Saturday, June 25, 2011

Coastal Living

Finally. The vacation I've been longing for all summer is here. And where exactly am I you ask? North Carolina's beautiful Outer Banks. I haven't been here in ages, and I'm already in dreamland. A week to myself, well for the most part, to fish, swim, eat seafood, jet ski, and lay in the sand. Heavenly. Our place is literally right on the sound, off the marina in Maneo. I'm confident that being surrounded by water is the perfect remedy for any ailment or stress.

Exciting Saturday night plans for me? My sweaty post-beach run self is watching the sun go down and the boats pass by off our patio. Pure bliss.
Side note: Good ol' Avett was stuck in my head the whole ride down.
"Are you feeling, feeling, feeling like I'm, feeling
Like I'm floating, floating, up above that big blue ocean
Sand beneath our feet, big blue sky above our heads,
No need to keep stressing from our everyday life on our minds
We have got to leave all that behind" At The Beach.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Into The Mystic

and Free, by Zac Brown Band and Van Morrison. Can it get any better this? The fiddle part at the beginning gives me chills; listen.

We were born before the wind
Also younger than the sun
Ere the bonnie boat was won as we sailed into the mystic
Hark, now here the sailors cry
Smell the sea and feel the sky
Let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic

photo thanks to pinterest

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

french press, a blueberry waffle, and good conversation.

This morning wrapped up in one word: idyllic. I met up with one of my favorite and dearest teachers from high school at a new coffee shop that I have fallen in love with. (And yes I just ended my sentence with a preposition.) From the warehouse feel, to the ink and pen drawings, to the french press coffee, it's absolutely perfect. No more Starbucks for me this summer. But what was really wonderful about this morning was catching up with my sweet friend. She offered godly advice about life at Carolina, and for two hours we caught up about this past year. Seeing her was such a great way to spend a relaxing summer morning.
Now I'm off to spend some quality time with my Politics in the Americas book, while I try not to overdose on caffeine, keep myself from cracking open The Time Traveler's Wife instead of doing my work, and not think about me skipping the gym today. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Time for an update. Not that I've been extremely busy or anything, but summer in itself in its glorious amounts of chill time that I have waited all year long to enjoy.

Things I'm currently loving...
That it's the first day of summer, and I've already been on break for over a month. Purebarre, a mix of pilates and dance-inspired muscle training that will tone up your tush in no time. But be ready to sweat. My lifeguard job at a summer camp, easiest thing ever. Besides the cleaning up kids' bloody toes part. Jason Aldean's latest album, it's been playing in my car nonstop. Floppy hats, new mix and match swimsuits, and the feeling that a week in the Outer Banks is almost here. My discount at Loft, however dangerous it is to my checking account. Bike rides, I forgot how much I used to love them as a child. JP on the Bachelorette and Rory McIlroy, need I say more? My 96 on my Poli-sci midterm, thank you Carolina for summer school and grade curves!

A couple nights ago I picked up Redeeming Love off my bookshelf and started reading it again. And let me tell you, it's better the second time. The first time I read it was the end of junior year, but so much has changed since then that the story about God's deliverance and a man's love has hit me in a whole new way. I'm also searching for some new reads to bring with me to the beach, and I desperately need recommendations. Please help a girl out.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Happy Birthday Blog (a day late)

Perfect birthday party setting, don't you think? Those flowers + that tablecloth, just dreamy.

I can't believe it's been a year since I first started Brunch at Julie's. It's been quite a roller coaster of a year. This time last year I was anticipating college, anxious about where it would take me and what kind of life I would find there. But now in reflection, it's funny how in just a year my perspective has completely changed. Last night I went out to dinner with a good friend and we chatted about almost everything that could sum up the past months we've spent away from home. We found it crazy, and completely amazing, how God has worked by opening up the right doors at the right time. Prayers were answered. We realize now how silly our impatience for certain things really was. This particular friend is now facing an extremely difficult time due to her father's cancer, but you know what? Her attitude is still pointed in the right direction. She's hopeful and thankful, with this beautiful peace of mind that everything will turn out how it's supposed to. What an incredible testimony.

Monday, June 13, 2011

College Shopping List, for the grads.

Here it is, my just-graduated girls. I remember having a difficult time figuring out what I needed/didn't need at college and what I needed to prepare before move-in day. Dorms are small, but here's a list (in my opinion) of what you might want to pack and some extra tips to consider. Hope this helps on your summer shopping endeavors!

Necessary items:
  • Portable drying rack. I hardly dry anything in the dryer, so this was a must-have for me.Will save you from having to wait so long for your laundry to dry downstairs as well.
  • Towel wrap to wear out of the shower. Trust me, you'll want this when you're getting ready to go out with your friends.
  • Storage boxes/bins/etc. You'll want to keep everything organized. I even labeled some of the boxes so I knew exactly what should be in them.
  • Bed risers.
  • Notebooks. No more high school binders, think about getting a couple 3 subject ones to separate between your Tuesday/Thursday and your Monday/Wednesday/Friday classes.
  • Highlighters, pens, pencils, post-its, page markers, ruler, stapler/staples, you know the drill.
  • Foam mattress pad. Seriously, I didn't think a dorm bed could be so comfortable.
  • Swiffer. If you have wood floors like I did AND you have long hair, this is quite necessary.
  • A id wallet (I recommend the Vera Bradley ones) to hold your college id, debit card, and keys to quickly slip in your book bag before class. You won't want to drag around your purse all day.
  • A quality, sturdy book bag. North Face is the most popular on college campuses right now, but just find one that will easily tote all your books and your laptop.
  • Laptop case. Also vital.
  • A good planner. The ones they give you for free on move-in day are crap. I'm still using my Lilly one that I bought in August, they are the best for planning out your week!
  • Photo paper, to print recent pictures you've taken at college that you might want to put up in your room.
  • Plenty of blank cds and memory sticks. I recommend buying an external hard drive to store anything that you don't want on your computer. Make sure you also clean up your folders on your comp so everything is organized when you get there. I make a new folder for every semester, and then additional folders for each class. Helpful, people.
  • Fan. My dorm was always smokin' hot, so definitely consider bringing one.
  • Earplugs. If you're a light sleeper like me, I can't stress this enough.
  • Large duffel bag, a couple bathing suits, and a beach towel. For those unexpected weekend trips!
  • Rain jacket, umbrella, and rain boots. You'll be thankful on rainy, stormy days where you have to trek across campus.
  • One of those Turvis Tumblrs. I used mine all the time to load up on caffeine before hitting the library.
  • A couple food storage containers. I ended up bringing way too many, so just a couple will do.
  • Zip-loc bags, wet wipes, tissues, and paper towels.
  • Cleaning supplies for your fridge, your computer, and if you'll have a suite, your bathroom.
  • Extra ink toner, computer paper. But make sure you take advantage of your school's printing allowance, I made the mistake of not using any of my allowance until probably the last month of classes.
  • Lint brush, sewing kit, and safety pins.
  • Coffee mug/maker. I actually ended up bringing my coffee maker home and instead used a coffee press every morning, but bring what works for you!
  • Thank-you notes, cards, envelopes, stamps, and a list of addresses. I'm a big note-writer, so I bought a ton of stationary, but you'll want some things on-hand to send to your family and friends.
  • Brita water filter. My roommate and I used this thing to death.
  • A jewelry/accessory rack to hang in your closet. I used it to store my belts and scarves.
  • A throw blanket and a lap desk, especially if you think you're going to study in your room. I ordered a car monogram to put on my lap desk, just to personalize it a bit.
  • Extra toiletries. I stored mine in one of those ottomans you can find at Target or any home store.
  • Small ironing board and iron. I really didn't use mine all that much, but it's good to have just in case. The ironing board is also great for making forts during exam time when you should be studying. Hah.
  • If you're only going to bring a few pairs of shoes to school, these are the ones that you absolutely need: a comfortable pair to wear to class, flip-flops that you don't care about getting wet, a good pair of running tennis shoes, a pair of black pumps, cowboy boots, winter boots (not uggs, perhaps riding boots), wedges for more casual occasions, and fancier sandals.
  • Nail polish stash. You'll make instant friends.
  • A satchel. You'll want one.
  • Yoga pants to throw on for class cause norts just don't cut it in the wintertime.
  • A stash of sports bras. You'll live in these.
  • Order checkbooks. Once again, especially if you're going Greek.
  • Power strips and extension cords to hook up all your electronics.
  • A hamper/laundry bag that's easy to tote downstairs and to-and-from home. I think I bought three, actually. Probably over-the-top, but I can't stand wearing dirty clothes.
  • Good headphones. For the gym, library, etc.
  • Book light.
  • Chip clips and a coozie.
  • Plastic hooks to hang your jackets/purses/etc.
  • Dry-erase board with markers. Get this cheap.
  • A journal. I kept mine on my nightstand, right where I could get to it in the morning or before bed.
  • Instead of buying all your books from the student store, check out My suitemates told me about this site, and I'm hooked. Saves SO much money.
  • Monogram your towels, especially if you'll have a hall style bathroom. It makes keeping up with them a lot easier.
  • Personally, I hate the look of those rolling desk chairs. Try covering in a cute fabric in your room colors! (This also goes for a DIY bulletin board).
  • Instead of bringing hangers from your closet at home, buy those thin velvet hangers you can find at Bed, Bath, & Beyond. They are great for saving precious closet space!
  • I can't stress this enough, you don't have to bring a full set of plates, bowls, cups, and utensils. I bought so much dinnerware for my future apartment, thinking I would bring it just in case for my first year, and boy was I wrong. I recommend bringing a couple of each.
  • If you're thinking about joining a sorority, you're going to get more t-shirts than you ever thought imaginable. I bought one of those rolling plastic stacking drawers, just for t-shirts, and it also served as my nightstand. (Hint: just bring a few of your high school t-shirts because you really won't wear them, except for bed or maybe as work-out attire).
  • On that note, only bring clothes that you will wear. Why I decided to bring every color J Crew t-shirt I own who knows. I probably only wore 1/3 of my closet the whole year. Make sure you pack layers, invest in some cute going-out clothes, dresses for football games, Nike shorts, and bring things that you can mix-and-match.
  • Check out stores like TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and Homegoods every week. They are constantly getting new shipments in and you'll want to snatch them up early before everything gets gone. Also remember that not everything in their "college section" is worth the money. Think of what you'll use after this year and what you'll want to have in an apartment or house someday. I found some great deals at these places though for frames and desk items.
  • Shop at Target for some things. Almost everyone is going to go there for bedding, lamps, etc. so think outside the box. You can even make your own curtains and pillows, and look at stores online for bedding.
  • Choose your colors wisely. Will you really be happy living with bright orange things all year?
  • Bring a watch, or a couple. I found out how convenient they are, so you don't have to pull out your phone to check the time while you head to class.
  • I never wore much jewelry in high school, but boy do girls lay it on in college. Stock up on some statement pieces that will instantly dress up an otherwise boring outfit.
  • Come up with a storage option for your shoes and your hair accessories. I stored my shoes under the bed in two big pull-out drawers, and organized my hair things in a box, separate from my makeup. You could try hanging your shoes, but I couldn't bare to use any room in my closet that wasn't for clothes.
  • Unless you really want to bring iPod speakers, just use your computer for playing music. Saves space.
  • Think about getting a big canvas storage bin for your textbooks. I put mine under my desk, so my books wouldn't be thrown around all over the room.
  • Buy a cute lamp. You will never use those bendy ones after your first year.
  • Try to make your space as homey as possible, look for big photo frames that will dress up those god awful blank walls.
  • Store your necklaces on a jewelry holder so that they won't get into a tangled mess.
  • Think about getting a cover for your laptop; skinit has great options. You'll be carrying that precious thousand dollar thing everywhere.
  • I used cute place mats to line my desk drawers, and I even put one on top of my dresser so it wouldn't get scratched. Dorm room furniture isn't the best quality.
  • If you're going to school close to home, switch out your clothes by season. You don't need a winter coat in August, and take those summer shorts home over fall break.
  • Take extra ribbon, pledge hooks, and tape move-in day. It's a crazy, long day in itself and you don't want to be running out to the store every five seconds.
As I think of more things this summer, I'll add to the list. It's a bit scattered, but I hope you've found it helpful! If you have any questions about anything or want any more advice on college shopping in general, just leave a comment.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Live, Love, Loft

Style? Casual chic.
Atmosphere? Upbeat.
Service? Helpful and easy-going.

I've worked up a boatload of hours at Loft lately, and I think I'm finally getting the hang of it. The job is by no means an internship or any kind of loaded salary position, but I do love it. I love working with customers, helping them find the right fit and offering styling advice. I love helping out on crazy afternoons when the store seems like its exploding. I even don't mind refolding the same shirt four times if that means the customers are liking what new shipments are in that week. I like seeing the regulars come in, on-the-go moms hurrying to try on clothes before they have to pick their kids up from school. But retail is a whole new ball game for me. Working a register, SO easier said than done. Overall though, Loft is a great place to work. I'm thankful to have this job this summer, being that I hope to apply for some internships next summer. Just trying to rack up that cash before then!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I'm slacking.

(And currently craving a new pair of cowboy boots.)

Excuse my blogging laziness for the past few days, but my life feels like its taken a three hundred and sixty degree turn since last week. Can't complain. Posts will return on a regular basis soon, pinky promise.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Barefoot Blue Jean Night

Man I love this girl. Whether we're dancing the night away, laughing until our stomachs hurt, or gushing to each other about everything that's going wrong, we'll always be there for each other. She's a friend that I'll never take for granted.

So I guess it's time for an update. I've been feeling pretty uninspired lately, sortofkindofwantingtogetoutofthistown? Good 'ol Rals is getting old. Sure I love Loft and I love being back at camp, but I'm starting to think I might have a little spark of my brother in me. Just a little.

On the other hand, the past couple days have put me in a good (need a better word) mood. So here's my playlist for the weekend, country version. Hope you like!
:: Barefoot Blue Jean Night Jake Owen. Uh hello post title.
:: Just A Kiss Lady Antebellum.
:: Dirt Road Anthem Jason Aldean. Aka the song on everyone's Twitter and FB. (Guilty).
:: Carolina Eric Church.
:: Knee Deep Zac Brown Band. Perfect song for a day at the beach.
:: Crazy Girl Eli Young Band.
:: You Lie The Band Perry. That song you wanna sing at the top of your lungs with the windows rolled down.
:: Coming Home Gwyneth Paltrow.
:: Old Alabama Brad Paisley, you make me melt.
:: What Do You Want Jerrod Niemann.
:: Wanna Take You Home Gloriana.
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