Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Recently Read

There is nothing I love more than heading down to the pool or curling up in bed after a busy day with a good book. There is something about the summer that just makes me want to read all the time. This summer, I've already read 3 books and I thought now would be the perfect opportunity for me to share what I thought of them!

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
You all may have heard of this book because the movie just came out. I have yet to see the movie, but I absolutely loved the book. It was so easy to read, I didn't want to put it down! It's a story of a girl who has a disease that makes her basically allergic to the world. As a result, she can't go outside. But then a boy moves in next door and the story traces their love story as they deal with her condition. I don't want to say too much, but I fell absolutely in love with both main characters by the end of it. This book is absolutely perfect for reading by the pool.

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
I've always been a huge Sarah Dessen fan, I think I've read pretty much every book she has released. But I had yet to read her newest Saint Everything, so I figured summertime was the perfect opportunity to read it. It definitely was not my favorite Sarah Dessen book(Lock and Key<3), but it was a cute love story. I just thought it was a little drawn out and a little dark. The premise is basically a girl who always ended up in the shadow of her brother. She switches schools and makes friends with a family that welcomes her wholeheartedly and makes her feel loved. She meets a guy and the story follows their journey to a relationship as well as her family piecing themselves back together. In the end, I liked the story and if you're a Sarah Dessen fan you should read it, but otherwise I would pass. 

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
I have mixed feelings about this book but I think that it simply because it wasn't the lighthearted fun summer book that I was craving. But it is a beautiful story with a very poetic ending. The book is about two people, Finch and Violet, who are dealing with their own struggles with death. They meet on top of the bell tower at school and their story continues when they begin to work on a school project together. The book traces their crazy adventures together and their struggles. It's a book that I definitely didn't want to put down. I guess I was just slightly dissatisfied with the ending. I still would recommend reading it, just maybe when you're curled up by the fire in the winter instead of the pool in the summer. 

I just put some more books on hold at the library, so let me know if you liked this post and I could definitely do another one. Also, leave any book recommendations down below, I would love to have some more books to add to my list!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Memorial Day Weekend at the Lake

I hope you all had a great long weekend, I know that I did! I had to spend Saturday, Sunday, and Monday working, but I was lucky enough to get to head up to the lake Thursday and Friday. I had a great time enjoying the peace and quiet, catching up on some reading, and soaking up the sun. It's so nice to get away from the hustle and bustle at least for a few days. I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite photos from the weekend, many of which were featured on my Insta @welldressedash

Outfit Details: Top: J.Crew Factory // Shorts: J.Crew Factory(Similar) // Jean Jacket: J.Crew Factory // Necklace: KJP

Same Outfit as Above + Palm Beach Sandals

Swimsuit: Aerie // Flamingo Raft: Target

Sweatshirt: Letters by Alex

There is nothing I love more than a sunset boat ride.

Not pictured: all the delicious food(chocolate cake and pancakes to name a few) and the even better company. I'm so thankful for these times at the lake and am looking to heading back real soon. A lot of my best memories have been spent at my grandparent's lake house. Do you have any Memorial Day weekend traditions? 


Friday, May 26, 2017

My Freshman Year Motto

I think to some people this post may sound silly, and they may laugh it off as something they would never do. But honestly, this is truly why I believe that I had such a great freshman year. The back story is that I finished high school with a lot of regrets, that I had missed out on things that really would have made me enjoy my time more. I hated that feeling and it stuck with me; I became determined to not do the same thing in college. I wanted to make sure that at the end of my 4 years at Wake I didn't look back with the same feeling of regret. I want to look back on my time at Wake knowing that I squeezed every bit of opportunity out of it.

I focused my freshman year around one idea, putting myself out there. I vowed to take risks and say yes to things I normally wouldn't. And I can say that I did that. I have some of the best memories to show for it. One of my neighbors asked me a couple of days ago why I thought that I loved college so much. I knew I loved my freshman year but I struggled with an answer at the time, but the more I think about it, I realize I think it is because I took chances and I tried my hardest to experience everything I could. I ended up experiencing the best of everything Wake Forest had to offer. 

One example I always use when telling people about my freshman year is how I discovered a love for basketball games. If I would never have said yes to an invite from one of my friends I would never have realized just how fun basketball is. I still don't completely understand basketball, and I probably never will but honestly, that doesn't make it any less enjoyable. Had I never taken this step outside my comfort zone I would have missed out on a lot of fun memories and great times cheering on the Deacs.

When I joined a sorority, I went out of my way to go to every possible event that they held. If I was free, I was going. I think this is why I fell so in love with my sorority because I put in the effort to really try and be apart of the group. But this doesn't just apply to sororities or greek life, but to any organization you are a part of. There are going to be events that any club holds that just don't interest you and that you would normally choose not to attend, but if you say yes and go to it then you may find a new interest, meet a new friend, or create a new memory. Putting yourself out there is truly the first step.

While I do absolutely love Wake Forest and think it is my perfect home away from home, I do not think it is necessarily the school that makes your experience. I think it is you and your decision to make the most out of every single day that you are there. It doesn't matter if you are at the smallest liberal arts college or a giant state school, take advantage of all it offers you. I hope this post can help two people, freshman going into college and people who are struggling to fall in love with their school. Everything is a decision, and today is the perfect day to make the decision to put yourself out there. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

J.Crew Factory New Arrivals

This past Monday I worked roll-out at J.Crew Factory, which basically means I came in at 9 PM and stayed until 1 AM, unloading, unpacking, and getting all of the new clothes out on the floor. It was definitely tiring, but it was so fun to see all of the new arrivals. Subsequently, I was really excited for this collection of products and once I woke up the next day I was so excited to put a favorites post together. I'm loving the bright pink and green, it's so preppy and summery! Also, I've been living in the boardwalk shorts this summer; they are so comfy and can be transitioned from lounging around the house to going out. This newest round of products compiled a lot of my favorite things: fun colors, bold patterns, and classic silhouettes. And as a result, I think I will forever be obsessed with J.Crew Factory. 


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Why Working in College Works

As some of you may know I worked at the Ronald McDonald House of Winston-Salem my freshman year. It was one of the most rewarding and one of my favorite parts of my time at school. I learned a lot of valuable skills while still having fun every time I came into work. That's why I would 100% recommend getting a job while in college. 

For me, the difference between working in high school and working in college is that in college you have so much more free time. You are not stuck in school from 8-4 every day. In college, you probably have 2 or 3 classes a day. I love having classes in the morning so I always scheduled my classes so that I would have the afternoons free. I would then work from 12-4, leaving myself plenty of time at night to do homework/study. I would do this 2-3 times a week depending on their need and my schedule. I usually worked on average 8-12 hours a week. This gave me some spending money to allow me to do fun things while in college.

My job was through work study at my school. The benefit of this is that your employer has to be respectful of your class schedule, exams, and other academic needs. It's a job set up knowing school comes first. It also has the added bonus that it is usually on campus, perfect for students without a car. My work study was actually off campus but it is one of the few exceptions. The downside is that it usually pays minimum wage, but in my opinion the fact that they are understanding that school comes first makes it worth it. All in all, I definitely recommend getting a job through work study if possible. 

If you are unable to get a job through work study, there is always the option to work retail or at a restaurant nearby. This would give you, even more, flexibility as you'll probably be able to work evenings and weekends which is wasn't able to do with my work study job. It also likely pays more. Though you may have more trouble balancing it with school as your employer may need you to work more hours than you would in a work study job.

But most importantly a job gives you valuable working experience, which will serve you well upon graduation. It serves as a great resume booster when trying to get a summer job or applying for different positions. And it also taught me how to make better use of my time. I learned how to plan ahead and be efficient to make sure that I get everything done. Yes it was a bit of a balancing act at times but I wouldn't trade my experience at my job for anything, and fingers crossed that I'll be back there next year!


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Flamingo Fever

One thing you all probably do not know about me but my friends and family know all too well is that I love flamingos. I've always liked to say that if I was an animal, I would be a flamingo. For some reason, I've just always had a love for them. And this summer it seems like flamingos have been everywhere. As a result, I thought it would be fun to share with you all some of the cutest flamingo stuff out right now!

I think the bright flamingo pink is so fun! You'll definitely catch me rocking flamingo stuff all summer long. Do you have an animal you are obsessed with? Do you love flamingos as much as I do? Let me know!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Denver Travel Guide

Happy Monday! I recently visited Denver, Colorado and I thought it would be fun to share some of my travel recommendations. When we were planning our trip, I had trouble figuring out what to do, so I figured this post could be a good resource for any of you who may be traveling to Denver!

To Eat
Mici- I went here for lunch and I absolutely loved the pasta. It's a great place to grab lunch or carry out. It's casual and absolutely delicious. 
Rock Bottom Brewery- Probably some of the most delicious french fries I had eaten in a while, plus the chicken tenders were so good. It's a cool restaurant and the food definitely does not disappoint. 
Grimaldi's Pizzeria- I'm not a huge pizza fan, so I wasn't particularly excited about this restaurant. But the pizza was tasty and I ended up really enjoying it. If you are in the mood for pizza this is the place to go. 
Bruegger's Bagels- Delicious bagels that are cooked fresh right there in house. It's a really nice place to grab a bite to eat in the morning, the restaurant itself is really nice with lots of seating.
The Sink- So this restaurant isn't in Denver, but if you venture outside to Boulder than this is definitely where you should go eat. It was the perfect burger and fries. Plus the restaurant is just really unique and cool and has some very cool facts about it. Probably my favorite place we ate!

Mount Evans- Probably the prettiest views we saw while in Colorado were driving up Mount Evans. It's just a scenic road up a mountain but the views are absolutely incredible. You'll want to keep pulling over and taking pictures because it is that breathtaking. 
16th Street Mall- For those days when you are not feeling as adventurous, it's fun to stroll down the 16th Street Mall. There are lots of restaurants and shopping. I spent a lot of time here just browsing the shops or grabbing a bite to eat. 
Union Station- There isn't really much to do at Union Station but it is definitely a cool place to stop by and take some photos. I heard there are some yummy restaurants though I didn't go to any of them. 
Downtown Aquarium- I really like aquariums, so I was excited to check out the aquarium in Denver. It was really nice and I had a good time walking around and seeing all the fish and animals. It was a nice indoor activity since it was rainy one day. 
The University of Denver- Ever since I first started going on college tours, I fell in love with exploring different college campuses. So even though I am no longer trying to decide where I want to go, whenever we travel we always check out the local college. It was fun to walk around and see the campus which was gorgeous. 
Denver Botanical Gardens- I didn't have a chance to visit the botanical gardens, but I heard that they were really nice and if I come back it would definitely be on the top of my list to see. 
US Mint- My dad and I tried to visit the US Mint, but unfortunately we didn't get there early enough and all the tickets were sold out. I think it would be such a cool experience. But you definitely have to get there first thing in the morning to get tickets. 

Day Trips
Boulder- Boulder is a super cool city centered around the University of Colorado at Boulder.  If you visit this city, I would definitely recommend walking around the school, but also checking out Pearl Street in the downtown area. You can also explore the more natural side at Chautauqua Park, which has some gorgeous views. 
Vail- I would say the road trip to Vail was one of the best parts. The views were unbelievable with the  Rocky Mountains on both sides of the road. But it was also really cool to explore the downtown Vail area and the Betty Ford Alpine Garden. It was a good break in nature away from the hustle and bustle of Denver life. 

If you have ever been to Denver, definitely leave your recommendations below! I'm sure they could help some people out. Happy traveling!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Summer Plans and Goals

There's something magical about coming home for the summer after being away at college. It's a chance to set goals and make plans without the disruption of schoolwork. As a result, I thought it would be fun to share my summer plans as well as share some goals I have for the summer in order to hold myself accountable. 

So as you may have seen on my Instagram, this summer I will be working at J.Crew Factory, I'm so excited as this is my favorite store, and I can't wait to share my passion for the brand with customers. This is my main commitment for the summer, but I will also be trying to babysit as much as possible. But I still do not expect that these two things will occupy all my time, so in order to make the most of my free time, I have set some goals for what I would like to accomplish.

Goal #1: Run a 5K
If I'm being honest, I'm a very unhealthy eater and I never exercise. This summer I really would like to change this. I plan to use the C25K app to help them accomplish the goal. My plan is that by the end of June I would be able to run a 5K. I'm hoping running the 5K will simply be a starting point for doing exercise. 

Goal #2: Refocus on my Blog
I try to do this every summer because during the school year my blog fades from being my #1 priority. My main goal is to be posting 5 times a week and being active on social media daily. But I also just want to try and create really great content. So make sure and keep up with the blog this summer because it's going to be better than ever!

Goal #3: Fall in Love with Myself
During the school year, I lost a lot of the focus on things for myself. So this summer I want to take the time to just simply do the things that make me happy. To take the time to do a face mask after a long day or to finally read a book I've been dying to read. I want to teach myself that it's okay to put yourself first sometimes. 

Goal #4: Save More, Spend Less
This is a big one, in college I realized I was spending a lot more money than I needed to be. I would go to Panera and spend $9 on mac and cheese just because I wanted to or go shopping a buy a new romper I didn't really need because I had a long week of school and thought I deserved it. The problem isn't really buying the romper or the mac and cheese but just how frequently I did it. I'm not saying I'm not going to buy things because I work at my favorite clothing store, but try to eliminate impulse purchases that I really don't need. So this summer I'm going to try and spend less so I can save more. 

Make sure to keep up with the blog to see how I do on keeping up my goals. Goal #1 is definitely going to be the hardest for me as it's hard to motivate myself to get up and running! Let me know if you have anything you want to accomplish this summer in the comments. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Freshman Year Reflection

My freshman year of college has come and gone, and I’m settling in for a fun summer at home. But I wanted to take some time to reflect on my year and all the lessons that I have learned as well as all the amazing things that have happened. I’m writing this post mostly as a personal reflection, but I hope you all will read along. 

    Academically Wake Forest challenged me like nothing I had ever encountered before. I was forced to completely rethink how I study. I spent long hours in the library trying to keep up and learn how to get all the work done. It was definitely a learning curve. Though I am by no means doing poorly, I wasn’t and still am not getting the grades that I desire. I know there is still a lot of work ahead of me academically and I think as I finally start taking classes that fit my interests things will begin to fall into place. 

    Going along with that I decided that I no longer want to be a political science major. This was probably one of the most reassuring decisions I made despite my academic struggles at Wake. After taking political science classes I realized it is simply not where my passion lies. I was scared when I had this realization as I felt that I had failed, that I wasn’t good enough. But I just had to think about following what I care about it. There is no sense in spending 3 more years pursuing something I’m not passionate about. I’m looking forward to exploring some communications classes next year, as currently, that’s my intended major. 

    So, all and all, academically I’m still putting the pieces together and trying to discover exactly what I am passionate about and how to find success in an academically rigorous school like Wake Forest. 

    My freshman year led me to some of the best most supportive people I could ever imagine. I have an incredible best friend that I know I can count on for anything. She’s always been there for me, through the struggles and the smiles. And a whole bunch of other close friends that I know I can rely on. I feel so much more confident just knowing that I have these loving and supportive people always in my corner.

    But I also learned some hard lessons about what it takes to maintain a healthy friendship. My best friend and I struggled, I was used by a “friend”, and I spent nights alone that I would have much rather spent with friends. I learned that in order for friendships to work for me, I have to have time to myself. I’m an introverted person, and I found sometimes I was over socializing myself and just needed to say no and go watch some Netflix. And most importantly friendship is a two-way street and if you ever find yourself putting in all the effort then that is not a healthy relationship. Don’t put time and effort into anyone who wouldn’t do the same for you.

    This year, I discovered what it means to be there for people. How sometimes you have to sacrifice to help a friend. When a friend’s boyfriend breaks up with her, you need to go over to her room and help make her feel better even if you were already in bed. When a friend needs a listening ear you better pick up that phone. Because when you’re the one hurting from a broken heart, you’re going to want her to do the same for you. 

    Welp this is something that I would rather not have had to write about in this post but hey such is life sometimes. I had my heartbroken twice, and while it was painful it taught me so much. I knew the first guy wanted a girlfriend so badly, but in his eyes, I still wasn't good enough. It killed my self-esteem, but it taught me that sometimes what you think is right isn’t actually what is right for you.  The second heartbreak was 100x more difficult because I really fell for the second guy and he fooled me into thinking he liked me too. Well, I guess that’s when I learned the next most important lesson that college and life is more than boys. And that your life is about you and making the most out of everyday, and simply having faith that everything else will begin to fall into place in due time. 

But even though these guys hurt me, still so many of my favorite memories were spent with them and my freshman year wouldn't be the year that it was without them. They are genuinely great guys and I wish them nothing but happiness. They taught me so much about myself but also about how to deal with the pain of a broken heart. 

    While at school I never really felt homesick. I missed my parents and my sister, but I never yearned to be home. I actually more often times cried when I had to leave school. I created a second home at school and fell more and more in love with Wake every single day. And as a result, I actually developed a much greater appreciation for my hometown when I went to school. When I came home for breaks I was excited to explore my hometown and to go back and spend time with my family. I fell in love with a place that I had once previously been so ready to leave, and for that, I will be forever thankful. 

    My first semester, I struggled because I joined clubs but I never really felt like I was fitting in. I had a great time and did a lot of fun activities, but I was never fully content. Once, I joined my sorority I finally felt like I had found my place on campus. I had a group of people that love and supported me, and I always had opportunities to do fun new things. Sorority rush was one of the most difficult things that I went through this year but ultimately it was the most rewarding. 

    I have absolutely loved being a member of Kappa Alpha Theta. I love the ritual and tradition that connect me to people all over the country and from the past. I love the sisterhood that has introduced me to some of the kindest people and brought me, great friends. I love the academic support that I get from my sisters and that I am encouraged by every week with study hours. I love the opportunities for leadership that have arisen just within my first semester of being a member. But overall I love the support and encouragement that I receive from my sisters no matter what. 

In conclusion, this year was the best year of my life. I learned a lot and I had a lot of fun doing it. I wouldn’t trade anything for the memories that I made and I can’t wait to head back in August. Here’s to what is shaping up to be the best 4 years of my life. 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Travel Outfits: Florida to Colorado

Happy Monday! If you follow me on Instagram(@welldressedash) it’s probably no secret that I’ve been traveling a lot lately. I went from school in North Carolina to home in Georgia to my cousin's wedding in Florida to vacation in Colorado. It was a whirlwind, but I had an amazing time getting to travel! I’m planning on having a whole post up on things to do in Colorado, but I thought until then it would be fun to just share some of the outfits I wore along the way!

 Rehearsal Dinner Outfit:
Dress: Lilly Pulitzer (Similar)
Bracelet: J.Crew Factory

Wedding Outfit:
Shoes: Macy’s
Bracelet: J.Crew Factory

Exploring Vail Outfit: 

Top: Aerie
Shoes: Tory Burch
Bracelets: Alex and Ani

A Day in Downtown Denver Outfit:
Jacket: J.Crew Factory
Pants: Levi’s
Shoes: Tory Burch
Purse: Old Navy
Necklace: KJP
Watch: Kate Spade

I've enjoyed the past almost two weeks of adventures, but I'm looking forward to having some time to relax at home and getting settled into my summer job. Make sure you are following along with my blog and Instagram for all my fun summer adventures!