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 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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Save or splurge: Beauty products

SPLURGE: SKINCARE

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On a college budget I’ve learned what I should save money on, and what I should  splurge on. I’ve learned that you should always invest in your skin. Until a few weeks ago I still hadn’t found any skin care products that were friendly to my wallet that worked for me and did everything my skin needed without breaking me out. I recently attended a Caudalie workshop at the Equinox gym I work at. They gave us these free products and I was super excited to try them – not expecting them to work, I was really impressed when I woke up the next morning and my skin felt hydrated and moisturized (but not too oily.) I have sensitive/oily skin so I’ve never been able to moisturize without breaking out – but my skin reacted really well to all of these products!

In the shower, I cleanse with the Mario Bedescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser – this is so gentle!

After I remove my eye make up with Neutrogena Oil Free Makeup Remover I use a cotton round to apply the Caudalie Micellar Cleansing Water – and then I apply the Vine(Activ) Glow Activating Anti-Wrinkle Serum – this is super pricey, and I only use a tiny amount, a little goes a long way! I then apply the Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet.

Of course none of this is cheap – but it has been a game changer for my skin. If you were to buy only one of these products – I would definitely invest in the Mario Bedescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser!!

SAVE: DRUGSTORE MAKE UP

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Face – Originally I found myself always splurging on foundation and concealer, but on a college budget, paying for a $40 foundation was just too much, and I knew I could probably find a drugstore foundation that was equally as great. I use Covergirl Ready Set Gorgeous Foundation that is only $9, it’s super lightweight and I only use a little bit and blend it with a beauty blender. I’ve realized that less is more with foundation. My favorite powder that I have used for YEARS now is the Rimmel London Stay Matte Long Lasting Pressed Powder, which is only $6!  Because I have oily skin, this keeps my skin looking matte and less shiny. Something I do still splurge on is concealer – I figure I should splurge on either foundation and get a cheaper concealer, or a higher end concealer with a cheaper foundation. So, I settled for investing in a thick concealer that could work if I just want to wear concealer and powder. My new favorite concealer is the Tarte Maracuja Creaseless Concealer – it’s very thick so a little goes a long way. It’s a life saver for under eye circles, and comparatively $26 is not bad for high end concealer. For contouring, I use the Lorac Pro Contour Palette, this is pricey, but I’ve found that it’s lasted me SO long. For a setting spray, I use NYX Matte Finish Makeup Setting Spray – this is a life saver especially in the summertime.

Eyes – More recently I’ve started buying single colors of eye shadow from Walgreens or Target when I run out of my favorites in the Naked palettes, I don’t want to purchase an entire o palette to only use a few colors. I use the individual L’Oreal Paris Infallible Shadows as a base, and apply a little bit of Revlon Colorstay Creme Eyeshadow to brighten my eyes. For mascara I use Maybelline’s Lash Sensation,  this has been my favorite for years now. I have never been one to splurge on mascara.

SPLURGE: HAIR

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Along with skincare, I believe it’s also important to splurge on hair products. Ever since Emily Gemma shared that her favorite shampoo was the Caviar Anti-Aging Shampoo, I of course had to invest in it, it is by far my favorite shampoo I have ever tried. It immediately makes my hair shiner and softer after one wash. I recently realized that after getting highlights and balayage that my hair was extremely damaged, the Aveda Damage Remedy Daily Hair Repair is another game changer. I put it especially on the ends of my hair where my hair seems to be the most damaged.

OR SAVE..

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Although it’s good to splurge on really nice hair products, on a college budget it’s not realistic to consistently purchase them, recently I’ve become obsessed with a more budget friendly option, the Tresemme Expert Selection Botanique Damage Recovery Shampoo – not only does it smell SO GOOD but it makes my hair extremely soft. The conditioner is also a must have.

Overall, there are obviously cheaper alternatives to everything, but I think investing in your skincare products and hair products is extremely important for healthier skin and healthier hair.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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!

Dorm Decor

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Wall Butterflies / Picture / Blue Floral Bulb Lights / Anthology Pillows

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  Throw Pillows / Chair / Blanket

 

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Lamp / Lamp Shade / Hourglass / Jewelry Dish

 

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Etsy Prints / Make Up Brush Holder / Lauren Conrad “Style” / Emily Post’s Etiquette / Weddings in Color

 

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Etsy Prints / Shelves

I’m just a few days away from being finished with my Junior year of college! Everyone is starting to move out of their dorms and finals are coming to an end. I was planning on taking down some things in my room when I realized how much I loved how it was decorated! Sometimes it can be difficult to make your dorm feel “homey” and comfortable, but throughout the years I have definitely learned how to do that. This is by far my favorite layout I’ve had compared to previous set ups in other dorms. You learn to take advantage of the space you have – even if it’s not a lot 🙂 Especially if you are an incoming Freshman, it’s good to learn that you can still make your room super cute without spending a lot! My favorite go-to place for just about everything is Target – And I didn’t realize this until I came to college. Target is literally a god sent. Almost everything in my dorm is from Target. I’m really big on the little details. I love stacking books to make a cute arrangement along with picture frames and cute little trinkets – every detail counts!

My end of the summer wish list

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  1. Cream White Side Slit Crewneck Red Plaid Sweater  – How ADORABLE would this be with leggings and Tory Burch riding boots?! On sale for $42.50 for 9 more hours!
  2. ‘Tyra’ Lilac Lace Sleeveless Shift Dress – One of my favorite bloggers Caitlin wore this and I’ve had my eye on it since! Also on sale 🙂
  3. Bonnie Classic Cardigan – As you can tell, i’m definitely craving fall weather..How cozy does this cardigan look?!
  4. Love Always Monogram Necklace
  5. David Yurman Cable Classic Bracelet with Gold 
  6. Kendra Scott Elisa Pendant – Maroon Jade  – I already have an Elisa Pendant in Iridescent Drusy but I want to buy another stone so I can wear them together!
  7. Bare Minerals Well Rested CC Eye Primer
  8. IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Anti – Aging Concealer
  9. INGLOT AMC Pure Pigment Eye Shadow
  10. Artis Fluent Oval 8 Brush

Lately I’ve come across some of the cutest boutiques and new brands that I am just OBSESSED with. I’ve seen a lot of my favorite fashion bloggers wearing these brands and trying out these products, so of course they’re on my wish list as of right now 🙂 I go back to school on the 23rd of this month, so I am just craving some new dresses for formals, clothes and shoes for fall, and new beauty products to try – but I’m trying to get better on my spending, hence why it is called a “wish list!” I recently watched Emily Gemma’s Make Up Routine Video and wanted to try some new make up products!