The Value of Money

Recently I’ve started a new internship with a financial advising firm that I was very lucky to be chosen for. It’s been one of the best learning experiences of my life. I’ve learned more in the last few weeks than I have in my entire high school career. (Not college, because holy cow have a I learned a lot there.) But I’ve also come to realize something else that is more of a life lesson.

I’ve come to realize that for my future career, while how much I’m making is going to be important because it will set the tone for the rest of my life, I’m not going to chose my career based off of how much I will be making. Crazy right? Growing up I always wanted to be successful. I never really had a specific career that stuck with me throughout my childhood, but I always wanted to be the best at whatever I was doing so I could give the people I loved everything they could ever want. I don’t know how on earth this was instilled in me at such a young age, but I definitely remember thinking that’s why I wanted to be successful. So my kids could grow up in a beautiful safe home that they felt comfortable in and their friends would feel welcome in. And to me, this meant that I needed to be successful and provide so this could be achieved.

While I will always continue striving to be the best that I can be, I’ve come to realize that doing something I truly love and enjoy doing as a career is far more important than the salary that comes with it. I would be so much happier being a personal shopper at Nordstrom than I would being an accountant for a huge firm. I’m not saying I won’t ever work on financial things, because now I have a lot of experience in that field, I just want what I’m working on to contribute to something that makes me happy. So maybe I’ll do finances for my own boutique one day a week and the rest of the week be styling clients. I obviously have no clue where life will take me but I do know that I’ll be basing most of my career decisions off of what makes me happy and will bring me and those around me the most joy.

So for now, I’ll continue killing it at my internship and learning as much as I can. I’ll continue with my business major because business and politics are something I’m very interested in, but I’m going to be re-launching this blog and following my dreams a lot more. And I think my 8-year-old fashion obsessed self would be very proud of that.

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A Little Collegiate Advise

Hello all! So as you know I started college this year, and holy cow has it been an adventure. I joined a sorority, took on some challenging professors, handled some rough roommate situations, and I’ve survived thus far. (cheers to me) Literally everything about your life and what you know changes in college. So here are some tips and tricks I’ve learned from my first semester as a college kid.

To start off with I’ve had to learn how to deal with people who I don’t quite understand all the time i.e. most of my professors. In high school, every assignment is clearly outlined and you know exactly what you have to do to get an A. College is not like that. College is more like, you’re handed a 40 page article that you have to analyze in a 3 page paper written with the literacy capabilities of a Nobel Prize winning author. It’s hard. So how I’ve learned and changed my approach is always asking my professor what he specifically wants for the assignment, and sending them my draft or sitting down with them during their office hour to discuss it. This is a lot more time consuming, but I mean I did manage to get a 4.0 last semester, so clearly it works. Knowing what your professor wants and discussing your interpretation of that can also help you grow as a student as you learn your own strengths and weaknesses.

Another thing I’ve learned is there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done. That saying that “even when you think you don’t have homework, you do” is 100% accurate. It’s insane. You need to always know what you have coming up so you can be working ahead on it while also knowing what you have due currently so you can make sure to turn everything in. Life is hectic. I probably would’ve died without scheduling all my obligations in my phone with an alert attached so I wouldn’t miss anything as well as keeping an updated planner with everything I needed to get done, as well as upcoming due dates scheduled in with warnings. You life is going to be non-stop, so also try to schedule in things you enjoy doing, like hanging out with your friends to do something besides study. Managing your time and schedule well is one of the keys to success in college, and possibly beyond. (I don’t know about the beyond part yet, but I’ll let ya know when I get there.)

Your stomach doesn’t want to eat dining hall food all the time. It will tell you that, believe me. So try to have a couple meals a week that are easy on your digestive system. You can get little microwaveable servings of rice at Target that you can pop in for a minute and have a serving of rice ready to go. Grab a steamer bag of frozen vegetables to go along with it and maybe some frozen grilled chicken and bam. A healthy meal straight outta the microwave. And keep fruit and such in your mini fridge. Fueling your body with healthy foods will make you feel 100X better and help you keep up your energy levels with maybe just 2 cups of coffee instead of 10.

Not everyone you meet will be your best friend, and that’s ok. I think going into college I thought I’d find my best friend immediately but it took a little while. And that’s ok. It takes time to really get to know people, and sometimes things come up that make it hard to be friends or things that tear you apart. And that’s ok. Not everyone who comes into your life is meant to stay there for a long time. But keep being kind and respectful and your truest self you can be and you’ll find a bestie in no time, I promise. I found mine and it took a little trying, and I honestly didn’t even like her at first but now I can’t imagine my life without her.

My last little tidbit is that college has it’s ups and downs and you’ll find that out very quickly. I’ve cried a few times from stress or anxiety or life just being too much to handle. But I’ve laughed till I’ve cried with friends more times than I can count. And I’ve passed more tests than I’ve failed. I’ve been on time to class more times than I’ve been late. You’re going to have rough days, maybe rough weeks, but honestly college is my favorite period of life I’ve been in yet, and I’m excited to see what else it has to offer!

I hope this has helped you a little bit, or amused you at least. Either way I hope you enjoyed. (and side note, as you can probably tell this blog is going to be a little more life style based now that I don’t even have time to shower some days, so stick with me while I get everything sorted.) Thanks for all your love and support from the beginning of this until now, and let’s hope college won’t kill the blog completely!

xoxo,

The Blonde Brunette

Being a Conservative Christian and a College Student

Long time no blog!! My apologies, college turned out to be a lot more time consuming and a whole life style change I wasn’t exactly prepared for, but more on that later. Today I wanted to address a reoccurring theme I’ve discovered while being a conservative Christian attending a non-Christian college. It opened my eyes to so many new things, and I’m still struggling to find more positives, but I’m working on that one.

First off, let’s start with the stereotypical favorite college pastime: drinking. Holy cow did I luck out, because well I don’t drink. I hate the taste of alcohol and I have an insane fear of throwing up (like I will full on have a panic attack if I think I’m gonna puke, which is just ugh). So drinking for me just isn’t that appealing. And you might be thinking, then how are you “lucky” in this prospective with college? Well, in my friend group everyone either doesn’t drink or drinks pretty responsibly. Which rocks because they don’t judge me for not drinking, they don’t pressure me to drink and I don’t have to deal with many drunk calls at 2am. (Which I genuinely appreciate.) Another reason I’ve chosen not to drink is because I, personally, feel like this sets a bad example for those who are not Christians of what it means to follow Christ. I’m not by any means saying drinking is bad, but for starters I’m not of legal age, and second off it exhibits self control on my part to chose to have fun without it. That all being said, I’m pretty lucky to be accepted by my friends for this choice. I know it’s not popular, and I know I won’t meet as many people because I don’t go out every weekend and I might not seem cool, but that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make if it means standing up for my values.

Another stereotypical college thing is everyone is hooking up. And wow have I found this one to be true. I was naive enough to not get what someone was asking me about the first time I was asked what my “number was.” And he was asking how many people I’d slept with. (Talk about an awkward question.) But that’s honestly a casual question people will ask you in college if they’re interested. They want to make sure you don’t have anything (cough cough std’s) and know how willing you are to sleep with them. First off, I may be the only person of my generation to not understand the whole wanting to sleep with someone after meeting once, no thanks. And secondly, must we focus every relationship around if we can have sex or not? Honestly. I’m just looking for someone to go on dates with and hang out with, I’d prefer to actually watch Netflix than “Netflix and chill” with you. #sorrynotsorry 

And coming from a Christian grade school and a Luthern high school where I thought that people, in general, didn’t drink too much and were waiting to have sex. But I was wrong. Like 110% wrong. So now comes the hard part. Being different. Just because I’m in a new environment doesn’t mean I’m going to change what I’m doing or how I’m acting. Being a Christian in college means standing up for your beliefs and showing others why life is different as a follower of Christ. And of course we all make mistakes and are obviously not perfect, but most of the time we are the only way some people get to see Christ. Knowing this, it makes how you present yourself seem a little more important, huh? And it’s the little stuff: being on time for class, being attentive and helpful in lectures, being kind and supportive to your friends, forgiving those who don’t necessarily deserve to be forgiven, and lastly one of the hardest ones as a crazy busy college student, making time for God. When you set aside time to do anything, you’re showing it’s an important priority in your life. When others see that no matter how late you were up studying or how little sleep you’ve gotten this week that you still get up for church or that you still stay up and extra 20 min to spend some time with God at the end of your day, that’s being a light to the world. And although my faith is challenged daily in college, I hope and pray I am able to live up to the challenge of being a conservative Christian in a non-Christian college.

College: Wardrobe Essentials

Hello loves! As I’m getting ready for college, I’ve been trying to build up a wardrobe that is both comfortable and stylish. (Because we all know you probably won’t want to be in a stiff button down for a three hour class.) So I wanted to share with you some of the things I’ve purchased over the past few months to build up what I think is a versatile wardrobe for everyday life.

My first must have is a Wildfox sweater. I ordered my first Wildfox sweater this summer and OH MY GOODNESS. I cannot handle how soft their sweaters are. I seriously wear mine every night, I am in love. I was wearing the one I had so often that I purchased a second one yesterday actually. Wildfox is known for being on the more expensive side, but if you look on Saks Off 5th or Nordstrom Rack online, they are about half price. (Which is what I recommend.) This is one of the two I own, and it’s $54 at Saks Off Fifth. The other one I purchased was during the Nordstrom Anniversary sale, so it’s full priced again, unfortunately. And I recommend either buying your normal size, and if you are in between sizes to size down because they run a bit oversized.

  
Another must have comfy top would be an oversized long sleeve shirt. These are seriously one of my favorite things to wear no matter how hot or cold it happens to be. (And these are super great for hot days when you’re going from the humidity into a classroom blasting AC.) I love pairing these year round with Nike shorts or leggings. My favorite long sleeve shirts are the Ivory Ella tops I’ve featured before on the blog. Getting the perfect lounging shirt while supporting a great cause? Um yes.

   
 This brings me to my next must-have: Nike running shorts. I seriously LIVE in these things, all year. It’s becoming a serious issue. That being said, I’ve tried out other brands and I always come back to these. They are both comfortable and flattering, and what more could a girl ask for?

  
My second choice of bottoms would have to be Fabletics leggings. I purchased an outfit from their online site, and was blown away by the incredible quality of their leggings. I actually prefer them to my Victoria’s Secret ones which were almost twice the price. The Fabletics leggings are thick and hold their shape beautifully, while making your assets look amazing.

  
Since you’ll probably be doing a lot of walking around campus, comfortable shoes are a must. These Nike Roshe’s are my absolute favorite. They’re incredibly comfortable and they have an array of colors. I’m more of a black or red sneakers type of girl, so I love my black ones, but for any of you who love a good bright running shoe, they have lots of options!

  
Something you will seriously need when starting school is a good backpack that will hold all your necessities, while not hurting your back too much. I recently ordered this North Face backpack and I am so pleased! It’s super comfortable and has a super handy spot for your laptop. And if you order it on Amazon, it’s much less expensive that ordering from the actual North Face site.

  
For now, these are my college class fashion essentials. Would you guys want another must have’s on school supplies? I feel like those are a tad on the boring side sometimes, but I am loving my new planner, so let me know! Have a fabulous day!

xoxo,

The Blonde Brunette

Challenge Monday: June 1, 2015

Hello loves! It feels like forever since I’ve done a Challenge Monday, so it was definitely time to do another one. The purpose behind Challenge Monday is to give you guys a little bit of inspiration or a little push to try something new with your outfits. I know personally, I feel like I end up wearing the same basic uniform almost all the time, and it’s nice to have ideas and a little inspiration to spice it up once in awhile! That being said, today’s Challenge Monday has kind of a funny story behind it. My best friend Jenna, who’s style is amazing, but anyway, she has never owned converse before. (Now would be the appropriate time to gasp, as a teenage girl without converse is like a PB&J without peanut butter.) And she finally, finally got some this weekend. Black high tops to be exact, and I couldn’t be more proud. So to celebrate, your challenge this week is to put together a look that incorporates sneakers into a non-gym-going outfit. This means no yoga pants and sweatshirt combo, NONE. To help you out in this endeavor, I’ve put together a few tips and tricks to help you out. (As always, all photos are from Pinterest.)

Tip No. 1: If the whole throwing on your gym shoes with jeans and a t-shirt sounds just awful and all kinds of wrong to you, do not fret, I gotcha covered. For those of you who want to ease into this style, might I suggest some type of slide? For example, a Vans slide, which are super popular. Slides have the same comfort of sneakers, without the laced up look and at a glance look like super comfy loafers. This will ease you into the laid back look of wearing actual sneakers once you feel comfortable.

 
{See, just like a pair of black flats but 10X more comfy.} 

{Oh, well hello there beautiful snakeskin that’s popping against this chill outfit.}

Tip No. 2: (This is more like my own personal rule so you don’t look like you were running late and grabbed your sneakers instead of your heels when you were running out the door, but we’ll call it tip no. 2 because that sounds so much nicer.) At least 1 other main piece in your outfit needs to have a clearly casual vibe. So no, your silk t-shirt doesn’t count. For example, if your favorite outfit is a blazer, tank, and jeans, try pairing your distressed light wash jeans with sneakers. And if you want bonus points, go for a looser tank as well to add to the casual vibe. This helps your look be more cohesive. When playing with juxtaposition in fashion, it’s extremely important to have at the very least one other component that plays well with the piece you are putting on display, which in this case would be your sneakers. If that was too much for you to handle, here are some examples:

 {While the leather look pants and button down are more formal, the distressed denim jacket and loose hair brings it down a notch.}

{The loose v-neck tee ripped skinniest pair well with the sneakers, while her long coat and clutch step this up a notch.}

Tip No. 3: If all else fails, try all black, or almost all black and throw on your sneakers. This automatically gives you a cohesive look, and makes your sneakers the focal point of your outfit. (Unless your sneakers are also black, then you’re rocking the monochromatic look, which is one of my personal favorites.)

  
{This is totally chic because of the different shapes she’s wearing, which they’re still all black.}

 {I’m actually obsessed with this outfit. The red beanie popping against her shoes is everything.} 
I hope you’ve found these tips helpful and will try out this look. And even if you only wear it around the house at first, having an outfit focused around practical and comfy shoes that are actually good for your feet is something I’m a huge advocate of. (And how many super models rock this on a regular basis? I’m looking’ at you Kendall Jenner.) TRY IT. OK? ok. Have a fabulous day!

xoxo,

The Blonde Brunette

Store Spotlight: Loft

Hello loves! My deepest apologies for not posting yesterday, it has been one crazy busy week. I’m trying to spend as much time with my friends as possible before we all have to start working our summer jobs and try to work around those schedules. So this week has included many get togethers, and so far only one beach day, but there will be more to come I’m sure. Anyway, today I wanted to give you guys a store spotlight because I feel like I haven’t done one of those in awhile and I’m obsessed with some pieces at Loft right now. As I was going through the things I wanted to show you guys, I decided I’m only showing you the things I would for sure buy, which is like almost everything, but still, it rules out a couple items so maybe, just maybe I can cut this down in length a little bit. Without further a-do, let’s jump into this!

My first pick is this halter top. I love the fun palm leaf print, it’s not too cheesy, and how cute would this look with some crisp white jeans?

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My favorite blouse of all time is also at Loft right now. Feast your eyes on this beauty. I’m seriously obsessed. I love the unexpected lace print, and this seems like a relatively sweat-proof blouse for the summer. (PS they also have a dress version of this that is incredibly cute, but I didn’t want to include two of basically the same thing, so here is the link to that as well.)

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My next pick is possibly the cutest, while still classy dress ever. Those are palm leaves in the lace detailing people, palm leaves. AH.

  
And this beach coverup is everything. Holy smokes. Is it not everything you’d hope for in the perfect easy breezy coverup?

  
For your summertime wardrobe to be complete, you really must have a good pair of light wash jeans. And these are just about perfect. I like that they have a tiny bit of distressing, but nothing too crazy so they can still be dressed up quite a bit.

  
To go with the jeans, you might as well grab a good pair of high waisted and slightly slouchy shorts to go with. You know, to wear on your days off. These shorts are my favorite from Loft’s current collection. (The t-shirt she’s wearing also looks like the comfiest thing ever, so here’s the link to that as well.)  

Lastly, I’ve never owned a denim skirt in my life, but I might have to try out this one. I like that it’s almost white, but not quite so you can still tell it’s a true denim skirt.

 I hope you all enjoyed my picks, and maybe it has inspired you to do some weekend shopping! (PS I pinned all these to my Pinterest board for the blog as well so you’d have easy access that way! Search my account as: Annalies Richmond) Either way, spend some time outdoors if you can, as we get into the beautiful summer season! Have a fabulous weekend!

xoxo,

The Blonde Brunette

How To: Handle Curly Hair

Hello loves! As the weather transitions from dry to hot and humid here, I am woefully reminded that my naturally curly hair clamors for more attention this time of year. The sticky weather means that my hair is going to do everything in it’s power to fight any sort of smooth hairstyle I try to trick it into keeping. It also means that when I use the right products, my hair is going to do even better in it’s natural state. So today I wanted to share with you my must have styling products to get the most out of my unrully curls.

Shampoo and Conditioner: As any curly haired girl knows, dry hair is your worst enemy. We won’t even talk about the horror that is dry, breaking frizzy hair. I keep my hair moisturized (and clean) with the Matrix Biologe Keratindose shampoo and conditioner. It supposedly strengthens your hair with Keratin and helps lock in moisture, I don’t know how much it strengthens my hair, but it works wonders in the moisturizing and shine department.

Shampoo and Conditioner

Hair Mask: Since, once again, dryness is the enemy here, I like using a hair mask at least once a month. In the summer, I usually only use it once a month since the air is usually less dry than in the winter. I usually put this on at the beginning of my shower, then wash my face and body and shave if I need to, and wash it out at the end. This is also a great mask to use if you’re going to take a bath. You can use it on wet or dry hair, leave it on for about 10 minutes, and just rinse it out when you’re done.

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Hair Oil and Palmade: Once I’m out of the shower, I brush through my hair with a wide tooth comb. Using a brush or fine tooth comb on wet hair can cause massive breakage, which we definitely want to avoid. Then I use about one pump, or a quarter sized amount of my Argon Oil by Unite and run it through my hair, focusing it mainly towards the ends of my hair. This stuff is amazing at keeping frizz at bay and doesn’t weigh down my hair. I finish everything off with my Not Your Mothers Beach Babe Hair Texturizing Cream. I use a little more than a quarter size of this and scrunch it throughout my hair. This is what helps keep my curls defined and in place as I go throughout my day.

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All in all, this routine works wonders for my curly hair and hopefully gave some of you an idea of what to try to keep frizz at bay. Even if you don’t have curly hair, you could give this routine a go for some added texture and volume to your hair. Have a fabulous day!

xoxo,

The Blonde Brunette