Chicago Botanic Garden + styling my favorite tank from the #NSALE

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Lace-up Tank / High Waisted Shorts / Sandals

I can’t believe that I have been living in Illinois for almost 5 years now and I hadn’t gone to the Chicago Botanic Gardens until now..They are seriously so beautiful. These photos do not even do it justice.  There is also a super cute café and gift shop!

My favorite tank from the Nordstrom sale is restocked in limited sizes and in some colors so grab it while you can! Also, my shorts are on clearance at Target right now for $11! My slides are also from Target and I have literally been living in them. This was such an easy outfit to throw on. I want this tank in other colors!

xoxo,

Blank 4 x 2 in-2

A day in Chicago + my new favorite closet staple

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Dress / Wedges / Necklace

Yesterday I spent the day in Chicago at the Merchandise Mart with a co-worker returning some fabric samples and picking up some tile samples. This was surprisingly only my third or fourth time in the Mart and I forgot how stunning the showrooms are. I could spend all day there! After the Mart, we went to The Hampton Social and it was my first time there – seriously so cute! I have seen a ton of photos taken there so of course, we had to go!

I mainly wanted to do this blog post because I finally got my hands on this dress that I have been eyeing FOREVER! It is so flattering and I have seen it on so many people styled so many different ways. It is a little on the pricier side but I am so glad I finally got it. It is so comfortable and so easy to dress up or down! I love that you can wear it now but you are also able to style it in the Winter, Spring, and Fall! It is the perfect little black dress, and I will definitely be getting it in other colors!

xoxo,

Blank 4 x 2 in-2

Trip to Maine for the 4th of July + Places to visit

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I was so excited to spend the fourth of July back home – and it was Davis’s first time in Maine, so it was overall just such a great trip. I made sure to put some “must see” places in his itinerary for the trip so that he could see them while we were there. My hometown (Bucksport) is only an hour or less from these places, so we were able to get there pretty easily. I never realized how much I took all of this for granted when I actually lived there… Sometimes it really does take leaving somewhere to realize how much you truly love it. Ever since I have moved out of Maine, I have appreciated its beauty a lot more. Everything is a lot more exciting now that I am not there all of the time.

Pictured above and listed below are the places that I put in Davis’s itinerary for our trip to Maine! 

CARRIER’S MAINELY LOBSTER

Carrier’s is located in my hometown and was actually where I worked my first job in High School for 5 years, so I am extremely biased – but I love it so I had to include it. For those that are not from Maine or have not had Maine lobster – Carrier’s is the perfect place to go. You can get fresh seafood and fresh lobster to cook at home, or you can order it cooked!

WAHL’S DAIRY PORT

This is not pictured above but was in the itinerary I put together for Davis because this is my friends and I’s go-to spot for ice cream and has been for many years. There is something so great about getting an ice cream from the “ice cream parlor” and I go every time I am home in the summertime.

ACADIA NATIONAL PARK

This is somewhere my friends and I have always gone hiking, and the hikes are well worth it – the views never cease to amaze me. The photo above is taken on the top of Acadia Mountain, but there are other mountains in the area with different levels of difficulty you can hike as well. There is a lot to do in the Acadia area!

JORDAN POND HOUSE – ACADIA

This is somewhere I had never been before – Jordan Pond House is well known for their popovers, and they DID NOT DISAPPOINT. They were delicious! We expected that we would have to wait a while because it was Saturday around lunchtime, but luckily we only had to wait 30 minutes for an outside table! The view of Jordan Pond was breathtaking. They have great deals if you were to just order a popover and a drink!

BAR HARBOR

Although I have been to Bar Harbor various times throughout my lifetime, I still love spending a day or an evening there. Bar Harbor has the cutest shops, restaurants, and bars to keep you busy for hours. Their shops are so unique to Maine and that is what I love so much about them. This was the perfect place to take Davis in order for him to really get a taste of Maine.

 

Blank 4 x 2 in-2

Life lately + blog rebrand!

Blog Rebrand

It has been WAY too long since I have blogged. After thinking about it for a while, I decided to change my website name, to my name! I felt as if it should be something that I wanted, and I was constantly regretting “East Coast Fashionista,” I had just completely outgrown it. Not only did I outgrow it, but I wanted to create a consistent brand that is aligned with my name, and that was hard to do with a different website name. I am so excited to have a fresh start with my new brand!

Life lately…

A lot has happened since I last posted – I graduated college in May and since then I have been working and apartment searching in the Chicago area with my soon-to-be roommate!

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Today Davis and I are headed to Maine for the fourth of July! The fourth is always the best on the east coast, especially on the lake. I am so excited to spend a week at home with my best friends and my family! There will be a blog post to follow 🙂

xoxo,

Blank 4 x 2 in-2

Spring Break at Paradisus Cancun

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The pictures say it all – Paradisus Cancun was absolutely gorgeous. It was surreal. We stayed in the Royal Service part of the resort, and we SERIOUSLY received “royal” service. If you are staying in royal service, it comes with various benefits – complimentary meals and room service, a butler that tends to your every need, and a private beach and pool section for royal service guests only. There was not a single staff member that did not greet you or say hi to us our entire stay – everyone was extremely friendly and welcoming. The last picture is a photo of part of our room – which was SO beautiful. We had two full beds, two bathrooms, and two pull out couches as well. There was a ton of space. And like I said, the room service staff was on top of everything.

I went on this trip with my cousin, my brother and my Uncle. I surprisingly did not mind being the only girl one bit! It was somewhat of a last minute decision for me to go with them, and I am so glad I did! Senior year of college can get crazy and overwhelming still taking classes yet figuring out what you want to do after you graduate..This trip really helped me clear my head in order to get back on track…and sometimes, that is just what you need! A little brain break (and being in paradise obviously helped.) Although adjusting to reality was definitely hard after a trip like this, it was great to get away from it all. I already want to go back!

As for packing, I definitely overpacked (per usual.) During the day, I wore a bathing suit and a cover up, at night for dinner was when I would actually get ready and wear a dress. It was so relaxed during the day and I loved having no pressure at all or no set schedule. We mainly just planned it day by day depending on what we were feeling like doing, and those types of vacations are always the best!

xoxo,

Blank 4 x 2 in-2

Getting reorganized and back on track for the new year + Lauren James Planner giveaway!

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Kate Spade Planner / MacBook Case / Stickers / Pens / Desktop Wallpaper

One of the hardest things for me, and probably a lot of other college students who have a month long winter break as well, is getting back on track and adjusting to another routine. During my winter breaks I am so beyond lazy, and it can be hard to motivate myself to get anything done. This is the last week of my break so I’m really trying to reorganize and get things ready for the second semester of my senior year to start. Even though I may not be the most motivated right now, I still remain super organized. As second semester is upon us, I figured I’d share some tips that will motivate you for a fresh start to the new year!

Invest in a nice planner 

Every year I get a new planner, for years I purchased these Lilly Pulitzer ones, but this year I decided to change it up and get a Kate Spade one. Another brand that makes super cute planners is Erin Condren – what I like about these is that you can personalize them! I also am a brand representative for Lauren James – and they have super cute timeless planners as well! My entire life is in my planner. I write every little thing down; to-do lists, class schedules, work schedules, and things I know I may forget. For some reason I’ve never been one to make lists and schedule things on my phone – I always forget about them. Plus, it makes you feel so much more accomplished physically crossing things off of a list. So, if you haven’t already, invest in a nice planner – it makes it more exciting to organize your thoughts and schedules!

Get some cute & colorful pens for labeling your schedule/notes

I know this may sound silly – but organizing my notes for classes and in my planner by color make it less boring to write everything down. I recently purchased these Papermate Flair Pens (my friends also have them and love them) – they’re so cheap too! They write like a thin-tipped marker, BUT they don’t bleed. These pens can make the most boring class notes cute and colorful 🙂

Make lists and set realistic goals 

One of the problems that I have is setting too big of to-do lists, which tends to get overwhelming and I end up multi tasking. So what I’ve learned to do is make smaller lists that I know I can get done efficiently and in the time that I have. There may be big goals overall that you want to accomplish – but if there are steps or things you need to do to get there, writing those down helps you focus on one thing at a time. That’s something that I’m really trying to focus on this semester.

De-Clutter your dorm/space

This is something that has really helped me in being productive and more relaxed when I’m stressed or overwhelmed. Whether I’m doing school work, internship work, blogging or etc. This may just be me being OCD – but I am an organization freak. When deep cleaning my dorm/bedroom I de-clutter by getting rid of things I don’t use, especially at the beginning of the school year or at the start of a new semester.

Get back into a routine

This is one of the hardest things for me after a month long winter break. If I don’t go back to work immediately, I remain in a slump and have a hard time readjusting to being back at school with classes and  work. What I have found is that jumping right in immediately helps me adjust more quickly and feel more motivated. The busier I am, the better I feel. I feel more productive and by the end of the day I fall asleep much easier. It’s always the Spring semester for me where I get motivated to work out – although sometimes that doesn’t last long with my schedule, if that’s something that clears your mind I definitely recommend starting your work out schedule back up!

GIVEAWAY!

I figured this giveaway was fitting for this post! I am giving away a Lauren James timeless 12 month planner, and a Lauren James sticky note set! These are both two things that help me get organized!

In order to enter…

Follow me on Instagram (@alexx_bishop)

Follow Lauren James on Instagram

Like & tag a friend on my Instagram photo about the giveaway

Winner will be announced on Wednesday! 🙂 

xoxo,

Blank 4 x 2 in-2

How to plan the perfect party

 

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I spent my summer planning my 21st birthday party and I LOVED it. I love putting together every little detail. Luckily all of the stress was totally worth it because it was definitely one of the best nights I’ve had – so I figured I’d share some tips and ideas that helped me plan! No matter what your budget is or what your party is for you can still throw an awesome party.

 1. Determine your budget 

This is the first thing you should always do when planning an event/party. You’ll need to know how much you can spend so that you can then determine your theme, what food and drinks you can provide, and how much decorating you can do. What I did for my 21st was make an excel sheet that calculated all of my totals for me, and included every  thing I needed. This makes it super easy to not only keep track of everything, but to add things along the way and having it calculated for you.

2. Who and how many people are you inviting?

Once your budget is determined, you’ll kind of have a feel for how much food/drinks you’re able to get. You never want to run out of food or drinks – so it’s good to determine how much you can afford before forming your guest list. Once you form a guest list, you’ll know the kind of people that’ll be coming – which means you should cater any activities to your guest list. What will the people you’re inviting enjoy? For example – if it’s your 21st , have some space for drinking games for people to play.

3. Determine a theme & decor

Now that you have determined how much money you can spend and how many people are coming, you can estimate the amount of decorations you can buy and how much you want to execute a theme. For my 21st I just chose the color scheme of white, gold and pink. Depending on your budget, you can go from there on how much to execute it.

Tables – You can easily find a company that rents out tables and chairs, I rented from Celebrations Party Rental in Highwood, IL – I purchased four tall boy cocktail tables for people to mingle and eat. I didn’t rent chairs, because if you have a lot of seating, that tends to bring the party down, instead I decided on less seating so that there would be more energy!

Linens – I also rented white linens from  Carousel Linens in Highland Park, IL for the tables and I tied them off with gold tool from Michael’s to add some elegance and sparkle.

Florals – I chose floral arrangements as the centerpieces. Obviously there are various options for centerpieces, but because it was an “end of the summer” party I decided on florals. Because my theme was pink, white and gold with white linens, I wanted my floral arrangements to pop against the white. I ordered the arrangements through Swansons Blossom Shop in Deerfield, IL.

Dressing up the space – Another tip to “dress up” the space of your party is to add a lot of candles if you don’t have a lot of other decor. Candles help create a really elegant mood especially if the event is at night. A little goes a long way with candles!

Something little I did to add some color is a mini candy bar. At Party City they have candy organized by any possible color you could ever need (at reasonable prices too!)

I also really like having chalkboards at parties or events because you can label various things and personalize it. Hobby Lobby or Michaels is a good place to go for things like that!

4. Food / Drinks

Sometimes it’s nice to coordinate your food and drinks to the theme of your party. For mine, it didn’t really matter – so I just had heavy appetizers and a dessert bar. If you are really planning to execute a specific theme though, its good to have the food coordinate with it. We hired a catering service that walked around passing out various appetizers as well as a bartender for the drinks!