Confessions of an Overpacker

Happy Monday friends!

Currently I'm at the beach with Bryce's family and couldn't be having a better time!

I thought an appropriate post during my vacation would be the packing tips I've learned over the years!

I've always been a huge overpacker and also am notorious for throwing a bunch of random clothes into a bag and then struggling to put outfits together during my trip.

This time around, though, I've decided to reform my ways!  So without further adieu, here are my confessions...

Step 1:
Make a List (or two..)
As long as I can remember I've made packing lists for trips divided into categories--clothes, toiletries, entertainment, other.
This time around I changed my normal routine though--rather than writing things like "5 Tops", "3 Pair Shorts", I wrote "7 Dinner Outfits"
I then made a second list with those outfits planned out!

Step 2:
Lay it All Out
After making my list, my first step was to lay out all my outfits and then try them on (now I'm not necessarily saying try EVERYTHING on, but in my case a few of the tops in this picture were new, so I made sure to try the outfits I made with them on to be sure it looked good--the last thing you want to do is be away from your closet in an outfit that doesn't look quite as well on as you pictured it in your head).

I also was sure to make my outfits versatile:  The tops, shorts, and jeans can be combined in many different ways so if my mood changes while I'm there it's okay!

Next I also laid out everything else--pajamas, tee shirts, running shorts, underthings, etc.

As you go through this process sometimes you realize that you may need less than you wrote on your list, or sometimes more (like the pink cardigan posted above...this is perfect because it will go with each of my outfits and will be good to have for cool restaurants or breezy nights)!

Step 3:
Pack It (duh!)
One of the best tips my mom taught me was to always put whatever you'll need first at the top of your bag.  In my case, the first thing I'll need when I open up my suitcase is pajamas, so those are at the top!

I love the Vera Bradley duffel--I've had this one since the 9th grade!  They're perfect because you can always seem to find room to stuff one more thing in...like Easteregg, my beloved sleeping companion!

Step 3
Everything Else
For me clothes are the first thing I always think of when packing, but when you're going away there's lots of other things you must bring along.  Here are my tips for all those things!

Choose your luggage wisely--this market tote is filled with games for the evenings or rainy days as well as the books I'm taking along.  What's even better though, is this tote is perfect for use as a beach bag or picnic basket once I arrive!

Be prepared:  These three cosmetic cases are ALWAYS ready to go--the green and blue one is filled with shampoo, conditioner, face wash, a razor, an extra toothbrush, etc.  It is always packed with these things so when I'm ready to head out of town I don't have to take the time to get them all together I simply can grab it and go.  The orange Trina Turk bag is filled with things I use daily--toner, eye makeup remover, perfume, etc and finally the smallest one is filled with my makeup.  I use these two bags daily but they're also always ready to go!

Keep a hard jewelry case filled with jewelry you wear often, then when you're headed out of town you can add anything else you may want to take and you know your jewelry is protected in a stuffed suitcase.  This Rowallan Bebe version I received as a graduation present is perfect!

Another tried and true trick is to wear some of the jewelry you want to take along.

Let's talk shoes--I know some of you can't go away for vacation without ten different pair of shoes, but be real!  I would argue that any lady can go away on a beach vacation with just 3 pairs of shoes.  A nice pair of gold and silver sandals as well as a pair of comfy beach flip flops is really all you need.  Some of the outfits I put together would look fabulous with wedges, but they're bulky and take up a lot of space...not ideal for packing!

Have an Everything Else Bag
I always have a bag that becomes a catchall for everything else I need.  In this bag, my shoes are packed neatly in the bottom.  I then also added my cosmetic bags and jewelry.  After doing that I realized I needed somewhere to fit my raincoat and casserole dish (I'll be making my hash brown quiche during the vacation)...they easily fit in the top of this bag.  There was even room to spare for me to throw some chargers and other miscellaneous last minute stuff in!

Bathing Suits
Sadly I don't have a picture for this tip, because this bag was already packed up in the car when I did everything else.  BUT, when traveling to the beach, lake, river, etc--I have always used my beach bag as a suitcase for my swimsuits, towels, sunscreen etc.

Take a BIG Purse
I always make sure to take a big purse whenever I'm traveling because you can always stuff it full!

Packed and Ready!

Do you do any of these things I do?  What tips do you have to avoid overpacking?

On a side note, I decided it was finally time to invest in a new camera.  I got a Canon PowerShot A4000 IS and am delighted with the added clarity in my pictures!  I'm so excited to have a shiny new camera for all my bloggy pictures!

Have a great week!!!  I'll be back Saturday!


Moon and Lola

Happy Friday sweeties!

Have y'all had a good week?  I've had off since Wednesday so mine has been very nice, AND....tomorrow I'm beach bound which is even more exciting!

If you remember from this post, Bryce gave me a Moon & Lola monogrammed necklace for Christmas.

I wear the necklace all the time and can't tell you how many times I've been stopped by people complimenting it!

Well my friends, what I didn't realize until recently is that Moon & Lola offers tons of other cute jewelry pieces in addition to their signature monogram necklaces.

I'll share some eye candy with you now...

This comes in lots of different silver/gold combinations!

Don't you just love the pink?

I love this modern twist on the classic charm bracelet!

I have a similar pair of earrings and they're the perfect way to add a little sass to an outfit!

I'm picturing this paired with a hot pink top...

Any favorites?

Did you know there was a whole world of Moon & Lola outside monograms?  I'm loving it!

Have a great weekend!!!


Scenes from the Apartment

Happy Friday chickadees!

Wow, what a week it has been!  I'm officially moved into the new apartment with ALG!  I still have some lingering projects and some things to move in, but it's definitely starting to feel like home!

Today I thought I'd share some scenes from the apartment with you and also let you know my next plans for making the place my own!

We'll start with my room!

I love the neutral palette with pops of color!


The previous photo in this frame was of The Cuties--Bryce was a bit offended saying "I'm not even going to make the nightstand?!?"  I explained to him that I planned to update my picture frames and think this one turned out to be the perfect match!

I styled the bottom of the nightstand with some favorite books and my favorite House Beautiful EVER-- "The Power of Pink."

On the other side of the bed I found a home for one of my TJ Maxx bamboo chairs (see post here).

I would be doing a disservice if I didn't mention the curtains to y'all in this post.  Would ya believe it if I told you my curtains were actually two shower curtains folded in half and hung by jeweled shower hooks?  Would you believe it if I told you the entire window treatments (curtains, rod, and hooks) all cost $57!  I've had a vision for my room but I've had to get creative to make it all happen!

On the wall across from my bed is my dresser and closet.

On my dresser I have pictures of some very special people in my life-- The Cuties, my parents, AMF, and of course, Bryce!
I also found a special spot for my oh so special  "The South" sign!

We put these Anthropologie hooks on my closet to display some of my baubles.

My elephant garden stool even found a home nestled between the dresser and closet!

Now I'll give you some peeks into the rest of the apartment.  ALG has already been living here for a year, so luckily for me everything was furnished with the exception of my room.  This week, I've been able to add some of my own touches throughout the different rooms to really make it feel like it belongs to both of us.

One of my favorite rooms is our sun room!
In here I added one of my favorite pictures of ALG and me:

In the living room I've added my personal touches to the bookshelf and coffee table!

On the bookshelf I added some of my own picture frames as well as some prized trinkets:  Lilly animal crackers, A Passion for Blue & White, and my stationery box.

ALG also let me put my Haymarket Designs Tray on our coffee table!

In the dining room I got to add my own personal touch to the bar cart!

I was able to add my wine bucket, cocktail napkins (another TJ Maxx find mentioned here), cruiser wineglasses, cocktail stirrers, and Smarties!

There is definitely no shortage of monograms in the apartment or on this bar cart.  Between the two of us, there is a monogrammed wine bucket, monogrammed engraved julep cups, a monogrammed flask, and monogrammed wine glasses all on the top shelf of this cart!

And now for the upcoming projects...

Dining Room
I found the CUTEST placemats at HomeGoods and am also working on a centerpiece involving these 
blue and white beauties:

Headboard and Bed Skirt
I have always loved the look of an upholstered headboard and have decided to make my very own with a matching bed skirt for my room. 
I haven't yet gone fabric shopping, but do you think something a little funky like this would be too much for the space?  I want to go out of my comfort zone a little by mixing prints and colors, but it's scary!

Blank Wall
What the heck should I do with this boring wall?  It's to the right of the door as you come in on the same side of the room as my bamboo chair.  My dad has said we could add shelves to the walls, which I think could be good, but it's such a big wall, I'm worried a few dinky shelves would look awkward?  What about a big mirror?  Any suggestions or ideas are much appreciated, I need HELP!

Gallery Wall
On the other big blank wall in the room (the far wall you first see when entering) I have decided to add a gallery wall.  I have completed the layout of it and am hoping to have it up on the wall this very afternoon!
Here's a preview of it during the earliest planning phase--trust me the final version is much more elaborate and exciting...I even have a diagram to prove it! (Yes I know I'm a bit anal...)

So what do you think?  Any suggestions for my big blank wall?  How did you decorate your first place?

Have a fabulous weekend!!!


Aerosoles Broomstick

Happy Happy Friday the 13th friends!!!

Had a good week?  Mine has been great, but busy!  Tomorrow is moving day at my new apartment!!!  Luckily the apartment is not far from home so the moving process will be gradual and there isn't a huge rush to get everything in, but I'm hoping to get the big stuff out of the way this weekend!

Today I am delighted to bring you a post about a pair of shoes that I am the lucky owner of!  A few weeks ago Lindsey from OnlineShoes.com contacted me asking if I would style and review a pair of Aersoles shoes.

I'll be honest--my first thought was "Aerosoles?  Aren't those shoes for grandmas?"  Next I thought--"Well at least they're sure to be comfortable!"

Well my friends--they WERE comfortable, but also so much more!  These shoes are HOT!  So without further adieu here's my review and how I styled them.  I'd like to preface this post with a reminder that I am NO fashion blogger.  Bryce and I did have quite a fun time doing this little photo shoot, though!

I'm loving them with my coral toenails!!

I styled the wedges with three different looks, although, the possibilities are endless!

Look 1
I love this casual look--I would totally wear this teaching or for a summer cookout.

Bryce came up with this pose!

Look 2
I love the idea of this outfit for a wine night with the girls!  Comfortable, yet chic!  

I love mixing black, white, and pink!

Look 3
This outfit would be perfect for a date night!  

I've worn this look before with Jacks, but the wedges take the outfit to a whole new level!

white jeans and these wedges are the perfect pair!

So?!?  What do ya think?  Are you ready to buy yourself a pair?  

I love that they are high on fashion and comfort!  After walking all over the University of Richmond campus taking these pictures, I still felt completely comfortable!  

And finally my friends, you are in luck!  The Aerosoles Broomstick Wedges are now on sale!!!  Click here to purchase!  

How would you style these wedges?  What do you think of my looks?  Have a favorite?

And finally...I'll reward you with one of the funniest pictures of the evening....

I had to provide Bryce with a little entertainment during this long photo shoot!

To see more pictures from the photo shoot, check out the Sundresses and Smiles Facebok Page by clicking HERE!

Have a great weekend!


Mega-Huge Life Update!

Happy Monday readers!!!

I am so glad to be back and posting.  My first week out of school, I decided to take some time off and be unplugged from the blog.  I needed to relax!

Then, I had planned to post last week, but huge storms hit the area causing major power outages and thus limited internet access.  Luckily now I'm finally back!

Being that life has been so crazy lately I thought I would just do a mega-huge life update in today's post.  Providing you with lots of pictures and updates from my life lately!

The first, most exciting update is that I GOT A TEACHING JOB!!!  Those of you that are fans on my Facebook page (see here) are already aware of this news, but I am so happy to be sharing it now with the rest of you.  On June 18th I had an interview for a kindergarten position at a local elementary school.  I clicked so much with the principal, resource teacher, and other kindergarten teachers and left the interview feeling great, but trying to not get my hopes up.  The next morning, however, the principal called with the exciting news that I got the position!!!  I couldn't be more thrilled and am so excited to start planning my classroom!  Kindergarten here I come!

And now for the rest of the updates.  I guess I'll start with my graduation which I cannot believe was over a month ago!  I officially graduated with my Bachelors in Psychology and Masters of Teaching in December, but UVA only holds one ceremony a year.  It was so special to go back in May and enjoy the graduation tradition.


Katie Couric was our speaker and she ROCKED--she was funny, heartfelt, spunky, and inspiring!

The next weekend was Memorial Day weekend.  That weekend Bryce was a groomsmen in the wedding of one of his best VMI buds.  It was a HOT evening with lots of dancing!

Not our best pic, but it was a fun night!

We also enjoyed some pool time, crabs, and a Flying Squirrels baseball game that same weekend!

CRABS--a sure sign of summertime!

LOVE fireworks!

The next weekend, we attended a birthday party for my friends CLW's boyfriend!  I even met a blog reader at the party that weekend!

It was so fun to meet Sarah, someone who loves the blog!


On June 15 I said goodbye to my sweet first graders.  Saying goodbye was tough, but I'm so glad I had the opportunity to teach and make an impact on their lives.  

I got a kick out of this picture one student drew of me in his First Grade Memory Book!  Apparently I have VERY red lips and pink hair!  Who knew!?

That night I celebrated a job well done with my family, Bryce, and a JUMBO Miami Vice margarita!

A few days later, Bryce and I headed to Virginia Beach for a mini-vacay and two nights of Phish.

The first night Bryce's stepbrother and his girlfriend joined us!

I always love the light shows at these concerts!

This picture pretty much sums up the night!

We came home, worked, for a few days and then headed out of town yet again!  We spent a lovely weekend in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  I'll be doing a full post on this soon, but for now, here's a teaser!

There's something so special about sunset in the mountains!

Finally, this weekend I headed up to the DC area to visit AMF.  Huge storms and power outages put a kink in some of our weekend plans, however, we made the best of it and had a lot of fun catching up.  I even bought some new bedding for the apartment!  (Yep, you heard right, APARTMENT--this summer I'll be moving into an apartment with ALG and am so excited to really experience "grown up" life!).

sneak peek of the new bedding!

Wowee--that sure was a lot!  I've missed keeping y'all in the loop!  From here on out my summer schedule will be much slower and I'm looking forward for some down time!

How are your summers so far?  Got big plans for the 4th?

Have a great day!!!