Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween!!!

(My mom and sister are coming up to visit at the end of the week and I'm so excited! Stacy hasn't seen my apartment yet!!!)

This. Is. Scary. 

Tinkerbell! My mom always made our costumes. But since we lived in Massachusetts, it was always freezing on Halloween. So our costumes were cleverly sewn onto sweatpants and sweatshirts. Oh, so crafty. 

(This picture is also just perfect.)

I loved this costume. I did not love the fact that this was the week we moved to Florida. I was "Winter Barbie." Ah- just did a quick Google search and found the Barbie doll that the dress was modeled after. I have to give my mom major credit, because I think she did a pretty amazing job!

What was your favorite Halloween costume?


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Bean Boots Weather

It's really strange that after living in Florida for so long, the worst hurricane I've ever gone through happened during my first two months in New York City. Tampa nearly always gets missed by hurricanes.

I'm actually super fortunate, because the Upper East Side was not hit that bad. In fact, I don't have television (I have a television, just no cable service), so I was kind of in the dark about everything that was going on. Besides a few tweets and Facebook posts, I really couldn't tell how bad lower Manhattan was hit. I was looking out my window and it just looked like a typical storm. 

This morning, I figured out how to stream the news live on my computer and saw a lot more photos. It's so crazy! It doesn't even look like the city at all. And everyone has been commenting how silent and dark it is. Two words that I'm fairly certain have never been used to describe NYC.

I've heard back from nearly all of my friends in the city and everyone is safe (though most without power). 

After being cooped up in my apartment for so long, I have to get out and do a couple of laps around the neighborhood! I will be donning a barbour and some bean boots.

Hoping that everyone on the east coast made it safely through the night!


Greetings Fellow Nerds

I was in Barnes and Noble the other day. (Note: It's right next to my neighborhood subway stop. I try really hard to not stop in– same for Shake Shack– but sometimes I just can't help myself.) I found these little notebooks and seriously contemplating buying the whole lot of them. I resisted, and bought one. With the sole intention of "testing" it out before investing in more. But... naturally... I'm hooked.

Oh goodness.

Apologies for the nerdiness.

These things are a) super cute and b) kind of addicting.

In elementary school, we used to play those logic games. There were always five people and their names always started with A, B, C, D, and E. (So original.) I vaguely remember racing with my friends to see who could complete the puzzles the fastest.

Anyway, I picked up the Logic puzzles because of my fun third grade science memories. I am so into them right now (lame, I know), that I only let myself do one of the puzzles when I finish a task on my to-do list!

Sudoku... and more.

Please tell me I'm not the only one who likes these sorts of things!!!


Monday, October 29, 2012


The subway system shut down last night at 7pm. While the weather is currently not that bad, it's expected to grow worse over the course of this afternoon, through the night, and into tomorrow. Hurricanes in Manhattan are quite different than Florida, I'm learning. For starters, it's chilly! And much darker. And a lot more panic.

Anyway, the Levo League team is working from home today. I'm sitting at my new desk, with the heat on, and the windows cracked. (I like the sound of the wind!)

Eating | Stove popped popcorn

Listening | Mumford & Sons

Snuggling | Cable crewneck

Hope everyone is staying safe during the hurricane!


PS Check out this Levo League article with things to do when you're stuck inside!

Russell + Hazel | SmartDate System

I've loved Russel + Hazel for a long time now. One of the Tuckernuck founders actually shared the website with me just about two years ago and I've been obsessed ever since.

From time to time I've stumbled on their products in person and I've always been in awe. I think their products are super amazing and just plain pretty. It's apparent that I have a serious problem when it comes to paper products, school supplies, and anything related to organization

During my third– and final– trip to The Container Store, I was going back and forth between two aisles comparing a couple of organizers... and I saw these mini-binders. I realized they were Russel + Hazel and I went to investigate some more.

They're perfect.

It's called the "SmartDate System" and it's totally customizable. One of my biggest issues with planners/agendas is that I typically like 90% and the other 10% I could do without. Either the dates don't start at the right time (needing academic calendars vs. yearly) or a huge chunk of space is wasted on places to store addresses/phone numbers or they're not study enough or the holiday dates are ridiculously over-thorough or whatever. There is nearly always an element (or two or three) that I could do without or would like to change in some way.

So when I saw that you can actually build your own agenda in this cute little notebook, I was sold.

I also got mini rubber bands that you can use to hold the binder shut. I love that they can be used in a ton of different ways. The zebras are just too cute though.

While there are many options for what kinds of inserts you can include, I went with the:

Monthly Calendar | The calendar has tabs for each month and included 18 months between 2012 and 2013. What I really like about this is that since it's a binder, I could easily include the months I wanted and discard (or save for later) other months. Plus... I'll be able to add the next year as it comes.

Weekly Planner Sheets | I think these are perfect for planning the week out. I also love how the opposite side has space for notes. If you need more space than this, you could get the Daily sheets or sticky notes!

Grid Paper | I can't help myself... I am a doodler. I take abstract notes, draw a bit, and generally make a mess. Love having a space to do it!

Has anyone else tried the Russelll + Hazel SmartDate System? What do you think? What kinds of sections would you include in yours?


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Organize, Please... Desks (again)

I've mentioned this before, but I seem to keep coming back to it because I'm still wondering what I was thinking. I truly thought that I wouldn't need a desk in my new apartment. I was obviously trying to be conscience about the space available to me, but the kitchen table seriously doesn't cut it!

My new desk makes me so happy!

I like having an actual space to work. And even though the nook in my bedroom where my desk is is super small, the desk really has plenty of space. I can easily have my laptop or iPad on it and still have tons of space to do some writing (actual pen + paper writing) plus space to store some pretties on the desktop.

The desk has been sitting in my room very bare for a little bit and since I was away in Ohio and Boston last week I hadn't had time to deal with it. Finally, I had a chance to spend a few hours searching for cute desktop organizers.

I went to.... The Container Store, Barnes and Noble, Staples, The Container Store (again), Bed Bath & Beyond, Staples (again), West Elm,  Staples (again) ,and The Container Store (again). Seriously it was quite the adventure.

I could have saved myself a lot of trips because I ended up going with things from The Container Store.

I just love this picture because it really shows how much of a nook the nook is! Eep! Sooooo cute!

I was originally going to go with white accessories, but when I saw them in person they were a little bit too bulky. They'd totally work on a normal sized desk though! I went with acrylic pieces from The Container Store. (Side note: I'm obsessed with The Container Store, but it's super dangerous for me! I spent, like, three hours in there.)

I actually love the acrylic because it shows off all the fun things I want to keep on my desk. They simply blend in versus being the standout pieces.

I used the Letter Sorter as stationery storage. I've been going through stationery at an alarming rate with random correspondance and buckets of thank you notes.

The acrylic monogrammed pencil cup is from Design Darling. Mackenzie surprised me with it and I knew it would be the perfect addition to my desk!

I love the business card holder too. I have no idea if I'll keep my actual business cards there or not though. They look cute, right? But it's not super practical. I might have different cards printed from with either inspirational phrases (you can print up to 50 different designs in one batch) or plain white cards for little notes/reminders.

I also got the magazine file because I wanted someplace to store papers and notebooks. There were tons of cute little boxes and drawer systems, but I needed to converse desktop space, so I went vertical. I have a folder with files I need to access regularly, legal pads (the best), loose leaf, and various notebooks.

Additionally, I had to come up with some sort of filing system. My old one consisted of a cluttered drawer in my living room. I picked up the acrylic desktop file as a solution. It's a fantastic little box. I used regular file folders (because they came in cute colors), but the box is really for the hanging kind. It works either way! I'm currently keeping it under my desk. Just out of the way where I can't see it, but easily within reach should I need to file or retrieve something.

I used different colored folders for the various aspects of my life. So far it's a great system.

Grey = Apartment
Green = Personal
Pink = TCP
Blue = available for whatever :)

I can't even begin to describe how HAPPY (and relieved) I feel about having everything in one, neat, and organized place. It's such a little thing.

What does your desk look like?


PS Check out these other Organize, Please installments about desks:

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Giveaway :: Rutherford Papers

This is such a fun giveaway with Rutherford Papers... it's coming at the perfect time: right before Thanksgiving!!!

Monogrammed Cutting Board

I'm sure a lot of us will be back home in a few weeks in the kitchen getting ready for some sort of Thanksgiving dinner. I have to admit that our Thanksgivings are pretty low key and that's really the best kind, in my opinion!!! We always have little appetizers beforehand and we use what feels like every dish in the house.

These monogrammed cutting boards are amazing.

They're cute enough to leave out on the countertop even when not in use. You could seriously cut the food and then use the cutting board as a serving dish!

My mom has one and we use it ALL the time!

There are so many different styles you can choose from: prints, colors, monogram styles!

Enter to win using the Rafflecopter widget below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck!

PS Use "prepster" at checkout for 10% off your order!!!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Sponsor :: Pea Pod Paper and Gifts

Pea Pod Paper & Gifts really has a million different gift options. The melamine plates are amazing. First of all, there are a ton of awesome patterns... and beyond that, you can customize colors and different monograms. Amazing!

The image above has some of my favorites and as you can tell it was really difficult to narrow it down! Seriously, see for yourself all the amazing patterns and prints and color combinations!!!

These would be perfect for all sorts of occasions:
Housewarming presents
Dorm rooms
Holiday gifts
Party decorations
Regular dish-ware

Which one is your favorite?


PS Don't forget: Enter the promo code collegeprepster at checkout for 10% off most everything
**excludes Lilly Pulitzer, Jonathan Adler, and Dylan's Candy Bar**

Jack Rogers | Worth

I'm obsessed with these new Jack Rogers loafers! The Jack Rogers Girl (love her!) sent me a pair last month and I have been wearing them every chance I get since. Normally I opt for shoes (ballet flats...) in neutral colors like brown, black, or maybe a metallic. But, these shoes are like the modern day Wizard of Oz shoes!


Anyway... Jack Rogers has a Facebook campaign right now and they're featuring a bunch of (my favorite) bloggers. I ducked out of the office and played hooky for the afternoon to take some photographs in Madison Square Park. It was a chilly, slightly windy, oh-so-perfect fall day.

I'm also wearing.... J. Crew Schoolboy Blazer, J. Crew plaid button up (similar), and Jolt jeans.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fall Colors

Where has October gone? I feel like it was just yesterday that I was holding out on pulling the riding boots out, but it's... like... almost November now. Fall has to be the most beautiful time of year. I have next to no memories of fall in Florida. Maybe we get three or four days of "cold," that we label as winter.

New York City right now is amazing. Everyone– myself included– rants and raves about how amazing it is. And it is.

But so is Ohio.

Amanda and I just got back from speaking at Miami University of Ohio. In addition to the fact that we're obsessed with all the girls we met (they're awesome!!!!!), we fell in love with the campus. The buildings were beautiful and the foliage was almost unreal. As we drove in, we were sitting in the car saying, "Omg, look at that tree!" and "Whoa!!! That tree is amazing!" and "Wow! The leaves!!!!" I felt bad for the guy driving us because our trees and leaves enthusiasm was an absolute all-time high.

We woke up on the early side yesterday to go for a campus tour and fell even more in love!

It is a certainly picture-perfect campus. How awesome are those leaves?


I found the colors during this trip to be super inspiring for accessories!


PS Amanda and I seriously had an amazing time speaking with everyone at Miami University.... We'd love to speak at your school/event too!!! You can always reach out to us to coordinate a speaking engagement.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Curse of Perfectionism

So in the Levo League office, we have a bright and bold poster emblazoned with the phrase: Done is better than perfect.

I totally understand it and I absolutely love it... in theory. But the problem is that I like done and perfect.  I'm obsessed with it in fact. Another problem is that I don't have an actual definition of what perfect even is for me. (I think "perfect" is something that's different for everyone to begin with.) It's not even how something ends up looking or performing, it's more of how it feels to me. But I don't feel the perfect... I just feel a lot of the not perfect.

It's definitely something I work on (and frankly have to work on) all the time. Sometimes it's worse than others, but ultimately it's just moving towards not getting so bogged down by the not perfects.

One of the most difficult aspects that I have to get past is the notion that I actually get a lot of stuff done when I'm obsessing over the perfect. I don't like to do things that I can't do perfectly (whoops) and grow super frustrated with myself if I can't get to a point I feel at least okay with. 

One example was a problem set for a class I took at Georgetown. I was fixated on getting that problem set completed. I had no idea what I was doing or how to do it, so I spent four hours rereading the textbook and just playing around the computer program. And then I spent another four hours actually working on the set. Eight hours in one sitting. On one hand, I figured it out and could (probably) replicate the skills learned even to this day. On the other hand, I got three points off (for a 97%) and was so disappointed that I had spent the time to actually learn it and still couldn't get the 100%.

But I missed the whole point of spending time on working that hard. It wasn't to get the perfect grade. It was to simply learn.

One of my big goals for the week is to reevaluate how I define success. Or rather define success in a different way. Personally, I often find myself relying on numbers and other quantitative, concrete pieces of evidence to determine my level of success. I have been trying to shift away from this. I know I'm going to do the best job I can do, I don't need a number to tell me that.

I'm not sure that there is one way to measure whether or not I succeed at this or if there is even an end point. My guess is that it's just a constant ebb and flow.

Have you/do you struggle with perfectionism? How have you overcome it, or do you have specific strategies to share?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pretty Bows

While I'm sorting through some personal things right now, I decided to go back to College Prep roots. I'm also speaking at Miami University of Ohio later today, so I wanted to do some... research? Anyway... my second post (ever) was all about how much I love bows. And while I (thankfully) do not wear ribbons in my hair anymore, I do love a good bow still.

(Side note: reading old posts is kind of hilarious.)

I think any of these items could easily make their way onto a wish list. Or maybe just a "made it to the end the week" self present. Because that's really what I'm thinking/feeling. Oh so many bows, so little time.

From Top to Bottom:

Who else loves bows???


Monday, October 22, 2012

Kate Spade USB Drives


Perfect for (a) students, (b) nerds, (c) fashionistas, (d) all of the above.



Taking time to breathe

If you read my Prep Talk from last night... this post might make more sense.

This week I'm going to be going through every aspect of my life and decluttering. It's like a spring cleaning, but in the fall... and with my life!

I'm going to be sorting through every email, reading text messages and finding the ones I missed, finishing the book I'm currently reading, writing the fourteen thank you notes I owe people, catching up on the sleep I have missed, and carving out one hour of every day for myself.

I. Really. Need. It.

Do you need to do a little fall-life-cleaning? What three things would you implement this week to make sure you have time to breathe (and time for yourself)?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Accessories for Desks

When I was originally moving into my apartment, I thought I didn't need a desk. In total "make space where you can" fashion, I thought that having a kitchen table would suffice. Don't get me wrong, it's a great kitchen table and it would work as a desk, but it didn't feel all that right. For starters, I don't have much of a kitchen and I need additional counter space. I also like to spread my papers and notebooks and lists around the table. And if I'm taking a break, I didn't want to have to keep clearing off my table! (Because most of my breaks revolve around meals.)

Also in true NYC fashion, I don't have that much space to work with. But I do have a nice little (and I really do mean little) nook in my bedroom that would be perfect for a desk. I moved the dresser that I had there into my closet (because that is the only place where it fits) and started measuring and hunting for narrow desks.

Most desks on the market were too wide. But, I found the West Elm Parsons Mini desk to be an absolute perfect fit! It fits really nicely in the space and even has a mini drawer!

(Oh, and can we talk about how fabulous my new wallpaper is? You can enter to win some for yourself here! It's removable and apartment/dorm approved!)

The problem is that I really do need to find some cute desk accessories. I have a post about essentials for your desk, but I really need to get cute things for my desktop. Nothing too Pinterest-y (I find those "perfect" desks overwhelming and not all that practical).

Here's what I'm thinking:

The Lacquer Office Set from West Elm. I really like how clean and simple the accessories are. With the bold wallpaper behind my desk, I'd really prefer to stay away from crazy colors! I think the white would pop against the wallpaper and the dark desk. Plus I think it's grownup without looking too grownup.

See Jane Work also has cute desk accessories. Some are cheesier than others, but I think overall it's a pretty good selection!

I'd really like to stick to one brand for the whole shebang so it has a consistent look. I think I'm going to make a trip to the Container Store and Kate's Paperie when I have a spare minute.

What desktop decor do you have?


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Sponsor :: Darien Sport

College Prep's latest sponsor is Darien Sport. The website has great brands and product offerings for men, women, and children

The women's selection is particularly great. You can stock up on everything from Patagonia jackets to Hunter rain boots to Ray-Bans.

They also have a really great selection of Vineyard Vines.

Some of my favorites are....

What's your favorite?


Giveaway :: New York City Getaway

This is such an exciting giveaway... and perfect for a blog with a "two-months in NYC so far blogger." I'm downright obsessed with this city. I thought that I would live here for a few years and get the whole NYC thing out of my system. But.... the longer I'm here, the less I want to leave. Ever.

Obviously, I have no idea where the road will eventually take me, but for right now in this minute. I'm beyond happy.

Want to share a bit of the NYC magic? This giveaway is kind of c r a z y!

The winner will get a little getaway. You just have to find your way to the city, and you've got amazing plans for two!!!

Complimentary night


Two tickets to WICKED!

Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below:

Good Luck!

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