August 29, 2013

Featured: Amanda Catherine Designs

It is pretty rare that I love every single item in a shop. And when I do, it's even more rare that these items are affordable (ha!). I am madly, unabashedly in love with Amanda Catherine Designs.

Her prints feature gorgeous typography and darling sentiments, and are virtually all just $15. She also has adorable pencils! They might even make homework more enjoyable (wishful thinking?)

My picks:

Lots of Delta Gamma love for anything nautical!

Favorite Things pencils

One of my favorite Oscar Wilde quotes

 Paris Collection pencils


August 27, 2013

Shaken, Not Stirred

A martini is a beautiful thing - deceptively simple, revealing of the drinker's personality, high alcohol content, and the drink of choice for Mr. James Bond himself. The origin of the debonair drink remains a mystery, but the martini has become an iconic cocktail.

Generally, I like my martinis gin (obviously), straight up, with a twist. Dirty martinis are a close second favorite. Experts say martinis should be stirred, not shaken, to avoid "bruising" the gin. I won't pretend to be refined enough to detect the difference. My gin of choice tends to be Tanqueray or Bombay Sapphire, mostly because virtually ever bar carries them. My absolute favorite is Hendrick's, though. It's beautiful. I could write poetry about this gin.

Martini (with a twist) Recipe:

        2 ounces gin of choice
        1 ounce dry vermouth
        Lemon zest twist for garnish

1. Place all ingredients, except for the lemon twist, into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
2. Vigorously shake the mixture for about 30 seconds and then double strain into a cocktail glass
3. Gently twist the lemon zest over the drink and drop into the glass
4. Slip into something that makes you feel like a Bond girl and serve immediately

As much as I love the classic martini, I'm dying to try some of these fun recipes!

Peach Pomegranate Martini
Citrus Drop Martini
Earl Grey Martini

If you're a truly devoted lover of martinis, there are plenty of ways to bring them into your life without becoming an alcoholic. 

For your apartment:

For the man in your life: 

For your amusement:


August 21, 2013

New Page: 101 in 1001

I'm so happy to share my newest page with you: 101 in 1001! You might have seen this blogger trend in other places. I first heard about the 101 Things in 1001 Days several years ago through Day Zero Project. I have completed one list through their website, and loved the process. I'm very excited to start another and see where those adventures take me. I have left a few blank spots on the list to allow for new interests and goals over the next 2.75 years - they're sure to make an appearance. If you're a blogger with a 101 in 1001 list, I'd love to follow you!


August 20, 2013

What to Do If Your First Week at College Sucks

You successfully packed, moved in, showed up to your classes (mostly), and know a few familiar faces on campus. Despite these little victories, college doesn't always immediately feel like the amazing, life changing experience everyone talks about. So, when does the "best four years of your life" start? Whether you loved or hated high school, it was at least familiar. The truth is, the factors that make college amazing - your social network, accomplishments, and learning - don't appear overnight. You can help along the process by taking a few easy steps.

1. Figure out the kind of person you want to be

No, I don't mean fake a new personality, past, or anything else. College is an opportunity for personal growth, and the best personal growth tends to start with a little self reflection. If you didn't make time for this while lounging by the pool this summer, do it immediately. Even if you weren't outgoing/studious/athletic in high school, nothing is stopping you from developing those traits now. Take some time to identify qualities you admire in others, and consider if you want to develop those in your own life.

2. Get organized

You will never, ever be able to successfully keep up with your assignments, organizations, and (eventually) your exciting social life without some organizational tools. I found that religiously keeping up with a planner is the single most important factor to staying organized. Kate Spade and Lilly Pulitzer offer some that are pretty perfect, but choose the one that fits your style and your needs. Make sure that whichever planner you choose has entries for both the month at a glance and each individual day. You'll need all that space! I also love keeping my desk stocked with cute list stationery and Post-Its for jotting down quick notes. I love this notepad from Design Darling:


3. Reach Out

All that stuff they tell you at orientation about being an actively involved student? It's true. If you live on campus, you have a built in social group - your neighbors. These people are often the easiest to get to know, and can become some of your closest friends. Don't stop there, though. It's a shame not to explore your other options. Your college is bound to have at least a few organizations, intramurals, or interest groups that would be a good fit for you. Go to a couple meetings or events - the worst thing that can happen is you feel awkward for an hour. The faster you get used to pushing past that feeling, the better off you'll be - not just in college, but in life.

If you insist that organizations aren't your thing, you still might have to leave your comfort zone a bit. Do you know the single most important factor for developing and maintaining friendships? Repeated positive interaction. That's it. Be the person who smiles at the girl you see at breakfast in the dining hall, even if you aren't a morning person. Ask to borrow a pencil from the person you sit next to in sociology (and seriously, return it). Whatever. Put yourself out there in a positive way.


4. Breathe

The first semester at college is overwhelming for just about everyone. Overwhelming can be good though! Think about the alternative - being underwhelmed. Learn to love the chaos and the process of this new adventure, instead of fighting it or dwelling on the negative aspects. And remember...

As always, if you need someone to talk to about specific concerns, you can get in touch with me. I've been there.

August 19, 2013

Drugstore Makeup Haul

Normally, I can be a little bit of a makeup snob. Presentation is half the shopping experience, and it is really hard to choose the harshly lit and haphazardly arranged aisles of a drugstore over the perfection that is Sephora or a department store cosmetics counter. After watching several of Jaclyn Hill's amazingly helpful makeup tutorials, I decided to see if I could find any hidden treasures at the drugstore. Here's what I left with:

(clockwise from top)

Physician's Formula highlighting powder

This has been popping up on my Pinterest feed like crazy. After trying it, I totally understand why! It highlights your cheekbones as well as any of the expensive highlighting powders, and even comes with a perfectly sized brush.

Revlon 24 hour foundation

I have been using BB cream for the last few months. Backpacking Europe doesn't really require a full face of makeup. However, with more events and nights out now, I wanted to find a new foundation. This one came recommended by the aforementioned Jaclyn Hill. It feels silky smooth, and comes in a ton of shades. I'm also loving the weighty container and simple packaging (again, presentation scores big with me).

Sonia Kashuk Super Sheer Liquid Tint (in Poppy)

My makeup pet peeve is the muddy bronzer look that inevitably shows up on at least one person in every bar. I get the love of contouring and the attraction of a sunkissed glow, but seriously - you are not naturally that tan (read: orange). Choosing a bronzer without shimmer helps prevent the muddy look, but so does using a blush along with your bronzer. This color looks pretty intimidating at first, but blends into your skin beautifully! I'm sold.

Maybelline SuperStay 10 Hr Stain Gloss (in Pink Flush)

I generally am not that enthusiastic about lip products. Give me Smith's Rosebud Salve and the occasional gloss and I'm a happy girl. I want to start experimenting with brighter shades though, and I thought a cheap one would be a good place to start. My only complaint is the super weird applicator shape. I just used a lip brush to apply it.

e.l.f stipple brush

Until recently I hadn't tried applying foundation with anything but a plain old makeup sponge, but consider me a converted woman. Stippling on your base gives the lightest, most natural coverage. This one was super cheap ($3), but it works just fine for me.

Any other hidden gems I should know about?

August 16, 2013

Ditching the Sweatpants

Whether you go to bed alone or happen to be in good company, there is something luxurious about pretty sleepwear. Two beautiful (and famous) blondes have expressed differing opinions on the matter:


I tend to side with Heidi on this one. I actually blame Gossip Girl for my love of beautiful sleepwear, though. It seems like nearly every episode displays Blair and Serena looking chic even when going to bed.

Even for those of us not living drama-filled lives on the Upper East Side, putting a little more effort in to what you sleep in is a simple way to indulge yourself. I can guarantee my hair doesn't typically look as good as Blair and Serena's while I'm wearing them, but here are a few of my favorite pieces:


P.S. In the interest of full disclosure, I feel obligated to tell you that I do still own sweatpants. There are days when nothing silky, lacy, or pretty works quite as well.

August 12, 2013

The Real Freshman Essentials

Every store you enter around this time of year has a "back-to-school" shopping list. Try as they might, the lists are far from inclusive. There are some items you really need in order to enjoy your first semester at college to the fullest, and they probably aren't all going to be found in your local Bed, Bath, and Beyond.


Grab every pair of cowgirl boots, American flag printed shirt, ugly Christmas sweater, and neon clothing item you own and throw it in your luggage immediately. As much fun as it is to make a pre-party run to the thrift shop or costume store before each themed event, do yourself a favor and bring what you already have. It's worth it to have an extensive costume wardrobe.


You never know when you'll need a neon printed sweatshirt or an ugly Christmas sweater


Craft Supplies

Essential if you plan on rushing a sorority. All those jokes about crafting and Pinterest ideas? Totally true. By the end of college, I had accumulated four bins full of scrapbook supplies, paint, brushes, and the like. Even if you don't plan on going through recruitment, painting a picture frame or a canvas can be a fun project to do with your new roommate.

Ear Plugs and a Sleep Mask

Dorms are loud, period. One semester, I lived under the basketball team. Imagine not only the sound of a 6'7" man clomping around, but also the dribbling of a basketball. At all hours. Over my bed. When you do have time to sleep at college, you want it to be quality sleep. These items can also help avoid a disagreement with your roommate about lighting and whether the television should be on while you're sleeping.

Extra Sheets

Okay, I think most moms out there will have this covered, but just in case - bring at least two sets of extra sheets for your dorm bed. In a dorm, your bed is basically your little sanctuary - the hub of your studying, TV watching, roommate chatting, Starbucksing days.. In the event of a Diet Coke disaster, or your roommate's smelly boyfriend putting his feet up there, have a few extra sets of sheets on hand. Last-minute laundry on campus tends to be inconvenient, especially when you're ready to crash for the night.

Reusable Water Bottle

I had about five of these at my disposal. I used them in the gym, in my school bag, the library, wherever. Water fountains are ubiquitous on most campuses, and staying hydrated is so important for your health and appearance. Pick a cute one, and carry it everywhere.

 This bottle lets you add your own flavor
How cute are these monogrammed bottles?!
Anything I missed? What were your essentials?

August 7, 2013

Defining Success

I've been giving a lot of thought lately to what it means to be successful. While I haven't settled on a concrete definition yet, I like to think I know it when I see it in others. During my job search, I've discovered a favorite question of potential employers - "What does success mean to you?" It's so easy to default to a trite (however valid) answer like "being happy" or "fulfilling my dreams," but what do those phrases actually mean?

 There are so many amazing articles floating around the internet about what it means to be successful, and how to get to that point yourself. One of my favorite resources is Levo League. This community is basically every twenty-something woman's dream! Whether you're still in college or have recently entered "grown-up" life, there are tons of articles, mentors, and advice to discover. Here are just some examples:

I recently came across this article, which highlights the habits of the rich vs. the poor. While I do not think money always equals success, it is a pretty interesting (one dimensional) list. Scroll down to the comments section to see how it got a lot of people pretty fired up.

As much as I would love to instantly discover steps A, B, and C to the life of my dreams, the exploration is half the fun.


P.S. Check out my Pinterest board for more of the professional resources I love!

August 6, 2013

Loving lululemon

 Logically, I know I can throw on some shorts and a battered high school t-shirt and complete my workout just fine. There is something to be said, however, for making an effort to find high quality workout clothing that makes you feel inspired. For me, lululemon exemplifies stylish, quality fitness apparel. The brand conveys a lifestyle of health, fun, and vitality. The fact that the clothing makes you feel attractive while sweat is pouring down your face is just a plus. The Luon® fabric is incredibly soft, comfortable, and hands-down my favorite for yoga apparel. Whenever I feel the workout-wear laziness start to creep in, I throw on lululemon and am instantly reminded of why a grungy old t-shirt just won't cut it. Here are some of my favorites:



August 5, 2013

Cardio Comparison

While I fully believe in the value of weightlifting to achieve your best body...I. Love. Cardio. For me, it's an opportunity to zone out and really think, listen to some music, while getting a workout in. Multitasking makes me happy. Whether you're stuck in a gym or have access to some awesome scenery, I have two favorite types of cardiovascular exercise - fasted cardio and high intensity interval training.

Fasted Cardio

Picture this: wake up, don't hit snooze, roll out of bed in your workout clothes and literally hit the ground running. Maybe drink a glass of water first if it's going to be toasty outside. It sounds mildly torturous, but I love it. Fasted cardio not only gets your workout completed early and wakes you up better than any cup of coffee, but has also been shown to burn more fat. Who doesn't want that?


If you're looking for serious calorie burn, hanging out on the elliptical while flipping through Vogue probably isn't going to cut it. Plus, who has time for that? Studies show that you can achieve more progress with 15 minutes of interval training that you can in an hour jogging on the treadmill. In addition to being super efficient, HIIT has many other benefits. Basically any type of cardio can be converted into HIIT - even the aforementioned elliptical.

One final note: don't try to mix the two. Running fasted sprints in the morning is a recipe for disaster (and muscle loss). Keep your fasted cardio at a steady level, and fuel your HIIT.

Here is an example of my typical HIIT workout: