Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Love Your Curls

Recently Dove released a campaign that encourages women of all ages to love their curly hair.  As a young woman with semi-curly hair I can understand why people don't like their curly hair.  I, myself, sometimes despise the waves that my natural hair has. Straight hair is tame, reliable, shiny, sleek, and much easier to work with.  I have the luxury of having naturally wavy hair that straightens nicely thanks to the flat iron.  I use the flat iron much than I probably should, but over the years I have learned to embrace my naturally curly hair more.

 Reasons why I love my curly hair:

    • I don't have to use any heat to get those curly waves that people love
    • It doesn't take me hours to do my hair
    • I can have curly or straight hair by choice
    • It's easy- all I need is a little product and I'm good for the day
    • Curly hair is unique- nobody's natural curls are identical to the woman next to her
    • The texture makes it easier to have a variety of hair styles
    • In the Summer I don't have to work hard to get that wavy beach hair

    If you haven't watched this video yet, then I highly recommend it.

    Why do you love your curly hair?


    Monday, January 26, 2015

    Organize Me: the start of spring semester

    With the start of a new semester I seemed to have taken an accidental blogging hiatus.  I know last semester I would only post sporadically, but I promise you that is not going to happen this semester. Once I get into a set schedule, frequent blog posts won’t be a problem.

    The beginning of a new semester can be difficult.  Setting up routines, figuring out how to balance the new course load, determining how much time each class will require your attention outside of lecture, setting meal times, scheduling social time with friends, organizing your school supplies, and adjusting to waking up at certain times. Needless to say organization is crucial beginning on day one of each semester. 

    Those of you who know me personally, know that I function best when I am most organized.  Today I am here to share some tips to helping you have a more organized start to your spring semester. The first few weeks of classes it is good to try out different routines and organization techniques to determine what will work best for that semester. 

    One: Establish a routine
    Each semester is different.  Your class schedule will most likely not be the same as the semester before, nor will be the time you have to put in studying for your classes outside of lecture.  Your involvement in activities, socializing, working, exercising, etc. will also change.  Adjusting to a new schedule can be challenging, so work to create a routine as quickly as possible.  Having established routines will help increase your productivity.
     This print out is great for keeping track of your classes and free time.

    Two: Utilize your syllabus
    Every course has one of these, it is a university requirement.  The content of a syllabus will change based on professors preferences.  However, you can generally expect to find a semester calendar, assignments, study tips, your professor's office hours, and what materials you need to succeed here.   It is important to spend some time, within the first couple weeks of school, reading over the syllabus and highlighting important information.  The syllabus will help you set expectations for the course.  After reading each syllabus, write down all of the important dates in your agenda.  This will help ensure that you do not  forget an assignment or exam.

    Three: Obtain textbooks
    Purchase your textbooks as soon as possible.  Many universities have a section of their website where you can find what textbooks each course requires.  If you are able to purchase your books ahead of time, do so.  The more in advance you purchase your books, the better deals you are going to get.  Waiting too long means you will have to buy your books from the school bookstore, which is nine times out of ten always more pricy.  A great resource for comparing book prices is Slug Books.

    Four: Keeping track of notes and other papers
    Every semester is different, so your organization needs to adapt with it.  Some courses may utilize a lot of handouts, which means a binder is best.  Some classes may just require you to take notes, which means you only need a notebook and possibly a folder.  It is important to have several systems that you know work for you. Below are some systems that work for me:

    1.     The Binder Method:  In semesters where professors hand out a lot of papers or require you to print/annotate articles this is a great method.  There are several ways to organize a binder.  The first method is to have a binder for each set of days.  For example a binder for Monday, Wednesday, and Friday classes and then a second binder for Tuesday/Thursday classes. Within each binder utilize a divider for each course.  The papers will then go in each section chronologically by date.  However, maybe only one of your courses has a lot of papers.  If this is the case, then it might be good to use one binder with several sections in it (readings, class notes/handouts, blank paper, and homework).  Either of these two methods works well.
    2.     The Folder and Notebook Method: This is generally my preferred method. The week is divided into two parts: Part 1 (Monday/Wednesday/ Friday classes) and Part 2 (Tuesday/Thursday Classes).  First, determine how many classes you have per day of each set.  This is how you figure out how many subjects you need per notebook.  Generally speaking, a three-subject notebook is good for each part of the week, so that you have two notebooks total.  Each section of the notebook then represents a different course.  The folders are divided up the same way.  You will need one folder for part one and another folder for part two.  Within each folder, paperclip papers from the same course so that they are all together and can be accessed easily.  If one folder isn't enough, then you can always use one folder per subject too.

    Five: Set a few goals
    After reading through each course's syllabus, I'm sure you will notice some challenges that might arise for you this semester.  It is important to take the time to set some goals and push yourself to be the best you possibly can .  Goals will help motivate you when you have the mid semester blues.  These goals don't need to be unrealistic but shouldn't be too easy either.  To maintain a  balanced life it is important to set both academic and non-academic goals for the semester.

    I hope these tips help you have an excellent start to your spring semester!


    Thursday, January 15, 2015

    Preppy Pet Lovers

    For those of you who have a dog, I have the site for you.  Recently I discovered a company called Harry and Barker. They have all the essentials for dog lovers: sleep, eat, clean, walk, play, and travel. I have yet to purchase something from this site, but I have been eying up a few things for my yorkie.

    This is perfect for the family room. We have a fire place that Riley loves to lay near.  This takes up less room than a dog bed does.  It comes in four different colors and the price varies depending on the size.
    This is just one of the many sets of adorable dog bowls the company has to offer.

    I love these collars. Riley has a collar for every season. These would be great for Summer! 


    Wednesday, January 14, 2015

    2 Years of Blogging

    Today marks two full years of blogging for me. Blogging has been a great outlet for me throughout college.  It has given me the creativity that college often times doesn't have.  It allows me to express myself while also developing my writing skills. Each day I learn something new about how to become a better blogger and develop The Shore Life According to M into a bigger/better blog than it was the day before. 

    Last year I set some goals for year 2 of blogging:
    One: Host a blog giveaway
    I have yet to do this.  Hopefully during year three I can accomplish this.
    Two: Participate in more link ups
    I participated in several link ups this year.  The thing I like about link ups is that they are great for inspiration and networking with other bloggers. 
    Three: Reach 350 posts
    This past year, blogging took a bit of a back burner as life got busier.  Needless to say I only reached 256 published posts. 
    Four: Connect with more bloggers
    I've definitely become closer with Lindsey and Miss ALK, but I would still love to connect with more bloggers. 
    Five: Plan posts ahead of time
    I definitely did not do this, but this month I have become much better about this.  This is definitely a year three goal. 

    Since I only achieved two of the five goals I set, I have decided to keep the same goals for year two.  The only difference will be that I will actually achieve them this year. 

    Year 3:
    In the upcoming year I intend to spend more time working on this little blog of mine.  I will plan posts out ahead of time, allowing for more time to add pictures and proofread.  Like anything the more advanced planning that is done the better the results will be.  I'm looking forward to dedicating more time to The Shore Life According to M and seeing where it takes me. Here's to another year of blogging!


    Tuesday, January 13, 2015

    Organize Me: School Documents

    The start of Spring semester is one week away for me.  I've started to prepare for the upcoming semester.  As I've talked about so many times before, I function best when I am organized. In order to prepare for an incredibly fast paced semester I am beginning to get organized.  This even includes organizing the documents on my computer.  If you are a college student, then you know how much we rely on our computers to get us through each semester.  Some of these documents can be helpful for later on and others will be useless.  Regardless, of how much I liked or disliked my classes I still keep all of my documents after each semester ends.  

    So where to begin with all of these documents... I've broken it down into four easy steps for you!

    One: Create a folder for each year (Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, and Senior)

    Two: Create a folder for each semester (Fall 2014, Spring 2014, Summer 2014 etc.)

    Three: For each semester's folder create sub-sets of folders for each class you had for that semester.

    Four: Take all of the documents you have and insert them into the correct folder.

     It takes a little time to put six semesters of classes into individualized folders, but it is worth the time it takes to do so. 


    Monday, January 12, 2015

    Let's Be Adventurers

     Where I live there are tons of county and state parks within a 30 minute radius.  However, I never really take the opportunity to visit them.  My parents used to take my brother and I to them when we were little, but once we started playing playing sports we stopped going.

    During one of the warmer days we had a few weeks ago, Todd and I went to one of the local county parks for a hike.  It was a fun and cheap date.  Plus we were able to get some exercise too!  It was great being able to go outside and enjoy some nice weather.  During the winter we usually don't have that luxury because it is too cold and snowy. 

     Within a few minutes of our hike we found a beaver swimming in the lake. 

    Todd brought his camera with us so we had a little photo shoot while we there.  Most things I do end up on my blog, so why not take a few OOTD pictures while on a hike? 

    What I wore:

    L.L. Bean Plaid shirt
    Columbia fleece jacket
    Land's End navy vest
    American Eagle leggings
    Bean Boots

    This little adventure helped me cross number 33 off of my 101 things to do in 1001 days list

    Friday, January 9, 2015

    Kitchen Adventures: Bad Bananas

    What do you do when your bananas are going bad?

    My solution: I make muffins!

    Instead of throwing out those brown bananas why not make something out of them.  Just because bananas aren't pretty little yellow pieces of fruit anymore, doesn't mean that they need to be thrown out.

    For those of you who like to bake, you know there are so many variations for a single recipe.  Well chocolate chip banana muffins are no exception to this.  Most recently I used this recipe and the muffins turned out great. 

    1 cup sugar
    2 cups flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    2 tablespoons sour cream
    2 eggs
    3 ripe bananas
    3/4 cup chocolate chips

    One: Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl until they are well mixed.
    Two: Pour into a greased muffin pan.
    Three: Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes (or until they are golden brown on top)

    These muffins are great when served with tea!

    Thursday, January 8, 2015

    January's reading list

    This cold weather makes me want to curl up with a good book next to a fire all day long. The question is what book to read? Below are some of the books that are currently on my to be read list.

    The Vacationers by Emma Straub
    The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
    Where did you go Bernadette by Maria Semple
    The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
    Motivating the Middle by T.J. Sullivan 


    Wednesday, January 7, 2015

    Arm Candy: Vickers' Bow Collection

    Recently my mom purchased me a bow bracelet from Kiel James Patrick's Vickers' Bow Collection.  I've had my eyes on one of these bracelets for quite some time.  I have a tiny wrist so it can be challenging for me to find bracelets that aren't too big.  This style comes in several different sizes, so I was able to find one that fits me perfectly!  

    The black and white polka dot bow I have is easy to mix and match with.  It can be dressed up or give a casual look depending what it is paired with.  I highly recommend the bracelet for those of you don't have one!  The bow bracelets come in many different patterns, which makes them great gifts! The first time I wore mine was on New Year's Eve with several Alex and Ani bracelets.

      Kiel James Patrick makes a variety of other bracelets too, including a mens collection. In addition to their fashion line, Kiel James Patrick and Sarah Vickers also have great Instagram accounts.  Their pictures are always fun and preppy with great captions!


    Lilly Pulitzer + Target

    I think just about every preppy girl had a little freak out last night when the news of this went public. I know I did.  In the midst of a snowy day, this bright news brought some sunshine to my Pa life.  I've worn Lilly Pulitzer for quite some time now and I've always loved Target.  This collaboration is exciting but also leaves me with some mixed feelings.

    My reactions are all over the place:

    • YAY! A store that I can purchase Lilly at without traveling too far or going online.
    • Oh no, Lilly will now be mainstream!
    • I always liked being one of the few in my area to wear Lilly and now everyone is going to be doing the same.
    • What will the quality be like?
    • I wonder how Lilly prices will fit into Target, somethings gotta give.
    • I can't wait to see all that the stores will carry!
    • I hope this won't be an online exclusive type deal.
    • I don't live in the South, will the Target stores near me even carry the collection?
    • April is the release- the perfect time to buy a bikini!

    Based on the blogs I've read this morning it seems like I'm not the only one who has these mixed feelings.  What are your thoughts on the Lilly and Target collaboration?
    A sneak peak from @Lillyfortarget

    After doing a little bit of investigating, I've discovered a few things that I'm sure you all would love to know about:
    • The collection will launch on Sunday, April 19th
    • 250 is the magic number! That is how many pieces the line will include.  I've read that the collection will contain girl's clothing, women's and women's plus clothing, accessories, shoes for women, things for the home, beach items, travel items, and items for outdoor entertaining.
    • @Lillyfortarget is the Instagram account where you can find a sneak peak at the collection
    • @Lillyfortarget is also the official Twitter account
    • #Lillyfortarget is the hashtag- there's not much on it right now except for excited Lilly lovers.


    Tuesday, January 6, 2015

    Thank you notes

    There's just something about a handwritten thank you note that truly shows sincerity and gratitude.  In today's society it is easy to send and email or a text thanking someone for visiting you, taking you to lunch, giving you a gift, or being a great friend.  However, a handwritten note thanking someone for these things has greater meaning.  

    Recently I wrote thank you notes thanking people for the Christmas gifts they gave me.  I always enjoy getting handwritten notes, so I'm sure other people do too.  I think it is important to express your gratitude when possible.

    My thank you notes usually consist of the following:

    1.  Dear so and so...thank them for the gift they gave you. Name the gift and be as descriptive as possible.
    2. State how you plan to use the gift. If it's money how you plan to spend or save it and why.  If it is a gift card, what you bought with it.  If it is a decoration, explain where in your home you are using it.  If it is clothing name a time when you wore it/plan to wear it.
    3. State why you are thankful for the person who gave you the gift and why.  For example, " I am so glad to have a friend like you who not only knows my sense of style but can make me laugh too!"
    4. Finish up the note thanking the person again. "Thanks again for the gifts, I truly appreciate them."
    5. Don't forget to sign your name!

    I love blank note cards and thank you note cards.  I always find cute inexpensive ones at T.J. Maxx and Target.  There are lots of cute ones online too. The cuter the notecards are the more likely you will use them, well that's how it works for me anyways.


    Monday, January 5, 2015

    Monthly Goals: January 2015

    Last week you saw my version of "new years resolutions".  Personally, I don't like to create a set of yearly resolutions.  I think they are frequently a long list of items that are not realistic to achieve.  A lot of resolutions are kept for the first month or so, of a new year, and then they seem to fade away quickly. I think a more practical way to create resolutions is through monthly goals.  This breaks things down and allows you to focus on a few things rather than a lengthy list.

    One: Blogging goal
    Organize my post "drafts".
    I have a significant amount of drafts saved, which is great.  However, they are just post titles saved without any content.  While it's great to have an ongoing list of ideas, the ideas are no good if I can't remember them when it comes time to write the actual posts.  Instead of creating a draft with just a title I will write down the title and a couple sentences about my thoughts in a word document.  This month I want to spend time discarding drafts that are irrelevant. By the end of January the only drafts I will have will be ones that are written and are 95% ready to be posted (95% meaning might need proofread or missing pictures).    

    Two: Fitness goal
    Reach 9 miles in a single run. 
    I'm now three months away from running my first half marathon.  Training for this has been a little up and down.  I sometimes lack motivation to get out there to actually run.  The holidays got me a little off track, so I'm hoping to get back into the groove of things during January.  

    Three: Scholarly goal
    Apply for scholarships.
    I have several weeks before I start Spring Semester, so I have a decent amount of free time.  Many scholarship deadlines will be coming within the first few weeks of the semester.  The scholarships are online now, so I thought I would use some of my free time to write a few essays and apply to several different scholarships. It will be easier to do this now than it will be when I will be busy with 19 credits of classes a month from now.

    Four: 101 things in 1001 days goal
    Cross three things off the list by January 31.
    Last year I decided to create this list.  I spent the first few months just trying to come up with 101 items.  It was much harder than I thought it would be.  In 2015 I want to choose a number of items to accomplish each month.  If I break the list down into something smaller then hopefully I will be able to blog about it too.

    Here's to starting 2015 off on a good note!

    P.S.- On a different note Lilly Pulitzer's Sale is going on today and tomorrow. I logged on at 8 am and by 8:30 I was ready to checkout. As soon as I hit the checkout button the site went down, so I'm currently waiting for the relaunch.  Good luck to the rest of you who are shopping!

    Friday, January 2, 2015

    101 in 1001 Update

    The first few weeks of each year is a popular time to set new goals.  Last year I chose to take my goal setting a different direction than I had in prior years.  I chose to create a list of 101 things I wanted to accomplish in 1001 days.  I was inspired to created my goals in this format thanks to Southern Simplicity, a blog which has unfortunately not continued.  I liked the idea of this type of goal setting because it combined realistic goals with some dream goals over a longer period of time.  This list seemed more doable to me than some other new year resolutions that people commonly create and don't accomplish.

    It took me quite some time to come up with the 101 items.  This year I finally finished compiling my goals and began to check some of them off the list.  My list has changed several times since I created it and it will probably change a few more times before I reach September 30, 2016...but that is okay it's better to set new goals than to have no goals.

    Start Date: January 3, 2014
    End Date: September 30, 2016
    (12 out of 101 complete)

    1.     Actually complete a 30-day fitness challenge.
    2.     Attend a fitness class.
    3.     Attend a wedding.
    4.     Attend an orchestra.
    5.     Attend the ballet.
    7.     Be a guest blogger.
    8.     Blog about most of the tasks I have completed.
    9.     Blog every day for a month
    10. Buy a stranger coffee.
    11. Buy all the items on the Fashion Essentials for Every Girl list. 
    12. Buy an Ipad.
    13. Carve a pumpkin and bake the seeds.
    14. Come up with 101 things.
    15. Complete 5 DIY projects.
    16. Complete a 30-day photography challenge.
    17. Complete a scrapbook.
    18. Complete a yearly savings plan.
    19. Cook Dinner at least twice a week for a month.
    20. Create a food and exercise journal.
    21. Create a book of my mom's recipes that I love.
    22. Create an inspiration board.
    23. Do a polar plunge.
    24. Drink at least 60 ounces of water a day for a month straight.
    25. Eat clean four times per week for one month.
    26. Finish a puzzle with my Dad.
    27. Get a massage
    28. Give three "just because" presents to friends.
    29. Go a month without buying any new clothes.
    30. Go a month without buying anything for myself, outside of the necessities.
    31. Go apple picking.
    32. Go camping.
    33. Go hiking.
    34. Go kayaking.
    35. Go pumpkin picking
    36. Go snorkeling.
    37. Go some place where the Ocean water is fairly clear.
    38. Go three weeks without Starbucks.
    39. Go to a country concert.
    40. Go to a Lilly warehouse sale.
    41. Go to a Penn State football game.
    42. Go to a wine tasting.
    43. Go to NYC.
    44. Go white water rafting.
    45. Go without hitting the snooze button, on my alarm, for a week.
    46. Hand write 20 notes. 
    47. Have a picnic.
    48. Have bloggers guest blog on The Shore Life According to M.
    49. Hit 100 followers on my blog.
    50. Host a blog giveaway.
    51. Host a dinner party.
    52. Inspire somebody else to do 101 things in 1001 days.
    53. Invest in a good camera.
    54. Join an honors society (get good enough grades to).
    55. Knit for charity.
    56. Learn how to do my makeup.
    57. Learn how to fold fitted sheets.
    58. Learn how to play tennis.
    59. Learn to Paddle Board.
    60. Learn to sew.
    61. Leave a 100% tip somewhere.
    62. Listen to a podcast.
    63. Make Dean's List.
    64. Make homemade fudge.
    65. Make working out a daily habit.
    66. Meet a blogging friend in person.
    67. Obtain a passport
    68. Order dessert before dinner at a restaurant.
    69. Paint a cooler.
    70. Paint a Lilly print.
    71. Participate in "Meatless Mondays" for one month.
    72. Participate in 100 Happy Days
    73. Participate in a color run.
    74. Participate in a mud run
    75. Pay for a stranger's bill somewhere.
    76. Pick berries.
    77. Plant a garden.
    78. Participate in a Turkey Trot. 
    79. Read 101 Books.
    80. Read five books from the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge.
    81. Run a 10k
    82. Run a 5k
    83. Run a half marathon.
    84. See an MLB game.
    85. See an NFL game.
    86. See an NHL game.
    87. See and NBA game.
    88. Send 101 handwritten notes.
    89. Send someone flowers randomly.
    90. Take part in More Love Lettering.
    91. Travel some place outside of the United States.
    92. Unplug for one full day.
    93. Visit a museum. 
    94. Visit Philadelphia.
    95. Vlog at least one time.
    96. Wake up and watch the sunrise.
    97. Watch a movie at a movie tavern.
    98. Watch my brother graduate high school.
    99. Watch Sex and the City.
    100.Write 10 operation beautiful notes.
    101. Write a collaboration post with another blogger.

    In 2015 I hope to accomplish a large portion of the items on the list. One year from now I will only have 9 months to complete all of my goals.  If you are feeling inspired to start your own 101 in 1001 list, let me know and I will add your name to my 101 in 1001 page! I love reading others' list of goals.

    Today is the second day of a new year. How are you going to make this your best year yet?

    Update: At the end of 2016, I completed 56/101 items on the list.