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Traveling with Style: Part 1


One of the comments on my Touring Italia post brought up an excellent point--when many Americans travel they look like bums!

It seems that running shorts, leggings (which, by the way are not pants!), hiking boots/athletic sneakers, and t-shirts are the norm for Americans abroad. Not that there is anything wrong with these clothing items, it is just that if you dress like this, you will stand out when traveling in chic European cities!

So I thought I should share a new series of easy, and just as comfortable, alternatives to sloppy travel staples:




These are just a few of my traveling with style "rules." Check back next week for more!


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Insta-lately: OOTDs


Another week has come and gone. I spent much of the week playing catch up after spending five days in St. Louis. But all in all, it was a pretty low key week... and here is what I wore:

Sunday: Flight home from St. Louis
 
(thank you St. Louis airport for having a DD)

Monday: Back to the humidity of FL
clutch // top // shorts // sandals // rug (because I know people will ask!)

Tuesday:

Wednesday:

Thursday

Friday:
(loved it so much I also got the neon kiwi, and it's currently 25% off!)

Saturday:
top // skirt (on sale) // sandals (old, but my all-time fav TBs)

Happy Weekend!

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Weekend Freebie: Love Spring


Now that spring is in full swing, I thought it was time for a spring wallpaper update:

iPhone wallpaper

iPad wallpaper

PS - Thanks to everyone who left feedback yesterday, although you all weren't very critical ;)
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Q + A


When I started this blog I was looking for a fun and creative outlet from academia, a place to share my non-academic interests. Two things I never imaged would happen: 1) people would actually read this (it still weirds me out when I discover my friends read it), and 2) I would make so many great connections. I thought blogging would be completely self-indulgent, and while there is definitely an element of that (as with all social media), I was surprised to discover the real connections--giving advice on grad school, encouraging women to enter the field of history, or just simply conveying the importance presentation and style.

I also get a lot of great questions and emails (also completely unexpected). So I thought today I would share some of the most frequently asked questions:

Q. How do you get to travel to Italy ever summer/What do you do in Italy?

A. I was lucky enough to "fall into" working for a study abroad program. When I was entering my senior year in college my advisor invited me on his inaugural summer program in Rome. The course was focused on political science and since it was the first year, it had little organized for history and art history sight-seeing. I took initiative since I wanted to see and do it all while I was there. My advisor was impressed and asked if I wanted to return as his teaching assistant and organize cultural/historical excursions. Ten years later (I am about to spend my 11th summer in Italy... wow!) the program has grown tremendously and I am lucky enough to still be a part of it. When in Italy I liken myself to a glorified cruise director who is really good at herding cats. I schedule and coordinate all of our daily activities, classes, and excursions. I also teach a course. I truly believe in study abroad!

Q. What do you want to do with your degree?

A. I am working on my Ph.D. in History (Italian history, but I am sure you figured that one out) and I hope to find a tenure track position at a research university. I would also love to continue my work with study abroad programs. But really, I am going to go where I get the job!

Q. What color do you dye your hair?

A. I am surprised about how many questions I get about the color of my hair! No, it isn't natural. I grayed very early so I have been dying it for a long time. Currently I am using Clairol Age Defy (pesky grays) in 5R medium auburn. Besides my color, my biggest hair secrets are: 1) wash as little as possible; 2) hot rollers straighten and add volume with little time and effort; and 3) Pearson Mason brushes are amazing! (you can read more about my hair care routine here

Q. How do you make your prints and pillows?

A. I design all of my prints in pillows in Photoshop and/or Illustrator. They are then printed by a professional manufacturer and sent directly to consumers. 

and the number one question I am constantly asked (not kidding!):

Q. Where is the rug in your OOTDs pictures from?

A. Target! Here is the link and it's on sale! Seriously I am just as obsessed with this rug as everyone else... I even bought spares!


Ok, now it's your turn! I've been blogging since September and I am curious what you do and don't like.

Q. Which types of blog post do you like/prefer?

Q. Which kinds of posts would you like to see more of?

Q. Is there anything you don't care for (it's ok to be honest, remember, I am in grad school!)?

Feel free to leave any other feedback, it would be much appreciated!

And happy Friday!

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Preppy Printshop: New Arrivals


Sometimes I find inspiration for my prints in my everyday life... And sometimes I find it in a Kate Spade campaign! I just could resist the vintage chic feel of their latest arrivals.



Of course I had to find other inspiration, because I am not sure everyone shares my obsession.




Not only are these new prints available, but many of my prints are now also available in larger sizes! Now you can choose from an 8 X 10", 11 X 14", or 12 X 16" print size. The key to creating an interesting and dynamic gallery wall is varying the sizes of your images and frames. And now you can!

Which print is your favorite?

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Touring Italia with Style: Part Two


Today is part two of my "Touring Italia with Style" post (click here for part one). Everyone always asks what is my favorite place/city in Italy. I really can't choose!

Each of my favorite cities--Venice, Florence, Rome, and Positano--offer something unique and each are worth visiting. If you only have 7-10 days to tour Italy, I would definitely prioritize these, since they give you a great taste of Italy's diversity and culture!




Ok no more Italy posts for a couple days, promise!


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Touring Italia with Style: Part 1


Sorry for all of the posts about Italy lately, but between planning this summer's trip last week, the arrival of spring, and the latest Kate Spade catalogue, I can't get Italy off the brain! So indulge me ;)

I don't know about you, but whenever I am planning a trip, I envision myself in some fabulous and destination-themed outfit. In my mind when I tour the Amalfi Coast, I look like I just stepped out of Kate Spade's Capri campaign lol. I don't always live up to this vision, but it is still fun to plan my outfits.

top // skirt // scarf // bag // shoes


top // pants // sunnies // bag // shoes

On a more serious note, I do always advise people to dress up a little when they travel. Not only do you get better service, but you will like your photos more. I love taking pictures when I travel and if you ask me, they are the best souvenir you can bring home!

Trust me, no one looks cute in sweats in front of the Eiffel tower. Now I am not advocating heels or anything impractical, but try to find the balance between fashion and function (click here for my post on traveling with style).
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My Top 10 Travel Essentials



  1. A good pair of sunglasses – It’s so important to protect your eyes when you are outside sightseeing, plus everyone looks chicer in photos when wearing sunglasses. My current favorite.
  2. Dry shampoo – Save time by only styling your hair every couple of days. Dry shampoo cleans your hair and soaks up extra oil without having to wet your hair. One of my favorites is Not Your Mothers Dry Shampoo. At $5.99 for a large bottle it’s a steal! 
  3. iPad – Honestly, I don’t know how I traveled, much less functioned, before my iPad. Yes it’s a pricey tech accessory, but with one device I can watch movies and TV, surf the internet, check email, and read books and magazines. Also it’s smaller and lighter than lugging your laptop.
  4. Packing cubes – These make packing and re-packing a breeze. They provide organization and if you need one item from the bottom of your suitcase, you won’t have to destroy your neatly folded clothes in the process. I really like these.
  5. Spray wrinkle releaser – I refuse to iron while traveling. Actually I refuse to iron period!
  6. Band-aid blister block stickAs stated in this post on the importance of foot care, crippling blisters can really ruin your travel fun, and this blister block goes a long way in helping you prevent blisters.
  7. Certain Dry antiperspirant – It’s summer, your outside sightseeing, it’s hot and no one likes pit stains in their photos! This powerful antiperspirant prevents you from sweating and is now available at most local drugstores.
  8. Camera - Your pictures really are your greatest souvenirs! I am especially fond of funny and unique photos... and the occasional (ok not so occasional) jumping photo.
  9. My Northface Nylon Shell – I purchased a simple black Northface nylon shell 4 years ago not realizing how useful it would be. Its lightweight, which means you can roll it into a tiny ball and throw it in the bottom of your purse. Never get caught off guard by sudden changes in temperature or poring rain again.
  10. Sunscreen – People often don’t realize how much more time they spend outdoors when traveling, so please take care of your skin!
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Insta-lately: OOTDs


Well it has been quite a week in Saint Louis (lots of meetings!)! I am so excited for this year's trip, and having met the majority of the students, I know it is going to be another amazing summer! 
Here is what I wore this week:

Sunday

Monday
dress (J.Crew, old) // blazer // necklace

Tuesday
french popover (my fav!) // jeans // sunnies

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Which look is your favorite?

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Weekend Freebie: Favorite Spring Things


It's finally spring! To celebrate, today's free printable features watercolor illustrations of my favorite spring things.

8 X 10" Print

Enjoy and happy spring!

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Building a More Interesting Wardrobe


Having a closet full of clothes doesn't guarantee interesting, creative, and stylish outfits. Remember, more clothes doesn't equal more style! So how do you turn a closet full of jeans and tees into a versatile and interesting wardrobe? Or, what pieces would you add to your boring or bland wardrobe? Well, here are some of my tips for building a more interesting wardrobe:

1) Patterns are your friends! I know patterns can be intimidating, but they can really add interest to an outfit. I think the mistake most people make with patterns is wearing them the same way every time. For example, you have a great pair of pattern pants and you wear a solid matching color top every time. This is boring and repetitive. You can do a lot more than you think with patterns. A perfect example is my favorite pair of J.Crew minnie pants:


2) Layer on layers! Layers add instant depth and interest to an outfit. They are also a great way to mix pattern and color. But try to be creative in your layering, this will make the pieces you have more versatile. For example, a dress can easily be worn as a skirt or layered with a button-up shirt. Layers can transform one simple shift dress into three completely different looks:


3) Don't fear color! Color is an important wardrobe component. It can add interest and creativity to an outfit, while simultaneously coordinating your entire wardrobe. Case in point--my closet's central color is navy. By making sure most of what I buy includes navy or goes with navy, I can mix and match almost everything I own (click here for a great example of this!). And pops of bright color are the easiest way to transform simple pieces into stylish outfits!


4) Focus on key pieces! I think the most versatile pieces in my wardrobe are my J.Crew popovers. They come in great patterns and colors and are easily layered under sweaters, dresses, and vests, or paired with skirts and blazers for dressier looks. Figure out which pieces you wear the most and invest in them. But as mentioned above, look for bright colors and interesting patterns (all of which should coordinate with an overall color or color scheme).


5) Don't forget to accessorize! It is amazing how a statement necklace can transform any outfit (but I am sure you already knew that). I tend to buy either really neutral necklaces (like pearl or tortoise shell) or really colorful statement necklaces, both of which match basically everything. These are my current favorite and most versatile statement necklaces:

      

Add do you add interest and creativity into your wardrobe?

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Loving Lately


I haven't done a loving lately post in while! I think it is because I've been preoccupied with school and travel. In fact, today I am headed to St. Louis to start meeting with faculty and students and finalize our summer program in Florence (I can't believe I will be back in Italy in just 42 days!). But anyways here is what I've been loving lately:

J.Crew


Ok, so maybe I have loved J.Crew longer than just lately, but yesterday they released a preview of their April style guide on Pinterest, and I am loving the colors (kind of reminds me of gelato)! Plus now I can shop!

Packing

I know packing stresses a lot of people, but I personally love it! It's such a fun organizational challenge. It is like someone handing you 10 items and you have to make as many outfits as possible. What can I say, I love a challenge! I also love mixing and matching prints. I think all of this explains why I love a well-packed suitcase. In case you missed it, here is a packing guide for spring and one for winter. And in this post I created a ton of outfit combinations from the spring packing list (I mean who wouldn't love it?). Don't worry there will be more packing posts as Italy approaches!

My Apartment

The past couple weeks have been crazy busy. I have definitely been under a lot of pressure and working non stop. When life gets crazy, I really value a calm, clean, and organized home. I also spend more time at home when I am stressed and busy. So these last couple weeks (as I have locked myself inside) I have really come to appreciate all of the time and effort I spent redecorating over the past year. There is something to be said for having a space all your own (well, really it's Ophelia's but she lets me stay). Here is my apartment tour (part 1 and part 2), in case you missed it!

Scallops

Scallops seem to be on trend for spring and I couldn't be happier about it! The day my shopping fast ended (which was yesterday, #nojudgement) I bought these scalloped shorts! I am also crazy about this phone case (you know I am a sucker for pink and red). I think my next Preppy Printshop release will definitely feature some scallop details!

Kate Spade's City Guides

In addition to featuring travel destinations as themes in their 2014 collections, Kate Spade has also put together little online travel and city guides (and even tips from locals) that are pretty great! I love reading them and dreaming of places to go or comparing notes to places I have been. Every summer I promise myself that I will visit one new place. Like packing, I love planning trips (I am sure this is a type A personality thing). But this year I am torn between a couple destinations - Vienna, Prague, Amsterdam, or Budapest.  I would appreciate any thoughts or recommendations!

Happy Hump Day!

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Why I love Nordstrom


Before I declare my love for Nordstrom, I should note that I have zero affiliation with the company and was not sponsored in any way, I am just this crazy for Nordstrom!*

I love great customer service, and no one does customer service like Nordstrom. Case in point - remember that French Connection dress I bought last fall? Well after only a couple wears, I discovered the black dye was bleeding onto the cream parts of the dress, especially under my arms. I was so sad, but because I had worn it and had no clue where the receipt was, I figured it was a lost cause.

Fast forward to last week (remember I bought the dress last fall!). I was in Nordstrom for my monthly brow wax (Anastasia is the best) and I decided to do a little window shopping. I was browsing the dress department when I noticed they were still selling my French Connection dress (and at full price might I add). When the sales lady approached I told her what happened to mine and that she should warn other customers. To my surprise she asked if I still had the dress. When I said yes, she immediately responded "bring it back and we will give you store credit or exchange it for something else." I told her I didn't have a receipt and even the debit card I purchased it with was gone (thanks Target). She assured me that none of that was an issue.

I brought the dress back that afternoon and they gave me a gift card for the full value of the dress. How often do you find a company that stands behind everything they sell? I have had similar experiences in their shoe department. Even if you have worn a shoe for weeks, but still are not satisfied (I blister easily), they will take them back with no questions asked!

I try to buy whatever I can from Nordstrom, I mean if they carried J.Crew I might never leave. But seriously, when I invest in something like Tory Burch ballet flats or a nice dress I want to know that I will get my money's worth!

Thank you Nordstrom for being an incredible company!

PS - Nordstrom Rack is amazing as is their semiannual sale.

*Although Nordstrom if you are out there, I would love to work with you ;)
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Luggage for International Travel


Luggage can be expensive, but when you are traveling internationally and/or for long periods of time, quality luggage is a must! Selecting the right luggage for international travel can make your life abroad so much easier. I always tell students that they want a bag that is 27-29 inches tall (anything larger will always be overweight), on wheels (spinners preferred), light weight, and of high quality construction. If your luggage is missing any of these features, you will struggle!

Every year I see students battle with too large, too heavy, and super cheap luggage that they drag (or end up pushing or kicking) from city to city. Remember when traveling around Europe (especially on a study abroad program or on group trips) you often have to carry your luggage a couple blocks (since large buses can't fit down small streets) and up flights of stairs (since many European elevators are tiny, or there are 30+ people trying to use it at the same time).

I recommend investing in three pieces: 1) a large checked bag (27-29 inches), 2) a carry on bag (20-21 inches), and 3) for the ladies, a tote or larger purse for the plane. Now this is the important part, all pieces should be able to attach to one another. Trust me, this will make your life so much easier!

Here is what I use:


If travel is not a part of your profession or something you do often, you don't need to invest in a premium luggage brand like Briggs & Riley (although from my personal experience, I cannot say enough good things about this luggage). For my career and lifestyle these pieces were a worthwhile investment (still in perfect condition, ten years and countering!). But you can find similar, less expensive, and just as functional options. I recommend Samsonite and Travelpro, and here are some options:



laptop tote (love this tote and such a good deal!) // large spinner // carry on spinner

One last tip - many luggage companies are now offering 20" wide-body international carry ons. These bags are slightly larger to give you more space, but because they are wider, not longer, they still easily fit in the overhead compartment. I highly recommend them for international travel!

Happy Travels!


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Insta-lately: OOTDs


Day 21: My Weekend Uniform

Day 22: Spring Break!
tee // shorts // tote

Day 23

Day 24: #PREPPY
(I took a little break from my 30 X 30 to style my new Sloane Ranger goodies, #sorrynotsorry)
blazer // tee // skirt // tote // loafers (old)

Day 25: Ophelia says hi
tote //  popover // jeans // cat 

Day 26

Day 27

Happy Sunday!
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