Monday, April 30, 2012

cheaper than therapy

Thought I'd share some of my new favorites:

Two new favorites done in Illustrator.

It's the perfect little distraction from all sorts of stress. I spend a few minutes doing one layer if I need a little break, or work on an entire section (like the tricky faces) if I need a longer break.

The Looks:


PS I am obsessed with that little girl's flower headband! I think they doubled up the headbands, but oh how cute!

New CP Desktop, iPhone, & iPad Wallpaper

The new Lilly backgrounds are so cute... and I thought it was a good time to change things up a bit. I try to find words to use that relate to whatever is going on in my life. While I'm working on my computer I nearly always have Pandora playing away. The weirdest thing happened.

A song that I have heard hundreds of times and can't help but sing along every time I hear it finally made sense. Like, the lyrics were no longer just a string of words... it had meaning. Maybe it's just because I'm getting ready to graduate (are you sick of hearing about that yet?) or it's the lack of sleep I've been getting, but the whole song felt so accurate and relatable.

When was the last time you heard "Unwritten" by Natasha Bedingfield?

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin

Yep. Just about sums up my last month on the Hilltop.

For your desktop:

Right click on the image.
Select "Open in new tab" (or window)
Right click the image again.
You can either save the image to your computer and then set it as a background. On macs, you should be able to right click and "save as desktop background."

[Side Note: I feel like rain has been a common theme of recent posts as well... whoops!]

For your iPad:

For your iPhone:

I recommend listening to the rest of the song as well... it really resonated with me and I think it might be my personal anthem for the next month. And likely the month following that as I figure out the whole "life post college" thing.


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Riviera Maya

It's been a while since we got back from Mexico... and I miss it! It was such a fun family trip. One of the nights we were there we went to some sort of shopping thing (aka tourist trap). I bought this shirt because I was obsessing over the fact that I couldn't leave Mexico without one. (I did, I might add, successfully bargain the price down significantly... in Spanish!)

Ironically, almost exactly a year ago, I posted about wanting to buy one of these peasant blouses from Anthropologie. I'm happy to say I definitely did not spend $170 on this one... and it's more authentic. (Although I'm fairly certain they get the blouses made in China anyway...)

So now that I have the shirt and summer is officially approaching, I'm trying to decide how to wear it!!! I think it will be perfect for a coverup when I'm at the beach. But what do we think... is this something I can pull off on a regular day?

Also, I definitely do not have a photographer boyfriend... so I'm stuck with awkward mirror pictures :-)

Let me know your thoughts in a comment!!!

Speaking of Mexico... Stephanie Johnson sent me the cutest iPad sleeve. Fittingly, the print of the fabric is called Riviera Maya... which is exactly where we stayed in Mexico! Now whenever I travel with my iPad, I'll be reminded of the great trip.

How fantastic are those details? Oh, I think it's downright beautiful!

The iPad fits perfectly inside. And the little bead on the zipper is too cute.


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Giveaway :: Lilly Pulitzer Umbrella

So, as I've mentioned (way too frequently...I know), DC has unpredictable weather. And from what I've been seeing all over Twitter, we're not the only ones experiencing schizophrenic weather. (Snow in some places??? Crazy!)

April is almost over, but we still have a few more days for "April Showers." Perfect timing for an umbrella giveaway :-)

When Lifeguard Press sent me a bunch of items to review, I asked if I could do a giveaway as well and they said yes! Now, they sent me a Jonathan Adler umbrella a year or so ago, but I accidentally lost it at school. I replaced it with this exact same Lilly umbrella: 

It's so fun and bright; you'll never get it mistaken with a boring umbrella!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Friday, April 27, 2012

sunnies x 10

Per usual, the weather here in DC is out of control. This weekend, it rained for what felt like twenty-four straight hours. (Seven of which I spent outside, freezing in the rain!) Fast forward another day, and it's gorgeous outside! Not super warm, but bright and sunny!!!

I totally understand why people use "light boxes" in geographic locations where the sun isn't out that much. I definitely feel my mood worsen when it's cloudy day after day.

Waking up naturally with the sunrise leads to a much more productive morning and, consequently, day for me. (As a side note, consider downloading f.lux for your computer if you tend to work late at night. It automatically adjusts the lighting of your computer so that you can fall asleep better. Consider it a virtual sunset!!! It does take some getting used to, but after five or so minutes you completely forget.)

I'm hoping that since April is almost over that we'll be getting more sunny days more consistently. Please, DC?

So I started bookmarking my favorite sunglasses and noticed a trend. I've been rocking the traditional Ray-Ban Wayfarers for almost two years now (still one of my most-favorite birthday presents!), but maybe I need some big glasses... you know, the whole glamorous thing?

Top to Bottom:

The last pair on the list (the Lilly) is my favorite!!! I love the color because it's a little bit different. I also think that the shape is just super cute!

Which ones do you like?


Thursday, April 26, 2012


When I was at the GWWIB conference, I got a pencil case from the Levo League. [Side Note #1: I love the Levo League. Side Note #2: It was filled with makeup and solved this problem.]

The pencil case was beautiful. I'm not sure if my description will do it justice. The one I got is the brown one and it's honestly tinted a little bit burgundy; it's super cute. It's also way more durable than plain cotton, it's more like waxed cotton. The contrasting inside and side panels are bold and fun!!!

I loved how they personalized the pouch with their Twitter handle!

Invite.L has tons of super innovative products.

Top to Bottom:

Check out everything else they have to offer! The best part is how affordable everything is. I feel like the products are similar to Graphic Image, but way better priced!


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Really Important

Can I just start this by saying that my posts in the recent past and likely in the future seem, well, confusing. Most of this is because this is an extremely confusing period for me... I mean, I'm graduating. I've been looking forward to the day since... um... freshman year. But now that it's actually almost here, I'm beyond freaked out.

Mix in the fact that I've been quite emotional lately and I'm basically a mess. I choked up during a speech at the GWWIB conference, I bawled when I watched this commercial, and then I related to about every line during the first episode of Felicity. (I randomly watched an episode of the show while straightening my hair... have you seen it?)

At one point in the episode, Felicity says, "It all just... it seems really important right now."

This is exactly how I feel... even though I know in the grand scheme of things, the events going on right now will matter so little in the future. Right now, however, they seem like monumental decisions and experiences. It's overwhelming. It's scary. And it's really, really, really confusing.

I remember feeling the exact same way before graduating from high school, and looking back, none of the things I worried about really mattered (but really, not at all). So I know it will be fine, eventually.


It just... it seems really important right now.


PS Watching Felicity is honestly pretty entertaining. It's from 1998 and she calls her parents on pay phones... good stuff.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Beach Week

I am writing this an hour before it goes live... that's how swamped I am at school! In fact, I did not sleep at all last night!!! It was my first honest-to-goodness all-nighter. As in, I did not sleep one wink from Sunday at 7am until Monday at 2:30pm. Never again. (However, it was totally worth it because the presentation my group was working on went so well! Check out the "commercial" we put together as part of our pitch.)

All this school work has me dreaming of packing up a bag and going to the beach. I want my feet in the sand and three good books. I blogged last week about going to Paris for three days, which would be incredible, right? But it would definitely be a lot of go-go-going. Sitting and maybe a bit of swimming would be nice!

I love these sandal + beach bag combinations from my favorite brands! Having that perfect bag to tuck all the necessities into always feels great. Matching shoes? Brownie points!

Are you overworked right now? Do you need a quick vacation too?


Monday, April 23, 2012

Behind the Scenes with Emma Graham

I asked the team at Emma Graham designs to send me some real behind the scenes photographs! I definitely love getting a peek at how companies operate. Sure, seeing everything perfect on the websites is great... but I like seeing the work BEHIND the perfection!


Finished Jordan dresses ready to be shipped to their customers anxiously awaiting their arrival! All Emma Graham products are locally produced in New York City. Lovers of the classic look of the Jordan dress should also consider the Design Your Own Britt.

Fabulous models having a great time at the photo shoot for our Spring 2012 line. Griffin dress on the left, Lauren dress on the right. Have you tried belting the Griffin? Using a belt is an easy way to define your waist and add to your look.

Design Consultant, Caitlin, helps her customers design their own custom Emma Graham pieces at a trunk show at the Rollins College student center. The career opportunities for Design Consultants are endless, Caitlin will be joining the EG team this summer in NYC as an intern! Our blog is full of the first hand experiences from our Design Consultants.

Custom Jenn dresses in production. All custom pieces are also produced locally in NYC and at the customer's door in 10 days! See more about how Emma Graham products are made on the Emma Graham behind the scenes blog.

Four examples of custom Kristen skirts that our customers designed. We love the bright color combinations, they are just perfect for warm spring and summer days! This would be a great skirt to wear to try out the color blocking trend. See more color options here!

Emma's design sketches and color/embellishment inspirations for the Sammi skirt.

Thanks for sharing the awesome pictures Emma Graham!!!


Sunday, April 22, 2012

illustrator is my new best friend

I just wrote a quick little article for my friends at the Levo League about learning beyond the classroom. I mention that one of my new things that I'm learning is Adobe. I'm officially a member of a group of college bloggers and received a full copy of Adobe Creative Suite... I. Am. In. Heaven.

I legitimately couldn't download the program for a week because I had tons of homework and knew I would spend way too long playing on the computer. Well, obviously I've learned that downloading the program in the midst of final projects was probably not the best idea. Oh well... I'm going to have to implement some self control!!!

I decided to create some vector images based on photographs of my favorite outfits! This is the Mariam dress from Kate Spade. I think that the dress is too fun and I loved how this one was styled in this shot. Playing with it in Illustrator was a great project.

I have no idea if there is a better way to do it (but, hey, this is a learning process), but I started by placing the screen shot on the document. I locked it in place and dimmed it. Then I just started outlining everything. I sort of pick and choose which shadows I want to highlight and which ones don't need to be vectorized. Sometimes I delete an entire layer at a time if I don't like where it's heading.

Labeling the layers is imperative. I don't know what I would do without labels... probably go insane.

This is an inside of a layer. Not sure what the technical term is, but I keep all the shadows within one layer.

The end!

I also did some of my favorite looks from the crewcuts "Looks We Love" because, well... I think they're cute :-)

Here's the illustrator girls next to the original images.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Giveaway :: Decor 2 Ur Door

I've teamed up with Decor 2 Ur Door for a super cute giveaway!!!

How cute is this pillow? It's perfect for bedrooms and dorm rooms. The grosgrain ribbon weave pattern is perfect for all kinds of bedding... definitely adds a great pop of color.

Decor 2 Ur Door also offers a ton of great bedding. 

Sorority bedding, headboards, and custom "build your own" bedding sets. (Sporty Sister has the Zeta crown sheets!!!)

Check out all of the amazing products and then enter to win the pillow using the widget below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Organize, Please... Custom Powerpoint Backgrounds

A couple of weeks ago was midterm season, but we are officially in Powerpoint presentation season right now. Each of my business school classes require some sort of final presentation. Of course, after years of putting together "decks" for finals, the presentations really don't seem like that big of a deal anymore. Groups meet a few days before, figure out what we're going to say, and throw together a Powerpoint.

I have Powerpoint on both my Mac and Sony Vaio, but I prefer the Windows version so much more. (The things you can do with the Windows version... for really all of the Microsoft Office programs.. are way more in depth than the Mac versions.) I typically do all of my "school" stuff on the Windows OS, like writing papers, putting together PPT decks, and definitely working in Excel.

While I could honestly dedicate an entire blog to just working with Powerpoint and creating amazing presentations, I thought I would share one of the simplest things you can do to add a little extra flair to your presentations.

Custom background slides!

In Photoshop, start by creating a blank document with the dimensions 1024 x 768 px. I set it for 300 dpi, but it doesn't necessarily have to be that big. 

Figure out what kind of background you want. For the sake of this post, I put together a fake mini-presentation for Starbucks. (True story: I think I've done a total of six projects/papers/cases on Starbucks at Gerorgetown.) I always like to add a side bar for some reason. I played around with some clipart of coffee beans and adjusted the opacity so it wouldn't be too distracting from the actual slides. I added the Starbucks logo, and we've got ourselves a background.

Save the file as a JPEG. (I also save it as a psd file in case I end up needing to change something later on.) Because I do all my photoshopping on my Mac, and the actual Powerpoint on my PC, I have to email myself the JPEG and then open and save it on my PC.

Open up a new Powerpoint and click "Format Background." Change the fill selection to "Picture or texture fill." Since your JPEG is saved on your computer, you will be inserting from the file. Click "Apply to All" so that every slide will have a consistent look.

Here's a mockup title slide with the custom background.

Here is how the slides will look when in presentation mode:

Keep inserting new slides and each will have the custom background.

What tips do you have for Powerpoints? Do you use custom backgrounds?


PS A couple of years ago, Prezi presentations were a "fad" at Georgetown. While they are pretty cool and innovative, I think they can be hit or miss during an actual presentation. I've sat through amazing presentations and I've sat through ones where I literally got motion sickness. Unless someone in your group is a pro at Prezi, I'd recommend sticking with a traditional PPT deck. (Also, double check with your professor to make sure that Prezi is even an acceptable format... some professors don't allow it.)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

always a good idea

I think it's the combination of warm weather and senioritis that is making me crave a trip abroad. I've been dreaming of traveling to Paris...

A lot.

I swear, dreaming of going is just about the only thing getting me through long school days and working weekends. This may seem a little strange, but I play this game with myself where I pretend to pack for the trip. If I'm waiting for a bus or bored during class (sorry professors), I'll imagine traveling to Paris with only a small carryon for a quick little trip. Every time I play, the color palette changes! I try to stick to a few neutral colors and then pick a fun pop of color.

Here's what I would pack for three days:

This is such a fun game to play, although it does bring up some major feelings of wanderlust. Where would you must want to go for three days if you had the chance? What would you pack?


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sponsor :: Ella Grace Designs

I'm super excited to share some information about College Prep's newest sponsor Ella Grace Designs.

The Etsy shop is run by two best friends that designed their very own fabrics and are now turning those into awesome accessories & gifts they like to call 'Pretty Little Things.'

I love the entire collection and had a hard time narrowing down the products to my favorites for this post. Every single item would make a great gift for really anyone and, because the fabrics coordinate, you can mix and match for lots of gifts!

I love this market tote. DC has a "bag tax" where if you have to get a bag when you're shopping they charge you five cents... this encourages people to use reusable bags. The Ella Grace tote is so cute and different than the $1 bags found in grocery stores.

These tissue cases are beyond adorable! I'm totally guilty of folding up tissue and storing them in my eyeglasses case. These are way better for traveling and would look cute even just sitting on a nightstand.

I love this passport case. When I was in Mexico, I used a regular folding passport holder, but I wish that it had little slots for cards and money. This one has room for everything.

Jewelry rolls come in handy when traveling. (Am I the only one who ends up with a knot of necklaces in my suitcase by the end of a trip?) I like how large this one is!

Check out everything else in the Ella Grace Designs shop... everything is very reasonably priced. (Hint: Stock up for upcoming graduation gifts!)


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