November 29, 2016

Styling White Jeans with OTK Boots.














     Friends.... it finally happened. I broke a fashion rule that I said I never would! *I wore white (well) after Labor Day.* I know, I know... this isn't that big of a shocker and many other fashion bloggers, celebrities, and notable people in the fashion world have done this before me! But as a self-proclaimed goody-goody two shoes, I really like sticking to rules- all types of rules! Fashion rules included. So this outfit is definitely a little out of my cool weather fashion comfort zone!


     I've owned some "winter white" pieces in seasons past- such as cable knit sweaters, hats, and other seasonally appropriate pieces. But my white jeans have always gone back into my bureau for the season as soon as Labor Day hits, and remain there until either Easter or the first day of Spring- whichever comes first that year! But this year I'm finding it a little fun to be a rule breaker! I've seen white jeans styled a lot with OTK boots on other bloggers, and after trying it for myself I kind of love how this look turned out with mine! I think I'll definitely be repeating it this season. 


     This sweater is absolutely the comfiest thing that I've ever owned. I don't typically buy a lot of oversized things, and I normally wear a size XS or S depending on which store or clothing brand an item is from. Well with this sweater- I bought an XL on purpose! And there's just more comfy sweater to go around- seriously a win-win. :-) I found my sweater at The Limited Outlet so the exact one isn't online... but this one has a similar pattern and looks equally comfy! 



     Hope that y'all are having a great week! This week I have three different events to attend on behalf of my blog here in Charlotte, which will definitely make getting back in the groove after a holiday weekend a little less painful. One event was last night, one is tonight (at City Lights/Le Meridien Hotel!), and the last one will be on Thursday. I can share a recap post of everything soon if y'all are interested?






    xoxo Miss ALK

      





November 28, 2016

Cyber Monday Deals + What I Bought on Black Friday.




My outfit: Flannel // Leggings // Boots 



     Black Friday is one of my favorite days of the year, and this was my 9th year in a row of shopping the sales. I wouldn't say that this was my biggest and best Black Friday ever, but it definitely was a good one, and one to remember! This year I took my roommate Ciera shopping with me- it was her very first Black Friday and she was a trooper as we were in the mall for six or seven hours! Cara met came and shopped with us for the last couple of hours after she got out of work for the day- Black Friday is definitely a good "more the merrier" type day. 


     One special thing that did happen on this Black Friday was that I made my very first David Yurman purchase! I have been lusting over Yurman jewelry pieces for years now, and didn't think that owning any would be in my future for at least a few more years. But I ended up buying the most darling ring, and I can't wait to wear it all the time. Now of course I am dreaming of building my Yurman collection more and more.... someday! 


     Below are some of them items that I purchased this year on Black Friday:





     Today as y'all know is also Cyber Monday, which is the online shopping version of Black Friday. If you weren't able to get out to the stores on Friday, then it's not too late to find amazing deals! Here are some of the best web deals which you can find today: 


*ASOS20% off. Use code "THANKFUL30"


*Ann Taylor 50% off everything + free shipping. Use code "CYBER50"


*Banana Republic - 50% off everything


*Baublebar - Up to 35% off. Use code "SAVE35"


*Charlotte Russe - 40% off everything + free shipping


*Charming Charlie - 40% off jewelry


*Express - 50% off + free shipping


*Forever 21 - 21% off. Use code "Cyber21"


*Kendra Scott - 20% off. Use code "SALE20"


*Lilly Pulitzer - Free gifts with purchase


*LOFT - 50% off everything. Use code "CYBERMONDAY"


*Nordstrom - Extra 20% off select sale items


*Steve Madden - 35% off. Use code "CYBER"


*Taudrey Jewelry - 30% off. Use code "HOLIDAYFUN30"


*Tory Burch - 30% off any purchase $250+. Ue code "THANKS"





    I hope that y'all find some amazing deals today!! My Monday will consist of a long work day at my internship for me, and then off to an event in Uptown Charlotte tonight! :-) 



     xoxo Miss ALK
     

November 27, 2016

How to Survive Being Sick When You Live Alone.

     This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #TeaProudly #CollectiveBias





     While there are many perks to being out in the real world and finally getting to experience "adulting," there are also some downsides as well. One of the first ones that would come to mind would be experiencing getting sick as an adult. There's just something strange about feeling down and under the weather and realizing that you don't have mom or dad there to watch over and take care of you! 


     I first got to experience being sick on my own to some degree in college, since I went to school so far from home. But dorm living always does provide the support of a roommate or suitemates, and my college also had a great health center, which I always paid visits to when I was under the weather. Now that I am out of college and have an apartment, if I get sick it really is just me caring for myself! (I do have a roommate now in my apartment as well! But she and I often have completely different work schedules, and sometimes a few weekdays go by where we do not see each other.) 


     Today I'm sharing a few tips to help survive cold and flu (or mono or strep or bronchitis or... you get the drift!) season if you also live by yourself, or have moved far from your original home! 




     1. Brew Bigelow Tea: The Big Bang Theory is one of my favorite TV shows, and I've seen every episode of the 10 seasons so far. While there aren't many things that I agree with the main character, Sheldon Cooper, about, one thing that I definitely love that Sheldon is always quoted as saying in the show that anyone who is hurting or feeling under the weather needs to be offered a hot beverage! I definitely agree agree with this statement. 
     I am a huge tea drinker to begin with, and I drink much more tea than coffee. I have different types of teas that I brew for different things: English Breakfast when I need caffeine in the mornings, peppermint at night,  chai lattes at coffee shops, etc. But my #1 go-to tea when I'm feeling under the weather has always been Bigelow Green Tea or Bigelow I Love Lemon Tea
     These two teas from Bigelow are the ideal choice to providing comfort when you're feeling under the weather! They really are an ideal soothing beverage. The I Love Lemon Tea also includes Vitamin C in it, which is perfect for helping your immune system. Even if I am feeling nauseous or congested, sometimes all it takes is a warm mug of tea to add a little bit of comfort to my day. 





     2. Take a true "sick day." Even if you have stayed home from work, school or other commitments for the day, if you're feeling under the weather, take a "true" sick day! Sometimes I am not very good at this, and I'll be the first to admit! If I have a whole day around my apartment, I'll start cleaning,  doing blog work, or other tasks. But if you're not feeling well, then you deserve a whole day to truly unwind and relax. It is the best way to be on the road to recovery, as hard as it may sound! 




     
     3. Keep some sick day essentials on-hand: Sickness can hit unpredictably, and sometimes when it does you're not feeling well enough to go out and by all of the things that you need, like tissues, over the counter medicines, cough drops, and of course Bigelow Tea! It's always smart to keep a few of these things on hand during these months especially, so that way should sickness hit, you can at least be a bit prepared! 





     Just in time for cold and flu season, there is currently a great deal on Bigelow Tea at Walmart. Receive $0.75 off any box of Bigelow Tea here! Walmart has a great selection of Bigelow teas that are perfect for any sick day: 






     
     Follow Bigelow Tea on Facebook and Twitter and share with them how you #TeaProudly! 


  
     Stay healthy during this holiday season! Make time for self care, and take time to rest should sickness find its way to you.



     You can see a sneak peek of my Christmas tree in one of the photos in this post... I'll be sharing a reveal of my tree soon! :-) 



     xoxo Miss ALK 

November 25, 2016

Black Friday Weekend 2016 - BEST SALES.




     It's finally here- my second favorite day of the year! Easter is my very favorite holiday and day fof the year, and Black Friday is my second favorite day of the year following. I have been Black Friday shopping every year since I was 13, and haven't skipped a year since. Some people dislike the crowds and the hype, but I think that it's so fun to get out and enjoy the deals and holiday feel that's all around. In my eyes, Black Friday is the real kick-off to the holiday season!

     If y'all are familiar with the Five Love Languages Quiz (it's similar to a personality quiz- it's a great way to get to know yourself better), gifts are my #1 love language! I love both giving and receiving gifts- it's how I show affection to special people in my life. So Black Friday is also my day to check off all of the gift shopping on my Christmas list for those near and dear to me! I could keep going on and on about how much I love this day... next year I'll have to share a post about some of my more interesting Black Friday memories!


     Below is a list of all of some of the best sales for today, and many run through the whole weekend. Happy deal hunting- whether from your local mall, or your comfy couch or bed!



*Abecrombie & Fitch - Entire store and website 50% off. Ends 11/25.



*Ann Taylor - Entire store and website 50% off. Use code "celebrate." Ends 11/25.



*Banana Republic - 50% off five regular priced items sitewide. Ends 11/28.



*Baublebar - Take 30% off with code "THANKS30." Ends 11/27.



*Express - Entire store and website 50% off. Ends 11/25.



*Francesca's - 30% off sitewide. Ends 11/25.



*J. Crew - 40% off in stores and online with code "HOLIDAY." Ends 11/27.



*Kate Spade - Surprise Sale with up to 75% off. Ends 11/26.



*Lilly Pulitzer - In store and online gifts with purchase. Ends 11/27.



*LOFT - Take 50% off everything in store and online with code "FRIYAY." Ends 11/26.



*Nine West - Almost everything site-wide up to 50% off. Ends 11/27.



*Shopbop - Spend $200, take 15% off. (More discounts for larger purchases) Ends 11/28.



*Talbots - In stores and online take 40% off purchase. Ends 11/25.



*Taudrey Jewelry - Take 30% off entire website with code "HOLIDAYFUN30." Ends 11/28.




     Are y'all braving the crowds today like I am and headed to shop? Or shopping from the comfort of your home? Whatever you're up to today- I hope that you're having a great holiday weekend! Stay tuned on Sunday for a little break from the sale updates where instead I'll be sharing really fun collaboration post.



     xoxo Miss ALK







November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving Kate Spade + Tory Burch Sales!















     Happy Thanksgiving! At the end of each year I always enjoy sharing two detailed yearly recap blog posts- one regarding the year in blogging, and one regarding the year in my personal life. This is my chance to share with y'all in a lot of detail about the things that I am thankful for over the past year... just wanted to preface with this so y'all don't think that just because today's post is shopping/sales focused doesn't mean that there aren't things that I am grateful for today and everyday. :-) We serve a wonderful and gracious God, who is so good even through the hard times! 


    But- onto today's topic at hand! In yesterday's blog post I shared my top purse picks from the amazing Kate Spade Surprise Sale which is happening now through November 28th. This sale is just so good though, that I had to share some more picks from it today! I am especially dying over this red bow coat... to me nothing screams "Kate Spade" more than their darling winter coats, and this one is just precious! 


     Another designer that I love, Tory Burch, is also having a sale this week! By using code THANKS online, you can save 30% on almost everything, including newer arrivals! Sharing a few of my favorite picks above... I have a pair of Tory logo stud earrings that I bought myself for my 21st birthday, and I wear them all of the time! This could be a great time to stock up on some jewelry or accessories if you aren't feeling a larger purchase. 



     Happy, happy shopping week! Tomorrow I'll be back with a big Black Friday sale round-up! Are y'all planning to hit the stores for Black Friday? If you're a long-time reader than you know that it's one of my favorite days of the year- I go all out. :D This year I'll be taking my roommate Ciera shopping with me- it's her first time ever going Black Friday shopping, and I hope she'll love it just as much as I do! 



     xoxo Miss ALK

     

November 23, 2016

Kate Spade Purses ON SALE for under $150!









     I'm sorry that today's post is a little bit brief- but on the plus side, the best shopping week of the year is finally here, and no need to wait until Black Friday or Cyber Monday to start your shopping!! Many retailers are already having incredible sales and promotions now. This really is the best time of the year to make certain splurge purchases. I'll be sharing the best deals and steals throughout the rest of the week, but I couldn't wait any longer to share this specific sale with y'all. Kate Spade is having one of their famous Surprise Sales right now, and it will run through Monday, November 28th. 


     I usually browse each time that Kate Spade has one of these sales, and sometimes the deals are better than other times. I can definitely say that this is the best surprise sale that I've ever seen!! Tomorrow I'll be sharing some of my favorite non-purse picks from this sale, but for today I wanted to highlight my favorite purses in the sale. All of these are amazingly marked down right now to under $150!! That is such a bargain for Kate Spade. I ended up purchasing this one, but I loved this fun purse and this versatile one as well!! 



     Are you purchasing anything from this Surprise Sale? Let me know in the comments!!



     Hope that y'all are having a great day before Thanksgiving, and stay tuned for more sale updates coming tomorrow, Friday and Monday. Happy Shopping!



     xoxo Miss ALK

November 22, 2016

Tips to Prepare For Holiday Road Trips.

          This blog post is sponsored by by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FallforPennzoil #CollectiveBias



     Is it just me, or did 2016 go by in an absolute blur? I can't believe that the holiday season and all that comes with it is already here. Of course, one of the main parts that makes of this time of year for many of us is holiday travels. Road trips to visit family and friends or other loved ones are apart of almost everyone's agenda for the upcoming weeks. Some "road trips" might only be a few exits up the interstate, and others might be the more typical full-on adventures that cross state lines. Although I always flew home for Christmas break in college, I only was able to get home for Thanksgiving once in the last four years! Two of my years in college were spent at classmate's houses who lived outside of Charlotte, so road-tripping I went to get back to their family's houses. You definitely get to know your road trip travel companions very well, and car ride memories are always made!


     My work schedule has me staying in Charlotte for Thanksgiving this year, but I do have a small weekend road trip getaway to look forward to in December with my parents during the week that I'll be back home in New England. Today I'm sharing five holiday road trip tips to help you feel prepared for travels in the upcoming weeks!





     1. Prepare a great road trip playlist: I might have a different perspective on scrolling through radio stations in a new area than most... where I'm currently in broadcasting school and am hoping to someday soon work in this specific industry. However, I know that most people who don't have the same interest in radio that I do generally do not enjoy when they drive far enough away to lose the signal on their beloved preset stations, and have to start scanning around for new channels. So in that case, prepare your music selections early! I started subscribing to Spotify Premium last year, and it's one of the best decisions that I ever made. I love being able to listen to my favorite playlists without using my cell phone data when I'm on-the-go. Spotify actually offers a student rate for anyone with an .edu email address, so any college students should definitely take advantage of this! If you're roadtripping with a whole group of family or friends, it can be really fun to create a playlist for your trip, where everyone contributes a few songs that are special to them. Or even kick it old school and burn a CD for your trip!


     2. Make sure your car has an emergency kit: Whether we like it or not, life's little (or sometimes large) emergencies can happen! And timing so often has it that these usually strike at less than opportune times. Should something of this nature happen while you're out on the road, it can do wonders to have an emergency kit with some basic items waiting to go in your car! Make sure that this is ready with all of the items that you think are necessary before you leave for your trip. If you've never made a car emergency kit before- check out this blog post that I wrote this summer with some tips about how to make one, and what I include in the one that's in my car!


     3. Familiarize yourself with reading maps: I am constantly blown away by how many people in the millennial generation are unable to read maps! It is a skill that is still so necessary to have, despite living in the age of GPS technology being accessible almost everywhere. As great as GPS and iPhone maps are- technology can crash or fail sometimes. And sometimes it does screw up. Nothing beats a good old fashioned paper map for back-up. While I do love the convenience of my iPhone's map app, I still always carry a paper atlas and a few maps in my car as well, and do use them from time to time.


     4. Decide to take the direct route or the scenic route: In 2015, almost 50 million Americans were on the road for Thanksgiving, according to AAA! That means that regular roadways and interstates can become overwhelmingly backed up with accidents or just overflow holiday traffic. If possible, do some road trip research before hitting the road. And figure out your schedule for your travel days as well. Is your mission solely to get to your destination as quickly as possible? Or do you want to build in some time for scenic and fun rest-stops? On the road trip that my mom and I did this summer from Maine to NC, she opted to take a slightly longer scenic route through the majority of Pennsylvania. I was against this at first, as it wasn't on interstates, and it was different than anything my dad and I had done on our many drives up and down the East Coast. However, it ended up being a fine route! It was a beautiful drive through a part of PA that I had never seen before, and we discovered the cutest bumper boats park that we took a rest stop at on our way. Sometimes the scenic route does pay off!





     5. Get an oil change at your local Walmart Automotive Car Care Center: It's recommend that all cars get oil changes ever 3,000-7,000 miles. Sometimes it's easy to put this car maintenance task off to the back burner on our to-do lists. But did you know that skipping an oil change can cause all sorts of engine problems- such as corroding overheating, or locking up, or even more serious problems? For real! If you're headed out of town for the holidays, make sure that your oil changes are up to date. It could be one of the easiest ways to later avoid further car problems! 
     Walmart Automotive Care Centers are one of the most affordable and convenient places to get an oil change! I actually have childhood memories of going with my parents to our nearest Walmart back home in Maine to get an oil change with them, and doing some shopping in the store while our car was being worked on. The great thing about Walmart Automotive Centers is that the whole Walmart store is right there- which is actually perfect if you need to stock up on some last minute road trip essentials such as snacks or toiletries! 
     Right now Walmart Automotive is offering a special on oil changes with Pennzoil® Platinum Full Synthetic oil. They are on rollback price special from $49.88 to $44.88 through December 27th, in perfect time for the holiday travel season! Even though I'm not traveling for Thanksgiving week this year, I do have a lot of driving and shorter road trips coming up in the next month, so I went and got my oil changed over the weekend at my local Walmart and requested the Pennzoil (which is newly available in Southern states!). It was a very easy process, and the oil change was completed in less than an hour. 
     Make sure to take advantage of the discount on Pennzoil Plantinum Full Synthetic oil changes at Walmart- now through December 27th. If you live in the Southern states of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee or North Carolina (like me!), than these Pennzoil oil changes are finally available at your local Walmart!


     I've shared my top holiday road trip tips... what are yours? Do share in the comments! And safe travels to all those who are going on road trips this week (or flying!).



     xoxo Miss ALK

   

November 21, 2016

"Falling" for Charlotte's Foliage.
















     Peak foliage definitely hit Charlotte this past weekend, and my oh my was it glorious! I wish that I could have taken a whole day to just drive along my favorite roads in the city, taking in all of the beautiful leaves and sunshine. While my schedule didn't quite allow me to do that, I was on the go a bit this weekend between work and some other plans, so I did get to see a good bit of foliage. Deeana and I had plans to shoot yesterday morning, and I knew that for this look I needed to shoot it in front of some beautiful changing trees. Luckily- they weren't hard to find! 


     Y'all know that blanket scarves are all the rage for another year in a row. I own this one and one other one, but I actually find them a little bit tricky to wear. When I wear them as actual scarves, I feel that they sometimes feel like they're suffocating my neck since there's just SO much scarf... #honesty. But lately I've been wearing them as wraps, like I have this one styled here, and I am loving that!! It's still a great way to incorporate this trend for the cooler months, but your neck can still go free. It's also easier to pair necklaces with what you're wearing when you're wearing a wrap instead. This blanket scarf that I'm wearing here is from last year, but I found one here that's in very similar colors and at a great price! 



     Lastly- I am loving these two new jewelry pieces that Taudrey jewelry sent over to me!! I've had a couple of Taudrey pieces in the past (including a bracelet set that I've worn nonstop over the past year), and I love their fun pieces. Just about all of their jewelry is customizable in some way. The choker necklace that I'm wearing here has a little letter "A" on the center circle, and my new bracelet set is customized as well! There is a lot of meaning behind what I put on these bracelets... perhaps I'll share on the blog someday soon, but for now if you're following my private personal Instagram account (@rainbowflash94- not my blog/publicaccount @miss_alk) - I shared a photo last night with more about the meaning behind them. 



    Hope that everyone is having a great Monday! I can't believe that Thanksgiving week is already here. I have a very busy week ahead- so be sure that you're following me on social media to keep up with the fun and adventures!





     xoxo Miss ALK




November 18, 2016

Four Cookbooks Every 20 Something Needs.

     I feel like I've been saying this on a weekly basis here on my blog since I graduated college, but by far the thing that I love the most about adult life so far is having my own kitchen at last, and getting to cook and bake to my heart's content. Spending time in my kitchen has become such a form of both creativity and stress relief for me, and I look forward each week to experimenting with new recipes and whipping up ones that are quickly becoming tried and true favorites.






     A lot of the recipes that I have been making in recent months are Pinterest recipes, solely because it's very convenient for me to do a quick search on there for the type of dish that I'm wanting to cook or bake, and results will come up instantly. And there are some real recipe wins on Pinterest! (Check out this blog post that I wrote last month: Tried and True Pinterest Dinner Recipes)


     But despite being like every other 22 year old female who is Pinterest-obsessed, I have also inherited a certain trait from my mother: collecting cookbooks! My mom has shelves upon shelves of all types of cookbooks throughout our house, and I have fond memories when I was growing up of her rotating through different ones through different years and reading through pages and pages of recipes the way that others read novels. Like my mom, I also adore cookbooks and have from a young age. My mom has bought me many of the ones that I own- they were a popular Christmas present for me to receive growing up! But now that I'm older, I also enjoy buying and discovering them myself, and I proudly have a full shelf of cookbooks in my own little apartment.


     I definitely haven't had the opportunity yet to fully discover all of my cookbooks, and of course I keep buying more and more. #ofcourse But I thought it would be fun to share a little bit about four of the cookbooks that I have made several recipes from, and that I truly find to be staples in my kitchen!



     Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook: This is essentially the bible of American kitchens. Almost everyone's house or apartment that I visit- whether back home in Maine, here in NC, (or anywhere really for that matter!) has a copy of this in the kitchen. If you've never seen the inside of this cookbook, it's organized very easily into tabbed sections for different types of main dishes, side dishes, and desserts. Some of the newer editions, like the the one that I have, feature pictures in beginnings of sections for some of the popular recipes. If there's any cookbook that you need to have - it's this one!


      Betty Crocker's Cooking Basics: One of my neighbors in Maine gave this cookbook to me for Christmas when I was in elementary school. I was already a proud owner of several kid's cookbooks, but this was one of my first grown-up cookbooks, and I was ecstatic! This cookbook will always be special to me because the memories that come along with it, but the recipes are great as well. It features many tried and true recipes for classic American favorites, and lots of comfort dishes. My two personal favorite recipes from this cookbook are the corn bread and apple crisp recipes - I made the apple crisp on a weekly basis for a lot of September and October this year! My roommate, who is not as big into cooking and baking as I am, has also really started to love this cookbook, and finds the recipes very easy to follow. She is a big fan of the meatloaf recipe.


      Better Homes and Gardens The Ultimate Cookie Cookbook: Possibly my favorite thing on earth to make are cookies. The very first thing that my mom let me bake in the kitchen by myself when I was little was the original Nestle Toll House cookie recipe (from scratch of course- no pre-made dough for us!). While Toll House cookies are still a favorite recipe of mine, I enjoy baking (and eating large quantities of) cookies of all shapes and sizes. That's why I adore this cookbook! It's another winner from Better Homes and Gardens. My go-to recipe in it is the Melt-In-Your-Mouth Sugar Cookies- my book literally falls open to the page that's on! But everything that I've made from here has been tasty- and especially with the holiday season approaching I look forward to trying more of the recipes.


     The Fix-It and Forget It Cookbook: During my first couple months of living on my own, I did most of my cooking in my roommate and I's Crock-Pot. Slow cooker meals are so easy to make, and most have really large portions, so they provide lots of leftovers! This is the quintessential Crock-Pot cookbook with all sorts of meals from soups to various meat and vegetarian main dishes, and even breakfast items and desserts!








      Do you have any favorite cookbooks? Please share them in the comments!



      Wishing you all a wonderful weekend! I am working for part of this weekend, but I also have some extra time which will be spent getting some holiday blog posts ready. Deeana and I are shooting early on Sunday morning- we've been doing Sunday shoots for the past couple of months and it's been working well. I'll try and post some behind the scenes pics on Snapchat and Insta Stories that day!



      xoxo Miss ALK


   

November 16, 2016

Midweek Ramblings + Recent Purchases.




{Follow me on Instagram + Snapchat @miss_alk!}



Ramblings:
  • Back to productivity: In last week's MR+RP post, I shared how I had been having a hard time being productive in a lot of areas in my life in recent weeks. I'm happy to report that in just a week's time, a lot has gotten better!! Isn't it funny how sometimes we can become accountable to ourselves after we write something on our blog?! Anyways, blogging is especially where my productivity has come through strong this week. On Monday of this week, I woke up several hours earlier than I needed to be awake so I could catch up on all of this week's posts and some emails. I think this might become a regular occurrence for me on Mondays, as I have that time off from work! 
  • A new editorial calendar strategy: Also along the lines of blogging and organization, I decided this week to try a new editorial calendar strategy, and so far it's working very well! For the past year, I used a separate agenda for blogging and would write everything down. That worked very well in college since I depended so heavily on my school agenda, but since my schedule is so different now, I wasn't finding this method to be working as well for me. This week I decided to start keeping track of blog posts and other editorial related things by using iCalendar. It's been working SO well! I set alerts on my phone and Macbook for posts that I have scheduled to work on, and other blog related tasks. I've already felt much more on top of things, and more accountable. I'll keep y'all updated on how this new calendar strategy continues to work for me.
  • Christmas tree decorating: As you can see in the photo above, my Christmas tree is up! My roommate and I each have our own tree in our living room, and they've been up with lights on since the day after Halloween. I want to get them all decorated this weekend though, as I have a blog post coming up soon where the photos will be done in my apartment. My tree decorating inspiration is from Emily of The Sweetest Thing- check out her Christmas tree post from last year, seriously this is Christmas goals! (And speaking of Emily- she shared some very big news on her blog this week in the most beautiful way ever, I almost cried reading the post!)


Purchases:
  • I received this nail polish in a beauty package which I reviewed a little bit in my Fall Blogger Beauty Gifts Review post, but I finally had a chance to try it out last week. OMG. Y'all. This nail polish is only $1.99, it's the ideal color for fall/winter, and it barely chipped all week. Talk about a win, win, WIN! 
  • I don't usually do too much personal shopping for myself in the weeks leading up to Black Friday (You know if you're a longtime SBIT readers that this is essentially my holy day! Haha.), but one thing that I have started doing is Christmas shopping!! I am about halfway done shopping for everyone on my list, which is a really good start for me this year. One thing though that I did treat myself to while out shopping was this cookbook. We sold it at the store that I used to work at back home in Maine for a few years, and I always wanted to buy it but never did. Speaking of cookbooks- stay tuned for Friday's blog post when I'll be sharing some of my favorite ones! 



     My question for y'all this week: do you have your Christmas tree or decorations up yet? 


     xoxo Miss ALK

November 15, 2016

Holiday Gift Ideas for Blog Friends.









     I'm really excited about today's gift guide post! Back in 2015, I shared a blog post that featured some great gift ideas bloggers (either for giving to blogger besties, or for gifting to yourself!). I wanted to do an update of sorts of that original post but for this year's holiday season. And what blogger wouldn't love to be surprised at the holidays with a special blogging related gift, or something that could assist her in running her website and business?! 


      I am a huge mug enthusiast, so of course I had to include some cute blog themed mugs!! The "Let's Blog Some Sh*t!" mug is by an Etsy shop called A Cup of Quotes - I actually own a different (and equally cute) mug by them, which you can see featured in this post from last year. Another thing that I'm an enthusiast of are cozy crewneck sweatshirts, so I know that I would adore wearing this fun Bloggers Gonna Blog sweatshirt. 


     And then I had to include a few fun home office supplies and art prints! These types of items are the things that we all love, but often forget to buy or put off buying for ourselves. I use a magazine caddy and business card holders to help keep my blog's materials organized in my apartment, and honestly I should invest in some cute file folders like the ones shown. 


     This year especially, I have grown so close to many of my blogging friends. The relationships made through the blogging world are so special and many of my blogging friendships have also turned into strong real-life friendships. Here's a quick tribute to just a few of the amazing bloggers who I have gotten to either meet or know better in 2016: 




The girl above is one of my best friends not online in blogging, but in life! If you're not following Cara of Caralina Style- you should be!










     All items from the collage are linked below as well! 







     xoxo Miss ALK

November 14, 2016

Preppy Office Outfit.







Photography by Deeana Kourtney Photography






    Starting this week off on an honest note here on the blog- I'm not into a lot of the trends that are big this fall! *gasp* I know I know... as a fashion blogger it's kind of my job to keep up with the trends, and as a blogger with a focus on affordable style I try and show y'all how to keep up with trends but stick to your budget at the same time. However, I am just really not loving a lot of the current styles. Lace-up everythings (whether it's sweaters, dresses, or even shoes!)... I just can't get into it. Choker necklaces are something I'm making an effort with, and I do own a few now. But I truly believe that there is a certain time and place to wear choker necklaces, and they don't match everything. Other things I'm not really loving: army camo, over-wearing athleisure attire (it definitely has a time and place- but the trend is overdone), and only wearing dark colors in the fall and winter months. 


      My true style is girly, bright, and preppy- year round!! That's what inspired me to pull together this look that polished enough to wear to work, but still colorful enough to be fun. I purchased this Elsa top in August's Lilly Pulizer After Party Sale, which is the best time of the year to buy Elsa's, or really any Lilly! In the next After Party Sale this winter, I'm hoping to stock up on more Elsa tops. They really are the ideal top to wear for both work or weekends. I finished off the look with this cute charm necklace from Moon and Lola- they were a sponsor of TBSCon that I attended this summer, and all of the bloggers that went got to make their own necklace at Moon and Lola's charm bar! 



     Are you also a fan of preppy and classic looks for work? And how do you feel about some of this fall's biggest trends? 





    xoxo Miss ALK

November 11, 2016

My T-Shirt Quilt: My Favorite Graduation Present.










Photography by Deeana Kourtney Photography






     One of my favorite sayings is "Good things are worth the wait." Such was definitely the case for my favorite graduation present, which just arrived to me a few weeks ago! It was such a special and priceless gift for me to receive that I had to dedicate a whole blog post to it. My high school best friend, Julia (who I usually call Jules here on the blog), has spent the better part of 2016 working on this beautiful t-shirt quilt for me! Isn't it incredible?!


     I like to think of myself as a crafty person, but Jules's DIY abilities pretty much blow mine out of the water. A couple of years ago, she took a quilting class over the summer and made her first beautiful quilt. She had been wanting to try a t-shirt quilt, and I had been dying to have one made with my college and sorority t-shirts, so the timing of this worked out perfectly! I had saved all of my favorite college t-shirts. The quilt begins in the top left corner with a cute Southern themed t-shirt that I bought on my college orientation trip for my former university in summer 2012. The last shirt is one that I bought at the Carolina Cup this spring when I went with Cara (attending this event was a bucket list item for me during college!). In between are shirts from countless memories of two college orientations, homecomings, Bid Days, Greek Week, sorority formals and college semi-formals, and everything in between. The whole last four years for me is represented in this beautiful quilt! (And amazingly- I still have PLENTY of t-shirts left to wear from college. #sororitygirlprobs)



      If you're thinking of doing a t-shirt quilt with your college or sorority shirts, or any t-shirts for that matter, DO IT!! If you don't have an incredibly crafty friend in your life, then fortunately there are lots of small companies online that will make t-shirt quilts for you. This is such an incredible way to preserve special memories, and to keep something alive for years to come. 


     Here's throwback picture of Jules and I - this is the night before I moved to NC for college! When we see each other at Christmas when I go back home to visit Maine, it will be the first time in 2016 that we've seen each other! Long distance best-friendships are the worst. 






      Happy Friday! Thanks so much for reading and have a great weekend! Soon I'll be posting more holiday gift guides.... what types of gift guides specifically would you like to see? Next week I am also planning to share a post about my favorite cookbooks so stay tuned for that! 



    xoxo Miss ALK