Monday, August 31, 2015

Cute and Comfortable

I haven't posted anything fashion related in a really long time. Don't get me wrong, I still love fashion, it's just that I've been feeling a little uninspired in that realm as of late. However, I recently discovered the majesty of T-shirt dresses and I'm obsessed.

I think the best part about wearing a T-shirt dress is that you feel like you're wearing pajamas. They are so comfortable. And finding an item of clothing at this comfort level that makes you look put together is a major bonus. Plus, you can dress it up for a night at the country club (as I did last week), or you can dress it down when you're just around town or hanging with friends.

Though I own a few T-shirt dresses, this one from Brandy Melville has been one of my absolute faves this summer, and it will definitely carry well into the fall. To prove it, I styled it two ways, one summer look and one fall look.

SUMMER:





















Dress / Necklace is no longer available. This is similar  / Shoes

FALL:






































Dress / Scarf is no longer available. This is similar / Jacket is not available online. Find in Forever 21 stores, or this is similar / Shoes are no longer available. These are similar

Overall: Yay for T-shirt dresses! 10/10 recommend.

Xo,
Laura

PS. If the Brandy Melville dress isn't doing it for you, my other favorite one is from Old Navy. The one I have is super old, but one of my friends went to Old Navy this past week and said they still have some cute ones. Happy shopping!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The College Chronicles: Dorm Room DIY for the Non-Crafty Crafter

I had actually been wanting to do a DIY post as the second installment of my College Chronicles series (find the first one here), but when I heard about the BloggersBTS linkup I thought it would be best to wait it out and participate. It actually worked out really well!
As most of you probably know, I am going off to college in a couple of weeks. I have to say, the best part about preparing for college (in my opinion) is getting things for your dorm, particularly decorations. Though I easily could have bought all of my decorations, it was much cheaper and more meaningful to make some of my own. Plus, my friends and I had a blast making things to hang up! It was an excuse to get together and do arts and crafts. In fact, I've actually made too many things to hang up - I definitely won't have enough wall space.

As someone who isn't particularly artistic, I thought my decor came out pretty well. They were all relatively easy to make, so even those of you who aren't the best at art can make them. Also if you aren't heading off to college this fall (I haven't forgotten you!), I'm sure these things would look great in your room at home! These are some of the things I've made to decorate my dorm:


A picture collage is one of the basics, but it's popular for a reason. At first I didn't think I wanted a picture collage because there are so many other things that I could put on my walls that are more creative, but after seeing the way all my friends' collages came out I changed my mind. Whenever I look at all the pictures my heart feels so full and I love that it will fill my new room with old memories and friends. The collage was a little time consuming but well worth it. All I did was find a huge piece of cardboard, set up the pictures and then glue them down. *Insert Staples slogan: that was easy*


This was my original form of displaying pictures. I'm still going to use it because I love the look of it, but I made the collage in addition because this one doesn't hold enough photos. I got the idea from Pinterest (what else is new). The original frame on Pinterest was store bought, but I used a cardboard air filter instead. I definitely do not recommend this. Cutting out the actual filter is a hassle and it doesn't all come out, leaving pieces sticking out that give you splinters - I covered that part with tape, but I still sort of wish I used something else. Despite my air filter problems, it was really easy to make. I just tied and taped 3 pieces of string to each side of the makeshift frame and hung pictures using mini clothespins. If I had to do it again, I would make my own frame out of cardboard; it would be cheap and light enough to hang easily.


These letters are my favorite decoration. I love that they have the same look as store bought letters, but were much cheaper, much more fun, and much lighter. To make them, I just cut out cardboard varsity letters (don't forget to use a ruler for accuracy!) and decorated them. For the L, I used a bunch of different string colors and wrapped different areas. When I felt it was wrapped enough, I glued the loose ends down in the back. This doesn't work well for all letters because of weird crevices, but for the simple letters it's really fun. For the F, I just painted stripes; nothing fancy or complex.


These 2 decorations were the most artistic of the bunch of things I made, and I have to say, I'm really proud of how they turned out. The top one is a pun (in case you didn't notice haha), which I love, and the bottom one says coffee which I also love, even though it makes me nauseous sometimes (Jamie can back me up on that one, there are plenty of funny stories). I used canvases to make both of these, but I'm sure cardboard or regular paper would work wonderfully as well. The letters on the top piece are leftovers from my graduation cap (I got them at Michaels) and the carrot is made of cardboard. On the bottom piece, I used tape to make straight and clean stripes, wrote "coffee" in puffy paint and then placed each sequin individually.

So that's pretty much it! I have a few other things but nothing else really worth sharing - a lot of it is store bought. I can't wait to show you guys how everything looks once it's all set up in my dorm! Stay tuned for a dorm post!

Xo,
Laura

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Getting Your S*** Together

Hey guys! I'm back after a mini break during which I got out my wisdom teeth. Seriously not fun. Anyways, I've been so excited to get back to blogging because I recently got an email from Nicole asking me to join the linkup she and Cathleen are hosting entitled Bloggers go Back to School (or #BloggersBTS in hashtag form :) The linkup lasts all month which I thought was such a good idea because you can really make it work with your schedule. This week's theme is organization.


While I'm sure many people are going to post about literal organization; cleaning, rearranging and sorting, I'm going to talk about a more general form of organization: "life organization" or as I call it, getting you shit together.

Because I'm about to leave for college, I feel immense pressure not only to literally get everything together that I want to pack, but also to clean the slate a little bit so that I can start fresh. For me, the first thing I need when starting fresh is an attitude adjustment. Lately I've been really into just accepting things as they are and learning to deal with them instead of fighting it. That sounds like something deep that a hippie would say but it actually works, so hear me out! Whenever I get nervous to leave home and start over, I just remind myself that this is just "a thing that is happening to me." Those are the exact words I use and for whatever reason it always calms me down. When I was nauseous after my wisdom teeth surgery, I reminded myself that it was just "a thing that is happening to me." I think the reason why it works so well is because it minimizes whatever is going on in your life and puts the focus back on you. It's also a great reminder that we can't help what happens but we can deal with it accordingly. Also, it is what it is.


Now that I've got my head in the right place (and hopefully you do too), I can talk about more concrete things. Once you finally get your shit together, you have to keep it together. One of my favorite ways to do this is making lists (hello to my type-A side) and my most important list as of late is about what I'm going to need in college to keep it together - it's basically comprised of things that I probably won't remember I need until I need it. This way I have everything I need to make life away from home as homey as possible.


Obviously this list isn't all encompassing but if I were to make a complete packing list this would be the longest blog post in the history of blogging. Why I chose these 5 products:

1. Emergen-C packets are amazing. Not many people know about them, but I swear by them. They are basically flavored packets of powder that you add to your water to give your immune system a boost and your body an array of vitamins. I always use these when I feel a cold coming on. They have tons of flavors and I hope to try all of them at some point but as of right now the only flavor I've tried is citrus, which I really like.

2. I never thought to bring a Brita filter with me to school until one of my friends suggested it, but it makes total sense. Why fill your room with water bottles? Using a Brita pitcher lets you have clean filtered water to refill your bottle so you can save the environment and your wallet. Plus, you'll never run out of water; all you need to do is make a trip to the bathroom sink!

3. Without a drying rack, I would shrink half of my clothes. Enough said. And Bed, Bath and Beyond makes a compact rack which is ideal for dorm life. Okay, now enough said.

4. This is another product that I swear by. Everyone in my family is crazy sensitive about garlic breath, so we always have a few boxes of Mint Asure on hand. Basically they're small pills that are meant to freshen your breath from the inside-out. If you can't stand having bad breath this is definitely for you.

5. A full length mirror is kind of common sense, I know, but I honestly thought that most rooms came with a mirror until very recently. Being able to see my outfit before I go out is so major. This is not to be forgotten.

The purpose of the second half of this organization post is two-fold. One, it encourages list-making (not that yet another blogger needs to make that suggestion - I know you know the power of lists) and two, hopefully I've helped you with what to pack for college to keep your future life as problem free as possible.


So that's it for my unconventional organization post. Hope you enjoyed!

Xo,
Laura

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The College Chronicles: My Process


This morning, I was reading Carrie's post about college and it really got me thinking about my own college process. I often wonder if I could go back, would I change anything. Ultimately, I think I ended up at a school that is going to be amazing for me but my answer to this question is usually yes. Like Carrie talked about in her post (which you should all go read), you have to make sure you keep an open mind while looking at schools to apply to. I really thought I knew what I wanted, and so I applied only to schools that fit a very specific criteria, but sometimes I wonder if I would have found a perfect school if I had broadened my horizons and looked into smaller or more rural colleges. I likely would have found some more schools that I would be really happy to go to, saving me some stress when admissions decisions rolled in.

*via
The other thing I can't stress enough if you are in high school is to start looking early - take it from someone who didn't. I waited until the very last minute for everything and only ended up touring one school. I really liked that one school, and so I didn't really feel the need to look anywhere else (for whatever reason... not smart on my part) nor did I have the time to do so. Well, I got waitlisted at that school. May 1st was approaching and I had never toured any of the schools I had left to choose from. When I finally did get around to seeing my best option, it didn't feel right. Luckily I got off the waitlist at Brown and wasn't forced to settle. But what if I hadn't? I'm sure I would have ended up liking my school anyways, but that was a stressful period of time. What I'm trying to say is don't do what I did.

Now on to the next section of pre-college life: actually preparing for college. Obviously shopping and making dorm decor is an incredibly fun part (possible post on that later), but what I really want to discuss are pre-college fears. I know it's totally normal to be nervous to leave for school, but for some reason I don't feel like anyone is as nervous as me. Okay, I know this isn't true, but everyone else has a really good poker face! I'm nervous to leave my family and friends behind, particularly my parents whom I rely on a great deal. I'm nervous to make a whole new set of friends. I'm nervous to live in a completely new place. I'm nervous to take harder classes at a new school. These are my most prominent fears, and once I actually start college, hopefully I can dispel some of them for you. For now, fellow incoming college freshman, remember everyone is in the same boat; I try to remind myself of this whenever my nerves get the best of me.

*via
Stay smart, collegiate readers!
Xo,
Laura

Saturday, July 25, 2015

APR - MAY - JUN

As you all know, I recently took a few months off from blogging, so I thought I would write one big post about what happened in those months. Needless to say I have a lot to share!

April:

Aside from one vacation early in the month, April was boring. So I'm just going to expand upon my trip to Miami. The trip was a vacation unlike any other that I have taken. Miami itself is awesome - it has so much to offer. I went with my mom, and the city wonderfully accommodated our PG-rated trip with great shopping, beaches and restaurants. But I could tell there would be tons of other things to do had I gone with friends. The nightlife was incredible (albeit semi-sketchy). I truly think there is something there for everyone to love. Overall I wholeheartedly recommend not only the city of Miami (or more specifically, Miami Beach), but also taking a vacation with your mom (or another family member you're close with). It was so nice for us to be away together and have uninterrupted one-on-one time; a truly great bonding experience.


May:

May was slightly more exciting because I got into/chose a college! In the fall I will be attending Brown University! I'm beyond thrilled to be a Brown Bear and getting the news that I got in after being waitlisted was super sweet. My college process was prolonged because I had gotten waitlisted at both of my top choice schools. I was so afraid that I would be forced to settle. But luckily I found out mid-May that I got into Brown and the decision from there was a no-brainer. For those of you looking for insight into the college process, the best advice I can give you is to work hard and remember that everything will work out how it is supposed to in the end. I know it's cheesy and at times hard to believe but I honestly believe that everyone ends up in the right place for them. Everything happens for a reason.

I move into my dorm in early September, and that fast approaching date has me mildly anxious, but I think nerves are healthy and normal at this point. There will likely be a more in-depth post (or possibly a multitude of posts) about the beginning of college in the future. Just a heads up.


In late may I had my senior prom which was so, so fun. Prom is one of those events that I think everyone should go to if they get the chance. There are always a few people who seriously consider skipping it, but in my opinion it's a milestone that should not be missed! I'm not going to lie, prom can be totally lame if you let it be lame. But if you have a fun date and let loose then it's really fun! I luckily had an awesome date who wasn't shy on the dance floor and who I was totally comfortable being myself around (both very important qualities, if you ask me). He wasn't/isn't my boyfriend, but because our relationship is purely platonic I wasn't afraid to embarrass myself and there was no pressure. I have tons of pictures from prom so there are a lot attached below because I just couldn't pick!







My mom purposefully matched my dress. Isn't she the cutest?

For those of you wondering, the brand of my dress is Betsy & Adam, and I got it on sale at my local Lord & Taylor, but you can find it here (unfortunately not at sale price). Because my dress was black and white, I spiced it up with a turquoise pop of color in my earrings, bracelet (old) and shoes, though you can't really see it in the pictures. Just a word of warning - wear the right heels to prom! Mine were comfy for a little while and then suddenly I could hardly walk because of how badly my feet hurt. Don't say I didn't warn you!

June:

June was a whole lot of graduation celebrations. Many cakes were consumed. But leaving high school was so bittersweet (unlike the aforementioned cakes which were wholly sweet) because I had made such wonderful memories that it was hard to say goodbye. Not going to lie, I cried. A lot. The ceremony itself was good for closure if nothing else. And now I can say "when I was in high school..." just like my parents when they're talking about the good old days. I'm so old.


Now you're all caught up. I hope this post didn't take you as long to read as it took me to write! 

Xo,
Laura

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Land of Overpriced Things & Magic (NYC)

For those of you who follow Jamie's blog, you know that we recently spent 4 days roaming around New York City. What can I say? There's something truly magical about the place; the energy, the history, the style, the food, I could go on and on. So when we planned our trip we decided to just do whatever we felt like and live in the moment. If you live close to the city I 100% recommend trying this. You may not fit a whole lot into your schedule (a surprising amount of time is spent contemplating what to do next), but theres minimal stress and you really get to experience the city the way that real New Yorkers do. Here's what we ended up doing:

Day 1:

We took a late morning train and were to the Upper East Side by lunch. We dropped off our bags at my grandparents apartment (where we spent the weekend) and headed over to the Candle Cafe for lunch. The Candle serves all vegan food and has got to be one of my absolute favorite restaurants in the city (for those of you who don't know, I'm vegetarian). If you decide to check it out, Jamie and I both loved the avocado club sandwich - we agreed that the aioli it comes with should be bottled and sold. It's that good. They also have the greatest juices and smoothies to feed your inner hipster or health nut.

With full bellies we walked over to Central park stopping to shop along the way. My personal favorite store had to be Francesca's on the corner of 76th and 3rd. The clothes were super cute, and the prices were completely reasonable. What's not to love?


Next stop: Central Park which was an oasis among the crazy. We sat in the shade (and got sunburnt anyways) and gossiped before walking back to the apartment. On our way we accidentally found the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and while we tried to resist our inner tourists, we couldn't help taking a picture on the steps of the Gossip Girl landmark.


Of everything we did that day, the insomnia cookies had to be the best and also the worst. The best because they are disks of warm melty deliciousness and the worst because we ate so many of them that we nearly threw up. I never wanted to eat again... Until morning.

Day 2:

On our second day, Jamie and I ventured down to SoHo. We originally planned on getting cronuts but ultimately decided that we couldn't deal with the early morning wakeup call. When we got downtown, we went to Jack's Wife Freda because seemingly every blogger in the New York area has raved about it, but a long wait coupled with intense hunger resulted in us finding a place with a shorter wait time. That place was Ruby's, and if you're ever in SoHo, you should definitely check it out (if only for the banana bread). 


The rest of the day was spend wandering around SoHo until we were too exhausted to continue. Nothing we did was particularly special, but if you're looking for something to do in the area, the heart mural on the corner of Kenmare and Mott is very cool.


Sidenote: something that has been on my list of things to do in SoHo for the longest time is try Play J's ice cream. It's a food truck that is usually on Broadway between Broome and Spring (I hope you all speak New York) and it serves ice cream cones in the shape of a J. Jamie and I went looking for it but it wasn't there yet (which is probably a good thing because of everything we had eaten already). If you ever try it/have tried it, let me know how it is! I'm so curious!


On our second night, we went over to the Crosby Street Hotel (which is also in SoHo) for dinner. The food was good but certainly not the best food we ate while in the city. The coolest part of the hotel was the courtyard garden - the lights alone were swoon worthy. 


On to my favorite part of day 2: the cannolis! Jamie and I both have a late night sweet tooth, so around 9:30 we walked over to Candle 79 (Candle Cafe's sister restaurant) to get some vegan cannolis that were to die for. Not kidding, I have been thinking about them pretty much every day since I got home. I miss them. *sigh*

Day 3:

Our third day was also our laziest (and the hottest). We went back to the Candle Cafe for brunch (yum) and then walked around the upper east side with nothing to do. We ended up getting black and white cookies from William Greenberg Desserts. Apparently they're known for their black and whites... who knew! Needless to say they were delicious. 

In preparation for dinner at Monte Carlo on the upper east side (very good but not many vegetarian options for my fellow veggie lovers), Jamie and I decided to try a blow dry bar, which I already posted about here

After dinner we just had to get more cannolis. Because duh. 

Day 4:

Day 4 was really only a half day. All we did was eat Chop't in Central Park. For the record, I love Chop't, or what I like to call Subway for salads. And the best part is that I don't feel guilty eating it! 

So that's it! Until next time, NYC.

Xo,
Laura

Sunday, July 19, 2015

You're Not Cheating on Your Hairdresser...

Recently blow dry bars have boomed in popularity. In case you don't know, blow dry bars are basically hair salons that specialize in blow outs. They don't cut or color, they only wash and dry (which is why they insist you're not cheating on your hairdresser). Honestly I think the concept is a little stupid (why not just go to a regular hair salon? Or blow dry your own hair?) but I have to admit the salons themselves are very glamorous.
Wanting to see what all the fuss was about, Jamie and I ventured out to the nearest blow dry bar. Overall the experience was pretty cool but not something I would do again. They let you choose from a small booklet of hairstyles and played the movie Legally Blonde which I loved. But for 50 dollars, I was expecting a little more. After walking a couple of blocks my hair had completely lost its volume and by the time dinner rolled around my hair looked the same way it would if I had let it air dry. The only up sides were that my hair smelled especially good and I satisfied my lazy side. Other than that I was just down 50 bucks.

What I'm trying to say is that if you don't mind the hefty price tag and you won't be walking outside in the humidity, blow dry bars are for you! If not, I don't recommend going. Blow dry your own hair - it's cheaper and the outcome is not much different.

Xo,
Laura