Friday, February 28, 2014

Weekend Recap: Busy Busy Me!

For the weekend of February 21-23, I had no plans, but somehow got so incredibly busy! Now that my spring break is started, I'm at home, which means a lot of things...I can get my ThredUp package (review to come!), I will be going skiing, I have a lot of homework to do, and I can get the photos dad took from the 23rd!

Friday I was having a rough day. It started early, so my roommate and I could meet a friend for breakfast at Panera. And while it was great to see her--she's usually in Chicago or D.C.--I had to run right from that to class. My most stressful class meets for four hours on Friday and is followed by a shift at work. So by the time I got done with it all, I was in a very bad mood. My friend Taina suggested we go and get pho, which was one of the best decisions ever.

Following that we hit up H&M so I could use one of my Wrapp giftcards, and I got a cat crop top just because! That was supposed to be the end of our evening, but a friend called and asked if we wanted to have a girls' night at a bar called Lolita. It was quite fun...and after a shared pitcher of blackberry sangria, strawberry sangria (SO GOOD), and a "bonita" margarita (El Mayor Reposado, ginger, white peach, and lime), the super tacky decor of black plastic chandeliers, red lighting, and paintings of "gothic" girls was easy to forget about!

Saturday started a bit late for me...I didn't have anything until 2 pm. With all the snow days we've been having, I've had a decent number of classes cancelled. Most professors don't want to come in on Saturdays to make up the time, so both my Feminist Cultural Theory class and my Hispanic Caribbean class asked we go to a production of "Fefu and Her Friends" (review also to come!). I hit up H&M one more time to spend my second Wrapp giftcard (review here!) and also did some shopping with my friends. We went to Sephora, Barnes & Noble, and Starbucks...and I hate to admit it, but it was my first time in Sephora! It was super overwhelming...but I did get to try an OCC Lip Tar :)


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Frugal Fashion: H&M Mini-Haul [+ Wrapp Mini-Review]

This past weekend was extremely busy! Once I get home for spring break and can steal the photos my dad took, I'll be able to do a full post about it. But in the meantime...I can cover the H&M shopping I did, savings courtesy of Wrapp!

But first, some fun instagram news: one of my posts got over 30 likes! My previous record was 18, so I'm quite happy. I also have 165 followers as of today, thanks mostly to the lovely girls of HCBN :) Thanks everyone!
Wrapp, for those who don't know, is an app that lets you "wrap" gift cards for friends. But they have some good promotions from various brands, where you essentially get gift cards for free! I had two $6 H&M gift cards from an Olympics promotion. The only catch is that you can use only one gift card per transaction, so I ended up stopping by on Friday and Saturday. I ended up with a cat crop top (originally $9.95) a gold belt (on sale for $3.95), and a pink-and-salmon belt (on sale for $3.95). For three items, I spent $5.85. I've been dying for a cat-themed piece and have very few fun belts :)

Since I'm by no means a fashion blogger (but I love them), I decided to challenge myself and do an impromptu photo shoot with these new items. Please bear with the terrible setting, and suggestions on how to pose for photos are always welcome! (And apologies for being mostly faceless...I was too lazy to retake photos so they had decent expressions xD)

First, I tried the crop top with my high-waisted pink pants and the pink side of the belt...

Then I switched to my black leather skirt, even higher-waisted than the pants...

Next up were my plain black jeggings...

And then I gave up and got completely ridiculous (always fun :D)!

What do we think? What else should I try the top with?

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Friday Five: Reasons I Love Instagram

Honestly, the main reason I wanted a smart phone was so that I could have an instagram. Pre-iPhone days (i.e. before September 2013, a whopping six months ago) I would steal my friend Monique's phone just to use her app. I even tried to install it on my mom's iPad (which failed because her iPad was too old to support it). Instagram was the first app I installed on my new iPhone, surprise surprise! Since then, I've worked to curate my photos, been featured twice on the official account, started an insta-365 project, and found about 150 followers. I'm quite proud of my little baby account, but I've never before taken the time to consider why I love this app so much.

1. It's so easy.
Although not always always charged, my phone is just a pocket away. When I see that silly moment with friends or if I just want to capture something beautiful, my phone is perfect for that, and instagram helps me share it without any lag time.

2. But I can still challenge myself to be creative.
The square format is something I haven't played with much, save two roles of Holga film in AP Photography. It really forces me to think about my subject arrangement, what's in the frame, and how to crop the shot the best way. Adding a filter is a struggle in and of itself, but also forces me to think about color, lighting, and to decide when no filter is actually the better option.

3. Inspiration and cute animals.
I follow so many instagrammers who post inspirational quotes or pictures of adorable pets that my day is brightened just by scrolling through my feed after a stressful class.

4. Recognition.
I'm very vain when it comes to instagram, I have to admit. I love getting notifications of a new like, follower, or comment--it's just an affirming feeling! I've used other photo-sharing websites in the past (flickr, even tumblr), but I didn't get a tenth of the traffic I do on instagram. I love sharing my view with the world, and I love when people let me know I did a good job with a photo.

5. All the extra apps!
I've acquired a host of other apps to enhance my instagramming. Extra filters, lighting, and frames make my feed more customized and appealing (I'll have to do another post on my favorite extra apps soon!).

I do still love my DLSR and Photoshop. There's something about that level of quality that can't be beat. But instagram will forever have its place in my heart--plus, it does a great job of promoting me as a brand, something all those photos stuck in my computer's photography folders will never be able to do, no matter how well-edited!

Do you have an instagram (leave your name if you do!)? Why do you use it? Are you as insta-crazed as I am?

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Dolley Madison Ball

Last weekend, on February 8th, I attended the Dolley Madison Ball in Salem! The Commonwealth Vintage Dancers host a wonderful variety of events throughout the year, although I've only ever attended their Regency ones (last year were the Pride & Prejudice Ball and the Regency Dance Intensive Weekend).

I suppose I kept costs down fairly well. Since I didn't buy any new accessories, I haven't finished (or even properly started) my own Regency dress, and I got my ballet shoes for free thanks to Swagbucks [affiliate link], my expenses were the ticket ($15 for students and paid for with a Visa gift card received as a birthday gift), $13.50 for round-trip train tickets, and lunch and dinner (about $17). I did finish hemming my dress, and I didn't trip over it at all (unlike last year). Success!

I made sure I did my hair before we left. I had stayed over at home Friday and came back Saturday morning, so my Saturday was very hectic!

The day really started by catching a train around 2 and having some time to kill before the dance lesson at 4. It was a great warm-up and reminder since I haven't done this is almost a full year, although after the Dance Intensive Weekend it seemed almost too easy! I was able to focus more on my waltz step, so that was nice.

Both lunch (before the lesson) and dinner (after) were had at Front Street Cafe, which is one of my favorite places to eat in Salem. Such delicious food, and an awesome atmosphere and staff. I even had my first "real" juice--pineapple, ginger, lemon, and pear! We also found a Tardis while walking around :D

The ball itself was so incredibly fun. I love the historical-but-modern atmosphere, the live music, being social, taking silly photos, and dancing. I skipped only a few dances. Sadly, we had to leave a little early to be sure and catch our 10:30 train, but the hosts know us by know and made sure our last dance was fun and short. I now have serious clothing envy though! I want a proper Regency dress so badly--I won't go into it but mine is so inaccurate it's painful. I would almost rather not wear it. Almost.

Photo by Jen
The Miss eBays (we got our dresses from eBay...see how they're all the same?)
I'm on the left, Alex in the middle, and Mel on the right
Photo by Jen
Erin, me, Alex, and Mel
See how even my hem came out? I'm so happy :D
Photo by Jen
One of my favorite photos: Marcy, "the rake," flirting with poor me
Fun fact: of the ten girls I went with, three were dressed as guys
Photo by Jen
Prince Regent's Angels

Photo by Adam
The whole group from my school! Some were there as a requirement for a literature class, some went with friends from that class, and some (like me) went just because it's awesome.
Since I can't justify borrowing photos taken by people I don't know very well, I'm going to link to some other blog posts about this event :) Each of the following ladies I had the pleasure of dancing in a set with.

"Dolley Madison, Social Butterfly, and BAMF"on Plaid Petticoats (I'm actually in the background of many of her photos...see if you can spot me!)

"The Dolley Madison Ball" on Sew 18th Century

"Millinery Flowers as Trim on Regency Ball Gowns" on Dames a la Mode

I really hope I have the money and time to go to the next Regency weekend in April!

Have you ever done historical dancing? Are you as Regency-crazy as I am?

Monday, February 10, 2014

Modcloth Make the Cut Contest: "Prints Charming"

ModCloth Make The Cut Contest: 'Prints Charming' 
Have you always dreamed of becoming a fashion designer? Well now that dream can come true! The ModCloth Make The Cut program is a recurring design contest that invites the ModCloth Community to design garments, graphics, or fabric prints. Its main purpose is to further their mission of democratizing fashion by producing clothing designed by community members. YOU can become a designer at ModCloth!

How does the contest work?

Entrants will design a new print for a private label dress silhouette that is already being produced! Contestants have two weeks to submit designs. After the submission period, the ModCloth Creative Team will narrow down the submissions to 20, which will be sent to the guest judge, Amanda Needham, Costume Designer for Portlandia. After Amanda has chosen the 10 finalists, they will be posted on the Be The Buyer page for voting. There will be a week for the Community to vote, then ModCloth will contact the winner and update the contest announcement with the big news!

• Contest is Live Now!
• End of Submission Period: Friday 02/14/14
• Launch voting on Be The Buyer: Monday 03/03/14
• End voting on Be The Buyer: Monday 03/10/14
• Winner announced on ModCloth Blog (winner will be contacted personally): Wednesday 3/12/14

Send your entry in now and good luck!

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post, but all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Friday Five: Taking Advantage of My Tuition

The (often exorbitant) tuition you pay your school often includes more than just four to five classes and a tiny dorm room. I hate to admit it, but I didn't utilize some of these extra benefits until this semester! Don't make my mistake, and see if your school offers similar (or better!) tuition goodies.

Fitness Center Classes
I went to my first gym class, a yoga class, last week, and I loved it! My school also offer pilates, cycling, kickboxing, and other fun things, but my school/work/internship schedule only allows me to make yoga on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I'm pretty sure even off-campus students get free membership--and free classes--so I'm going to try to keep up with this next year as well.

Photo Credit: naturalturn via Compfight cc
The Library
I used the library a lot when I was studying abroad at the castle, but at the home campus I avoid it like the plague (except for finals, when they lure me in with snacks). But recently, I've become fond of the relative quiet, the comfy chairs tucked into random corners, the study rooms, the fact that all of the textbooks are kept at the reference desk, and the rows upon rows of movie scripts and student theses.

Photo by Emerson College
My school offers a plethora of events. From Resident-Assistant-sponsored floor events to student-run plays to acapella groups to those hosted by the Mane Events club, there is always something going on. Since this is probably my last semester on campus, I'm trying to take advantage. I went to the '90s themed party by Mane Events and the Superbowl party recently, but I need to find a few more to go to :)

Jobs & Internships
Career Services at my school is actually pretty good. I got my internship last summer after attending the Spring 2013 internship fair, had my resume updated, and have read up on some of the many evaluated internships they keep in massive binders. But this semester I got a job through the school as well--which I should have done years ago!

Meal Plan
This is probably the one category I've tried to take full advantage of since freshman year. We're allowed to take fruit out of the dining hall, so I do that to tide me over for homework. I've also been trying to buy all of my snacks and granola bars from our convenience stores, instead of going to CVS. While it's more expensive technically, when I've already had this meal plan paid for it makes sense to use it up first and save my money for going out on special occasions.

Photo by The Berkley Beacon
What does your school offer you as part of tuition? What do you take advantage of?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A Month of Instagram: January

Snow day today! While I do hate missing class because it always messes up the syllabi, and it's never good to miss work (and making money), I really can use this day off. My room is a mess, I'm slightly behind on some homework, and I had a long day of internship-yoga-homework yesterday, with internship-yoga-club-club-homework tomorrow.

Fun personal fact of the day: reposted one of my storm pictures on Instagram! (Original can be found here.) This is the second time they've reposted one of my photos, and while I know they repost a lot of things, I find it super flattering :)

I took quite a few photos in January, but here I'll post the usual eight. You can check out all my photos in my Instagram gallery.

From left to right: New Year's fireworks in the city <> View of Montreal from Mont Royal. I spent a few days in Canada with friends at the start of January :) <> Amazing John Singer Sargent exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts (and free for me!) <> Ski trip with family.

From left to right: One of the best parts of winter break is seeing my kitty every day. <> Snowy Boston at night. <> I went home over MLK weekend to see my best friend, Ellen, and of course get our favorite coffee and bagels. <> The beautiful view I see walking home from my internship.

Over the past few months, I've found that Instagram has helped me to identify and record some of the little, amazing things in the city. I've always said I don't like cities, and I do prefer the countryside, with its plants and animals and wide open space. But I'm coming to appreciate the cities I spend so much time in more and more.

January went too soon! I'm looking forward to February--it's my birthday month, after all--and hoping this snow continues through March :D How was your January? What are you looking forward to in February?