June Reflection

June seemed to fly right by! Right after Memorial Day Weekend, the countdown to the last day of finals started. The days left of school seemed to quickly pass. I've had a wonderful summer so far, and I'm very happy about that! With that being said, I will now share my accomplishments.

1. I started my two internships. I've started my internship with The Smart Girls Group and my internship with Project Eve! They are both going great so far, and I'm learning so much information that will not only help those two organizations but myself as well.
2. I aced my finals. I was super excited about this one! I knew I was going to do good on all of my finals because I felt prepared for them, but I didn't know how I felt about taking my history final. I've probably already said this before, but the history class I took this past year was probably the hardest class ever. It's a college-leveled class, but I still managed to get an A for that class every term, and I don't know how. I got an 86 on the midterm, so I was super nervous about the final. When I got to the final, I ended up whipping through it because I knew every answer! I later found out I got an A. Woo!
3. I started my own social media service. I'm not going to talk much about this because I'm going to be doing a blog post about it soon! Just know that I'm super excited about it, and keep your eyes open for the blog post ;)
4. I got my first Lilly Pulitzer dress. I'm not going to say much about this one either since I'm also going to do a blog post about it, but this one basically made my whole month!!!
5. I went to a wedding. Most people wouldn't think this is an accomplishment, but it is for me! Once again, you'll be seeing a blog post about this very soon... :)
6. I got a job. FINALLY! For those of you who know what Honey Dew is, that's where I'll be working. For those of you who don't know what Honey Dew is, it's a donut shop similar to Dunkin' Donuts. I actually don't really like the food and coffee and Honey Dew (oops...), but hey, a job is a job!

What have you accomplished this month?

Pen Pals

I came up with this idea awhile ago, but I never got around to posting it or coming up with an actual plan for it. However, how cool would it be to have a blogging pen pal?! I came up with the idea while looking through all of the cute stationary I have and thinking about how I don't really have any reasons to use my stationary since I don't really have anyone to write to.

Having a blogging pen pal would be so much fun because you and your pen pal would already have one major thing in common - you both love to blog and (for those of you who read my blog but don't have your own!) and read blogs! Everything could then take off from there. You could make new friends while learning new things. And just think about all of the adorable stationary you'd be able to buy and use... eek! I love meeting new people and writing letters, so this is something that I'd definitely love to do.

Please let me know if you're interested in doing something like this! If you are, please send an email to ash.mas19@gmail.com. If I get a good amount of people who are interested in having blogging pen pals, I can try to put something together. The pen pals would probably be random though, so you wouldn't necessarily get to choose who you get to write to. I also have readers and followers who are from England and other countries, so you could possibly meet someone from a whole different country than you! How cool would that be? If you're not comfortable with sharing your address to other people, please don't sign up for this! However, I could probably manage to find some email pen pals if you're more comfortable with sharing your email address.

What do you think about having a blogging pen pal?

Beach Necessities

In the summer, beach trips are common. However, one of the worst things is getting to the beach and realizing you forgot something that you really need. So, I put together a list of super important items to remember while going on beach trips!

Beach Necessities

{one} hair elastics - If you wear your hair down at the beach, it's a good idea to bring hair elastics with you in case your hair makes you hot or gets knotted from the wind. Along with hair elastics, you should bring a brush and detangler spray just in case your hair turns into a nightmare!
{two} sunglasses - Having the sun in your eyes for long periods of time is far from fun. Sunglasses make it easier for you to see and don't make you aggravated from not being able to see.
{three} food - Fruit is a common food to bring to the beach, but anything works. Just make sure to pack sandwiches, snacks, and whatever else you want to bring because laying in the sun and swimming in the water can make you hungry and tired, causing you to need some energy.
{four} a hat - Hats not only keep the sun out of your eyes but protect your head from the sun, too. If your scalp burns, you should wear a hat to protect it from any damage. Also, hats keep your hair out of your face so it doesn't get knotted.
{five} drinks - Laying out in the hot sun makes you sweaty and thirsty. You should always pack water or any other drinks to quench your thirst and keep you hydrated.
{six} towel - Being wet and cold from the water and not having anything to dry yourself off with is one of the worst things. Bringing a towel allows you to stay warm and dry yourself off after coming out of the water, and it works as a great mat to sit or lay on so you don't get sand all over yourself.
{seven} sunscreen - I can't stress enough how important it is to bring sunscreen to the beach. It's super easy to get burned at the beach, so sunscreen protects you from the sun and prevents you from being in pain while you're having a good time.
{eight} a book - Whenever I go to the beach, I see at least half of the people there reading. A book and the beach are just such a good combination because they both provide major relaxation. Bring a book that you enjoy to the beach and get reading!
{nine} a cover-up - You should always bring some type of cover-up, dress, clothes, etc. when you travel to the beach just in case you go somewhere afterwards. You never know if your friends decide to go out to dinner, go shopping, etc., so having a change of clothes or a cover-up will allow you to do all of that.
{ten} money (not shown) - I thought of this after I made the collage, which is why it isn't on here. Anyway, you should always bring money to the beach. You never know when you might have to pay for parking or decide to buy an ice cream from the ice cream truck.
{eleven} chair (not shown) - I forgot about this one, too. Bringing a chair is a good idea if you don't like laying down all the time. It makes it easier to eat, drink, and read in a chair than laying down on a towel.

What do you like to bring to the beach?

Review :: Lifeguard Press

I was so lucky as to be sent two free items from Lifeguard Press to review! Lifeguard Press is a brand that sells items from four different brands - Lilly Pulitzer (which is actually the majority of Lifeguard Press's items!), Susan Wallace Barnes, Jonathan Adler, and Dylan's Candy Bar. I was sent a Lilly Pulitzer koozie and Lilly Pulitzer croakies, both in Lucky Charms, and I absolutely love them!

I worked with Kaitlyn from Lifeguard Press, and she was so sweet. My items didn't get shipped out together, and she made sure that the second item got shipped out the very next day. She was very friendly and super helpful!

These are the koozie and croakies taken together in one picture. I took this picture while laying by the pool at my friend's house!

The back of the croakies so you can see the pattern if you're unfamiliar with it!

I'm definitely satisfied with these two items! The croakies and koozie are perfect for going to the beach or just laying by the pool, like I did with my friends. The koozie definitely kept my soda cold in the hot sun, and the croakies handily kept my sunglasses right around my neck when I didn't want to wear them but wanted them near me.

I suggest all of you go check out Lifeguard Press! They just got in brand-new Lilly Pulitzer agendas, and they are to die for. If only my school didn't already provide agendas for us!

What do you like from Lifeguard Press?

Project Eve Internship

Along with having an internship for the Smart Girls Group, I have an internship with Project Eve. Project Eve is an online community of women entrepreneurs helping other women entrepreneurs. It's full of super helpful articles, mentors, groups, and more.

This internship also has to do with social media! I have to tweet from their Twitter, answer DMs sent by users, and more. Another aspect of the internship is spreading the word about Project Eve. I have to comment on various websites and lead them back to Project Eve. I'm basically doing a little bit of everything because I get a to-do list every week that tells me what to complete by the end of the week.

I'm enjoying the internship so far, and I'm learning a lot of new things! Meridith and Kim, the co-founders, are so sweet, intelligent, and helpful. I'm hoping that during the time I have this internship, I can help expand the site and drive more traffic to it!

Are there any internships that you would like to have?

What's In My Summer Tote Bag

I don't always use the same bag when I go places in the summer, but I do carry around mostly the same stuff. So, I thought it would be fun to do a "What's In My Summer Tote Bag" since I've never done one of these types of posts before!

What's In My Summer Tote Bag

{one} wristlet with money - Having a wristlet with money in your bag is so important to have with you, no matter where you are. You never know when you'll come across an impulse buy or want to buy food. It's always good to have in case any type of emergency happens!
{two} sunscreen - Because I'm so pale, I burn super easily. I carry sunscreen with me wherever I go in the summer just in case I happen to be outside and I feel like I'm burning. I'd much rather have to carry sunscreen around with me wherever I go than get a sunburn!
{three} sunglasses - I can't stress how important sunglasses are in the summer! No one wants to squint and have their eyes water just so they can try to see things. It's embarrassing when you have to squint to see the person you're talking to and your eyes start to water when it's sunny out... Trust me, I know from experience. Sunglasses prevent that from happening!
{four} a book - I absolutely love reading, so I have a book with me all the time anyway. But if you're going somewhere in the car (and happen not to get carsick!) or the beach, it's good to bring a book along to keep you entertained and to help pass the time.
{five} chapstick - I like to carry chapstick with me because my lips get chapped really easily. It's also a good idea to carry some in the summer that has an SPF amount so your lips don't burn!
{six} notebook and pen - I'm obsessed with office supplies, so I always have a pen and paper on me. However, you should always carry one with you because you'll never know when you need a pen and paper! You could end up getting blog post ideas, sharing contact information with someone, even doodling when you're bored, etc.
{seven} tumbler/beverage - You should always drink water, especially in the hot summer sun. It's a good idea to have a drink in a tumbler or even just a bottle to carry around with you because walking can tire you out, and even just sitting in the sun can make you thirsty and tired.
{eight} charger - One of the worst things is your phone dying while you're not at home and when you don't have a charger with you (#firstworldproblems). If you have a portable phone charger, you should definitely bring it (and if you don't have one, get one!) just in case your phone dies. If you don't have a portable phone charger, bring your normal phone charger because you never know where there will be an outlet for you to charge your phone.
{nine} headphones - Headphones are needed for the same reason as a book. If you just want some downtime, pop your headphones into your phone or iPod and listen to some music.
{ten} (not shown) hair elastic - I thought of this while I was writing, which is why it isn't in the collage. Anyway, keeping an elastic on your wrist can be super helpful in case your hair is down and makes you hot, annoyed, etc.

What do you keep in your summer tote bag?

The Best Summer Skin Protection Products

I'm Laura Pearson-Smith, a UK actress and magazine editor. I also have my own lifestyle blog, A Life With Frills, and I was delighted when Ashley asked if I would do a guest post for you guys on summer skin protection. You get a lot more sun in the US than we do in the UK!

It's so important to look after your skin in the sun. In my view, full protection is best. There are so many great fake tanning products out there, that you don't need to damage your skin by exposing it to the sun's harmful rays without doing all you can to protect it. Here is my pick of the best Summer skincare around...

Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream, $35.00, Sephora
We all like to wear base make-up to improve the look ofour skin; but foundations are usually too heavy in hot weather. Clinique's CC (Color-Correcting) Cream is basically a tinted moisturiser that evens out your skin tone. It gives you the coverage you need; but without feeling you have much on your face. It's SPF 30 too, to protect your face's extra delicate skin.

Evian Mineral Water Spray, $17.50, Sephora
This is an amazing product to instantly cool you down with its mist. It will re-hydrate overheated skin, and soothe sunburnt skin.

St.Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse, $42.00, Nordstrom
This is one of the best fake tans on the market, and it gives you natural colour and goes on streak free. It's so easy to apply, and is a completely safe way to get a tan. It contains Aloe Vera too, to soothe and condition your skin.

Sun Bum SPF 50 Sunscreen Spray, $16.00, Nordstrom
Yes, you read correctly, it is SPF 50. High protection from the sun is the best and safest option. This sunscreen is in an easy spray format, so you don't have to worry about missing bits or twisting your arms to try and rub lotion on your own back. It's waterproof too, for that all important pool time.

Hawaiian Tropic After Sun Moisturizer, $7.99, Walgreens
Exposure to the sun will dry your skin and overheat it. When you get home, pop some of this gel on to cool and moisturize. If you happened to damage your skin by getting it burnt, it contains Vitamins A and E to soothe also.

Enjoy your Summer and stay safe!

Organization 101 :: Blog Post Calendar Template

As many of you know, I'm the one who assigns all of the posts for Chit Chat and figures out which day each post will be posted. I use Google Calendar as the editorial calendar for my blog, but I felt it would be too confusing to use Google Calendar for Chit Chat since we have various different writers. Also, I like to highlight the posts when they are sent to me so I know which ones are missing, and I can't do that on Google Calendar.

This calendar is really helpful for people who don't switch the days on which they're posting certain posts. I tend to do that a lot with my blog, which is why I don't use it for my blog. However, with Chit Chat, the posts are final, so I don't change which days they're going to post on at all!

With all of that being said, I thought that I would share this calendar with all of you to (hopefully) make your blogging experience a little more organized and helpful! You can view the document here: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BzhK3KJBnfxoU3BDSzJRcHF5MlU/edit?usp=sharing

I didn't put the month or dates so you guys can customize it however you want and use it whenever you want. To add the month and dates, you can either write them in Paint and copy them over to the document, or you can just print it out and write them in yourself. Whatever works for you!

If for some reason this document doesn't work, please email me at ash.mas19@gmail.com and I will send the document to you myself!

How do you keep track of your posts?

Smart Girls Group Internship

I started my internship for The Smart Girls Group this week! For those of you who are unfamiliar with The Smart Girls Group, it's an organization that encourages teenage girls and women to use their smarts and reach their full potential. It's so inspiring! SGG was started by Emily Raleigh, one of the sweetest people I've ever met, during her senior year of high school in 2011. She is now going to be a sophomore in college at Fordham.

Before I started interning for SGG, I was a writer for The Smart Girl's Loop, which is kind of the blogging aspect of SGG. It consists of various teenage girls writing posts almost every day under certain topics, such as empowerment, health and fitness, high school, etc. I still write for The Loop! I write under the categories of "The High Schooler," which basically gives other high school girls tips on how to get through high school, and "The Mental Motivator," which encourages girls to exercise and stay fit. SGG also has a magazine called The Smart Girl's Guide, which is realized every month, and is absolutely amazing. You should definitely check it out!

When I found out I could apply to be an intern for SGG, I was so excited because I love SGG and thought only college girls could apply for the internship. I was wrong! I didn't think I would get chosen because I'm only 16, and there were 33 total applications, but I was wrong about that too!

My internship involves working on and handling the social media for SGG. This may sound kind of nerdy, but I actually love social media and know a good amount of stuff about it! I'm excited about expanding the amount of things I know because this will definitely help me in the future.

Do you have a summer internship?

Inbox Dollars

About a month or two ago, I heard about Inbox Dollars from one of the people I follow on Twitter. Inbox Dollars is a website that sends emails that have ads and other offers in them to you. All you have to do is click the button saying you read the email, and then you get paid money for it! The emails get sent right to your account, and you get an actual email notification when you get an email. Each email is worth two cents, which seems like a very small amount, but all of the money adds up. You can get anywhere from two emails to four emails a day. Just make sure to view the emails every day or else your account will get deleted if you're not active for more than three days!

Once you reach $30 on your account, you can "cash out" your check and get the actual money! This is great for anyone who needs extra money but doesn't have enough time to spend a lot of time earning money. Inbox Dollars also allows you to take surveys to earn money, and they're worth anywhere from 50 cents to $1.25. However, I usually don't do them because they're very time-consuming, and I rarely qualify to take them anyway.

Many people have asked me if this is legit, and it is! It was featured on Good Morning America or something like that, and some of the people I follow on Twitter have verified that it actually does work. So I thought to myself, why not give it a try? Getting money for doing basically nothing sounds good to me! It also doesn't cost any money to sign up for Inbox Dollars; it's totally free. If you want to make an account, let me know what your email is so I can send you a referral!

Do you use Inbox Dollars or have heard of it?

Giveaway :: Gramono

Along with getting my own pair of monogrammed Norts from Gramono, I was also given the chance to do a giveaway with one of you guys winning your own pair of monogrammed Norts! How cool is that?

Monogrammed Norts are an essential for any prep to have, especially now that summer is here. Wearing them makes working out and exercising so much more fun just because your outfit is colorful, bright, fun, and monogrammed, of course!

These shorts are super comfortable and great to wear working out, at the beach, or just hanging out. You can style them with a t-shirt and flip flops or sneakers!

My own pair of monogrammed Norts from Gramono!

What do you like from Gramono?

Movie Review :: The Great Gatsby

About a month ago, I saw The Great Gatsby. And I fell in love. I had read the book about a month before seeing the movie because I had to read it for school, but even if I didn't have to read it for school, I definitely would have read it on my own because I'm a sucker for love stories. The book was perfect, and the movie was even more perfect. I was supposed to see it with my English class, but we didn't get the chance to because we were running out of time in the school year. So my boyfriend took me!

The movie honestly made me want to live in the early 1920s. Everyone was just so rich, wealthy, and classy during that time period. However, not everyone was always happy, and happiness is one of the most important things in the world. Leonardo DiCaprio totally made the movie, and he's my favorite actor ever. Besides Ryan Gosling.

I didn't want to spoil the movie in case not all of you have seen it yet (and if you haven't seen it, get on that!!!), so I just thought I would describe my thoughts on it and how much I liked it. Honestly, I give it five stars. It was just that good. I typically don't watch the same movie twice that often, but I could definitely watch this movie every single day and not get sick of it. Now time to share some of my favorite pictures from the movie!

Gatsby and Daisy. They're perfect. Sigh.

Gatsby's house. This picture isn't that great, but in the movie, the house is so glamorous.

Daisy and Tom's house. It definitely reminds me of the South!

Gatsby played by Leonardo DiCaprio. Sigh.

Nick Carraway played by Toby McGuire. Also sigh.

Have you seen the Great Gatsby?

Sophomore Year Reflection

Today is my last day of finals and therefore my last day of sophomore year! I can't believe how fast this school year flew by. I literally feel like it went by in the blink of an eye. Sophomore year was definitely extremely hard. Every teacher and every upperclassmen say that sophomore is the hardest year, so I'm so proud of myself for sticking through it and being rather successful. I definitely had at least one mental breakdown each week over grades, homework, studying, etc., but I got through it!

So many fun things happened during sophomore year, such as parties, concerts, homecoming, sleepovers, football games, and more. Even though the schoolwork was horrible, I did manage to have a good time with my friends to just enjoy myself. I'm hoping that junior year will be even more fun since I'll be going to prom!

The thing that scares me the most is a lot of upperclassmen say that each year of high school goes by faster and faster, and before you know it, it'll be over. This thought hit me when the seniors graduated about a month ago. I thought to myself, "In just two years, that will be me graduating." And it scared me. Although I want high school to be over, the thought of graduating kills me because then I'll be entering the real world and growing up. I want to stay as a teenager and continue to have fun. Even though that can't happen, I can still make my last two years of high school worthwhile.

Although I'll have to do schoolwork over the summer for the two AP classes I'm going to be taking, I'm planning on filling my summer with friends, fun, and relaxation. The best thing you can do after a stressful and hard year is just relax! I'm planning on getting all of my AP work done in the first couple of weeks of summer because I know I won't have any motivation to do it at the end of summer. I'm excited to see what this summer will bring!

What was your school year like?

Things We Think We Need (But Don't)

Hi, I’m Cat and I’m a UK lifestyle blogger who blogs over at Cat’s Chronology - do stop by and say hello! I’m delighted to be writing here on Private School Prepster as it’s a great blog. My post is about the things that we think we need, but definitely don’t! It’s a bit of fun, so do feel free to add your suggestions in the comments…

We bloggers as a community have plenty of similarities, despite being from all over the world. Don’t get me wrong, despite working in marketing I don’t like to lump everyone into one category – we all have our different quirks and unique things about us that not only make us interesting as people, but also makes our blogs all the more interesting, too. However, I think many bloggers would agree that there are certain things that we think we need in our life, but we really don’t…

Coffee and tea | In all fairness, this is probably most adults rather than just bloggers – we all over a good cuppa, and many of us don’t function without it. I am pleased to say that I follow several blogs that are written by people like me who are in full time work, some of whom also commute, and so we share a common ground that coffee and/or tea gets us through the working day. Really, we’re probably exaggerating, but the mere thought of coping without it seems horrific.

Skin care products | Many of us are pretty keen on blogging about beauty and skincare products, so we get a bit carried away…especially if there’s an offer around! I’m not saying we don’t need any skincare products, but do we really need 6 different moisturisers?

Chocolate on reserve | This one might just be me, and I may just be excusing myself from it by falsely believing that lots of people are the same… but I often feel I have to have reserve chocolate somewhere in my flat in case I have a desperate need (aka craving) for it. Rarely will my flat not have some chocolate in it for me to run to if needed, and if we are without, I will have to go and get some if the mood hits me. Other bloggers might have this problem with other (probably healthier) things, or I might just be completely barking mad. Who knows?

Twitter accounts | Bloggers, put your hand up if you have a Twitter account – that’s got to be at least 90% of you. Where would we be without Twitter? We’d be back in 2005 most likely. We did live without Twitter for some time, but how handy it is now for communicating with other bloggers and finding great blogs to follow! For me Twitter is actually my primary source for following blogs (along with GFC – for now – and Bloglovin), and the Twitter chats that are now becoming bigger are a fantastic opportunity to network with other bloggers.

What else do us bloggers think we need (but definitely don’t)?

Organization 101 :: Cleaning After the School Year

With summer already here for most of you (and for me on Tuesday!), it's important to organize all of your school stuff after school ends and get rid of what you don't need. Since I love being organized, I'm here to help and give all of you some pointers on how you can declutter your school supplies!

1. Documents. High schoolers have to write tons of essays, and we always save them on our computers just in case we need to print out an extra copy. There are also tons of other documents for school, like homework, pictures, etc. Go through your documents and pictures and delete everything you don't need. It'll give you more storage and memory space on your computer! If I really liked a certain essay I did, or did really good on one, I'll save it.
2. Notebooks and binders. Look through your notebooks and binders and see if there is anything valuable you'll want to save. If you have unused paper in your notebook or unused filler paper in your binder, take it out and save it. It's always good to have extra paper just in case you need it during the summer. If you don't need paper during the summer, you can always just use it for school during the next school year!
3. Folders. Check if there is anything you want to save in your folders. Sometimes, I'll want to save notes I took in Spanish of things I had difficulty with because I'll need to know all of that stuff in Spanish the following year. I like to use the backs of papers that are blank for scrap paper (I know, I'm weird), so I'll save any pieces of paper that are blank on the backside.
4. Wristlet/pencil case/whatever holds your writing utensils. Go through whatever holds you writing utensils and test them to see if they all work. If some of them ran out of ink, throw them out. If some of them still work, save them to use during the summer or the school year next year.

I believe I covered everything I needed to on organizing after the school year has ended, but if I left anything out, let me know!

How do you organize after a finished school year?

Making the Most Out of Your Summer

After I realized a couple of weeks ago that my summer starts on Tuesday, I had a mini panic attack. In just two more summers, I'll be graduated from high school. And the summer after that, I'll (hopefully) have a full-time internship in what I'm going to major in at college. All of that life-planning made me realize that I don't have many summers left to myself to do whatever I want.

After realizing that, I started to think that I really wanted to make this summer the best summer yet. I'm (hopefully) getting my license next month, so I'll be able to easily drive to my friends' houses and other places whenever I want. I want to pack my summer with so many things so I can just have a lot of fun. I'm going to two concerts this summer (I've already been to two in May and I'm possibly going to a third this summer!), I'm going to my friend's mom's wedding to see her get remarried, I'm going to Maine, I'm going down the Cape (which happens basically every weekend!), and more. I don't want to be stuck at home doing nothing all summer, just reading and sitting on my computer. I want to be out doing things and having fun with people.

I encourage all of you to do the same thing as me and go have fun. Have no regrets this summer. Stay up late, sleep in late, do things you normally wouldn't do. Just do whatever you think would be fun for you. Summer is what YOU make of it. If your friends are busy, don't just sit at home while they're out. Call up different friends and make plans with them. Enjoy yourselves.

How are you planning on making the most out of your summer?

Decorating a College Dorm

(Note: This is a sponsored post. All opinions are 100% my own.)

Many people face the challenge of decorating their college dorm. They want to decorate it the way they like, but they also want to decorate it in a way that matches their roommate's decorations. That includes getting the same comforter on a bed, same sheets, etc.

The following decorations I picked out are from Residence Hall Linens, the perfect site for buying things for college because of the quality, price, and patterns.

1. Ashley Damask bedding. I love this comforter from RHL! The blue, white, black, and purple color combination looks really mature yet fun enough for a young adult. I also may have chosen it just because it has my name in it...

2. Grape Towel Set. This towel set goes perfectly with the comforter above! It's always nice to have a matching comforter and towels.

3. Bright Shag Scatter Rug in Ivory. If there is no rug outside of the showers in your dorm's bathrooms, it's good to get a rug to use when you shower. If you have a rug, it makes it easy to dry your feet once you step out of the shower so you don't slip.

There are so many more decorations and necessities that Residence Hall Linens offers to make your stay at college a little more easier for you. I highly suggest you check out their website to order things for your dorm!

What do you like from RHL?

Review :: Gramono

About a month and a half ago, I was sent monogrammed Norts from Gramono to review! I was ecstatic when I received these because I had been lusting over a pair of monogrammed Norts forever. I practically live in Norts in the summer because they're great to wear to the beach, to the gym, and captains' practices for soccer. I even wore them to track practice this spring, and I got so many compliments from people! Not only do I love Norts but the monogram makes me love them even more! The pictures below are how I styled them. (Side note: Don't mind the way my pictures turned out wide... I don't know why they did that!)

I wore a white t-shirt from the Black Dog with my shorts. (Side note: I didn't show my face in this picture because I took the picture myself and needed to get my whole outfit in the picture! Moral of the story - don't wait until the last minute to take pictures of your outfit when none of your friends are home to take pictures of you wearing them... photo shoots are much better and more fun!)

How the shorts look.

My monogram in pink!

The shorts I received don't appear to be on the site anymore, but they are similar to the Darling Dot Monogrammed Running Shorts. These shorts are super comfortable! The only thing I wish was different about them is my monogram style. I wish I received my monogram in a script font instead of a circle font because the J in my name looks kind of weird in the circle font. I still love the shorts nonetheless! At first, I didn't think I would like having a pair of mint green shorts because they don't go with much. After I got them, I realized that they actually do go with a lot of shirts that I have in pink, white, gray, and black!

Which pair of monogrammed Norts do you like from Gramono?

Jack Rogers

About a month ago, I got my very first pair of Jack Rogers! I was so excited when I was able to get them because I had wanted them forever. I got them using Amazon gift cards that I won through CheckPoints, so I basically got the shoes for free, which is awesome! They are a definite must for summer.

I chose to get them in silver because silver is such a versatile color that can go with anything. They can make a casual outfit a little bit dressier or add the perfect touch to a fancy outfit. If you're interested in getting a pair of Jack Rogers, I just have a couple of suggestions to give to you:
1. Don't wear them to places right away. Don't wear them somewhere right when you get them. They are pretty tight at first, so wear them around the house for a little bit to break them in to prevent getting blisters.
2. Get half a size up than what you normally are. This will allow you to feel more comfortable wearing them, and then they won't feel as tight. Amazon doesn't have half-sizes though, so keep that in mind when figuring out where to order your shoes!
3. If your feet aren't that skinny, get a pair of them in wide. I have skinny feet, so my feet fit well on my Jack Rogers. However, if your feet are kind of wide, get a pair of Jacks in a wide size so your feet aren't hanging off the sides.

I hate that I can't wear these to school because of my uniform, so I'm stuck wearing them on the weekends. My summer is coming up soon though, so I'll be able to wear them every day!

Travel Essentials

Hello! I'm Emily from Life's Notebook, and I am so excited to complete this post for Ashley. I hope you enjoy my post, and feel free to let me know what things I missed or any ideas you may have. 

Travel Essentials

It's finally feeling just like summer. The weather is becoming warmer and warmer and schools are finally letting out. Summer means one thing vacation! Vacations are fabulous, but I always forget important things when I am traveling. Sometimes I find it hard to determine what should be brought on an airplane or in the car. I've come up with a list (hopefully a good one) of items I think would work perfect for both in car and airplane vacations.

Bag | Make sure to bring a good size bag, but something that isn't so large it can knock someone over! I love the tote style bags that Vineyard Vines, LL Bean, and other places like those carry. They are a perfect travel size for airplanes and fitting in between seats in cars. 

Passport | For international trips you always need a passport. Sometimes (in recent events with cruise ship issues) you need to have your passport even if isn't required due to issues that can arise. I try to always carry my passport with me when I go somewhere, just to be safe. I know it may seem silly and dangerous to carry it with you, but I personally believe that it is necessary. 

Passport cover | Who wouldn't want a cute cover for their passport? They're boring, so spice it up with a cute Kate Spade cover. 

Money | I know this is obvious, but I have actually left for vacation and arrived at my destination with most of the money I was taking left at home. It is terrible. I usually put my money in my carry on bag before I pack it so I know it is there. For international trips don't forget to get travelers checks or exchange your money for the correct currency!

Cellphone and iPad or tablet | On an airplane there isn't internet service, but in the airport there will be, and also some games can be played while on the plane, or to listen to music! I usually take both, but sometimes just a phone will do!

Kindle, Nook, E-reader, or Books | I prefer a kindle, but any e-reader is a great way to stay busy and occupy time while in the air or in the car. I love the feel of a true good book, but books take up a lot of room where these e-readers take minimal space in your bag and they can hold thousands of books!

Snacks | Snacks are a must! Airplanes now tend to charge a good amount of money to get food these days, so bringing your own is the best idea! Plus when you are trying to eat healthier, your own food is the best option. 

Misc items not shown | Travel size toiletries, beauty products, and clothes. I would always bring an outfit or two along with travel size essentials, especially on an airplane, in case your luggage gets lost, or just to have easy access before unpacking at your destination! Just make sure if you are traveling by airplane to make sure you check the guidelines for items allowed and size limits! For airplanes I usually bring a small pillow to lay my head on, especially long plane rides. 

Traveling is always fun, but it never hurts to have a checklist of things you will need to help keep the trip running smoothly, and to hopefully prevent things from being left behind! 


Taking It In (And What to Take Out)

Hello! I’m Quincy from Barn to Charm and my friend Ashley is so kind - she allowed me to guest post for her! When I’m not writing for whatever blog I’m writing for (which I usually am), I enjoy driving with the windows down and going through the filters on Instagram.

What I wanted to talk to you today is about everything we take in as bloggers. I have to wonder if we sometimes take in too much. The Internet is a vast place with so much available to us and that’s wonderful - but is all of it truly necessary?

As bloggers, we sometimes have a great advantage over other people. Due to our “must know everything” habits (i.e. following an obnoxious amount of people on Twitter and subscribing to several email lists out of fear we’ll miss something), we are always on the inside. 

This can be an awesome thing, for instance, in regard to the Boston Marathon bombing. I distinctly remember driving out of Boston during the tragedy, refreshing my Twitter feed every minute until I could get home. Three hours later when I was finally seated on my couch in front of the television, there was nothing the news anchors said that I didn't already know.

Sometimes, though, it isn't so awesome. With as much access to information as we have, it’s not very hard to be stuck in a Mean Girls-esque attitude. You know the one:

“The College Prepster bought white jeans and Warby Parkers, so I bought white jeans and Warby Parkers.”

I found myself in that very attitude just a couple days ago. Lilly Pulitzer was having yet another sale on Rue La La, and I was convinced that I just had to buy a few things or I would forever regret it. All my fellow blogger friends were buying, right? I wanted to have something to post about as well.

That’s when I realized it all had to stop.

I had to stop wanting more simply because I could. Each blogger has something unique about them: a lifestyle they want to share. It’s a wonderful way to connect and learn about each other. It gets out of hand, though, when we start to compete with each other for who can have more followers or who can pull off a trendier item.

It’s an underlying, not very talked about theme in blogging and for good reason, too. We’re getting along just fine! But maybe that’s the point of all this: We’re getting along just fine without all the extra details and stuff.

I didn't really need to shop the Lilly sale on Rue La La. My white jeans from American Eagle don’t need to be replaced by Carly’s J. Crew ones. But I want it all because someone else out there I've never even met does! That’s just crazy, isn't it?

We started blogging to share our lives with others and appreciate/connect with one another. Before we were promoting brands or hosting giveaways, we were just people who liked writing and people.

I would encourage you to take a look at your blog: What are you posting about the most? Does any of it inspire competition or greed? Consider your readers: The people who hang on to every word you say and have supported you since the beginning. Connect with them! Ask questions.

The most rewarding part of blogging for me is being able to meet people I would have never been able to otherwise. What about you?

Summer Must-Have Shoes

There are tons of different kinds of shoes I can get for the spring and winter, but I get totally different shoes for the spring and summer. Because the weather is warm in the spring and summer, I like to wear light shoes that are comfortable yet don't make my feet hot. The shoes below are shoes that I consider "must-haves" for summer!

1. Jack Rogers. I can't stress enough how much I love my silver Jack Rogers! They're so versatile and can make a plain outfit a little dressier or add the perfect touch to a formal outfit. I'll admit that they hurt my feet when I first started wearing them, but they don't really hurt anymore now that they're broken in. I just suggest getting half a size up than what size you normally are!

2. Old Navy flip flops. Practically every girl has a pair of Old Navy flip flops! They're so cheap and work really well. I love how comfy they are, and they're great to wear practically anywhere. I have multiple different colors, but I prefer to stick to black, navy, gray, and white because they can go with anything. If you're lucky, you'll be able to get a good color in your size when Old Navy does the $1 flip flop sale!

3. Sneakers. We all should exercise over the summer, so a pair of sneakers is essential! I prefer a pair of Nike Free Runs because of how comfortable they are, but any pair works. No matter what pair of sneakers I get, they have to be black and pink or gray and pink because I'm obsessed with the color pink! These sneakers are perfect for going on runs and conditioning during captains' practices for soccer.

4. Sperry's. Sperry's are an absolute need when it comes to summer because they're typical boat shoes! I have two pairs and really want to get the pair above. Since they're boat shoes, they're waterproof and therefore work well boating or when it's raining. They're super comfortable and make any outfit look cute!

5. Hunter Boots. Most people wouldn't think of this, but Hunter boots or any type of rain boots are a good idea to have in the summer. When it's raining, wearing any type of sandals isn't the best idea because you get your feet wet and could possibly slip when walking. Hunter boots look adorable with shorts, a dress, or skirt if they're styled right!

What shoes do you like to wear in the summer?

Review :: My HTML Signature

During one of the tweet chats I attend (I can't remember which one it was, sorry!), I happened to be talking about email signatures with a couple of other people who were also participating in the tweet chat. We were all saying how important email signatures are if you use your email for professional reasons, such as business, internships, etc.

An interesting thing that someone pointed out to me is you can actually promote your blog via email signature. I never even thought of that. In your email signature, you can include a link to your blog and links to any other social media platforms you happen to use. I thought that was interesting, handy, and efficient since I'm always sending multiple emails a day!

Philippe Guiol, the founder of My HTML Signature, was so kind as to create an email signature for me! He usually charges $30 per signature, but he made mine for free. If any of you have emailed me since the end of April when I got the email signature, you would've seen the signature I have. It includes my email address and links to my blog, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest using social media icons.

Although the signature is very effective, I like WiseStamp's email signatures a little bit more, which I posted about here. I feel like the signature is a little too plain for what I like because I like how I can add a title of what I do in a signature from WiseStamp and make it colorful. Also, I don't see why I would need to add my email address in my signature if I'm sending an email from that same address. Lastly, if I didn't get offered this signature for free, I wouldn't have bought it for $30 when WiseStamp offers it for free because I feel like I can use my money for more important things. I still like the signature, though!

Have you used My HTML Signature?

Bathing Suit Cover-ups

One thing I desperately need this summer is a bathing suit cover-up. I usually just wear a t-shirt and a pair of Norts over my bathing suit, but I want a cute little cover-up that I can just easily throw on over my bathing suit because sometimes I just like wearing dresses better. I picked out two cover-ups that I like, and I'm hoping to get one of them because I just need one that badly. Help me pick out which cover-up to get!

1. Feelin' Fancy from Sail to Sable. I recently found out about Sail to Sable from Caroline's blog, and I think all of the tunics are absolutely adorable! I was searching through the website when I found this "Feelin' Fancy" tunic. I love that it's casual enough to throw over a bathing suit at the beach yet fancy enough to wear with bright jewelry to a nice restaurant. The only two things that I don't like are the price and the color. $240 is a lot of money for this tunic, and I don't know if I'd want to spend all of money on this right now. I don't think I'd enjoy the dress being black because it absorbs sunlight, so I'd be sweating!

2. Monogram Cover-up from StitchingDesigns. A while back, I came across one of Frannie's posts about what she wanted to get for her trip to Florida, and this cover-up was on it! I instantly fell in love. The dress is cute yet practical, and I love how it has a monogram on the side. It only costs $24, which is a bargain! The dress comes in four colors: black, white, navy, and gray. I would either get the black or the navy with a hot pink script circle monogram. It's from the Etsy shop Stitching Designs!

My Family

I've only mentioned a few things about my family before, so I thought it would be a good idea to tell you guys more about them! My sisters and parents are very important to me, and I love them a lot, even though we don't always get along.

(Just a side note... The picture below isn't that great of a picture, but it's the only one I could find that's somewhat recent of my whole family together! My mom and dad weren't ready for the picture... and my mom has definitely changed her hair! This picture was taken two years ago at my sister Chelsea's high school graduation.)

From left to right: Me, Brittany, Emily, Chelsea, Dad, and Mom.

Most of you know about Brittany by now! She is a six-year cancer survivor of Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Brittany is twenty-two years old and graduated from UMass Amherst about a month ago at the Isenberg School of Management. In October, she will be starting her job as an accountant at Ernst & Young in Boston, which is one of the "Big Four" accounting firms!

Most of you also know Emily by now, who happens to be my twin sister. We were born eight minutes apart with Emily being the older one, even though I'm always told that I look older. Emily and I go to the same high school and only have a few of the same classes and friends. She plays volleyball and tennis.

Chelsea is the one I've never mentioned on here before. She is twenty years old and is studying at Providence College to become an elementary-school teacher while minoring in special education. She'll be a junior there next year!

I'm not exactly sure what my dad's job is called... All I know is he's one of the bosses for a company that makes sand, gravel, concrete, etc. I believe he does things such as providing gravel for people and putting concrete in people's pool areas! He's a very hardworking man and loves working on things in the yard and around our house.

My mom is an x-ray tech, which means she takes x-rays, mammograms, CAT scans, etc. of people. Two funny stories... when Emily broke her arm when we were in kindergarten, my mom took the x-ray. And my mom took Brittany's x-ray right before she found out she had cancer! I'm very close with my mom. She's the most selfless, caring, kind, and generous woman I've ever met. My mom is always there for me whenever I'm sad, and I don't know what I'd do without her!

What is your family like?

How To :: Save Money

With summer on the way, most of us already have jobs or are searching for jobs. Summer is full of doing tons of fun activities, but the only problem is they cost money. In order to make sure that you have money to do all of these things, the envelope method is a handy and efficient strategy to use.

I discovered the envelope method through Pinterest but didn't really find a need to use it until I found out I was going to the Pitbull and Ke$ha concert. My ticket cost $150 (ridiculous, right?!), and my mom told me she'd pay for the whole thing, but I felt really bad. So I saved aside $75 in an envelope labeled "Pitbull and Ke$ha Concert" because I wanted to pay for half of it. She actually wouldn't accept it, so I snuck it in her wallet without her knowing!

Once I put the money in an envelope, I put the envelope somewhere safe in my room. I actually ended up completely forgetting I had the envelope saved a side, which was a good thing because then I wouldn't be tempted to take the money out and spend it. The envelope system is efficient and handy because spending money can be tempting. If you want to save money for something, you won't be tempted to spend it on something else because you won't actually have the money with you to spend. You can save aside money for vacations, concerts, that pair of Jack Rogers that you really want, etc. It's especially helpful if you have a job because then right when you get a paycheck, you can keep some of your money and put the rest in the envelopes labeled gas money, car insurance, etc.

To make this system more fun and enjoyable, use bright envelopes (as shown above) and label them with pretty-colored pens or pretty labels!

Have you heard of the envelope system or used it before?

Favorite Summer Drinks

It's so important to stay hydrated in the summer. I'm always drinking some type of liquid in the summer just to stay cool and refreshed. Because I'm always drinking, I put together a list of my favorite drinks to have in the summer!

1. Lemonade. Lemonade is obviously the classic summer drink. When you're driving around, you see kids with lemonade stands everywhere because it's just that common. Treat yourself to this bittersweet yet relieving drink loved by all people!

2. Sweet tea. I love hot tea, so iced tea is even better! Adding sugar to the iced tea does the trick to make a sweet drink. Sweet tea is especially popular in the South. Not only is it delicious, but it's rather easy to make! And how cute does it look in that Mason jar? If you want iced tea but don't want all of the sugar, you don't have to add sugar and can just have it plain.

3. Water. Water is definitely the most common drink in the summer. It's basically everywhere and easy to access. Practically everyone likes a glass of ice-cold water. Why not add lemons to it, though? The lemons add a little bit of flavoring, if water is too plain for you, and act as a detox to clear out any bad substance in your stomach.

4. Coke or any other type of soda. Even though Coke is pretty bad for you, you have to admit that there are some days that you say to yourself, "I could really go for an ice-cold glass of Coke right now." The days that are hot, humid, and sticky arouse that feeling. So treat yourself and enjoy that ice-cold drink to quench your thirst and cool down!

What do you like to drink during the summer?

The Importance of Exercising Over the Summer

When summer comes to mind, other words that are often associated with it are fun, relaxation, sun, and etc. We look at it as a break from school and a chance to enjoy ourselves. However, we still need to exercise over the summer even though we might not always have the motivation to do so. With that being said, the importance of exercising over the summer is listed below.

You continue to stay in shape. If you play sports throughout the course of the school year, chances are you're in really good shape. And being in really good shape makes you feel really good about yourself and content with your body. I think almost everyone can agree with me when I say a lot of people tend to eat more over the summer. We have so much extra time that we just tend to eat more in that time. I know I do! If you're one of those people as well, working out can help prevent the buildup of the extra food you eat.

You're all set for fall sports. If you happen to play a fall sport for school, working out over the summer will bring you nothing but success in that sport. You'll be all prepared for whatever hard workouts are thrown at you during tryouts and practices. No matter how badly we wish this was true, starting to exercise the week before your tryouts or practices after not exercising at all during the summer isn't going to do anything. If you save all of the exercising for the last week, tryouts are going to kick your butt. Tryouts are going to be a lot easier when you're in shape, and you're also going to leave a good impression with the coaches that you took the time to exercise over the summer to prepare for tryouts.

You'll reach that "bikini-ready" dream. Pretty much every girl wants to have that perfect bikini body where they feel comfortable wearing a bathing suit around other people. If you can wear a bathing suit around other people and feel comfortable, you can wear anything and feel comfortable. Reaching that "bikini-ready" dream will bring up your confidence and make you feel pretty good about yourself so that when your friends want to take pictures by the pool or at the beach, you'll feel comfortable doing so!

Why do you think exercising over the summer is important?

How to Safely Tan

Now that summer and warm weather is here (with today's temperature being in the 90s where I live!!!), we all want to go outside and tan. However, laying out in the sun for an extended period of time is potentially a very dangerous thing. Be sure to follow the tips below in order to safely tan!

1. Apply sunscreen and make sure to reapply it. If you think not applying sunscreen will help you get a better tan, you're wrong. Not everyone gets burned when they don't put sunscreen on (my boyfriend being one of those lucky people!), but it'll cause damage on your skin and can eventually lead to skin cancer. Also, if you apply sunscreen, you have to reapply it during the day. It will wear off, so if you don't want to get burned, make sure to reapply it every couple of hours. When I went to Atlantis three years ago, I had a sunburn when I got there. I constantly reapplied sunscreen, but I somehow still got burned because the sun in the Bahamas is so strong! I ended up peeling all over, especially peeling horribly on my back with sun blisters, and I was in a lot of pain. It definitely made my vacation less fun than it should have been, so make sure to prevent those from happening! And I'm not saying that you have to use sunscreen that has a high SPF (but if you want to, go for it!), so SPF 15 works good on me to protect me and give me a little bit of a tan.
2. Use aloe vera. If you happen to get a sunburn, stay out of the sun and apply aloe vera. Staying in the sun can just cause more damage and make the sunburn even worse. The aloe vera will help to cool the sunburn and relieve you of your pain.
3. Stay hydrated. Drink tons of water or any other drink of your choice! Laying out in the hot sun and not having a lot of liquid in your body is a bad combination. The heat and little hydration can cause you to pass out or become sick.
4. Splash some water on yourself. If you feel yourself sweating or becoming too hot, splash water on yourself or take a dip in the pool. That will help to cool you down and make you feel more refreshed. It's also a proven fact that you tan better when you're wet!
5. Avoid tanning beds. Tanning in tanning beds is very common among teenage girls, but try to avoid tanning beds! They are so unhealthy for your skin. And why use an artificial tanner when you can get the real sun?

How do you safely tan? Let me know if I missed out on anything!

May Plank Schedule Review

About a month and a half ago, I came across a "What I Love Wednesday" post that Caroline did. In that post contained a workout schedule for doing planks for thirty-one days straight. Each day, the workout either stayed the same length as the day before or added five seconds from the day before. I think it worked out so that the two same lengths would be in a row, then a new number, then two same lengths, etc.

Anyway, the workout worked really good, and I loved the outcome! I tend to only work on my legs because I did track this spring, I'm doing a summer soccer league, and I still go running. I didn't want my muscles to be uneven, so that's why I was happy that I came across this strength schedule! To be honest, I dreaded doing this workout every day. It doesn't sound hard, but once you do it, you basically want to die. I don't know if this just happens with me or if it happens with anyone else too, but my legs and arms started shaking whenever I did a plank! Also, my back hurt when I did it, so I don't know if that's supposed to happen or if my back was caving in too low. The hard work paid off, though! I kept the schedule on a clipboard so it was easy to access and so I could remember to look at it every day. Here is the schedule:

Sorry that the picture is so big - I tried to make it big enough so you guys could read the numbers! If you have any questions on which days have which numbers, let me know. Some numbers are crossed out so I could keep track of which days I did, but I stopped crossing the numbers out.

Have you done this workout before?