Outlet Shopping Haul (and tips to find the deals)

jcrew loafers

I am so excited to share with you a few fab finds from my recent shopping trip to the Premium Outlets! Outlet shopping is one of my favorite things to do when I’m visiting a new city. Each region of the country I think has totally different inventory and it makes the trip that much more exciting. The best outlets I’ve been to have been in Orlando and San Antonio. For whatever reason, these states are sent all the goodies!

My first and and probably best find are these orchid-colored J Crew loafers! These pretty things are normally $98 at the outlet but I scored them on clearance for $30. They’re suede and perfect for fall!

statement jewelry preppy

This next piece is also from J Crew and retails at $52.50, I found it on clearance for $15.95! Normally, I don’t like to spend much on jewelry unless it’s a really quality piece (think real pearls). When I saw this my eyes lit up though. I love the coral and tortoiseshell pieces on the necklace. They really make it pop!

victorias secret bralette review

One of my favorite outlet stores to go into is the Victoria’s Secret outlet. I usually find some amazing deals here! Typically, I don’t like to share my bra and undie selections with everyone, but this was such a great deal I think I should. This particular bralette was on sale for $3.99! Does it give the best lift in the world? No. But if you’re staying at home or it’s laundry day, then it’s a must-have.

pink lace bra

Again, I don’t like to share my undergarments with people but this was another great deal. This Victoria’s Secret bra was in a bin of a thousand others just like it, all for $6.99. It has great lift to it but not the best coverage. Ideally, you would wear it underneath something that didn’t need any extra padding.

banana republic fall haul

Getting to the end of my shopping haul, I found this beautiful, soft, cream-colored jacket for my mom! I raided the clearance rack when I got to the Banana Republic store and saw it. I didn’t even think about it before I snatched it up and bought it. The tag price was $119 and the clearance price was $17.99. Did I mention how cute it is?

Outlet shopping is one of those things that’s a hit or miss. Most of the time, I can find something great to bring home at a good price. The key to shopping at these places is consistency. You can’t go every few months and find a steal or even a deal. Going at least once a month is the best way to find things at low prices. Stores mark merchandise down usually twice a month and there are plenty of savvy shoppers that even know the days they do it. ¬†Shop often!

Leave me a comment with your favorite find in this haul! Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for easy updates!

witty n pretty

Homeschool Halloween: A How-To

Halloween Party Tips

 

I figured that title might get your attention. After all, homeschooling and Halloween don’t seem to go hand-in-hand, but sometimes they do! I asked my boyfriend what he thought of when I said ‘homeschool Halloween’ and he said “a bunch of kids dressed up as the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz.” I’m glad that’s all he could come up with!

Aside from a few stints in public and private schools, I was homeschooled most of my growing up years. My younger sister, Rebecca, is a sophomore in high school and also homeschooled. We’ve both been asked many times if we have friends or have trouble adjusting to a social setting. People are surprised to learn that yes, we have friends, and no, we don’t have problems in social settings. Rebecca in particular thrives in them, whence the reason for this blog post!

My sister is a part of a homeschool co-op in our community. Every week she gets together with her peers whom are also homeschooled and they attend classes taught by professional teachers. As a result of this activity, she has quite a few friends! Rebecca asked my mom if she could invite a few buddies over for a Halloween party this year. Not knowing what the heck to do with a bunch of hungry, energized teenagers, my mom turned to Pinterest for ideas. Here’s what she came up with:

  1. Glow Stick Cooler– Put green glow sticks under the ice in a cooler before adding drinks
  2. Milk Jug Lanters– Use old milk jugs with battery operated lights in them to line a side walk or drive way
  3. Magic Potion Punch– Mix lemon-lime soda, grape-juice, lemonade, and grape jello for a fizzy drink
  4. Harvest Hash– Trail mix combining candy corn, pretzels, M&Ms, Bugles, and assorted nuts to snack on
  5. Dancing Ghosts– Shape chicken wire into ghostly figures then spray paint with glow in the dark paint (not sure how well this one will go)
  6. Head in a Jar– Using a photo editor, blend two images together to make a flat image of a head. Print and place inside jar on a table near hungry snackers
  7. Caramel Apple Pops– Use a mellon scooper to dig out round-shaped apple pieces to dip in caramel sauce. Sprinkle with Halloween-themed sprinkles and then cool
  8. Blacklight Glow– Replace normal light bulbs in the house with black light bulbs for an eerie glow

My mom also bought orange lights to string along the fence and spider webs to hang in the doorways. The plan is to let the kids, I mean teens, hang outside around the fire pit in our backyard. Aside from decorating and a few yummies to eat, my parents are taking a step back and letting my sister and her guests do as they please. They’re at the perfect age where they don’t need silly games to keep them busy, all they do is talk and engage in shenanigans anyway.

In essence, this is ‘homeschool Halloween’. No helicopter parenting, just good food, friends, and decorations. The only difference between this party and that of a kid who may not be homeschooled, is the lack of alcohol involved. Most of the parents are very involved in their teens’ lives and choose to homeschool to keep them out of environments where they may be pressured to drink. Believe it or not, this was actually a good way to grow up.

Rebecca’s party is the night before Halloween and unfortunately, I won’t get to be there. I’ll be in Texas going to a masquerade ball with my boyfriend! Post to come on that later!

witty n pretty

 

 

My Favorite (simple) Home-Based Exercises

gym_selfieIt’s Thursday and I’m happy (and so is my body)! I’ve been hitting the gym hard the last few days and every muscle aches. Staying in shape is not easy and it’s taken me a few years to learn how to do exercises properly and a few months to really get into a routine. I joined a local gym back in April to motivate myself to workout more. Believe it or not, it worked! I go 5 days a week for about an hour each day.

Honestly, you don’t have to join a gym to get in a great workout. There are quite a few of us that simply don’t have the extra time or money to get a gym membership and that’s fine! Many of the exercises that I do at my gym can be done pretty much anywhere. If you can’t join a gym right now, here are a few exercises I love to do that you can do at home (and it’s free).

  • Lunges- I do about 40 of them (20 on each leg) back and forth across the floor. For an added challenge I hold weights in each hand to make my abs and arms work a little harder.
  • Standing push-up- I can’t get on the floor and do a legitimate push-up so I like to lean against a counter top or even a wall and do about 20 of them that way. It’s much less stress on my back!
  • Donkey kicks- Get on all fours and push your left leg back as if you’re kicking something behind you. Switch to the opposite leg. I do this about 20 times for each leg and it really helps to tone your butt and the back of the leg.
  • Hyperextensions- Using a weight (can be anything from a dumb bell to a jug of milk) spread your feet shoulder-width apart, keep your shoulders back, and slowly bend forward at the hips until you are at a 90 degree angle. Then, come back up to a standing position. This works your abs and your back!

As always, doing 20 minutes of cardio really helps to take off those calories. I like to walk at an incline if I can to work the back of my legs and get my heart pumping faster. People who like to run might consider doing it on something softer like sand or even grass because pavement can be bad to run on for your knees.

If you have any suggestions for exercises that don’t require being at the gym to do, leave me a comment!

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Dealing with a Long-Distance Relationship

long_distance_relationship_tips

The hardest thing about a long distance relationship is not being able to share in the big and little moments of everyday life. When you want to go out at night or need someone to help you take the grocery bags into the kitchen, they aren’t there. Learning to deal with the distance is a process that doesn’t happen overnight. Here are the biggest things I’ve learned so far.

  • Communicate everything. Talking about even the small things builds trust and allows the other person to be apart of your life in little ways
  • Use Skype on a weekly basis. Seeing a person, even through a camera, makes the relationship seem more “in person” as opposed to just texts and calls
  • Compliment each other often. Because a lot of long-distance-communication is verbal, you miss out on being able to give nonverbal cues indicating your attraction to the other person.
  • Send letters. Yeah, old school stuff I know. It honestly, makes a huge difference being able to hold something tangible from the other person.
  • Know when the next visit is. Having a date on the calendar for the next time you’ll see each other gives you both something to look forward to and is a great reminder that separation doesn’t last forever.
  • Send pictures throughout the day. Similar to Skyping, it makes them seem more apart of your daily life.

Comment below with your personal stories and tips to share!

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Juggling the Work/Life Balance

francescas_coffee_mugsWith my recent graduation and getting my first job, I have a lot on my plate. I get to work from home most days and I’m really enjoying it! However, with an active social life and a blog to keep up with, it can be a bit much to manage. After a few days on the job, I’m starting to get the hang of how to manage the work/life balance appropriately. I’m sharing with you some of things I’ve learned so far.

  1. Schedule. I have an addiction to planners and agendas. I love the Kate Spade and Lilly Pulitzer kind! The fact of the matter is, though they’re cute, you need to actually use them! I’m learning to utilize the space in my agenda properly (including the ‘notes’ section). Go me!
  2. Caffeine Intake. For pete’s sake, do not guzzle down a gallon of coffee before 9 am. I like to set my coffee pot’s program to keep it warm for 3 hours after I brewed it. Drinking a big pot of coffee helps throughout the day. I get burned out if I drink it all at once. I’m getting into tea because I hear it can be great for you (but nothing beats coffee!)
  3. Have a Routine. We all get into a routine after a few days of starting something new. Having this routine makes a world of difference to me and my body. We’re both prepared for what lies ahead and can look forward to each day knowing what is likely to happen. Trust me, if you stick to a routine you’ll feel amazing!
  4. Get up Early. I hate mornings with a passion but I find that the earlier I’m awake, the more things I can get done. I’m not someone who will wake up at 6:30 just because she can, I prefer to sleep in. If you have a job situation similar to mine, you’ll value being able to get up around 8am and eating a slow breakfast while drinking some OJ.

Tell me your tips on how you juggle work/life in a comment below!

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