Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Morning Routine

Am I the only one that loves reading about people's morning routines? For me, morning routines are a crucial part of my day. Back in high school, mine was so intense that if I wasn't eating breakfast and reading the comics at 7:00, the rest of my morning was thrown off and I would have a horrible day because of it. (My sister LOVED to steal the comics before I could get to them... Sometimes I would refuse to eat anything until she gave them back to me. My mom loved that.) I've relaxed some since then, but my morning routine is still very intense.


5:50 // My alarm goes off bright and early! Getting up this early is a struggle sometimes (and yes, sometimes I snooze it a few times), but to me it's worth it! Honestly, the grogginess wears off within a few minutes and I feel so much more productive for getting up and starting my day.

6:00 - 6:45 // I spend about 30-45 minutes in the gym each morning. (Or at least I try to.) Sometimes I walk on the treadmill, do a Kayla Itsines workout, or make up one of my own.

6:45 - 7:00 // Shower time! Is there anything better than getting in a shower right after a sweaty workout? Not in my world. By this time I'm awake, running on endorphins, and feeling generally good about the day. While in the shower, I mentally pick out my outfit for the day and decide what I want to eat for breakfast.

7:00 - 7:15 // I give myself 15 minutes to make breakfast in the morning. I can't start my day without eating something. (I truly don't understand how people can survive without breakfast! It's my favorite meal of the day!) So far this semester I've been really loving peanut butter and banana toast. It's about 274 calories, plus protein and potassium! YUM.

7:15 - 7:30 // I eat my breakfast and watch the Today Show. This is also when I check my phone (if I haven't already on the treadmill while walking) and read The Skimm. I HAVE to start my day off with the news. Even though it's not really that pleasant in this day and age, I love knowing what's going on around me. (Plus, I have daily news quizzes in my class!)

7:30 - 8:10 // Next, I do my makeup, make sure my hair looks somewhat decent, and get dressed. My bag is usually already packed, but I double check that I have everything I might need throughout the day. Then I make sure my water bottle is full, and I'm out the door by 8:10 to get to class at 8:45. I usually get to campus at 8:30 and can walk to class totally un-rushed, taking in the sites around me.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Focus on Your Lotus

I've been talking a lot recently about positivity and happiness here on the blog and I've been thinking the entire time that both of those things are linked together by one thing: focusing on yourself.

When you tell someone that you're "focusing on yourself," they leave with the idea that you're totally selfish, and I hate that!! Focusing on yourself is a great way to live (within reason). Enter: lotus of control.

(image via)

I love the lotus of control concept. In a nutshell, there are two lotuses: internal and external. Someone with an internal lotus of control believes that they can influence events and their outcomes, and someone with an external lotus of control believes that outside forces influence everything.

I'd like to think that I have a pretty strong internal lotus of control. I definitely know that I used to think externally, until I realized that no matter what I did, someone would be unhappy with the decision. It simply became exhausting to try and focus on how everyone else was reacting to a situation, so I tried really hard over the past few months to focus on me and how I was responding to a situation. The result has been a more positive life and more self-confidence.

It can be really hard to focus on just yourself and the way you're reacting, but it is so worth it in the end!

Have you ever heard of the lotus of control?

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Keeping Positive

I won't lie to y'all: this week has been rough. Tuesday seemed to literally drag on for daaaaaaays, and it seemed like it was one bad thing after another. (Many, many tears were involved. I regret nothing.) At the end of the day, when I was finally done with class and work I was completely exhausted. I laid down in my bed and began replaying the day in my head and realized that I probably wasn't working as hard as I could have to respond positively to the situations around me.

Now, don't get me wrong. I am a HUGE fan of the emotional spectrum, and I believe that all of the feelings exist because as humans we need to experience all of them to stay sane, so I'm not going to tell myself that I should have just brushed off bad news without feeling frustrated, nor am I going to say that all of the tears shed were wasted, because they weren't. But I will admit that I focused a little to much on the negative energy and allowed it to consume all of my thoughts for a while.


At the end of the day, staying positive is a choice. It's a conscious effort that we have to make day, and I think it's up to us to remind ourselves about that choice.

For me, even though Tuesday was long and hard and I still didn't necessarily want to get up in the morning on Wednesday, I had to remind myself that it was a brand new day full of new opportunities and experiences, and I immediately felt better. (Wednesday was a pretty good day, too.)

Have you ever struggled with staying positive? How have you dealt with it?

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

College Casual Bracelets + Promo Code!

I'm so excited about today's post - I've literally had it scheduled since early July! Today's post is so special because I'm combining so many of my favorite things: pretending to know how to be a style blogger, local AND small businesses, and my sorority and school! Talk about a happy Wednesday!!


Let's talk bracelets today! How cute are these beaded bracelets from College Casuals?! I love how bright and colorful both of them are! Casey was kind enough to send me an ADPi bracelet and a USC one, two of the things I love reppin' the most.






Casey is a Pi Beta Phi here at USC and when a mutual friend promoted her Etsy shop, I was instantly drawn in. I loved the tassels and the colors in the bracelets, but then I read something even cooler about the bracelets: each one has a message in Morse Code! How freaking cool is that? I know nothing about morse code, but I love how subtle the messages are.

Ready for more? A portion of all sales of the sorority bracelets is donated to Circle of Sisterhood, the National Panhellenic Council philanthropy!



My friend Audrey has been experimenting with photography recently and she so wonderfully agreed to take these pictures for me. How amazing are they?!


We took these pictures on the Horseshoe, which is our version of a quad and my absolute favorite part of campus. Originally, when the university was founded in 1801, the school was only as big as the buildings surrounding the Horseshoe. Since then we've grown a lot, but the Horseshoe still remains peaceful and green. (For the most part... with all of the nice weather that SC gets, you can always find people studying, playing frisbee, tanning, etc. on the Horseshoe... one of the many reasons that I love it!)


Potential "bigs," these bracelets would be such a perfect gift for your perfect little one when she joins your family! Moms, these are the perfect gift for the simple (or not so simple!) sorority girl in your life.


Sorority alumna, this is a perfect way to show off your letters and your sisterhood post-graduation! Casey makes a unique bracelet for all 26 NPC sororities and colleges across the country. She makes bracelets with beautiful inspirational messages, too! If you're in a rut, but don't necessarily want people to know, a bracelet with a morse code message (most likely secret to yourself!) is such a good reminder when you're feeling low.


And now for what you've all been waiting for... the promo code!! When shopping at College Casuals, readers of MooreTori can use the code TAKE10 for 10% off your order! Hurry and order soon, this offer only lasts for a week! This is such a good deal, you won't want to miss out on it!


Order your bracelets before time runs out! ;) Go show Casey some love!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

YGG Playlist

Is there anything better than girl power music? I don't know about y'all, but sometimes when I'm feeling really down about something the best cure is to get in my car, drive to Target (hello, retail therapy), and blast some feel-good-you-go-girl tunes.

Especially last year, when I felt my world crumble around me, I really listened hard to the messages of these songs! They really helped me and I hope they help you too! (Or at least provide an amazing "I'm a boss a** b*tch jam session with your girlfriends.)


Fight Song // Rachel Platten
Brave // Sara Bareilles
Keep Your Head Up // Andy Grammer
Girl on Fire // Alicia Keys
Firework // Katy Perry
Run the World (Girls) // Beyonce
Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You) // Kelly Clarkson
Love Myself // Hailee Steinfeld
Unwritten // Natasha Bedingfield
The Tide is High (Get the Feeling) // Atomic Kitten
Drag Me Down // One Direction
Break Free // Ariana Grande, Zedd
Heartbeat Song // Kelly Clarkson
Stand By You // Rachel Platten
Me Too // Meghan Trainor

What do you think? Any songs you would add? Let me know!!

P.S. You can check out my workout playlist here!

Monday, August 22, 2016

New Bids on the Block

Yesterday was my final bid day as a member of ADPi! The best was definitely saved for last, but first... let's take a trip down memory lane.


Drafting the Finest - Bid Day 2013 (Freshman year!)


Happy New Year - Bid Day 2014


A Whole New World - Bid Day 2015

...and finally...


New Bids on the Block - Bid Day 2016 (Senior year!!)

This bid day was honestly so much fun. Being a senior on bid day is great too because you have no real responsibilities, so you can show up and cheer and dance your heart out. Which is, unsurprisingly, exactly what I did. (My lack of voice can prove it, too.)



As much as I loved this jean jacket, it was 100 degrees outside so it stayed on only for pictures ;)



My grand little and I waiting for our missing family member to come home! She was a pi chi this year. We're also searching high and low for the perfect addition to the fam... AKA to make me a great grand-big!

Our party was at a local concert venue and it was honestly amazing. Tons of neon lights and slap-bracelets and ring pops. I don't think I've ever been sweatier but I danced the afternoon away and had so much fun with all of our members, old and new.


One of the things I'm most thankful for during my time as a member of ADPi have been the friendships coming from the oddest places. My friend Alex, pictured above, is best friends with my cousin! They went to high school together, and my cousin and my aunt were convinced that we would not be in the same sorority. Surprise! Thankfully, we've gotten less awkward throughout the years.

I feel like bid day is the official start to the semester. We welcomed 114 Alphas home yesterday and I can't wait to see them learn and grow in sisterhood together for the next few months!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Looking Forward

Happy Saturday, y'all. After the long week I had I'm looking forward to this weekend to rejuvenate and prepare for a full week of class (and work!) on Monday.


The above picture is from a break at work. Yeah, it's not too bad!

R&R // I'm spending today getting some much needed rest and relaxation! In the morning I'm going to a local farmers market (look out for a blog post soon!), then to a yoga class with my friend Kelsey, and finally after running a few errands, spending time at the pool with my dear friend Hayley. In the evening we're all going to Cantina, so you know how excited I am for that!

Bid Day // Sunday is the end of formal recruitment at USC and one of the best days of the year: BID DAY! I love bid day because South Carolina's is basically a huge dance party with all of your sisters. Ours is going to be at a local concert venue and it is going to be amazing. Plus, I'm getting a great-grand little this year and I can't wait to see the amazing new pledge class!

Closing Ceremony // Unfortunately, Sunday is also the closing ceremony for this year's Olympic games. I clearly LOVE the Olympics and am sad to see them come to an end! These games have truly been amazing and I feel so lucky that we were alive and aware of the greatest athletes of all time competing in the games!

Have a great weekend!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Weekly Recap

I won't lie, y'all... this was an incredibly long week for me. I had orientation for my internship (helping to train new students) Monday-Wednesday, class started on Thursday, and I had work most nights. It was tiring!! I'm completely worn out and can't wait to sleep in tomorrow.

Plus, I started a new moisturizer thinking that it would help my skin be less dry, but so far I've just started to break out again! Does anybody have any advice for this?! Please let me know!! I love when my skin is hydrated and soft and protected with SPF, but hate that my forehead always starts to break out no matter what I do! :(


Anyway, onto the things I found really interesting this week:

Olympic Sports + Emojis // This is a fun little quiz by Buzzfeed. I only got a few right, which is super embarrassing because I've done nothing but watch/keep up with the Olympics these past few days!

True Olympic Spirit // If you haven't heard this story yet, now is the time! After being tripped up on the track, runners who have never met encourage each other to keep going and finish the race. It's so sweet and truly embody the Olympic spirit! This is a really interesting contrast to all of the anti-doping sentiments from last week.

UofSC Millennial Terms // Guys I had to share this video that my University made!! It is so funny, especially the scenes with our President (truly one of the greatest people I know!). It's probably a lot funnier if you know some of the professors, but still, a lighthearted watch for anyone!

How was your week? Any fun things on your radar?

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Last First Day!

Today is my last first day of college - or school ever, for that matter! (At least... for now.) I honestly can't believe I am a senior. These past three years have seriously flown by and I feel like just yesterday I was moving into my teeny-tiny dorm room with all of my worldly possessions!

Now I definitely still moved into my new apartment with my worldly possessions in tow, but that's another issue all together ;)



My dorm room pictured above with all of my stuff piled everywhere... and yes, it was never this clean again. (If you can even call it clean!! Look at all that junk!!)

When I was a freshman, I'm so glad I decided to take a picture of myself on my very first day of college. It it so cool to see it now and be able to see physically and know emotionally just how much I've grown and changed in the past few years.



Aww!

It really doesn't feel like school starts today, but I'm diving in head first! Today I have my class from 9:30 to 5:00 (thank goodness, it's normally going to start at 8:00 AM!), then a soccer game at 6:00, and then probably straight to bed to get up and do it all again on Friday!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Daily Makeup Products

I really wanted today's post to be a vlog about my daily makeup routine, but unfortunately between moving in and working and starting up school again I just didn't find the time. Hopefully someday soon I'll be able to make that video and share it with y'all! (I love watching other bloggers' makeup routines... I'm super nosy and find it super interesting!)


Instead of my makeup routine, I thought instead I would share products that I use every day when I get ready! Most of these products can be found at drug stores, but some are nicer products that need to be bought at a store like Ulta or Sephora. The price on these items can be really discouraging, but they last so long and really are such good products that it's worth it! For me, since I want to have an on-camera career, spending extra money on makeup is worth it and will help me in the end.


After washing my face (usually in the shower) and moisturizing (still trying to find a daily one that I love using), these are the products I use in the order I put them on!

Maybelline BB Cream // I've been using BB cream for a little over a year and a half now, and I don't know why I waited so long to start! I love this foundation. I have pretty normal skin, and luckily I don't have too much acne or blemishes, so this is a perfectly light foundation for me. I love how little I need to use and still have great coverage!

CoverGirl Concealer // I've used this concealer for years. I put it under my eyes and down by my nose, on the bridge of my nose, and up on my forehead. It looks like war paint when I'm ready to blend it in! I also bring some up from under my eye and use it as a makeshift eye primer.

Nars Translucent Powder // This is a new product in my routine, but I love it so much more than colored powder. I just put a little on the end of a big makeup brush and dab it everywhere I put concealer and around my hairline.

 Maybelline Contour Kit // I usually only use the blush in this kit. (Mostly because I accidentally bought the medium to dark skin tone set instead of the light to medium. Oops.) The bronzer is too dark for me and makes me look funky, but the blush is a great standout color. I just brush some up on my cheekbones, starting at the top of my ear and stroking down, and then up around my forehead and a little under my chin. The highlighter in this kit is also great, so sometimes I brush some of that on my nose and above where I put the blush.

Nars Duo Eyeshadow // I love this palette! It's the perfect set of neutrals for a more casual day, which is all I really need makeup for since I'm always so tired and choose to sleep at night instead. Ha! The product is pricey but the quality of the eyeshadow is worth it. (Sometimes, when I'm especially lazy, I use a flat end eyeshadow brush to lightly fill in my eyebrows... No regrets.)

Revlon All in One Mascara // Guys I love this mascara. I've never tried a better drugstore mascara!! It gives my eyelashes length and volume and sass and it's amazing. Such a value, too, and just under $10!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

What I'm Reading

I really love reading and one of the things I'm so excited about this year is that I should (in theory) have more time to read since I won't have a lot of homework (if any). In high school, I was always reading fun books. I was "that girl" that always had a book or two in my backpack. I also love my Kindle and took it with me when I was traveling, and read all the time on trains and on my balcony. I didn't have Internet in my dorm room so I had to make my own kind of fun!

Here are the books I'm currently reading:


Where'd Ya Go, Bernadette? // I started this book on my flight back to Atlanta last week and I really like it so far! It's easy and interesting, the characters are quirky and I have a feeling that you don't really have them figured out until the end.


The Ramblers // I started this book a little over a week and a half ago. I think it's hard to get into at first (in a good way, it's just not as light of a read as WYGB) so I'm going to have to take some time to actually read it. At least the cover is beautiful for now!


Harry Potter and the Cursed Child // My friend Hayley is letting me borrow her copy of HP and the Cursed Child and I can't wait to get into it!! It's going to be so interesting reading about the world of Harry Potter in script format, especially knowing that this will be the final installment of the series.

And next up on my list are...


All the Light We Cannot See // I've heard amazing things about this novel. I'm really a huge fan of historical fiction so I'm sure this will not disappoint! From reading a little about it, it sounds pretty similar to Sarah's Key, which made me laugh and cry and generally feel a lot of things.


Go Set a Watchman // To Kill A Mockingbird is probably my all-time favorite novel (Harry Potter books aside). I actually have this book downloaded on my Kindle and it's been there for over a year now. I've read bits and pieces of it but heard a lot of mixed reviews so I put it off for a while. I know I need to read it, I'm just hoping it doesn't take away the goodness of TKAM.


You Are a Badass // I've seen so many people reading this book recently that I need to give it a whirl! Plus I'm always down to hear more ways on how to live an awesome life.

What are you reading currently? You can follow me on Goodreads to see what I'm reading, want to read, and have already finished!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Happy

I mentioned a few weeks ago how this was a season of change for me. Fall brings so much change for everyone, but looking back to where I was and how I felt just one year ago, I see how much I've grown and changed.


I think the biggest thing that has changed in my life recently is my mood. For the first time in what seems like forever, I am genuinely happy. And the best part is, that happiness is rooted in myself and not something (or someone) else.

March was so hard for me.  Everything about it was horrible, and I fell into a dark, spiraling depression. I hated feeling that way and I hated the way that the people around me felt because of my constant sadness. I had no idea what to do to pull myself out of that funk. One day, I woke up and realized that I was in charge of pulling myself back up again and that nobody else could do that for me.

It didn't happen overnight, but slowly and surely I made myself happier. I started laughing and smiling more, even when I didn't think things were all that hilarious. Instead of pointing out things in the mirror that I hated about myself, I pointed out a few things that I liked. (This was hard, I didn't like talking to myself in a mirror, but it really did help me out.) I created a mantra and I repeated it to myself out loud every time I went to sleep. And then I woke up one morning content with myself and with the way my life was going.

Making an intentional effort to cut out negativity in your life can really go a long way. It can be hard and sad, especially if those negative people are heavily involved in your life. You'll feel alone and stared for a while, but then slowly start to feel the weights lifted off your shoulders. For me, I realized that I was so dependent on those people as my source of positivity and happiness, and at the end of the day, it was a completely dysfunctional relationship. It was one sided, and ended up being horrible for everyone involved. Once those people were less involved in my life, I had to find another source of happiness and found it in myself instead.

True happiness is a wonderful thing, and I love love love that I'm experiencing it right now. Here's to hoping I can keep it up for the next few months too!

How do you find happiness?

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Looking Forward

This week is bound to be a good one. Students are slowly returning to Columbia and I will get to see friends I haven't seen all summer!


Move In // *Slow Clap* Today I am finally moving into my new apartment meaning I can stop bouncing around from house to house and stop complaining about it here! Ha! I am excited, as this is my last ever school apartment. And, don't worry, I have just as much stuff packed in my car as I did freshman year. ;)

School Starting // Senior year starts on Thursday! Where the heck did summer go?! I definitely feel too young to be starting my last semester of college, but I always love the first few days of school. It's easy and relaxing, you see the people you probably didn't see all summer, and you can start and settle into a routine.

Football Season // Speaking of back to school, the best part about summer ending is fall football picking back up! Especially in the SEC, football is a way of life and I have been counting down since our final game last season. Our team was horrible last season so hopefully the team is feeling better and ready to play tougher. First game is against Vanderbilt on September 1!


Friday, August 12, 2016

Weekly Recap

This week honestly flew by. I drove home to Atlanta on Monday, had a doctor's appointment Tuesday morning, drove back that afternoon to get to work at 5:00, spent two nights at my friend Stephanie's house, flew back to Atlanta on Thursday and will move into my apartment tomorrow! Between all of the movement I was doing, I really didn't have downtime to relax but I didn't really mind! I also got to finalize plans for fall break (I'm going to New York City - cannot wait!!), began looking at entry-level jobs for graduation (not sure why I really stress myself out about that so early, but oh well), and played Sims for like 4 hours on Wednesday. I made myself marry one of Team USA's swimmers in the game... hopefully foreshadowing for real life ;) Ha!!


Side note: almost all of these are Olympics related. Sorry, not sorry. The Olympics are like a two-week long Super Bowl for me. Be sure to follow me on Twitter for all of my thoughts and reactions during the rest of the games! (Can't believe that they're already halfway over!)

Sully // I totally remember when the plane crashed into the Hudson River in 2009. Since my dad is a pilot, I was super interested in the whole thing and couldn't ever imagine my dad doing something like that! I saw the trailer for the movie about it and I literally had goosebumps running down my arms. Tom Hanks is going to be amazing in this! I just hope it's not as long and boring as Flight with Denzel Washington was.

Ryan Held Crying // I always joke that if I ever were to win a gold medal at the Olympics, I would be bawling my eyes out on the podium when that national anthem played. Well, Ryan Held did just that after the USA men's 400 free relay won gold. He cried, I cried, America cried. (PS: call me)

The Fine Line: Simone Biles // The New York Times has a history of really cool and innovative interactive articles, and this series on Olympians is no different. I love this feature on Simone Biles and how it walks you through exactly what makes her the greatest gymnast at these Olympics, and possibly of all time. (P.S. Ryan Lochte is also featured, and so are some track and field team members! Definitely worth your time to check out.)

Contempt for Drug Cheats in Rio // After the Russian doping scandal, I would definitely say that doping and the use of PEDs is one of the biggest topics of conversation at these Olympics. This is a really interesting read that discusses all of that: how it affects the "disgraced" athletes, their competition, and what would have happened if Lilly King had not beat out Efimova for the gold medal in 100 meter breaststroke.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Fitness Goals Revisited

I mentioned at the beginning of the summer how I was trying to lose some of the extra weight that I had put on over the course of the school year, so I figured now that summer was coming to a close (boo!) it was time to revisit those goals and see how far I've come (if at all).

I have never been considered "big" by my peers, in fact, when I told people that I was trying to lose weight the reaction was always the same - "Lose weight from where?" or "Why?" or they would just look at me like I was crazy. But the truth is, I was so severely uncomfortable in my own skin that I decided to do something to change it. I decided to start working out and dieting like I never had before because, at the end of the day, people can tell me how skinny I am all they want, but I had to actually believe it.

At the recommendation of my friend Kelsey, I began to do the Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide. Unfortunately, though, I don't have a treadmill to do the cardio sessions on and it's too hot and humid to go outside most days in South Carolina, so I think this really hurt my attempts at the 12 week long program. I have noticed a change in my physical appearance, though after looking online at other "transformations," mine is definitely not as dramatic as it should be by week 11. Now that I have an actual apartment with a gym, and classes are about to resume and the campus gym will be accessible, I will have no excuse not to do both the workout circuits and the 45 minutes of cardio.


Now onto the diet... I have been trying to eat about 1,250 calories a day (though recently it's been more like 1,440... I'm living out of my car, I don't have a refrigerator to keep veggies in!). This is a pretty extreme diet, but I can't stand dieting so I wanted to get it over as quickly as I possibly could. But this also means that I go over my calorie "limit" pretty regularly. When I decided to go on such a strict diet, I promised myself that I would never let it interfere with friends or family - meaning that I could never use it as an excuse not to meet someone for a bite to eat, or to say no to getting ice cream with my mom and dad, etc.

I noticed that my diet really started to fluctuate when I got my new job. On my first day, everyone told me that I was going to gain weight working here. Dinner (and snacks) are provided for me when I'm, and most of the time it's from restaurants or is some form of frozen (delicious) lasagna. Not to mention that local bakeries (including Panera...) send us leftover bread, bagels, and pastries. I do not have the will power to say no! Plus, most of the time I'm sitting around and not doing much so snacking is my activity of choice. I'm going to try and get back into knitting in the next few weeks so I can use my hands for something other than eating. I'm hoping that once things settle down I will be able to control myself more around the goodies, and if not, I will be able to at least go to the gym before going to bed.


All in all, I'm not really where I wanted to be, but I don't feel like I'm back where I started. I definitely feel more confident in my own skin, and I have been able to lose some weight (as of July 4th I was down 5 pounds but it feels like it's back up) without having to go cold turkey on the things that I love - pizza, tacos, and desserts.

One night, as I was eating my 400-calorie-or-less-dinner, my roommate asked me something that I've thought about a lot since. She saw what I was eating (which was a decent amount of food if we're being honest here) and asked, "Are you happy?" I feel certain that after she watched me carefully measure serving sizes of fruits and vegetables, and spoon out only half of the pot of ramen noodles (true story) she was genuinely checking up on me, but to answer her question: yes, I am happy. I have worked hard, and I have seen the rewards. I have given up, and I have seen the consequences. But one thing remains clear: I am in charge. I control how I feel everyday, which is something I really couldn't say before. I finally feel confident when I put on a swimsuit, regardless of what people said about my body type before. I feel lighter and healthier.

I cannot wait to continue on this path to be a better, healthier version of myself and I can't wait to keep updating you all as I go along!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Fall Shoes

When I was packing up all of my clothes in preparation for my move, I realized that I had three full bags of just shoes. Oops! And those were only my "summer" shoes too, all of my boots are at home! What can I say? In the (modified) words of Carrie Bradshaw, I like my money where I can see it... on my feet! ;)

As much as I absolutely adore summer sandals and wedges, there's something about fall shoes that I just can't get enough of. Let me have a pair of boots and booties in every shade of tan, please! Is that too much to ask for? I've rounded up some of my favorite shoes for fall below!



Frye "Molly Tassel" Over the Knee Boot // The over the knee boot is a trend that I loved last fall and really hoped would return this season. After looking through lots of stores, I think it will! I love the look of this boot with pants for a more casual look, or with a dress for a more formal look.

Louise et Cie "Jayde" Pump // I love love love these pumps!! They don't really fit in with the rest of the shoes on the page, but I couldn't resist including them. Everything from the color to the wide heel to the little strap... I want one in every color.

Faux-Leather Side-Zip Booties // These Old Navy booties would be perfect for nights on the town with your girlfriends. The color is great and versatile for so many outfits, and the faux leather would make this shoe really easy to clean! Plus, the tassel detail on the zipper is too cute.

Winsor Bootie // I usually stay away from suede booties, but I love the look of this pair. These would be great for a more formal, business-y look, but could definitely be dressed down with jeans. I also really like the subtle color because it can be paired with all sorts of different accessories and colors.

Ankle Strap D'Orsay Flats // I have been living in my flats this year at work and have been looking to get a new pair! I have nude, black, and teal, so I have been loving the idea of a brown pair. I love the separated toe and heel sections and the ankle strap is the perfect touch. The only thing that worries me about these shoes would be how supportive they are... I have high arches, so finding flats to support them is really hard!

UGG "Carilyn" Lace Up Flat // During the Nordstrom sale, I realized that one of the more popular items were slip on shoes like Vans or Adidas. The inner middle school girl in me is freaking out!! This pair of UGG flats is the perfect combination of comfortable, but just dressy enough to not look sloppy. I love the bow (and I don't say that a lot!).

Steve Madden "Nobell" Sandal // Personally, I wouldn't really consider this shoe to be a sandal. What I would consider it to be is a perfect transition heel from summer to fall. The side detail is perfect and the color is absolutely to die for. The heel also looks to be the perfect height.

Lace-Up Flat in Olive // I have also been loving the amount of olive/army green I've been seeing in preparation for fall. I'm not really sure how these shoes work, or if I would even be able to put them on properly, but they're so trendy right now and at this price, I might as well try!

Steve Madden "Alara" Boot // Every pair of riding boots I have ever bought are Steve Madden. They're a bit pricier, but the quality is great and I love being able to tell people that I have a pair of designer shoes ;) I love the intentionally distressed look of the leather because you can wear them more places and not have to worry about messing them up!

What shoes have you been loving this fall? Any that you can't live without?

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

What I Wish I Had Known

Next week, I begin my final semester of college. It's so strange to think about where I started freshman year. I was nervous and alone (literally, I was the only one from my graduating class to attend my school) and I didn't know what to expect. Looking back on the past 3.5 years, I've learned so much but there are still many things I wish I had known before starting college. So, from an almost-graduated senior to the freshmen staring at their cinderblock dorm room walls, here are the many (many) things I wish I had known.


  1. There is no cookie cutter version of college. Everyone's experience is different.
  2. Feeling not okay is not okay.
  3. Do not be afraid to reach out for help.
  4. YOU should be your number one priority.
  5. Sometimes the nights in the library will be just as memorable as the nights spent out and about.
  6. Eat the Taco Bell. Go to Sonic. Order the pizza.
  7. But don't skip out on the gym. (Learned a little too late on this one.)
  8. Find an organizational system that works for YOU.
  9. Productive and creative outlets are incredibly important for your mental well-being.
  10. DRINK WATER!!!
  11. Study abroad as much as you possibly can afford. You will learn much more out in the world than just sitting in the classroom.
  12. You are not weak for showing emotions.
  13. Boys suck. Don't listen to them. You deserve better.
  14. They will break your heart and you will think the world is ending, but it's not. Keep getting out of bed anyway.
  15. Friends come and go. Even the ones you think are forever.
  16. Take notes. Study them.
  17. Worry less about what people think.
  18. Never, EVER, judge someone for what they wear. 
  19. Be kind to everyone you meet.
  20. Take a deep breath.
  21. Everything happens for a reason. I know it sucks, but it's true.
  22. Being homesick is completely normal!!!!!
  23. You cannot control other people. You can control how you respond.
  24. Find a professor you can trust. Talk to them.
  25. Cry if you need to. But then be done with it.
  26. Instagram is not real life, but it's almost impossible not to get caught up in it. Familiarize yourself with the "deactivate" button and take a step back.
  27. You are much, much more than the amount of likes your picture gets.
  28. You are so incredibly young. Don't try to grow up so fast.
  29. If you don't bend, you will break.
  30. Learn to laugh at yourself, but avoid self-deprecating humor.
  31. Don't let the world beat you down.
  32. Learn to apologize. But only apologize when you are sincere about it.
  33. You are the source of your happiness.
  34. Wash your face. Moisturize your skin.
  35. Stand up for what you believe in.
  36. Make mistakes, learn your lessons, move on.
  37. Loosen up! People will act differently than you, but college is not the time for a judgmental attitude.
  38. If you don't love yourself, how can you expect anyone else to?
  39. Sometimes, the best response is no response.
  40. If he wants to call, he will call.
  41. Find somewhere or something that you are passionate about and spend as much time there as you can.
  42. Figure out productive ways to channel your whole range of emotion: everything from blind rage (it happens) to elation.
  43. Reaching out to your on-campus counseling center will make you feel so much better.
  44. It is scary to ask for help, but that doesn't mean that you should try and do it all yourself.
  45. Smile more.
  46. Respond to people's messages sooner rather than later. (Applies to: emails, texts, voicemail, Tinder, Twitter, Facebook, IDK just respond.)
  47. Use this time to branch out. Talk to people you never thought you would be friends with. Learn from people whose opinions differ from yours.
  48. Prove yourself wrong, if no one else.
  49. Never give up. Never look back.
  50. Even through the thick of it, you will survive. I know it seems like everything is going wrong, but I promise you, you are stronger than you think.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Mug Monday

I can't believe that it's one of the last official weeks of "summer." Internships are ending, students are moving back in, recruitment is just around the corner... crazy!! Of course summer doesn't actually end for another month and a half, but still. Even when the days drug on, the fact that school is starting next week makes me just feel like summer flew by!


(image via)

This will be my final Mug Monday! I'm really excited to switch up my posts and I hope you guys enjoy what I have in store for the blog!! But for now, it is a good week to have a good week! Have an amazing Monday morning!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Looking Forward

This time (plus 6 hours) next week I will be moving into my new apartment! I feel like that's all I've been talking about recently, but I'm ready to have a place to call "home" again and I'm excited for what this new apartment and semester will bring!



Going Home // This next week, I'm going to be spending a lot of time traveling back and forth between Columbia and Atlanta. I have a doctor's appointment Tuesday morning so I'll be driving home Monday morning, then coming back to work Tuesday and Wednesday night, then flying home again Thursday to help my mom gather and pack the car before driving over with her on Saturday! Hopefully it will all go by really quickly, just like this last week did.

Team USA // The Olympics are out in full force you guys! I'm hoping to watch as many live events as possible and then each night's recap on NBC. The picture above is a fun little tradition I have made with myself... each Olympic year, I photoshop my face (most of the time really poorly) onto an Olympian's face. I don't know why, but I just think it's so funny and so do most of my Instagram followers and Facebook friends! This is my third year doing it, and since our women's soccer team is SO GOOD I really wanted to represent Team USA with them!

Friends Returning // The best part about a summer spent alone in Columbia is the return of my friends in August! Everyone is bummed about the school year beginning (especially since we're SENIORS!! I feel like just yesterday I was moving into my freshman dorm...!), but at least we can be bummed together in Cola!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Weekly Recap

This week flew by. Maybe because I was bouncing around from place to place (currently on couch #3 of the week), but I woke up today and realized that it was suddenly Friday! Only one more week to go until I move into my new place!! I read so much this week, too! I finished The Vacationers on Tuesday. It was a really nice read! It's a fairly short book but it's not to serious and it's easy to pay attention to. I would definitely recommend it to a friend. Then my friend Kelsey lent me Where'd Ya Go, Bernadette?  which I have heard a lot about and am excited to start!


I'm so excited for tonight you guys... RIO 2016 (!!) officially kicks off tonight with the Opening Ceremony! Tune in on NBC for coverage and follow me on Twitter for all of my thoughts on the Olympic Games for the next couple of weeks! I'm an Olympics nerd and I love everything about the games, and I'm so much more excited now because we will be able to watch most events in live coverage since Rio is only one hour ahead of the East Coast! The picture below is from my very first Olympic Games, Atlanta 1996! I was a little less than 2 months old, and apparently never left Izzy (the mascot) out of my sight. Since then I've been lucky enough to go to the Salt Lake City 2002 Paralympic Games and the Vancouver 2012 winter Olympics! I'm not kidding guys, I'm obsessed. My absolute dream job is hosting the nightly recaps of the games on NBC.



I had so much that I wanted to share with y'all this week!

Tasty Made // It's no secret that I love Chipotle. I wasn't even scared off during the E. Coli outbreak earlier this year. Tasty Made would be an expansion of the Chipotle company, designed for making hamburgers. I'm not really sure how it would work, customizing hamburgers in a "fast casual" restaurant where you get your food at the register seems really hard (if not impossible... I need my hamburgers cooked thoroughly!), but if a Tasty Made restaurant opens near me you bet I'll be there trying it out! (And y'all will be the first to know my opinion on it!)

Obama Through the Years // Politics aside, I really like the Obamas. I think that President Obama is hilarious, Sasha and Malia are beautiful and poised young women, and Michelle... I mean, she just does it all. The Official White House photographer, Pete Souza, is rumored to have deemed these 55 photos his favorite, although he has denied that claim. My personal favorites are numbers 2, 24, 26, and 38.

What the World was like Last Time a Harry Potter Book was Released // I am a huuuge Harry Potter fan. Last December, my family and I went to London and spent a day at the Warner Bro's HP Studio and it was truly a life changing experience. I remember waiting for the last Harry Potter book to come out back in 2007. My mom and agreed to take me and my sister to the midnight release of the books. We didn't have a reservation but were lucky enough to snag a copy! The next day we were going on vacation to Spain and I spent the entire plane ride reading the book (tears and all). The world was SO DIFFERENT then. Obviously, but this list is too funny to read. I'm definitely feeling the nostalgia (and planning to go to the Barnes and Noble to pick up the new book!).

Pear + Raspberry + Pistachio Salad // I shared a salad recipe a couple of weeks ago and just had to share this one with you, too! I love the idea of a huge salad with tons of flavors. In my opinion, if a salad is huge, I can keep eating at it throughout the day because it's technically vegetables, right?! ;) For real, this salad looks so delicious and filling! I'll have to try it.

Instagram Stories // Instagram decided to copy Snapchat this week and add a "stories" features. Originally I totally disliked this idea, but after a while I began to really like it. I never watch the "discover" stories at the top of the page on Snapchat, so I really liked being able to see the behind the scenes at brands that I actually choose to follow on Instagram. I think an improvement on this update would be allowing the use of Instagram's editing tools for the pictures on the stories, but other than that I'm excited to see how this plays out and what move Snapchat will make next!

Sparkle In Her Eye // Last, but certainly not least, Lauren B., the winner of Ben's season of The Bachelor launched a blog! Y'all know how much I love The Bachelor franchise, and I have followed Lauren on Instagram for quite sometime now. I'm really excited for her beauty posts because her makeup is always amazing!! I can't wait to see more of the content she has in store for us.

Have an amazing weekend!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Bachelorette Recap : Week 10

Well folks, the week we have been waiting for has finally arrived. After spending almost a full 24 hours watching Jojo's journey to find love, it all ended this past Monday night. In another totally uneventful episode, Jojo decided between a former professional athlete in tight pants, and a formal professional athlete in tight pants. Let's recap it!


Side note: the producers chose to have the finale in Phucket, Thailand. Which is just hilarious.

Jordan is the first of the final two to meet Jojo's parents. He arrives and is greeted by her mom, dad, two brothers, and random sister that I didn't know existed until right this very second. At "dinner" (or whatever the meal they randomly sat down at the table for 10 seconds was), Jordan gifted the family with joke hats. It's actually pretty funny, but Jojo's family doesn't really know how to react. Mostly I'm laughing over when did Jordan have time to purchase these hats?!

The conversations with the family are more like grilling sessions. Jojo's mom practically yells at Jordan until he promises not to break her daughters heart. He stammers back, "I - I - I - Promise..." It's incredibly unconvincing. In his conversation with her dad, however, he tells Mr. Fletcher that he is ready to marry Jojo, but does not ask for his permission. This seems to be the inciting incident for the entire episode, because right after he leaves Jojo tells the camera, "I'm so excited because I know for a fact that Jordan asked my dad's permission to propose to me, that's very important to both of us, and I'm positive he did."

Robby meets the parents next, and is incredibly calm and secure. He seems to be everything that Jordan is not: the perfect gentleman. His conversations with the family are so boring. The only part worth noting is that he did ask both of Jojo's parents for their blessing, starting out by using Jojo's full name: Joelle Hannah Fletcher. Gag. But the parents say "Of course!" and tell Jojo that "with Robby, there are no red flags." Haha, okay.

After her family had met both suitors, Jojo and her family sit down to talk about the pros and cons of both men. Jojo expresses her feelings and admits that she loves both of them, and when she's with one she thinks of the other. Her family tells her that they all really really like Robby. Jordan is great too, but they really love Robby. Jojo, of course, rushes to Jordan's defense like she has done all season when the boys try and say something negative about him. Her dad then tells her that Robby asked permission, while Jordan did not. Jojo is visibly shaken up and confused by that.

Robby gets the first final date with Jojo. They go to the beach for a fun day swimming with monkeys! While most of the date is fairly uneventful, toward the end, Robby starts talking about how in just a few years (nine months from then, actually) they were going to be so in love with children running around, and will be so wrapped up in each other and the moment that the meatloaf will burn but it won't matter because they have each other and Sauvignon Blanc. Jojo is freaked out so her only response is, "Mom! The meatloaf!" and it's hilarious. The date ends with Robby saying that he's "blinded by love." I cringe!

Jordan is next up, and the two get on an old boat that takes them to a place where they can kayak into a cave. It looks pretty cool. Jordan reminisces over the fact that their first one-on-one date was on a boat, too! Awe. Almost immediately when they reach the shore of the cave, Jojo starts asking Jordan why he didn't ask her dad for permission. I suddenly begin to agree with Jordan: he doesn't know where Jojo stands, and he only wants to do it once. He's unsure of how she feels, but has told her exactly how he does. Plus, she has another freaking boyfriend! This conversation is repeated about 100 times before the screen finally fades to black.

The next day, the two pick out their potential engagement rings. Robby goes first and starts talking about how in love he is and blah blah blah it's so boring. He meets with Neil Lane and picks out a large, rectangle diamond. It's ugly. Jordan also goes to meet Neil Lane, but first makes an important phone call: he calls and asks Jojo's parent's permission to propose to their daughter. They happily say yes and he goes off to get the diamond. And diamond he does! He picks out literally the first ring he sees, and it's a beautiful diamond surrounded by other smaller diamonds. Good job, Jordan.

The next scenes are a montage of them all getting ready, and a wonderfully dramatic double voiceover of Jojo reading the letters they wrote to her. it's truly amazing and a great touch by ABC. Jojo starts sobbing over the fact that Robby's letter is sweet, but Jordan's is everything she needed to hear.

Suddenly we're on the beach in Phucket where Jojo is standing with the final rose, looking AMAZING. Seriously she looks amazing in this dress. The first car pulls up and my heart starts pounding! I don't know why but these final roses always make me second-hand nervous! The door opens and a bright navy pant leg steps out of the car. It's...

Robby.

As much as I dislike Robby, knowing that he's going to get his heart broken in a matter of minutes is painful to watch. He is going into this proposal with blind confidence, 100% positive that Jojo has picked him. After he goes down to the beach where she's waiting and spilling his heart to her, she stops him before getting down on one knee. She breaks up with him using the worst few lines ever: "Every day, I wanted it to be you!" and "I wanted to love you!" and "My heart is just with someone else!" It's horrible, and Jojo is crying more that Robby is. She's awkwardly still trying to hug him and touch him when she has just shattered his heart. It's hard to watch.

After he leaves, Jojo tells the camera, "The only thing getting me through how hard this is, is the thought of seeing Jordan. Let's go." and she walks off screen ready to get proposed to.

Jordan comes down the stairs and starts his spiel. Before he goes any further, Jojo asks if she can say something. I'm 100% positive he thinks she's about to break up with him. "Jordan, I love you so much. I've been waiting to tell you that for so long and I didn't want you to get down on one knee without you knowing that." Y'all, I literally started to smile so widely!! You can just SEE Jordan's face lights up as he gets down on one knee and proposes.

You can tell it's real because it's awkward and cute and full of nerves and excitement about spending hopefully forever together. They spend the rest of the episode telling each other how much they love the other and it's really cute.

Congratulations to Jojo and Jorda, I'm rooting for y'all!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

GIRL TALK

Okay... let's be real for a second. Is there ANYTHING better than sitting down with your best girl friends and just chatting? Talking all things boys, shoes, food, etc.? Whether the conversation is serious or silly or everything in between, a good girl talk session can really help me to re-prioritize and think more clearly about whatever is on my mind.

So let's talk! I'm going to give my answers to a few questions below, and you can copy and paste them and leave your answers in the comments below! Then we can read each other's answers and get to know each other a little bit better.


Favorite season: I love late fall and early winter! #ColdWeatherGirl
Next vacation you're going on: I'm not sure! Hopefully somewhere fun over fall break like NYC!
Something you're really bad at: Cleaning the house, talking about myself!
Something you're really good at: Watching 10 hours of Grey's Anatomy in a single sitting ;)
Last book you read: The last book I finished was Me Before You
Three people (dead or alive) you would invite to a dinner party: Ellen Degeneres, Kate Middleton, and Barack Obama.

Now it's your turn!

Favorite season:
Next vacation you're going on:
Something you're really bad at:
Something you're really good at:
Last book you read:
Three people (dead or alive) you would invite to a dinner party:

I can't wait to read your answers!!

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