Thursday, June 30, 2016

June Roundup

I can't believe it's already the last day of June! I know we all say this every month, but this month went by so fast. And guys, get this: the first day of July (tomorrow) means we're halfway through 2016 and halfway to 2017! That is so crazy!

Today I'm sharing with you my roundup for the month of June, including some of my favorite links from around the web this month, as well as all of my own posts from the month. This is my second time doing a roundup post at the end of the month, and so far I'm really enjoying it (and hope you are too)!

Without further ado, here is my June roundup:


My favorite links from this month:

This Verily article about creating a wardrobe that goes with everything is excellent! It's a guide on how to build a base wardrobe of some key pieces that can be mixed + matched and worn with anything.

One more Verily article for you, and it's also excellent. This one compares our idea of leisure time to the leisure time experienced by characters in Jane Austen's novels. Their days were just as long as ours are, but the distractions we have today (like our phones) prevent us from making the most of our leisure time.

Abigail's post about beginning blogger photography is so informative and helpful! I'm an amateur / wannabe photographer and would really like to improve my photography, especially for my blog ~ so this post was just what I needed!

Kayla's post about creating Pinterest-friendly images is also super helpful! Creating high-quality images to go along with my blog posts is something I've been trying to work on, and this post is a great guide for doing just that!

Leas' post about a baby's love is so beautiful. She compares the love that her own baby has for her with the love of the Christ child for all of us, and it offers some truly beautiful food for reflection.

Mariah's poem about saying yes to Christ and giving up everything to follow Him is amazing and beautiful.

Lauren's striped midi dress ~ which she made herself ~ is so adorable. I'm particularly partial to it because stripes and dresses are two of my all-time favorite things. Also, her blog has a new name and a new direction, and it's really exciting ~ you should totally check it out!


My posts from this month:

Currently: June

May Recap and June Goals

Highlights of England 2015

Instagram Roundup, Vol. I

8 Packing Hacks to Help You Pack Smarter

7 Fun Facts about Me: The Versatile Blogger Award

Summer Capsule Wardrobe

7 Tips for Stress-Free Air Travel

5 Weeks in Europe in a Carry-on

Did you enjoy any of this month's links?

Sincerely,
~Stephanie

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

5 Weeks in Europe in a Carry-on


Very soon, I'll be embarking on a 5-week trip to Europe (France and Poland specifically), and I could not be more excited! Lately I've been spending lots of time getting myself ready for the trip, and one important part of that has been deciding what clothes to bring. Five weeks is a long time to be away, and at first I was nervous ~ would I need to pack five weeks' worth of clothes?!

Thankfully, I'll have access to washing machines while I'm overseas, so the answer to that question is no. So instead, I'll be bringing 7-8 days' worth of clothes, and packing them into a carry-on (a 50-liter hiking backpack) and a personal item (a smaller day backpack).

I've selected 7 shirts, 1 pair of capris, 3 skirts, and 2 sweaters/layers from my summer capsule wardrobe, which will create a total of over 20 outfit combinations. I'll also be bringing a blue scarf as an accessory and a pair of shorts for particularly hot days. As for shoes, I'll be bringing two pairs of good walking shoes and two other pairs for more low-key outings.

Here is a visual of how I'm tackling packing for 5 weeks in Europe in a carry-on:

C L O T H E S

As you can see, all of my tops, bottoms, and layers are neutral-colored, versatile pieces that can be mixed and matched super easily. I can create a variety of outfits with just a handful of items, and it'll definitely be enough to get me through 5 weeks.

S H O E S

A pair of sneakers and my Birkenstocks will be my heavy duty walking shoes, and my Keds and flat sandals will be there for backup or casual wear. These shoes are also neutral colored and go perfectly with any and all of the clothes I'm bringing.

So there you have it! If you're going on a long trip soon, don't worry about having to pack your entire closet! We've all been guilty of over-packing when it comes to clothes, and it's an easy trap to fall into. But it really is possible to have enough outfits for a longer period of time with even a small amount of pieces. It's all about picking clothing items that are versatile in their style + color and that will mix + match in a variety of different ways.

Related: 
8 Packing Hacks to Help You Pack Smarter
7 Tips for Stress-Free Air Travel

Sincerely,
~Stephanie

Monday, June 20, 2016

7 Tips for Stress-Free Air Travel

I'm from Michigan but I go to college in Florida, so you can bet I fly quite a lot. This past school year alone, I flew between home and school 9 different times. (It was a lot.) In addition, I've traveled to England twice, to Alaska, and to the Dominican Republic, all of which required quite a bit of flying. I've certainly learned a few key things about air travel over these past few years of frequent flying. While it certainly can be stressful and difficult, it doesn't have to be!

Here are 7 tips from a seasoned flyer that will make your air travel experience easy and stress-free.


1. Obtain your boarding pass ahead of time.
If possible, get your boarding pass in advance either by printing it off, or loading a mobile boarding pass on your phone. Then when you get to the airport, you won't have to worry about printing your pass at an airport kiosk. However, if neither of these options are available to you and you have to use a kiosk, get to the airport a little earlier to make sure you have time to do so.

2. Get to the airport well in advance.
Arrive at the airport no less than 1 hour before your flight leaves. This should give you just enough time to get through security and to your gate. But if you can, I'd recommend arriving 1.5 to 2 hours ahead of time to give yourself some wiggle room. You never know what hiccups you might run into, such as the security line being ridiculously long or TSA having to go through your carry-on bag ~ so honestly the more time you have, the better.

Because believe me, you do not want to be cutting it so close that you have to run (literally) from security to your gate as someone announces overhead that the doors are closing in 1 minute. (Yes, this has happened to me before.) It's better to have a little extra time on your hands before your flight (even if it's boring) than to be rushing through the airport in a panic!

3. Have your documents handy.
You'll need to present your ID (driver's license or passport) and your boarding pass when you enter security, so make sure you have them handy. Put them in a spot where you'll have easy access to them, and get them out while you wait in line. You don't want to be scrambling to find them when you're the next person in line!

4. Pack smart.
If you're bringing liquids in your carry-on, make sure they're in bottles or containers that are no larger than 3.4 oz. If you're checking a bag, make sure its weight doesn't exceed 50 pounds. Pack your important items, such as your laptop, all chargers, camera, and other important things in either your carry-on or your personal item, because there is always a chance of checked luggage getting lost or stolen. It's also smart to pack some toiletries, underwear, etc. in your carry-on or personal item for that same reason.

For some more packing tips and hacks, read this post: 8 Packing Hacks to Help You Pack Smarter

5. Dress comfortably.
Since you're going to be stuck sitting on a plane for several hours, you might as well wear something comfortable! Wear something that's nice, but not too nice, and comfortable, but not slobby ~ you want to be comfortable, but also presentable. Leggings, a sweater, a nice tee, and things like that will make for a perfect flying outfit. As far as shoes go, wear a pair that is easy to get on and off so you have an easier time at security.

6. Bring snacks.
You can't bring water through security, but you can bring food! I recommend bringing some snacks in your personal item so you don't have to buy food in the airport if you get hungry. The prices are jacked up in airport restaurants and coffee shops, so if you can avoid buying food there, you'll save yourself some money. As far as water goes though, since you can't bring it with you, it's not a bad idea to buy a water bottle in the airport to keep you hydrated. (Staying hydrated on a flight is important, because flying tends to dry you out.)

7. BYO in-flight entertainment.
You'll have several hours to kill on your flight, so you might as well make it fun (or productive)! Some suggestions for what to bring:
  • earbuds
  • your phone or iPod for listening to music
  • your laptop for watching movies or writing
  • a book or two
  • a journal or notebook (don't forget a pen)
  • games, like sudoku or crossword puzzles
  • homework or work, if you want to be productive
Of course, many planes now have their own in-flight entertainment, so you can always watch a movie or TV show using that. As a student, I often use my time on planes (usually flying between school and home) to work on a paper or do reading for class. Flights can be a great time to do lots of reading, to listen to music and write, or to get some work done, so make sure you take advantage of your time in the air!

Do you fly often? Do you have any tips for making air travel easier?

Sincerely,
~Stephanie

Friday, June 17, 2016

Summer Capsule Wardrobe

As you may already know from earlier posts, I've implemented and worn a capsule wardrobe for the last few months. It's been, for me, an excellent way to solidify my style, to be honest about what clothing items I do and do not wear, and to clean out my closet. It's also allowed me to experiment more with the clothes I have and to mix and match them more. 

When I was younger I used to be all about colors, but during my college years I've very much shifted toward neutrals. As of now, I'm all about black, white, grey, and stripes (I freaking love stripes), along with a few pops of color. I'm also all about clothes with a simple, comfortable fit, so that my outfits are cute as well as functional.

I have some outfit posts in the works to share with you in July, but I thought I'd start by sharing an overall look at my summer capsule wardrobe! Let me first tell you a little bit about how I personally go about my capsule wardrobe.


I include 16 tops, 9 bottoms, 6 skirts, and 4 sweaters/layers in my capsule wardrobe, for a total of 35 everyday clothing items.

Most people include dresses, shoes, and accessories in their capsules, while I do not. That being said, however, I wear 4 different pairs of shoes in the summer: Birkenstocks, flat brown sandals from Old Navy, white Keds, and flip flops. As far as accessories go, I wear some jewelry (always earrings, a watch, and sometimes a necklace), and I have a blue infinity scarf that I sometimes wear. 

As for dresses, I don't include them in my capsule because I don't often wear dresses on a day-to-day basis (occasionally, but not terribly often). I typically wear my dresses to church on Sundays, and that's when I most enjoy wearing them.

So basically, my capsule wardrobe doesn't encompass every single article of clothing you might see me wearing. Really, it covers my day-to-day outfits. I'm not super strict with myself about only wearing clothing items that are "in my capsule," because on occasion I want to be able to wear certain clothing items, even if they're not necessarily part of my capsule (case in point, my dresses). So I leave myself some wiggle room, and it works out well.

So now that you know a bit more about how my personal capsule wardrobe works, have a look at it for yourself!

T O P S
top row: white tee (Target); white tee (H&M); cream/off-white tee (Wet Seal); black tee (H&M)
2nd row: navy + white striped tee (H&M); white + black striped tee (Forever 21); navy + white striped tee (Old Navy); black + white striped tee (H&M)
3rd row: gray tee (JCPenney); gray "London City" graphic tee (JCPenney); gray tribal print tee (Target); gray tribal print tee (thrifted)
bottom row: purple tee (Target); turquoise tee (JCPenney); royal blue top (H&M); navy blue tee (JCPenney)

B O T T O M S
top row: denim shorts (Old Navy); black shorts (Old Navy); military green shorts (Old Navy)
middle row: denim capris (Kohl's); denim skinnies (Old Navy); black skinnies (Old Navy)
bottom row: black leggings (Walmart); black + white paisley print pants (Forever 21); blue + white geometric print pants (H&M)

S K I R T S
top row: chambray skirt (Old Navy); multi-colored print skirt (Old Navy); multi-colored geometric print midi skirt (eShakti)
bottom row: red midi skirt (thrifted); black maxi (Target); royal blue maxi (Old Navy)

S W E A T E R S / L A Y E R S
top row: chambray shirt (Old Navy); beige cardigan (Old Navy)
bottom row: black cardigan (Target); gray cardigan (Forever 21)

Have you ever tried a capsule wardrobe? What do you think of the idea?

Sincerely,
~Stephanie

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Versatile Blogger Award: 7 Fun Facts about Me


I was nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by Andrea over at Drea Dear (thank you, Andrea!). This award focuses on bloggers who are still trying to grow their following, and is an excellent and fun way for bloggers to get recognized and get to know each other!

As part of being nominated, I have to share 7 things about myself. So here are 7 random, fun facts about me!
  1. I work at the library at my school. I basically get paid to sit at the circ desk and do homework (or scroll through Pinterest, shhh). Best.job.ever.
  2. I hate coffee (hate hate hate it), but I love tea and drink it every day.
  3. I can't roll my R's. It's a sad thing.
  4. I also cannot curl my tongue. Guess I just didn't inherit the tongue-curling gene.
  5. However, I can do a cartwheel (thanks to taking 2 years of gymnastics as a kid).
  6. I can also talk in a chipmunk voice. It's my secret talent.
  7. I currently have braces, and this is round #2 of braces for me. #yay #not
Now it's my turn to nominate 10 other bloggers with around 300 followers on Twitter. All of the bloggers below are ones whose blogs I enjoy and/or who I've interacted with ~ and you really should check them all out! They're amazing!

Lauren at Musings of a Flower Child // blog // insta // twitter
Abbey at Miss Abbey Noelle // blog // insta // twitter
Grace at Miss Graciela // blog // insta // twitter
Iris at The Starving Inspired // blog // insta // twitter
Abigail at Living the Gray Life // blog // insta // twitter
Amy at Pastel n Pink // blog // insta // twitter
Anna at Five Foot and Fabulous // blog // insta // twitter
Alix at A Pint-Sized Life // blog // insta // twitter
Kayla at Keynotes from Kay // blog // insta // twitter
Tori at Tori in Thousand Oaks // blog // twitter

If you were nominated, here are the rules:
  • Thank your nominator
  • Share the award on your blog
  • Share 7 things about yourself
  • Choose 10 new nominees who have fewer than 300 followers
  • Notify them via social media
Thanks again for the nomination, Andrea! Hope you all enjoyed learning some random facts about yours truly!

Sincerely,
~Stephanie

Monday, June 13, 2016

8 Packing Hacks to Help You Pack Smarter

Packing: an annoying but necessary part of travel. Between going on trips and traveling home from school multiple times a year, I can certainly attest to how difficult and stressful packing can be. But I've also learned some handy tricks over the years that make packing much easier and more efficient ~ and I'd like to share them with you today.

Here are 8 packing hacks that I've learned and used that will really, truly help you pack better and smarter!


1. Roll your clothes.
Most people have heard of this packing hack by now ~ and it's popular because it actually works! Rolling your clothes, as opposed to folding them, really does save you a lot of room in your suitcase. I used to be skeptical of this technique, but once I actually tried it, I realized what a lifesaver it is!

2. Stuff things inside your shoes.
If you're packing shoes in your suitcase, don't let them waste space with their awkward shapes! Instead, take advantage of the pockets of empty space inside of them. You can easily stuff small objects, socks, or rolled-up shirts into your shoes. This resourceful hack really helps you utilize every ounce of available space in your bag!

3. Bring clothes that all go together.
I think we've all been guilty of over-packing when it comes to clothes. It's easy to do, and it wastes space in your suitcase big time. To avoid falling into this trap, I suggest being smart and intentional about the outfits you bring. Select several pieces from your wardrobe that are versatile and can easily be mixed and matched. You don't have to pack a million different tops and bottoms in order to pull off cute outfits during your trip. Instead, pack a small amount of items that can go together in lots of different combinations.

4. Wear your bulky items.
I'm talking coats, sweatshirts, boots, sneakers ~ those big, bulky clothing items that take up a lot of room in your suitcase. Instead of stuffing them into your bag, just wear them during your flight (or in the case of a sweatshirt or jacket, at least carry it on your arm). It might be a bit of a pain, but it will save you from wasting some precious space in your bag.

5. Put plastic wrap over the openings of bottles of liquids.
I learned this magical packing hack on Pinterest (where else, right?). You know how your liquids always explode in-flight? Spare yourself (and your suitcase) from that major annoyance by putting plastic wrap over the openings of your bottles. Simply take off the lid of the bottle, lay a small square of plastic wrap over top of the opening, and screw the lid back on. And problem solved! The plastic wrap will prevent your exploding liquids from leaking all over your bag!

6. Divide books into different bags.
I speak from experience as a literature major who flies to and from school multiple times a year: books weigh a lot. If you're traveling with multiple books, don't put them all in one bag, but instead split them up ~ i.e., put some in your suitcase and some in your personal item. This will disperse the weight of your books evenly between your bags, and you won't have to worry about carrying a super heavy bag through the airport or your checked bag exceeding 50 pounds.

7. Pack jewelry in your glasses case.
I do this all the time when I travel! If you have glasses (like me), put jewelry, especially earrings, in your glasses case. By doing this, you'll not only be utilizing the extra space inside your glasses case, but you'll also be placing your small, easily lost jewelry items in a contained space. I usually put my contact case in there too, since that's also a small object that I need to keep track of.

8. Don't bring items that you'll have access to at your destination.
For instance, when I go home for breaks, I don't bother packing shampoo, toothpaste, saline solution, etc. because I know I'll have all that stuff available to me at home. If you're staying at a hotel, consider using the shampoo, soap, etc. that they provide instead of bringing your own. Or if you're making a longer stay somewhere, consider buying those kinds of things at a drugstore when you get there.

Do you have any packing tips?

Sincerely,
~Stephanie

Friday, June 10, 2016

Instagram Roundup, Vol. I

Happy Friday, everyone! I can't believe it's the end of another week and that the weekend is here again! I've had a pretty chill week and have a pretty chill weekend ahead ~ and I'm soaking in all the chill-ness while I can! This weekend marks three more weeks until my big trip, which is super exciting!

Today I decided to do a roundup of my recent Instagram photos for you! I've never done an Instagram roundup, but I always enjoy them when other bloggers do them, so I thought I'd give it a go! My Insta photos are usually of tea, my ootd, and pretty or fun things I encounter during my day. Enjoy!


Denim, chambray, stripes, and TOMS ~ what could be better!



More stripes + a cup of tea = wonderful



My mini dachshund, Ginny. She's such a cutie and I love her!



Me + my sister + our cousins. Some of the best!



The yummiest Memorial Day brunch at the cutest diner. Seriously, I will forever remember this brunch, it was so.good.



My new sandals and chambray skirt from Old Navy, which I'm loving!



I've been knitting this summer, and this is my halfway-finished dishcloth that I've been working on.



Nothing beats a chai tea latte on a rainy afternoon!



A photo from my trip to England last summer, which I've been doing a lot of reminiscing about lately! (This photo was taken at Glastonbury Abbey.)



These peonies were picked right from my family's flower garden! I love peonies! 


The amazing chai tea latte I had while doing homework at a local coffee shop!

Have you had a good week? Do you have any fun weekend plans?

Sincerely,
~Stephanie

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Highlights of England 2015

Exactly a year ago, I arrived home after an amazing two-week trip to the beautiful country of England. It was my second time going to England (I went for the first time when I was 16), and it was just as magical the second time around. I absolutely fell in love with England from the first moment I stepped foot in it! It's so beautiful, quaint, and full of history and gorgeous architecture. Seriously, if you ever get a chance to go to England ~ go!

Since it's been a year since my trip (which I can't believe!), I've been doing some reminiscing about it and recalling fond memories. So I wanted to share some of my favorite photos from the trip here on the blog, as well as links to my posts about it so you can read more about my adventures (and see more photos)!


Read more about...

When Oxford became our home in England: here

Visiting Stratford-upon-Avon, Blenheim Palace, and the graves of Shakespeare and J.R.R. Tolkien: here

The ever-amazing London: here

When we explored the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey and hiked up White Horse Hill: here

Hiking in the Lake District ~ one of the most beautiful places I've ever been: here

Have you ever been to England?

Sincerely,
~Stephanie

Monday, June 6, 2016

May Recap and June Goals

June is upon us, my friends! I know I say this every month, but I can't believe it's already June! I'll take it though, because for me, that means my big, exciting trip (which I announced in this post) is just a month away! I could not be more excited.

I do have some things I need to get done in this next month leading up to my trip, and that's what my June goals are for. So without further ado, here's how I did on my May goals, as well as my goals for June.


M A Y  R E C A P
  • Do well in my environmental science class
I'm pleased to say I'm doing well in my class! Some grades have been rougher than others, but for someone whose brain is not science-oriented at all (I'm a literature major, ok guys), I'm doing pretty well overall!
  • Begin studying for the college algebra CLEP Exam
I definitely have not done this...whoops. I may tack it onto my June goals, although I'm also considering taking care of this over Christmas break. We'll see.
  • Find a way to work, and work as much as I can
I applied to quite a few jobs, but unfortunately none of them took me (largely because of the 5 weeks I'll be traveling this summer). However I'm working for my grandma a couple days a week, helping her with yard work and housework. So there you have it, my employment for this summer.
  • Practice French often
I crossed this one off halfway because I've sort of done this, but sort of not. While I have practiced some, I really should be practicing more, since my trip to France is drawing quite near. 
  • Read "Saint John Paul the Great: His Five Loves"
Another sort of did, sort of didn't do. I have not read the whole book yet, but it is in progress, my friends. #slowreaderprobs
  • Start reading the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska
Negative. I'll have to tack this onto June's goals.
  • Get rid of some clothes
Done. And guess what, I even plan to get rid of some more! 
  • Knit something
Another kinda/almost done. I tried so many times to start knitting something, only to take it apart a few rows in because I'd messed up or was doing it wrong. The struggles of trying to re-learn knitting! However, I found a simple dishcloth pattern and am currently halfway through a cute little dishcloth.
  • Exercise 3 times a week
Done! My family has been going on a lot of walks since I've been home, whether on our road or on a nature trail at a park. Thanks to that, I've successfully exercised 3-4 times a week!
  • Do a dietary detox
I haven't exactly done a detox, but I have certainly been eating healthier and cleaner since I've been home from school. Fruit (yusss), vegetables (real ones!), meat (that's actually cooked well!), eggs (real ones!), Greek yogurt, organic milk...all that good stuff. Eating home food beats eating cafeteria food in so many ways.

J U N E  G O A L S
  • Finish out my environmental science class well
  • Get any remaining necessities for my trip
  • Blog 3 times a week
  • Finish reading "Saint John Paul the Great: His Five Loves"
  • Read "The Story of a Soul" (St. Therese's autobiography)
  • Start reading the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska
  • Don't spend any money unnecessarily
  • Practice French at least 4 times a week
  • Exercise 3 times a week
  • Get rid of some more clothes
  • Finish knitting my dishcloth + knit one more thing
  • Write + queue up blog posts to go live throughout July (while I'm overseas)
How did you do on your May goals? What are your goals for June?

Sincerely,
~Stephanie

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Currently: June

Can you believe it's already June, and that we're almost halfway through 2016?! I seriously can't. This year has been flying by so fast! I'm excited for June though, because for me it will be a month of friends, family, sleep, and summer nights (walks, bonfires, friends, and all that good stuff). It's going to be a calm, relaxing, and fun month.

With a new month comes a new edition of Currently, hosted by Jenna at Gold and Bloom! So here's what I'm currently planning, enjoying, buying, craving, and pinning.


P L A N N I N G  everything I want to do in the next month before I leave for a very exciting trip! I have about a month to get done anything I want to get done before being away for 5 weeks. This includes seeing friends, doing some shopping, reading some books, and a few other things. So I have to plan out my month accordingly!

E N J O Y I N G  my summer break so far. I really haven't done anything major in the 2.5 weeks that I've been home. Mainly I've been sleeping in, watching shows with my family, going on walks, blogging, studying for my summer class, and seeing my extended family. It's been a slow 2.5 weeks compared to my life at school, and I'm actually really enjoying living a slower, balanced life.

B U Y I N G  skirts for my aforementioned trip! I picked up this adorable chambray skirt from Old Navy over Memorial Day (it looks short in the photo, but it's knee-length on me). I'm planning to go thrifting this week to find one or two more lightweight, mid-length skirts.

C R A V I N G  all things carbs. My family calls me the queen of carbs, and it's really not an exaggeration. I love (and crave) all things pasta, especially mac n' cheese or buttered noodles with parmesan cheese. *salivating*

P I N N I N G  travel-related things like this, striped shirts like this, and pretty things like this. (So basically, all my favorite things.) Follow me on Pinterest for lots of these kinds of pins!

Now for an exciting announcement! So I know I've hinted at this aforementioned very exciting trip several times here on the blog... and I guess I may as well tell you now. I'm going to be in Europe, France and Poland specifically, for all of July!!! I'm so over-the-top excited to spend 5 weeks abroad touring, visiting pilgrimage sites (like Lourdes, Lisieux, and Czestokowa *shriek*), and attending World Youth Day!

I will most definitely blog about the trip afterwards (probably not during the trip, but we'll see), and I'm even hoping to do some vlogs! So stay tuned in August for all of that. In the meantime, if you have any prayer intentions that I can bring with me to Europe (again, pilgrimage sites and World Youth Day here!), do let me know!

What are you currently planning, enjoying, buying, craving, or pinning?

Sincerely,
~Stephanie
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