Thursday, August 25, 2016

A Letter to Juniors

Happy Thursday! I'm back with another edition of my tips for high school freshmen, sophomores, and juniors (check out the posts for freshmen and for sophomores) as I'm sharing my tips for juniors today!

Junior year is definitely a roller coaster as it's full of amazing ups and not-so-amazing downs. For me, junior year brought a lot of unexpected change and definitely allowed me to become a better student. I put together my best tips for all of y'all juniors so helpfully it makes this big year a bit easier!

Make sure to sleep. Sometimes during junior year, it will seem like you have to much to do not enough time to do it. But don't sacrifice your sleep! If it comes down to studying an extra 30 minutes when I have the gist of the material or sleeping, you can guess what I'll choose. Plus, sleep helps you retain what you learn so definitely don't slack off on sleep!

Start touring colleges in the fall. If you are like me, you probably have a decent size list of schools you're interested by junior year. The best way to better "know" these colleges is to go tour. I talked about this in my post of tips for the early part of the college admissions process (which you should definitely check out) but touring a school has allowed me to see that I actually love a school I thought I wouldn't or didn't really like a school that I thought I would. Get a head start and go tour some schools in the fall so you don't feel like you have to cram all of your visits in during summer. Also, if you tour during the fall, classes will be in sessions and you can have a better feel of what campus life is like at that school.

Meet with your college counselor. I am so fortunate to have an amazing college counselor at my school to help me with everything college related as it has made the process that much smoother. Be sure to start meeting with your counselor fairly frequently as they are a great resource in the college process.

Coffee, coffee, coffee. Honestly, I wasn't much of a regular coffee drinker until junior year. Sure I would have an occasional iced coffee or a latte at Starbucks but I wasn't a bring your mug full of coffee to school girl. Well, junior year definitely changed that and I don't think I could survive in the morning without (I had Pre Calc first period too last year so I definitely needed the caffeine).

Use an agenda. Y'all have heard me blab about my agenda countless times here at Chic in Carolina (I'm planning on showing y'all how I organize mine soon but check out how I organized my agenda last year for now!) but I definitely rely on mine way more than you think I would. Junior year is definitely busy and agendas are perfect for keeping track of all of your tests, quizzes, due dates, meetings, college tours, and outings with friends (and more!).

Things aren't always going to be the same way. This was a big struggle for me last year. Junior year brings a lot of change (which I share a bit more about in this reflection post). First semester, my classes were so different as I was taking harder classes so the workload was a lot bigger for me. Then second semester, I went through some stuff with friends that definitely made me realize that things aren't always going to be the same way. Not saying this to scare y'all but it's definitely worth knowing this going into the year.

Take the SAT and ACT seriously. Junior year is the most common time to take these standardized tests and you'll probably hear your friends and classmates talk about them a billion times before the year is over. These tests are a part of the admissions process for college so be sure to put your full effort into them and prepare for them by getting a tutor, asking for extra help at school, or doing some online studying (I know Kahn Academy partnered with College Board for the SAT).

Stay organized. I am a tad bit organization obsessed but staying organized is one of the best things you can do for yourself junior year. Having everything organized makes it easier for you to find things meaning less stress, which is always welcome!

Balance is key. Though school will keep you super busy, it's also important to have a life. Having things that aren't school related after school is a great way to stay sane. Schedule lunches with friends (on the weekends), have a job, get a volunteer position, etc. Also, during the school year, I always give myself one full day of the weekend to do whatever I want (if it's hanging out with friends or just hanging out at home relaxing) and not to stress about schoolwork. This definitely helps me to stay balanced as well and to give a me a bit of a break after a busy week.

"Me time" is key to sanity. You'll get super busy junior year but it's important to still take care of yourself. Go for a run, use a pretty bath bomb, go to a barre class, paint your nails, indulge in an episode of your favorite show on Netflix, use a face mask, whatever you love! Having me time is such a good stress reliever and gives you a bit of a break from the hustle and bustle of school!

Continue to be involved and work up to leadership roles. Notice a theme in these posts? Involvement is a super important part of high school and I think it's great to continue to stay involved in organizations every year. Junior year is a great time to adopt leadership roles in these organizations as well. Even if you don't become the President of your Student Council, becoming a leader in your school is never a bad thing and is good for your college applications (but don't be a leader in an organization for that reason alone).

Challenge yourself in classes but know when to ask for help. I have always been advised by my college counselor to gradually increase the rigor of your classes each year so by junior year, your classes will definitely be harder than the ones you took freshman year for instance. My junior year, I personally challenged myself by taking Honors Pre Calc and Honors Biology, which have always been harder classes for me as I'm not really a math/science girl. However, taking harder classes doesn't mean you're completely on your own to getting everything done! If you have questions about the test you got back/why you got the grade that you did, go see your teacher during a free period or during lunch. If you need a little help on your essay, email a friend and see if she'll (or he'll) edit it for you and maybe offer to edit her's/his in return. This will make your life so much easier, trust me!

Are you a junior this year? What tips do you have for juniors in high school? Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A Letter to Sophomores

It's Wednesday, which means it's my first day of school! I'm a senior so I'm excited for the new year as well as nervous. I can't believe summer is actually ending as it feels like I started my junior year yesterday!

Anyways, I am back today sharing my tips for high school sophomores. This post is part of a mini series on Chic in Carolina as I shared my tips for freshmen yesterday and will be sharing my tips for juniors tomorrow!

It's ok to do things on your own. Honestly, before sophomore year, I was not very comfortable going into something without a friend whether that be a club, a class, or whatever. I had quite a few classes sophomore year without any of my close friends in them and it definitely taught me that it's okay and actually good to do things on your own. Don't not sign up for something you're interesting in or don't take a class just because you don't have friends in it!

It doesn't really matter when you get your driver's license. Most people turn 16 during their sophomore year and it depends on what state you live in but if your state is like mine, most people get their driver's license or are eligible to get their driver's license during their sophomore year. But at the end of the day it doesn't matter if you're the first or the last of your friend group to get your license! I actually failed the driving test the first time I took it and remember thinking that waiting a week was such a long time and that I was never going to get my license! Looking back at it, it was so silly to stress so much about it because it honestly doesn't matter!

Keep your grades up. Continue to study hard and put full effort into your school work! You'll definitely thank yourself later!

Talk to your parents about college. College seems so far during sophomore year but it's definitely never to early to think about it. Asking your parents some of the harder questions about college is so helpful so you know what to look for in colleges is important! Budget is definitely one of those questions and knowing your financial state (How much are your parents willing to pay?, Is it all on you?, Will you be applying for loans?, etc.) early is good for planning ahead for scholarships and making a smart decision down the road.

Be involved. Sense a trend yet? Involvement is such an important part of high school. During sophomore year, continue to participate in the organizations you joined last year and join one or two (or more depending on how busy you are) more!

It may not look like it now, but enjoy every moment of sophomore year. Right now, I would definitely say sophomore year was my favorite year of high school so far. Did I think that during sophomore year? Nope! I remember hearing upperclassmen say that sophomore year was their favorite year when I was a sophomore and just rolling my eyes but looking back at it, I totally agree! Even if your don't think this will be true, enjoy it!

What tips do you have for high school sophomores? Are you a rising sophomore? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A Letter to Freshmen

Happy Tuesday y'all! Today is my last day of summer, which I am so upset about as I am so not ready to return to the world of homework and projects and tests! It's also crazy to think that I am about to begin my last year of high school and this time next year I'll be heading off to college! Thankfully, I have a lot going on to distract me from school momentarily like the fact that the Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale is still going on, which you can see my picks for here!

Anyways, today is the start of a mini series on Chic in Carolina: advice for high school freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. And as you have may have guessed, I will be starting off with my advice (a "letter") to freshmen today!

Get involved. I am so thankful that one of my teachers who is a family friend as well pulled me aside my freshman year and asked me to come to a meeting for the founding of the Service Committee at my school. I'm now the Vice President of the Committee and can't imagine how different things would be if I didn't attend that meeting. Even if your "call to action" is a bit more subtle, it's so important to get involved freshmen year. Most schools have a variety of organizations to chose from and it's an awesome way to meet new people or to get to know people you already know a bit better!

Expect change. For better or for worse, high school isn't going to be exactly like middle school and, honestly, it will be hard to expect that at times. I go to a small school and I went to middle (and elementary) school with the majority of my classmates so I wasn't really expecting things to be a lot different. The first semester was a bit of an adjustment period for me (I think that's fairly normal) but you definitely find "your place" second semester.

Take your classes seriously. Freshman year does matter! Even though your freshman year grades may not be looked at as much when it comes to college applications, having a solid foundation in your GPA is super important. Studying hard freshman year and developing these study habits (more on this a bit below) are especially helpful for just preparing for the years to come.

Ask for help. It's totally ok to ask for help whether that means sticking around a few minutes after school to have your teacher or an upperclassmen read your essay, submitting test corrections on a test you didn't do so hot on, or asking your advisor or homeroom teacher general questions about school. There's nothing wrong in doing this and it will actually help you out in the long run!

Be open to new friendships. As I mentioned, I've gone to school with the majority of my classmates for a while but that doesn't mean you can't meet new friends. Be nice to everyone and just know that people tend to grow from the person they were in middle school (thankfully) so don't let that stop you!

Don't be scared. TV shows make freshman year look so much scarier than it actually is. I promise you won't be shoved into a locker and your teachers aren't out to fail you (the opposite actually).

Find what study habits work for you. Going off of taking your classes seriously, freshman year is the time to figure out what works for you study wise! Are you better off taking notes on your computer or by hand? Are you a notecard person or do you prefer Quizlet? Figuring these out will help you so much in classes and establish that foundation for success!

What tips do you have for freshmen? Are you an incoming freshmen? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale Picks

Today's the day y'all! The Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale! It started at 8 AM and I thought I would pop in and share with y'all my favorite items that are available in the sale. Before you start shopping, be sure to check out my size guide for items that should be included in the sale, my tips for the sale (1 & 2), and my tips for the morning of the sale!

Are you shopping the Lilly sale today? What have you bought so far? Let me know in the comments!

Friday, August 19, 2016

My Chic Week: August 12-18

What a week! Even though I had the week off from work, this week was still crazy! I head back to school next week so this week was a frenzy of meetings, college applications, hanging out with friends, petsitting, and Pure Barre classes. As y'all read this, I'll be en route to the beach for the weekend with the family I nanny for (best work trip ever am I right?) so thankfully I have one last trip before going back to school on Wednesday!

I worked in the afternoon on Friday, which was really nice because I had the chance to sleep in and then enjoy a relaxed morning blogging in bed.

I went to my usual Pure Barre class at noon and then met up with one of my best friends at Starbucks. We caught up for a bit and then wound up shopping for a bit (I bought this top from Lululemon and I've already worn it to Pure Barre twice this week. 

After shopping, I headed to work, where I pretty much built Legos for a few hours haha! Not a bad job at all and Legos can actually be pretty complicated! I then headed home for a pizza dinner with my family!

Saturday started off pretty early as I went over to the family that I petsat for this week's house (I typically babysit for them) to learn about their dog. I had a pretty calm morning/afternoon but my family and I did go over to my next door neighbor's new house for dinner. We've lived next to them for thirteen years so it has definitely been weird not having them next door but their new house is gorgeous!

My #ootn: Lilly Pulitzer Iona Top, Necklace, Chinos, Sandals, Watch

Sunday was a pretty relaxing day as I just petsat and blogged! Nothing too exciting!

Monday morning, I had a meeting at a local coffee shop to go over some service committee stuff with one of my friends. I'm the Vice President and she's the President so it's been a lot of fun so far working together to plan everything!

I spent the rest of the day at Pure Barre, petsitting, blogging, and working on some of the items on my  to-do list!

Tuesday morning, my mom and I let the dog I petsat this week outside and then ran a few errands. I had a Starbucks reward so while she went to the grocery store, I grabbed a coffee for me and a frappuccino for my younger sister!

I then met up with my friend Renee of Gimme Glamour for lunch on the lake. It was so fun catching up with her before she heads off to college in a few weeks!

Being bloggers, we had to walk around the restaurant's docks after we ate for some OOTD posts for Instagram (follow me here!).

After lunch, I headed back home before going to Pure Barre and doing some more petsitting! Tuesday night after dinner, my siblings and I did jump in the pool for a bit, which was a lot of fun! I've been so busy this summer so it was nice to just enjoy the pool for a bit!

Wednesday was a super busy and started off very early with dropping my brother off at Driver's Ed and then a dermatologist appointment.

I meet up with Amy of Pastel n Pink for lunch and oh my gosh y'all, it was so much fun! We took outfit pictures together and then did a bit of shopping as well! Afterwards, I had an eyebrow wax and then camped out in Starbucks for a bit to get some blogging done! I then went to a Pure Barre class and then went over to petsit!

Once I finally got home, my brother and I decided to go to Chick-fil-a for some dinner and then I spent the rest of the night working on my to-do list haha!

On Thursday, I had a meeting with my college counselor to go over application stuff at school, which was so weird being back during the summer months. Over the school year, we had little ducklings but I was shocked to see a big white duck walking around campus!

I went to my usual Pure Barre class for the last time this summer (actually pretty sad about it) and then headed back to school to work on a project for Service Committee with a friend. Then, I came back home to get all packed up for my beach trip!

On my Radar:

1. The Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale starts on Monday at 8 AM! I am so excited and already have my wishlist written out! Be sure to check out this post and this post for tips, this post for tips for the day of, and this post for a size guide of my favorites that probably will be included in the sale!

2. I love Carly's vlog of her doggie playdate with KJP and Sarah's pup, Bennie!

3. As mentioned before, I'm heading to the beach today so be sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter to stay up to date!

4. J. Crew just came out with new arrivals and they are gorgeous! Can't wait to see them in stores next week!

5. One of my favorite bloggers, Kelly of Kelly in the City, just had a baby girl whose the cutest thing!

Be sure to check out my posts from this past week:

Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Prints & Pom Poms

Happy Friday Eve y'all (isn't that so much fun than Thursday?)! I'm back to sharing another fun outfit post from my vacation to Upstate New York and I'm so excited to share this fun Lilly Pulitzer dress with y'all today! Unfortunately, it's unavailable online at the moment, which is actually a good thing because that means it may be in the big online sale, which will probably be this Monday (I feel like I'm a broken record right now saying that but it should be Monday haha). This dress is also included in my fit guide post for the sale in case you're interested in purchasing it in the sale!

Anyways, this was the perfect casual yet cute outfit for Saturday Night Mass and dinner followed by a stop at our favorite ice cream place in the Adirondacks (seriously the best soft serve ever!).

Dress- Lilly Pulitzer (full name- Harper Embellished T-Shirt Dress in Pool Blue Any Fins Possible) Sandals- Tory Burch Necklace- Kendra Scott (similar linked) Watch- Kate Spade Bracelets- Lilly Pulitzer (Splash into Summer Gift with Purchase)

Thanks for reading and Happy Friday Eve!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Back-to-School Closet Essentials {Collab with Simply Sarah Rose}

Today, I am so excited to be sharing with y'all a fun collab with Sarah Rose of Simply Sarah Rose. We are both sharing our closet essentials for back to school.

This year is a bit different for me as I will be allowed to "dress up" for school instead of wearing my uniform. I've been wearing an uniform since the third grade when I started at my private elementary/middle school and honestly I loved it. Uniforms are so easy as you just have to throw it on in the morning and don't have to plan out outfits or anything.

But, I am super excited for a bit of a change this year and to wear some of my favorites outfits to school. The dress code is pretty conservative as you can wear pants but no jeans, your skirts/dresses have to be a certain length, and you can't wear anything strapless/off-the-shoulder/spaghetti strap. I will definitely be sharing my OOTD'S with y'all in the future but for now, let's talk about some things every girl should own for back-to-school!

A good pair of jeans- For those of y'all with a different dress code than me, jeans are such an essential. Jeans literally go with everything and are a great way to stay comfy for a long day of class!

Cardigans- I don't know about y'all but my school is always freezing. I always carry a cardigan/sweater/jacket with me but love how cardigans keep you warm but also make you look a bit more put together. The Lilly Pulitzer Amalie Cardigan is my favorite because the colors perfectly match all of your favorite Lilly prints!

Easy throw on dresses- For those mornings when you want to look nice but don't want to put on a ton of effort into it. Every girl needs at least one in her closet!

Chic ballet flats- For school, I am a huge fan of wearing ballet flats as I'm not a huge sneaker girl outside of the gym/running errands and heels don't always work for long school days. I wear flats pretty much everyday and don't know what I would do without them!

A watch- Some of the rooms in my school don't have clocks so I've found it's necessary to wear a watch to keep track of the time. Plus it's such a fun accessory to jazz up your #armparty!

Tunics- Tunic style tops are always a go to for me during the school year as they have the power to dress up any outfit. You can pair them with jeans, white pants, or skirts! My favorite is the Lilly Pulitzer Elsa Top (seriously I own like 5 not even kidding) but can get pretty pricy so be sure to look for them in the Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale which should be on Monday (be sure to check out my fit guide for all of my favorite Lilly this season here).

Riding Boots- Even though it's too hot in North Carolina to even think about putting out boots on, fall and riding boots season is just around the corner. Back to school always makes me a bit more ready for fall even summer is definitely one of my favorite times of the year. I personally love my Tory Burch pair but had a Ralph Lauren pair before then that were also great. Nordstrom also has a great selection of riding boots too!

A Wristlet- For high school girls, having a good wristlet is so helpful! I am a total purse girl but hate bringing my giant tote bag (which you can peek inside of here). The solution? Bringing a wristlet to store those items that you need at all times (ex. driver's license and some cash). Mine is Lilly that is a few years old but love this new print with the darling elephants!

White Pants- Even though summer break may be over that doesn't mean summer temperatures are going to disappear. Perfect for those first few hot fews of the school year!

A striped shirt- I mean duh! Striped shirts can be worn so many ways (with a skirt, with jeans, with white pants, with a scarf, with a fun necklace, etc.) and definitely should a part of every closet!

Fun, statement necklaces- Jewelry, especially fun necklaces, is the best way to add a unique element to an outfit and make it seem totally different than before!

A neutral skirt that goes with everything- The J. Crew City Mini skirt is the best! If you buy one in a neutral color (navy, black, or a tan), it will go with all sorts of tops and shoes so you can wear it multiple different ways!

Sandals- Again, it's still going to be hot for a while so sandals are the perfect thing to wear in August and September. My favorites are Jack Rogers as they add a classy look to any outfit!

Colorful scarves- If your outfit is more on the neutral side, a scarf is the perfect way to jazz it up a bit! If your school is a freezer like mine is, this is another way to stay a bit more warm.

Shift dresses- A bit more dressy than your typical day dress, a shift dress is the perfect option for those when you want to look a bit more put together whether it's for picture day, a meeting, or just because! I have quite a few Lilly shifts I've amassed over the years and can't wait to wear them all this year!

What are your closet essentials for back to school? Let me know in the comments!