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.

 

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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,

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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,

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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,

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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!

 

 

 

 

 

How to style your dorm room without breaking the bank

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I’ve done a post on my dorm decor before, but I wanted to write a more general post about styling your dorm in the most affordable way, especially because school is coming up and people are prepping for college. Although you may be googling “dorm room ideas” some of them just are not realistic – whether it’s all ridiculously expensive things, or just a huge dorm that you know yours won’t look like. After 3 years of living in a dorm room I have learned that there are ways to design your dorm room in a unique, cute, affordable way, here is how I style my dorm room without spending a TON of money! You’ll come to realize (if you haven’t already) that Target will literally be your BFF.

Wall Decor

For the past few years I’ve used the same wall decor and just styled it differently so that I could re use them each year. I definitely recommend this, wall decor can get pricey so if you get things you can re use each year, that saves you a lot of money. I still will probably use these wall butterflies (only $10 on amazon right now) for my upcoming senior year. These ones (that are only $7) come in different colors too! Wall stickers I also really like are these gold wall polka dots, but you wouldn’t be able to reuse them the following year. For decorative string lights, I wanted them to match my theme so I have used these globe string lights from target that are only $15 – and I’ll use these again this year! I also really like white basic Christmas lights, you can do so much with those in a dorm.

For frames and prints – I order from Etsy and buy cheap frames from target (which I also reuse). For example, I have one similar to this one and you can even download it yourself and just print it out. I really like how they placed these prints in their dorm (source unknown):

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Right now is the perfect time to shop Target’s dorm selections – they are having some sales and there are some super cute finds. Screen Shot 2017-08-10 at 10.43.36 PM

Right now on their website, they have a tutorial on how to create a gallery wall. There are some great tips on how to style your room to match the perfect theme you want it to be, even if you’re working with a small space in a dorm! Target is seriously the BEST when it comes to getting great deals for your dorm.

Organization / Storage

The key to keeping your dorm room organized in the cutest way possible is to purchase stylish organizers and containers. I have a few of these and I love them, they’re only $6 and I use them for toiletries as well as miscellaneous items. I also really like this – its only $15 and you can definitely keep that to store under your bed or wherever you want it each year! Setting your bed on the highest notch is always a good idea so you can store your dresser (if it’s that short), fridge, and organization underneath so there is less clutter in your space! I took this off of google but I thought it was a pretty good representation of what I’m talking about (source unknown):

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Lighting

Let’s face it – some dorm rooms just do not have good lighting, and for the girls that do their make up each morning before classes like I do, you may want a desk lamp of some sort by your make up mirror. I chose to get a decorative table lamp versus a basic college lamp – I chose the lamp shade and chose the blue lamp because it went with the theme of my room perfectly. I definitely recommend shopping Targets lamp selections.

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I’m also obsessed with little decorations and trinkets that all contribute to the theme of your dorm room. Target also has a lot of cute decorations like this that aren’t too expensive!

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Other dorm room necessities

Something I also recommend you get is a rug – especially if the floors are tile. Definitely not a white rug (even though those are super pretty), that will show a lot of dirt and you may not be able to reuse it or wash it out, and a black rug may show the dirt as well. A happy medium that my roommates and I decided on a few years in a row is this gray rug.

Another necessity is a door mirror that you can hang onto the back of your door or command strip it to the back of your door.

Currently Target has some great sales on a lot of home/dorm items, including bedding. I mostly just have my comforter for looks, and I use throw blankets to put on my chair and my bed and just use those! I also recommend if you have extra space that you want to fill – extra seating is always a good idea for when friends are in your dorm! I bought this chair from Target and am planning on styling it just like I did last year (pictured below)

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I hope this helps show you a lot of cheaper options for your dorm that are still super cute and stylish! You can never go wrong with Target deals, and if things are cheaper on Amazon, definitely order them there as well!

When I’m all moved in to my dorm and all set up I’ll be posting the finished product as well!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My favorite photo editing apps

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The Airbrush app is by far my favorite – I think I literally use it for every single one of my pictures whether it’s a filter or brightening/smoothing. This one is especially best for selfies or close ups. I use the “Brighten” effect (which is technically for eye brightening) for brightening the background or brightening anything I really want to stand out. This app has a lot of features, their filters are some of my favorites. I like that you can edit to whatever extreme you prefer for a more natural looking photo!

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PicMonkey Collage

The Darkroom app  is my favorite app specifically for filtering, sharpening and coloring. I’ve definitely caved and bought some of their filter packs (oops!) The app has a lot of tools (some of which I don’t understand, but I love to play around!) In my opinion, the sharpness and clarity of a photo is extremely important. I like that you can select a filter, but alter it if you aren’t loving it!

 

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As basic as VSCO may be, it’s definitely a favorite! In my opinion the filters work for really any type of photo – a selfie, group photo or landscape like the one I edited! It also has tools similar to other apps such as sharpening & etc. I like that VSCO is a more relaxed version of Instagram – people post more consistently mainly to edit their photos. I also like that you can see what other people are using for filters!

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PicMonkey Collage-2I use Rookie Cam mainly for the technical aspects of photo editing – saturation/contrast/sharpening and all of the boring stuff, some of their filters are good too! They have a bunch. I really like when the colors in my photos are bright and enhanced – this app is definitely perfect for adjusting color!

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I use MuseCam mainly for photos just like this one, their filters are perfect for landscape/nature photos, with selfies their filters can be a bit much. Even though it may not change the photo a bunch, it adds just enough of a warm filter for summertime. This one has a lot of technical tools as well. I recommend this one if you find yourself editing landscape/nature photographs a lot!