't have a laundry list of things I would change about myself, except for maybe my forefivehead... and my hair. But the truth is, I literally only know one girl who wakes up with absolutely perfect hair no matter what. (One of my sister's friends was blessed with hands down the most gorgeous hair ever.)

So I know I'm not alone in the hair issues front. This is the first year where I actually feel like I have a good strategy in place for doing my hair. I do think that everyone's hair is different (a miracle spray for one girl might cause greasiness for another), it does help to get tips and tricks. I feel like my routine is a collection of tips and tidbits that I've picked up from hairdressers, friends, and magazines.

I'm actually getting my hair cut today while I'm home in Florida. Even though I haven't lived in Tampa for over six years, I still prefer to get my hair cut while I'm home. It doesn't hurt to be family friends with the best hairdresser ever! I always think I'm going to do something drastic, like bangs or something, but I end up getting a healthy trim. Because I'm actually pretty happy with the length and state of my hair, I think a trim is all that's called for. 

Here's what has been working for me recently:

Clear & Dove Shampoos: I alternate between these two shampoos. I personally love them both. It may be an old wive's tale, but I think switching my shampoos actually makes my hair feel better! I only wash my hair every other day. I typically use Clear the most because I have sensitive skin and it makes my scalp extra healthy. If I know I need to make my hair look great on Day #2 (anyone else plan their hair washes around their schedule?), I'll use Dove. Dove makes my hair "fluffy," in a good, smooth way! I'll have extra volume on Day #1 so that it still looks fabulous when I wake up. I recommend both highly.

Drybar Cream Soda Smoothing Cream: This is a new addition into my routine. I used to use a few heat protectors, but needed to switch something that didn't completely flatten my hair with heat. (If you do need heat protector, I think John Frieda has a good option.) To be completely honest, I gave this smoothing cream a shot because I LOVE the smell of Drybar. If I can have the Drybar fragrance at home, I'm all for it! The extra bonus of this stuff? It seriously works!!! Smooths without losing any volume. I use a comb a small bit of this using my fingers through my damp hair, mostly from my ears to the ends of my hair (aka avoiding my roots).

Hana Air Blow Dryer: This is a hair dryer I've been using since college. I've looked for it since, but it seems like it's no longer available? I used to use cheap $30 ones from the drug store, but now I'm totally a convert for upgrading and going with a salon quality one. I've used mine for so many years and it cuts my drying time from 25 minutes with a cheap-y to 9 minutes!!! That seriously is a game changer for my mornings.

Drybar 3-Day Bender: I've definitely been talking a lot about this curling iron... sorry if you're sick of hearing about it! It's just that it is so, so good. I love the way my hair curls from it. It does take some getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, you won't do your hair without it. It actually takes less time for me to curl it now than it did for me to straighten it. (And I straightened my hair for over ten years!) Bottom line: it's great.

That's it! I let my ringlets from curling cool off and then I either brush them out or use my fingers to tousle, depending on what I need for the day. The first day is extra curly and the second day is more of a beachy wave. 

Now... I'd LOVE your feedback on a couple of things. I've been considering dry shampoo. I used to use one and while it was so great to spray my roots on the second morning, it didn't last long. (The bottle was seemingly empty after a month, even though I only used it a handful of times.) Do you have any favorites?! With my dark hair, my major concern is that it won't show the spray in my hair and my second concern would be that it doesn't leave a bad residue. I sometimes use a hair spray (for special occasions), but I'm wondering if there's a great hair spray out there that is super flexible and keeps my curls soft and bouncy.

Let me know what your routine is and if you have any products or tips you swear by for your hair!

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Perfect Pastels with Charming Charlie

I'm excited to be sharing more pieces from Charming Charlie today. While the prices really can't be beat, I totally love that they can be dressed up or dressed down depending on what you're doing. I styled two looks from their perfect pastels collection. (Side note, I'm really into pastels this winter!) The first is just a pretty, everyday look and the other is great for a festive party! 

Thank you Charming Charlie for sponsoring this post!
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Tips for Writing Cover Letters

Jaime and I were blown away by the career questions everyone had. Thank you so much to everyone who submitted one. Jaime is here today kicking off the first of the readers' questions posts:

Tips for Writing Cover Letters
by Jaime from The Prepary

Thank you all for the amazing questions and career post ideas! We have so many topics to work from now and I can’t wait to tackle them throughout the fall and new year.

I noticed there were quite a few in the mix about cover letters (thanks Hunter, Steph, and Katie!), a part of the application process that I know first hand is very daunting. I’ve read my fair share of cover letters over the years and helped many of my clients write compelling ones, so let’s tackle this topic first.

First of all, do you even need a cover letter?
That really depends. Most applications will specify what they’d like you to submit. The most basic applications just require a resume (some even allow you to apply with your LinkedIn profile now!) and others ask for a cover letter, samples of your work, or even give you specific questions to answer.

If you’re just submitting a resume I always think it’s a good idea to reach out to an actual person at the company to share 1. how excited you are about the job, 2. why you think you’d be great at it, and 3. why you’d love to work at their company. This is something your cover letter would typically do for you. Don’t know anyone at the company? No problem. A good option if you don’t have connections is sending a cold email (details on that here).

Assuming you need one, what you should cover:
Since more often than not, applications do require or suggest a cover letter, here is what a good one will cover. One important piece of advice before we dive in. You really shouldn’t use the same, generic cover letter for different jobs. You should be using the cover letter to make a case for why a company should hire you for a specific job and unfortunately, there isn’t a shortcut to doing that well! 

Here are the 4 basic sections of a really strong cover letter:
1. Who you are and what you’re applying for - This is essentially your introduction.
“I am a [year] at [university] majoring in [major]. I am very excited to apply for the [role] role which I found out about [where you found out about it]. My past experience in [list] and passion for [industry or company] would make me a great fit for this opportunity."

2. How your experience or education or skills relate to the job - This is the part that requires the most work. Read the tasks from the job description and find out what the company is looking for in their hire.

Then, share real examples from your past work experiences (or extracurricular activities) and prove that you’re the right person to do the job! As an example let’s say the job is looking for someone to “plan and manage promotional events.” In that case you are going to want to talk about times when you’ve planned events in the past and why you’ve been able to be successful in doing that (detail-oriented, personable, etc.).

If you’re applying for your first job or an internship and don’t have that much work experience, that’s completely okay. For the example above, you might want to write about how you’re the person amongst your friends who plans every birthday and group dinner or talk about the fact that you’re part of the business club on campus and organize all speakers and workshops for that club.

Remember, your cover letter shouldn’t repeat what’s on your resume by sharing a laundry list of what you’ve done. It should go into depth and give examples about your experience that is most relevant to the job.

3. Why you want to work at that company - Popular companies will get hundreds of applications for a given job and they want to hire someone who really cares about what the company is doing. Read the company’s “about page” or their “careers page” to find out more about the company goals, mission, work environment, and culture and then use this part of the cover letter to talk about what resonates with you the most.

Perhaps you love the product they make, or think it’s great that they give a % of their profits to charity. Maybe there is a leader in place that you really admire. Whatever the reason is, make sure you share that this is not just one of 100 companies you’re applying to. Show that you care about this particular one. 

4. A simple closing - End your cover letter by saying that you are looking forward to hearing from the company and would love to discuss the role and your background in more detail. Simple as that!

Lastly, how can you make your cover letter stand out and reflect the culture of the company?
Great question, because your cover letter should mimic the tone and culture of the company. The type of cover letter you’d write for an investment banking job is totally different than the one you’d write to a fashion company which is totally different than the one you’d send to Google.

The best way to find out about a company’s culture is by talking to someone you know who works/has worked there or visiting the company’s careers site. Some companies have videos of their employees sharing what it’s like to work there and most describe their work environment in some way. Following the company on different social media channels can also give you helpful information. 

For a company that values humor and uniqueness, show that in your cover letter. If the company values excellence and prestige, you’re going to want to be much more buttoned up. You can adjust your tone not just by what you say, but also how you say it. Your style of writing in your cover letter should mimic the style and tone of how you’d write an email to a coworker or external client if you worked there. If you think of it with that filter, your tone will be just right.

Whew! Well that that was a mouthful. Hope this information helped and I am looking forward to answering more of your questions in the coming months.

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