Monday, August 31, 2015

Room Reveal

Despite a few bumps along the journey, I did make it to Pittsburgh on Saturday a few hours later than expected. With a night out planned with the girls and a crazy need to get things done right away, I set to unpacking everything once my parents walked out the door. Three hours later: I had empty boxes and bags around me and everything was in its place. I may have actually high-fived myself...I did high-five myself. Since it is the last day of August and also the last day of Back-to-School month on Sunday Brunch, I thought I would share the results with you guys!

Cute, right?

<3 Ashley

Fellow collegiates! Have you moved into your housing for the year? How did you decorate? 

Friday, August 28, 2015

How to Organize the Dorm

While I am out of the dorms, I am very much still in the super small bedroom club. The silver lining there? The biggest closet in the house--high fives all around! I still feel qualified to share ideas for optimum design and storage in a teeny-tiny space (especially if you only get half the room!) Check out some of the inspiration below.

A cart like this can be used so many ways in a dorm: bedside table for a lamp, alarm clock and some books; a beauty station for a mirror, cosmetics and hair supplies; or even a place to store food and beverage. Versatile pieces like this are basically essential in a dorm/small living space.

Small spaces are prone to looking super cluttered super quick. For me, the worst area is always my desk. After hours of studying, rifling through notes and organizing papers the last thing I wanted to do at 2 AM was clean the space before finally going to sleep. Keep your desk organization game strong by utilizing shelving systems (frequently part of the desks provided by the school) and practice stacking books and organize with baskets, dishes, etc.

Get creative with your storage. When in doubt, decorate up and not out. It will make the room look a little bit bigger. I love this idea of using an empty frame and string to hang you sunnies across. I have a cork board that I covered in fabric which I like to hang my necklaces on. I also use Command hooks to hang bags!

<3 Ashley

What are your tips for decorating a small space?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Back-to-School Blogger: My College Experience

As part of the week leading up to the move back to school, I am taking a day from blogging and have turned the reins over to Ariadna from RAWR BOWS. Check out her post below discussing her own college experience in London!

<3 Ashley

Hello! It’s Ariadna from RAWR BOWS here and today I’m gonna be writing on Ashley’s blog about my university experience. I study Chemistry at Imperial College London and I’m going to start my third year in October. Ever since I was little I’ve wanted to go to university, I remember talking to my friends about it and being so excited. I was lucky enough to be able to go to uni in London which was a dream of mine and one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. However, this also meant leaving home and living miles away from my family and in a country I barely knew. I remember flying from Spain to London and being both excited and scared as hell, I also remember how shocking the moving process was and how much my live changed.

Living away from home is something I think you can never be fully prepared for. Yes, you can imagine what it is like: waking up whenever you want, cooking your own meals, doing your laundry, not being controlled by your parents, etc. You can imagine it carries some responsibility with it and a decent amount of fun as well. The first few weeks living on your own are likely to be weird and tough in a way, but you’re probably going to get used to it pretty quickly and you’ll get into the routine without even realising. Personally, I think living away from home is fun and I really enjoy being independent and in full control of my life.

I had a lot of expectations before going to uni, I imagined it being like a movie. You know, walking around with a bunch of books in your arms and bumping into cute guys, sitting on the grass with your friends and working on a group project, going out every weekend, joining a badass club and living the adventure of your life and that sort of stuff. The reality is slightly different though. In uni, everyone is sort of grown up and they’re more independent and in their own world. It’s not like high school where everything was about who was more popular and you were barely ever alone. You’re probably going to spend a lot of time on your own working in the library or just chilling and waiting for your next class. Your friends are going to have different schedules and they’re not going to be there with you all the time. At first it might be weird or awkward to do something without your group of friends but, soon, it will feel perfectly normal. By that I don’t mean that you’re going to be lonely or that I ever felt lonely, I was lucky to find great friends but uni taught me to do more things on my own and that being by yourself is okay sometimes.

Something else that uni taught me was to work every day. Seriously guys don’t leave everything to the last minute. In high school the teacher would always make sure you did your homework or you were revising but in uni professors don’t care, they probably won’t even know your name and no one will be making sure you do your work. So, unless you tell yourself to stop watching Netflix, you might struggle to get everything done without messing with your sleeping pattern!

This post is way longer than what I planned but I hope that, if you’re starting uni this fall, it calmed you down or gave you an idea of what you could expect. I know I liked reading other people’s experiences when I was about to start uni! 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Packing to Move

This Saturday will be the long and exciting road trip back to Pittsburgh to kick off my senior year of college. The week leading up to that heavily caffeinated morning will involve appointments, last nights out, cleaning, packing and organizing my life generally--and you can bet that there will be a list for each activity. ;)

Packing for the school year is always a busy and stress full task for me because no matter how many lists I pull together, I somehow manage to panic and forget something. But not this, I have taken organization to a whole new level: I have categorized my packing each day. Today, my kitchen bin is packed. Tomorrow, desk and school supplies will be signed, sealed and delivered. Then I am looking at the last couple days being devoted to laundry and packing up my closet (yes, this needs a few days!)

Here's to hoping this last round of college packing is less stressful!

<3 Ashley

How do you make packing easier?

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Last Days

Can you feel that? That is the feeling of summer coming to a close and once again the school year is upon us. I actually think that this coming Monday is the first day of school for my school district--sorry kids! I actually have one more week before I am once again en route to Pittsburgh. While most of this time leading up to the day will be spent shopping for anything I need (read: sneaking food into my parents cart so I don't have to buy it later) I will also be sure to make the most of my last free and fun days. What are some ideas for last minute summer activities?

Catch some rays pool side: I made it to the pool only one time this week ago. With an internship this was my first truly busy summer. However, that one evening spent by the water, laying in the sun felt so well deserved because of it.

Going on an adventurous hike: Unfortunately, I probably won't be able to squeeze this in; especially since my hiking buddy is going back to school this weekend. :(

Driving around and discovering a cool new hangout in your hometown: We did this a few weeks ago when one of my roommates came to visit me. We took her to an ice cream place downtown that we had never been to. Spoiler alert: it was great!

Go out on the town with the ladies: This is one that I am looking forward to next week. My friend who has been away for the summer will be back home next week. We missed each other's birthdays so it is only right to use this opportunity to buy each other drinks!

A fun BBQ: I mean this is definitely an all summer kind of activity if there ever was one. But there's something about closing out an awesome summer with a BBQ with your closest friends and family. Let the fun carry into the nighttime, light a fire and make s'mores!

<3 Ashley

What are your plans for this last bit of summer?

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Dorm Essentials

Shower Caddy | Vintage Pillow | Pineapple Pillow | Bed Set | Storage | Keurig

If there is one thing  that I stressed out about just as much as the first day of classes freshman year, it was how I was going to decorate my half of the dorm room. Much of what I opted for has worked its way from year to year, residence hall to residences hall and finally to off-campus house. There are a few important things that I definitely suggest that freshman have in their dorms. 

A Keurig is absolutely essential in my opinion. If you are a coffee drinker, having one of these in your dorm will save you so much money--buying a cup from the coffee shop on your way to class can real amount to a huge number in the budget! 

A shower caddy is a must since bathrooms in the freshman dorms are almost always communal. Make that trip to the shower less cumbersome with a caddy for all of your necessities. (A separate one for toothpaste, toothbrush, face wash, etc is always hand as well!)

An appropriate amount of storage is key in a small dorm room. The school will typically provide students with a height adjustable bed, a desk with drawers and maybe a shelf, and a closet/wardrobe. For your belongings that you don't keep in your desk or drawers, store in stackable bins or a rolling cart, which can be placed under your bed if you set it high enough.

The bedding is of course an essential. The decorative pillows are not necessarily essential, but they will add a nice personal touch to your half of the room!

<3 Ashley

What are your dorm essentials?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Back-to-School Essentials

There are several instances on this blog where I have indicated a potential obsession with desk/organizational items. Needless to say, back-to-school shopping was a wonderful experience for me. While I may be out of middle and high school, shopping for notebooks and pens is still a huge part of my prep for a year back in Pittsburgh. Above are just a few of my essentials for your dorm/apartment study space!

<3 Ashley

What are your desk essentials for back-to-school?

Monday, August 10, 2015

On Networking

Going into my senior year of college certainly brings about a number of exciting--and slightly terrifying--thoughts about life after graduation. Even now, before the school year begins, I am thinking about the first career fair and what Pittsburgh based businesses am I going to be trying to attract.

What is great is the fact that I have so many people in my corner that I have met through friends and even professionally through my internship who frequently offer their suggestions and promise their support.

My mother has always emphasized the importance of being able to network and put my skills on display to attract interest. Of course, that was the last thing I wanted to hear as I started college--talking to people in a flawless fashion is not a skill that I execute easily. I'm a writer...not a speaker. I'm the worst communication major, I know. I do like to think that I am getting better, though.

One great networking resource that I was recently introduced to is WeWork. WeWork is a New York-based co-working company that provides co-working space in several cities around the world that are built to accommodate the type of team and situation in which you are working. However, the work space is not the only service provided by WeWork. They also boast a great networking platform and events for all of its members. The college student in me is screaming "Sign me up and let's be friends!" They even have an app that allows you to book work space and connect with other members for potential collaborations. Not to mention, after looking at some of their provided work spaces, I am dreaming of professional Ashley perched in that setting and preparing to take over the world. Just some personal thoughts. ;)

<3 Ashley

Do you have any networking tips for those of us getting ready to enter the world?

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Book Club: The Light Between Oceans

If you took notice to the GoodReads widget in the sidebar of the blog, you would have noticed that one of my recent reads was M.L. Stedman's "The Light Between Oceans". This book is one that I loved dearly despite the sadness and conflict endured by each of its characters. I admired the writing and the flow, changing perspectives throughout the chapters--it would seem by some of my recent book club posts that I am in to that. :) 

The story centers around the life of Tom Sherbourne in his time following WWI. After the war, he arrives back home to Australia where he begins his life as a lighthouse attendant. In his time between posts, while he is back on the mainland, Tom meets his wife Isabel who joins him in the life of isolation. The two try to make a happy life on the island, but fail repeatedly in their attempts to have a child. One day after a storm, a boat appears on the shore carrying and deceased man and a live baby. They take the child in, not taking into consideration the fact that there is still a family for it somewhere back on the mainland. They become aware of this upon a brief return to visit family, which ignites a bit of a moral battle between the two of them. 

There was so much to this story that the decision to write from multiple characters' perspectives is very much a benefit. I appreciated being shown why some supporting characters made the decisions that they did and under what specific circumstances. I personally would not classify this and easy, breezy beach read but rather a must-read. Wherever you are, read it. 

<3 Ashley

Have you read "The Light Between Oceans"? Thoughts? 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Hello, August: Letter from the Editor

Well this is it. Can you feel the summer winding down and the world getting in the last few trips and days spent poolside in preparation for getting back to business? I can. It's that time when the roomies and I start discussing who shares what bathroom, what we still need for the kitchen, should we get cable or beef up the wifi and bills, bills, bills. College is fun... :P

This month's theme is as it has been for the past few Augusts: back-to-school. Cherish this one folks, this will probably be the last back-to-school month on the blog--I will be graduating. Pause for tears and "oh she grew up so fast!" That being said, all efforts are being made to make this the best one yet. Gotta go out with a bang, right? I will be renewing the Back-to-School Blogger series with a fresh roster of bloggers (info on that here) who will share a little bit about their own college experiences, the expectations they had going in.

You can also be sure to see posts about the perfect first day outfit, DIY dorm/apartment decor, and even a few posts about how to spend those last days before academia takes over our lives again. Good stuff, eh?

<3 Ashley

What would you like to see this month?