Chaneling my inner Blair Waldorf

IMG_1986IMG_1716IMG_1987IMG_1989Similar sweater / Similar skirt / Boots

I could not find this skirt or top online anywhere – but they are both from an Express factory outlet. I also have this skirt in white too. I’m definitely channeling my inner Blair Waldorf with this outfit – and of course it’s one of my favorites outfits to wear in the winter time. We had beautiful weather for a few days and it was so nice to take photos outside without absolutely freezing.

I’ve been so busy lately it’s hard to consistently post on my blog – so I could definitely use some help on deciding what posts should be next? Let me know in the comments what you’d like to see on here!

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

Faux fur vest in Maine’s winter wonderland

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Vest / Sweater / Jeans / Boots / Hermes Bracelet / David Yurman Bracelet / Watch

We had our first 30 degree day in a while in my hometown, it has been below freezing recently so this felt WARM! I found this faux fur vest at Target the other day, I tried it on just for fun and did not expect to love it, but I do! It was on sale for $20 so I had to get it. I don’t own anything like it, but it adds so much to the simplest of outfits! It’s so cozy and it has a hood too! So if you’re looking for a faux fur vest, check Target because they always have great sales! Also – I have become obsessed with Express denim, so if you are looking for a good pair of dark wash jeans, check Express because they also have good sales!

xoxo,

Blank 4 x 2 in-2

 

My favorite designer dupe shoe finds

Don’t get me wrong, there is a very long list of designer items that are on my wish list –  but on a college budget that is so far from realistic. I’ve found so many designer dupes at Target, Express, H&M, and various other boutiques, so why would I ever spend more than I have to for the same exact thing?! I’ve gotten so many compliments on a lot of the items in this post today – and people are so surprised when I tell them how affordable it is or where it’s from! It’s surprisingly very easy to find affordable designer dupes, so I’m sharing some of my favorites!

IMG_0612Jacket / Jeans / Boots

These black OTK boots are on sale for $60 at Macy’s! They Calvin Cline dupes, which are originally over $100.

IMG_2685 BlouseJeans / Boots / Jacket 

I found these Steven Madden & Stuart Weitzman dupes at Target for only $50!

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Thermal Top / Jeans / Ankle-Wrap Booties

These heels are dupes of various styles of the  Vince Camuto open toed booties – but these are only $40 from ThirtyOne Boutique!

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Top / Jeans / Wedges

These are by far my favorite pair of wedges I own – they are SO comfy! I got these at Target for only $30 – similar to these Steve Madden ones.

Black Loafers / Black Fur Loafers

Another shoe that is extremely popular lately are these slip ons that are Gucci dupes. I recently purchased the fur ones and they are so comfy – perfect for winter, spring and fall.

xoxo,

Blank 4 x 2 in-2

 

 

Favorite beauty purchases of 2017

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There have been various beauty products that I have tried throughout the past year – some that worked a lot better than others. The nine pictured above have become my holy grail products – game changers in my book. Some are a little bit on the pricier side, but they last quite a while and you definitely get your moneys worth!

The Professional Face Primer – I got this as a sample at first, I didn’t expect to love it because I have sensitive/oily skin and I had yet to find a lightweight primer that didn’t trap oils under my foundation. I tried this one and not only does it smell great, but it’s super lightweight and minimize the appearance of my pores. I ended up purchasing a full size one, but the sample size lasted me quite a while because a little goes a long way! (It is a little on the pricier side, but because I have such sensitive skin, not many drugstore primers were working for me.)

Benefit’s Hoola Bronzer –  I purchased this over the summer and loved how smooth and natural it looked on my skin. It blended onto my setting powder really easily and wasn’t chalky at all. This is definitely by far my favorite bronzer I’ve tried!

Tarte Maracuja Creaseless Concealer – I purchased this concealer after I ran out of my erase paste (now known as “boi-ing brightening concealer“) when Sephora had run out last winter because Benefit was re-packaging and re-naming the product. The consistency of this one is very similar to erase paste as it is rather thick and is full coverage – great for under eye circles. Because it is so thick and creamy, a little goes a long way. I’ve had the same tube of this stuff since last winter and am just now getting low!

Mario Badescu Drying Lotion – I have been using this stuff for so long I can’t even remember how long ago I purchased my first bottle! This spot treatment is a life saver for my oily skin when I get acne flare ups that need to be dried out! It dries them out overnight and makes a huge difference. The key is to not shake it – let the oil and powder separate in order for it to be most effective.

Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant – This is one of my newer purchases that has been quite the game changer for my skin. In early December, one of my favorite bloggers, Olivia Rink, posted that she had gotten a $10 facial at Ulta through Dermalogica. Immediately after I saw her post, I called Ulta and booked a 10 minute, $10 facial facial for my cousin and I. I had never tried Dermalogica products before but I had always wondered about them. After my facial and learning more about my problem areas, the lady who gave me my facial pointed out a few products that would help with my oily problematic skin. This daily exfoliant is extremely gentle and my face feels so much cleaner after using it! (I tried out the travel size first – it lasted me about 3 weeks.)

Dove Dry Spray Deodorant – I had yet to find the perfect deodorant that worked for me until this one. Not only does it last all day, but they have different scents and they smell SO GOOD. I prefer to get the one that is invisible so that there are no white marks on my clothes.

Batiste Dry Shampoo (Divine Dark) – This is by far my favorite dry shampoo. Considering I am trying to wash my hair less, I use this daily. One of the things I used to hate about dry shampoo was the white that it left in your hair, but with this brown dry shampoo, you can’t see it at all – it also smells really good.

Aveda Damage Remedy leave-in treatment – This is on the pricier side as well – but has worked so well treating my damaged and dry hair. After a few balayages, my hair was extremely broken at the ends and dry feeling. I use this every time I wash my hair and it feels so much healthier. It is also super helpful because I curl/straighten my hair so much.

Tresemme Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Spray – For a while I never really understood the importance of heat protectant until I felt that my hair was extremely damaged and I really needed to protect it considering I was using heat on it almost daily. This one is super affordable and works really well!

xoxo,

Blank 4 x 2 in-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gift Guide for your bff under $20

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Finals are finally over and we are officially on winter break! Towards the end of the first semester it can be tough to make time to get Christmas gifts when you’re just trying to finish out finals and get home for the holidays. Not only is it hard to make the time to go Christmas shopping, but when you’re on a college budget you’re super limited to where you can shop. I always really want to splurge on my best friends and my family but sometimes it’s just not realistic! So that’s why I made this gift guide – all of these gifts are under $20 and all from Target! (aka my second home) I have some of these things and love them. Target has some insane beauty set deals during the holidays.

Face Mask set – I love these face masks. This pack is such a good deal because they’re usually $2-$3 each. In this pack you get six for only $10!

Marble iPhone Case – I hope the marble trend never ends – this case is only $18 compared to other marble cases that are super expensive. You can seriously find a dupe of anything at Target.

Dr. Teals Pure Epsom Salt Bath & Body Set – I’m obsessed with Dr.Teals bath products – they make your entire bathroom smell so good and it’s so relaxing. This gift set is the perfect size to try for only $5.

Slipper Socks – I recently just bought these and I have lived in them the past few days. They are so comfortable and they have grips on the bottom too – only $10.

Marble Gift Box – Okay I am seriously obsessed with this gift box – it’s the perfect gift box for your bff and it’s only $5!

Moccasin Slippers – These slippers look just like the Ugg slippers and they are only $16.

Monogrammed Mug – I use my “A” mug all of the time, I love using it in photos, and it’s only $5.

Plaid Throw Blanket – Only $14 and so cozy!

Snuggly Sweater Candle – A lot of cheaper candles burn in a way that the wax doesn’t melt all the way and it becomes a waste – this brand burns straight down and smells AMAZING.

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!