Friday, May 29, 2015

A Few of My Favorite Things

These are a few of my favorite things:

Book: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban 

I'm the biggest Harry Potter nerd, and while a lot of people won't pick a favorite, the third book of the series is by far my favorite. (But I also recommend reading the whole series!)

Perfume: Ralph Lauren Big Pony #3

I would consider this my signature scent. It has a fruity, floral smell that just makes me really happy. I have both the Eau du Toilette and the rollerball and am very quickly running out of both.

Nail Polish: Essie Buy Me A Cameo

This is the best neutral nail polish. The color is a beautiful rose gold. It's classic and goes with everything. I do recommend a few coats and a top coat to keep it from chipping.

Eye Shadow: Urban Decay Naked Palette

I don't care what any one else says, the original Naked palette is the best. It's a little pricy, but oh so worth it. I've used it nearly everyday for the past two years and have barely hit pan. The colors are great and extremely versatile - you can use them for everyday looks or daring smokey eyes and everything in between. 

Coffee: HEB Cafe Ole Texas Pecan Coffee

For those of you not from Texas, I'm sorry. HEB is the grocery store of choice here in South Texas, and this is the best coffee from their store brand. My mom actually sends it to me in care packages, because nothing else even comes close. So worth it.

Travel Mug: Tervis Kappa Alpha Theta 16oz Tumbler

This was a Christmas gift from my best friend Sara (read her blog here). I used it, and another one I have of the same size, every single day for coffee in the morning. It perfectly fits the largest cup on the standard Keuring, it's great.

Pressed Powder: Maybelline Fit Me! Matte + Poreless Powder

I have 105 Translucent and 110 Porcelain, both are great - be careful with the translucent though, because it can appear extremely white in flash photos if you use too much. It keeps your face matte and foundation in place all day long. I swirl my brush around in the powder and pat all over my face. I love it so much I want to test out the matching Fit Me! foundation.

Shoes: Birkenstock Gizeh Sandals in Mocha

These are hands down the best shoes I've ever had. Yes, they're expensive, but I can guarantee you will get your money's worth. I've had them for about four years now and have worn them to death. Some people (i.e. my boyfriend) hate them - I don't care. I have lots of feet problems, and these sandals are wonderfully supportive. You will not be disappointed. 

CD: Underdog by Aaron Watson

This has been my favorite album for quite a few months now. All of Aaron Watson's albums are great, but I especially like this one. It has a great mix of songs - my personal favorites are That Look and Getaway Truck. If you haven't heard of Aaron Watson, look him up. You won't be disappointed.

Check out some of my favorites, maybe they'll become your favorites too!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Where The Blue Ridge Yawns Its Greatness

Today I'm going to talk about one of my favorite things. Clemson. I could not be more happy with where I decided to go to college. I always had it in the back of my mind that I wouldn't stay in Texas, because how many chances to you get to move somewhere totally different? However, I wasn't about to go super crazy with it, so I created a geographical area that only consisted of southern states - this girl wasn't about to endure real winters or not have southern hospitality. I ended up applying to two Texas schools, three in South Carolina and one in Virginia. I didn't apply to any reach schools (fear of rejection was the main reason), so I was blessed to get accepted to all six. However, after months and months of wish washing, I had narrowed down to two. Both in South Carolina and, as it turns out, less than an hour from each other. Lots of people considered the other school my better option, but deep down I always knew Clemson was the place for me.

I toured Clemson the summer before my senior year, during a marathon college tour I did with my mom (I'll probably make a post about this later on). Clemson was the last school I formally toured in that week, and to say it left an impression would be an understatement. I was impressed by the pretty campus, which I only see as more gorgeous now that I'm a student. I was attracted to the bigger school atmosphere without it being massive. Most state schools in Texas have 50,000+ students and sprawling campuses. Clemson has about 16,000 undergraduate students, and I can get across campus in 15 minutes - usually seeing at least a handful of people I know along the way. Clemson is the best of both worlds - small enough to not feel anonymous, but not too small to feel like high school.

Another thing that really attracted me to Clemson was football. As a Texas girl and a cheerleader for all of my middle and high school life, I love football, and I can keep up with the game too. Tip: if you want to impress boys learn how to understand the basics of football, and keep gradually learning more (kidding, kind of). There is no better way to spend a Saturday than gameday in Death Valley. We also have a fun tradition where the football team runs down the hill that's part of our student section at the start of each game. ESPN named it the most exciting 25 seconds in college football, and I couldn't agree more. Watch this video to get a slight idea of what it's like, because when you're actually there, it's so much better.

Clemson also provides the great environment of a college town. I believe we were ranked among the best college towns in America - or I would rank us at that. Clemson (the town) is really small, so it's easy to get around even if you don't have a car. I do recommend befriending someone with a car though, because sometimes it's necessary. However, Clemson isn't completely isolated either. It's 45 minutes into Greenville, the nearest big city. There are other small towns on either side of Clemson, and it's only 20 minutes away from Anderson, a larger town. Clemson is also only 2 hours away from both Charlotte and Atlanta, which have the larger airports (I recommend Charlotte - getting to the Atlanta airport is awful). I've never felt like there was nothing to do in Clemson. There are always activities offered on campus, or there are plenty of things to do in the surrounding area.

Now I should probably mention the most important thing about college, academics. Clemson is ranked in the Top 20 public universities in the country. We boast great agricultural and engineering programs, but really I think any major would be satisfied at Clemson. There's great duality between classes. I've had a 200 person lecture, and 25 person discussion based course in the same semester. The school is big enough that there are a range of professors to take, especially for general education or intro classes. Most of my professors I loved, and left the class feeling like I actually learned something - novel concept huh?

At first, I wasn't sure how I felt being at a school where I didn't know anyone, but Clemson very quickly became home. It's all a matter of getting involved and meeting people. I would not trade the great freshman year I had for the world, and I am so excited for the next three years at this wonderful place.

So I hope you enjoyed my Clemson infomercial. I could talk for days about how much I love this place. If you're looking at colleges, consider Clemson. Go Tigers!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Remembering Our Heroes

While Memorial Day weekend is usually considered the kickoff to the summer, filled with lake days and barbecues, it's important to remember why we have this holiday. Memorial Day is meant to remember all of the men and women in our country's armed forces who passed away while serving. As a product of a military family, this day strikes a chord in my heart. Although we were lucky that none of our family members died in combat, it's still important to remember that many other soldiers were not that lucky. 

My great grandfather was a Major General in the Army Air Corp during World War II. 
My great grandfather, the Major General.
My dad's father, a Colonel in the Army during Vietnam.
My mom's father, who served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War.

In addition to the men pictured above, two of my cousins and my uncle have served in the armed forces, and my older brother will go into the Army when he graduates college. The military always has been and as always will be very important to me. I hope you take today to thank those who have served. Both of my grandfathers have passed away in the past year, and I wish I had taken the opportunity to thank them again for their service and devotion to protecting my freedom. 

God Bless America!

Friday, May 22, 2015

10 Things I've Learned Since Graduating

A year ago I graduated from high school. Holy cow! How is that possible? It doesn't seem possible that it's been that long since I walked the stage, trying to not trip on the way down. On the other hand, I look back at the person I was a year ago, and barely recognize that girl. Since graduating, lots of things have happened that will shape me for the rest of my life. I moved away from home, made new friends, experienced heart breaking loss of loved ones, fell head over heels for a wonderful boy, tried new things, and really started to figure out who I am when I'm not confined to labels I was stuck with at 14. I can gladly and proudly say that I am most definitely not the person I was when I graduated high school. 

I've learned a lot, so today I'm going to share the top 10 things I've learned since graduating high school.

1. Who you were in high school does not matter.

In high school, I was the cheerleader, the quiet girl, I wasn't into partying, I made decently good grades. I got to college and none of that mattered. Of course, I also had the benefit of moving 1000+ miles away and not knowing a single soul at college. But that's beside the point. Your grades, your reputation, your SAT score, none of that matters. I doubt if someone asked you to talk about yourself those are things you would use to describe your amazing, vivacious personality. College frees you from who you were in high school, and trust me, you are so much more than anything anyone said about you in high school. 

2. A lot of people will give you advice about college, but in the end, you're the one who decides what is best for you.

Like I said yesterday, everyone told me not to date anyone my first year of college, and dating my boyfriend was the best decision I made all year. Now I'm not saying to disregard everything anyone tells you about college and what it's like, but everyone's experience is different, and just because things worked out a certain way for your mom, cousin, or best friend's brother does not mean your college experience will be the same. 

3. Friendships you have to force are rarely friendships worth keeping.

I can count on one hand the number of people I've talked to since graduation. I keep up with one person from my graduating class regularly. I should also mention that my two best friends in high school didn't go to school with me and I still talk to them all the time (one of them has a blog too, follow it here). However, the girls who I considered my best friends at school I haven't talked to probably since September. I tried to keep up with them, but it was obvious that they weren't interested, so I lost interest too. I also started to develop much more real, genuine friendships when I started college, and it was immediately evident that my high school friends were not true friends.

4. Join SOMETHING and it doesn't have to be anything you did in high school.

A Greek organization, a religious group, a club or intramural team, anything. I'll be the first to say that you are most likely not going to make your best friends by sitting in your dorm room. I can pretty much guarantee that your school will have some sort of activities fair. Go to it. Put your name down for two or three things that sound interesting to you. Maybe get your roommate or a friend you've made in class to go to the first meeting with you so you feel more comfortable. If you put in the effort to join in and meet people, you'll make friends, I promise. 

5. When you share a tiny room with someone, it's best to find common ground.

You might get lucky and have your roommate become your best friend. You might not. Either way, you're sharing a small space and you need to find some way to get along or it's going to be a long year. My roommate and I watched a trashy MTV reality show together on Monday nights. It was our thing. We may have had our bumps along the way, but all in all she was a good roommate. At the very least, try to talk to your roommate even if it's just about the weather or complimenting her outfit.

6. Mistakes happen. Learn from them and move on.

Everybody makes mistakes, everybody has those days (Hannah Montana, anybody?) All joking aside, you will most likely regret a decision or two you make. That's life. But learn from them. Don't go out on Thursday night when you have an 8am on Friday. Laundry should be done regularly, don't wait until you're out of underwear. That older boy is not cool, he's just a creep. Once you learn your lesson, put it behind you. Don't dwell on the bad things. Just keep looking forward and be happy. 

7. You define organizations you're a part of. They do not define you. 

Join things because you're interested in or passionate about them, not because of the reputation they have on campus. Some organizations will be seen in higher esteem than others on campus, that does not make them better. Remember that your wonderful self decided that this organization was worth investing time and energy into. Don't let anyone tell you that you are any less smart, talented, beautiful, etc., because of the group you joined. You make that organization that much better because of what you bring to it. Never let anyone make you think differently. 

8. Make an effort to get out of your dorm room.

Dorm rooms are small, cramped, and can be very lonely places - even if your roommate is in there. Go study outside. Try to go to the gym with a friend (not that I ever actually did this). Grab dinner off campus to get a little break. It's easy to settle into a mundane routine. I was very guilty of this at the beginning of school. I'm pretty shy so I didn't have a million friends right off the bat and it seemed easier to just hang out in my dorm room because I didn't know what else to do. I'm not going to lie, it kind of sucked. I was sad and lonely and questioned my decision about my school. This kind of goes back to joining something. If you meet some cool people in the club meeting you went to, go back. Try to hang out with them other times. It's going to take effort and it's not easy, but it's so worth it.

9. Have tons of fun, but make sure you're keeping up with school (goes both ways).

Had to fit this little mom like reminder in there. Have fun while you're at college, but remember you're there for your education. This also goes the other way. Don't be so caught up in trying to make perfect grades that you forget that these are some of the best years of your life and you should be enjoying them. I'm a major perfectionist, so I always stress myself out about school, but you will need to blow off steam and take a break from time to time.

10. Never apologize for being your authentic self.

Like I've said, in college you really learn a lot about yourself, what you value and believe. You should never feel inferior for being the genuine you. You are a spectacular person, who was designed with a specific plan in mind for you and your gifts. Embrace everything about your personality and OWN IT! 

Sometimes I don't take my own advice, but I'm working on it.

I'll leave you with the best advice I've gotten since being at college:
"Anything worth it is hard, and it's hard because it's worth it."

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Getting Sappy for Six Months

Bear with me, but today I'm doing a little bit of a personal post. Today marks six months that I have been dating my wonderful boyfriend, and I wanted to post about him and how great the last 6 months have been. It will most likely be sickeningly sweet. I don't apologize. 

Everyone told me not to date anyone my freshman year of college, especially first semester. However, I'll be the first to say that sometimes the best thing to do is to not listen to what everyone else says and just listen to your heart (I know, super corny). First semester was pretty rough for me; it wasn't easy to move halfway across the country and I spent more time than I would like to admit pretty sad and lonely. This boy made all the difference. Now I'm not saying that a boy is necessary to be happy, but he was a big help to me. He became my best friend, something I didn't have up to that point at school. Because of him, I always have someone to grab lunch or a Cookout milkshake with, someone who will listen to my unreasonable rants or freak outs, someone who can always make me smile, someone to be my date to endless sorority functions, someone who is always there for me. He made my freshman year better than I possibly could have asked for and {almost} all of my best memories from the year are with him.

Now one thing we haven't mastered in 6 months is taking good pictures. Here are some of our best and worst attempts.

6 months.

26 weeks {almost}.

 181 days.

4344 hours.

260,640 minutes.

 15,638,400 seconds.

That's a long time to deal with me.

And I'm so grateful that he chooses to put up with me everyday.

I'm a lucky girl. And I'm extremely blessed to have someone as wonderful as him love me.

Thanks for sticking with me while I got sappy.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Perfect Swimsuits for Memorial Day!

So it's that time of year again! Memorial Day weekend is coming up in a couple days! For a lot of people it marks the end of the school year or the start of the last week of school. Hopefully you'll be spending the weekend poolside or soaking up the sun somewhere else. And what is the biggest necessity for a weekend on the water? A cute swimsuit of course!

Both of these swimsuits are from Target and they're on sale for $14 for each top and bottom! Target has had the best selection of swimsuits this year - there's a style and color for everybody. I've become a big fan the flouncy style bikini tops. They offer a little bit more modesty and are extremely flattering. Plus both of these have such cute little details. It's hard to tell in the picture, but the orchid bikini has laser cut flower detail - and I think this color would look good on everyone. And how cool is the back of the light blue top? 

I decided to go for the matching bottoms for these tops, but you could easily mix and match them. 
I hope you find your perfect summer swimsuit!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Welcome to A Little Ashley!

As you can guess from the name of my blog, I'm Ashley. 

I'll start off by telling you a little bit about me. I'm a born-and-bred Texas girl who has left the Lonestar State while I attend college in South Carolina. I just finished my freshmen year at Clemson University (go tigers!!!!), where I am studying psychology. I am a proud member of a sorority, and am very blessed by my sisters and all they have taught me. Of course, they will never replace my wonderful family at home; I consider myself very lucky to be close with my family and I am definitely a home-body because I like being around my family so much - doesn't really make sense why I decided to go to college across the country huh?

I love all things girly! Fashion, makeup, jewelry...the list goes on. I see clothes and makeup as ways to express yourself and your individuality. Personally, I love bright colors and fun prints. A friend of mine once complained that my closet was too colorful and she couldn't find anything toned down enough to suit her style. I don't tend to be very adventurous with my clothes, but I am always willing to experiment with makeup. Sometimes I'll try new makeup looks just because I'm bored.

Now this leads into why I decided to start a blog! I love watching YouTubers and reading blogs to get new ideas for outfits or makeup, however most of the people whose style I love have a very different budget to look so fabulous on. I don't think there are many blogs (or I probably just haven't found them) that give an accurate depiction of how to look good on a college budget. So I want to share my fashion and makeup favorites that won't break the bank, as well as share my thoughts, insights, and experiences as a college student.

Please join me as I share a little bit of me!