January 29, 2016

Slouchy Sweater.








     Sweater: {Borrowed, very similar here!} // Skirt: {From a store in Maine, similar here!} // Shoes: Clark's {similar here} // Sunglasses: {old} Necklace: Talbots {similar} // Bracelet: {From a store in Maine} // Lips: Milani Brilliant Shine Lip Gloss in Bare Secret


     Comfy, relaxed sweaters-or as I like to call them, slouchy sweaters,  are all the rage this winter. Just about every blogger (scratch that, forget just bloggers, just about every girl!) has been spotted wearing many of these this season, usually paired with relaxed boyfriend jeans and booties, and more often then not a floppy hat to top off the look as well? Sound familiar? Perhaps just reading this is bringing to mind an Instagram snapshot from one of your favorite fashion bloggers!

      While there is nothing wrong with styling a slouchy sweater this way, I wanted to try and do my own take on wearing one. I like to look at trendy pieces and see how I can put my own spin on them for the blog! Since dressing up is one of my favorite things in the world, I decided to give a glam twist to my take on the slouchy sweater outfit. I paired it with my new sequin skirt, favorite everyday heels, and and coordinating tassel necklace (another trendy item!). Somehow it all came together! It was a perfect outfit for me to wear during a warm winter afternoon for classes and meetings on campus.


     Thank-you to my blog photographer and bestie Mia for lending me this sweater to borrow for this post. ;-) It was so comfortable to wear that I had a hard time giving it back! 
    

     What are y'all up to this weekend? After a very uneventful weekend spent indoors last weekend due to the snowstorm, I am so excited to have a full schedule for today and tomorrow! Tonight is the Class of 2016 formal for the seniors at my college, and my bestie from my former school is coming as my "date," so it should be tons of fun! And tomorrow I am headed up to Greensboro for a fun little blogging meet-up, expect a recap next week! (And follow me on Snapchat tomorrow for updates: @miss_alk)




     xoxo Miss ALK

January 27, 2016

7 Truths about Greek Life.

     Midweek Ramblings + Recent Purchases will return next Wednesday to the blog! In the meantime, I wanted to mix it up a little bit for this midweek post, in honor of the fact that my sorority is currently going through Spring Recruitment.

      Most of you know that a highlight of my college experience has been getting to be apart of a sorority. My former college didn't have Greek life, so when I transferred schools at the start of my sophomore year I was very excited to go through Formal Fall Recruitment. I received a bid to Alpha Delta Pi at the conclusion of recruitment, and was ecstatic to accept.

     I love sharing updates on the blog from time to time about what my sorority is up to (I share a recap from our Bid Day festivities every year: read this past year's here!). Something that I have been reflecting on recently is that a good blog post topic might be an honest reflection about things that I wish I had known about Greek life before joining a few years ago! I don't mean this necessarily in a negative way- I'm not suggesting that these factors would have been deal breakers in my decision to join a sorority. But I do realize that when girls are going through recruitment, often the same information about sororities is continually thrown at them. "Find an outlet for sisterhood, socials and service!" or something along those lines. Greek life has definitely thrown a lot of surprises my way, so I thought that I would share some truths that I've discovered about sorority life during the past few years!




1. It is a HUGE time commitment: All of the Greek chapters at my college are quite small, and we also don't have Greek housing on campus. Because of this, I made a false assumption when going through recruitment during sophomore year that being in a sorority wouldn't take up that much of my time. FALSE!! Whether your chapter is large, small, or somewhere in between, all sororities require a commitment of your time and talents (and a financial commitment, but I'll get to that!). Certainly there are a few weeks during the year when the only thing on my sorority's calendar is our one-hour long weekly chapter meeting, but during Formal Recruitment season?! That's a whole other story! There will be times of the year in Greek life such as recruitment, Greek Week, or the weeks leading up to your chapter's philanthropy events when you need to invest many hours into chapter events.

2. With the time commitments- allow for flexibility: Even more then the amount of time that I put into ADPi, something that I've had to adjust to is that the Greek calendar is frequently changing. When it comes to planning my schedule, I am extremely Type-A. I could plan all of my social commitments out in advance for the next six weeks and be happy as a clam. I'm not super spontaneous when it comes to making plans, and I know that about myself.
However in my own experiences with Greek life, I would say that about 75% of the time things are planned out well in advance, but the other 25% things are thrown on sorority members at the last minute. And very quickly you need to learn to go with the flow! For example: this is the first semester since I've been in the chapter that my sorority is participating in Informal (Spring) Recruitment. Although the events aren't nearly as time consuming as Formal in the previous semester, they're still mandatory for all chapter members to be at. We weren't given a lot of advance notice about the fact that our chapter would be doing Informal, and now suddenly I have ADPi things going on almost every night this week! It might be disruptive to my schedule, but I need to remember that I made a commitment to Alpha Delta Pi, and realize that last-minute events do come up.

3. Also allow for flexibility regarding financials: You don't need me to tell you that Greek life is an expense. Unfortunately, one of the negative stereotypes about Greeks is that they pay for their friends. I don't think that could be further from the truth- each semester's dues help to do everything from fund chapter events, support a maintenance fund for your chapter's lodge or house, pay dues to your national offices, and many more important things. Sorority dues are not cheap, and this is something that I was aware of before going through recruitment. (My college's Panhellenic Council was awesome about educating girls interested in recruitment on the truth about how large of a financial commitment it was!)
Yet something that I did not expect is that dues are not the only ADPi expenses that I pay every semester. My chapter requires all members to pay for additional things throughout the semester beyond dues, including but not limited to t-shirts, ADPi honor society dues, food for sisterhood events, and some small expenses for our philanthropy events. This can all add up very quickly, and were extra expenses that I wasn't aware of before joining Greek life. My chapter has high enough dues each semester that all of our tickets to social events are covered (and sometimes we get free t-shirts for socials as well), but in other chapters on my campus that have lower dues, they have to pay for tickets each time that they have a social as well! So this is definitely something to keep in mind.

4. Another big expense- growing your sorority family: Something else that is a large additional expense in regards to being in sorority is taking a Little (or Littles!). For those of you not in Greek life- a Little is a sister that you "adopt" as your little sister in the organization (you are her "Big"). She is a younger member of the chapter that you serve as a role model for, and you help educate her about the sorority in the weeks leading up to initiation. Everyone has a Big, but not everyone has to take a Little, because taking a Little is a financial commitment! Littles are welcomed home by their Bigs and new sorority families with gifts... and I quickly learned your sorority chapter doesn't help fund those gifts, it's all on each individual Big sister!
Little gifts in my chapter include a variety of different craft items, letter shirts, and other ADPi gifts (such as photo frames or scarves). The summer before I knew I would be taking a little, I started making sure to save more of my paychecks from my summer job so that I wouldn't be so strapped for cash once the new semester came!


     The first four truths that I shared above might seem a bit negative... I don't mean for them to be, I just want to share an honest perspective of Greek life, of both the highs and the lows! To end this post on a strong note though, below are three more truths, and they're definitely happier truths.


5. Sisters = smiling faces: My sorority sisters and I are all busy women. Despite the time commitments to our sorority, we don't live and breathe ADPi all of the time. But even on weeks were we might be more consumed with school, work or personal obligations, having sisters means that you are never alone on campus, and that whenever you see a sister, you are greeted warmly with a smile , and usually a hug too! This doesn't just go for campus run-ins... sisters are happy to see you whether you see them at the mall, at a restaurant, at a park, or even out on the town on weekend nights (that's usually when they're the most excited ;-) ). In the midst of my crazy schedule, it always makes my days a little bit brighter to see the happy faces of my sisters on campus and around Charlotte.

6. Sisterhood is taken seriously: Just like with biological sisters, sorority sisters do not get along 100% of the time. In any close-knit group of girls, disagreements do arise. But also similarly to biological sisterhood, sorority sisterhood is for life. You begin to realize that you can't let a petty argument ruin the tight bonds of sisterhood, and quickly you learn humbling life lessons about apologies and resolving differences. I began to learn this during my first year in my sorority, and I had a hefty dose of learning it again just last week. This life lesson might be the most important of all that Greek life has given to me.

7. Greek life really does give you friends for life: As I approach graduation at the end of this semester, I am valuing the bonds that I have made from Alpha Delta Pi more than ever before. Certainly not all of the friends that I have made in college are in my sorority- goodness, that would be a bit unhealthy if that were the case! But the sisters that I am close to hold an extremely special place in my heart, and I know that time and distance in the future won't change those bonds. I have special relationships with both my Big and my Little, some sisters who have already graduated, and some sisters who are in my grade who I met the year that I joined ADPi!



     If any of you younger readers of my blog are considering going Greek ever, please e-mail me! I clearly love to talk about my experiences with both ADPi and Greek life. :-)


     xoxo Miss ALK


January 25, 2016

Snow Days...








     I hope that all of you stayed warm and cozy this weekend! On Friday, Charlotte received a couple of inches of snow. Back home in Maine, this would be nothing. But down here in the South, a couple inches equals a "snowpocalypse"!! We had a snow day from classes on Friday, which I didn't complain about since I have an 8 am class on Fridays this semester! 

      This beautiful winter coat from J. Crew was my big Christmas present this year. I was hoping that Charlotte might get a little bit of snow this winter, which is why I waited to feature it on the blog! If you know me, you know that I absolutely despise snow and winter, which is one of the main reasons that I went to college in a warmer part of the country. However, for the purpose of doing blog photos with my new winter coat... I could see snow having a purpose, so I was glad to see some. ;-)

     I had been lusting after the iconic J. Crew Lady Day coats for a couple of years now, and I've seen many other bloggers style them in different colors (and be able to wear them with so many different things!). This coat seemed like a true winter staple, and I couldn't wait to welcome one of my own into my wardrobe during this Christmas! It is definitely a bit of an investment piece, but for something like a durable winter coat you want to make sure that you're putting your money towards a quality item! 

     Something else of note that I'm wearing in these post are these amazing UGG Australia gloves. These were a Christmas gift as well this year, and I had no idea how much I would adore them! They are the coziest and softest gloves that I've ever owned, and they're incredibly warm as well! If you or someone you know is a fan of UGG boots, then I would definitely recommend looking into a pair of these beauties.

     Lastly, sharing a couple of pictures that while not the best of me, truly show off the beauty of this coat! I own it in the color Neon Flame, and it truly is this bright and neon! Such a fun pop of color for brightening up your winter attire.








     xoxo Miss ALK

January 22, 2016

10 Things You Might Not Know About Me.


      It has been amazing to see my blog grow so much over the past year, and with growth has come lots of new reader-friends! I have gotten to meet (both virtually and in person!) so many incredible bloggers in recent months, and this is absolutely one of my favorite parts of blogging. Getting to know the incredible women behind the blogs that I love to read is such a treat.

     Since we're all friends here, I thought that I would mix things up a little bit for today's post and share 10 facts that you might not know about yours truly!


Photo credit: Meredith Sledge Photography

1. I've had a recent change in career goals: Ever since I was young, my dream career was always to work in radio broadcasting. After I went to college, that dream started to become a reality. During my freshman year at my former college, I spent the whole year as a student volunteer in the school's radio station, and even got to host my own show in the spring semester. Since I've been in the city, I was an intern for four semesters at Charlotte's location of the Ryan Seacrest Foundation (which places radio stations in children's hospitals). I absolutely loved all of the internship experience that I had in the field during the time that I've been in school, and I truly thought that's what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.
However, with graduation steadily approaching, I have started to realize in recent months that I have different career goals for myself following college. My passions lie within blogging, social media, event planning, promotions, and possibly even hospitality or tourism. The city of Charlotte (and the South in general) are huge loves of mine as well. If I can find some sort of a communications job that can combine all of these things, then I would be so thrilled! I also do wonder if I will move to another city in the South after graduation, to work in a job something like what I described above. I have pretty much ruled out ever moving home to Maine at this point (God willing! Haha.)

2. Independently extroverted. I like to call myself an independent extrovert. I am fiercely independent (going to college so far from home has absolutely contributed to this), but at the same time, I hate being alone for too long. I thrive off of time spent with others.

3. The #1 way to make my day: For me to hear a favorite throwback song on the radio. Seriously! Let me be surfing the channels in the car and come across some *NSYNC or an old Britney track, and I'll be a happy camper for the rest of the day.

4.  I'm constantly on a quest for cheap gas: Whenever it comes time to fill-up my tank, I'm always on the hunt for the cheapest gas in the area! The GasBuddy app is my BFF, and I'm known to drive quite long distances for a few cents difference in gas prices. A fun fact about the Charlotte area: in South Carolina, which is just a few miles south, gas taxes are much different so gas prices can range from .20-.50 cheaper! My friends know me as the girl who ventures quite far into South Carolina to find the cheapest gas around.

5. Lightest sleeper on earth: I am one of the lightest sleepers that you will ever meet. I sleep (and travel with) a white noise machine, and during most semesters in college when I had roommates I had to sleep with earplugs.

6. I'm a huge makeup junkie: This is something that I don't actually blog about that often, but hope to change in 2016! I am kind of makeup obsessed. I never feel like my day has fully started or like I can hit the full extent of my productivity until I've done my face each morning! I love buying makeup, experimenting with new looks, and watching tutorials. I have certain holy grail products (such as this and this) which I've been loyal to for years, but I'm always up for trying new items as well!
Later this year, I hope to either shoot or record some makeup and hair tutorials for my blog! The reason that I've waited so long to do this is because all of the dorms that I've lived in during college have had the worst lighting ever. That's why I barely even take photos for Instagram in my room this year, much less shoot a tutorial! (Sad but the truth- ha!)

7. I'm still rocking a dying iPhone 5S: I was one of the first to get the 5S back in 2013... in fact I preordered it before it came out! However, two and a half years later and I'm still with the same phone. Everyday I get a minimum of three different notifications telling me that my storage is just about full, but my faithful phone hasn't crashed and burned yet! My goal is to try and make the poor thing last until the next iPhone (7?) comes out this fall!

8. Give me some goofy comedies: I much prefer TV shows to movies, but I am picky about the types of TV shows that I'll get hooked on. More often then not, they're comedies. Three of my absolute favorite shows are That 70s Show, How I Met Your Mother, and The Big Bang Theory. Give me shows like these over something scary or dramatic any day!

9. I am the opposite of a neat freak: Something that people often say they're surprised to learn about me is how messy I am. It's something that I've been trying to work on this year, especially with adulthood and having an apartment coming up in my near future. But I still have a long ways to go for improvement! I've been messy since as long as I can remember. I hate making my bed, and more often then not I throw stuff on my floor. I am however a nut about keeping my clothing neat and organized, and I never leave old food out (some college students do that and it just disgusts me to no end! HOW?!).

10. The craziest thing I've ever done... is a tie between going swimming in a cave or kissing a frog! (...Techincally it was a toad- I was elementary school aged at a friend's birthday party and did it on a dare.)



     Do we share anything in common? :-) Leave me a comment letting me know a fun fact about you!


     Have a wonderful weekend! Here in Charlotte we are actually getting snow and ice this weekend... not quite sure how I feel about that yet!


      xoxo Miss ALK


     P.S. Be sure to check out the new "Currently Craving" widget at the top of my blog! I'm sharing some of my favorite early spring fashion picks, including this bag (which I am totally dying over- can't get over that beautiful color!), and this pretty dress- how perfect would this be for my graduation dress?!

January 20, 2016

Midweek Ramblings + Recent Purchases.




{Follow on Instagram & Snapchat @miss_alk!}


     My goodness, do I have a lot to ramble about today! Bear with me. :-)


Ramblings:

  • Savings plan: One of my goals for 2016 was to build up my savings account again. I had done a great job in 2014 of putting several hundred dollars in it which was untouched, but in 2015 I traveled a lot, and pulled from it a couple times to cover travel expenses. My new goal for my savings account is to have over $1000 in savings, and to use it only for emergencies! I found an awesome savings plan for 2016 that a sorority sister of mine shared on Facebook. It is so simple- it runs over the course of the 52 weeks in a year, and for each week of the year, you put that amount in dollars into your savings account! For example, the first week in January you put in $1, and by the 52nd week of the year at the end of December, you put in $52. You're supposed to have over $1000 by the year's end! So far I've been doing good, and have already doubled up on a couple weeks of the plan since I've been working a lot lately. Did any of you have any financial goals for 2016?
  • The BIG Question on The Big Bang Theory: Something that you may or may not know about me is that I'm about 150% obsessed with the television show The Big Bang Theory. (You would definitely know this if you follow me on Snapchat because since I have no life I generally post snaps when I watch the show live! Ha.) I think that this show is one of the funniest on television, and has only gotten better as the seasons go on. If you've been watching this current season, you might enjoy this commentary on last week's episode! It discusses a question which most viewers were wondering... I know I was! 
  • Job searching: As y'all know: one of the biggest passions currently is the city of Charlotte. I have absolutely fallen in love with this place since I started school here a few years ago. At this stage in my life, I know that I have to do whatever it takes to find a job that will keep me in Charlotte post-graduation, since this is where I have found my happiness. However, I do also realize how competitive the job market is right now for new graduates! This is why I am already taking steps now to start my job search, as I know that my semester will only continue to get busier as graduation approaches. So far since this semester has started I have finalized my resume, begun tidying up my LinkedIn account, met with my career advisor to develop a plan of action for the next few months, and tried to set up some networking opportunities with business people whose careers I admire! I only want to continue to do more as well. Recent college graduates: do you have any additional tips for me on things I could be doing this semester to proactively help my job search?

Purchases:
  • I purchased this fun necklace this week... it already has me in the Spring Break mindset! 
  • Speaking of Spring Break... something that I did purchase this week though was flights for my upcoming (and final) Spring Break trip!! For the past two years, my dad and I have gone to the Dominican Republic for Spring Break. We absolutely love the DR and hope to return again someday, but I didn't want to be traveling for the whole week this year, as it's such a busy semester for me! I am SO excited about where we are going to though- and also so excited about the super cheap flights that I was able to find! Would y'all be interested in me sharing a blog post sometime soon about how I book flights / look for cheap travel? 


     xoxo Miss ALK

January 18, 2016

Styling a Suede Skirt.









Top: Forever 21 {sold out, almost identical here} // Skirt: Abercrombie & Fitch  // Boots: Tory Burch // Leg Warmers: Charlotte Russe {sold out, similar here} // Sunglasses: {old} // Purse: Michael Kors // Necklace: J. Crew Factory // Lips: Chanel Rouge Allure Gloss in 11 Sensuel 



     Suede skirts are one most certainly a must-have fashion item this season! This trend has been popping up in all sorts of stores and all kinds of styles. I knew that I needed to get my hand on one, and I found what I thought was a perfect suede skirt back during Black Friday!

     A suede skirt is such a versatile fashion piece that the styling options are almost endless. I think that this skirt would pair well with a classic winter sweater, or a simple t-shirt and cardigan! But for this outfit, I paired it with another staple of this season, a simple striped turtleneck. I added in my favorite multi-strand pearl necklace and riding boots for an added classic and preppy twist, and boom! One of my favorite school-day outfits from senior year (so far) was born.


     Have you hopped on board yet with the suede skirt (or simple turtleneck) trend?


     Hope that y'all are enjoying the long weekend! If you have a second, head over the my Charlotte blogger bestie Morgan's blog. How 2 Wear It, to wish her a very happy birthday today!!




    xoxo Miss ALK

January 15, 2016

Last First Day Style.

     Today's post is sponsored by Dainty Jewell's. Thank-you for supporting the brands that support Southern Belle in Training!









Dress: c/o Dainty Jewell's // Shoes: Nine West {not online, similar pair here} // Sunglasses: Le Chateau // Purse: Vintage Chanel {much cheaper and similar version here} // Earrings: Talbots {old, similar here} // Lips: Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Rosewine



     Ah- the first day of school outfit. The type of look that can make or break the course of the whole semester. The pressure is even more intense to look fabulous when the semester brings your last-ever first days of school! #senioritis. 

      Luckily, the most beautiful dress from Dainty Jewell's arrived in my mailbox just in time to solve my first day wardrobe dilemmas. Dainty Jewell's is an online clothing retailer that specializes in making uniquely feminine pieces. The founder of the company is a Christian, and you can read on their website about how she desires to bring a sense of modesty and elegance back into the way that today's modern women dress! I am always a fan of supporting Christian companies, and I really like the principles behind founding Dainty Jewell's.

      The dress that I chose, the Central Park dress, is pretty much perfect. It reminds me of a twist between a Kate Spade dress, or a vintage number that a glamorous actress like Audrey Hepburn might have worn. It is a modest and ladylike dress, but not at all frumpy. I felt like a princess while wearing this dress during my first day of classes for spring semester, and I also received more compliments on my outfit then I possibly ever have in all of my college career! (Seriously- people that I've never even seen before at school were coming up to me and telling me how much they loved this dress!)


     If you're looking for a unique dress that will truly turn heads (in the most ladylike and chic way!), then look no further than Dainty Jewell's. :-) They also sell skirts, tops, and some other apparel! 


      Unrelated- but do y'all like the location that I shot these photos at? My best friend Mia, who since October has been taking the majority of photos for Southern Belle in Training, has been really encouraging us to start shooting more in spots around Greater Charlotte again, and not just on campus! I've been so busy this year that I often just shoot my outfits on campus in between my classes or school commitments, but there is truly an incredible city right at my disposal with so many places for photoshoots! 


     Happy Long Weekend! 



      xoxo Miss ALK

January 13, 2016

Midweek Ramblings + Recent Purchases.



{Follow on Instagram and Snapchat @miss_alk!}



Ramblings
  • Blog friends turned real-life friends: I spent this past weekend visiting my dear friend D- the lovely lady behind the blog Seersucker Sass! (Also shown in the picture above!) In addition to both being co-admins of the Millennial Blogger Network, we have been following each other's blog's for quite some time. When I finally realized that D lived in eastern and not western Tennessee, which isn't actually that far of a drive from Charlotte, I knew that I had to plan a visit to meet her! We had the most wonderful weekend. She and her boyfriend (and their sweet pets!) were the greatest hosts, and we all fell asleep early on Saturday night because we were tired from all of the sightseeing! Something that really surprised me about our weekend is how little we actually talked about blogging. It definitely came up over the few days we were together, but I loved how we have been able to build a completely normal friendship that just happened to be started through the online world! 
  • Last semester is on: I am halfway through my first week of classes for my last semester of college! It is already more intense than I thought it would be. I have the most interesting schedule this semester- I have three night classes each week, and 8 a.m.'s two days a week. My afternoons leave me opportunities for work and lots of time to do homework. I'm hoping to really utilize my afternoons well for productivity so that I can stay on top of all of my work! 
  • Spotify Premium: A couple of weeks ago I finally made the splurge and bought a Spotify Premium subscription. I have been using Spotify daily for my music streaming needs since my freshman year of college, and I thought that it might be nice to listen ad-free. I love it way more than I thought I would! Definitely worth the $5 a month (the student price!). With premium you can also download playlists onto your phone to listen to them data-free, such as in the car... however, my phone is too old and too full on storage to currently utilize this feature, ha! Do any of you use Spotify Premium? 


Purchases:
  • My weekend trip to Tennessee brought the chance to add two more mugs from the Starbucks You Are Here collection to my growing display of their fun mugs!! I am absolutely obsessed with this way of documenting my travels. :-) Check out this fun blog here which lists all of the locations that are featured in the You Are Here collection! 
  • I swear... between my Starbucks mugs and more, glassware of all types is my new favorite thing to collect! So excited to now own these beauties as well! 
  • I featured this in one of my outfit posts from last week, but I am finally the owner of a Kate Spade watch! I have been lusting over these from afar for many years now, and am so happy to finally have one of my own- such timeless pieces! (Mine is available here!)


     Happy Wednesday, y'all! We have made it to the middle of the week! Stay tuned because I am so excited about the outfit posts that I'll be sharing on Friday and next Monday. 



      xoxo Miss ALK

January 11, 2016

After Party Obsessed.









Top: Lilly Pulitzer {from the After Party Sale- similar print here!} // Jeans: American Eagle Outfitters // Boots: Tory Burch // Necklace: Versona Accessories // Bracelets: Kate Spade, Alex & Ani // Nails: CoverGirl Outlast Stay Brilliant nail polish in Skylight // Lips: YSL Rouge Pur Couture Lipstick in #19 Fuschia


     I was so excited that my purchase from Lilly Pulitzer's famous After Party Sale last week, which was this beautiful Elsa top, shipped quickly enough for me to take with me on my trip to Tennessee this past weekend! I've been lusting after Elsa tops for years now, but haven't made the splurge on one until now. I think it's safe to say that I'm now obsessed, and this will be my first of many. The gorgeous print on this top makes is the perfect way to brighten up an outfit for a warm winter day, but I know that it'll also be a great transition piece for spring! 


      Speaking of Tennessee, I had the most fun weekend visiting my blogger bestie (turned real life dear friend!) Seersucker Sass over the past few days! She and her boyfriend were so kind as to host me and show me around Eastern Tennessee during the end of my winter break, and it was truly the perfect ending to an already fun few weeks off from school! I had only been to Tennessee once before, which was a trip to Gatlinburg three years ago with a group from my former college. I'd say that it was definitely time that I made my way back to "The Volunteer State." :-)


      Hope that y'all had a wonderful weekend! I am kind of dreading starting my semester today... I am so happy to be back on campus with all of my friends, but I have such difficult classes this semester as I prepare to graduate, so I am getting nervous about my schedule!





     xoxo Miss ALK

January 8, 2016

Casual in the Cold.










Top: c/o The Track & Field Store {very similar here} // Jeans: American Eagle Outfitters // Coat: Lands' End // Booties: TJ Maxx {almost identical here!} // Scarf: c/o Oakleigh Rose Boutique // Sunglasses: TJ Maxx {similar here} // Watch: Kate Spade // Nails: Cover Girl // Lips: Nars Satin Lip Pencil in Rikugien 



     (How embarrassing is this?! I started working on this post yesterday, and put in all the product links and a little bit of text. However, I had to leave for work before I could work on the photos. I thought that I just saved it as a draft, but apparently it was prescheduled for this morning, even though I wasn't planning to post it until this weekend! Whoops! ;-) I guess this type of blogger error has to happen at least once in everyone's career....)


     Now that the above is cleared up, here is a recent casual outfit that I wore! It has been so cold in Charlotte this week- most days were in the 30s and 40s! When I first came back here from Maine a couple of weeks ago, it was in the 70s. So this is a dramatic temperature drop! I like finding ways to dress for the winter seasons that are still cute, but will also keep me warm and comfortable when I'm walking to classes or running errands!

     You also get to see in this post my brand new Kate Spade watch! I am obsessed with it. :-) It's my first "big girl" watch, and I know that it will last me for years to come.


     Linked below is my new watch, and some of my other Kate Spade watch favorites! All Kate Spade watches are so classy and fun, while still maintaining a chic and professional look as well! 







     xoxo Miss ALK

January 7, 2016

A Christian Perspective on Tinder.

     In the months and weeks before I joined the popular dating app Tinder this fall, I found myself googling phrases like "Tinder and Christians", "Christians on Tinder" and "Is Tinder okay for Christians" again and again. I never really found any search results that helped with what I was looking for. I hope that today's blog post might help someone out there who might someday be googling the same things that I was! I by no means consider myself to be a relationship or faith expert (and I'm certainly not a Tinder expert), but I do have a story to share about this topic, and what better place to do so then my blog?

A black and white version of the photo that I used for my Tinder Bio. Photo Credit: Emily Sacra Photography


     Many of you who have been long-time readers of my blog know that I have yet to have a serious relationship in college. I have been on many a casual date throughout the past three and a half years, but circumstances beyond my control always prevented things from getting more serious with the two boys that I could have given my heart to during my college years so far. (Then there has been plenty of unwanted male attention, especially during my freshman year at my former college, but that's a whole separate blog post! Haha.)

     What my lack of a  dating life comes down to is that I'm a girl who has always known what she wants, and my high standards, faith, and lifestyle make it hard for me to fall for someone. The couple times that I have opened my heart a little bit, I have gotten hurt before things even progressed very far. I do truly believe that God has a perfect plan for everyone's relationships if they follow Him, and that is what I have tried to honor with my dating life in college. He is ultimately greater then any crushes or boys or hook-ups.


     But with all of that said, by the start of my senior year this year, I was getting a little tired of being single. (Actually, a lot tired).  I hadn't been on a date in over six months, and the last guy that I had gone out with was someone who I had much greater feelings for than he had for me. I knew that it was really about time for me to move on from that situation, but I didn't know how to. I go to a college that has a much higher population of female students then males (another reason why I haven't dated that much in college), and no one was catching my eye at school at the start of the year. I'm not the type of girl who will force myself to like a guy just so that I have someone to go out with, and I wasn't about to start doing that with the guys at school.

    So I started to consider Tinder. I had heard so much about it over the past couple of years, as it really came on the scene during my college years. At first Tinder was only known as an app to find people nearby who wanted to hook-up, but over time the connotation of it began to change. I started hearing more and more stories of real relationships that were formed because of Tinder. By going to school in a city as large enough as Charlotte, I started to wonder about the population of guys on there, and if there might be guys on the app who had similar lifestyles and religious views to me, and who might be looking for relationships instead of just casual sex.

     When the stress of sorority recruitment started really getting to me by mid-September of this year, I decided that I needed a distraction from recruitment (and needed it FAST), so I thought that downloading Tinder would be the perfect distraction. I thought that maybe talking to some new guys, going on dates, and the possibility of maybe meeting someone amazing would be a great way to get through the recruitment season.

     Tinder did end up being the distraction that I was looking for. I do have to give the app credit for getting my head out of the sorority mindset a bit! But was it the healthiest distraction? I don't think so.



~~~~~



   All in all, I probably only talked to maybe eight to ten guys in the couple of months that I had Tinder. This might sound like a lot, but with the way that the app works I was probably swiping through literally hundreds of guys within the time that I had it, so I really am very selective. And out of these eight-ten, I only went on two dates. Neither resulted in a second date.

    Both of my dates were in restaurants during the dinner hours. Both restaurants were popular places and in very public areas- when meeting someone for the first time from online, safety is always key! One date was right in Charlotte, and the other was in a suburb.

     The first guy that I met up with was back in September, during my sorority recruitment season. We had a really nice conversation on the app, and I was genuinely excited to meet the guy. The good news about our date: he was cuter in person than in his pictures. The bad news: he was also monotone, boring, and quite rude. We had no connection in person at all, and what little conversation there was felt very forced.

     My second date was about a month later, with a guy who was a few years older than me. He was the opposite of the first guy, in that he was very nice, and we were both able to hold decent conversation throughout the whole date. He was also a Christian and enjoyed talking about his faith, and I liked the fact that I had been able to find an openly Christian guy on Tinder.
      However, even though the second guy was both a lot kinder and also a Christian, we still didn't "click." After meeting him in person, I realized that his goals and priorities in life were currently a lot different than mine. Perhaps it was our age difference, perhaps it was our different backgrounds... I'm not really sure. I honestly attribute it to the fact that it's very hard to get a true sense of a person on Tinder. You can learn facts about them, sure, but getting a sense of their actual personality and demeanor is a different story.



     A couple of my best friends strongly encouraged me to delete the app after my second date. They saw how bummed out I was from both of these experience, and thought that even though Tinder wasn't an obsession for me, it was still bringing more negativity then positivity into my life. And I realized that they were right!


     So now that I have shared my experiences with Tinder: here is my conclusion on it. It isn't always a bad thing. I honestly think that it is pretty cool that we live in a society that's technologically advanced enough to have dating apps like Tinder around! I do know of people, both in Maine and North Carolina, who have gotten into actual lasting relationships thanks to Tinder. So it's definitely not all bad.

     However, while I do think that giving it a try and seeing how it works for you isn't a bad thing, it needs to be treated with caution. Both for the obvious safety reasons, but also to protect your emotions and heart. I didn't let myself develop strong feelings for guys that I was just talking to on an app, so I thought that I would be totally fine with it all, but I never even considered how much it would disappoint me when both of my dates didn't go well! Just like my friends told me, if Tinder is bringing more negativity then positivity into your life, it might be time to re-evaluate why you need the app.


     This post is titled "A Christian Perspective on Tinder" since I am a Christian, so my last piece of advice regarding Tinder or any online dating is to pray about it! God will give you a sense of peace if the timing is right. And always be sure to use things like Tinder in a way that honors God- I never would have used Tinder for one of its uses, which is just for hook-ups, I was actually on it to try and meet someone that I might pursue a relationship with!



      Lastly- possibly my favorite thing about Tinder... something everyone can enjoy whether you're using the app or not, is the Instagram account Tinder Nightmares. Real Tinder users submit screenshots to this app of conversations gone wrong, and honestly it is the funniest thing in the world. Their Instagram posts always brighten my day. They just released a book of the best Tinder Nightmares of all time recently, and I would love to get my hands on it!



     Now I want to hear your thoughts! Have you ever been on Tinder? Are you on there now? (If so- do you have any date horror stories or Tinder Nightmares of your own?!)


     xoxo Miss ALK

January 6, 2016

Midweek Ramblings + Recent Purchases.

Dress: c/o Barbara Gerwit

{Follow me on Instagram and Snapchat @miss_alk!}




Ramblings:

  • Tomorrow's blog post is: I decided to try out Twitter's poll feature tonight to see what y'all wanted to read about here on the blog tomorrow! Tomorrow's post will be a lifestyle one, and the options were either my thoughts on Tinder (a post that you guys said you were interested in a few weeks ago!), or my thoughts on why I'm glad that I have lived on campus all four years of school. The Tinder post won at 70% vs. 30%! So that's what tomorrow's post will be. It was fun using social media to engage with y'all like that, and I hope to do more things like that to come this year! I'll definitely be sharing a lot of my personal experiences and my heart in tomorrow's post, so tune in if that interests you... ;-)
  • This semester: I came back to Charlotte about two weeks early from winter break, and I am so glad that I did that. I had a lot of work opportunities here, caught up with some friends before the semester started, and also had a chance to cross a lot of things off my to-do list (such as getting my car worked on! Yay adulting!). But by this point in the break, I'm getting ready for school to start next week! It is my last semester of college, and will be my toughest one yet with the classes that I'm taking to graduate on time. But I'm just ready to start diving into the craziness and to get back on some sort of a routine! Any other fellow college students with me?!
  • Ain't no party like an After Party: Lilly's Pulitzer's biggest semi-annual sale was this week! I'll be talking more about that below in the Purchases section of this post, but I will say here that I was so excited to finally score something! I passed on August's After Party sale because nothing was really catching my eye at that time, and with the school year starting then I didn't really see the need to be spending money on Lilly just to spend it. But I loved a ton of items in this week's sale, and am so excited for what I ended up purchasing to come in! What did you think of this week's sale? 
  • A little getaway... Before classes start next Monday, I am heading out of town for one last weekend of fun to end my last ever winter break! This weekend I am road-tripping to Tennessee to visit this blog bestie of mine. I am so excited! It will be such a fun weekend of girl time, blog talk, and also getting to visit the mountains!

Purchases:
  • Thanks to the After Party Sale, I made a Lilly purchase this week! What I purchased is now sadly sold out, but this is in a very similar pattern
  • A trip this weekend called for a new lipstick!! I picked up this gorgeous muted red color- bold reds don't look great on me, so I tend to go for more toned down shades. 
  • I found a great deal this week on a pair of black strappy Michael Kors heels that will be perfect for nights out on the town!! I am always on the hunt for heels that are sexy and fun, yet not too high of a heel that I could possibly kill myself while dancing, haha! 
  • Lastly- how gorgeous is the Barbara Gerwit dress (c/o) that I'm wearing in the photo in this post?! The fun nautical pattern on it is making me feel all of the summer vibes... get me to a warm vacation ASAP! 


      How is the beginning of your 2016 going so far? Hope that y'all are having a great week!


     xoxo Miss ALK

January 4, 2016

My Favorite Holiday Look.








Top: Forever 21 {OBSESSED!} // Skirt: Abercrombie & Fitch {not online, very similar here!} // Blazer: Forever 21 // Shoes: Nine West {similar pair} // Necklace: J. Crew Factory // Lips: Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Demure 



     So excited to be sharing my first outfit post for 2016! This was one of my favorite looks that I wore during the weeks that I was home for Winter Break. I actually wore this outfit on Christmas Day for my mom's side of the family's annual Christmas party, since it was so mild over the holidays in Maine this year!

     I am pretty much obsessed with each piece that I am wearing in this outfit. My shoes, top, and skirt are all new! I never would have originally thought to pair all of them together, but sometimes playing around in my closet (or suitcases, in the case of being home) can lead to some surprising yet awesome outfits. Plaid and sequins are two essential styles for winter, so why not wear them both together?! 


     Hope that everyone had a wonderful weekend! Mine was pretty mellow... I dog-sat for a couple of cute dogs over the weekend, started a new series on Netflix, saw my best friend from my former college, and just all around tried to relax before school starts! Only one more week of break left!






     xoxo Miss ALK