May 23, 2016

(Bare Minimum) Kitchen Essentials for a First Apartment.







     {Shop this collage! Click on the images to shop each item.}



     I have been settling into my first apartment for the past few weeks, and probably the biggest transition from living on-campus in college to having my own place post-grad is having a kitchen! I love to cook and bake, and it is so exciting to finally have my own space to be able to do this in. Something that I didn't account for though was the fact that a kitchen has to be completely built from scratch. While my apartment might have come with a refrigerator, oven and dishwasher, it did not come with any food in the pantry or kitchen tools or gadgets necessary for cooking! These are certainly all things that I took for granted during the summers that I went home. ;-)

     I have some kitchen appliances and tools which my mom and grandma have been collecting for me throughout the past few years, but unfortunately those things are all still at home in Maine. My mom and I are working on a way of getting them down to me later this summer, but until that happens, I've had to figure out some ways to cook with a smaller selection of kitchen tools. 


      Above is a small list that I have comprised of what I deem to be the absolute must-haves for anyone who is hoping to cook in their first apartment! A set of cookie sheets is much needed, because they are used to so much more than just baking! They are essential for heating up certain frozen items in the oven, or for toasting up leftover food items. And with using the oven comes a need for cute oven mitts! My mom purchased my roommate and I several in varying colors and designs, but I really like these polka dot Kate Spade ones from their home collection.

      Even though my roommate and I have a dishwasher, we have yet to use it and prefer to wash our dishes by hand! She picked out this cute dish drying mat for us, it is not only affordable but also blends in nicely with the neutral decor of our kitchen. Something that I had to run out for while cooking one of my first recipes in the new place was a basic set of knives! Knife sets can be a very expensive item and are traditionally a popular wedding registry item. I didn't need anything too fancy for my first place, but this set of three knives was affordable and does the job for now! 

     Finally, the holy grail of my kitchen: our Crock Pot. This was something else that Ciera, my roommate, bought for us (bless her!). I will admit that I was a bit skeptical about it at first. My mom is a great cook, but the occasional recipes that she would make in her slow cooker when I was growing up were never my favorites. Then once I saw this one in our apartment, I started looking up slow cooker recipes on Pinterest and I was amazed at how much you can make in these! I have already made several recipes in it, and it is the easiest thing in the world for cooking: both in terms of saving you the mess of several pots and pans, and also in the fact that you can "fix it and forget it." So practical for two girls like ourselves with busy schedules! If there is a recent college grad in your life (or a college student with an apartment), BUY THEM A CROCK POT if they don't have one! Best gift- I promise! :-) 


       And finally- a mug that accurately describes post-grad life! My real-life friends know that I am obsessed with cute mugs. I have a fairly large collection of fun mugs, and that doesn't include my constantly growing collection of the Starbucks You Are Here mugs, which I enjoy picking up when I travel (Although I don't drink out of those- ha!). I personally definitely don't need another mug to add to my kitchen, but this one made me laugh and I think it would be great for any other recent grads! 



     Fellow new apartment-leasers or anyone who has been through the process of having a first apartment before: what were your must have kitchen essentials before you had your whole kitchen put together? Building a home, whether an actual house or a small apartment, is definitely a process!


     And please let me know as well what you thought of today's post! It was one of my blogging goals this summer to incorporate some apartment/new-to-adulthood type blog posts alongside my regular fashion content, so please let me know if this type of post is something that you would like to see more of!



     xoxo Miss ALK

May 20, 2016

A Twist on Chambray + May Blogger Meet-up Recap.







Top: {Old from Piperlime, very similar here} // Skirt: {Old from Red Dress Boutique, another fun summer skirt option here} // Shoes: The Walking Company {similar here} // Necklace: c/o Nava New York // Lips: Essence Liquid Lipstick in Show Off! 


     This is the outfit that I wore for the May meet-up for the North Carolina bloggers of the InfluenceHer (formally known as Her Campus) blogger network! I had originally planned to wear an even more summery-looking skirt outfit for the day of, but the weather ended up surprising us all and being a little chilly on the day of. With temperatures only peaking at about 70 in the afternoon, I knew that wearing long sleeves was a must. So I went through some of older clothes in my closet that I had recently re-discovered when moving, and put together this fun look. My top and skirt were originally featured in blog posts that I did a couple of years ago (found here and here).  

     For this month's blogging meet-up, we met at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Belmont, NC! This is about a forty minute drive west of the city. I love botanical gardens and had always wanted to visit this one while I was in college, but I suppose it was worth the wait. :-)

     There were delightful and well-maintained outdoor gardens throughout the property, complete with fountains and other small attractions. An interesting feature of the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden are a series of small child sized houses that various artists have designed throughout the gardens and woods, which helps to add a sense of whimsy. A picture of our group exploring the "Mirrors" themed house is below!




     I think that everyone's favorite part of the day though was getting to explore the beautiful indoor greenhouse. This is where we got to see the best species of plants! 






     They even had one of the little houses in the greenhouse, this one in the form of a teepee!









     The icing on the cake to our day in the garden was that there were a few food trucks making their way around that afternoon! We all enjoyed some yummy snacks after exploring, and then finished the day with blog photos. (What else do you expect for a group of bloggers? ;-) )


     It was so great to see some of my favorite NC bloggers last weekend, and I'm already looking forward to planning our next meet-up! If you are an NC blogger and/or member of the IHC Blogger Network, please email me at rainbowflash94@yahoo.com so that I can keep you in the loop about our future events!






     xoxo Miss ALK

May 19, 2016

Midweek Ramblings + Recent Purchases (on a Thursday!).




{Follow me on Instagram and Snapchat @miss_alk!} 




Ramblings:
  • Blogger meet-up fun: In tomorrow's post I'm excited to share my outfit details and a recap of the latest meet-up for the North Carolina region of the InfluenceHer blogger network! As I have shared before, I am the regional chair for NC, so I get to plan fun meet-ups for other local bloggers. As always, this month's meet-up was a total blast! The above picture was taken with Cara from Caralina Style at the event. 
  • The BEST Crock Pot recipe EVER: With moving into my new apartment, I am so excited to finally have my own kitchen to cook in! I absolutely love cooking and baking, but I never had a place to do it while in college. Something that I realized very quickly though after the move is that kitchens are built over time! All of the necessary appliances and utensils necessary to make complicated recipes add up to being a lot of money, so my kitchen tools will grow with time. In the meantime, I have been adoring the Crock Pot that my roommate bought for us! (This is the one that we have for those interested!) I have already made a few Crock Pot recipes since it is such a simple method for cooking meals with, but y'all, this recipe right here... LIFE CHANGING. Possibly one of the best soups that I have ever tasted! I can't wait to make it again soon.
  • Post-grad friendships: Something that I have learned very quickly in the weeks since graduation is that your college friendships change quickly after the diplomas are received. I don't remember their being such a big transition with my high school friends immediately after graduation (things started to change more once I moved to NC for school). It has definitely been an adjustment for me not to be living on campus anymore and to be immersed in college life. As an extrovert, I loved having people around me 24/7, even if they weren't all my close friends! While I love my new apartment, life is much quieter here, and I have to go out of my way to find time to meet up with friends. Can anyone else relate to the weird friendship transition after college? 
  • Citizenship!!! Something very exciting that happened for me last week was finally becoming a citizen of North Carolina! I passed the (modified) version of the NC drivers' exam, and finally have a new license to call my own. Y'all- my Maine license was rough. I'm honestly not sure what was worse, the large moose decoration on the license, or my horrific picture! But luckily I have a beautiful new license on its way to me, and I'm finally a resident of the city and state that I adore so much. Next on the post-grad to-do list: get a library card!


Purchases:
  • One of my newfound fashion obsessions is the clothing brand Cece by Cynthia Steffe. Their pieces are always colorful and feminine, and they make the most unique styles! A couple of the department stores in Charlotte's SouthPark Mall carry Cece, and I always enjoy browsing at the latest styles. I picked up this beautiful dress  this past week, which I can't wait to style on the blog soon! 
  • I have been suffering from a lot of break-outs this week, which is unusual for me. I'm not really sure what it's due to, but I know that I want them gone ASAP! I picked up this new acne spot treatment yesterday and am currently testing it out- hoping for great results! 
  • These adorable shorts are on their way to me in the mail right now and I just can't wait for them to get here!! 


     xoxo Miss ALK