Refreshing Your Winter Wardrobe

monogrammed vestsHappy Monday lovelies! I spent the weekend cleaning and organizing my apartment to get ready for the holidays. It was also rather chilly out so for the first time since I moved to Dallas, I got to wear long sleeves! On Sunday, I decided it was time to switch out my summer clothes for my fall and winter clothes, which inspired me to write this post! Refreshing your winter wardrobe doesn’t necessarily mean going to Macy’s and buying all-new everything though. For me, it means trying things on and figuring out if I still like it and if it still fits well. Here are a few tips to get your wardrobe ready for the chilly months!

Decide What to Toss

As I was dragging storage bags out from under my bed, I immediately noticed several articles of clothing that I knew I wouldn’t wear no matter how much I tried to convince myself. However, nothing in the world can convince me that I don’t need all of my quilted vests and fluffy scarves. My favorite monogrammed vest is from Marley Lilly (link here). Getting rid of the things you really don’t have room for in your closet helps save you room and allows you to better judge what you need for the coming winter!

pom pom hat for winter

Organize Accessories

I have so many belts, hats, scarves, and purses that they often get lost in my closet behind a big coat or something. Of course, they never end up getting worn even if they’re really cute. Find a simple way to organize them that allows quick access. For example, I hang all of my necklaces on a circular, spinning tie rack that hangs on one of the racks in my closet. It works so well and keeps them from getting tangled. Plus, it looks prettier and more put together!

Take Photos of New Outfits

Whenever I’m going through my clothing at the beginning of a new season, I always try to come up with a few new outfits out of the existing clothes I have. Sometimes I don’t even realize how much I have until I look at it from a fresh perspective. Take photos of the new outfits you create so you can remember to wear them!

Pack Up Your Summer Clothing

My last tip is to take all of your summer clothes out of your closet for a clearer, more open space. I used to keep all of my clothes in my closet year round. Instead of focusing on the great winter clothes I had, I was distracted by the summer clothes that I couldn’t wear. Clear all of that out and pack it in boxes or space bags. Hint: roll your clothes to conserve space!

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Staying Organized with More than an iPhone

Here’s a random fact about me that I bet you didn’t know: I’m one of those annoying people that has to write everything down, keep an agenda, and hates it when people say “let’s just wing it”. Seriously, it’s my biggest pet peeve and the cause of a lot of my stress. As you can imagine, I try to stay very organized so that I can have peace of mine. Throughout college (and now as a graduate), I regarded organization as my biggest asset. It truly is my life line and I’m going to share with you a few things I use to turn chaos into harmony using things that aren’t created by Apple!

pretty_filing_folders

The first thing I use for organization is a filing folder, or several of them if needed. I love them for many reasons but mainly because they look neat and tidy sitting on my desk in a little stack. I put receipts, records, official government documents (think anything from the IRS), and other important paper items in them. Pro tip: If you hate it when things fall out of the sides, use paper clips to hold the sides closed.

keeping_track_of_spending

As a mature, responsible adult (just kidding), I like to keep track of what I spend and where in a little book so that I can refer back to it if I forgot what I bought. It’s also interesting to see your spending habits and what you spend money on. Most of my money I spend on cute clothes. I need to stop doing that.

lily_pulitzer_agendas

Finally, I keep an agenda. I update it daily with things that come up that need my attention. Quite often there’s something I’ll forget about that will be written in my agenda and I’m always glad that I wrote it down. I’ve definitely almost missed quite a few dentist and doctor appointments! I really like the Lilly Pulitzer agendas but I’ve heard the Kate Spade ones are great too. Even my mom has a Lilly though!

If anyone has used a Kate Spade planner, let me know! I’d love to hear your thoughts. Happy Thursday!

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Working Girl Inspiration

Good morning lovelies! Here’s a little Thursday inspiration to get you through the day! I woke up and was looking at my Pinterest and pinned a few things that inspired me. You can find more on my board “The Working Girl’s Life” if you like what you see. I love my life as a professional woman and am so empowered by it! However, I don’t think being a professional should mean I can’t live with a little color in my life. No matter what position I’ll hold in my lifetime, you’ll still find me rocking pink and sparkles!

Enjoy your day! It’s almost Friday! Keep working hard being all that you were designed to be. The best is yet to come in our beautiful lives. We are tres magnifique!

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At Home Coffee Station

butfirstcoffeeThis post is for my fellow coffee lovers out there. I’m a coffee addict. I have one cup in the morning and two in the late afternoon. Its my ritual and I love it. Additionally, I collect coffee mugs. They just make me happy. I also take my coffee with seasonal creamer… lots of creamer. Right now I’m on a pumpkin spice kick. That will end probably mid November when the radio stations start to play Christmas music and I get a hankering for peppermint mocha everything.

In my future home, I hope to be able to have enough counter space for this wonderful little thing called a coffee station. After seeing an awesome one online (seriously, check out that link), I was inspired and created a little list of things you might want in your at-home-station.

1. A collection of fabulous mugs like the C. Wonder mug I featured.

2. An espresso machine or just regular old coffee maker (duh).

3. Starbucks’ professional-in-store syrup pumps for that shot of vanilla you have to have.

4. Biscotti for the slower days when you can actually enjoy your coffee.

5. Stir sticks so you don’t dirty a million spoons.

6. Multiple kinds of bean roasts so you have options (remember, this is for coffee addicts).

7. Sugar stored in a mason jar so everyone knows your awesome at Pinterest.

8. Whipped cream for the illusion of your coffee being made by a barista, oh wait, it was, wasn’t it? Winky face.

9. Spice shakers filled with cinnamon and other heavenly spices to top off that latte.

I can think of a few other things I might have on hand as well such as agave nectar for the friend that comes over and cringes at the chemicals you put in your drink. Possibly a few Starbucks recipes so you can make professional grade lattes. Whatever you fancy!

I got tired of spending $4 on a latte at ‘Bucks and decided to start drinking more of my own creations at home. It saves a fortune. I’m such a typical American girl when it comes to my coffee. It has to be flavored and named something complicated in order for me to drink it. What’s your typical Starbucks order look like? Share with me below!

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App for Your Event Planning Needs

starbucks_drink It’s hump day and I for one am quite glad. I’m tired, sore from the gym, tired of homework, and just ready for the weekend again. Many of us already have weekend plans and are looking forward to them. I’m hoping to hang out with my gal pal Lindsey or my like-a-sister, McKenna. Weekend plans have a way of becoming really complicated when there’s a million people to text and details to hammer out. Facebook events suck and are more annoying than anything and chain texts are just obnoxious. If any of you “suffer” with these current technologies, then allow me to introduce you to a handy little app called Flashplan.

FlashPlan is brand new and if I’m not mistaken, still in beta testing. I got to talk to the app’s creator, Shravan Rao, a flash_plan_appUniversity of Connecticut graduate, about what the app does and here’s what he said:

“We focused on a few issues that we found with the current process of making plans:

> There isn’t a great mobile solution, which doesn’t make sense, because everyone is always mobile.

> Current tools use social accounts, so you can’t invite people that don’t have the app or don’t have facebook, twitter etc.

> Current tools are inefficient (no one checks facebook events, etc.)

We’ve solved these problems by:

> Making Flashplan truly mobile.  You use a phone number to log in and send invites to people in your contact list, which is your truest social network.

> Flashplan currently only uses phone number to log in, and we’ll eventually maybe add facebook log-in to make the process easier, but that would be only to pull name and other info from facebook.  No events or anything would ever go on facebook and you would never invite through facebook.

> There aren’t any additional ads, no random notifications, etc.

Flashplan is all about helping users spend less time making plans and more time making memories.”

Shravan’s idea is brilliant. I get so many Facebook invites to Tupperware parties, online trunk shows, and Mary Kay sales that I completely ignore invites now. Apps like these get my attention because their only purpose is to make planning an event easier. His idea was sparked by his own experience trying to plan an event.

planning_an_event“In November 2013, I was trying to organize a birthday dinner for a good friend, but it was super inefficient; facebook events, for example- no one sees the invites because they’re getting a ton of other notifications and there are ads everywhere, messages, comments, picture tags, etc.  Flashplan is meant for the person that’s social and on the go and is a mobile solution to the problem of quickly and privately getting a few friends together face to face, instead of interacting behind a screen.”

As a society, I think we have lost quite a bit to social media. It certainly is convenient and even fun to use. However, being together in real time is much better than over the internet. Flashplan is designed to simply plan an event and then execute it. 

My own experience using the app was pretty grand. A few things I really liked were that when you begin to plan an event the app syncs with the contacts in your phone and you can simply invite them by selecting their number regardless of if they have the app or not. Another thing is that if you have multiple events in the works, they are organized into each of their own tabs so you can keep details straight and not get anything confused. It has all of the standard planning necessities such as date, time, location (including a map), and notes.

This app is really impressive and I don’t see anything else on the market like it. Here’s the link to the app on iTunes!

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Touring Santa Barbara, California!

Santa Barbara

santa_barbaraA few years back, I took an awesome trip to California for a conference of young leaders from around the country. I ended up getting a full travel scholarship to fly there from Maryland. It was a long weekend full of great speakers and meeting some really neat people! Unfortunately, I also lost my luggage full of favorite clothing items on that trip but whatever. I’m over it. Almost. Ok, I’m not. I fought with American Airlines over where it was for a couple months and then they finally just gave me money for reimbursement. They never found my luggage.

Anyway, moving on! Santa Barbara was wonderful. The people were incredibly nice and had nothing but good things to say about their town. The main street with all the shops and restaurants was called State street and it was always bustling no matter what time of day it was. If I had been 21, I might have taken advantage of the classier night life there. However, I didn’t want to be caught for sneaking in and then have it ruin my career. I’ve worked too hard to let alcohol take it all it away.

The mountains were absolutely stunning and they drained into the sea in such an incredible way. The west coast reallysanta_barbara_beaches does have a little bit of everything- dessert, ocean, mountains. I took several walks during our free time to just explore and look at the landscape. It was rugged in spots. Other places looked like something out of a magazine. I really enjoyed that time to just walk and think about how amazing our world is and its beauty.

young_americas_foundationOn a particularly fun outing, the organization sponsoring the event, Young America’s Foundation, took all conference attendees on a trip into the mountains above Santa Barbara to visit Rancho del Cielo meaning, “Ranch of Heaven.” It was originally owned by President and Mrs. Reagan and they visited often during his time in presidency. We toured the ranch house, which was surprisingly small and modest, and a few of the other buildings including the trailer where secret service would hang out and the tack barn for the horses.

reagan_ranch The ranch house was my favorite though. It was western themed obviously and had some old relics from the past few hundred years. One thing we learned about the Reagans was how frugal they both were. There was apparently a stove in the kitchen at one time that was prone to being a bit dangerous due to it’s age. Mrs. Reagan refused to throw it away because it still worked to a degree (she actually cooked for both of them when they were at their home). To get rid of it, a secret service agent had to tell her that they had found a “dead rat” in the stove and it was no longer healthy to use.

From another area on the ranch we could look down into the valleyfog_in_california behind the mountains and see some of the riding trails the president would take to get exercise with his horses. It was so stunning. On the other side of the mountains we could see the Pacific Ocean if the fog hadn’t rolled in. That was a very strange thing about southern California. The fog would be incredibly thick at moment’s notice and you literally couldn’t see a thing in front of you. The humidity did a humdinger on my hair when that happened. It would go from straight to messy beach hair in about 10 minutes.

During the evenings, a few of us would walk out onto the pier to listen to the seals bark in the distance and watch the birds dive bomb for little fish. Those were the quiet moments that reminded stearns_pierme of how far I was from home. 3000 miles is a long ways to be from the place you love. California just had a certain way of making it still feel ok. I really enjoyed the atmosphere and the people. The food made it easier too. Mahi Mahi Tuna fish tacos are amazing in case you ever want to try something a little different.

Something else unique I encountered was the pelicans there are quite friendly. The one pictured here, eyed me the entire time I was on the pier. I don’t know what he wanted but he had no trouble coming very close topelican_on_a_pier me and scrutinizing what I had in my hands. It made me a bit nervous but he was kind of cute in his little bird-like way. He was an awkward animal though. It was right about this time when the fog rolled in and my hair was ruined. The girl I was with understood my troubles and we went back to the hotel we were staying at.

It was a really wonderful trip full of memories and I was really lucky that I got to go. If you’re interested in what the organization does and when these kinds of conferences are going on visit this website for more information. I’ve been involved with them since I was in high school and have gotten to do some cool stuff and meet really influential people.

I hope you enjoyed this little peak into Santa Barbara, California and my trip there. Honestly, a blog post doesn’t do it justice and I really can’t give you all the details of my trip because it would take way too long. All I can say is go to California and see what all the hype is about!

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How to Organize Your Life

Guest Post from the Writer of ‘Lollipops and Longchamps’

Hello Readers!

Most of you are either in high school and college, which means in a couple of weeks, you will be heading back to school and starting a new school year full of assignments, tests, extracurriculars and more! Organization is super important for sticking to deadlines and making sure you don’t go crazy during some of the most hectic weeks of the year.

Since elementary school, I have always been extremely organized: I kept a binder and a folder for each of my classes, each of my planners from fourth grade through the present are color coded by class and activity and my desk is full of sticky notes, to-do lists, calendars and highlighters (which is usually a huge mess- I’m still trying to work on that!).

For those of you looking for some organization tips and inspiration, here are five of my organization tricks that have helped me over the years!

  • color_coding_ideasColor coding is your best friend: Studies have shown that you are more likely to remember things if they are written in a different color other than black or blue. In my planner, I use a different color for assignments, appointments, deadlines, meeting and more.

For each color, I write down what it corresponds to along with a short description. For example, blue corresponds to due dates for projects, essays and presentation, and pink corresponds to birthdays and holidays.

  • meal_calendar
    This is my September meal calendar. I have all of my meals- breakfast, lunch and dinner- planned out as well as a grocery list and recipes for each meal.

    Use daily, weekly and monthly calendars to map out your life: This is where your phone comes in handy. If you have a Gmail account, you can easily use Google Calendar to plan meetings, organize your schedule and even plan your meals (this is very handy for college students who want to save money!) I also like to use the monthly calendar in my agenda to keep track of events and meetings.

  • Sticky notes can help prevent sticky scheduling situations: I use sticky notes to write down my to-do
    how_to_organize
    Sticky notes are also perfect for writing assignments and due dates if you don’t have enough space in your planner or if your professor gives you a new assignment during class

    lists, goals, reminders and important information. I use the standard sized sticky notes to write out my to do lists and the smaller, “flag” sticky notes to write reminders or mark my place in my planner.

Sticky notes are great for writing motivational notes to yourself or even little quotes to put on your mirror to read in the morning.

  • Start early: I like to give myself at least a week to complete assignments and another two weeks for important meetings. This semester I am vice president of my university’s pre-med association and co-president and founder of our Operation Smile chapter- not to mention, I have a part time job, I blog, and I am a full time student. Needless to say, I am extremely busy and its important for me to know what’s going on before it even happens.
  • Make use of freebies: Pinterest is full of organization printables that are absolutely free! They range from meal planners, to- do lists, water intake trackers, goal lists, shopping lists, chore lists and more!  These printables are so cute and are perfect for your agenda, bulletin board, or bag. I mostly use a water tracker sheet, shopping list and meal planner, and a daily routine sheet that is basically a condensed version of my planner (perfect for when you are super busy!) Some printables cost money because they are sold through a blog or Etsy- most of the ones I’ve seen are notepads or personalized planners- for under $10. I’ve included links to my favorite printables below. Enjoy!

Staying organized doesn’t need to involve a complete remodeling of your life- you can take small steps like cleaning out your desk once a week, sorting papers, or even cleaning out your purse or backpack! Once you find organization methods that work for you, it becomes so much easier to keep track of everything going on in your busy life!

xoxo,

Fanta

http://lollipopsandlongchamps.wordpress.com

Links to Free Organization Printables:

  1.  Hello Monday’s weekly planner: She has a sheet for every day of the week with sections for writing out your hourly schedule and breaks down your to-do list into six categories (work projects, meal planning, beauty, appointments, cleaning and fitness). This printable is great for people who like to categorize their to-do lists instead of having one long list of tasks that are completely unrelated. Click here for the download.
  2. I Heart Planner’ s 31 days of Free Printables: Last year, she devoted an entire month to making free organization printables! Some of my favorites are the half letter daily schedule, day habit tracker (perfect for those having difficulties starting a new habit), and the library book tracker (that way you have all of your due dates in one place!) She also has a free organization course to help find  your “perfect” organization system; she sends one lesson a week each with a tip for improving your organization!
  3. Clean Mamma’s Water Tracker: I told myself that I would drink more water; thanks to my busy schedule and the abundance of coffee, tea and juice around me, I stopped sticking to my goal. This printable is perfect because the sheet is small enough for your planner and when you flip to your weekly agenda, your water tracker will be right there looking at you. Each sheet comes with two trackers (two weeks’ worth), so you can print off copies to last a couple of weeks, or laminate one copy and use a dry erase marker to track your water consumption. I like to see my progress, so I’ll probably make a bunch of copies to last a month and see how I like that versus printing one copy.