ten college + dorm room essentials


Ahhh, back-to-school. This truly used to be my favorite time of year and kind of still is even though I'm a few years out of college now. Life is great now, but I do really miss being at university quite a bit.

There were ups-and-downs, but I truly loved every bit of my experience at Flagler College in St. Augustine. From being on the exec team of our school's biggest organization and having classes in a beautiful building from the 1800s to eating at the dining hall with my friends under the Louis Comfort Tiffany stained glass and all of the crazy antics we got up to around town. My school didn't have football, but I made sure to drive to Gainesville for a game at University of Florida just so I could have that SEC experience. 

When this time of year rolls around, I get nostalgic and remember what my first days at school were like. I thought it might be helpful to share ten of my essential college and dorm room items so incoming freshman have some ideas (beyond the basics) about what to pick up from Target or The Container Store.

P.S. Scroll to the bottom for some random throwback photos from college, a time when I obviously very rarely wore makeup. 

legal pads + clipboard
After much trial and error, this was my favorite way to take notes in class. I'd have one clipboard, then a legal pad for each of my classes. In the morning, I'd pack my bag with the single clipboard and just the notepads I needed for that day. This made my bag so much lighter and easier to carry around campus. 

binders + printable covers
Like I said, I only carried legal pads to class but in my dorm, I kept a slim binder for each of my classes to store old assignments, tests, and other materials. Each semester, I'd print out new (cute) binder covers for my classes. 

id holder
I can guarantee you'll need to carry your student ID with you around campus, so it's smart to carry it in a cute ID holder. I vividly remember my little green Kate Spade id holder that I'd carry with me everywhere. This prevents you from losing your ID and also makes it easy to find quickly in your bag. 

colored pens
Another note taking strategy I liked was to use different colors for different sections of your notes. I typically used a color-coded version of Cornell notes. Learn more about color-coded note taking here and here. In order to do this, I kept a bag full of different color pens and took it with me to every class. Even if you don't use a specific system of color-coding, just breaking up sections into different colors is helpful when you go back to review them later. 

extra thick mattress pad
If you're living in a dorm, you'll want at least one of these but two if you can. Dorm mattresses can hardly be called mattresses and are quite uncomfortable. I had one mattress pad, but my roommate layered several and made the most comfortable Twin XL bed ever. 

led candles
Most dorms don't allow real candles, so I made sure to always have a couple of LED ones in our room. It makes such a difference to turn these on with a desk lamp instead of your overhead light in the evenings. Kind of makes late night studying have a slinky cafe vibe!

shower organizer
I was lucky to share my shower with just one roommate, but you may have to share with suite mates or even the entire hall. In any of these scenarios, it's important to have a good shower caddy. I recommend mesh because they drain easier and don't accumulate gunk at the bottom like the plastic ones do.

surge protector
It's amazing how many things you need to plug in at your desk. Laptop charger, phone charger, mini-fridge, lamps, and so on. Plus, dorm electricity can sometimes be sketchy. I know my roommate and I blew the power a couple of times! So, be sure to have a surge protecting power strip for all of your plugs.

tote bag
A good tote bag is one hundred percent essential. I mostly carried a canvas Vineyard Vines tote (customized for my school, which was so fun) because they're cute, durable, and are pretty lightweight. Even when the cotton portions begin to wear, it still looks good.

individual oatmeal cups
Even if you're on the dining hall meal plan, you'll need to keep breakfast and snack items in your room. I was (and still am) obsessed with individual oatmeal cups, particularly from the brand Love Grown. They're the quickest and easiest healthy meal option you can get in a dorm situation and so good to have around when you randomly get hungry. I love the strawberry flavor!

What are your college essentials? Are you going back to school this year? Let me know!

the weekend list no. 41


Happy Saturday! What did you all do this week? On one of my days off, my mom and I went shopping to find a new desk chair. We didn't end up finding one that I loved and I ended up ordering one from Home Depot instead, but we did go to Kirkland's (!!!) which seriously got us in the spirit for fall. I got a few things to nearly complete my desk makeover (the letter board and the little gray sign), now I'm just waiting for my chair to arrive and to go get a fall candle.

Also! I just got a new pair of Lululemon leggings, which has me pretty excited. It's the little things, guys.... Haha. 

Now, on to the links for this weekend...

Julia's breakfast nook is so beautiful!

If you need some super cute, very extra tailgating outfit inspiration, look no further.

Check out these five Southern beach reads over on the Draper James blog. I put all five on my TBR!

Ashley & Ryan's optimism and positivity are really inspiring.

Love Tracy Anderson's tips for staying healthy while traveling.

Great article that blends two topics I love: nutrition and cultural politics.

Kind of want to check out this GOOP Clean Teeth Kit!

Did you know all of these Starbucks hacks?

I want to try all of these infused lemonades before the end of summer!

Becky's photography is so dreamy.

Clean, bohemian decor inspiration.

There's a special place in my heart for blue-and-white porcelain.

This is a must-read.

I love a good office makeover!

Creating a beautiful home yoga practice.

my summer evening routine


First of all, how cute is this Spirited Away teacup I found at Barnes & Noble?

I don't know about you, but I still love hearing about people's daily routines. There's always something interesting to take away whether it's a new product or an idea for a ritual to add to your own routine. I think it's become quite the fascination among most people, so I'm here with the evening routine that I've been following for most of this summer. This particular routine is for a work night, so it's not the same as if I were going out but I think this kind is honestly the most realistic kind to share! 

6:30 PM // This is typically when I get home from work most nights, unless I have an event. Since it's summer and inevitably hot outside, I immediately take a shower as soon as I get home. I'll also go ahead and put all of my things away to avoid clutter building up. 

6:45 PM // After showering, I'll change into comfier clothes. Lately it's been my favorite pair of black, Lauren Conrad leggings with a really cute, white halter bralette from Aerie and this thin, oversized tee from Alexander Wang. I've worn it so much, there are holes in the elbows but they actually look kind of cool. I'll put on my fluffy slippers or a cute pair of socks and go downstairs to eat dinner.

7:30 PM // After I've eaten dinner, I usually like to read or play a quick board game.

8:00 PM // I don't watch a ton of TV, but if one of the shows I do watch is on, this is usually around the time I'll start watching it. Lately, it's been The Bachelorette on Mondays and World of Dance on Wednesdays. If none of my shows are on, I might watch something on Netflix like an episode of Madam Secretary or Somebody Feed Phil or my new favorite, Castle Rock, on Hulu. Otherwise, I'd just continue reading.

8:30 PM // If I feel like having a treat, I like to make two different kinds of popcorn. One is a dairy-free buttery, cheesy mix and the other is the most delicious caramel recipe from Pick Up Limes. Other times, I'll have a cup of tea or maybe a creamier smoothie.

9:30 PM // This is typically the time that I'll go upstairs and to my skincare routine for the night. I start by washing my face with the Indie Lee Brightening Cleanser then follow up with my go-to Embryolisse lait creme concentrate. Some nights, I'll use my face steamer and other nights, I'll use an exfoliating scrub such as the Mario Badescu Botanical Exfoliating Scrub or this one from Acure. If I'm feeling luxurious, I'll do a sheet mask or put on my favorite Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask. Afterwards, I brush my teeth and use my Cocofloss. Lastly, I moisturize my body either with coconut oil or a body lotion like Kiehl's creme de corps. If I feel like it, I'll put a little dry shampoo in my hair to let it soak in while I sleep. 

9:45 PM // Most of the time, I do yoga in the morning but lately, I've really enjoyed doing 15-20 minutes of practice in the evening right before I go to sleep. Yoga With Adriene has some great evening routines. 

10:00 PM // Around this time, I'll keep winding down. I light a candle or turn on my diffuser and switch on my Himalayan salt lamp. Most nights, I'll take about five drops of CBD oil then lay down to listen to a podcast. My favorite chill podcasts to listen to at night are Oprah's Super Soul Conversations, Off Camera with Sam Jones, and Harry Potter & The Sacred Text. Although, I always make sure to put on the sleep timer because I rarely make it more than 15-20 minutes into a podcast without falling asleep if I start listening at night. 

august entertaining tips

Happy August! This month's entertaining vibe, in my mind, is a bohemian backyard party in the desert. It's hot outside, so the goal is to cool off with a bit of a vintage feel. 

Make It Easy // Pre-Made Playlists
Music is such an important factor in the making of a good party but putting together the right playlist takes a lot of time and skill, so why not just pick out a pre-made one from Spotify, 8-Track, or Pandora? For this bohemian occasion, I like Sunshowers and Boho + Chill

Drink of Choice // Agave Margarita
There's no better drink for a hot, desert-themed party than a delicious agave margarita. Plus, it's super easy. Just mix together silver tequila, lime juice, orange juice, and agave nectar, shake, then rim your glass with salt or sugar. Make it pink Himalayan salt for a healthy twist!

Hostess Gift // Miniature Succulents
Yes, the succulent trend is still alive and well. Why? Because they're so easy! Easy to find, easy to style, and easy to take care of. If you're the hostess, pick up a selection of mini succulents from Target or the craft store and let your guests choose which one they'd like to take with them. If you're looking for a gift to give a hostess, this works just as well!

Decor Staple // Macrame
Macrame is a beautiful way to add a bit of bohemian flair to your summer parties. I love the idea of a macrame table runner like this or this, but you can also do a little DIY wall hanging.

Easy Appetizer // Tiny Taco Pizzas
Tacos and pizza are arguably the two most crowd-pleasing foods out there so why not combine the two into one? Mini slices of 'taco pizza' are the perfect bite for guests in a laid-back, fun setting.

Party Look // Desert Vibes
When I think of chic, desert bohemian, my mind goes to three things: black ruffled tops, flat espadrilles, and brown felt hats. So, I love the thought of this black Sea blouse with a pair of clean, white denim shorts topped off with a western hat and flat Spanish espadrilles from Aquazurra. All you need is a pair of on-trend sunglasses to complete the look!

wellness wednesday: the hot-cold shower

Happy Wellness Wednesday! I have a quick tip today that will help increase blood circulation, ease muscle pain, improve the quality of your hair and skin, and just make you feel really clean and energized. It sounds like a miracle, no? It's one of my favorite things---the hot-cold shower. 

You take your shower like normal, but then at the end spend 2-4 minutes going through this process. Make the water as hot as you can take (without it being painful) for 30 seconds, then as cold as you can take for 30 seconds. Repeat this as many times as you'd like, making sure to always end on cold. 

My biggest tip is that when you're in the cold cycle, you should ensure that the cold water is hitting all of the major pulse points so that your body is cooling down fast. This means under your arms, neck, wrists, and inner thighs.

Let me know if you try this one out! I swear, this makes me feel so awake and clean and truly does help when I have muscle tension the day after a workout. Not to mention, cold water is so good for your skin and hair.