Friday, May 31, 2013

The Search for The Perfect Black Maxidress: Old Navy

Hey everyone! Happy Friday! Today I am bringing you part one of my maxi-dress hunt featuring dresses from Old Navy.

So I was stupid and returned the maxi-dresses I bought from Old Navy without taking pictures of myself in them first (#bloggerfail). I'll attempt to review them here using stock photos from the website for you!

Before I start reviewing, I am approximately 5' 8" tall with a long torso. I normally wear a size 12 or size large and only sometimes need to buy long or tall items. I also have substantial blessings in the chest region, so that might impact fit a bit. Just wanted everyone to know this ahead of time since I can't include photos of myself in the dresses.

First up: the Women's Jersey-Tank Maxi Dress, size large regular

Review: I tried this dress on and immediately said, "This looks like a tent!" It was very wide and loose, cut with an A-line shape. The length was also extremely short (and disappointing) - it was nowhere near as long as the dress on the above model and instead showed about six inches of foot and ankle. I contemplated returning the large and re-ordering it in a medium tall instead, but was persuaded by my mom and sister not to.

Verdict: No. Too short and too wide. Good for shorter ladies who are looking for a dress to flow over the lower half of the body, might work out for slightly taller ladies. Would look great belted as well! Returned it.

Next up: the Women's Jersey-Drawstring Sleeveless Maxi, size large tall

Review: Alllllllmost passable. Almost! This dress fit really well (I loved the modest v-neck and thick straps, and the cinched waist was nice to add shape) but was just slightly too short. If I wanted my maxi to hit a little above my feet it would work. But for a 5' 8" woman looking for a floor length dress, a tall sized dress that is not long enough ended up being a pass for me. 

Verdict: No. Too short. Also, this dress is a bit more columnar in the bottom half as opposed to voluminous and floaty. Runs short, even in tall sizing. Take note!

Last dress: the Women's Tube Maxi Dress, size large regular. 

Review: I wanted to love this so, so much. It was a great dress that fit juuuust right through the body but the length was again just a tiny bit too short. This one I am contemplating reordering in a tall size - maybe when they go on promo and I find a coupon code. 

Verdict: No (for now). Potential reorder in a tall size. Note: the ombre colors run longer than the solids. I looked at the two, solids and ombres, in the store when I returned the dresses and the ombre in a large regular would have been the perfect length for me. Again, maybe if it drops to a nicer price and depending on how much I wear dresses this summer. 

Lucky for me, I did find a dress that could pass from Banana Republic Factory Store the other day for 50% off and I ordered one from J.Crew Factory as well for 50% off so we'll see how things work out! 

Have a great Friday and a great weekend!! Happy June! 

*Note: this is in no way a sponsored post, I am just hunting for dresses and they had a pretty good selection! This in no way clouds my opinion of Old Navy and I hope it doesn't affect yours - every store has a miss every now and then for everyone.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Great Maxi Dress Debate

Happy Thursday everyone!

I have been hunting and going on and on about "the perfect black maxidress" for ages now.  On Tuesday, I think I found one that might be meant to be.

The only thing is.... it's about an inch too long so I have to pick up the hem every time I walk. Perfect for wedges, not so perfect for flip flops and sandals.

So.... my question is:
How long should a maxidress be? 

This long? 


this long? 

Okay, how cute is this maxi!?! Kind of obsessed...
Help!! The length issue is the ONLY thing keeping me from finding "the" perfect dress... well that and having, you know, a limited wallet. I need your help and advice!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Follow Me! And Favorites of the Moment

Lots of things coming up and in the works! I need to sit down tonight and hammer some stuff out! I'm still in my lazy "finals/school/graduation are now over so I can relax to my heart's content" stage but I need to use this summer to get into a good schedule here on the blog.

ANYWAYS! While I'm working on getting things going over here, you can follow me on

Pinterest - click here! For pins about pretty much everything you could want: recipes, my current wishlist, summer fashion ideas, tons of home inspiration, and more. I pin A LOT.

Instagram - follow me at leopardspot (I have been having fun with the A Beautiful Mess app... whoops).

Polyvore - click here! For outfits and wardrobe inspiration (note: there's a LOT of J.Crew, #sorrynotsorry)

Bloglovin - click here!

Also, the Lilly Pulitzer 2014 agendas are now out!! Even though I just graduated and don't have a job (sooo I probably don't need an agenda for anything but blogging I guess), I love this year's prints! My favorite is the Jumbo Agenda in Tropical Pink Lulu, but I might end up getting the month-at-a-glance version instead. I still have some time to decide!

One of my favorite pins on Pinterest right now is this how to for styling a maxi dress. Since I am hunting for the perfect black maxidress right now, I pinned it to keep me motivated in my hunt! I get discouraged every time I try one on and it doesn't work - I have a review post/hunt update coming up soon! 

From thelifeoftheparty on Polyvore

Finally, I am just really enjoying the fact that it is SUMMER and I am free from classes and everything else and can just focus on enjoying the last few months of being at college. My boyfriend and I have a lot of fun things planned for the Saturdays we spend together and I've been getting more adventurous in the city on my own during the week. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Lilly Pulitzer Gifts & Accesories on Rue La La Today!

Rue La La will be featuring Lilly gifts and accessories on their site today at 3PM ET!

Things normally sell out fast, so set your alarm and get ready to shop! If you've never purchased before, most of the time things come in bulk (4 mugs in a "set" instead of just 1, 4 glasses instead of just 2, 2 koozies instead of 1) so this is the perfect time to stock up on goodies for yourself (dorm room/apartment living anyone??) or for gifts!

If you don't have a Rue La La account, click here to sign up!

Happy Shopping! 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Summer Reads

Hi everyone!

I am back after way too many finals, way too much stress, and graduation. I'll be sharing pictures from graduation tomorrow (I'm still trying to get my life back in order from finals week... ugh) but in the meantime, I need some advice!

Source: Burns Photography

I need books to read this summer. I plan on spending a lot of time sitting out on patios, by the lake, or on my balcony reading and enjoying the city this summer.

What are your favorite books? New, old, anything! 

I just finished Something Blue by Emily Giffen. I love the movie Something Borrowed so I was excited to see what happened afterwards from Darcy's point of view.


I started watching Game of Thrones last summer and when I was home my sister lent me the first book of the series and I was hooked. I read all of the other books that summer (okay, I might have started one and not been able to finish it until spring break but whateva) and I have been waiting for my sister to finish A Dance With Dragons. I will be bringing it back to school with me after my trip home next week! 

But really..... I need some suggestions! I will finish A Dance With Dragons in under a month depending on how much reading I do daily in between work and enjoying my last summer in Madison. I don't have any particular genres that I prefer so I'm looking to you guys for help narrowing down the vast number of books that are out there!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Bittersweet Ending

I can't believe that it's here. Graduation. After four years, I will be leaving the place I have called home (well... give me a few more months until my lease is up and then I'll officially be leaving). Every day I think about all of the things I will miss, the things I wish I would have done, and the things I did. The places I went, the places I still want to go, and the places that no longer exist.

Two weeks ago I was convinced I would be getting a job that would allow me to stay in Madison for another few years. This week I found out that dream is not coming true for me (or at least not now). So, I have to cram everything I want to do while I'm still here into the next three months. The farmers' market on Saturday mornings, eating at all of the local spots, enjoying the beautiful sights, and taking in everything Madison has to offer. It is a hidden gem of a city and a great college town.

I will miss football Saturdays when everyone is in red, from the old alums to the most precious newborn.

I will miss the sounds of people going out on the weekends.

I will miss learning from all of the people around me.

I will miss being a short walk away from my favorite restaurants, bars, and friends.

I will miss getting to decorate a new room every year.

I will miss the spirit of camaraderie on campus.

I'll even miss all of the crazy protestors and people on soapboxes. They remind me to be alive and to stand up for what I believe in (but without shoving it down people's throats).

I might even miss logging into all of the university websites and wifi networks a million times a day.

Graduation honestly snuck up on me. I have been swamped this semester with classes, two jobs, a boyfriend, and blogging. I am not really where I wanted to "be" at graduation (hey again, jobless me) so going forward I have to make sure I do something so I can reach my goals and make my dreams come true. I am extremely sad to be finished with school and therefore leaving, but I am happy to have had the four years that I did here. I have to make the most of it... it is an ending, but also a beginning.

*I finish finals tomorrow (Saturday) at noon. I graduate on Sunday at 10am. Anders Holm, UW alum and Workaholics star, is speaking at our graduation ceremonies. If anything, I'm excited for that! 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Rough Monday.

A week and a half ago, I interviewed for a corporate job I really wanted with a company I really like (and enjoy working for currently as a sales associate in a retail store). I was really excited and felt really at home on campus and with all of the people I met and spoke with. 

I didn't get the job. 

I'm upset. Really upset. I'm upset because I did not (and do not) want to leave Madison, I really want to remain a part of this company, and I really thought I could make a difference there. Now I don't know where I will go and what I will do. Everyone keeps saying that everything happens for a reason, but I wish that reason would reveal itself. I feel like the typical cliche college grad: graduating without a business/nursing/medical degree (aka with a useless degree) and doomed to live at home with my parents and work a minimum wage job for the rest of my life. 

So, if anyone's hiring, let me know. I've been told I'd do great things as a personal shopper! (ha ha ha)

Friday, May 10, 2013

Happy Friday!

Keeping it short and sweet today (since it's already late in the day... oops). I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend - I know I will be busy studying for finals and working, but I also get to see my boyfriend tonight and all day tomorrow so I have no complaints about that! I'm going to squeeze a little bit of relaxation in tonight since I will have finished my THIRD and FINAL paper due in the past THREE DAYS. And then I have four finals to study for. Ugh. I do not wish this kind of torture on anyone.

Anyways... here's what's on my mind right now:

Shopping for a graduation gift? Check out my gift guide here - there are lots of unique gifts at varying price points so give it a look!

Old Navy Rockstar Jeans are $19 this weekend - use the code ONLADIES20 for 20% off on your order of women's clothing through 5/13!

I am also loving this shirtdress from Gap. It's currently $31 at my local store (I stopped in today to buy a little something for the boyfriend) and I'm torn between blue and orange (I can't allow myself to buy the pink because I will never wear it). 

Finally, enjoy this cover of one of my favorite songs. So beautiful and so different than the original! 

Alright, back to writing that paper! A delicious cup of coffee from a local coffeehouse (fair trade and organic! Fancy!) and lemon water in my Tervis are getting me through this. And knowing that I will have a break tonight once I finish :)

Enjoy your weekend everyone! 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

PSA: Old Navy Rockstar Jeans are $19!

I've heard really good things about these jeans, so I'm finally going to bite the bullet later today and order them (along with the compression leggings the lovely Jordan posted about today that are finally back in stock in black!). Since they're a blogger staple (or so I've heard) I thought I would share the money saving news! 

Basically this just means that I have to order a zillion pairs so I can get them at the $19 price and then return the 20 pairs that don't fit later. I already feel bad for the salesperson that has to deal with that order. I would mail it back, but I want to keep my $7 or whatever the fee is. Sorry..... 

Do you have any sizing tips for the Rockstar jeans? If you have a pair, what is your favorite color/wash?

Happy Thursday! 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Searching & Shopping: I Need Your Help!

I am searching for THE black maxidress. 

One that is long enough to hit the floor and not shrink after washing (even on cold and line drying). One that is opaque. One that fits a 5' 8", size 12 lady. One that doesn't require an elaborate undergarment to wear (I would prefer wearing a regular bra over strapless). One that is affordable

Really, I'm desperate. I've checked Old Navy, Gap, American Eagle, J.Crew, etc., and nothing. The closest I got to was one from Alloy, which has the potential to be embarrassingly see through.

Here are some of my online finds:

I am loving this blue striped version as well as the black!
(This is available in XS-XXL and in extended lengths!! Crazy!)

(This one seems great because of the ruching at the hips, which would hopefully disguise any.... imperfections, so to speak)

And finally, once I get my maxi, here are some of my favorite ways to potentially style it!

Any reccomendations? Any favorite tall girl shops? Help a sista out!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Looking Back...

Right now, it's the beginning of my last week of college classes. I still have finals ahead of me, and graduation, but this feels like it's really the end. I had my last chapter meeting tonight and after the meeting, we had senior speeches. I can't believe that it was finally my "turn" to say my piece. Of course, instead of recapping all of the wonderful times from the last four years, I instead chose not to focus on the wonderful, or the bad (both "bad" and bad, like being betrayed by my best friend kind of bad.... which happened twice), but the "nobody wants to say these things because they don't want to be the bad guy" things, like "don't spam the Facebook group", "write down what is said at chapter", etc. Reflecting upon what my fellow seniors said, as well as some of what I have learned from my short time in the blog world, I have come to some realizations. 

While these are the "best" years of my life, they are the best yet and the best is yet to come (fingers crossed, anyways).

I am surrounded, have been surrounded, and will be surrounded by so many amazing, accomplished people. Being one of eight extremely accomplished women interviewing for the job I interviewed for last week was humbling at the least - considering the accomplishments of the women in the group, I was amazed that I was asked to interview (and very, very grateful for the chance to do so. Fingers crossed about the actual position). I need to up my game. 

That being said, my personal accomplishments seem to pale in comparison and I just do not feel as accomplished as I could or should, mostly due to my own lack of motivation. I could have gone out more, I could have studied more, I could have done more extracurriculars/jobs/internships. But I didn't, and I have to be proud of what I did do. 

I probably should have done more in college. By more I mean, go out more, go out at weird times/days of the week, go out with people I normally wouldn't have, do more average things with people (like shopping, going out to eat, or studying). Probably should have studied more, worked more, learned more. Maybe I did do enough. I'll never know..... 

I have changed so, so much since I first got to Madison. I have changed so much since the beginning of this year, or since January 1st. I am certainly more outgoing and friendly. I have developed a sense of understanding that allows me to step back and evaluate a situation and all facets of it. I learned when to fight for what I believe in and when to compromise. I have learned what I cannot tolerate in "friends" and what often turns them into acquaintances... I have learned that I need to do what makes me happy, what keeps me healthy, and what (or who) to cut out when I am not happy and healthy. I have learned, more than ever, how to thrive under pressure. I have also learned that I have a completely different sense of motivation than my peers (one my boyfriend says will thrive in the real world, whatever that means). I have learned that I need to think about what scares me instead of ignoring it, suppressing it, and sleeping to hide it. 

I have so many questions and so many experiences ahead of me. I hope that my four years in college have primed me for them. Only time will tell. I know that going forward I cannot live with regret and I must force myself to do things and have experiences that I would not get to experience if I am snuggled up in bed, watching tv. Sorry for the tone of this post - a week ago, perhaps, I would have been all excited and in love with all parts of my college experience. Unfortunately, right now, I am stressed out and have been forced into contemplating the last four years while simultaneously contemplating my future. This turning point is a big one, but not the only one. I am not ready to let go and move on, to have my friends move away and maybe never see them again. I am not ready to be a "failure" and not get a job after graduation and have to move back home where my parents will remind me of said failure every day (and tell me that I should have majored in business or something leading into the medical field). I am struggling a bit a lot with the end of the year, the end of my college career, and graduation right now. Fingers crossed it is just a passing phase of insecurity while I finish up the year. 

*Sorry for all the italics. Just wanted a way to break up the post a little..... not sure that it worked the way I wanted it to. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Monday Motivation

Just wanted to share this song and accompanying music video by one of my favorite artists, Madeon. This song just makes me want to kick ass and dance, which is a perfect combination for the week I have ahead of me.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Shopping Guide: Gifts for Grads

It's finally May!

While I still have two and a half weeks of classes and finals left before graduation, I know graduation is  very soon for some people! As ceremonies and parties grow near, I thought it might be helpful to have some suggestions on graduation gifts. Everything I am featuring is something I would want or would have wanted as I headed off to college. I tried to pick some gifts in a variety of price ranges and also "speeds"/ease of purchasing the gift - maybe you need something fast or maybe you have some time to shop, there should be something for everyone! :)

Check out Stickgram here! $14.99
Stickygram gift certificate. I love this idea - magnets made out of your favorite Instagram photos! This is a great idea for a high school OR college grad. The magnets are super easy to add to any metal surface (a fridge, a cubicle, a file cabinet, a magnetic memo board) and you get 9 for $15 (including shipping!!!). With so many people on Instagram, you can bet that the grad you are buying for will have some favorite photos of loved ones and great memories that would be perfect to memorialize through these magnets.

Order this iPhone case here from StudioCicada on Etsy!
State love items! I love this iPhone case! It is customizable with a state, country, and hometown, plus you get to pick the case color and pattern (they have chevron!) and have the option of adding a name. You can get one of these for your grad's hometown or for their future college (I would be torn between which one to get!). Not to mention - these are super affordable. $16 for one case and they even offer a special deal where you can get two cases made for $25! Easy gift if you have multiple grads or just need a new phone case for yourself. 

Another option from StudioCicada!

More state love! Monogrammed State tank from Southern Prep Co. on Etsy
Monogrammed anything! Monograms are a huge trend right now but I think they are one way to make a gift personal as well as clearly label "your" stuff at school. I love this monogrammed state tank from Southern Prep Co. on Etsy (they also have a ton of great monogrammed items, like 1/4 zip sweatshirts, hats, and PJs!). I also love the monogrammed jewelry box below - perfect for keeping jewelry all in one place in a small dorm room. They also come in different sizes and have different options available.

Monogrammed jewelry boxes (in different sizes, styles and colors) from PBTeen
Bonus - add a little piece of jewelry to the jewelry box when you gift it to the grad! Might I suggest this delicate monogrammed necklace from Etsy 

Only $29! 

Room Essentials Microfleece Blanket from Target, $13.99-16.99
A cozy blanket. This gift is perfect for grads who are heading off to college. I have bought three of these blankets throughout my four years of college: the blue blanket above in a twin/twin xl for my freshman year dorm (now a favorite of my sister's), a black twin/twin xl blanket for sophomore year in my sorority house (and now on my bed at home), and a black full/queen blanket for my junior and senior years in apartments. They are super light and yet extremely cozy and warm in the winter (but amazingly cool in the warmer months), wash easily (a must have if you're dragging it around the dorm for movie nights or studying), and so, so soft. It's like a hug from your favorite stuffed animal. Hope that isn't weird. Anyways, I love this blanket from Target, but I also love the standard collegiate fleece blankets and this throw from Lands' End (gotta love the mint color!). Bonus points if you get it monogrammed - if you get the blanket from a store that doesn't offer monogramming, check out what local custom/embroidery shops are in your area! 

A basket I made for my sister's high school graduation
A gift basket full of themed goodies. This is a gift more suited for middle school or high school grads (although an alumni/real world prep basket could be fun for a college grad!). While collegiate items are abundant, many high schools also have fun spirit wear available for purchase for gifting. Some good items to include in a gift basket would be a Tervis tumbler (including a lid!), a Camelbak water bottle, gameday beads, pins, or temporary tattoos, earwarmers/mittens/gloves/scarf, apparel items such as t-shirts, running shorts (my favorites are Nike!), or sweatshirts, iTunes gift cards, or gift cards for restaurants and stores on campus. If you can get away with it, you could also include items like koozies, flasks, drinkware, or ping pong balls! For the basket I made for my sister (shown above), I included a Tervis tumbler and lid (I got mine at Bed Bath & Beyond), plastic cups, gameday beads, and face tattoos from a local party supply store, logo Nike shorts, and a Threadless Tees College Collection Tee in a metal bucket from Hobby Lobby. A basket like this will jump start your grad's school spirit collection and be useful when they start school! 

Gift cards/cash. Okay, so normally gift cards and/or cash gets labeled the "easy" and "impersonal" gift. To some degree this can be true, but for grads, having a bit of money will prove beneficial down the road when they figure out that they don't have something that they need. Whether you are buying for a middle school, high school, or college grad, gift cards will prove beneficial six months down the road. The life changes that accompany graduating and starting a new chapter will throw new things at your recent grad, and they might find themselves not as prepared as they hoped. I asked for Bed Bath & Beyond gift cards when I graduated high school and I used them when I was dorm shopping - if I had been given the same amount in cash, I would have had it spent soon after I got it! As a soon to be college grad, I know I would appreciate gift cards to stores where I could buy clothes to wear to work (J.Crew, Lands' End, Ann Taylor/LOFT, etc) or money that I could deposit and save for later. I think another fun idea would be to buy an assortment of gift cards to restaurants on your grad's campus (or new home city if they have been hired!) - get a couple for favorites like Chipotle or Starbucks and a couple for a couple of local places so your grad can branch out! 

Hope this helped jump-start some of your graduation shopping! If anyone wants to send me a thank you, my monogram is aHe... Maybe I should send this post to my mom (hint, hint).

Do you plan on purchasing any of these gifts for grads in your life? If not, what are you gifting those lucky grads? (Congrats to them!)