Tuesday, November 29, 2016

5 Ways To Get in The Holiday Spirit

Christmas is easily my favorite holiday ever. I mean who doesn't love the twinkling lights, Christmas trees, and festive decor everywhere. I just got back to school and as much as I'm loving being back in the sun and enjoying the mild weather I can't wait to go back home and have a real Christmas complete with cold weather and snow. This year my friends opted to do a cookie baking party instead of doing our usual secret santa gift exchange. As much as I love buying gifts for people, we all decided that as broke college students it would be much more fun to simply spend time together and decorate cookies! Getting into the holiday spirit is definitely a little different in sunny Los Angeles but one of the perks of going to a Catholic school is that they've decorated campus with plenty of Christmas decor. My favorite is the student run coffee shop that is now decked out with stockings, lights and Christmas blankets. It makes for such a cute and cozy workspace! So many people like to wait until December to officially begin the holiday season, but the second that Thanksgiving is over I am in full force Christmas mode. It's definitely strange being in a dorm during the holiday season because my family usually decorates the house pretty thoroughly for Christmas. Today I'm sharing five ways to get in the holiday spirit because it's seriously the most wonderful time of the year!

1. LISTEN TO CHRISTMAS MUSIC

Probably the best thing about Christmas is the non-stop music playing on the radio. I absolutely love Christmas music and I have an awesome playlist I've made to share with you! Pandora is also another awesome option because it gives a bit more variety in what you're listening to. When I was driving around at home just last week I opted not to play my own music, but to listen to the Christmas music that was on the radio and it was so fun to get in the holiday spirit!

2. DECORATE YOUR SPACE

Last year while I was still in high school I always decorated my room for the holiday season. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, but a Christmas throw blanket, string lights and a mini tree really do the trick of changing up your space for the season. I've even made snowflakes and painted them gold before to hang from my fan for an extra fun touch. My current dorm room isn't all that festive, but I'm hoping when I go home in 3 weeks (omg finals are here ahhh!) that I'll decorate my room! 

3. COOK UP SOMETHING SWEET

Baking during the holiday season is an absolute must. I feel like everyone's family has some signature holiday treat that they make year after year. In my family we always make reindeer sugar cookies complete with pretzels for antlers and green and red m&m's for the eyes and nose. They are so cute and so so good!!

4. EXPLORE YOUR LOCAL MALL

Practically every mall in America goes all out when it comes to Christmas decor. The mall closest to me is actually outdoors, which is surprisingly fun to shop at when it's sprinkling snowflakes during the holiday season. And not to mention that there are always plenty of Christmas decorations.

5. GIVE

The holiday season is all about sharing the love and giving to those around you. This could be as something as small as giving someone a compliment on their smile or their perfect holiday outfit or it could be as big as making a donation to a local charity or volunteering. The holiday season is all about giving and this is the best gift you can give.

What do you do to get in the holiday spirit?

Xoxo

Monday, November 28, 2016

Cyber Monday Sales

I'm a huge advocate for Black Friday shopping. It's seriously so much fun to be out shopping with my best friend/cousin Carly through the night after Thanksgiving! It's a tradition that we leave around 11 pm Thanksgiving night, hit up a 24 hour McDonald's and then venture to different malls in search of the best black friday deals. This year I ended up snagging some awesome deals for myself! I used to always use Black Friday as a way to get people Christmas gifts, but this year there wasn't too much that I found that was worthy of gift giving! This year I found a pair of Vans from J.Crew Factory for $16, a pair of Steve Madden sandals for $20 and a bodysuit from Charlotte Russe for $15! 

This year has definitely been a year of shoes for me as I've purchased over 6 pairs of shoes in the past four months. What can I say, I like shoes! Cyber Monday is an awesome time though because you can shop the best deals of the season, right from the comfort of your own home. I'm going to Mexico for winter break so I'll definitely be on the lookout for some warm weather pieces on super sale that I can wear in the coming break! It's crazy to think that in less than three weeks I'll be back at home with my family again. It's wild because I went three months without seeing them and now it will be less than a month! When you're reading this I'll most likely be on my flight back to school in LA. I'm excited to do some winter festivities in Los Angeles, and see what the Christmas season is like among the palm trees. And I'm so excited to go to Disneyland next weekend and see it all spruced up for Christmas. I've actually never been to Disneyland before (only Disneyworld) so it should be a very fun experience! Here are the best deals of the day!!

ABERCROMBIE & FITCH 

50% off sitewide + free shipping on all orders! I'm obsessed with this sweater (under $30) and this fleece onesie

J. CREW FACTORY

60% off everything and an extra 40% off clearance and free shipping! Use code HAPPYSALE

NORDSTROM

Extra 20% off special sales online. These Topshop black ankle booties are so versatile and cute. I'm equally as in love with this beanie that is perfect for the winter weather!

FOREVER 21

Extra 30% off all sale use EXTRA30. Plus major style deals and free shipping on all orders! This lace up sweater is so so cute. 

BLOOMINGDALE'S

25% off a large selection of regular and sale-priced items. Plus, free shipping and free returns! They have so many fun PJ sets and Wildfox sweatshirts

IRENE'S STORY

My all time favorite boutique in California that's only two miles from campus! I actually shop here all the time because they have the cutest stuff and they're offering 20% off all online orders with the code SITEWIDE20

SHOW ME YOUR MUMU

50% off almost everything, including most just added styles! Use code MUMUSALE50! 

VICTORIA'S SECRET

50% off all bras. This bralette is so pretty and delicate, perfect for layering!

What sales are you shopping this Cyber Monday? Have a great week!

Xoxo


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Fall Hometown Hunt

I'm excited to share my favorite Fall activities in Chicago after being inspired by Eventbrite's Fall Hometown Hunt project. They're inspiring bloggers to share the best local spots for Fall activities. If you're thinking about creating an event, check out their ticket selling tool! It's only November, and there's still a bit of time to spend outside enjoying the crisp fall air! The main thing I miss about sweet home Chicago is definitely the season of fall. Los Angeles is pretty mild year round and although I know I'll love this come January, right now I'm definitely missing the cool air. 

Also, after the Cubs won the world series I was seriously so upset not to be home. I ended up watching "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and became super eager to go home for break. Besides being back in my hometown I can't wait to see family and finally be in a real house! Agh, and no shower shoes. 

Today I'm going to be sharing some of my favorite fall events that Chicago has to offer. Although fall is mid-way through there's still so many things to do before the season is over and winter is upon us!

Look at the leaves // Okay, seriously this was my favorite thing about being in Chicago. My town is lined with gorgeous trees that change to all shades of red, orange and yellow. We have the greatest front porch at my house and my favorite thing to do was sit out there and just enjoy the beautiful leaves. Also, the woods in my town were so beautiful during the fall and are perfect for a nature walk. Don't forget to bring a pumpkin spice latte! Lol, I've actually never had one. Are they any good?

Chicago River Cruise // I went on one of these for a History of Chicago field trip and it has easily been one of my favorite things I've ever done in the city. I absolutely love seeing all of the amazing architecture the city has to offer, and it's such a great way to get outside!

Apple picking // This is one thing that you can still do even after Halloween is over. Grab friends and go pick apples at an orchard nearby and be sure to have a super fall-ish photo shoot. That's one thing I wish I would've done this year! Afterwards, bake an apple pie or make cider. Yum!!

Thanksgiving Parade // I have yet to actually attend the Thanksgiving Day parade, but it looks like so much fun! It runs along State Street full of floats and marching bands. A few of my friends go every year, while I usually chill at home. We host for Thanksgiving every year and it's a little hectic as we prepare the house and food for our guests! My brother and dad always have a Turkey Bowl the morning of Thanksgiving as well!  

What are things you do in your town each fall?

Xo

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Shoes on Campus

One thing I didn't necessarily expect in college was the amount of walking I'd do. I'm not sure why I didn't expect this because LMU's campus is a pretty decent size. As far as shoes on campus goes I go for comfort more than anything. But, aside from just walking on campus I'm going to share my favorite shoes for different occasions in college! Keep in mind I go to school in California so the weather is generally nice year round. I've only been here for two and a half months, but I feel like I've gotten the idea of what shoes are best to have for different college events.

For walking to class // I swear by the newest addition to my shoe collection my navy suede high-top Vans. These shoes are seriously so comfortable and match with practically everything. Navy is always my go-to color, especially when I want something that isn't all black. Birkenstock's are another one of my go-to shoes because they're so comfy and go with practically everything. 

For the beach // I purchased another pair of Rainbows (I have 3 pairs now) and they are easily my most worn shoes ever. I wear these to class all the time, to and from the bathroom and always to the beach. They are seriously the best sandals ever, and are an essential if you go to school somewhere warm. Even if you don't, I highly recommend these shoes for summer!

For going out // I have two pairs of shoes that I wear when I go out. Steve Madden sneakers or white high-top converse. Low-top white converse used to be my go-to until I practically destroyed my pair at Lollapalooza this summer and decided my shoes were way too dirty to even bring to school. My mom ended up throwing them away because she thought they were too gross. Going out shoes need to be comfortable, but something that you don't mind getting dirty or something that can be washed. I throw my white converse in the washing machine every couple months to keep them clean!

For the fall // At the Nordstrom sale this year I picked up these black Steve Madden ankle booties and they have become my go-to shoes for fall. I actually didn't even bring my tall Frye riding boots to school just because I felt that I would get zero use out of them. As much as I'm debating bringing them back with me after Thanksgiving, I absolutely love how casual and cute these ankle booties are! And perfect for fall without being too hot in the California sun!

What shoes do you wear around campus?

Xoxo

Monday, November 7, 2016

A Weekend In My Life {Manhattan Beach}

The best thing about going to school in California (besides being so close to the beach) is having so many cool places at my fingertips. There are seriously so many cool places to explore and it's so interesting to find new fun places! This weekend I was feeling especially homesick because so many of my friends went home after the Cubs won the world series (Fly the W!). I was disappointed because I had planned on going home initially, but changed my mind at the last minute because I didn't feel like traveling on a plane for four hours just to spend two days at home. 

I channeled this negative energy into taking some time for myself and renting a bike for the day and biking along the beach. Honestly, such a good decision. It was so relaxing to have some alone time, but do something so fun. I ended up biking 16 miles on a beach cruiser and traveled from Marina Del Rey to Manhattan Beach and back. I first visited Manhattan Beach when I came to LA for orientation and absolutely loved the quaint beach town that it was. When we came to move me in we stayed near Manhattan Beach and my family loved exploring the area as well. I was so happy to finally be able to explore the area again and visit all of the super cute boutiques. 

Let's start with the beginning of my weekend though. Friday night as I was walking to get dinner with a friend we stopped by the view to catch the amazing sunset. Seriously, there's nothing like a California sunset (but nothing like a Chicago sunrise). The palm trees and the setting sun made for such a picturesque moment. 
 On Saturday morning I woke up around 11 and got dressed and caught an Uber to the bike rental in Marina Del Rey. I rented a blue beach cruiser with a basket and began my trek to Manhattan Beach. I did not choose the best day to bike because it was extremely foggy and a little chilly. But, it was still so pretty that I can't complain! The day began pretty clear at first as I biked through the Marina and saw the UCLA sailing team practicing. 
I then biked along the beach (there's an amazing bike path!) passing through Dockweiler and El Segundo and then eventually making it to Manhattan Beach and parking my bike on the pier. I was starving and had been craving my favorite acai bowl from Paradise Bowls. I get the coconut yoyo that is acai blended with banana and topped with granola, banana, mango, shaved coconut and honey. Seriously so good. Jamba on campus makes bowls too, but they do not even compare to the bowls from Paradise!
I then wandered a bit around Manhattan Beach and went into all of the cute boutiques that they have. Manhattan also has one of my other favorite restaurants Lemonade. Ugh, the guava limeade is seriously amazing!
Around three the sun finally came out in Manhattan and I captured this photo as I walked along the water. 

I ended my day with biking back and hitting up a new favorite store in Marina Del Rey Irene's Story. I bought the cutest dress for Thanksgiving and am so stoked to wear it!

Sunday was pretty uneventful as it usually is. A few friends and I journeyed to the beach to relax and read. It was a little chilly for the water, but nice to lay out for a bit and soak up the sun. I'm currently reading Becoming The Boss by Lindsey Pollak. She came and spoke at LMU the other week and I absolutely loved everything she had to say! Her book is such a great read for millennials!

Cheers to a great week ahead!

Xoxo

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The Opposite of Homesick

I asked you guys yesterday what you'd like to see on the blog and many of you responded with more personal type posts. I actually like writing personal posts, but I feel like so many people from school read my blog that sometimes I feel a bit insecure about posting something so personal. But, I think personal posts are really valuable and offer insight into the real life of me. Here's a little anecdote about where I stand at college currently.

 When I left for college I was so excited to finally be on my own for once. My parents were never super controlling of my life, but I thought it would be nice to be able to make decisions all on my own for once. I'm not going to lie, going to school in Los Angeles was entirely nerve-wracking. Two thousand miles is a long way aways from home and I can't just jump on a bus and be home in a few hours. I knew this when applying and when making my decision though and I would not have committed if I didn't think I could do it. The night before leaving for school I honestly didn't really want to go. It's not that I didn't want to go to school and experience college life, it was just that I was nervous about being so far away from my family and from what was comfortable. 

The night before I left I was hanging out with two of my friends I must have said, "I don't want to go" at least ten times. For some reason the reality of things doesn't always hit me when it should. When all of my friends left for school before me it truly didn't occur that I wouldn't see them for three months. It felt like they were going away to camp for a few weeks and I would see them soon. I'm lucky though because I really love my school and once I arrived at LMU I couldn't wait to finally start school. I was so eager to make friends and start a new life. This also comes out of my love/hate relationship of high school. Not to say that I hated every aspect, but I was constantly trying to go to boarding school to start a new life and sort of reinvent myself. And college was finally that point for me.

I think something that is worth saying is that everyone will feel homesick at some point in college. In all honesty I haven't felt very homesick while being this far from home. I'm a very independent person though and was constantly doing things on my own be it shopping or even just spending time alone. I truly have not felt very homesick until this week hit. I realized that in three short weeks I will be home again. As excited as I am to finally see my family again and be in a home (and not have communal bathrooms lol), I can't help but be nervous to see old friends. I feel that I have changed a lot in college, and definitely for the better. I have a different outlook on life and am much happier than I was in high school. I'm nervous to see how going home changes this and nervous to see what my personality is like around my old friends. 

One thing I'm trying to reassure myself about though is that college is a different experience and it is good to change and mature in college. And high school is in the past and I no longer need to maintain relationships with people that I had differences with in high school. I think accepting this truth is the first step in understanding that your friends from high school might not be your friends for life. Especially if I hope to live in Los Angeles after college, most of my friends from high school won't even be out west. 

College is a chance to start new and that is what I have definitely taken advantage of in my college experience. I am not looking to abandon old best friends from home, but simply looking to ignore those from high school that made me feel inferior and that never quite accepted me. Because now I'm doing bigger and better things afar!

Sorry for the long post, but I hope this post holds some sort of value for you. 

Xo