Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas! + Blogger Secret Santa

Merry Christmas Y'all!
I am wishing you a wonderful holiday filled with family, yummy food, and lots of love. Christmas is my favorite holiday and I cannot believe how quickly it has come this year. It's one of the few times a year my whole family is under the same roof for an extended amount of time. It can get hard to be away from home for the majority of the year, but being back in Texas has been exactly the recharge I've needed after this long semester. 

Once again, I cannot believe how quickly this year has flown. It has been a long, hard year for me and so many people I know. Today, I was scrolling through Instagram and I saw someone captioned a picture with the lyrics to O Holy Night, "the trill of hope, the weary world rejoices." How perfect of a perspective is that for the holiday season this year? No matter what your year has looked like, I feel like everyone is just worn out and weary by the time December rolls around. But rejoice, there is hope! There is always hope in God, Jesus, and the new year. So rejoice in the hope and happiness of the holidays and enjoy the time with loved ones. 
One of the things that helped add some happiness to my Christmas was the Blogger Secret Santa gift exchange hosted by Abigail and Cathleen. These sweet girls (and fellow SC residents) had the fun idea to host a gift exchange between bloggers all across the country. Funnily enough, even though there were girls from all across the country who participated, I sent a gift to and received gifts two other Texas girls! What are the odds?!

I received a secret santa gift from Alison from Beauty & Blazers. Check out all of her links here:
Alison is super adorable and crazy talented! Seriously, her photography and hand lettering skills are killer. And her insta theme is perfection. She announced on her blog in November that she will be going through a rebrand in the new year. I wish her the best of luck with it! Here are a couple shots of my gift from her. She did a great job of picking out things for me: I love mugs (too much), the stocking matches my room perfectly, I'm a total sucker for the pretty packaging of the tea box and who doesn't love chocolate? Thank you so much Alison!

Once again, have a wonderful and blessed Christmas!

Monday, December 5, 2016

November Top 10!

It's the last month of 2016! Can you believe it? As per usual, since it is the beginning of the month, here is my top 10 for November.

1 // November was equally crazy and relaxing. The first weekend of the month was fall break which meant a four day weekend, which was MUCH needed! Fall break was delayed this year due to the election (they wanted to make sure everyone had the day off to vote), which meant everyone was burned out long before we got a break. Just a week and a half later, it was Thanksgiving. Mike and I headed to his sister's for both breaks. I was not productive at all during the time off, but a full on break was so nice. Occasionally, it's really great to get out of a college town and be around people who are not within the 18-22 age range. 

2 // Another awesome part of November is always the Clemson-South Carolina game the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Clemson broke a seven year losing streak my freshman year and has started a streak of our own! This year, the Palmetto Bowl was a night game (so fun!) and the first cold football game we had. Not everyone agrees with me, but I love getting all bundled up for football games. We were all packed together since there were so many people at the game, so you couldn't even really feel the cold. We spent all day tailgating and then handed South Carolina one of their biggest losses in the rivalry's history. Rushing the field with friends was the perfect way to end another great football season.

3 // Also this month (so many things happened!), Mike and I celebrated our two year anniversary. It's crazy to me that we have been together for two years already. I am so grateful for him and we have had such a great time over the past two years experiencing college and growing up together. For our anniversary we went to a really neat wild game restaurant called Saskatoon. Mike was adventurous and got elk, I was not and just got a steak. The dinner was delicious and we had a nice time going on a fancy date, definitely a treat.

4 // This year I actually did some Black Friday shopping! I wasn't about to brave the crazy to get deals, so I shopped on my phone, in my pajamas, while watching the Gilmore Girls revival. I ordered some new things from Old Navy and placed an order with elf cosmetics. I'm still waiting on my orders to come in, but I'll put up a haul/review once I get everything in.

5 // One of the most exciting parts of the month was the Gilmore Girls revival. I love Gilmore Girls! I would come home everyday in middle school and watch an episode at 4pm on ABC Family, ah memories. I've also watched the whole series on Netflix. Needless to say, I was super excited for the revival. It was good and I liked it for the most part. I wasn't super into the ending, unless they were setting it up for another revival/new series, which I would be down for. 

6 // Early in the month, Mike and I went out to see a movie and landed on Hacksaw Ridge. It sounded like a horror movie, so I was hesitant, but it ended up being amazing. It's the true story of a conscientious observer, a soldier who won't carry a gun, during World War II, who single handedly saved a number of his men in one of the most dangerous battles of the war. It's a great, heart warming and just amazing story. I was so surprised Desmond Doss isn't a more well known figure because of his story. It's still in theaters and I highly recommend it.

7 // On the beauty side, for the past few months, I have been using the Morphe Brushes 35 K - Koffee eyeshadow palette. It is the perfect neutral palette. It has all of the same/similar colors as my original Naked palette with just as good, if not better quality, for a fraction of the cost. I got mine off of Hautelook for around $15!!! I've heard great things about the other Morphe palettes so if you're in the market for something new without paying an excessive amount, definitely look into them.

8 // It finally got cold in November, mainly towards the end, but I was so ready. It has been an unusually warm fall in Clemson and I was dying to break out the jeans and sweaters. For the better part of the last 6 weeks, I have been living in my favorite jeans from Old Navy. Lately I have been pairing them with one of my classic cable knit sweaters from Ralph Lauren and my riding boots.

9 // Also when I ordered my Morphe palette, I ordered a foundation brush. I've never used a brush for foundation before. In high school, I just used my fingers and when I started getting into watching youtube beauty videos, I started using a beauty sponge. Over the past year, I have been watching Jaclyn Hill's makeup video and she recommended the M439 Deluxe Buffer brush for foundation. When I saw it on sale, I decided to go ahead and try it out. Man have I been missing out! Using a brush makes putting on foundation so much faster and easier, especially since this one is kinda large; it's also cheap which is always a plus.

10 // I'm so glad it's finally December! In a matter of days, I'll be headed home for the first time since August. Christmas is my favorite time of the year and I love spending time with my family, especially since I'm so far from home. Having a whole month home is going to be amazing and I can't wait to just soak it all in.

What are you most excited for in December?

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Festive for Finals

Finals week is upon us! Unfortunately the happiness and excitement of December that comes with the Christmas season is also accompanied by the stress of final exams for college and most high school kids. It seems almost cruel that the fun of the holidays is dampened by the most dreaded week of the semester. I am very lucky to get out of school two weeks before Christmas, leaving plenty of time to get into the holiday spirit, but for those of you who are still in school closer to Christmas, here is a definitive guide of everything you need to stay in the holiday spirit as you study!
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Everyone knows that a serious study session requires the comfiest of attire, but who says your library ensemble as to be your normal oversized t shirt? Swap it out for a fun Christmas graphic tee so you can stay in the spirit as you make endless notecards.

If you're the kind of person who prefers to study in your room over the insanely crowded library (same!), a festive environment is essential. I bought this adorable gold mylar Christmas tree from Target and it has been up in my room since early November, judge me. I also got these mini ornaments and star tree topper to decorate it. It looks so cute in my room and makes me so happy. 

When you need a little study break, break out the bright red nail polish and a Christmas movie to give yourself the perfect holiday manicure. 

Of course, finals week would not be complete without an excess of coffee. Make your caffeine kick a little more merry with a themed mug and holiday flavored coffee - I just picked up the Donut Shop Peppermint Bark k-cups and I'm dying to try them!

Cozy footwear is also an essential. I love these gold moccasins, because they could easily go from your last-minute, early morning cram sesh while still in your jammies, straight to your exam in normal clothes and no one would think anything of it.

If you want to be a little more inconspicuous with your holiday cheer, these funny reindeer socks are right up your alley. Only you will know that you've had a Christmas countdown going since December 26.

Last, but not least, after a long day of studying, nothing helps you unwind faster than slipping into some comfy Christmas jammies. I ordered this set during Black Friday (unfortunately had to get them shipped home instead of to school) and I am so excited to try them out!

Good luck to everyone on their final exams!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Simplified Planner Organization

Happy Saturday! Today I am sharing a post that I have been working on for a while, how I organize my planner!

If you don't follow along with my Instagram, you probably haven't seen how obsessed I am with my Emily Ley Simplified Planner. I had been constantly checking out and debating investing (about $60 yikes!) in this planner for the better part of a year - pretty much since I discovered the Emily Ley brand. However, I couldn't get over the fact that these planners were SO expensive, and it was after all just a planner. 

My super sweet boyfriend was well aware of my obsession and knew I would never spend the money to get the planner for myself, so he got it for me as my birthday present! I have been using it all semester and have finally gotten down an organizational system that I like. Today I am sharing how I set up my planner and some tips for keeping your planner (and life) organized. 

// the planner //

I have the Emily Ley Simplified Planner, Daily Edition, in Gold Pineapple. First off, it's adorable. I was a little worried about the white background, but it has held up very well, even though it shows a little wear from constantly being lugged around in my backpack. I got the daily edition which has a page for every day and the page is split between a schedule and to do list, with space at the bottom for dinner and notes. In the past, when I had weekly calendars, I always struggled with fitting my schedule for the day, assignments, and to do list in the small amount of space. With this planner I have more than enough room. Emily Ley also offers a weekly edition that still has each day broken down, just with fewer slots for schedule and to-dos for every day.

// how I use it // 

Color coding - when I first got my planner, I assigned a color of pen to each class I'm taking, as well as ones for sorority obligations, things specifically regarding my officer position, Mike, my part time job, and the blog. I always write the things for each specific area in the same color so I can easily see what I have going on. (Pro tip: the notebooks/folders I got for each class match their planner pen color). These are my favorite pens!

I fill in the monthly view with all of the big events I have going on for the month - birthdays, big assignments and tests, interviews, meetings, etc. I love having an overview of everything that I have coming up. I fill in each month at the start of semester with all of the dates from my syllabi. As the month goes along, I add in other things I have coming up.

At the start of each week, either Sunday night or Monday morning, I fill in all of the reoccurring events I have during the week - class and my work schedule. I will also fill in events specific for that week. It seems a little tedious to do this every single week, but it really does help me to write it all do and have a visual of what the schedule of my day looks like. I have a google calendar with my schedule as well, but there is something to be said for writing things down.

Each day, I will make a to do list for that day in the second column on the planner. My to do lists are often ambitious and I know I won't get it all accomplished, but then I'll transfer things to the next day when I have more time. I would like to have a little morning ritual where I write down everything I need to get done, but more often it's when I get to my class 15 minutes early that I fill out my planner for the day.

On each day there is also a dinner and notes section. Now I don't really need to plan out dinners (I'm a college student, I either eat in the dining hall or eat out), so I'll cover the header of that section with washi tape - just because I love fun washi tape - and use it to write out assignments or reminders for my classes for that day. I don't always use the notes sections but it's really nice to have if I have a sudden idea for the blog or need to jot something down during a meeting.

The Simplified Planner is hands down the best planner I have ever used! I tell pretty much everyone how great it is and that they need one too. This is definitely not my last Emily Ley planner.

What is your favorite planner? Do you have a certain way of organizing it? I would love to hear!

Friday, December 2, 2016

5 Christmas Movies to Binge Watch

Happy Blogmas Day 2!!! Hopefully the rest of my posts won't be going up so late. I hope you have had a wonderful week! Like I said yesterday, next week is finals week for me (and most other college students), which means lots of stress and studying. My favorite way to relax at the end (or even as a mid-day break) of a long day of studying is to watch a Christmas movie. 

Luckily, Netflix has plenty of Christmas movies for you to add to your watch list for those study breaks. There are quite a few new Lifetime-esque movies that have been added on Netflix recently, and I'll most likely watch all of them in the next few weeks. But today, I am sharing my top 5 favorite Christmas movies that are on Netflix.

1. Love Actually

Love Actually is one of my favorite movies in general, but it's even better that it's set at Christmas time. It follows the holiday season of a variety of characters in London as they each have slightly intertwined, but interesting love stories. This movie also has an all star cast of Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Natalie Portman, Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson, and Alan Rickman. 

2. Christmas with the Kranks

This option is much more family friendly if you're looking for something to watch when little cousins are running around. The Kranks are new, empty nesters that are attempting to skip Christmas to go on a cruise. The entire town gets involved in the debate on their decision leading to angry boy scouts, grumpy neighbors, and a missing Frosty decoration. It's a little corny, but very sweet. 

3. Miracle on 34th Street

Does Santa Claus really exist? This 90s remake of the classic movie seeks to prove that age old question. When she meets the department store Santa, little Susan becomes convinced that he is the real Santa Claus, so much so that other children start believing he is too. When the adults think he is just a deranged old man, Mr. Kringle ends up in a New York court that will decide whether Santa Claus is real.

4. White Christmas

This one is an oldie, but a goodie. I've seen White Christmas a bunch because it is my mom's favorite Christmas movie. Set in the 50s, it tells the musical story of two soldiers who have gone on to become a musical act and fall for a singing sister duo. The men follow the sisters to their Christmas gig in Vermont to find that the inn they're singing at is run by their former commanding officer, and the inn is in trouble. The foursome has to work together to pull off a Christmas miracle and try to save the inn.

5. A Christmas Kiss

A Christmas Kiss is your typical, over-the-top, Lifetime/Hallmark Christmas movie with a Cinderella storyline. A girl meets a handsome stranger in an elevator and they share a kiss, but don't exchange any information. She thinks she will never see her mystery man again, until she is introduced to him... as her mean boss's boyfriend. I'm sure you can figure the rest out from there. Like I said, this movie is super cheesy, but very cute. I'm a sucker for the cheesy Christmas movies, so I really enjoyed it.

I have lots of other favorite Christmas movies that aren't on Netflix: The Holiday, Elf,  The Santa Clause & Santa Clause 2 (the third one is awful), A Christmas Story, and It's a Wonderful Life - all of which I highly recommend. 

What are you favorite Christmas movies?

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Welcome to BLOGMAS!

Happy December friends! If you're anything like me, you're in shock that it's December already and wondering where this year has gone. Girl, I am right there with you. This semester has been jam packed! While I wish things were already slowing down, we are headed full steam ahead into finals week. On the bright side, a week from now, I will be done with exams and be starting to pack to return to the great lonestar state!

With all of the craziness that has gone on this semester, my blog has really fallen onto the back burner. I had been working so hard over the summer to post consistently and had become really excited about my future in blogging, but between sorority responsibilities, classes, a new part time job, and just being a normal college student, something had to give - blogging. Which brings us to Blogmas!

What is Blogmas you ask? I had no idea either, until one of the girls in our #bloggingcollege groupme brought up the idea. Essentially, it's a countdown to Christmas by posting on your blog every single day from December 1-25, quite the challenge. A lot of YouTubers do Vlogmas, which is along the same lines, just posting a daily vlog every day of December. While I will be in the midst of finals for the next 10 days, I am going to do my best to get up a post every day - and hopefully most will not be coming this late at night. I think this is great motivation to get me in gear for blogging in 2017!

A lot of my posts will be Christmas themed, of course, but I also plan to include some of my usual college and lifestyle posts. I hope you follow along with me!

24 Days Until Christmas!