Balancing High School & Blogging

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Monday y'all and Happy Halloween! I have the day off of school, which makes this Monday a lot better than usual. Today, I'm sharing a post I've been wanting to do for a while: how to balance blogging with high school.

I started Chic in Carolina in March 2015, when I was a sophomore. Chic in Carolina has been a major part of my life since then and especially in my junior and senior years, it has taken a bit more planning to keep new content coming y'all's way (the reason why some weeks posts go up a bit late). Since blogging is one of my favorite things to do in my free time, I have developed some ways to balance the blog with school since starting Chic in Carolina.

Have an agenda just for blogging
I recently started using Designer Blogs's Blog Planner (which you can receive for free by subscribing to their emails) and I love it so far. It is so important to have a space to plan out different posts and also keep track of other blog related things (such as monthly follower counts or sponsorships).

Plan your content calendar ahead of time
If I don't have ideas on my Google Calendar ahead of time for a particular week, it makes the process of writing posts for y'all so much longer and typically doesn't produce the best posts as I'm rushing to come up with something. I always write down (or note in my phone) ideas as they come and then transfer these ideas to my calendar. This helps so much in producing original content that your readers actually want to see and also saves some time as well.

Stay on top of your emails
This is a big one for me as I am so guilty of letting emails pile up in my blog inbox. Before I know it, I have a ton of emails that need responses to so it's so much more efficient to just reply to them ASAP. Also, when working with brands, it is definitely better to respond quickly than several days or weeks later.

Pre-schedule posts on the weekend
Honestly, I write and publish over the weekend because I don't exactly have the time to be writing posts throughout the week. Scheduling everything ahead of time helps me have posts for y'all go up every during busy weeks and also lets me focus on social media during the week.

Keep a running to do list
To-do lists are seriously one my favorite things. Beside using them all the time for school and just life in general, I love using them for the blog as well. Write down everything blog-related you need to do that day or week on your to do list. The action of crossing something of off my list is such a motivator for me so writing something down, even if it's as simple as "email ____ back" or "Instagram", really helps you get that item done.

Schedule Tweets & Facebook for New Posts
Whenever I post a new post, I always tweet or put something on Facebook about the new post. I tend to schedule these ahead of time by using Hootsuite or just Facebook so that way it's taken care of ahead of time and I don't have to worry about it. I also schedule regular tweets on Hootsuite, which is a great way to be active on Twitter without actually being active on Twitter.

Set times that are "for the blog"
Blogging is so much more than simply typing up a post and hitting publish, which I'm sure y'all have realized. I always have quite a bit of blog-related work to do (which I love!) so putting aside time every day to work on the blog for at least a few minutes is so so important. Setting a specific time (let's say 3 PM-4 PM) is important because it establishes that blogging time as part of your routine.

Focus on your main platforms of social media
When life gets super busy, it gets harder to constantly be on all sources of social media. Choose the platforms that are the most important to you and then focus primarily on those during busy times. For instance, I typically focus on Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter rather than Tumblr and Facebook. Quality over quantity is important for social media, so focusing on the important platforms will not only save you time but also boost your following.

Know when to take a break
This seems a bit counterintuitive but there is weeks during the school year that make blogging a bit more challenging (like exams). During these busy times, it may be beneficial to take a blogging break, whether that be a day or a week. Blogging is supposed to be fun so knowing you can take a break whenever you need to is helpful in those weeks when school takes the priority.

How do y'all balance blogging with school or work? Let me know in the comments!

My Chic Week: October 21-27

Friday, October 28, 2016

Happy Friday y'all! Sorry for this post going up a little later than usual but better late than never, right?

Friday was a fairly normal school day and then I nannied after school. After nannying, I ate dinner at home before having to go pick my little sister up from a friend's house- nothing too exciting!

Saturday morning, I was able to sleep in, which was so nice! Once I woke up, I went to a Pure Barre class and then headed home to eat lunch. I decided to go to my local Starbucks for a few hours to be productive and get homework done, which wound up being a successful trip! After getting back home, I pretty much just hung out before going to Mass that night.

On Sunday, I woke up bright and early to go to an 8 AM Pure Barre class and then spent the rest of the morning getting ready for the day as well as working on a few things.

The afternoon was much more fun as I attended another Influence Her Blogger Network Meetup (we previously went shopping and visited a local botanical garden). Annaliese (who is the regional coordinator) planned for us to go apple picking down at Windy Hill Orchard in South Carolina, which was so much fun! Even though the orchard had closed apple picking for the season, we had so much fun walking around, eating delicious apple cider donuts, and then taking blog pictures of course (which you can see in Wednesday's post)!

Mondays seem to be my busiest day of the week this year and this week was no exception as I led a meeting for the Service Committee I'm the Vice President of during lunch, had my Faith Formation class, and also attended a Pure Barre class.

Tuesday and Wednesday were both fairly normal and busy. The quarter ended yesterday so this week was a bit more hectic with assignments to turn in before the quarter ended. I also submitted my last college application Wednesday night, which I am so excited about!

Yesterday was a bit hectic with a Government quiz as well as a Spanish test that was pretty challenging. Thankfully, I had the afternoon off of work so I was able to catch up on some homework and go to a Pure Barre class as well!

On my Radar:

1. Thank goodness it's a long weekend! I have Monday and Tuesday off, which I'm so excited about. I'm working quite a bit this weekend and also going on my last college tour Tuesday but I'm also excited to catch up on some much needed sleep!

3. Love this outfit on Kate!

4. One of my favorite bloggers, Frannie, rebranded this week and I love it

5. My blogger bestie, Riley (read about the time we met up in real life here), posted some amazing recaps of her senior year this week!

Be sure to check out this week's blog posts:
Happy Friday!

Tips for a More Balanced Life

Thursday, October 27, 2016

During the school year, I find it so hard to find balance. My life is so centered around school and then around homework that sometimes it is really discouraging that I don't have free time for some of the things that I love. Junior and senior year have been practically busy so I have definitely learned how to lead a life that is a bit more balanced.

Give yourself one day of the weekend for you
I started doing this in the spring and it has been so helpful. I give myself one day "off" to do whatever I want- whether it's hanging out with friends or go shopping or just hanging out at home relaxing. The other day of the weekend, I do all my homework and get stuff done. This has such a good way to stay balanced because it allows you to have at least one completely school (or work) free day a week.

Learn to say no
I've definitely learned that you can't do everything. Whether it's an extra project for extra credit or a dinner out when you're exhausted, sometimes you just need to say no.

Turn off the electronics before bed
There are days when I'm ready for bed fairly early but wind up going to bed late because I spend a hour scrolling through my phone. Keeping my phone (or iPad) in another room really helps because I'm able to get more sleep but it is also better for your eyes and sleep quality to do so.

Know when to switch out of school/work mode
I'm one of those people who will not stop until everything on my to-do list is checked off. However, this doesn't always provide for a balanced life. It's so important to know when to stop working and spend time relaxing or hanging with friends and family or whatever you enjoy.

Stay on top of emails
This seems counterproductive but hear me out. Dealing with emails as they come rather than letting them pile up is so much more time-efficient. Simply putting emails into folders and cleaning out your emails really organizes everything

Working out has so many benefits- not to mention during a tough workout, you're not thinking about assignments or studying but instead focusing on you. My Pure Barre classes are a school free zone as I don't think about school when I'm at the barre, which is so helpful for me.

Give yourself time to do what you love everyday
Nothing leads to burnout quicker than working 100% of the time. I think it's so important to do something you love everyday whether that means going to get a coffee or reading for 15 minutes before bed.

Get enough Sleep
Never sacrifice sleep to "fit in all in". Sleep needs to be one of those non-negoitables and has a significant effect on your health and mood.

How do you lead a balanced life? Let me know in the comments!

J. Crew & Lilly for Apple Picking

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

York, SC
Over the weekend, a few blogger friends and I went apple picking at a cute little orchard down in York, South Carolina, which was the perfect little day trip from Charlotte. Even though we wound up visiting too late in the season to pick apples, we had such a great time exploring the orchard, eating yummy apple cider donuts, and then taking pictures at both the orchard and the sunflower field nearby.

Our little trip was the perfect excuse for me to break out some of my fall favorites and even though I was a bit hot walking around all afternoon, I love how these pictures turned out! I will be sharing more during Friday's My Chic Week post (read past MCW posts here) but wanted to share my outfit with y'all for now!

Sweater- J. Crew (similar) Scarf- Lilly Pulitzer (similar) Vest- J. Crew (similar) Jeans- Lucky Brand (similarBoots- LL Bean Camp Socks- J. Crew Purse- Longchamp Sunglasses- Kate Spade Watch- Kate Spade Bracelets- David Yurman (similar)

And a fun one for y'all!

Photos by Annaliese of Southern Belle in Training

Easy Halloween Costume Ideas

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Halloween is just around the corner, which I honestly cannot believe. Halloween has never been one of my favorite holidays (I love Thanksgiving and how can you beat Christmas), especially once I became too old to go trick-or-treating. A senior tradition at my school is to dress up on Halloween (or this year, the Friday before since we have Halloween off) and I have been stumped on what to be.

I think I will be dressing up as Eloise as it is a fairly simple costume that's still cute but wanted to share some other costume ideas that you probably already have in your closet if you are in the same boat that I'm in!

This is my plan for Friday- an oxford, a skirt, flats, and a hot pink bow to be Eloise! I may add a pair of suspenders and knee high socks to get further into character but we'll see!


Another costume I've done multiple times is a cowgirl. You take a plaid shirt, jeans, and boots and voila! Super easy and simple!

A ballerina is such a cute and unique costume. I think for most people the skirt would be the only thing you need to buy and you can pair it with a tee, tights, and ballet flats.

What are you being for Halloween? Let me know in the comments!

Senior Pictures

Monday, October 24, 2016

I'm honestly still in disbelief that I'm a senior (and it's October). Senior year is weird because there's days were you feel like you're totally not ready to leave and that you love high school while the next day, you can't wait until college. And honestly these feelings flip flop by the hour haha!

Senior year so far has been full of "senior" things- such as filling out college applications, being accepted into schools (which you can read about here), taking my last SAT ever. But one of the most fun "senior" things was getting my senior pictures taken a few weeks ago.

Going into taking the pictures, I wanted to wear something classic and that was very "me" so I, of course, wound up wearing Lilly in both of my outfits. We took my pictures the last day of September so it wasn't quite fall weather yet I wanted more "fall" outfits to fit the location. I decided on wearing one of my all-time favorite Lilly dresses (that I styled on the blog last fall) with riding boots and pearls for one outfit and then jeans, a Ralph Lauren oxford, and a Lilly scarf that I borrowed from my mom for the other.

I absolutely love the way they turned out and I'm so excited to share them with y'all!

My photographer sent my mom and I flash drive full of pictures (literally 150 pictures) and these are some of my favorites! I would love to hear which ones y'all like the best!

My Chic Week: October 14-20

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Happy Saturday y'all! This post is going up a day later than usual but I'm super excited to catch y'all up on the past week!

Last Friday was a Mass day at school and one of the colleges I'm looking at visited, so it was quite the busy school day. I went to Pure Barre after school and then my family and I had a yummy fondue dinner to celebrate my brother's birthday, which was the next day.

Overall, my weekend was very laid back with not a lot of plans other than working on homework and going to Pure Barre classes. I made some delicious pumpkin cupcakes (which I found on Pinterest) on Saturday and then my Mom and I ventured out to Trader Joe's on Sunday, aka pumpkin spice heaven.

Monday was definitely my busiest day this week with two quizzes and a test. After school, I worked on some homework for a bit before heading out to the Faith Formation class at my Church that I teach. After the class ended, I quickly came home to eat dinner and change before a Pure Barre class that night. Even though I had very little time between Faith Formation and Pure Barre, I'm so glad I took the time because you never regret a workout (after it's finished of course!).

This week was surprisingly calm considering the end of the quarter is next week (which is typically a very stressful week or so with tests and projects galore) but I will never complain about that haha! On Tuesday, the little boy I nanny and I went to the park in Charlotte with a basketball court that was re-decorated in the colors of the Charlotte Hornets. It has been pretty hot this week (finally cooled down a bit yesterday) so I was able to wear my navy chino shorts from J. Crew.

Wednesday was the day my high school took the PSAT so all of the seniors didn't have to come in until the testing was over. I thankfully was able to sleep in a little bit and go to a Pure Barre class in the morning. We had to be at school at 11:30 for lunch and then the games that we had in the afternoon, which wound up being a lot of fun.

Thursday was a fairly normal day as I had a test in my Theology class and also nannied in the afternoon.

Be sure to check out this week's posts:

Happy Saturday!

Too Blessed to Be Stressed (Stress Management Tips)

Thursday, October 20, 2016

It's starting to get to the time of the year that is full of stress. The newness of the year has worn off and the assignments are starting (or have) pilled up. September/October is when I start getting stressed (especially this year with college application deadlines quickly approaching) so I decided it would be appropriate to share with y'all my tips for managing stress!

Breathe in, breathe out
I know for me while I'm doing my homework with something due that night, a test tomorrow, and a million other things to do, it is so easy to get stressed out. To reduce stress in the moment, focus on your breathing a minute or two. It helps you to focus and calm down, which is definitely helpful when you have a lot to do!

Treat yourself
This definitely doesn't need to be anything big but after finishing your homework for instance, treat yourself to a small treat whether it be a cookie or a long bath or an episode of your favorite show on Netflix. Balance is key and these small moments will help relax you after a busy day plus a reward is always helpful in getting things done!

Remember you don't have to do it all
Prioritize what's most important to you. Stuff (saying that generally as it's different for everyone) adds up quickly and it's so easy to find yourself in five clubs, a sport, and working along with managing classes and friends at this time of year. Focus on what makes you happy (and spend less time on what doesn't) and you're bound to be less stressed!

If I'm being completely honest, I barely worked out junior year, which is insane because junior year was definitely a very stressful year for me. Since starting Pure Barre in the summer (which you can read about here), I have definitely realized how much of a mistake that was because working out, no matter what workout you do, is such a great way to get moving as well as to spend a little time outside of your "school zone", which I find really helpful!

Write it all out in your agenda or on a to-do list
Sometimes I get home from school totally overwhelmed with the amount of work I have to do that night. I write all of my homework in my agenda (see how I organize it here) while at school but love using to-do lists as well! The first thing I do when I'm sitting at my desk to get stuff done is write out a list of everything I need to do that night (even if it's like shower or put away laundry). Visually seeing all I need to do really helps me because most of the time, it's not as bad as you initially thought it would be!

Have a little me time
Even though I am an extrovert, I love having me time especially after a long and stressful day. Curling up in bed with a good book or an episode of Netflix is always a go-to after finishing homework and calms me down before bed!

Light a candle and play some music
Even with a mile-long to-do list, lighting a candle and playing some music can help reduce stress while actually working on your homework or whatever you need to get done. Plus, they're both pretty easy to do!

Make sure to get enough sleep
I am one of those people who needs a lot of sleep to function and if I don't get a lot of sleep, there is no way I am at my best the next day! Even though it's hard at times, be sure to get to bed at a reasonable hour because your mood will be so much better with a few extra hours of me time.

How do you manage your stress? Let me know in the comments!
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