Saturday, October 25, 2014

What I'm FALL-ing for this season!

The leaves are finally turning colors, and the air smells of apple cider. That's right, fall is upon us! Fall is my absolute favorite season. I just love the coziness of it!

That being said, I also adore fall fashion. Deep reds and hunter greens, plaids, cognacs, boots, sweaters... these are a few of my favorite things! 

Here are some things I'm dying to get my hands on this season. 

1. Hunter boots- I would love to invest in a pair of these. They would especially be great to have once I go off to college in two years! My issue is that I can't decide which color! I love the black, navy and hunter green options. 

2. Bean boots- I would definitely be stepping a bit outside my comfort zone by purchasing these. I live in Pennsylvania, and the preppy style isn't very popular here, at least where I live. However I'm thinking I may just have to jump the gun on these and be a trendsetter because they are both cute and practical! After all, this year's winter is supposedly going to be even worse than last year's.

3. Vests- I absolutely love this trend! The great thing about all these preppy pieces is that while they may be considered a "trend" right now because they are increasingly popular, the definition of preppy is dressing in a way that is classic, elegant, and timeless. These items will never go out of style! There are plenty of to die for options at J. Crew, but those come at a hefty price. There are some similar options at Old Navy, which I am holding out for to be restocked. Let me know if you know of any affordable vest options similar to the J. Crew styles!

4. Plaid flannels- Believe it or not I do not own a single flannel or plaid button down, or anything of the like! I adore how these look layered underneath vests and paired with cognac riding boots (my pair from American Eagle are my most worn shoes for the fall and winter), so I know I'll have to get my hands on one sometime this season. I am particularly interested in shirts that have a red, black/navy, and green pattern or something similar! I know J. Crew has many fabulous options, but again, they come at a hefty price! I am thinking of checking Target later today.

5. MORE SCARVES!- Scarves are probably my favorite clothing piece for fall and winter. I have what some would probably consider plenty already, but they are just so beautiful, comfortable, and easy to throw on! They can instantly transform an outfit. All you have to do in the morning is throw one on over your favorite sweater, pull on some jeans and boots and out the door you go, looking fabulous. I am picking up a Zara blanket scarf dupe at Target later today, which is a tan, red and green plaid pattern. This season I am hoping to pick up some chunky knit scarves in plain cream, hunter green, and garnet/burgundy. 

6. Navy cable-knit sweater- I already own many great sweaters but I have noticed this season that my closet is lacking in the navy hue! I think navy is such a gorgeous, classic neutral. I can't help but long for it in the form of a traditional Ralph Lauren cable-knit. I have a few scarves that would complement navy fabulously, plus I picked up some light-wash jeans this season which would look great with a navy sweater and cognac boots. 

7. Black & white striped longsleeve/sweater- I adore black and white stripes for every season. They are just so classy. I do have a three quarter sleeve sweater from Forever 21 which has very thick black and white stripes. To this day that sweater is one of my best purchases. I love it! However I am finding that I could wear a long sleeve with skinnier black and white stripes with many of the things I already own. I am even thinking of being a bandit for Halloween if I can find this item soon enough! 

Hope you're enjoying fall as much as I am!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Home Stretch

Summer vacation is only three official days away for me, and for many it is already in full swing! I have one more final to go tomorrow morning and then I'm completely done learning for the year. My last final is English, and all I have to do is write out a preplanned essay, followed by coming home and writing a short little essay for First Aid and CPR that I was absent for. Then, after all of that I will be 100% done with school work! Wednesday is an early dismissal and sort of a party day in all my classes, and then Thursday, the last day, an even earlier dismissal, is a new tradition my school is starting this year called "Move Up Day", where you check your out classes for the next year. 

I think Move Up Day is a good idea so that you can see who all is in your classes and get some info about summer AP work, but at the same time I sort of like being surprised by my new classmates on the first day. I have never been one to freak out over who I have classes with and who I can walk with from class to class, unlike most of the people in my school. I have always ended up knowing people and like I said, I quite enjoy not knowing. Finding out on the first day doesn't give me a whole lot of time to think about how upset I am that I have a class with so-and-so or that I'm surrounded by smart people and will feel stupid, or that all my friends have a different teacher, and I think that just makes the overall year more enjoyable. 

I feel like having an entire summer to stew over who's in my classes will just take away the fun. Now, don't get me wrong, I completely understand people who feel anxious not knowing. That's just not me, I'm surprisingly pretty chill about it, for a somewhat uptight person. I'm weird in the way that I am very independent but also not a loner; I like being surrounded by people but am completely fine not being around others every second. My Meyers-Briggs personality is an ENFJ, if you google it I think it sums me up nicely. 

Most girls are always walking in a posse, whereas there a few classes each day where I walk confidently alone. I have never felt judged by anyone for walking alone, probably because I never look sad. If someone asked to walk with me of course, I'd say yes! More power to you, though, if you're the type always walking in a pack. To each his own!

I have really strived this year to embody something Kid President said: "Be somebody who makes everybody feel like a somebody." This goes along with my philosophy of taking each classmate for what they're worth. Don't get me wrong, I'm not perfect- I judge people. I think it's impossible not to, at first. But one of the ways I keep myself from missing out on someone I might actually like is by not freaking about who I do and do not have classes with. 

If you haven't heard of Kid President, you need to look it up on youtube right now! He is so awesome!!!



Sunday, June 8, 2014

Father's Day Gift Ideas

Father's day is only a week away, but with finals and all the end of the year madness, shopping is always last-minute for me! I love giving gifts and I strive to make each one something special that the person will really enjoy. Sometimes a little inspiration is all I need to spark the perfect idea, or other times people will share a product that is just perfect for the occasion. So, without further ado, here are some things I think would be the perfect gifts!

One// Weber's New Real Grilling ($15)- Perfect for the grilling aficionado, this cookbook is complete with mouth watering pictures of every recipe and extremely helpful grilling tips. I actually bought this for my dad last father's day and he loves it. We have been smitten with every recipe we've tried so far. Cookbooks can be a tricky gift because they can be somewhat boring and impersonal- after all, who doesn't have loads of cookbooks piling up on a shelf somewhere? The key is to find one unique, easy to use, and tailored to your dad's taste. We don't have anything like this cookbook, and the photography alone makes you want to try everything. There are several guides and grilling tips which make my dad feel like a pro. The recipes are modern but nothing too far out of the comfort zone. Think classic with a twist- unexpected yet delicious favor combinations, like prosciutto-wrapped grilled pineapple spears, bourbon-glazed bacon-wrapped pork chops, and grilled peach with blue cheese bruschetta drizzled with honey. 

Two// Life is Good Tee ($26)- You really can't go wrong with one of these super-soft, positive message inscribed t-shirts. With so many different images on the front, you'll be sure to find one that screams your dad's name. Everyone loves things that perfectly describe their interests and talents. Whether your dad is a kayaker, hiker, baseball lover, bike rider, motorcycle dude, barbecue king, or anything else you could think of, Life Is Good has a t-shirt made for him. Another past father's day gift, my dad was amazed there was a t-shirt with three of his favorite things (bike riding, kayaking, and hiking) on it in a cheery graphic image. Plus, who doesn't love good vibes and clothes that feel like pajamas?

Three// American Crew Shave Products (around $12 each)- I'm no expert on men's shaving products, so I will just say this: we bought my dad a sample pack of these products from our salon one year, and he continues to ask for them and purchase them when he wants to splurge. Coming from a man whose sole toiletries are typically Suave 99 cent shampoo, Dove soap, and whatever shave cream's on sale, that's saying something. I mean, who doesn't like to feel pampered? Whatever product from the line you choose, it's sure to be a winner for any dad.  
Four// Harding Lane Needlepoint Baseball Cap ($30)- A similar option to the Life is Good t-shirts, every man will enjoy an addition to their hat collection. These top-notch quality hats look and feel good, and they come in all different designs for whatever suits your dad. Especially perfect for the summer months, these hats are unique enough to make them special. It is my personal opinion that, for most men, you can never go wrong with a baseball hat. And that Apr├ęs Ski beanie... Oh, my heart.  I'll definitely have to remember it for Christmas. 

Five// L.L. Bean Monogrammed Terry Cloth Robe ($69) or Seersucker PJs ($59)- For some reason LL Bean would not allow me to save an image off their website, so I'll have to leave you with a measly link. But seriously, this is one of those gifts no one knows they need. I especially adore the navy terry cloth robe. Your dad will look so tan! And please, please, add a monogram. Everyone loves a personal touch! Especially for men, good quality pajamas are something that people just don't tend to allow themselves to spend money on, but my oh my, are they missing out. 

Hopefully this list gave you some ideas and helped ease the stress! Dads can be so hard to shop for. I know it's quite last minute, so hopefully you're either able to overnight these or pick them up locally. Have a wonderful father's day, and remember to say thank you to your daddy (as if you'd forget!) for raising you- just look what a fine job he did;)

What are you doing for your dad this father's day? Let me know in the comments!



P.S.- this post is not sponsored in any way!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

One Heck of a Ride

It's been about a year and a half (ok, a month) since I posted last and I just wanted to leave this update here in the hopes that someone besides myself stumbles across my blog.

These last few months of school are always the most stressful; there's AP testing (check), Keystones (PA's standardized subject tests- also check), and the worst of all: FINALS. I'm internally dying a little inside as my Honors Chemistry final rapidly approaches. It's less than a month away. YIKES.

If you didn't know, Honors Chem is basically my least favorite thing in the entire world. I kid you not. My brain is just not wired that way; everything goes in one ear and out the other. Granted, I've been pulling off a B average, but that is my lowest grade so far in high school. Okay, you either really want to punch me in the face right now or you totally understand me. Sorry. I know it's annoying when people say they're doing bad but they're really not. The thing is, I'm actually jealous of people who aren't necessarily doing the best, the people who choose to take things with a grain of salt. I get so upset over my grades it's pathetic.

Anyway, we were recently informed that our final for Chem is 4 parts- a lab section, a written section, a word problems section, and multiple choice. The multiple choice is an SAT subject test. Basically I'm going to cry. I don't think I've ever actually quite understood a lab- I always just let my lab partner interpret the directions and I assist in any way I can. So the lab final should be fun. The rest I'm not even going to think about. I'm going to try to pick up one of those practice tests for an SAT Chemistry Subject Test at the bookstore this weekend and do some of that. I skimmed through one for my Human Geography AP Exam and I really think it helped. Fingers crossed.

At least I finally have AP Human Geo behind me... all we're doing in that class now is easy peasy culture "fluff" projects and a field trip. My only two finals will be English and Chem, and I'd be quite surprised if I studied for my English final. From here on out my one and only focus is Chem. That doesn't mean I'm going to completely skip out on the work for my other classes... I'll still do it, it'll just be complete BS. I honestly never try in English and have a 95, and my other classes are all basically fluff- First Aid & CPR, Aerobics, and like I said, AP Human.

The funny thing is that as I'm writing all this stuff about focusing on Chem, I'm stalling studying for a chem test. Which is tomorrow. It's 7 PM and I haven't even looked at the info. So that's good. I should maybe do that.



P.S. This summer- which for me starts June 12- you can look forward to LOTS more posts!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Sugar Challenge: UPDATE!

I have made it a whopping six days without sugar. I now only have until Wednesday to complete the challenge! It's actually been a lot easier than I thought. That said, I seriously don't think I could've done this if my parents hadn't hopped on board. It's so much better when you have a support system!

My friends in my Aerobics class have been a great help as well. Outside of gym class, however a lot of my friends have made me especially grateful to have people willing to take the challenge with me, because I've gotten my fair share of "Wow that sucks! This donut tastes so good" at the lunch table. ;) "Power through!" I tell myself.

And power through I have. Nothing makes you feel better than staying on track of a goal! Okay, I'm gloating I know. Whoops. But, let's call it "glowing" instead. This challenge has actually been fun, it's an adventure finding snacks in the grocery store! No more picking up random handfuls and stuffing them in my mouth just 'cuz. 

I hope to stick to a healthier regimen even after this challenge, although I do plan on letting myself have dessert on occasion. Or once a day. Like my Dad always says, "all things in moderation!"

Also, I've discovered some truly yummy AND  good-for-you snacks thanks to this process.

My favorite? Kashi Go Lean Crunch cereal with strawberries and bananas or over Chobani greek yogurt. Such a delicious, easy, and filling way to start your day.

Only four more days!!!! 

How to transition your wardrobe from bitter cold to bright and bold!

(Image created by me on polyvore)

With the winter months finally coming to an end and spring weather reappearing, it's time to pull yourself out of that winter fashion rut. Now, don't get me wrong, I love me some winter clothes. Sweaters and boots? For me, it doesn't get much better than that. But, if you live on the east coast, this winter's felt like 3 winter seasons in 1- it's stretched on FOREVER!

It's finally time to add some brightness to those cozy sweaters and deep, warm tones. Adding pops of color is key to transitioning clothing pieces to spring. When I think of spring, I think of BRIGHT, so I like to apply that to my wardrobe. The key is balance... I don't prefer to look like a pack of highlighters on a daily basis.
(Image created by me on polyvore)

Look #1: Pair a sweater with a statement necklace

Austique Sweater ($275)- For this look, I started out with a piece that you probably already have in your winter wardrobe- a cozy sweater. This one has bold black and white stripes, which adds to the look. I personally think that everyone should own a black and white striped top, or two, or three... they're just so versatile.
For a simple sweater like this one, there are many much more affordable options, like at Forever 21 or Old Navy. But this is a classic piece that you can wear time and time again, so it's a good basic to invest in. 

Kate Spade statement necklace ($89)- This hot pink statement necklace adds the perfect amount of vibrance. Black and white stripes and hot pink is one of my personal favorite combinations.
I personally go straight to Forever 21 when I want a new statement necklace. These are jewelry pieces that are fun to have in every color, so I don't like to splurge.

Pull & Bear jeans ($50)- The light wash  and destroyed rip embellishments give off an airy, casual vibe, adding a nice bit of contrast with the rest of the outfit.
For me, jeans are jeans. If they fit me right, I'm happy. No designer names needed to please this girl.

Tory Burch flats ($250)- Really any kind of shoes work with this, but I just adore the peacock hue of the Tory Burch flats pictured. The bright reflective gold toe add a bit of glam.
These are something very unique, so I'd say it'd be worth it to splurge. Treat yoself!

Michael Kors tote ($570)- This cognac tote is a piece that may be carried over from fall and winter to add some warmth. Perfect for these in-between-days where it's still a crisp 50 degrees, but sunny and smelling of spring.
Everyone needs to invest in a quality handbag or two, however I think you can do that for a better price. I always go straight for the outlets when I'm in the market for a classic bag.  

... Stay tuned for look #2! Coming soon!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Sugar Challenge

Dearest readers,

I would like to challenge YOU to take part in a challenge to cut down on sugar in our diets, at least temporarily.

I have currently gone two full days without eating sugar or any of its various forms. At least, nothing that contains sugar in the first three ingredients.

You guys. I love me some sugar. I have an enormous sweet tooth. Needless to say, this IS NOT EASY.

The Sugar Challenge was assigned by my aerobics teacher. Well, not really assigned, since it's a challenge. It's for your own good, to test your own will power. No punishment if you decide not to do it or try it and fail. The goal is to go 10 straight days without eating anything that contains sugar in the first three ingredients. (Ingredients are listed in order of most-least)

You can use natural sugars such as raw honey, Stevia, coconut sugar, pure maple syrup, maple sugar, barley malt syrup, brown rice syrup, date sugar, and blackstrap molasses.

The forms of sugar that are not allowed:

Brown sugar
Confectioner's sugar/powdered sugar
Corn syrup
High-fructose corn syrup
Invert sugar
Lactose/milk sugar
Raw sugar
Sucrose/table sugar
Turbinado sugar

This challenge is making me so much more aware of how much junk I typically put into my body on the daily.

Even my lunchmeat ham had sugar as the third ingredient! I accidentally ate it for lunch yesterday because I didn't even think to check the label. I mean, it's deli ham!

I've realized that just about EVERYTHING contains sugar. It may not be in the top three ingredients of everything, but it's probably fourth or fifth.

Even besides sugar, when you really look at the ingredients on foods, there are so many funky chemicals in there that you don't even think about. I tend to turn a blind eye when I grab a granola bar out of the cabinet, or anything else that I know is processed, but even seemingly healthy things, like granola bars, are mostly comprised of chemicals. So gross, right?

We put so much unnecessary junk into our bodies without even realizing it.

Even though it's only the second day, things that wouldn't normally taste that sweet to me taste like candy now. Strawberries, for instance, taste like candy. It's kinda great.

Other ways to satisfy your sweet tooth if fruit isn't cutting it:

Special K Dark Chocolate protein bars have been my secret weapon. They have chocolate drizzled on them and chocolate chips, but sugar is the fourth ingredient so I'm allowed to eat them! When I'm craving something sweet, I whip out one of those and it's surprisingly satisfying.

I've basically been living off of these Special K Red Berries frozen waffles. They also have sugar as the fourth ingredient. Since I'm always in a rush in the morning, I can just pop two in the toaster and eat them plain. They already have berries in them so they're pretty good without syrup.

I know it sounds like I'm just sneaking around the challenge by loading up on foods with sugar as the fourth ingredient, but I really have been eating a lot healthier. I just wanted to include those to help you get by, because if you have a sweet tooth like me, this is really difficult!

For lunch today I packed a turkey sandwich with just turkey, cheese, and lettuce on a sandwich thin. I also packed goldfish and strawberries, with a Special K protein bar as my snack. This is not too far off from a normal lunch that I would pack; the only difference is no dessert!

For dinner last night (my parents are joining me on the challenge), we had chicken fajitas. One of my favorite meals, this tasted SO GOOD after a day of bland food.

I'm going to the grocery store tonight to get Chobani greek yogurt and cottage cheese, both of which are sugar free. These will be great for after-school snacks, and I can't wait to have the Chobani to make smoothies. Both alone and in smoothies, it'll be a great way to add some natural sweetness.

After this monster of a post, I hope you'll consider joining me on this sugar challenge!



P.S. It may be April 1st, but this is no April Fool's joke! ;)