Change of Address!

20 September 2015

Hello readers!

I've moved to my very own domain name - fancy, I know!

From now on, I will be posting over at, so be sure to check in there for my latest posts.

Thanks for following me on my blogging adventures!


Fashion Friday: Alexa Chung Inspired Fall Look

18 September 2015

Alexa Chung Inspired Fall Look

It-girl Alexa Chung is an icon of current British style. Whether dressed in a menswear inspired suit, a feminine vintage party dress, or sporty basics, Alexa can make any piece of clothing look cool and modern.

For this Alexa-inspired fall outfit, I decided to go with one of her signature looks: black skinny jeans, a white button-down, black chelsea boots, and a plaid coat. The look is very neutral, maintaining a chic palette, but the different textures add visual interest. I also added a cool black backpack for a playful touch.

To really embrace the Alexa Chung look, try parting messy curls straight down the middle, and add a black kohl liner for drama. Her hair & makeup style adds a bit of rock-and-roll to an otherwise polished look.

Do you love Alexa's style as much as I do?! Which celebs or fashion-it-girls are inspiring your fall style?


How to Make Smart and Efficient Flashcards

16 September 2015

This one's for all the students out there! Throughout my academic career, I went through package after package of notecards. From the normal sized notecards, to the large and half-sized notecards, it seemed I always had a stack in my backpack for studying. I think flashcards are a great way to study any subject - if you're going to be tested on something, chances are there's a way to use flashcards to study for it!

Before you start making flashcards, here's what you need to figure out:
  • What am I being asked to do on this test? What information will be presented, and what information will I need to know in order to respond? For example, if you know you are going to be asked about the key themes in literary works, chances are you will provided the title, and you will have to respond with the themes.
  • The information that is being provided should be written on one side of the flashcard (I usually put in on the blank side), and what you will be expected to know should be written on the other side (the back). 
Below I've included pictures & explanations of the way I used flashcards for a few different subjects: Art History, French, Literature, and Sociology.

 For Art History flashcards, it's important to have an actual image on your card. Chances are, you will be provided an image, and you will be expected to provide a lot of information from just that image. That is why I have only the image on the front of the card, and everything I needed to know on the back: the artist, art movement/time period, date, and key themes and details. For the front of the card, you can use sketches or printed images, whichever is better for you. This format would also work well for any history course - just use an image or a name/event/concept on the front and details on the back.

 Flashcards are a great way to learn a language. For vocabulary, I recommend using the half-size notecards with your native language on one side and the language you're learning on the other. I would usually start studying by looking at the French term and try to guess the English term. Then, once I was more familiar with the terms, I would look at the English and try to quickly translate to French. I would often put 3-6 words on one card depending on the length/importance of each term.

I also used regular & large-sized notecards for conjugations, grammar rules, and basic concepts. I would use different colored pens to make certain words pop out and to differentiate between definitions & examples. These cards are not used so much for memorization, but for quick & organized access to important information.

In a literature class, you might be expected to write a short (or long) essay about a specific work, with only the title and a short excerpt provided. I used these cards to make sure I could identify the author, literary movement, and important themes when I was only provided the title. You also might be asked to write about a specific literary movement or theme in a literature class. I used these notecards when I knew I would be asked to compare/contrast two works in the same literary movement, and to be able to identify how each work was representative of that movement. Like the larger french flashcards, these are not so much for memorization as they are a summary of important information. 

For a sociology class (or other social studies courses), your knowledge of terminology is essential to sounding like you know what you're talking about. Often times, a teacher will look for a certain term in your answer, so vocabulary is very important. On these cards, I wrote the term/idea on one side and the details, definitions, and connected ideas on the other. You can use the cards in two ways: look at the definition and figure out the term, or look at the term and try to recall as much as you can about it.

 I know this post is quite wordy and has a lot of pictures, but hopefully it helps you in some way. When I was a student, I was always looking for ways to improve my study habits and find more efficient ways of studying!

Do you use flashcards to study? If so, share your tips & tricks in the comments!


How to Make Smart and Efficient Flashcards - Whatever Bright Things

Thoughts on Writing & Being a Writer

14 September 2015

There's a significant difference between saying "I write", and "I'm a writer". One is a matter of action, the other is a matter of identity. It's not an easy thing to say, to own. Yes, I write. But am I a writer?

For a long time, I didn't consider myself a writer. A writer was someone who was published, someone who finished every piece they started. But my opinion has changed: a writer is someone who writes for the sake of writing. It doesn't matter if it gets published, a writer would write it anyway.

I recently started writing in a more professional atmosphere as an intern. Unlike writing for school and writing for personal enjoyment, this writing is actually being used somewhere, and it no longer only has my name on it. It's a lot of pressure, but it's also fulfilling to know that there's something about the way I use words that sets me apart from others.

Since I started this blog, and since I started my internship, I've noticed myself saying - with more confidence and frequency - that I'm a writer. It doesn't mean that I know exactly what I want that to look like in the future. I could be a novelist, a full-time blogger, or a fashion writer. Who knows?! Calling myself a writer just means that writing is something I do with intention and thoughtfulness. It's something I take seriously whether it's being published on a website or simply scribbled in a notebook.

One of my screenwriting professors in college said, "You know you're a writer when you feel bad about not writing. People who aren't writers don't feel bad about not writing."

That's how I know I'm a writer. Because when I don't write for a period of time, I feel like I've been neglecting a part of myself. Writing is a part of who I am, and I don't think that will ever change.


Fashion Friday: How to Style Flared Jeans - Four Ways!

11 September 2015

One of my favorite trends this season is the return of flared jeans! I'm glad to see them back in fashion favor and available in a variety of washes, styles, and degrees-of-flare-i-ness. 

Before I get into four different ways to style your flares, here are two basic shopping tips to help you find the perfect pair:

  • Look for a high waistline. An emphasized waist will balance out the volume toward the bottom of your legs.
  • Make sure they're long enough. When it comes to flared jeans, I think it's always better to buy long - if they shrink, you'll be able to wear them with flats or tennis shoes, and if they don't, you can rock them with a chunky heeled clog or boot. Too-short flares are unflattering and don't really look good with any shoe. 

Look #1: Boho-Glam

This look is all about embracing that 70s vibe. I've paired a lighter-wash flare with a fitted grey turtleneck, flowy burgundy coat, and chunky heels for a glamorous fall look.

How to Style Flared Jeans: Boho-Glam

Look #2: Parisian-Chic

This simple look is inspired by the classic glamorous look des femmes Parisiennes - each piece is timeless and will never go out of style. I paired a medium-wash flare with a red & white striped tee, khaki trench, and black loafers for this chic and comfy look.
How to Style Flared Jeans: Parisian - Chic

Look #3: Sporty

This look also channels a bit of the 70s vibe - with light-wash flares, a raglan baseball tee, letterman-style sweater, and Adidas, you've got a fresh athletic outfit.
How to Style Flared Jeans: Sporty

Look #4: Clean & Polished

For this final look, I wanted to show a more formal approach. By pairing a button down top and cropped sweater with a dark-wash flare, this look is more business-appropriate. For a little fun and even more height, I also included a chunky-heeled boot.
How to Style Flared Jeans: Clean & Polished

Will you be wearing flared jeans this season? If so, what's your favorite way to style them?


Rose Gold Drugstore Make-up Look

09 September 2015

One of the biggest colors in fashion and beauty right now is rose-gold. From watches, to earrings, to eyeshadow, rose-gold is the perfect in-between shade for days when you want a bit of metallic shine, but a bright gold shadow is a bit much. For this make-up look, I knew I wanted to use a gorgeous rose-gold shadow and keep the rest of my face fresh & simple. I only used one shadow to create this look - building the color up on my lids and subtly lining my lower lash-line as well.


mixed with
NYX HD Concealer in Porcelain




Because of its subtle warm-tone, a rose-gold shadow will look good on almost all skin tones. It's also a great color for transitioning from summer-to-fall, as it has a bit of summery shimmery and a bit of a reddish fall warmth. 

How will you be rocking the rose-gold trend this season?


Fall Reads Written by Women

07 September 2015

One of the best ways to get in the mood for fall weather is to pick up a great book full of lush detail, sweeping romance, strong characters, and tender moments. Each of these books remind me of fall in one way or another, whether it's the setting, the characters, or the overall tone of the language. Additionally, each of these books is written by a female author! Girl power! 

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte - There's a reason this book is a classic. From the passionate love story of Heathcliff and Catherine, to the tumultuous landscape of the moors, to the distinct and separation of social classes and the lives lived within them, this book is a masterpiece on many levels. Once you get into the story and get to know the characters, you'll find yourself invested in an emotional journey that crosses generations and social boundaries.

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton - If you've never read this book, read it now! Although commonly assigned in middle school classes, I read this book for the first time while I was in college, and I absolutely loved it. The language is simple, but the characters have a complexity that you'll connect with immediately. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you won't be able to put this book down.

Sonnets from the Portuguese and Other Poems by Elizabeth Barrett Browning - I'll admit that poetry and I have a love-hate relationship. It can be incredibly frustrating and confusing, or it can be enlightening, inspiring, and beautiful. Browning's sonnets are definitely of the beautiful variety, filled with wonderful language and emotion. I find that I enjoy poetry much more when I allow myself the time and freedom to read it sporadically, not for hours on end, cover to cover. Keep this collection on your nightstand for a quick, romantic bedtime poem.

A Day in the Life of a Smiling Woman by Margaret Drabble - This collection of short stories brilliantly provides snapshots of everyday life and the lives of women. Drabble portrays women honestly and unashamed, giving each female character a complexity that allows room for contradiction and irony. Reading this collection is like flipping through a stranger's photo album - everything is bit distant, but the universal emotions and experiences provide a connection and understanding. 

What books make you think of fall? What's on your to-read or to-reread list this fall?


Fashion Friday: Fall 2015 Wish List

04 September 2015

Today's Fashion Friday post is my Fall 2015 Wish List. Each fall, there are a few trends that catch my eye, and this year is no different! While I don't believe in blindly following trends, I love how fashion is always changing and it's fun to try new styles (or old styles that have been reinvented). This fall, there are four particular pieces that I want to try to infuse into my wardrobe. Click through my polyvore slideshow to see what I chose!

What's on your Fall Fashion Wish List? Do you like to keep up with trends or stick to your own signature style?


DIY White Board Makeover

02 September 2015

I love simple DIY projects that you can make out of items you already have lying around. One Sunday morning, I couldn't stand to look at my bland, under-utilized white board any longer. So I did what any crafty person does: look up a DIY project on Pinterest! But I couldn't find anything quite right for me - I don't need to organize a whole family, and because my whiteboard isn't in the most visible place, it's not ideal for reminders or important notes. I decided that what I most needed was a month-at-a-glance calendar, a place where I could write down the big events and see the month as a whole. Below is a picture of my whiteboard "Before" - you can see that it was really just a place to store random photos, drawings, and magnets. Not exactly functional or beautiful.

What better way to quickly make something cuter than washi tape?! First, I cleaned the entire board with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, and I chose a tape that goes with the decor of my room - a gorgeous, 30mm (about 1.18inches), hot pink and blue washi tape made by Scotch. I then covered each of the silver edges with that tape, carefully lining everything up. Then, I started creating my calendar. I used a gold washi tape I found in the Target Dollar Spot, and I actually needed two rolls to get through the whole project! I used a ruler and a dry erase marker to place dots at 3.5inch increments (that will leave a 3inch square of space to write, the tape is about 1/2inch thick). I left a space at the top for the month and days, and I made five squares down and seven across! There's also a good 6inch space to the right of the calendar to put a magnetic notepad, a container for dry erase markers, and magnets.

As you can see, it looks much better! Not only is it more functional, but it looks a whole lot cuter too. I also discovered that with the 3inch squares, I could use sticky notes to mark the really important stuff!

Instead of a generic, old-looking white board, I now have a bright, unique white board calendar that I love to use! The solution was quick, simple, and inexpensive! 

Anybody else out there love a good DIY project? Be sure to follow me on Pinterest to see all the cute & crafty things that inspire me! 


Back to School Month Recap

31 August 2015

Can you believe it's the end of August already?! Although the weather will continue to be summer-like for a few more weeks, the beginning of school marks the end of the summer-state-of-mind. It's a bittersweet transition as we say goodbye to shorts and sunglasses and warm evenings and say hello to sweaters and boots and pumpkin-spiced-everything.

Even though I'm not heading back to school myself, I had a lot of fun sharing the bright things I love about the season: from school supplies, to a homework playlist, to back-to-school fashion, to tips & advice. Thank you to everyone who read, commented, and shared - I hope you enjoyed reading each post as much as I enjoyed writing them!






Fashion Friday: Back to School Look #4 - Fashion Math!

28 August 2015

Fashion Math

When you've got a lunch to make, a test to study for, a reading to finish, and a club meeting to plan, the last thing you want to worry about in the morning is your outfit. Unless you wear a uniform, your closet can hold an overwhelming number of options. Having your own "uniform" is a great way to know you have options - but options that work together.

In this set, I've shared one of my favorite "outfit formulas". I generally plan this outfit around the scarf and sweater - if you have a lot of neutral tees and blue denim jeans, you can easily pair anything with a coordinating scarf & sweater. Then, all you have to do is add simple earrings and a pair of brown, black, or grey booties. It doesn't get much easier!

So there you go - Fashion Math 101. A simple outfit equation for a fabulous fall look.

What's your go-to "fashion formula" for back to school? Or do you mix it up everyday?


How I Decorate My Moleskine Planner

26 August 2015

Using a planner is a great way to stay organized, but I think it can also be a wonderful way to express your creative side. When you create a beautiful place to keep track of appointments, projects, lists, and to-dos, you're more likely to stay on top of them. While I love the Erin Condren Life Planners and the Agendas, my planner of choice at the moment is an extra large Moleskine with weekly pages. The left page holds Monday through Sunday, while the right page is lined for notes and lists. I loved this format for school because I had plenty of room to write assignments and due dates, and also room to brainstorm, take notes, or write myself reminders. 

When I decorate my planner, I usually start by picking out a few washi tapes I want to use and then finding some coordinating pens. I also use a lot of rubber stamps in my planner - from alphabet stamps, to birthday stamps, to random stamps like a baseball player to mark my brother's baseball games. Above, I've gathered three washi tapes - the green grid tape is from the Target Dollar Spot, the polka dot tape is made by Scotch (can be found at many home & office supply stores), and the pink zig-zag tape I purchased in a set from HomeGoods. As you can see, you can find supplies to decorate your planner with at many different places! 

This is what my planner generally looks like on Sundays when I'm planning for the week ahead. I'll decorate the top section where there's a small month label that I usually try to cover up! I used these Lawn Fawn alphabet stamps for "August" and "Mom > Work", and I used Target Dollar Spot alphabet stamps for the "Bro & Me" and "First Day of School" labels. I also used these date stamps for the location-pin and arrow. (I also use these "my week" stamps a lot!)

I like to put a "workout log" on the right page to write track my exercise throughout the week. I find that if I write out each day and leave a space, I'm more likely to actually work out! I don't want to look back and see an empty workout log... plus, it feels good to write out what exercises I did. Like a little pat on the back!

As the week goes on, I write in more appointments, to-dos, and events, but my life is pretty day-to-day right now. I like to capture the big-picture for the week and fill in the details later. 

I hope this post gives you a little inspiration for decorating your planner! It's one of my favorite Sunday routines - sitting down with a cup of coffee and craft supplies to plan while listening to music. 

What are your favorite ways to decorate & use your planner? Which kind of planner do you use? 


Back to School Tips & Advice

24 August 2015

Going back to school is a bittersweet transition. You have to say goodbye to lazy days and free time, but you also get to see all your friends and have a fresh start with new classes and teachers. Having been through my fair share of first days back at school, I thought I'd share some tips for making the transition as smooth as possible.

the week before classes start
  • Make sure you've done your back to school shopping for clothes and supplies if you need to. Once classes start, you won't want to frantically search for all the supplies you need
  • Get your books. If your school posts a booklist online, check out the required textbooks and materials you will need for each class. I always like to be over-prepared (rather than under-prepared) and order my books ahead of time so that I'm not scrambling for a rare copy the night before a due date.
  • Purchase a planner if you don't have one, and start using it. Write out what date classes start and what other commitments you have during the week. That way, once classes start, you already have an idea of how much you have going on. 
  • Set goals for the academic year. Think about the things you'd like to improve upon and then list the ways that you can accomplish them. Be mindful about your goals before classes start and you have a million other things to think about. 

the day before
  • Write the details for each class in your planner: Class title, Teacher/Professor, Room # & Time. It's always good to have that information with you (even after the first week when you blank on a room number or professor's name... it happens!)
  • Pick out your outfit if you haven't already! This is the fun part. Even if you're not wearing anything new, planning out your outfit will make your morning less stressful and give you one less thing to think about. Choose an outfit that is comfortable - you never know when a class will change location at the last minute and you'll have to trek across campus in five minutes. Check out my fashion friday posts here, here, and here for some inspiration. 
  • Pack your bag/purse/backpack. Make sure you have everything you need. For the first day, you probably only need your planner, a notebook, a folder, and some pens/pencils. After the first day, you'll have a better idea of what you'll need for each class.

the first day of class
  • Give yourself plenty of time to get ready. It's no fun to rush out the door.
  • Eat a good breakfast & pack a snack. The first day can be unpredictable - you might spend your lunch hour in the financial aid office or trying to meet with your counselor to switch a class. 
  • Give yourself extra time to get there. Being late on the first day is not the best start to a new year. Make sure you take an early bus or leave your house a few minutes before you have to. 
  • Strike up a conversation with your classmates! This can be tricky - especially when you know absolutely no one. But I promise, you will look forward to class much more if you have someone to talk to, someone to ask for notes, or someone to complain about dumb assignments with. Even if you just ask, "Is this Intro to American Lit?" you're likely to get a response - everyone's in the same boat. Your common ground at this point is that you're both in this class, so ask if they have had the professor before, or if they've gotten their textbooks yet. These simple questions will probably open the door to more conversation. 
  • Take notes. Your professor puts their email up on the board - write it down. If your professor is going through the syllabus, write down the details that they elaborate on. It might not seem important now, but it might be the answer to a question you have later. 
  • Ask questions. If you're not sure the class is right for you, ask around. College is a time to figure out the subjects and environments you like and don't like. If a class feels really off - whether it's the professor, or the classroom environment - try to switch out. There's no reason for you to be uncomfortable for the entire term. 

the week classes start
  • Write down all assignment due dates, pages to read, major project due dates, and final exam dates & times in your planner. Your planner will only be as helpful as you make it. Be consistent about marking due dates and assignments as you get them, and it'll be easier to keep track of your to-dos and progress.
  • Start developing good study habits. When you read, don't just skim through the text. Take the time to read carefully and take notes and you will thank yourself later down the road. 
  • Put your best foot forward and get involved. Join clubs, teams, and activities that interest you. Remember that now is the time to be social - a new school year is a fresh start.  

I hope this post is helpful for those of you heading back to school in the next couple of weeks. If you have any additional tips or advice, leave it in the comments below.

Have a great first day!


Fashion Friday: Back to School Look #3 (Gossip Girl Inspired!)

20 August 2015

Gossip Girl Inspired Back to School Look

Although Gossip Girl ended a few years ago, the fashion still seems relevant. Perhaps it's the timelessness of the preppy look, or the way the show captured the quintessential Upper-East-Side style. Whatever the case, I love how Gossip Girl mixed high fashion with uniform basics, especially the costuming of Queen B - Blair Waldorf.

For a Gossip Girl inspired back to school look, you've got to start with your uniform: A white button-down shirt and a navy sweater vest. Then, add a bit of high fashion through high-waisted faux-suede shorts (with a preppy bow). When it comes to shoes, flats are the perfect mix of fashion and function. To accessorize, choose vintage-inspired pieces like this velvet hair bow and these Downton-Abbey inspired bobby pins. Although Blair would prefer a designer handbag over a backpack, this ruby-red backpack has just the right amount of style and space to hold books.

Don't forget the last ingredient: your Queen B attitude! What are your favorite tv shows & movies for fashion inspiration? Whose style will you be drawing from for this back to school season?

Gossip Girl
(just kidding!)

How To Make A Homework Playlist

18 August 2015

 Setting yourself up for an evening of homework can be a daunting task. Let's be real - some nights, you just want to watch netflix and forget about school (okay, most nights). One of the things that I find motivating is to have an awesome homework playlist. You want music that is fun and will encourage you to get everything done, but you don't want it to be too distracting. Here are some things to consider while making a homework playlist:
  • Listen to new music - Either on the radio, youtube, a music borrowing site through your local library, or by downloading from a website like NoiseTrade. When I listen to new music, I'm less likely to start singing along and dancing in my seat (yes, it really happens). 
  • Listen to your favorite tunes - Listening to your old faves is a great way to make homework a little more fun. When you know the songs you're listening to, they sometimes fade into the background and provide a calming environment.
  • Listen to scores or soundtracks - With scores, there are no lyrics to distract you. But with soundtracks, there's often a variety of genres and tones that keep it interesting. I personally love listening to soundtracks while I'm working - it feels like you're watching your favorite movies while you're getting stuff done... win-win.
  • Listen to mellow songs - Try to find songs that aren't loud and seem to be screaming at you. Mellower songs are almost like background music, setting the mood for an evening of reading and note-taking. Most of your favorite artists will have a few songs that are slower and quieter - try making a playlist of those songs, perhaps with a few upbeat songs to break it up (and maybe give yourself a dance-break).
As you can tell, what music will work is a matter of personal preference. Try out a couple different playlists and figure out what works for you!

Below are some of my favorite albums, artists, and radio stations for listening to during homework sessions:
  1. Monte Carlo Score (yes, the one with Selena Gomez!) 
  2. Noah and the Whale - The First Days of Spring
  3. Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
  4. Jamie Cullum - Anything, really.
  5. The Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn Part 1 Soundtrack
  6. iTunes Radio - Choose a mellower station, like Classical or Jazz (or my personal favorite, Crooners and Cocktails), or a station in a foreign language like French Pop. It's a great option for when you just want something playing and you don't want tot think too much about it.
  7. Leighton Meester - Heartstrings
  8. Graffiti6 - Colours
  9. Ed Sheerhan - Anything
  10. Andrew Belle -Anything

Backpack Essentials

16 August 2015

Whether you're heading off to a full day of classes or just one, having a fully stocked backpack is important so that you're prepared and ready to make the most of it. Unless you're in college and live on campus, chances are you have to carry with you everything you need to get through the day. Here's a list of everything to bring with you (in addition to your notebooks & textbooks of course):

  • A small wallet with your ID, cash, bus tickets, a house key, etc. 
  • Tissues
  • Extra pens & pencils
  • Hair bands & bobby pins
  • A small stapler (you'd be surprised how often you'll need one of these!)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Chapstick
  • Notecards & sticky notes
  • Gum
  • Advil
  • Water bottle
  • Crystal Light To-Go Packets (I love the Grape flavor that has a bit of caffeine)
  • Granola bar

What are your backpack essentials?


Fashion Friday: Back to School Look #2

14 August 2015

Back To School Look: Cozy Friday

After the excitement of a new school year fades and the weather starts to turn blustery, it's good to have some cozy basics to throw on. A rain jacket, sweatshirt, and slouchy tee may not seem like the most fashionable choices while you're shopping, but when test days roll around you'll be glad to have them in your closet.

For this comfy look, throw on your favorite pair of skinny jeans with a simple tee shirt and a cozy sweatshirt. Choose a pair of shoes that are comfortable like low-heeled boots or a pair of tennis shoes. (And don't forget fun socks!) Finally, put on a rain jacket for an extra layer of warmth and for wind/rain protection.

For an extra cozy day, bring a warm drink in a travel mug! I also included hair ties in this look because it's always a good idea to keep a few extra in your backpack for when you want to get your hair out of your face during a test or a long class.

To be honest, I probably wore an outfit like this everyday during the fall and winter of my academic life! There's nothing cozier than a warm sweatshirt or sweater and your comfiest boots.

What do you like to wear to stay comfy and cozy at school?