Summer in New York: The Outfits Edit

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I recently spent a weekend in New York City with my brother, and it was an awesome trip. There really is nothing like summer time in a big city, and New York is no exception to this rule. The beautiful architecture mixed with greenery and the liveliness brought with the warm weather made visiting old favorites and new places magical.

It could be that The Devil Wears Prada is set in New York or that most fashion icon characters live in this city (including my favorites, Blair Waldorf and Serena Van Der Woodsen), but when I visit NYC, I feel the need to make sure my style is top notch.

Here’s a roundup of what I wore for a summer weekend in New York City!

Day 1

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For the first day in New York, I wanted to make sure my outfit was comfortable and breathable – perfect for a 6 a.m. plane ride and the summer heat. I decided to wear my favorite paperbag shorts with a white tie-front crop top. I wore my trusty Steve Madden sandals and my favorite black cateye sunglasses. (Iced coffee made an appearance as an accessory. Did you expect anything less of me?)

Top: Forever 21

Shorts: Forever 21

Shoes: Steve Madden

Sunglasses: Michael Kors

Bag: Kate Spade

Day 2

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For a day of visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Central Park and the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, I wanted to dress up a little bit. I wore a sage green zip-front skirt with a gingham lettuce-edged tube top. To save space in the suitcase, my sandals, sunglasses and bag were the same as outfit 1.

Top: Charlotte Russe

Skirt: Charlotte Russe

Shoes: Steve Madden

Sunglasses: Michael Kors

Necklace: Adina’s Jewels

Day 3

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I decided to wear something a little out of my comfort zone for day 3: a jumpsuit! I never thought I could pull one off, thinking it would look strange on my body type, but this piece was so much fun to wear! It was perfect for a chilly summer afternoon, and with the pink and cream stripes and bow in the front, this jumpsuit was practically made for my style. I paired it with tan sandals and dainty jewelry.

Jumpsuit: Forever 21

Sandals: Steve Madden


College: What I Wish I Did Differently

Four things I wish I did differently during my college years.

I never thought I would see the day that I wasn’t returning to school in the fall, but at last I made it!

I’m looking forward to enjoying pumpkin spice lattes and sweater weather (I know, I’m super basic) without the pressure of homework and exams. As a fresh college graduate, I’ve done a lot of reflecting on my college experience, and I want to share what I’ve come to realize now that my mind isn’t clouded by deadlines and overly-caffeinated stress.

For those starting college, continuing the journey, or just a curious college graduate wondering what others experience, I have a few lessons to share with you:

#1: I Wish I Took a Gap Year.

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A photo of me wearing the hoodie my parents got me after I officially enrolled at DePaul in 2014 — heavy Instagram filter and all.

We’re taught that once you graduate from high school, college in the next step. We’re told “It’s so hard to go back to school when you take a break.” It’s expected that we attend four continuous years of college right off the bat, but I’m here to tell you that I don’t agree with this.

When I enrolled at DePaul, I chose secondary education as my major because I thought that was what I was supposed to do. My family, friends and high school teachers assumed that I would go to college to become a teacher, which made me think I was supposed to do that. When I was applying to colleges, I didn’t know you could pick “undecided” as a major, and I never took the time to figure out what I actually wanted to study. After a year of avoiding secondary education classes (because my gut knew I didn’t want to be a teacher), I finally switched to ‘undecided’.

I used my first two years of college to complete my ‘gen ed’ requirements, and along the way, I discovered my love for fashion, makeup and all things lifestyle. After being a journalism major for three months and disliking it, I declared my major in public relations and advertising and it stuck. Although I eventually found a major I loved, I only spent two years studying it. If I had taken time off to figure out what I truly wanted to study, I would have had the opportunity to spend more time with my major.

#2: I Wish I Joined an Organization Sooner.

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The day I ran home to Alpha Omicron Pi – Fall 2016.

As a commuter, college life can get a little lonely. For two years, I drove to school, went to class, and drove back home. Wanting to find a sense of community on campus, I decided to join a sorority my junior year, and I am so happy I did. I met some of my best friends through my organization, and I am proud to be a part of something bigger than myself. I don’t regret joining my sorority as a junior; I only wish I did it earlier.

#3: I Wish I Paid Attention to My Creativity Side.

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Photo via Instagram.

Don’t get me wrong – school, working and doing internships are really important parts of the college experience. However, I wish I spent more time doing the things I love. It took me until my senior year to pursue my creative dreams – blogging, social media and music – alongside my education and work life. I must say, doing so has been the best choice I have made thus far, and I plan to continue making time for the things I love.

#4: I Wish I Wasn’t So Hard On Myself.

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Senior year spring break in Dallas.

Some would call my magic act of balancing overtime in classes, a job, multiple internships, and sorority simply “overachieving”. I called it “doing what I need to do.” Now I believe it was neither.

After nights without sleep, canker sore breakouts (stress will do that to you!), multiple mental breakdowns, gallons of coffee and struggling to keep up with everything I put on my plate, I must say it wasn’t worth it. I accomplished a lot in the past few years, and I’m proud of myself for that. But because of the schedule I created for myself, I spent more time counting down the days until it was over rather than enjoying my time as a college student. College is hard, yes, but it’s also supposed to be enjoyable. My advice is to avoid pushing yourself to an unhealthy extent and slow down. Balancing a million things isn’t worth dreading every moment, and two months later, I’m still recovering from the stress overload.

What I Wore to a Music Festival – Country LakeShake

Long time, no blog.

But I’m back! And my first post on my revamped website is one I’m excited for. I recently attended Country LakeShake, a three day country music festival in Chicago.

Aside from the impressive music lineup, I was most excited about picking outfits for the festival, as LakeShake 2018 was my “Coachella moment” this year (hoping to eventually go to the real thing!) Here’s a roundup of what I wore that weekend.

Day 1: Frozen Boho

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The first day of the festival was much colder than expected: 60 degrees and rainy. But that didn’t stop me from wearing what I planned (aside from some alterations). I wore a beautiful hand-crocheted top that I purchased from Etsy, and although I planned to wear denim shorts with this top, my black jeans suited the look and kept me warm. My black lace duster truly fulfilled my dream of looking “as Coachella as possible”. I accessorized with a dainty long necklace, a black belt with gold hardware, and my most comfortable black sandals. I made sure to bring a black faux leather jacket to replace the duster at nightime.

Top: JayblueHandmade on Etsy

Jeans: Forever 21

Duster: Forever 21

Belt: H&M

Necklace: Urban Outfitters

Shoes: Steve Madden

Day 2: Wildflower

This gorgeous dress from American Eagle was the star of the show for my day 2 outfit. This dress reminds me of something you would find by For Love and Lemons, but way more affordable! I accessorized the dress with a double layered horn necklace, a cuff bracelet and hoop earrings. My shoes were the same as my first outfit, only brown. And yes — I bought them in two colors. They’re that comfortable.

Dress: American Eagle

Necklace: Neiman Marcus Last Call

Bracelet: Lucky Brand

Shoes: Steve Madden

Day 3: Space Cowgirl

I made sure to saved the best for last: my favorite outfit inspired by this belt. Its baby pink velvet fabric and its amazing silver hardware made me fall in love with this piece instantly. The buckle features cestialial designs, and I love the beaded lining. I styled this belt with a distressed white denim skirt, a corset-like striped top, and cool silver velvet booties. A silver choker, cuff bracelet and earrings tied the look together.

Top: American Eagle

Skirt: American Eagle

Belt: Urban Outfitters

Choker: Forever 21

Shoes: Steve Madden

My February Sounded Like This

Music favorites and discoveries from February 2018.

Have you ever listened to a song on full volume and pretended you were in a movie scene? As a person who commutes to work, my internship and school, I tend to do this a lot in the car. I spend a lot of time finding new artists and albums to listen to, and I want to share my playlists with you!

So I’m starting a series on this blog called “My [insert month here] Sounded Like This”. Here’s the first installment:

Listen to my February Playlist on Spotify here.

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Cross My Mind – A R I Z O N A

Anyone who ever worked in retail understands the frustration of store playlists. Companies rarely switch up their playlists, and the same 20 songs playing on a loop can get very annoying. However, I work at Vince, and my store plays a lot of indie/alternative music – the stuff I love. I just so happened to discover “Cross My Mind” at work. A great song to drive to!

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My! My! My! – Troy Sivan

I was listening to Lana Del Rey a few days ago (surprise, surprise), and when her album finished, “My! My! My!” came on. A fun song with a cool sound.

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Miss Me More – Kelsea Ballerini

Kelsea Ballerini is hot in country music right now. She’s like Miranda Lambert mixed with old Taylor Swift. “Miss Me More” is a empowering song that you can’t help but blast.

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Plot Twist – Sigrid

Another song I discovered at work. A catchy indie-meets-pop jam.

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Needed Me – Rihanna

Not a new song, but who doesn’t need a little Rihanna on their soundtrack?

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White Mustang – Lana Del Rey

I’m never not listening to Lana Del Rey. Her Lust for Life album reminds me of summer, and listening to it is keeping me sane through the last few months of Chicago winter.

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But A Dream – G-Eazy

I’ve had The Beautiful & Damned on replay since its release date. “But A Dream” is the perfect song to drive the on the highway to – smooth, chill and dreamy.

How I Get Paid to Shop

As a full-time college student and a part-time shopaholic, I’m constantly on the hunt for the best deals. So when I found out that I can be paid to shop, I thought it was too good to be true – but it’s not!

About a year ago, I discovered Ebates – a service that allows you to shop at your favorite stores and earn cash back on all your orders.

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

How Ebates Works

Here’s how you can start getting paid to shop:

  1. Go to the Ebates website or download the Ebates app.
  2. Create an account. (Use this link to add $10 to your first Ebates check after a purchase of $25 or more!)
  3. Buy from your favorite stores through the Ebates app or website. You can even use Ebates at some in-store locations!

And voilà! You’ll receive your check in the mail or through PayPal. It really is that easy.

Depending on the store, you’ll get a certain percent back on your purchase. There are always stores offering special double cash back deals. Ebates also offers coupons and savings codes. It’s literally a savings sanctuary!

Where I Get Paid to Shop

With over 2,000 stores to shop from, you can earn cash back from all kinds of stores – clothing, cosmetics, homegoods, electronics, restaurants and many more. The stores range from affordable options to luxury goods.  Ebates truly does offer cashback for everyone’s needs.

Here are just some of my favorite stores on Ebates:

Forever 21 – 2% Cash Back

Sephora – 3% Cash Back

Target – 1% Cash Back

Ulta – 3% Cash Back

Urban Outfitters – 1% Cash Back

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

Disclaimer: Some affiliate links are included in this article. All opinions are my own.

I Went to New York City!

Ever since I was little, I’ve dreamed of visiting New York City. Little did I know that I would be going on a girls’ trip to the Concrete Jungle during my senior year of college!

On January 19th, I boarded a plane and discovered that New York was everything I wanted it to be: big, busy, and full of life, lights and history. My friends and I lived the dream of pretending to be Gossip Girl characters all weekend long.

Here’s just a few highlights of our trip:

Time Square

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They say you can see Time Square from outer space, and I believe them now.

My friends and I visited Time Square during on first night in the city. We had the luxury of lodging in Manhattan, and Time Square was only a 15 minute walk from our place.

Although it was past midnight, the street looked as if it was mid-afternoon. Full of bright signs and branded images, Time Square truly is an advertising student’s dream!

We also ate at Joe’s Pizza – a joint known for its authentic New York style pizza and for being featured in Spiderman!

Brunch in Brooklyn

For our first proper meal in New York, we had brunch at Glasserie, a delicious Mediterranean restaurant located in Brooklyn. We ordered the Brunch Mezze Feast, a fully vegetarian family style meal. I had a spiked coffee and sipped some mimosas that my friends kindly shared with me. If you’re looking for a yummy restaurant with a cozy atmosphere, I definitely recommend visiting this spot.

Brooklyn Bridge

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When you visit New York, of course you have to go to the Brooklyn Bridge! We enjoyed our 1.1 mile walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, posing for tons of photos and appreciating the scenery.

 

New York’s Own – Cupcakes and Coffee

It isn’t NYC without cupcakes and coffee!

While in Brooklyn, we stopped at Baked by Melissa to try their famous mini cupcakes. They were so delicious and had us wanting more. The cookie dough and sugar cookie cupcakes are my favorites!

We also grabbed coffee at a nearby cafe called Financier Patisserie. I enjoyed a vanilla iced latte, my go-to order for a special occasion, and the cafe didn’t disappoint.

SOHO and Ladurée

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There are few places in U.S. more glamorous than SOHO New York. My friends and I grabbed Sunday brunch at Ladurée, an amazing French cafe originally from Paris. The Paris location has been in business since 1862. The moment you walk into SOHO’s Ladurée, you feel like you are right in the middle of France.

I ordered rose tea, and it truly was one of the best teas I’ve ever had. For brunch, we all ordered avocado toast. This entree was prepared with wheat bread, avocado, scrambled eggs and smoked salmon on top. I’m not a fan of smoked salmon, but this dish had me questioning my preferences. Highly recommend it!

I bought a variety of macaroons to bring home to Chicago. Although I’ve never been to Paris (yet!), my friend assured me that SOHO’s macaroons taste just like they do in Paris.

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After brunch, we explored the streets and shops of SOHO. This area is full of luxury boutiques, sample sale shops, coffee shops, and luxe antique stores.

Central Park

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Our last stop was a classic – Central Park. Beautiful and big, just like NYC.

Central Park might have been the last stop on our trip, but it definitely wasn’t my last adventure in New York. I look forward to going back. But until then, xoxo… you know the rest.

 

 

2017, You Taught Me Some Things

2017 was crazy.

It was a tough year, full of life tests and confusion. But when I look back on 2017, I must say I’ve accomplished a lot. I raised my GPA to where I wanted it to be. I took on extra classes in order to graduate on time. I traveled to another country for the first time in my life. I had my first internship. I decided to learn to love myself, which is something I never thought I would be capable of even trying to do.

The best thing that came out of 2017 for me was growth. I feel like I am a better person because of this year. I’ve taken the initiative to improve my quality of life, and these are a few tips that have helped me grow throughout this year:

#1: If something doesn’t make you happy, leave it.

It’s simple: life is too short to waste time on things that don’t make you happy.

You dread working the job you hate? Quit it. A friend treats you poorly? Leave them. Something you used to love doesn’t give you the same joy as it used to? Find something new.

I’ve realized that I stick with the familiar, even if it makes me feel bad. I’m afraid of the unknown, so much so that I’ll put up with negative circumstances to avoid feeling uncomfortable or lost. But it’s not worth it. This year, I have only improved my life by leaving the negative behind. Holding on to lost causes are pointless, and it stunts personal growth.

#2: Some people will never change, and you don’t have to waste time trying to change them.

This is something I’ve reflected on for the majority of 2017. I think of relationships between people, internal qualities and the moves and mistakes we all make in our lives.

The hard truth is people won’t change unless they want to. The desire for change has to come from within. I think at some point in our lives, we all wish we could fix broken people, but we can’t. It isn’t our responsibility to change someone. Of course we can encourage it and express our concerns, but we are not responsible for anyone other than ourselves.

Realizing and accepting that this is out of my control allowed me to move on with my life. It isn’t that I don’t care; it’s that I can’t allow myself to sacrifice my sanity.

#3: It’s okay to be lost.

There is so much pressure on early 20-somethings to have our life together. We need to have a superb GPA, 8 internships on our resumes, 12 extra curricular activities, and 100 friends. We’re supposed to graduate from college and immediately start at a great new job, move into a place of our own, buy a car, get engaged, so on and so forth.

We’ve all heard it, and we all believe it at some point.

But the truth is everyone moves at their own pace. Just because one person has a $100,000 paying job, 10 travel plans for the next year, and engagement ring on their finger right after college doesn’t mean you have to. Life has a funny way of making things happen right when things are supposed to happen. Setting goals and working towards accomplishing them is more important (and more effective!) than competing with other people.

#4: Knowing what you don’t want is just as important as knowing what you do want.

I can even argue that knowing what you don’t want is more important than knowing what you do want.

This year, I’ve realized that I don’t actually know what I want. I feel like a lot of “my” standards are built off of what I’ve been told to expect. I have used this year to challenge those expectations and figure out what I don’t want in order to figure out what I need.

#5: It’s going to be okay.

There have been many times throughout the year that I have said to myself, “This is the end of me. It’s never going to get better. I will never move on from this moment.” (I’m not even trying to be dramatic. This is actual dialogue from my head.)

Plot twist! It’s not true. There is always a solution, and a new day will always come. Making mistakes and experiencing bad times is a part of life, but these moments don’t mark the end of your world. I promise you – and myself – that it will always be okay.