Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Essentials for your Desk

I am one of those people who tend to collect things for my desk. I don't think I could ever have enough sticky notes, notepads, or pens! It's a borderline problem... but I secretly love love love it. One of the side effects of this issue is that the drawers of the desk overflow!!! I have to take a million things out every time I need to get something out. 

In order to de-clutter a little bit... I've narrowed everything desk-related down to the essentials only! While I am going to try not to purchase any more desk supplies, I will definitely be keeping my desk supplies to a minimum when I move!

Here is the list I came up with... let me know what you think should be added!

Paper Clips | I love all kinds of paper clips, but if given the choice, I'd choose colored or a fun design for mine. These scooter paper clips are just too funny. The little tin those come in are perfect for desks, but if you want to display your paper clips ON your desk... here's a cool solution!

Notepads | These are my real downfall... I can't stop. In my defense, I go through quite a few sheets a day. Every time I'm in Michaels, I swear I end up leaving with a notepad from the $1 section. (That dollar section is dangerous!!!) So if I needed more notepads,  Kate Spade's The Long List or The Short List pads (maybe both?) would be the first things in my shopping cart.

Stamps + Stationery | I like to have a few stamp booklets ready to go in my desk. That way the minute I need to mail a letter, I don't have to worry about running to the post office to hunt down stamps! As far as stationery goes, I like to have a pretty good sized collection. Thank you notes, flat cards, mini cards, monogrammed sets, cute sets, professional notecards... etc. This is the one desk supply that I could never cut down on!!! Loving these bikini notecards from Design Darling!

Mighty Mouse | My hands always end up cramping from spending so much time on my laptop. I need a mouse for sure!

Paper | I am super picky about paper. I like to have notebook paper, printer paper, and cardstock. As far as notebook paper goes, I absolutely love the Five Star Reinforced Filler Paper. I mean, it's the creme de la creme of paper. Once you start using it, you will never be able to use regular notebook paper ever again!!! Don't forget to stock up on page protectors too– I have a serious addiction to those!

Pens + Pencils | I'm sure it won't come as a surprise, but I am in love with Pilot Precise V5 (never V7!) pens. I buy them in the multi-color pack and go through the pack every six months or so. The pens last a fairly long time! The green is by far my most favorite. It's a traditional color (i.e. doesn't look that ridiculous to fill out forms with), but it's still a little different than the boring blue or black. As far as pencils go, I tend to only use Paper Mate Sharpwriter. It doesn't feel like a crazy, fancy schmancy mechanical pencil, but never needs to be sharpened. (If you need highlighters, I highly recommend Sharpie GEL Highlighters!)

Sticky Notes | Anyone else a sticky note hoarder? While I love regular Post-Its, I think printed and patterned sticky notes are just so much more fun! (Here's an old post about my sticky note collection!) This Jonathan Adler set includes just about every size and shape you could ever need!

Stapler & Tape | Because you never know when you need it!


Monday, July 30, 2012

Sseko Designs

I'm SO excited about this post!! Sseko Designs is hosting a "30 Days/30 Ways" campaign. They sent me a pair of the shoes to style!

 I first wrote about Sseko Designs a little over a year ago and it's been really fun to watch the company grow. In fact, Sseko Designs was just named one of “America’s Top Five Most Promising Social Entrepreneurs” by BusinessWeek. Isn't that incredible!

The mission of the company is to help break the cycle of poverty in Uganda. Sseko employs girls in Uganda for a nine month period in exchange for an entire college education! How great is that? 

Each sandal comes with a base and a long ribbon which can be tied in (literally) hundreds of ways.

Some of the different ways you can tie the sandals.

I watched a few videos on YouTube to learn different ways to tie mine. I really loved this braided style!

I also LOVE this style. I thought that I wouldn't like something tied around my ankle, but it's surprisingly comfortable. The ribbon "settled" a little bit after walking and I really like how it ended up. 

Aren't the little ties in the back the cutest?

I got the Starboard Stripes straps. They're perfect for summertime in Florida. I wore it with the Kate Spade dress I wore to graduation!

Perfect shoes for hanging out poolside and it's great knowing the story behind the shoes and who they are helping!


PS I'm in love with this picture of Liz, the founder, with some of the girls in the program:

PPS Use "Prepster30" at checkout for 15% off your order!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

DIY Monogrammed T-Shirt

I am in love with my t-shirt from The Frat Collection. I wear it basically every chance I get. (That is to say, the first day it's out of the wash I'm wearing it...) I'm really not a t-shirt kind of person, which is why I think I like it so much. When I'm running errands or babysitting a bunch of crazy kids, it's the perfect thing to throw on and feel (at least a little bit) put together while still maintaining the comfort of a plain t-shirt.

I was inspired by The Frat Collection and monogrammed embroidered t-shirts I saw on Etsy (like these) to create my own. Considering that I do not have an embroidery machine, although I would love one, I had to improvise a way to make my own version. Here's what I came up with!

I have quite a large collection of Lilly fabric from past projects. I really wanted to make a Lilly pocket. And I found a scrap of polka dot fabric in the Ladies Lounge that made the perfect monogram!

Want to make your own? This is surprisingly an easier project than it looks! All it takes is a little patience and elbow grease. Here is what you will need:

Iron On Adhesive | I used "Heat n Bond" Ultra Hold

Pocket T-Shirt | I used a Fruit of the Loom Pocket Tee

Patterned Fabric | I used leftover Lilly fabric, which was cut from old dresses

Iron | Make sure you turn your steam setting off if applicable

Cardstock, Sharpie, & Scissors | This is used to make templates!

Solid Fabric | To complement your patterned fabric

I'm going to do my best to explain how I made the fabric appliques for the pocket and monogram... but in case I don't make sense (which is highly likely) I suggest watching this video! She does a great job of explaining how it works... and it's good to see someone do it. This is the video I used to learn how to use the iron on adhesive.

I drew my monogram on a piece of cardstock with a Sharpie. Based on the size of the pocket, I grabbed a mini glass that had a good sized circle. Then, using a ruler, I drew the monogram (first in pencil). I looked off a monogram I had in my room to make the letters look okay. Circle monograms are pretty easy to draw if you trace the circle first! The letters really go right with the edge of the circle, so it's easy to start with the outside letters and then work on the middle!

I also made a template of the pocket shape using the same technique.

I cut out the most of the monogram and the pocket with scissors. But I had to use an exacto knife to cut out the inside of the A. 

Trace the reverse of the templates on the smooth side of the transfer paper. (The bumpy side is the glue, which will eventually melt with the help of your iron!!!) Cut down the fabric to a good size and trim down the paper. Don't actually cut the tracing out yet– leave the edge so the glue for sure gets to the edge of your almost-applique!

Here's how to iron: Place the fabric good-side down on the ironing board. Place the adhesive on the fabric. Ensure that your fabric square is LARGER than the adhesive... otherwise you will end up with a big glue-y mess and a ruined iron!

Complete this for every part. In this case, you'll need to do this for the pocket fabric and the monogram.

Carefully cut out the monograms. Because you traced on the paper part of the adhesive earlier, it's super easy to cut the pieces out.

Peel the paper off after they've been cut.

The back of the fabric will now be super shiny! This is the side that gets ironed onto the t-shirt!

Start by ironing on the pocket fabric first. Press super hard and move the iron slowly, continuously pressing firmly!!! It takes a little bit for the pocket to set, but it will... just be patient.

Let the fabric cool.

Start by aligning your middle letter. Iron on using the same process as before. One letter at a time, complete the process for your first and middle initial.

Here's a close up of the other pocket I did! I made it for a white t-shirt. Pink seersucker fabric and a Lilly Pulitzer monogram!

You should be able to leave the fabric as is after the iron on process. However, I enlisted the help of Soccer Mom to sew the edges of the pocket fabric down for extra reinforcement.


PS Here are other projects I've (or Soccer Mom has) completed using Lilly fabric:

My mom also made a Lilly stocking, but apparently I've never blogged about that!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Giveaway :: Kollection

This week's giveaway is so fun! Kollection was started by Keely, the blogger behind Luxe + Lillies. Keely saw that there was an opportunity to create a niche for affordable stationery and created the entire line of Kollection to appeal to women, children, men... and wallets!

I love just about, um, everything!

Kollection has numerous choices of notecards, adorable jotters, Bigger Than Biz cards, invitations, and even cards for weddings

There will be TWO winners for this giveaway!!! Each winner will be able to choose whatever personalization she (or he) likes! And there is so much to choose from!

Monograms, names, pretty prints, and little icons!

What would you choose?

I personally love the chevron flat cards!

Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below:

Good luck!

PS Use "CPREP" at checkout for 10% your order!!!!!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Team USA!

Who is going to be tuning in for the Opening Ceremony for the Olympics?

We've got the cake pops at the ready!


Investment Handbags

So I'm a pretty low-key person when it comes to handbags and purses. On an everyday basis, I use a medium size Longchamp (either black or navy... I'm boring!). And I've recently dipped my toe into the world of clutches.

But I think I need a grown up real handbag... but the pricetags of these bags are just absolutely killing me! Why can't my dream handbag be something from Target? (Although, Target does have some cute options... this one is great for toting laptops!)

I would have a hard time spending a lot of money on a handbag that couldn't be worn everywhere and with everything... or on one that wouldn't last.

So here are the requirements I've come up with for an "investment handbag." It has to be generally versatile. It should be appropriate for work, nights out, and errands during the day! I want it to be able to hold a decent amount without being overwhelmingly large.... and the color has to work for all kinds of outfits.

Naturally, I found one that fits this particular set of requirements:

For the record, it's way too expensive for me to even consider purchasing it, but let's just play along and dream a little bit!!!

out & about

date night

in the office

Yep. Perfection.

Have you invested in a handbag? What are your requirements for one? (Also, where did you get yours if you have one!?)


Thursday, July 26, 2012

twitter is down...

This is great reminder to take a break from staring at a computer screen... and spend some time outdoors!

I'm off to enjoy lunch on the porch and maybe take a walk.

(how cute are these lime Nike sneakers?)


Back to School :: Look Book with EGD

Although I'm not going back to school this year (major yay!), I still can feel those little back to school jitters that creep up towards the end of July! (School in Florida starts super early... one year it started August 4th.) I know that my sister and a bunch of her friends are also gearing up for the start of school. This signifies a few things, like moving into new dorms, possibly getting ready for sorority recruitment, and preparing new wardrobes.

I've teamed up with College Prep sponsor Emma Graham Designs to create a super fun look book. I put together five looks that take you through the whole school year. I had a lot of fun going through EGD's (newly redesigned) website to create dresses to fit each look.

Sorority Recruitment | Featuring The Britt Dress

Even though I've never gone through recruitment, or have any personal experience with the process whatsoever, Sporty Sister does! (Which, as her older sister, means I've sat in fitting rooms for hours while she found outfits that matched every "look" for each day required for her school.) While every school and each day has different outfit, finding a dress that flatters your body and fits your personality is super important!!! Be yourself! I know some of my friends from high school wore outfits that were not really their personality... and they acted in ways that wasn't their normal selves... and talked about things they really had no interest in.... and then ended up in a sorority that was, in the end, NOT a good fit!!! Again, I haven't personally gone through this... but I know that each school has different types of sororities and each has reputations for better or for worse. Keep an open mind and just be yourself. I, personally, would rather be in a perfectly fitting sorority instead of conforming to be in the "best" one. The real best one is the one that fits you.

Game Day | Featuring The Kristen Skirt

Showing school spirit on game days is like a sport in and of itself! (It's even worse if you have colors that are hard to find...) If you're lucky, you may find a dress or top or skirt that has a print that incorporates your school colors. The best solution is to focus on one color for the outfit, and accessorize with the second color. This look features yellow and black (any Georgia Tech girls out there?). It's dressy enough for formal tailgating, but is also comfortable!!!

Formal | Featuring The Jenn Dress

This is the dress Mackenzie wore to the Jack Rogers party! It's such a fun dress and the ruffle details are beyond perfection. Because the ruffling is so bold, you can go for less jewelry. Little touches, like bow earrings and a simple stack of pearl bracelets, are the cherry on top!

Spring Break | Featuring The Logan

I had only had one real spring break over the course of my college career! Most of my spring breaks were spent bundled up on the Potomac River coxing. But, senior year I finally got to go to Mexico with my family for the break. I way overpacked, but spent the majority of the week wearing the same casual outfit! I definitely wish I had had this scarf– it is so versatile... which really means more room in the suitcase. (Or less luggage depending on how you look at it!)

Graduation | Featuring The Aimee Dress

My graduation seems like a million years ago! I was initially really worried about wearing white because I'm pale... but it ended up being the perfect choice! Graduations are hot and summery and a white dress is just such a perfect idea. Plus you can wear it all summer post-graduation! Wedges are a must. Especially if you have an outdoor graduation, wedges are the right choice so you a) don't sink heels into the grass, b) can walk across the stage without tripping, and c) have a little extra height! With a white dress, you can go for a little pop of color for your feet!

What do you think?


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Faking Calligraphy

I thought it was so creative. I've seen these super beautifully addressed envelopes, but I did not think it was possible for me to do. I never had, and doubt I ever will have, nice handwriting. It's a struggle. I write really fast and get lazy about picking up my pen... so I end up with scrawls of semi-legible writing.

The tutorial from Jones Design Company uses real pens, but (eek) I do not trust myself to make perfect letters. I need to be able to ERASE and rearrange letters spatially. Actual pens and paper just wouldn't do it for me.

My solution? My trusty Adobe Illustrator + Drawing Tablet!

Basically the trick is to write your letter and then make the downstrokes thicker. Easy enough.

To speed up the process, I wrote out all the letters of the alphabet. Well that's not exactly true... notice that there are letters missing? I only wrote the letters I needed for the particular project I needed it for... which happens to be Monday's blog post! Anyway, once I had the letters written out, I duplicated and arranged for each word.

See the "Mandy" word!

Surprise! It works for monograms too!!!

(and cursive!)

You can watch how I do the lettering on the video below:

(Okay, solved the video problem... sort of. Lots of video conversion was involved. The YouTube video really begins about 12 seconds in!)

Try it out and let me know how it goes!!!


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Shoes I'm Lusting Over

I used to LOVE Keds. I wore them all the time as a kid. I'm pretty sure we used to buy them at Stride Rite and they were basically the only shoes that didn't hurt my feet. And the best part was that even though I still had kid-sized feet while all my friends were wearing adult shoes... no one could tell that mine were the children's version. We used to thread beads on our laces to make our shoes extra special. Seriously, it was all the rage

Well... no need for beads to make Keds special anymore! Keds teamed up with Madewell for the cutest shoes ever... Polka dots!

I love the trim, the lightness of the shoe, and the colors... perfection.

They're great shoes for running around town on the weekend without wearing full on sneakers!

J. Crew also has their own version, but they seem a little clunkier.

What do you think about these shoes? Would you make the purchase?


Moonrise Kingdom

This past weekend, Soccer Mom and I had a little mother/daughter date night! We went to go see Moonrise Kingdom. She had already seen it, but it was my first time and I absolutely loved it!!!

It was so cute and so quirky.

(Someone tweeted at me saying it reminded them of Phoebe in Wonderland, which happens to be my favorite movie, and she was spot on!)

I loved everything about the film, including the super retro outfits.

Suzy was just hilarious. So much preteen angst.

(I kind of want to make this into a cell phone case...)

I was also ready to go straight from the theatre to get new glasses... I. Am. Obsessed.

Warby Parker has tons of options that mimic the styles in the film!

I want to go see it again!!! Has anyone else seen Moonrise Kingdom


PS Even if it's not your kind of movie, the scenery is enough to keep you mesmerized for the entirety of the movie.

PPS I bought the entire soundtrack... this is something that I haven't done since Princess Diaries!!! 

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