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Fashion Friday: J.Crew New Arrivals + Pinterest Board


Well, I am 11 days into my 30 X 30 challenge, and I want to shop so bad! I do feel a little guilty, however, since some items I ordered before my shopping fast arrived a couple days into the challenge and I got my fix of the "new clothes high."


While I have resisted the temptation since then, it has been tough (especially since I am super stressed right now)! So I decided to start a new Pinterest board. And every time I have the impulse to buy, I will simply pin it. I actually think this will be a good exercise and it will be interesting to see how many of the items I still really want when I am forced to wait.

Naturally, because J.Crew is out to get me, their new March arrivals are amazing! Here is what I will be pinning:

     
This lattice medallion print is gorgeous!

     

     

     

I have a minnie pants addiction! 


Does anyone else try to use Pinterest to curb their shopping habit?


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Packing for Europe: Spring Travel Edition


I have to say, I was super surprised at how well received my Packing for Europe Winter Edition was. It is my post poplar post of all time, and by far my most pinned pin and re-blogged blog post! Clearly there is a need for this type of guide, so I thought I should do one for each season. Well, here is my guide for packing for European travel in the spring (which, is only a few weeks away!):

As a transitional season, spring can be tricky to pack for. Weather can run the spectrum from cold and rainy to warm and sunny and you have to be prepared for all of it! The solution is to pack a variety of clothing items--short sleeve, long sleeve, sweaters, jeans, dresses and skirts--that can be mixed and matched as well as layered to meet the varying and often unpredictable weather conditions.

The Essentials:
  1. Jackets - While you may not need a wool or down coat in the Spring, you will want a lighter coat for cool mornings and a waterproof warmer jacket for cold and wet days.
  2. Puffer Vest - Puffer vests are great for layering and warm enough for an unseasonably cold day.
  3. Shoes - You will want a variety of shoes, one for every type of weather. You can't go wrong with wellies for rain, sneakers for cooler days, and sandals for warmer sunny days.
  4. Tights - Tights are perfect for making any outfit warmer. They also fit in your bag so you can take them off when the day warms and put them back on for cooler evenings. I often do this in London.
  5. Scarfs - Scarfs are great for warmth and style. They can transform even the simplest of outfits! But for spring I would go for silk or cotton rather than wool.
  6. Umbrella - I never travel without a pocket umbrella (not matter the season), especially in the spring.


Image Map
Click the image for links.

After packing the essentials, I always suggest focusing on basic pieces. These are usually comfy and flattering pieces that could go with anything. But be sure to vary shirt thickness and sleeve length! 

Finally, add some color, texture, and pattern to diversify your packing wardrobe. If you stick to a couple key colors (here I am using navy and red) you can really make a ton of fabulous outfits for any weather condition spring might throw your way. I could make over 30 outfits from the pieces shown. Don't believe me? Click here to see all the outfits!

And as always, I suggest wearing your bulkier items on the plane to save space and weight!

Happy spring travels!
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Feeling Blah + Words of Wisdom



The past couple weeks have been rough! I am feeling physically and emotionally exhausted. I've been trying to juggle essay grading, grant/proposal writing, preparing to present a conference paper, and reading, reading, and more reading. Not that this is abnormal for grad school, but usually I can keep my spirits up through all of the stress and craziness!

If I think about it, I've been feeling this way all semester. It is no coincidence that I am struggling at this particular point in my career - the point when I am expected to transition from someone who just consumes history to someone who produces history. And let me tell you that is a lot of pressure! It is also uncomfortable. I feel like I am stuck at a crossroads - I have done enough research to propose original arguments and ideas (and I am being invited to share those ideas), but I still feel like there is so much more I could know or should know!

At some point you just have to resign yourself to the idea that you can ever know it all, or even enough. Yet it is equally difficult to put yourself out there and articulate your ideas so early in the process (but you have to start somewhere right?).

For me, all of these feelings and uncertainties came to a head this week as I struggled to complete a conference paper I am presenting next week (at a pretty important professional conference). The more pressure I put on myself, the worse the paper went. Fortunately, I have an amazing advisor (actually I am so fortunate because all of my mentors are incredible). She read over my paper and helped me regroup and refocus. She also passed on some words of wisdom I thought I should share. Especially if you are ever feeling down and discouraged. Remember, "writing takes courage," and to "be humble in your assumptions, but bold in your interpretations." So insightful, right? I think we often overcompensate when we are feeling insecure and unsure by being bold in our assumptions.


The rest of this week will consist of more essay grading and writing, but it I will also reflect on these wise words as I pick myself up, dust myself off, and get back to work. Because, as I have said before, that is one of the keys to graduate school success!
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DIY: Ikea Bar Cart Hack


I don't want to brag, but I am pretty much obsessed with my latest Ikea hack - a bar cart for only $29.99!!!!!

I absolutely love the bar cart trend, but I have yet to find an affordable option for someone 1) with a small place and 2) who doesn't really drink (obviously I am not counting prosecco and wine). Even when Target released a somewhat inexpensive $120 version, I still felt like it was too expensive and too large. I just wasn't willing to sink hundreds of dollars into a trend that I love the look of, but at the end of the day, isn't super practical for my lifestyle.

But then the other day I was in Ikea (picking up frames for my prints, of course) and I saw the Bygel utility cart for $29.99. Yes that's right, 30 bucks! I was completely willing to invest thirty dollars into the bar cart trend. Another bonus was the cart's size, which makes it ideal for small spaces and less costly to fill.


All I did to transform the cart was spray paint it gold! A quick tip - assemble the cart half-way before spray painting. Then, let dry and finish assembling. It is also helpful to have some gold craft paint for touch ups.

To fill my new bar cart, I simply gathered some of my glasses from the kitchen and added this gorgeous square tray, this acrylic wine holder (which will look great when I finally get around to filling it), and these adorable straws (on clearance!).

This was seriously the cheapest and easiest bar cart ever! Eventually I would love to add an ice bucket and shaker, but for now I am super happy with the result.

I thought it was only appropriate to hang my degrees over my new bar cart,
since I often joke drinking is the only way you survive grad school!

Peony print from my printshop!
But how perfect would this recent freebie be on your new bar cart?

Gold glasses from West Elm

What do you think? Anybody else excited about this hack?

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Don't let your feet spoil your travels!



What is the quickest way to ruin your far-off adventure? Unhappy feet!

Two summers ago, while visiting the breathtaking Amalfi Coast, I was awoken in the middle of the night by a knock on my hotel door. It was a student in tears. When I asked what was wrong, she replied it was her feet! Yes, that’s right, her feet. After two weeks of traversing medieval cobblestone streets, her feet were sore, blistered, and swollen to point that the pain was keeping her awake!

Last summer another student was reduced to tears in the middle of a square in Florence when a giant blister on the bottom of her foot burst just before climbing the amazing duomo. She was basically incapacitated for several days while her foot healed.

Sadly, this happens every year. Most American students are simply not accustomed to walking long distances on a daily basis (I would say I average 8-12 miles a day when on tour in Italy). Not only are their bodies not physically conditioned to navigating uneven surfaces and climbing lots of stairs, they often bring the wrong shoes. Because we live in a country dependent on cars and that has a more sedentary life-style, most students don’t give much though to their footwear beyond style.

Unfortunately, there isn’t one shoe I can recommend for every to wear to avoid blisters and sore or swollen feet when traveling. Everyone’s feet are different and everyone will find a different shoe more comfortable. For example as a Floridian, I spend a lot of time in flip-flops and I am comfortable walking long distances in them. I have also found soft canvas flats like Superga, Toms or Soludos don’t rub my feet and their soles are soft enough that I can stand on hard stone surfaces all day (my favorite cold and/or rainy weather footwear is the Hunter Tour Boot).

The point is that you need to give some thought to the shoes that you pack. If you blister easily, think about which of your shoes never give you blisters. If you need arch support, don’t wear flip-flops! Finally, test the shoes you want to bring. Put on your favorite pair of sandals and go for a brisk three-mile walk. If you are limping by the third mile, don’t bring them! Moral of the story—know thy feet!

Steps to avoid foot discomfort while traveling:
I always recommend travelers bring a variety of shoe styles. That way if the shoes you thought would work are killing you; you can try another pair.  If you want to wear ballet flats or boat shoes I highly recommend you wear socks with them. And never bring brand new unworn shoes! I also suggest bringing one pair sneakers. When all else fails, you might have to suck it up and wear tennis shoes while your feet recover.

No matter what shoes you bring, it is likely that you will experience some discomfort the first couple days abroad. Blisters are the most common complaint. I recommend packing some moleskin and Band-Aid blister block. Finally, the more physically conditioned you are, the more comfortable you will be. Make an effort to walk 3-5 times a week the month prior to departure.


You can shop some of my favorite shoes for travel below:
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Insta-lately


I am so glad this week has come and gone. Between paper writing, essay grading, networking, and research proposals and presentations I was swamped (and still am!). Hopefully this upcoming week will slow down a bit! This week also marked the start of my latest 30 X 30 challenge, and here is what I wore:

Sunday: Lazy Layers

Day 1 

jacket (old) // dress

Day 2

Day 3
jacket (old) // tee // shorts // sunnies

Day 4

Day 5
jacket // scarf // tee // jeans

Day 6
popover // shorts // bag (old) // sandals

Happy Sunday!
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Weekend Freebie: More Champs Please Print


This weekend's freebie is not only a cute 8" X 10" print, but a clue to an amazing DIY I'm planning to share later next week. So stay tuned! But until then enjoy the print, because champs is always a good idea!

8" X 10" "More Champs Please" Print

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Fashion Friday: The Barbour Shore Jacket


Three things I love: quality, history, and style. And Barbour jackets have all three! The iconic Barbour waxed jacket is world renown for its timeless look and superior quality. For more than a century (yes, a century) Barbour has been designing outerwear to meet the demands of a "stylish outdoor lifestyle."

I was drawn to Barbour jackets for their superior quality. You know when it comes to price I am all about cost per wear. And I love companies who provide lifetime care and maintenance for their products. When I invest in something I want amazing quality and I want it to last!

I realized the value of this when I purchased my first Briggs and Riley suitcase. For years I would spend $100-$200 on a suitcase that would last one or two summers through Italy's rough cobblestone streets and endless stairs. When I totaled what I had spent on luggage, I could have already purchased a superior quality Briggs and Riley bag, which come with a lifetime warranty and free repair for life (side-note, beyond the warranty Barbour's repairs and maintenance are not free, but they are reasonable). I have had my bag for three summers now, and I will never go back to cheap luggage!

Once I discovered Barbour's quality and maintenance services I knew it was the jacket for me. Having a high-quality waterproof jacket is a necessity for travel (and believe me, I am super tough on my clothes when traversing Italy). I wanted something that I would last for years and never go out of style. While I loved the look of Barbour jackets, I had not found the jacket for me. I was looking for navy (of course), a waxed outer shell, clean lines, and lightweight. Then the other day J.Crew released their new arrivals and they featured the Barbour Shore Jacket, and it's perfect! Everything I am looking for and (something I didn't know I wanted) a pop of red, which will match my rain boots perfectly. It's a match made in heaven!

Image Map

What products are worth the investment in your life?

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Stripes for Every Season



Hey guys, today I am guest blogging on the Modern Prep Gazette (Sloane Ranger's amazing blog)! Check it out and discover the history behind the classic navy and white striped Breton top and how to style it for every season.


If you haven't signed up to receive the Modern Prep Gazette, you definitely should!

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Custom Fashion Illustrations


I am really excited to announce that the Preppy Printshop is now offering custom fashion illustrations!

Blair Eadie of Atlantic Pacific
Blair Eadie of Atlantic Pacific

I will turn your favorite picture into a custom graphic illustration that's perfect for branding, blogging, or simply celebrating your favorite look or outfit! 
You will receive a digital file of your custom illustration that you can use online or in print.

I think these illustrations would make not only an adorable printable but also the perfect personalized stationary and business cards!

Click here to learn more and feel free to contact me if you have questions or you would like more information.
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The Importance of Networking



Yesterday I was invited to participate in a luncheon with my university's president and a handful of other graduate students from various departments on campus. It was one of the those events that while you feel honored to be invited, you stress over the potential awkwardness and uncomfortableness of such a forced social situation. But as uncomfortable as making small-talk with strangers can be, learning how to introduce yourself to new people and cultivate professional relationships--also known as networking--is oh so important.

Like it or not, networking matters for everyone in every field! I think a lot of people underestimate the importance and power of networking. Of course, networking can't replace talent or hard work, but I think the idea that your work will speak for itself is a misnomer. Literally your work can't speak... it's not human!

I think academics are the worst about hiding behind this idea. If I've learned anything in my last couple years as a graduate student, it's that no one will read my work or know about my research unless I speak for it! Networking means being an advocate for yourself (not being fake or insincere)!

So here are some of my tips:

1. There is potential in everyone you meet!
Two summers ago I was working for a study abroad program in Rome. My job was to help coordinate excursions for a British and two American universities who were offering a program in Rome for the first time. One of the faculty members from the British institution was also a historian but in Ancient Anglo-Saxon history. At first I didn't think much of her interest in my research, but as it turned out, her officemate was a leading historian in my field. I took the time to cultivate a relationship with her and the following year she invited me to present my research at her university and introduced me to her officemate. Obviously you don't want to be disingenuous, but remember that networks are often informal webs of relationships, and every relationship has the potential of creating opportunity!

2. You get what you give.
If you only view networking or relationship building as something to help yourself then you won't get much out of it. Relationships are two-way streets! You should think about how you can help others, not just how they can help you. At the beginning of your career you may not feel like you have much to offer, but there is always someone behind you that you could guide or mentor and maybe even open a door.

3. Don't be afraid to connect.
I think the biggest issue most people have is with face-to-face networking. A crowded room with lots of people wearing name tags and you are trying to not be socially awkward or sweaty! But networking can happen any time any where. Most of my encounters have been informal or coincidental. Beyond random encounters, email and social media are also great alternatives to face-to-face networking. The bottom line is that no matter what the setting, you have to be willing to put yourself out there. For example, I found a blog online dedicated to one of the topics of my research. I sent an email through the contact button explaining who I was and what I did. The next day I received a reply asking if I wanted to contribute. Contributing to the blog led to even more important contacts in my field.

4. Get business cards!
Ok this one might seem silly, especially if you aren't in a field where that is common, self-employed, or in school. But trust me, everyone exchanges information and having a printed card not only makes that transaction easier, but makes you look confident and professional. And if you always carry them, you can transform a random introduction into an important professional connection!

If you are serious about developing networking skills, I found this great list of advice.


I think I am pretty good at networking, although like everyone, I struggle with anxiety over what to wear and what to say. But like anything, practice makes perfect!

What are some of your networking tricks?

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Top 5 Student Travel Questions



I get a lot of the same questions about studying abroad, so I thought it would be useful to post and answer the five most common questions I am asked by students as they prepare to study abroad.

1) How do I exchange and access money abroad?
The easiest way to access cash while in a foreign country is the ATM. Using the ATM ensures that you will receive the fairest and most up-to-date exchange rate. If you try to exchange cash on site or cash travelers checks you will deal with inconsistent exchange rates and fees. It is also less convenient than ATMs, which just like home, are everywhere. I do recommend exchanging $200 before leaving the country, that way you have cash for transportation and food when you arrive. Please note, YOU MUST LET YOUR BANK KNOW YOU ARE LEAVING THE COUNTRY prior to departure or your bank will deactivate your debt/credit card. While credit cards are useful, you will find many smaller businesses except only cash or charge a service fee for using a credit card. Cash is the best way to go!

2) How much money do I need?
This question is always difficult to provided one answer. It really depends on the individual and their lifestyle. But, generally you will need enough money to cover meals, snacks and beverages, optional trips, souvenirs/shopping, and entertainment (e.g. nightlife). Cooking in your apartment is a great way to save money. The best way to set a budget is to decide what you will need to spend on a daily basis and then multiply by the number days you will be abroad.

To give you a general idea of what things cost in Italy: a cappuccino 1-2, a panini 3-5, soda about 2, water 1-2, and a basic lunch or dinner entree in a restaurant 8-12. Remember these price estimates are in EUROS! To make your life easier, I recommend you decided how much money you have to spend in dollars, then convert that entire amount into euros (http://www.xe.com) prior to departure. While you are abroad, subtract your expenses from this amount, which is already in euros. Trying to keep track of the conversion on every transaction you make is exhausting and often leads to mistakes!

3) Do I have to carry my passport on me at all times?
No! If you are staying in a safe and secure place (if you are traveling with me, you will be!) it is better to leave your passport locked in your room. It is more likely that you will be pickpocketed in Italy before your apartment is robbed. However, I always recommend that you make several copies of your passport. If you aren’t carrying your actual passport, you should always have a copy on you. You will have to bring your passport when you travel to another city. Italian law requires hotels register the passports of every tourist. Again, once you are settled in your hotel, it is better to leave it behind than carry it with you to tourist attractions where pickpockets like to hang out.

4) What about my appliances and electronics?
Electricity in Europe is 220-240 volts, 50 hertz. Electricity in the U.S. is 110 volts. An adapter simply allows you to put American plugs into European sockets (think flat peg into a round hole). Voltage converters actually convert voltage—from 220 to 110 or vice versa. Any item that does not specify that it is dual voltage will require BOTH an adapter and voltage converter.

Every year students swap tragic stories of how their straighteners and blow dryers died, melted, or caught on fire!  Even when students use both a plug adapter and a voltage converter, hair electronics never seem to function properly.  Since many of these devices cost a small fortune, my advice – don’t bring them, or bring a less expensive version you don’t mind throwing away.  If you have roommates, consider dividing the cost of a European blow dryer or straightener.  A bonus to not bringing these devices is that your suitcase will be lighter!

Computers, iPhones, iPads and most cell phones are all pre-wired to work on both 110 volts (American) and 220 volts (European).  These devices will function properly with just a plug adaptor.

5) How do I call home?
There are several ways to call home: First, you can speak with your domestic cell phone provider and upgrade to an international plan.These are often quite expensive and best saved for emergency calls and texts.  Second, international cell phones can be rented or purchased through a variety of providers. Cellular Abroad and PicCell Wireless are two examples. Finally, you can go the old fashion way and purchase phone cards from local Tabbacchi shops.  They typically cost 5 Euros and have approximately 20 minutes of calling time. But I still advise students to rely mostly on email!


If you have any other travel or study abroad related questions, don't hesitate to ask or email me!
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Tweet Tweet


Well I did it. I finally broke down and joined Twitter. I don't know why I was such a hold out - maybe the stress of another social media outlet to manage - but I think it will be fun! I'm looking for people to follow so tweet me at @historyinheels (apparently @historyinhighheels is too long for a handle).
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Insta-lately: OOTDs


Well another week has come and gone, and here is what I wore:

Sunday: Work Dinner Party
J.Crew dress (old) // popover (layered underneath)

Monday: The Perfect Double Breasted Blazer
blazer (old, similar) // popover // jeans // bag (old)

Tuesday: A Pop of Lilly
top (similar) // cardigan (similar) // skirt

Wednesday: Showing My Stripes

Thursday: Birthday Present to Me!

Friday: Valentine's Day

Saturday: Weekend Errands
jacket // dress (similar) // hat


Thoughts on my new selfie mirror? Do you prefer this angle (or are you tired of looking at my face lol)?

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Weekend Freebie: Sealed with a Kiss



Keeping with the month's theme of love (but not so overtly Valentine's Day-ish) these adorable s.w.a.k. wallpapers are perfect! Seal your tech with a kiss! Enjoy, and happy weekend!

iPhone wallpaper

iPad wallpaper

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Fun with History: Valentine's Day



I am sure you saw this post coming. I just can't help myself! I have never been a huge fan of Valentine's Day (it takes away from my birthday weekend lol) but I also don't hate it. In fact, I find the history of Valentine's Day interesting.

You might know that Valentine's Day is named for an early Christian martyr (date unknown). If only it was that simple! There are actually 3 early Christian saints named Valentine (all martyred btw). The most famous legend says that Valentine married young lovers in secret, after the then Roman emperor banned marriage for soldiers. Unfortunately, there isn't much historical evidence to support this story.

What we do know is that, like many holidays, the early Christian church adopted a traditional pagan holiday and refashioned it into a Christian celebration of St. Valentine. A feast to honor St. Valentine was strategically placed in the middle of February to replace the pagan celebration of Lupercalia.

Here is a quick summary of Lupercalia (via history.com):
"To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at a sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. They would then strip the goat’s hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood and take to the streets, gently slapping both women and crop fields with the goat hide. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed the touch of the hides because it was believed to make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would each choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage."

Lupercalia was officially outlawed by the Pope in the 5th century and replaced with the feast of Saint Valentine. Valentine greetings date as far back as the middle ages, but weren't written down until the 1400s. The oldest valentine still in existence is a love poem written by the Duke of Orleans to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London. But Valentine's day as we know it, with the exchange of little gifts and cards, wasn't really popularized until the 1800s.

See... history is fun! Happy Valentines Day (and happy Lupercalia)!

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30 X 30 Part Two


So here they are, the thirty articles of clothing I will be wearing for the next 30 days (click for links)!

Image Map

I really enjoyed my last challenge so I am hoping this one will just as much fun. I am also praying the weather cooperates (since you see there are quite a few shorts here), but just incase, I am not including shoes in my 30 pieces this time (that way I can throw on boots if we have a freak cold snap). I am also allowing myself a coat if needed... I think that's fair. 

Since today is my birthday (yay!) and I have tons of plans this weekend, that involve shopping and going out, my challenge and shopping/spending fast doesn't begin until Monday.

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Preppy Printshop: New Arrivals!


Can you tell I am really into watercolor right now? These new arrivals definitely have a theme - pretty pastels and lots of watercolor details. I also want to start creating more fun fashion illustrations, maybe even some custom ones (you submit the pic and I create the illustration)! I think they would be great for business cards, blog headers, and stationary!






It is hard to see here, but all of these illustrations are little watercolors.

Of course, I have also added some new pillow designs! I love this little "live colorfully" one and the his and hers (placed on your corresponding side of the bed)! And a pillow collection wouldn't be complete without a monogram option!



Customized with your initials and 9 different color options!

What do you think? Is there anything in particular you love, or would like to see more of?


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