Lauren Conrad Feature

Hey all!  I know I haven’t been posting as often as I should, but I have been very busy this summer!  (I know, it seems so backward!)

 

I am super excited that Lauren Conrad chose to feature lil’ ol’ me on her Gallery Spotlight: Our Fab Members post on 6/27/2012!!!

I feel like an absolute superstar for being featured in this way, and I truly could not have been recognized by someone I admire more!  (Sorry for all the exclamation points, but I’m obviously on cloud nine over this fantastic news)

Anyway, I hope that you all will take a moment to check out LC’s page at http://www.laurenconrad.com/ because it is what initially inspired me to start blogging.  I really enjoy the daily posts, and I find a number of them to be really helpful!  If you enjoy my blog at all, I am 100% sure that you will adore hers!

Thank you so much to all of you for your support, and thank you to Miss Conrad for this honor.  I couldn’t be happier!

XOXO

It only took me a year of law school to realize why I came to law school…

Tonight, I was replying to a prospective law student’s questions, and I was trying to explain what made me finally decide to attend law school.  I typed and typed away, and wasn’t really thinking too hard about what I was writing, just letting it flow.  I went back and read the sentence I had just written, and this is what I saw:

 

I realized that there is absolutely nothing that should stand in the way of realizing my potential, and I should do what makes me happy to reach my goals.

 

Reading that sentence literally gave me goosebumps.  I realized in that moment that the reason I got the courage to go to law school was because I finally believed in myself, realized who I was and what I could become, and set fear aside because I deserve it.  Seriously, one of the biggest epiphanies of my life.  This realization came in the middle of finals week in my 1L year.

 

To make this moment even more special, the motto of Alpha Xi Delta, the sorority that helped me become who I am, is “realize your potential.”  I wasn’t thinking about that when I wrote the above sentence, but obviously that organization and my sisters have had a pretty amaXing impact on my life.  It was a moment where everything seemed to come together, and I hope that I can remember this feeling.

 

Anyway, I just felt that I had to share this ah-ha moment in my life.  Hopefully this post will be a good reminder to myself when I feel defeated and like I can’t handle the stress, and hopefully it will have a positive impact on someone else having a hard time making a difficult leap into the unknown.

 

XOXO

 

Friday Favorites

After comlpeting my first final of the semester, I’m happy to be thinking about something more fun!  Soon, I will have successfully completed my 1L year… I can’t wait!

Epic Study Fort! It may not be very practical, but it was sure fun and made studying suck less!

Favorite confidence booster: I have always been very shy and had difficulty in social situations. This was such a great feeling, and I totally kicked social anxiety's ass!

Favorite tailgate game: Corn Hole! You don't have to be sober or drunk to play this one, and its tons of fun! - ALSO, totally in love with Noelle's seersucker shorts!

Speaking of seersucker... I LOVE just about anything seersucker! Click the photo to take you to an awesome blog post about it!

Favorite purchase this week: This Ann Taylor Loft tank! They were on sale for $15 and came in all sorts of adorable summery colors, but I fell head over heels for this amazing teal color. It's even more vibrant in person! I also found my favorite sweater in white and managed to get this tank and the cardigan for less than $30... Love me a Loft sale!

I made s'more of these s'more treats for the Blue and White tailgate last weekend! This time, I made three varieties: the original, some with peanutbutter added, and some with nutella instead of chocolate. (The ones in this picture are with peanutbutter!) Let me tell you, they were ALL delicious and were all a huge hit! I also really loved these pink and white sprinkles, via my most recent care package from my awesome mom!

I hope you enjoyed this week’s edition of Friday Favorites!  Please leave a comment if there’s anything you’d like to see in the next post!

XOXO

Sunshine on a Cloudy Day

Best friends EVER!

Ever have one of those days?  You know, one of those really awful ones, where you feel like the whole world sucks?

Yeah, me too.  And I had one Sunday.  After a, let’s just say “rough,” night Saturday night, when my friends heard about what had happened, they surprised me with a present!  I was out doing some grocery shopping when I got a text asking if I was home.  I replied that I was not, but would probably be in an hour or so.  When I walked in the door, I found fresh tulips and a box of donuts on my family room table… I literally cried tears of happiness when I saw it.  Realizing that through all the difficulty and hardship, I had some friends who cared enough about me to do something so unexpected and so incredibly nice reaffirmed my faith in people at a time when I really needed it.  I am more than grateful to these wonderful girls.

I hope that this story sheds some light on a few key points:

First, bad days are going to happen.  They just are.  And there’s nothing you can do to stop them.  So let it pass and find something to be happy about later on… it helps!

Second, doing something nice for someone can have a profound effect on his or her life.  It doesn’t have to be something big or something expensive, but a thoughtful gesture can turn someone’s awful day into a good one.  Keep that in mind because you never know what kind of happiness you can bring to someone’s life by going just a little out of your way!

Finally, be grateful for the good things in your life!  Sometimes, it can be difficult to see them through the haze of a tough time.  And that’s totally okay.  Just remember that you have to keep moving through the haze and allow yourself to see the sunshine… and when you do, be thankful for its warmth!

Although we may not always stop and think about it, we all have someone (or a few someones!) in our life who we can count on and who truly cares.  I wanted to take the opportunity to share this story because I am so proud to call these girls (and a few others, of course!) my friends.  I hope that you have a similar story, and I would love for you to share it in the comments!  I think it’s good to remember the things that bring us joy and to me, this story is a perfect example of that.  I hope that this brought a little sunshine to your day, too!

XOXO

Such beautiful tulips!

Donuts with a note 🙂

What beautiful flowers!

Drink Hot Chocolate

A Part of the “Getting in the Christmas Spirit” Series

Keurig Dark Hot Choclate K-Cup, Coffee Mate Peppermint Mocha, Reddi Whip, chocolate sprinkes, and Peppermint sprinkles!

One of the best parts about winter is cuddling up with a blanket and slipper socks, warming up with a hot cup of cocoa!  I have turned hot chocolate into a bit of an art, trying different combinations and flavors to make the tradition even more fun!  There is pretty much no end to what you can do with hot chocolate, and you don’t have to make it complicated!  Here are some of my favorite suggestions:

For the hot chocolate:

The easiest way is to just use the little packets you buy at the store!  Many brands are delicious, so pick what you like.  A few things to consider here:

  • If you’re trying to be health-conscious… well take a look at the nutrition facts carefully.  Many of the low fat, lite, low sugar, etc. options aren’t actually that helpful.  I took a close look and realized that the way they often make the grams and percentages lower is that there’s LESS of the MIX in each packet.  So it’s not really helping that much, you’re just getting a more watered-down version of the regular stuff.
  • For the best flavor and taste, one packet isn’t enough!  Most coffee mugs these days are much larger than they were back in the day.  For a “normal” size mug, use 1 1/2 packets.  For one of the large Starbucks style ones, you may need two.
  • You can make great hot chocolate out of packets, even with water!  Just add a little milk at the end for the creaminess.  This helps keep it lighter than if you used all milk, but you still get the benefit of the creaminess.  I probably use only about 1/8 cup milk in mine.
  • If you have one of the single-serving coffee makers (like Keurig, Tassimo, or the like) they probably have products available for hot chocolate, too.  It works great, but make sure you don’t use too much water when you make it!

You can also make hot chocolate from scratch, which is absolutely delightful.  It does take a lot more time and effort, though, so be prepared.  It’s definitely better than the stuff out of a pouch or a can, so it can really be wirth the extra trouble!  Then again, the packets can be great, too, so don’t feel you NEED to go home-made!

Flavor options:

There are lots of ways to achieve different flavors.  You can start with flavored packets, add flavor syrup, or even use flavored coffee mate in place of the little bit of milk!  Here are some of my faves…

  • Peppermint Cocoa: I love peppermint mocha, so removing the coffee from the mix is noooo problem!  Make cocoa the normal way, then add a bit of Coffee Mate Peppermint Mocha to taste!
  • Mexican Hot Chocolate:  I used a cookbook recipe to make this from scratch, and it is delish!  You can find tons of recipes online, but the cinnamon adds just a little bite and an extra bit of warmth!
  • Cocoa Classics:  Land-O-Lakes makes a variety of flavored hot cocoas in packets (for these, you don’t need to do the 1 1/2 or 2 usually!) that are awesome!  It seems they no longer sell my favorite (it had graham cracker flavor!) but there are tons of other great options.  You can find them in most grocery stores, and they sell them individually so you can try different flavors!  Even if you don’t want to buy them, they can serve as good inspiration for flavor ideas!
  • White Chocolate:  Some brands offer a white chocolate option, which can be delicious on its own or in combination with any of the other flavors!

Toppings and extras:

There are different options for toppings… you can go with or without, but I think it’s more fun with! 🙂

  • Cool Whip:  I guess a lot of people like Cool Whip as a topping, but I’ve never been much of a fan.  Oh well, it’s still out there and you can use it if you like it!
  • Whipped cream:  Ahhh, my favorite!  I prefer Reddi-Whip, but that’s just a personal preference.  Even their fat free is really good, and it doesn’t add much in the way of calories (unlike if you order at Starbucks) because it has so much air!  They even offer chocolate whipped cream, if you wanna go that route!
  • Sprinkles:  YUM YUM!  Sprinkles of any kind make hot chocolate more fun.  You can use holiday colors, sprinkles shaped like stuff, chocolate ones, or even flavored sprinke crystals.  One of my holiday favorites is the peppermint ones, but you can use any flavor you like that matches with the flavors you’ve already chosen.  You can also use chocolate shaving style sprinkles, though I never have them on hand.  One of my all-time favorites is the Pampered Chef Sweet Cinnamon Sprinkle.  SOOO GOOD!
  • Syrup:  You can also drizzle some of your favorite flavored syrups on top… caramel, chocolate, strawberry… whatever you have and like!
  • Hot Chocolate Surprise:  You can also do a Hot Chocolate Surprise, where you hide something at the bottom of the cup!  You can try different things (as long as they don’t get soggy), but my favorite is a Hershey’s kiss!
  • Stirrers:  I’ve seen a lot of cute stirring options online, but I haven’t really used many myself.  You can buy pre-made stirrers, or you can make them yourself using candy canes, peppermint sticks, or stirring spoons, like these!

I hope you enjoy these ideas, and please do share your own favorites!

Decoration Heaven

A Part of the “Getting in the Christmas Spirit” Series

Sometimes, one of the best ways to get into the Christmas Spirit is to find a great place to look at Christmas decorations.  We found this wonderful little place that is an entire two story building of Christmas ornaments, trees, and decorations!  I am in love!  It was like walking into a winter wonderland… but cozy, warm, and happy!  Usually, we enjoy going to craft stores to see what they have, but this place was so cool because it was entirely full of Christmas!  I only have a couple of photos because… well, it was a store.  Haha.  But i hope you enjoy, and take the time to find some joy in the beauty that comes along with the holiday season!

Looks like Santa's workshop 🙂

They hung a tree upside down and decorated it like a chandelier... SUCH a cool idea!

Group Gift

A Part of the “Getting in the Christmas Spirit” Series

This year, I have been blessed with a new group of amazing friends.  Moving across the country to start law school was such a scary thing, and the wonderful girls that I have become close with have made the transition so much easier.  I don’t think that I could have gotten through my first semester without their support and the fun times that we’ve shared.  To show my appreciation, I decided to surprise them with holiday / good luck on finals gifts.

It’s important that when you do gifts for a large group of people who spend a lot of time together, you make sure that the gifts are not terribly different.  I don’t mean to say that you have to get the same gift for everyone, though that can be a good option.  However, if you decide not to, it’s really important to consider that everyone will see what everyone else got.  You don’t want to spend $40 on one person and only $5 on another… the person who you spent $40 will feel awkward and the person you spent $5 will have his or her feelings hurt. try to keep the gifts within the same basic price range!  If you do decide to give everyone the same gift, make sure that it is appropriate for every member of the group.  Don’t buy a bottle of wine for everyone if you know some of your friends don’t drink… whether you decide to just give them the wine to keep the gifts the same or you decide to get them a different gift, it will be awkward and not very tactful.

 

In this case, I found a gift that is basically the same, but personalized in a small way.  I think that this was a great way to go, because it shows a little extra thoughtfulness above buying the exact same gift for each person.  The only difference between the gifts was the color, so everyone got the same thing, just in her favorite color.  I got the idea from Lauren Conrad’s blog.  These Pura Vida bracelets are a great gift because they’re reasonably priced (I was able to buy 14 total!), they’re adorable, they’re trendy, and they give back to the community in more than one way.  You can check out their website or LC’s blog for more information.  Here’s a quote from her page:

“What you may not know is that Pura Vida is more than a hot accessory, it’s a movement. The phrase “Pura Vida” means ‘pure life’ in Spanish. It’s about learning to enjoy life slowly and celebrate good fortune while not taking anything for granted. Hand made in Costa Rica by the area’s finest artisans, these bracelets represent living life to the fullest and are meant to be a celebration of each day as a gift. …  “

 

Given the meaning behind these bracelets and the fact that they donate portions of the proceeds to charity, I thought it would be a perfect gift for the girls who have been working so hard in law school.  I made sure that they arrived during finals, so the bracelets could be a reminder to keep things in perspective as well as to serve as a good luck charm during exams.  Getting the same gift for everyone (I got one for myself, too!) was also a good way to tie us together before we all went our separate ways for winter break.  Everyone seemed to really appreciate them, and it brought me a lot of joy to see everyone wearing them.

This photo was taken at lunch after our last final... what an awesome way to celebrate after completing our first semester of law school!

Anyway, I just wanted to share a gift idea with a couple of tips on holiday gift-giving to large groups.  Hope you enjoy, and please feel free to share any of your favorite gift ideas!

 

ONLY 10 DAYS LEFT UNTIL CHRISTMAS!!! 😀