Bags for class

After I wore a hole in the bottom of my large Longchamp, I’ve been on a search for a new bag for school (can you tell my mind is on school starting back!?).  I started looking seriously a couple weeks ago, and I swear I went through every single brown leather tote bag I could find on the Internet!  I needed something that would be appropriate to take to class, work and my internship – and would fit my 15-inch MacBook Pro, planner, books and notebooks!  Needless to say, this was not an easy search…I’ve looked at enough bags for one lifetime, I think.  But after nitpicking literally every single one of them, I’m going to share with you my top picks (and the one I eventually bought) and the pros and cons of each.

The Legacy Tanner Tote from Coach was my top choice for a really long time.  When I first saw it online, I actually really disliked it – then saw it in the store and fell in love.  Online, I thought it was monstrously big, and in person, I thought it was the perfect size!  I love that this bag is professional looking, but casual enough to be able to use around campus.  My only problems with this bag was the price ($500!!) and the fact that the kind of leather would show imperfections pretty easily – but the price was ultimately what made me look for other options.

The Collection Brompton Hobo from J.Crew is a little bit more laid back than the Coach bag – which is good or bad, depending on how you look at it.  I was looking for something with a little more structure, but with my laptop in it, the bag had a little more shape than it does in the picture.  I was really surprised my computer even fit in this bag!  There isn’t a ton of space for anything else after you put a computer in – but if you don’t carry much, it’s a good, more reasonably priced option ($298).  One of the things that attracted me to this bag was the fact that it had a cross-body option, as well as top handles.

The entire time I was looking, I was keeping the classic Vineyard Vines tote in the back of my mind.  I was more in the market for a leather bag, but I knew if I couldn’t find anything else, I could fall back on this bag – and with its inexpensive ($95), even if I ended up finding something I liked better, it would be a good piece to keep in my closet. My drawbacks on this one was that it was less appropriate to take to my internship and the canvas would show dirt really easily.

And finally the bag I ended up purchasing – the Crosby Shopper from Cole Haan!  It was kind of a stroke of fate that I found this bag.  I looked at Cole Haan’s website and scrolled right on by this bag.  Then yesterday, I had a couple hours to kill and ended up at the mall, bag shopping.  I found a bag I liked at Nordstrom, left to think about it and just wandered into Cole Haan and came upon this!  This bag is seriously awesome – the shade of leather is exactly what I was looking for.  And there’s so much room inside!  The salesperson opened the bag, and my jaw actually dropped.  I can fit my laptop, planner, book, sunglasses case, wallet, EVERYTHING in there, and there’s still so much space left (perfect since I swear I get more stuff over the course of every day!).  At $350, it’s reasonably priced for a bag I intend on using for at least two more years.

What bag do you use for class?

 

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Pinterest projects for the new school year!

I know, I know…it’s the middle of summer and the last thing on your mind is probably going back to school.  But here’s the thing: it’s actually not that far away.  I’ll be moving to my apartment for the upcoming school year in less than 10 days, which means classes aren’t far behind.  Plus, back to school is my favorite time of the year – buying new school supplies, decorating dorm rooms, I love it all.  As I’ve been planning how I want to decorate my room this year, I have inevitably turned to Pinterest (it’s an addiction, isn’t it?).  I’ve finished a few projects and have even more than I need to find the time to try.  Be sure to click on each of the pictures to be led to the pin.

This was my first Pinterest project of the summer – painting corkboards to go above my desk.  The hardest part of the project was measuring out the stripes – I would not be able to deal if they were uneven and I’m not a math major for a reason.  But they turned out AWESOME and I can’t wait to hang them up!  You can see my Instagram photo of my final product here!

These metallic cork coasters were my second project of the summer – obviously I bought cork in bulk at A.C. Moore this month.  The coasters were very easy to make.  I traced circles on a sheet of cork with a bug mug, instead of purchasing pre-cut coasters.  After that, all you have to do is draw on them with a silver paint pen!  These coasters are going to be absolutely adorable in my apartment.

And finally, one project I’m planning for the coming weeks.  Somehow, from my time spent living in a dorm, I have ended up with way more Sterlite drawers than any one person really needs.  They’re really functional, but not always the prettiest thing.  So, attaching scrapbook paper (whether with Modge Podge or just Scotch tape!) to the inside of the drawers is a great way to make them look better!

What Pinterest crafts have you tried out this summer?!

 

Etsy obsession

I’ve spent months upon months wishing for a J.Crew bubble necklace.  I love the bright colors, I love the fun shape but I hate the price.  There is no way I’m going to pay almost $150 for a necklace that will inevitably be out of style in two years.  I kept wishing I would see a knock-off version in a store like Forever 21 or H&M, but I didn’t find anything – until I went what I thought was an unlikely source, Etsy!

For under $40, you can find trendy statement necklaces, at the perfect price for a piece that’s only going to last a couple seasons.  This copy of J.Crew’s bubble necklace is only $19!

I love fawning over all the beautiful things on Etsy!  Since I’m from North Carolina, I LOVE these necklaces with a heart in the state.

What are you loving on Etsy these days?

Dressing for your summer internships!

This summer, I’m spending most of my days sitting in an office.  If you’re lucky enough to have a job or internship this summer, your days are probably spent a lot like mine – pining to be outside in the nice weather, at the pool, anywhere but sitting at that desk for a minute longer.  My summer plans ended up taking me to my university’s newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel, as the copy desk editor for the summer and 2012-13 school year.  Luckily for me, working at The Daily Tar Heel means I can show up to work most days in Nike running shorts and a T-shirt and nobody blinks.  But, if you’ve got a major internship or job this summer, you’re probably spending your early mornings wishing you didn’t have to look quite so professional every day.  The good news is that looking professional for this summer’s job or internship doesn’t mean you have to look boring.

Internship 1

Put some bright summer colors into your outfits for work!  Balance brighter pieces, like the turquoise No.2 pencil skirt from J.Crew and bright yellow flats from Tory Burch, with more neutral items, such as the black and white polka dotted popover from J.Crew.

Internship 2

Save the money you’re making this summer!  Reuse pieces you bought in previous seasons and incorporate them with less-expensive, trendier pieces from this season.  Buy a skirt, like this $80 green mini from J.Crew, with a white oxford shirt already in your closet and a statement necklace.

relaxation

After my exams ended Thursday afternoon at 1:30 p.m., I have done a whole lot of nothing.  My days have consisted of sleeping until 1 p.m., going on spontaneous adventures, eating breakfast at 4 p.m. and watching horror movies.  Let me tell y’all, nothing has ever been more glorious than the past five days of my life.  After a ridiculously stressful semester, this summer break has been more than welcome.  If you’re still suffering through exams, I wish you the best.  If summer break is here for you, I’m sure you’re as relieved as I am and I hope you’re relaxing just as much as I’ve been able to.  Now that it’s summer, I’m able to get around to doing a lot of things I’ve wanted to do for awhile.

  1. Read books for fun.  As much as I love my majors, they require a ton of reading and writing.  All that required reading doesn’t leave a lot of time for reading things I want to read for myself.  I’m finally going to get around to finishing Bossypants and The Girl Who Played With Fire.
  2. Eat real food.  Finals doesn’t leave much time for eating actual food, and my final weeks of school were filled with a lot of caffeine, bagels and Chick-Fil-A chicken nuggets.  For the first time in my life, I’m kind of excited to eat vegetables?  Go figure.
  3. Sleep a lot.  And after that, sleep even more.  I’m so sleep deprived and it’s awful.  I can practically fall asleep on command right now.  Obviously that’s going to have to be corrected.

Channeling Blair Waldorf

Who’s ridiculously excited that Gossip Girl is back?  I can’t speak for anyone else, but I know I’ve been going crazy without my weekly dose of the Upper East Side for the past month or so…I’ll refrain from posting spoilers from last night’s episode (mostly because I don’t have a TV and I haven’t gotten around to watching it online yet), but I’m beyond thrilled that it’s returned.  And as any good preppy girl knows, Blair Waldorf’s style is always impeccable and worthy of replicating.  In terms of Blair Waldorf, here’s the essential items you need to feel like you’ve just stepped out of the Upper East Side.

  1. Overstated headbands.  It’s easier to find crazy headbands for little girls, like this organza flower headband from crewcuts.  But you can make your own by taking a plain headband and attaching something like a flower pin or hairclip to it.
  2. Bright colored heels.  Blair is never spotted without cute shoes, of course.  Bright colors such as turquoise and bright floral patterns are a great way to channel Blair through your footwear this spring.
  3. Basic blazers.  In her Constance Prep days, blazers were a staple of Blair’s wardrobe on the show.  Blazers are a great “in between” piece for spring weather.  A bright pink blazer would perk up any outfit, or keep it classic with a more understated piece.
  4. Cool sundresses.  The summer episodes of Gossip Girl are filled with great styles that aren’t often seen throughout the rest of the season, and Blair is often wearing floral sundresses.  Now that the weather is getting warmer, it’s the perfect opportunity to break out looser sundresses in fun patterns.

You know you love me, xoxo.

Southern food

As y’all may or may not know, I’m a Southern studies major (but you’ve probably already heard this because I’m obsessed with it).  I spend a lot of time thinking about Southern culture, of which food is a huge part of it.  More time than I really want to admit to is spent thinking about food, researching food, eating food, writing about food and then wishing I was eating more food.  I’ve read probably every list of “Best Southern foods” on the Internet and I’ve taken copious notes on the history of shrimp and grits and barbecue.  If you didn’t start out reading this thinking Southern studies is the coolest major ever, I hope I’ve changed your mind.  If not, I’m not sure what can top having food every other class.

When people think “Southern food” or “soul food,” images of fried food almost always come to mind, whether it’s in the form of fried chicken or a fried candy bar.  And while those are almost always present in Southern cuisine, residents of the South know that Southern food is so much more than just fried food.  We know that we have some of the most delicious dishes in the country.  So, I give to you some delicious Southern food dishes that I think are spring-appropriate – devoid of any fried foods, and perhaps not quite what you typically think of when it comes to Southern foods.

Hoppin John is a dish traditionally eaten on New Year’s Day – the black-eyed peas are supposed to bring you good luck!  Though the New Year has come and gone, Hoppin’ John is a staple of Southern food.  Depending on what you read, the ingredients will vary, but the dish usually includes black eyed peas, rice, pork, onions and Cajun spices.

To me, banana pudding is the quintessential Southern dessert.  I associate banana pudding with fellowship dinners at church when I was little.  Banana pudding is also ridiculously easy to make and perfect to eat once it gets hot, since you eat it chilled!

Confession: grits are my favorite food ever.  I’ve been eating grits for breakfast for almost 20 years now.  Grits are my ultimate comfort food.  For breakfast, all I do is put a bit of butter in them, but shrimp and grits is also a classic Southern entree.  The addition of shrimp and cheese makes grits more substantial for a larger meal.

Spring sundresses

I think most girls would agree that the best part of the weather warming up is pulling out the sundresses! I love unpacking my sundresses from months of neglect, but springtime necessitates a little bit of shopping for new sundresses as well.  This spring has a lot of fun colors and trends that will be popular, and sundresses are a great way to incorporate these into your wardrobe!

The colors in this Eliza J dress from Nordstrom are absolutely fabulous and popular this spring to boot.  I like that this dress is loose, but sashed at the waist to give it some shape.  I much prefer loose dresses on hot, humid North Carolina days!

The Maritime dress from J.Crew is one of my all-time favorites.  My favorite way to wear this dress is with the sleeves rolled up and a leather belt at the waist.  This classic dress is one you’ll be wearing for years to come, so it’s a great investment piece.

This eyelet dress from American Eagle is such a fabulous color, and one that’s super popular this year as well.  The great thing about this dress is that it’s only $30, so even if you only wear this trendier piece a couple of times, not much money went into it anyway.

What sundresses are y’all loving this spring?  Are you following us on Twitter and Facebook yet?

Relaxing spring break

If you’re lucky like me, you’re on spring break this week.  After two weeks full of midterms and papers, a break was more than welcome.  I hope for your sake that you’re headed somewhere fun, like to the beach, but if you’re like me, I’m spending the week at home…asleep for the entirety of the week.  If you’re having a low key spring break at home, here’s my essentials.

  • Books, book and more books.  I’m a little tired of required reading, so I’ve made a point to read books for my enjoyment this week.  I already finished the first Hunger Games book and I’m almost finished with the second.  I’m absolutely obsessed!
  • Lots of blankets & pillows.  When I said I was spending the week in bed, I wasn’t really joking.  I may or may not have spent the entirety of Monday in bed.
  • Popsicles.  I’m trying as hard as I can to pretend that it’s summer and that I’m somewhere warm…so, popsicles have been my snack of choice the past few days.
  • Recipes to try.  I find myself craving real, cooked food when I’m at school, so I’ve been taking this week as an opportunity to make all the recipes I find on Pinterest!  I’ll be making these peanut butter Nutella cookies today!
  • No homework!  I’m trying as hard as possible to forget that I have school & projects due next week.  A few days of relaxation are much needed at this point!

Lions and tigers and midterms, oh my!

Yes, all three of those things are equivalent.  It’s the week before spring break for me and I have two midterms on Thursday.  I had one the past week, and papers due before that.  The middle of the semester is probably my least favorite time of the semester – you feel like it just started, but there’s still so much further to go.  Here’s some of my midterm essentials.

1. Coca-Cola.  Seriously, caffeine is essential.  I recently discovered that I’m lactose intolerant and I don’t know how to drink coffee without a lot of cream…so I’ve had to find caffeine in other sources.  Right now, Coke is fulfilling that in my life.  Probably awful, but it gets the job done.

2. Printing money.  UNC doubled the price of their printing this year…the semester is not even halfway over yet and I’m already about out of money.  And for some reason, I need to have the readings practically memorized for one of my midterms.  UNC students, I’m accepting printing money donations of all amounts.

3. Nike running shorts & lots of sweatshirts.  I know some people have that whole “dress well, test well” philosophy.  I disagree.  You’ll find me looking pretty comfortable on midterm weeks.  If I’m comfortable, I think so much better.

4. Pandora One.  I got a subscription for my birthday, and I know Pandora gives you unlimited listening now, but I think it’s totally worth the paid subscription.  All the skips you want AND uninterrupted listening.  I swear, the absence of advertisements makes my studying more productive.

5. Sleep and showers.  Seriously, it’s not worth depriving yourself of sleep for a few extra hours of studying.  And nothing is worth the repulsion people around you are going to feel if you aren’t showering.  Public service announcement: Exams are not an excuse to forgo personal hygiene.  Everyone around you in the library will thank you for just taking a quick shower.  You’ll feel better if you do.

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