Monday, June 30, 2014

What I've Been Up To....

I just got back Saturday night (well technically Sunday morning since we got in after midnight!) from a fabulous vacation. As in, quite possibly the best vacation ever. It was also the longest trip (12 days!) and the farthest away I've ever been from home (3750 miles!).

I spent the past two weeks in Alaska!

I love to travel, and for being only 19 years old, I think I've seen a lot of places. I haven't even come close to seeing a lot of the US though. I've never seen the Rocky Mountains, the volcanoes of Hawaii, or Yellowstone National Park. BUT, I have visited about half of the states. I have seen the white sand beaches of Florida, Arcadia National Park in Maine, and the cliffs of the Pacific Ocean in California. All of those places (and many more!) were gorgeous. But Alaska? At least in comparison to all of the states I've been to so far, I think Alaska is my favorite for being the most beautiful.

I wasn't expecting to be that blown away by the breathtaking mountains. Almost everywhere you looked, you were surrounded by rugged, snow covered mountains. And even though it was cold and rainy - a far cry from the sun of Florida that I associate with vacation - Alaska was so amazing.

I saw glaciers, mountains, whales, moose, caribou, sheep, bald eagles, and whales. I traveled on planes, trains, cars, buses, and boats. It was, quite simply, a once-in-a-lifetime type of trip.

I have SO many things to blog about and 1,000+ pictures to go through, so it may take me a little while to post about it. And even though the pictures are pretty, they fail in comparison to actually seeing the sights in person.

If visiting Alaska isn't already on your bucket list, you need to add it right now ;)

I made this little video on the plane ride home, so I thought I'd share it now.....

Look out for many more pictures and stories to come!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Themed Playlists

I am the queen of playlists, especially themed playlists. I counted all up all of the playlists on my iPod, and I currently have 35. THIRTY FIVE. That seems like a lot, but I love me a good playlist.

My specialty is themed playlists.

Take this summer one for example. It has all of my favorite summer songs on it. I can't listen to this playlist and not feel like it's summer. I also listen to this one all year round. Sometimes you just need a little taste of summer in February, am I right?

But I don't just have a summer playlist, because that's pretty easy to put together. Kind of a no brainer - everyone needs a summer playlist.

One of my other favorite playlists is my Road Trip playlist, filled with all driving themed songs. Life Is A Highway? Check! Highway Don't Care? Of course! Shut Up and Drive? Duh! There is nothing better than driving down the highway listening to this playlist.

Another one of my favorite themed playlists is called Home. I made this at the end of April when I was going on my Montreal trip. I started thinking about all of the songs that have to do with being home, and I realized that they would make a pretty awesome playlist. This is the perfect one to listen to on your way home from a trip!

Even though I absolutely love my summer, driving, home, and many other playlists, my all time favorite ones to put together are for a trip or vacation. Pretty much every single trip I go on has to have an accompanying playlist. I love to make trip themed ones because I always listen to them while on vacation, but then I'll continue to listen to them afterwards and every time I do, it reminds me a fabulous trip!

I usually try to find songs that have to do with the place I'm going. That was super easy for my California playlist because there are a TON of songs about California! (Funny story about this playlist - I made it right before I was going to book a flight out there, and then the trip fell through. So I don't listen to this one a ton because I'm still a little bitter about not going to Cali - ha!).

When I went to the Dominican Republic last year, I made this playlist. I can't think of a song that has anything to do with the Dominican, so I went for a summer/flying theme since we were obviously flying there. This is probably my most favorite playlist because I listen to it all the time - it turned out so good!

I also really like this playlist from my New York trip. Again, it was super easy to find songs about New York, but I also went in December, so I included some Christmas songs as well.

I do have a couple of more random playlists, but my themed ones are my favorite. And not to brag, but I think I'm pretty good at coming up with a themed playlist ;)

Here's some of my tips to come up with a themed playlist of your own:

1. Come up with a theme. It can be broad or more detailed, but think about events in your life that other people tend to write songs about as well.

2. Start looking through your iTunes library for songs that fit the theme. You may be able to just think of some off the top of your head. Otherwise, think of some keywords that you can use to search for related songs. For example, when I was creating my "Road Trip" playlist, I searched "road", "car", "highway", etc. I have a big enough library that I can usually find a couple good songs that I hadn't initially thought of.

3. Do a search on Google for "songs about ________". Google is always a good place to start if you're having a hard time coming up with some ideas.

4. Search iTunes! For pretty much all of my themed playlists, I usually end up buying a few songs off of iTunes if they seem perfect.

5. If you need some filler songs to make your playlist a little longer, I usually download a few songs off the iTunes Top 100 list and add those in as well.

And that's it! Like I said before, I love making my vacation themed playlists because even if I listen to them years later, they always take me right back to my trip.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Few Favorites

I've been meaning to do a post on some of my new favorite things, and I'm just now getting around to it!

Here are some recent things that I have been LOVING lately.....

My new favorite lipgloss is the Buxom Full-On Lip Polish in Celeste. I just bought it a few weeks ago, and I've been using it like every day. It stays on forever, is super shimmery in a really flattering way, and smells so yummy!

A few months ago I bought the Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette, and I have been absolutely obsessed with it. It's pretty much the only eyeshadow palette I've been reaching for. The colors are all gorgeous and the entire palette smells like chocolate since they use cocoa powder as one of the ingredients.

Last summer I bought a really cute Michael Kors shirt on sale, and I ended up falling in love with it. They brought it back this year, and I found it on sale again, so I scooped it up in another color. I now have it in hot pink and navy blue. This shirt is the absolute best!

About a month ago, my dad went to the dentist and they recommended that he use the Arm & Hammer Whitening Booster. Now I use it too! You just apply a little bit of the gel on top of your toothpaste and brush like normal. It's supposed to whiten your teeth (and I think it has a little), but it also just makes your mouth feel a lot cleaner!

I have been absolutely obsessed with this J.Crew Factory necklace since I bought it last month. It's a great statement necklace that goes with pretty much everything. I've been wearing it with both t-shirts and sundresses. I love the way it just makes an outfit feel put together. Plus it's on sale for under $20 - you should totally buy it!

I can't talk about necklaces without mentioning my hands down favorite necklace of all time. I probably wear this necklace 5-6 days each week. During the school year, I wear it every single day to class. It's my Return to Tiffany heart pendant. I love it because it's classic and goes with everything. It was also a Christmas present from my grandpa several years ago, so it has some sentimental value too. I have the matching earrings too, and I love those as well!

And finally, I can't do a favorites post without mentioning my favorite pair of shoes - my Hunter wellies! I went back and forth on these for a long time before I bought them. They're more expensive than I would usually spend on a pair of shoes, and would I really wear them that often since you only wear them when it rains? I ended up reading a ton of positive reviews on them, so I decided to go for it, and I got the pink ones (which I don't think they have anymore - I literally bought the last pink ones from Bloomingdales). And I LOVE them. They were totally worth every penny because I wear them all the time. If there's a chance of rain, my Hunters are probably on my feet. I've been wearing them even in the summer sometimes if it's cool enough. I also think they are the single piece of my wardrobe that has received the most compliments. I get compliments on them pretty much every time I wear them. Plus they just make me so happy every time I slip them on. I also have the special lining socks for them, so I wear them to class in the snow too! They're actually super versatile!

Those are just some of my favorite things!

Monday, June 23, 2014

BIG Project News!

Hello! Today I've got a fun little announcement to make.

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I bought a book called The $100 Startup for an Honors project.

I also posted this picture of a book I've been reading for the project.

Well, I am in the Honors program at school, and we have to do five "experiences" by the time we graduate. You can fulfill the experience requirement by either taking Honors seminars, doing a pre-approved project, or proposing your own project. Since I am not in class this semester and I'm not working full time, I thought this summer would be a good time to get an Honors project knocked out.

I decided to propose my own project because I had been required to write up a proposal for practice my first semester, and I had been encouraged to actually submit that proposal and to complete the project.

This project idea has actually been a long time coming. I've tossed the idea around for several years but was always a little nervous and afraid to actually do it.

So, I am happy to say that by the end of this summer, I will finally have.......

. own website/Facebook page for my baking business!

I am really excited to get this project off the ground. So far, I've been doing research on effective marketing strategies and just how to set up your own small business. I figured that this project is perfect because it fulfills an Honors requirement, will be a great thing to put on a resume, but is, most importantly, just something I've been passionate about for so long.

I've had so many people over the years tell me I should start my own bakery or get a website, and I can't wait to actually see it all put together.

I've still got a lot of work to do for the project, but I think it's going to be great. My next steps are to come up with a name and logo, then start writing the website content, and actually setting up the site!

I'll definitely keep you updated on how it's going and everything as it gets closer to the end of the summer.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this project is a success!

Friday, June 20, 2014

It Did.

I find that I tend to draw a lot of post inspiration from songs I listen to, especially songs by Brad Paisley. He always seems to write songs that are so real, and I love that about listening to his music.

A few weeks ago I was shuffling through my songs on my iPod and came across Brad Paisley's "It Did". It was in my music library, but I had never heard it before. And I loved it. If you've never heard the song, I strongly recommend going here and listening to it!

My favorite part of the song is these lyrics:

And I said to myself
It doesn't get better than this.
No, it doesn't get better than this.
And it did.
It did.

Just when I start thinkin' it's as good as it can get,
This crazy life does something just to let me know
I haven't seen anything yet.

There have been so many times in my life that I've thought the exact same thing.

When I was graduating grade school, I thought I was at a high point. I had a big group of friends that always got together on the weekend, and I thought that it wouldn't get better than that. And it did.

I went to a fabulous high school and made so many memories with my grade school friends, but I also met a lot of new people. This time last year I was super sad because once again, I thought to myself that surely something so great and wonderful couldn't possibly happen to me again. I couldn't get that lucky. It wouldn't get any better than that. And it did.

Now I'm in college, and I love where I'm at in life. Things are crazy and uncertain, but I love college. I've made new friends and gone out of the country, and my first year has been so much fun. A small part of me thinks, once again, that college is it - the time in life where it won't get any better than this. But another part of me thinks that if the past is any indication of the future, then it will.

There are still so many more things ahead of me that I know will make my life so much better.

And I'm excited for a lifetime of more it did moments :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Favorite Hair Products

I have always had a love/hate relationship with my hair that generally leans more toward hate. If I let it air dry 100% naturally and did nothing else to it, I would never ever leave my house because it's pretty much just a frizzy mess. That's why I've been using a straightener on it for basically as long as I can remember because that helps get the frizz under control. I've tried tons and tons of hair products, but nothing helps it like a little heat from a straightener.

Over the last few months though, I've found some products that I really like and have helped me.

I always use the John Frieda Smooth Start shampoo and conditioner. I really like this stuff because it always makes my hair feel super clean, and although my hair is still pretty frizzy, it's not quite as bad as it was before I starting using the Smooth Start products.

If I'm straightening my hair these days, I always use the Garnier Sleek & Shine Flat Iron Perfector. You just spray this on a section of dry hair and then immediately straighten over top of it. It makes your hair smoother and shinier, but it's also a heat protector. Since I use so much heat on my hair (unfortunately), protecting it from the heat as much as possible is super important. I love this stuff!

I also discovered a new trick for my hair that requires absolutely no heat - beachy waves!

I haven't done this a ton, but I was happy with the results (although the one day it rained and my hair was SO frizzy that I decided beachy hair will not be happening on rainy days - ha!).

It's super easy though, and I love that I can do this every once in a while to give my hair a break from the heat. After I shower at night, I use a little of the Pantene BB Creme on my damp hair to try and reduce some of the frizz (I've been using this when I blow dry my hair too!).

Then I spray my hair with the Not Your Mother's Beach Babe Texturing Sea Salt Spray. I love this stuff because it smells so good! Then I section my hair off into three braids and sleep on it. In the morning, I take the braids out, and I'm left with beachy waves.

I know this picture isn't the best, but this is what my hair looks like when I do the beachy waves!

If you have naturally frizzy and crazy hair like me, you should try out some of these products - I've been impressed with all of them!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Spa Day + The Weekend

This has been such a fun weekend! Every summer my mom and I go and get pedicures. We've probably been doing it for about 5 years, and it's always one of my favorite summer things.

This year we decided to splurge and get manicures too. And not just any manicures....shellac manicures! This is the first time I've ever done a shellac, so I'm really hoping it lasts a long time. I love how shiny the gel polish makes your nails though. This picture doesn't do my French manicure any justice - it looks way better in real life!

The lighting is a little off on this picture as well, but I went for OPI's Senorita Rosalita on my toes.

We also swung by a local shop that sells sorority stuff. I was obsessed with this Kappa Delta phone case, but then after I bought it and got to the car, I went to put it on my phone and realized it was an iPhone 4 case and I have an iPhone 5S. Fail. So I had to take it back - I'm so bummed!

We ate lunch at Piada (one of my favorites!) before we stopped at BonBonerie to pick up some sweets. We got a couple chocolate caramel macarons because they are simply the best.

We also got some Father's Day sugar cookies. Yum!

My mom and I walked around an outdoor shopping area, and I finally found some cute white shoes! I've been needing a pair for sorority events, and I just loved these. Plus, they made my legs actually look a little tan, which is a miracle considering my skin is super pale......

And no shopping trip is complete without a stop at Yagoot!

On Saturday I mostly just got some things done around the house, went to church, and had dinner with my family. While I was getting some things done, Coco was laying on my bed and decided to go ahead and use my pillow. What a diva....

Yesterday my mom's side of the family met down at one of my favorite restaurants on the river for lunch to celebrate Father's Day. It was a gorgeous afternoon surrounded by my family, and it was just perfect!

I love perfect summer weekends like this!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Reese's Cup Oreos. SHUT UP.

What a week this has been!

I had work on Monday, and I was so tired that I had to stop and get a Starbucks (the Mocha Cookie Crumble is my favorite!) on my lunch break to get through the rest of the day.

Look at my cutie! I've been spending a lot of time snuggling with her lately ;)

On Tuesday I went to see The Fault in Our Stars again. It's just so amazing. I still cried seeing it the second time.....

On Wednesday, I went to dinner with some friends after work. We ate at Lime (one of my favorites!). It was raining off and on all day, but by the time we were leaving, it turned out to be pretty nice!

Yesterday, my mom and I made an afternoon trip to Zip Dip because it had actually been a while since we had both been there. Nothing better than some soft serve ice cream in the middle of the summer!

Last night I met Danielle for dinner at Panera, and then we went on a quest for Reese's Cup Oreos. You heard that right - what could be better? I had heard about them online and knew I wanted to try them. We tried Target and Krogers, but we ended up finding them at Walmart. Our Walmart is a little sketchy, but it was totally worth braving the scary Walmart when we finally found them. You need to go find these Reese's Oreos now. Such a perfect combination - I'm obsessed!

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Two Things I've Learned In College

The title of this post is a little misleading. I've obviously learned way more than two things since starting college. Things like how to account for credit card sales, ways in which the Fed can control the money supply, and how exactly the Internet works. But those things are facts that don't exactly lend to interesting blog posts.

Even though I've learned many business things in college, I've also learned some life lessons along the way. I've found that those lessons are more interesting to read about ;)

The first really important things I've learned is about working with other people. It's inevitable that you're going to work with other people for the rest of your life whether you're employed in the traditional way or not.

And working with people can be a real challenge. I can't even remember how many group projects I did this past year because there were so many. I had to work with lots of different people who didn't exactly work the same way I did. However, I think I found one of the keys to working well with just about anyone. If everyone took this advice, working on school group projects would be a breeze!

You don't have to be extraordinary or super smart, but if you do your work ahead of schedule, you'll impress just about anyone.

For example, I was in a group project where we had to write a business plan. We divided up the work into sections and had a designated editor who would put the paper together and make sure everything flowed smoothly. We laid out expectations and due dates by when each person had to send their finished part to the editor.

I wrote my section while I watched a movie over spring break. I did a fair amount of research and put some real effort into the piece, but it wasn't the best business plan ever written. BUT, I turned it into our editor several days in advance, and I can't even tell you how grateful she was to have it a little bit early.

You don't always have to write an amazing paper filled with great vocabulary words. Just do your best and get it done a little early than is expected of you, and it seems like people get really impressed by that. I am definitely going to continue to use this lesson when I start working for real - just imagine how impressed your boss would be if you finished a report a day before it was needed!

Another lesson I've learned has to do with my job. I work in an office where all of the full time employees dress business casual. Since I'm a student worker and I work in the back of the office where no one would even see me anyway, I don't have to dress business casual. In fact, there isn't really a dress code for the student workers as long as you don't show up in something super skimpy. We're allowed to wear shorts, yoga pants, gym shoes - basically anything we would wear to class.

Don't get me wrong - there have been plenty of times this past year where I've gone to class and work in yoga pants and a sweatshirt. However, now that it's summer, I'm not in class, and I'm not working a ton, I've been really trying to dress a little nicer than I'm expected to.

It's kind of like the saying "Dress for the job you want, not the job you have." Although I don't 100% agree with that statement, but I do think that dressing up a little more than necessary can be a good thing.

I can't tell you how many times I've been stopped by other people in the office complimenting me on my outfit. It's not like I'm getting super dressed up either - oftentimes I wear a skirt and a shirt, a dress, or a pair of capris with a nicer shirt. It's nothing over the top, but it's enough to stand out a little.

Sometimes the simplest things - like dressing a little nicer than is expected of you - can make you stand out.

Not to mention the fact that it's just fun to dress nice. I mean, who doesn't like to feel a little extra pretty even if it's just for a day at work?

Two of the lessons I learned my first year of college that I will definitely be using in the future are so simple, but I think they can truly make a difference in the way people see you - just go a little above and beyond by getting things done early or dressing a little nicer, and it seems like others will be much more respectful of you.

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Fault in Our Stars

This weekend went so fast - how is it Monday already?!?

I feel like it is now officially summer because I went swimming for the first time this year on Saturday. The water was still pretty cold, but I got in for a little while. Even just laying out in the sun felt super good!

On Saturday night I went to see The Fault in Our Stars with Danielle. I treated myself to an Icee because why not?

I read the book, so I was really excited to see the movie. And oh my goodness. It was SO good. Like, possibly my favorite book to movie rendition ever. The movie followed the book so much that a lot of the dialogue was taken straight out of the book. Plus all of the actors were great. I especially loved Ansel Elgort who played Gus - he's pretty much exactly like how I pictured him while reading the book.

One of the main reasons why I liked the book and movie so much was because it was just so real. John Green captured the emotion so well. The cancer story wasn't sugar coated and there wasn't a fake upbeat happy ending that would never actually occur in real life. But the love between Gus and Hazel was real, which made the story so good and incredibly sweet and heartwarming.

There aren't too many movies that make you both laugh out loud (there were some really funny parts) and fight back sobs. It was so great though because it allowed you to feel the emotion that the characters were experiencing too. I can't recommend this movie enough - if you haven't seen it, you really should (I'm already planning on seeing it again in a few days!). The Fault in Our Stars is definitely one of my new favorite movies!

Yesterday was a fairly typical Sunday. I went to church, worked on some school related stuff, and went to a KBS dinner up at school for the incoming freshman. It was so funny to meet the new KBS students, think back to my orientation a year ago and how much has changed since then. Also - can you believe that it's June and I'm working on school stuff?! A little while ago I mentioned how I'm working on a summer Honors project, and that's what I was doing yesterday. I'm hoping to write a post about exactly what I'm up to in the next few weeks!

This may have been a fairly low-key weekend, but I'm going to be so busy these next few weeks that it was kind of nice.

Hope you all have a great week!