There are so many things I'm thankful for. This was my first full month of living in NYC and it's flown by. I can't believe it. I honestly really just cannot believe it.
There are a million and a half things that I'm thankful for. It would truly take days to compile a list that would still be only marginally comprehensive.
I don't want to run through life without taking moments every now and then to say how grateful I am, especially for the people in my life. Really no success would be worth it (or frankly possible) without having incredible people by my side.
Adorably amazing roller skating girl image from Oyster Mag!
Ah... The Little Black Dress. I think it's one of those things that you need no matter what your personal style is. And that's the great thing about the Little Black Dress, you can find one that fits YOU perfectly– both size and style wise.
So many options!
What I like about LBDs:
1) Classic– as long as you go with a classic cut, you can wear it year after year. I like to tuck my LBDs away in the back of my closet to bring out during wardrobe "Nothing To Wear" crises. There's nothing better, in my opinion, than discovering an old dress in the back of the closet. It's like running into an old friend!
2) Easy and comfortable– I mean, it really doesn't get easier than a simple black dress. Very little thought needs to go into it. You can find them in just about every store at just about every price point. Plus, if the dress is an old favorite, you're guaranteed to feel comfortable all night long.
3) Flexible– you could seriously wear the same dress every single day for a week and just accessorize differently. You can create all sorts of "looks" using the dress as a baseline. Hair up and heels for a chic look. Flats and a blazer to show you mean business. Bright shoes and a belt for a fun party.
4) Chic– sometimes you just want to feel a little bit more grown up. LBDs can be sophisticated and feminine. Maybe it's just me, but I always feel like a million bucks in a chic black dress.
Scroll through the widget below to find some of my favorite LBDs right now:
Do you wear LBDs? Where is your favorite one from and how do you accessorize?
These "Five Ways to" segments are turning into my favorite ones on here. I think there are so many little ways we can make improvements in our lives. Simple little adjustments here and there can make a big impact on our happiness and overall productivity.
So many times we're told that there are no "quick fixes" that I find it nice when there really are quick things to do. Tweaking routines is a little bit of a challenge; they are, after all, routines. But I am a firm believer that the way you start a morning will set you up for how you react to (and enjoy) the rest of the day. Regardless of which side of the bed you wake up on, here are five things you can do to improve your morning:
1) Wake up 15 minutes earlier | Do you find yourself rushing in the morning? Giving yourself an extra fifteen minutes is a good way to start the day on the right foot. Fifteen minutes is pretty doable even if you're not a morning person. After a week, your body will definitely begin to adjust to the new routine.
2) Read for 20-30 minutes | I read every morning and feel like it lets me clear my head and get the juices in the brain going. Even though I'm definitely a morning person (once I'm up, I'm up), my brain takes a little bit to get up to full speed. Reading jump starts the thinking. It's also great because it's kind of like clicking the reset button! I tend to read after I've gotten completely ready, but sometimes I read newspaper articles on my iPhone in bed while I'm waking up.
3) Check the weather first thing | There's nothing more annoying than rushing out the door only to realize it's 20 degrees warmer (or cooler) than you thought.... Actually, it's more annoying to find out that it's raining. Plan outfits the night before, but double check the morning of to make sure you're good to go. You can decide whether to bring a sweater or an umbrella.
4) Make a cup of coffee or tea | I'm partial to coffee (in fact, I'm addicted). Especially now that we're moving into the colder months, I think it's nice and cozy to start the day off with a hot cuppa. Since I'm out the door at the crack of dawn, I tend to buy coffee at Starbucks and work there for a couple of hours. But if I am working out of my apartment, I bring the cup of coffee around the apartment with me while I get ready!
5) Write your daily to do list | I try to write down my to do list first thing in the morning. Waiting a couple of hours only makes me more stressed because I'm not really sure what lies ahead. Writing it all out makes me feel much more relaxed and takes a weight off my shoulders. (It's also a good thing to do before you get ready... while you're getting ready if you remember something you can just add it to the list!)
I'm all about reducing the stressfulness of hectic mornings to set up really productive days!!!
This is arguably the most bizarre playlist. Of all time. Go ahead and judge. I have been "tagging" songs on Shazam wherever I go. Some of the songs are totally random ones that I heard in coffee shops or cab rides. Others are old favorites (a couple are playlist repeats actually). A lot of them have so many memories intertwined with my personal history that the lyrics have taken on entirely new meanings.
(Isn't that the beauty of music? It means different things, and even feels different, to everyone who listens to it.)
Okay, the songs are all over the place here. But half of them have been on repeat in my head. (Did you know that an earworm can refer to a song "stuck in your head"?)
So I've mentioned a few times that I'm trying to really soak up every single thing about where I am in life right now. Because I've already been here a month and it's absolutely flown by, the realization that I have to really appreciate it is sinking in. For real. I'm never going to get my "first year in Manhattan" back and I intend on making it an incredible year.
One of the things I found was that I was constantly in a rush. In particular, I'm always in a rush to get home.... to what? An episode of Dawson's Creek and takeout leftovers? This is something I definitely want to change. One of the "little things" that I enjoy doing is to cook dinner. Nothing elaborate or crazy; I am definitely no Julia Child.
It's funny because when I was gearing up to move, I had envisioned myself cooking meals in my kitchen. Fast forward to Real Life, and I've literally been so lazy about cooking meals. This is in part because I was terrified of my stove/oven for a while and in part because my kitchen is super narrow. But, just like how I have to make time to read, I am going to make time to prepare meals.
Of course, I'm not going to be able to do this every day, but my goal is to do it at least once a week. I want to get in the habit of planning and orchestrating and doing something on my own.
I put the plan into action over the weekend. I took a trip to a real grocery store (there are fake ones...) and braved the swarms of baby strollers and hundreds of other shoppers. (But seriously...)
Because I'm easing myself into this new thing, I started with one of my favorite simple meals: pancakes. I mean, who doesn't love breakfast for dinner? It was super easy and I enjoyed both making it and eating it. Win-Win.
I have a board on Pinterest with recipes that seem interesting to me, but I think I'm going to need some super easy suggestions. Feel free to share your favorite "simple" meal in a comment!!! I'm interested to hear about other simple meals.
Maybe I'm super nosy or something, but some of my favorite blog posts to read are ones where people show the contents of their bags. I'm always curious to know what people carry around. What wallet they have. What miscellaneous items float at the bottom of handbags. How much or how little they carry.
Anyway, it's been a while since I've done an actual "everything in my bag at this moment" post so I thought I'd share today.
Starting from the top left and working down, here is a list of everything in my bag:
My Nook: this is a subway lifesaver. If I don't get on a subway before 7:10 in the morning, the train is likely to just stop midway during the trip due to "train traffic ahead." Apparently, this is totally normal. (I don't find being trapped in a super tiny space with strangers normal whatsoever.) If I didn't have my Nook I would for sure lose my cool every morning. Now, I get in a little bit of reading before working at Starbucks before heading to the Levo League offices.
Minimergency Kit: My friend sent this to me when I moved to NYC. It's seriously crazy how many things can fit in that tiny case! And everything is super useful. From sewing kits to bandages to a tiny bottle of hairspray. I am obsessed with it.
iPhone charger: I go everywhere with this thing. It doesn't matter if my batter is 100% when I leave the apartment, I'm bringing a charger. So many times I've been caught at 11:30 PM still not home after a full day of Instagramming and Google-mapping (I refuse to upgrade OS because of this...). I have been known to charge my phone at restaurants. I can't deal with a dying battery.
I finally got a library card. There's a cute little public library a few blocks away from where I live. I've been patiently waiting to go get a card, but I needed a piece of mail addressed to my apartment. (All of my mail has been going to my mailbox at the UPS store!)
The minute a piece of mail came with my name and my address... I was in line at the library. Of course, I love libraries in general for my own reading. But I've been dying to go because I need to start researching for my next project. I know... another project. This is more of a longterm project, and I'll definitely be sharing more about it in the future. It's something that has been churning in my head for just over six months and I'm really ready to get underway with it.
(As an aside: I went out to a bar with a bunch of friends from the rowing team last week. While I had so much fun catching up with the guys, I was reminded that I just really don't like bars. I think I felt like I was "missing out" since I wasn't "going out." For better or for worse, I'd really much rather work at home... Sorry dad.)
So the next chapter, literally and figuratively, begins. But I would like your help and input If you're only going to comment on one post.... please let it be this one!!! Let me know what your favorite books in elementary school were– especially series!
Today is the first official day of fall... but that doesn't mean you can't take a piece of summer with you through the season. I've teamed up with College Prep sponsor Lemon & Line to giveaway a not-yet-released bracelet. It's the Newport Navy & Kelly bracelet– how perfect is the navy for a great transition into fall.
This giveaway is super special because there are THREE winners!
College Prepster exclusive Lemon & Line bracelet. The bracelet won't be available for purchase until mid-October.
College Prep sponsor Emma Graham Designs has opened up their Campus Collection, just in time for football season. I really wish Georgetown had a serious football team, solely so we could have had cute tailgates and worn gameday dresses!
Instead of showing the same pictures you can find on the websites of models wearing the dresses, EGD sent me some EGD fans sporting their dresses. They take school spirit to the next level. I think one of the greatest parts of the Campus Collection dresses is that the colors are very specific to the school. I know that Sporty Sister has to really hunt to find gameday clothes with the right shades of blue and orange (#gogators).
I never used to be able to wear rings. At all. Trying on rings in a store never ended well for me. I would get nervous– super nervous– and without fail, my fingers would swell and the ring would get stuck. Every. Single. Time. Even simply thinking about putting a ring on would make me anxious beyond belief. Why? Who knows...
But, then I found a ring that solved this problem. It didn't go all the way around, so (in case of an emergency), I could pry the ring off with no problem.
I also found another ring from... Banana Republic. I always wear the two rings now.
I actually thought I lost one of them last week. I'm not sure if my finger shrunk or what, but the Banana Republic ring has been kind of loose so it just slipped right off. I was super sad thinking that my favorite ring had fallen off on the subway or something. Luckily it was found in my sock drawer (???).
But actually... I was panicking:
Ah... finding that ring was amazing!
I do love dainty rings. Even if you're not a ring person, I think you should try them out. (You don't have to go the expensive route either. There are tons of rings out there at various price points.)
I do love the way chunky rings look... on other people. (Who doesn't love the Kate Spade ads with big rings?) I find myself getting anxious with big rings and they kind of get in the way!
Unfortunately, both of my rings aren't online or in stores anymore. But, here are some other pretty gold dainty rings:
I make lists left and right. It's really hard for me to concentrate without having some sort of direction and my lists provide just that. I don't have just one system and it definitely changes from time to time. My lists in high school were completely different than the ones from college... and even know, they're still evolving. I've been working on it for the past month-ish, trying to really nail down a good system for this particular time in my life.
I broke it down into three different types of lists... but to truly benefit from a to-list, you have to figure out what works for you! If you're complete lost, try doing what I do and then seeing what you don't like, or like, or could do without, or absolutely need. From there, you'll be able to hone in on your own perfect to-do list. It's definitely more of an art than a science!
Sticky notes are amazing for reminders. I keep mine on my desk so that I can jot down quick notes of what I need to do. They're perfect for moving around. Stick on your laptop screen, the table top, or even the inside of your notebook. (They also give you extra space on agendas!! Lift the "flap" and add more information.)
My notebook is like my right-hand man in the office. I start my morning off with personal goals and the list of things I need to get done. I take notes on the left and write the lists on the right. I group my lists based on what I have to do. As I go through the day, I cross things off and feel much better about my accomplishments! If your to-do list is obnoxiously long, star the things that absolutely must get done. Or number the tasks based on your priority levels. I love my monogrammed Maybooks!
None of my lists ever look perfect. Sadly. It's the one thing that bothers me... but the legal pad is a place where perfection is simply not allowed. I go crazy on these big pads of paper. I write notes, doodle endlessly, make gigantic brainstorms, rip and fold the edges, and doodle some more. It's a place where you can throw everything that's floating around in your head down. Just get it all out there. And then you can sort through and organize when you're done! I keep the legal pad on my desk at home. It prevents me from completely defacing every page of my pretty Maybooks!
What are your to-do list musts? What kinds of paper do you use? Any tips?
So the days have been pretty long for me, but extremely rewarding. That smart guy Confucius said, "Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life." And let the record show, he was so right.
I am often asked what I did to get to where I am and what can they do to follow in my path. What extracurricular activities did I do in high school? What did I write my college essays about? What classes did I take? What internships did I do? Whom did I interview with?
But this is totally missing the point! The reason why I'm so happy is because I'm doing exactly what I want and love to do. I simply laid the foundation to get to this point over a few years. Instead of focusing on the specific steps I took to get here, I think the real (amazing) part to focus on is to make sure you're following your own path and your own wants and your own "loves." It's different for everyone and the experiences– both good and bad– that each of us goes through helps us get to our unique happy places.
I've had a couple of Zen "the universe is smart" moments recently. I maybe had tiny thoughts in the back of my head asking myself if I was really doing what I love, or at least if I could be doing something that I love more. But, of course, the universe showed me (in sometimes what seemed like a cruel way) that I am exactly where I belong.
And for that, I am even more happy.
As cherries on this sundae of love.... here are five things I am loving:
Skittles | Ugh, these have totally become my guilty pleasure. It started off as a "Oh, I haven't had Skittles in a while!"and now it's a "Oh my goodness, give me Skittles now" type of ordeal. They're seemingly always on my mind.
High Five Nifty Notes | Yep. They're hilarious. And while they seem trivial, they provide an odd amount of entertainment. The options are just hilarious and when you combine multiple ones it's even funnier. I've been spreading them around the Levo League office. Look, even Bauer (the dog I am going to dognap one day...) wrote a note.
(He looks thrilled, right?)
Vitamin Water | I'm beginning to think that Vitamin water has actual addictive qualities. I crave it. The Tropical Citrus flavor has been my jam lately. Oh. I swear, I walk into Whole Foods and I make a beeline for the Vitamin Water. I seriously believe that Vitamin Water should sponsor my life... it would be awesome!!! What's your favorite flavor?
Ballet Flats | So I'm clumsy and I have been walking a ton in the city (because I tend to get lost... even with my iPhone...). The black leather J. Crew flats have been my absolute go-to. The more times I've worn them, the more comfortable they have become! And they seem to go with just about everything.
Tarte LipSurgence | I only have to apply it twice a day, once when I'm putting on makeup and then usually after lunch. It's an interesting consistency, but it seems to really be long lasting. And it does not scream "Lipstick!"
Kate Spade Earbuds| They're comfortable, they're polka dotted, and they get the job done. Whether I'm blocking out screaming children on the subway or everyone at Levo (just kidding! #levolove), I'm good to go with these. Plus, they're just a major step up from the plain white Apple earbuds. [If I'm on the subway, I listen to the Moonrise Kingdom soundtrack. If I'm at work I'm either listening to Enya or Lana Del Rey!]
PS I typically carry either a hardcopy book, my iPad, or my nook around with me to read in the city. It's perfect for (long) subway rides. I also downloaded Nook for my iPhone for when I'm simply without a book. Not the biggest screen in the world, but after a couple of minutes, I adjust to the smallness and read, read, read!
It's seriously getting close to riding boot season!!! Oh, I'm excited. Even though we've had some chilly days (mostly just chilly mornings) here in Manhattan, I really can't wear boots until it's "officially" fall– I think it's more of a mental thing more than anything. And that day is just a few days away! (September 22 to be precise.)
Growing up in Florida, boots were really never necessary. Obviously I loved the way they looked in those back-to-school catalogs, but they were completely unnecessary. I wore Jack Rogers nearly year round throughout high school... maybe the occasional ballet flat. (Wait, actually... I only wore closed toed shoes when we had to for Chemistry. HA.)
Anyway, moving to DC for school was so amazing wardrobe-wise. Corduroys? YAY! Coats? YAY! Sweaters? YAY!
Riding Boots? YAY x 1000!
The one thing about riding boots is that they tend to be more expensive than most shoes, but if you buy the right pair and take (decent) care of them they should last a while. I got a pair of brown Tory Burch riding boots the fall of my freshman year, and they are still going strong. I've had them resoled a couple of times (Georgetown cobblestones are shoe killers), but that was totally worth it.
We published the September/Ocytober on Saturday, which happened to be the one month mark of living in Manhattan. Not only that, but this marks the "one year" issue. (We launched the pilot issue on October 15... so technically it's been 11 months... but it's the Sept/Oct issue... sooo....)
The cover girl is the amazing illustrator Inslee Haynes. She welcomed the SLM team to her NYC studio for the shoot.
We had some familiar faces in the issue as well as some new ones (including a new team of designers)!
I think one of the most rewarding parts of the magazine is creating a community of designers, writers, photographers, and readers around the world. Everyone has amazing stories to share. And, as always, we keep things "real" in the magazine. We love that the stories are written by and for the audience.
I'm re-inspired each issue by just how amazing every young woman who contributes is. In a period of time when the Jersey Shore is a top-rated television show, isn't it refreshing to see young women succeeding and doing amazing things?
I don't want to give too much away... but there's tons of fun things within the pages of the magazine!
What was your favorite article in this issue?
PS A HUGE thank you to everyone who contributed to and read this issue!
I stumbled upon this quotation by Maya Angelou. It is so true and so accurate on so many levels.
"Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it."
I feel like there are too many ways to describe success; and success really does look different to everybody. However, this quotation is something that can fit each of us... no matter what our life path is.
I was so excited to be able to attend a few fashion shows and presentations during New York Fashion Week. I had never been able to make it before since I was in school. (And as much as I would like to believe DC is close to Manhattan, those three and a half hour trips really start to take a toll.)
I went to BCBG, Kate Spade, Herve Leger, and Nanette Lepore.
If I'm going to be honest, I would say the whole fashion week thing is.... weird. It's both completely awesome and completely bizarre at the same time. I wasn't sure if I should be in awe of the shows or if I should laugh at the absurdity. (Is this bad to admit?)
I was also definitely the only one wearing ballet flats to each show. Or at least it felt like that!!!
BCBG and Herve Leger were cool, but definitely not really my style.
Nanette and Kate Spade, on the other hand.... amazing.
This is what I wore to the Kate Spade presentation. It was super comfortable. I threw on a sweater for when I went to the office later that afternoon.
Last year, Kate Spade did the "Year of Color" and this year is the "Year of Pattern." I'm beyond thrilled that next year is the "Year of Things We Love." Because, naturally, I love all of the same things. (Especially ALL THE BOWS!)
Everything is super bold and fun and totally one hundred percent KSNY.
Aren't the turquoise and pink hues to die for?
Oh, bows on bows on bows. And how darling is her charm bracelet?
I have to say, as exciting and entertaining as an actual runway fashion show is, I love that Kate Spade does a presentation. It was in a super cool event space and everyone was milling about. Tons of bloggers were there, which is always fun to see familiar faces and meet new friends! And the best part is that you can really get really close to the clothing. Runways are intense, and unless you're sitting in the front row (let's face it, I'm definitely no Blair Eadie over here) you can't really get a good look.
Okay. This was one of my favorite looks. The tweed is so not stuffy and that telephone necklace is too cute.
But my favorite look....
Oh, that coat. I need it.
PS Here is a series of pictures from Nanette Lepore. The colors were spot on.