Back to School Shopping for Under $300

It’s the first week of August and back to school shopping is starting. I’m not sure whether to rejoice for people who have kids and are ready for them to go back or say a silent prayer asking for summer to stay just a little longer. This past week, I made my decision and went shopping! I found out about a family in my church who needed help getting back to school clothes for their kids. My heart went out to them and I volunteered to get all 3 kids a new wardrobe- for under $300. Here’s how I did it!

Back to School for Less

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I started by buzzing my way around all the local stores that were having back to school sales- and then making my way straight to the clearance racks. That’s right, I skipped the advertised “sale” racks. Rarely, in my opinion, are sales a good deal when you are really trying to save money. For example, I went to Kohl’s to get one of the kids some jeans. Sure, they had tons of jeans on sale (2 for $40) but typically I can find a better deal on the same jeans on clearance. I browsed the rack a bit and found two styles of jeans in the size I needed for $10 each! I tried the same method at American Eagle for the older kid and found a pair for $19.99.

school_clothes_for_lessMy next stop was at TJ Maxx where I found another pair of American Eagle jeans for $14.99! For the oldest son, I spent more money in stores like Hollister to get the teenager favorites, but I still shopped the clearance rack for tees ($7.99 each). I spent a lot of time in places like Marshall’s to get t-shirts and hoodies for all of the kids though. It’s my best kept secret for finding steals!

For the youngest little girl, I went to Target and Old Navy and found jeans for $10 and tees (long and short sleeve) for under $4 each. Once again, I shopped the clearance rack. I splurged a little and got her a pink tutu dress for $8. The most expensive part of my shopping was the shoes but I still got great deals. I found Sperrys on clearance for $34 and DC high tops for $24. Kids have to go back to school looking good, right?

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When I was a kid (that was like 5 years ago), I remember how important it was to have the “right” brands and the latest trends. As much as I don’t want kids to give into peer pressure, sometimes little things like wearing a certain clothing brands isn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things. If you can find a good deal on it, then have at it!

To sum everything up, I bought 6 pairs of jeans, 1 pair of shorts, 2 pairs of shoes, 2 backpacks, 3 dress shirts, 1 dress, 1 pair of leggings, 15 t-shirts, and 2 hoodies all for under $300! That is why shopping the clearance rack is so smart. Happy shopping!

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Graduation Details!

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You’re looking at an official college graduate! I, Liz Morrison, have graduated with a BA in Communications and I couldn’t be more proud! It was a long journey to get here but I’m thrilled that I made it. Starting college at 17, I had no idea what to expect and where this road would take me, but when I walked across that stage and shook hands with the Dean of Undergraduate Studies, I knew that this was exactly where I was supposed to be.

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As a first generation college student, my parents were so thrilled! My mom ordered a cake for me from one of our favorite bakeries in Virginia Beach (it’s vanilla). After the ceremony, my parents took me to a nice restaurant on the water so we could celebrate and rehash the event. We also spent a few hours on the beach laying in the sun.

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My dad rarely smiles for photos but on graduation day, he smiled! From the time I was a little kid, he always encouraged me to go to college and make something of myself. I’m so grateful that I was able to do just that. This accomplishment means the world to me and my graduation day was the single most important day of my life. It meant freedom, prosperity, and starting a new legacy for my family.

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The morning of my graduation it was a little foggy but as the day went on the fog burned off and the sun came out in time for our ceremony. It was incredibly warm in that cap and gown sitting under the sun. One guy in front of me actually passed out from heat exhaustion. Since our school is small, everyone graduates on the same day. There were about 1500 people that graduated so we sat outside for quite some time before it was my degree program’s time to walk. That moment was well worth the wait though. When my name was read aloud I had little tears in my eyes and a smile that said it all.

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Part of my graduation gift to myself was buying this lovely Lilly Pulitzer dress for the event. I got quite a few compliments on it once I took off the graduation gown. Lilly is for special occasions and this certainly counted as one! It was the perfect day and I’m so thankful that I have it to look back on. Tell me about your graduation day in the comments below!

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Finding my Passion and Making it my Business

hustle_printThe other day I was reminded by someone close to me that every successful person goes through a difficult season in life before they can achieve their success. I found this comforting in this time of doubt and change. I’m two weeks away from holding a Bachelor of Arts degree and I still have no job lined up for after I finish. I’m the type that likes to plan ahead and panics when there’s no plan set in stone. As you can imagine, this time in my life is driving me crazy.┬áIn my time of indecision though, it has come to my attention that there are two kinds of people in this world: the kind that complain and the kind that change.

I am the latter of the two. I’m a do-it-all woman. The best thing I can do for myself is to seek out opportunities. I can’t go anywhere if I’m not trying to move. The same goes for you. Are you seeking the life you want or are you tweeting about how much life sucks right now?

Figuring out what you want in life isn’t hard, but finding a way to make it happen is what stumps most people. For me, I’ve always known I wanted to be my own boss but the thought of opening and running a business didn’t sound like something I’d enjoy. When I started this blog, it was actually for a school assignment. A few months after the project was over, I came back to the blog and kept writing. I realized quickly that bloggers can make a profit from blogging if they become famous enough. I also became fascinated with how really good bloggers style their photos and sell things on their Etsy stores. Boom! I figured out what I wanted and how I could be my own boss and enjoy it.

Planning to become a great blogger isn’t exactly a science. Good content, expert opinion, and marketing seem to be part of the formula though. Consistency is also key. I write almost everyday and then market it so others know it’s out there. This takes about 2-3 hours out of my day at least. I know that it’s worth it though because the best bloggers started out just like me.

The successful Etsy store owners also started out with a dream and vision for their online stores. I absolutely love styling photos focused on a specific item like stationery, for example. This interest led me to the idea of producing my own line of stationery and prints. Knowing that I would need Photoshop to design these things, I began putting money aside so I can buy the programs and other things I need to make this business venture successful.

I’m doing all of these things and more to set myself up for a future full of prosperity. Right now, it feels like I’m stuck. However, I know I’m doing what I can to make sure I end up where I want to be. My motto right now is “#hustle” and it should be yours too.

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Rainy Days at Starbucks

studying_at_starbucksYesterday was a rainy day in Maryland so the sister and I took some time in the afternoon to do homework at Starbucks. There’s something so nice about sitting in the coffee shop, listening to jazz music, doing work, and just watching the rain fall outside. Very peaceful. I just wanted to nap actually. When I got home, my furry gray cat, Tanzie, was sitting on my bed looking out the open window as it drizzled outside and the wind blew.

My sister was working most of the afternoon on her history and literature class. Poor kid coffee_at_starbuckshas so much reading to do! I worked on discussion posts for two of my classes. We both got frappucinos too. Hers was a vanilla bean frap with a pump of raspberry. It tasted like cotton candy, no joke. I got a pumpkin spice frap, which was amazing and way better than the hot drink! I was surprised I liked it but I certainly did and have a new favorite seasonal drink.

Pumpkin_spiceOf course, Rebecca and I did the obligatory photo of our drinks that we got because they were ‘totes’ cute. I should have Instagrammed it but I didn’t. Oops. The other day I was with my best friend and her younger cousin and I took a picture of the iced latte I got from Dunkin Donuts. Her cousin, who is about 13, looked at me and said “Careful, your white girl is showing!” I about died of laughter. Then she added “hashtag ‘white girl problems.” I thought I would never recover from that one! She’s a funny kid and just says whatever comes to mind.

All in all, it was a decent day. I’m praying for motivation today because I have 2 papers, 2 quizzes, and about 12 response posts to do by Saturday night. Here’s hoping I’m productive and focused although it’s unlikely! Wish me luck and leave me good concentration tips below!

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How to Make Homework Enjoyable

Time for Homework

It’s homework season and I’m already tired. There’s just some things I do not love and never will. Homework is one of them. I’ve compiled a little visual for all the college newbies and others of things that anyone with an intense study session ahead of them will need.

First, get yourself into a comfy outfit. I’m a hoodie and sweats kind of girl. I’m not comfy unless I’m in something of the sort. Treat yourself to a good pair of sweatpants and a warm hoodie. You’ll be needing them.

Second, have your laptop! I know you think you’ll just be reading that textbook, but chances are you will need to Google something that you don’t get. Or you might just procrastinate and post pictures of your “study sesh” on Facebook. Whatever, just have it ready and charged (hint: bring a charger!)

Third, invest in a warm, fuzzy blanket. It makes everything cozier! If I have a blanket to curl up in, I’m so much more inclined to sit there and work because it’s a warm and inviting atmosphere!

Fourth, have your agenda and pen near by to check due dates. You’ll need it trust me because you’ll think something is due next Friday but will want to double check to make sure.

Fifth, having earbuds are a must. I have to block out excess noise with these things. I love to listen to Andrea Boccelli and Michael Buble while working. Invest in a good pair that won’t break after 20 uses.

Sixth, have coffee near by for when you start to get drowsy. Long study sessions require maximum caffeine. I have a whole arsenal of creamers in my refrigerator ready to be added to my Columbian brew. Plus, getting cute coffee mugs to pour the drink into is also a highlight I enjoy!

Seventh, burn a candle! For a relaxing atmosphere, I burn a candle. It doesn’t make me sleepy but it does make me feel comfortable and like I want to stay in the space I’m in. That’s hard to do when homework is near by!

Eighth, have munchies on hand. I don’t mean you need to eat your way through your homework but just have a little pick me up ready after you’ve read so many pages. I use this reward system to get me to read faster.

Finally, have a pillow near by. Sometimes I can find a way to rest my head on my pillow and turn the book so I can still read. Other times, I just need to take a little nap to get me through the rest of the homework session.

Hopefully these ideas and tips have you looking forward to the next time you need to have a homework day. I have many of them and rely on these tricks to get me through them. Comment below with your thoughts and suggestions!

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