Wednesday, July 30, 2014

It's a beautiful day

Hat: August (old, similar) | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban | Cover-Up: Loft (old, similar) | Bikini: Tommy Bahama | Bag: Longchamp | Sandals: Jack Rogers
In this awkward lull before school starts and my life goes haywire and I suddenly find myself without any time at all, I've been spending my mornings at our pool. In the evenings it fills up with kids, yelling and splashing, enjoying summer just like you should at the age of eight, where your nose is constantly pink and you can hear your mom's voice telling you to stop running by the pool echoing over and over in your head. Mornings though, they belong to me. Some music via Spotify, sometimes country, sometimes whatever happens to come up (New Music Tuesdays anyone?) and oodles of books loaded on my nook.

It's not the beach with my best friends, but it's pretty perfect.

Monday, July 28, 2014

What I Bought: July

My dad's favorite saying was that come May 3rd, 2014 (aka my college graduation date), I was off his payroll. Well, then I decided to go to grad school. Sorry! Nonetheless, this round of school is a whole new ballgame. While I might have (extremely) generous parents to help out with my living expenses, the tuition bill is on me, as are any of my 'fun' purchases. Being that I'm starting graduate school next month, I figured it was high time to get my act together and start budgeting every penny of my money. Meaning, actually recording all of the clothing purchases I make in order to not only A) have a more efficient closet, but also to B) spend more responsibly, which I may or may not have issues with.

July was an abnormally high spending month for me, that's for sure. I may love to shop, but when I actually recorded all of this month's purchases, I winced at how much I actually indulged. This may be month one, but this is not typical. At all. It was a combination of a few summer purchases, a few early birthday presents and some back-to-school preparation.

Tory Burch Veronique Shorts, Joe's Jeans Skinny Ankle, Zella Live-In Capri

Trina Turk top, Tory Burch Angie top, Barbour 'Summer Liddesdale Gilet' vest (mine is actually black)

Marc by Marc Jacobs Percy crossbody, Ray-Ban Original Aviator, Lilly Pulitzer sunglasses strap, Hunter Adjustable back boots, Burberry Copford jacket

So, anyone else embarrassed by my rampant consumerism? Oh, just me? Mom, are you thinking of disowning me yet?
In defense of sales and school...

Tory Burch Veronique Shorts: originally $195, paid $55 (Bloomingdales sale)
These shorts were the only pair I purchased all summer, believe it or not. I did some damage in the shorts department last fall, but when I saw these and at that price, I couldn't pass them up. I've worn them a few times and I love them, although I'm still playing with ways to wear them other than just a plain v-neck.

Joe's Jeans Skinny Ankle: originally $110, paid $55 (Bloomingdales sale)
I have a pair of J.Crew white jeans, but I don't love how heavy they are. I live in the South - if it's white jean season, it's probably so hot I want to die. These are the exact cut of my favorite pair of 'regular' jeans, so I figured they were worth a try. I love them and have already worn them quite a bit.

Zella Live-In Capri: originally $44, paid $28.90 (Nordstrom Anniversary Sale)
I'm a reformed Lululemon addict, because I discovered Zella. After our Jack Russell (Terrorist) ate my favorite capri leggings last winter, they were on the list to be replaced, and there's really no time better than during the Anniversary sale. If I was going back to Auburn, I probably would have bought two or three pairs, but alas, the real world beckons.

Trina Turk top: originally $158, paid $38 (Nordstrom Rack) (identical looking top here)
I cannot find this exact top online anywhere, but the picture is identical looking to mine (and only $13, so you should probably go snatch that up!) I love this top - it's a lightweight linen that works as well with a dressy skirt for going out as it does over a swimsuit. Plus, you can't beat lightweight and floaty when it's 90 degrees outside.

Tory Burch Angie top: originally $275, paid $40
It's still too hot to really wear this, but I figured it's the perfect easy top to throw on with jeans or pants with flats for this fall when it does (eventually) cool off. It's also silk with tiny bit of spandex, meaning it fits wonderfully.

Barbour 'Summer Liddesdale Gilet' vest: originally $99, paid $74.25 (Nordstrom Anniversary Sale)
I have a cream J.Crew vest and a navy Land's End vest that I wear constantly from November-February, so I knew a black one was the last one I needed to complete my trio. This is thinner than either of my other two, which I love. It's a very tailored fit and it'll definitely be in rotation come fall. Not to mention, it's very high quality and a steal for the price! They still have cream and navy left, so run, don't walk!

Marc by Marc Jacobs Percy crossbody (seen here): originally $238, paid $158.90

Ray-Ban Original Aviator: originally $159.95, paid $74 (Amazon)
Again with the trios, but I have a pair of classic Wayfarers, as well as a pair of oversized Tory Burch sunglasses (last year's birthday present), so I knew a pair of aviators was the final pair I wanted to add. When I found the exact color and size I wanted on sale on Amazon, I jumped. So far, I've been very happy - I wear them constantly. The only thing downside is because of the nose pieces, you can't really perch these on top of your head without getting your hair caught.

RIP college croakies, you lived a good life... Time for the next adventure

Hunter Adjustable back boots: originally $158, paid $90 (NWT - eBay)
Once upon a time, I had original Hunter navy boots. Then I went to college in Alabama and learned that when exposed to heat + humidity, my legs swell! Therefore making said Hunters just slightly too uncomfortably tight in the calf. So, they were sold and I went boot-less. When I saw the adjustable back boots this spring, I knew I wanted a pair, but I couldn't bring myself to pay retail. A couple months and many eBay alerts later, I finally found a black pair at a good price. Sold!

Burberry Brit 'Copford' quilted jacket: originally $495, paid $320 (NWT - eBay)
This has been my dream jacket since I was about 12 years old and I spotted a Burberry ad in Vogue, but yeah right, was I getting one in high school, and then I lived in Alabama, and uh, jackets are high priority on the purchase list. With the move to NC, I knew it was time to bite the bullet and started shopping eBay for new ones (after trying on at Nordstrom for size/color). So, happy birthday/Merry Christmas/happy Easter to me, because this is my gift for the next seven years.

Retail value: $1,789
Paid: $949.05
Saved: $839.95

... I'm never buying anything ever again.

Linking up with Fran and Budgeting Bloggers, here!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

So you're going through recruitment?

It's nearly that time of year again - recruitment (or rush for any of you old-school Southerners who won't give this one up). As an incoming freshman, it may be the most emotionally and physically draining thing you never thought possible. Sure, did you play high school sports that wore you out more? Absolutely. Factor in the emotional piece though, and suddenly this is a whole new ballgame.

Most of this advice isn't new - it's the same thing people told me and I won't be the last to say it, but if it helps a few of y'all out, it's worth it!

1. Prepare, prepare, prepare!
This doesn't mean studying or memorization, but preparing yourself. You'll be so much more confident all week if you're comfortable. Come up with all of your outfits ahead of time and write them down, all the way down to undergarments and accessories. Knowing exactly what you're wearing will make mornings so much less stressful and allow you to focus more on learning about each sorority, instead of worrying if your dress is too short or learning your new shoes are awfully uncomfortable!

2. Make a few investments
A mini battery-operated fan, an umbrella (well, most people probably already own this, but I was a desert girl and definitely didn't!), makeup setting spray (this is my favorite!) and a pair of comfortable flats or sandals - these are a few things that tossed into a tote bag, will save your life all week. The fan and umbrella are self-explanatory, the makeup spray will keep your foundation from melting away and a pair of flats will save your feet when you're running between parties. When I went through, being (again) the new kid to the South, I had no idea my feet would swell from the combination of humidity, heat and heels (the three deadly H's), and my Pi Chi had to help me cram on my heels before parties and then pry them off afterwards!

3. Freeze!
This is an old horse show trick that works great for rush. If you have a dorm fridge or a mini fridge in your room, take a few washcloths, get them wet, seal them into Ziploc and leave them in the freezer overnight. In the morning, pack them into your tote (with a freezer pack if you have one!) and during the day as you get hot and sweaty, pull them out to cool off and refresh!

4. Go in open minded
Easier said than done, but try your hardest not to be influenced by websites, blogs, Instagrams and Tumblrs. It can be hard to see in the moment, but everything will work out the way it is supposed to. You will find your home, but you might have to look past your preconceptions to do that.

5. Stay calm
It seems impossible to hear, but there are so many girls on the other side who are just as nervous as you are! True story: I loved working the computers during rush, because I am awful at making small talk during parties. I got nervous about what the girls rushing thought of me! Staying calm will help you remember the most from each party and ultimately, help you make the best decisions.

6. Don't forget everyone else
The truth about recruitment is that it takes so many people in order to pull off successfully. From girls serving as your Pi Chis who have been in training and preparing for you for months, to Panhellenic exec, who works tirelessly all summer and year long to keep everything running smoothly, there is no shortage of people who are trying to make the experience a positive one for you. Whether it is holding umbrellas over your head to try and save your hair when the sky opens, while water runs down their back, or staying up all night printing bids, at the end of the day, they're all there for you. Say a quick thanks when you see one of them, because seeing your excited faces on bid day make their long nights and little sleep all worth it.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale: The Bag

Marc by Marc Jacobs Percy Crossbody

To say I had some fun with the Nordstrom Anniversary sale might be an understatement. I managed to only buy three things, all of which are good investment pieces I wanted to add to my closet. The first is the Marc by Marc Jacobs Percy Crossbody bag in Cement.

Marc by Marc Jacobs Percy Crossbody

My last crossbody survived four years of college, only to have one of the clasps give out the week of graduation. I can't really complain since I pretty much beat the thing to death between trips downtown and football games, not to mention it's still perfectly functional as a clutch. What it did mean is that I was now crossbody-less. Not a big deal for summertime where I'm home and either my LV Speedy or Longchamp will suffice, but back at school (aka where I have friends to go out with), a crossbody is a necessity.

I wasn't seriously looking for a bag when I dropped into the sale this weekend, but when I picked up this one, it was pretty much game over. I've had my eye on a Marc Jacobs Percy since I started undergrad and it met all of my expectations. The leather is butter soft and everything on the bag feels very high quality. The adjustable strap is so nice to have since I like it at a different length depending if I'm wearing it straight down or across my body, plus who doesn't love a little buckle detail? Size-wise, it easily fits my J.Crew magic wallet, phone, keys and a sunglasses case, and still has room for more if I needed it.

Marc by Marc Jacobs Percy Crossbody

With an Anniversary sale price of $158, it's well worth it in my opinion. I know it's a bag I'll get quite a bit of use out of, since I'm actually using it as my everyday bag right now. It's so much more convenient than dealing with my Speedy when I'm out running errands.

My other two purchases were a pair of the Zella 'Live In' Reversible Capris and then this Barbour vest (not anniversary, but still on sale), but nobody needs to see me modeling leggings and I can't fathom the idea of putting on a vest in the miserable heat/humidity that descended on North Carolina today.

... And I'm still on a hunt for European shams that don't cost as much as a pair of shoes. Growing up is rough.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I'm Holly and I live in North Carolina

Home sweet apartment A is moved into (somewhat) and life has settled into something resembling extreme boredom. My parents left on Friday morning after spending two days here in Chapel Hill moving me in, and since then I've been on my own in the (bigger than Auburn) city. So far, I've done fun things like getting lost no less than 147 times because guess what? One road here is actually four and then they peel off and one interstate is a circle, but it's east and west, at the SAME TIME. Intersections are bizarre and they like flashing arrows to turn, not real arrows. It's like learning to drive in England. I hung out at the DMV for two hours to get my new license and panicked I was going to fail the road sign test they make you take (I passed it, thank goodness). I've unpacked my entire apartment, which I was planning on taking me a couple weeks, which leads to where we are now - extreme boredom.

Here's the thing about moving somewhere new. It's fun. New people, new places to explore, things to do. Here's the thing about moving somewhere new when you don't know a soul - extreme boredom sets in. I'm sure in a month or two when classes are nuts I'm going to hate mid-July me, but right now? I spend approximately 18 hours a day at home. When you don't know anyone, it's hard to go do things.

I have however found Nordstrom, so life can't be all that bad. I've been three times. Whoops.
Other trips have included: Home Depot, Lowes (twice), Bed Bath & Beyond, Lilly Pulitzer, Belk, Whole Foods, Harris Teter, the farmer's market, Wal-Mart and Wells Fargo. Really fun stuff.

Can you spot the Nordstrom Anniversary sale purchase? (Also, this is an awful picture)
The apartment is unpacked, but needs some finishing touches - namely I had a euro sham go missing (????) in the move, so I'm short one and the pattern is discontinued which means I spent two hours online today looking for one, but HI NOT PAYING $70 for a glorified pillowcase. So, it looks like I may need to buy two new European shams, which will become this week's next adventure. Other things to do include flowers and a wreath for the front door and something to hang over my bed. Our living room is horribly incomplete, but I'm waiting for my roommate to come to get started there. I can't wait for it to all be finished.

In the mean time, I've been going on walks around the neighborhood, I'm trying to cook some things to freeze for later in the semester, and hopefully (!) later this week, I'll be driving out to look at some barns to ride at for the semester/year.

Life is super interesting, obviously (this is the part where you roll your eyes).
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