A Letter to The Stressed Out AP Student

This post is for all my high school students stressed out over AP exams, finals, exit exams, and projects. Remember – “We’re all in this together.”

If all you can think about is DBQs, FRQs, and whether you’re going to get a 2 or 3 then this is the post for you. In my opinion, the beginning of May is the absolute worst time of the year in high school. You have all the regular stress of school plus the additional stress of multiple three hour exams that determine whether you have to retake an entire course in college or not, and I know how overwhelming it is. Between cramming for exams, finishing homework, and studying for regular tests; it seems as if there just aren’t enough hours in a day.

When the stress gets to be too much and you can’t seem to think straight, it’s extremely important to be able to take a step back, relax, and gain perspective.  Will it matter if you passed AP Biology when you’re working at your dream job in fifteen years? Does it matter if you got a four or a five on AP Human Geography when you get into your dream college? Will your future husband care if you passed AP Calculus? The answer to all of these is NO.

While these exams are important, especially because in many cases you’ve spent a year preparing, they are in no way a defining point in your life. You are not defined by how well you do on one test in the first or second week of May. You are not defined by a 3,4, or 5. With that being said, I do feel that by studying smart and not overwhelming yourself it’s possible to make it through AP season without too many mental breakdowns.

 

Happy Studying and Good Luck!!

 

Stay Sparkly,

Samantha

3 Study Tips to Survive the School Year

The end of April is one of my least favorite times of the school year. AP Exams and finals are looming ominously and stress is at an all time high. During this crazy time of the year, it’s important to tell yourself to relax and breathe because the end is in sight. I only have about thirty days of school left, but the amount of work I have left to do is overwhelming. When the stress is too much and you need a break, remember these three things to help you push through and finish strong.

  • Take Regular Study Breaks

I find that it’s best to take your study break in a different room from where you are studying or you could even take advantage of the great weather and go for a quick walk outside. When you return from your break, you will be much more focused and ready to work.

  • Change The Scenery

If you’ve been studying for finals or AP exams for days on end then it will help you to find a new place to study. Personally I like to move my study session outside to a local park or even on my front porch. The fresh air helps me feel energized and to regain focus. Find what works for you and don’t be afraid to study somewhere unconventional.

  • Find A Study Buddy

This tip definitely varies in effectiveness based on personality type and who you choose to study with, but I am definitely a fan of studying with a friend or a group. It’s important to find a friend with equal focus and one that knows how to study. I have found that it is helpful for me to quiz others on the material because reading it aloud helps it stick in my brain.

The biggest study tip that I can share is to find what works for you. No two people study exactly the same or learn the exact same way. Be sure to be persistent with studying and never give up. Good Luck to you all as we take some of the most important tests of the year, we’ve got this!

Stay Sparkly,

Samantha

 

Gypsea Jewels

Hey y’all,

It’s one of my absolute favorite times of the year… SPRING BREAK. I’m in sunny St. Augustine, Florida spending time with my family. Spring Break is the first time this year that I’ve had the chance to wear some of my favorite pieces that have been sitting in my closet all winter, including my Gypsea Jewels!! Gypsea Jewels is an up and coming jewelry brand that offers eclectic designs at affordable prices. They have branded themselves on creating unique and fashion-forward jewelry that’s sure to impress. This brand is just under a year old, but the quality and design of their products is to die for!

 

I rocked my gold arrowhead wrap necklace  with an Aerie (sweet and sexy line) tee, SOLD Design Lab jeans, and black chunky heels.

 

Check out the details of my outfit below.

https://api.shopstyle.com/action/apiVisitRetailer?id=478767000&pid=uid3424-33496632-9

https://api.shopstyle.com/action/apiVisitRetailer?id=512211602&pid=uid3424-33496632-9

https://api.shopstyle.com/action/apiVisitRetailer?id=509386626&pid=uid3424-33496632-9

Stay Sparkly,

Samantha

Prom Trends

Prom season is right around the corner and for many girls the hunt for the perfect dress is in full swing. Shopping for the perfect dress is no easy feat. Finding the perfect dress often takes hours of trying on dresses, multiple stores, and several arguments with mom. While shopping for the perfect dress can be stressful, it should also be fun because prom is one of the most exciting and memorable nights in high school.

This year, there are a few trends that seem to be dominating the prom dress scene. For example, two piece dresses are very popular. While many are skeptical of two pieces at first, I think that they are a great option for girls who don’t want to go with a classic dress silhouette. Two pieces styles range from an elegant long sleeve top with a ball gown skirt to a strapless top with a fitted mermaid skirt. Two piece dresses have added variety to the world of prom dresses and allowed designers more room for creativity.

Dresses with embroidered details are very hot this season. From the runways of Sherri Hill to Jovani, embroidery is everywhere. I think that this trend is very interesting because embroidery is so versatile and can be used in different styles. Embroidery can be used for a bohemian vibe or it can be used to dress up the dress and give it a rich,regal feel.

Printed dresses will be everywhere for prom 2016. These dresses have gained popularity in the fashion world over the past few years and this trend is now being translated into prom dresses. This trend can be used in a variety of ways from just a small printed detail to a full floral skirts. The floral prints being used by many designers are perfect for a springtime prom because they are so light and happy.

These three trends will be dominating prom dress choices across the nation this year. While all of these trends are beyond fabulous, finding the perfect dress is very personal and specific to every girl. I firmly believe that the dress that looks the best on you, is the dress that you feel the best in. My best dress shopping advice is to go with your gut and be sure to choose what makes you smile from ear to ear.

Stay Sparkly,

Samantha

Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?

Today I’m here to share my favorite snow day activities that don’t involve building a snowman. If you have absolutely no interest in freezing your tail off and playing in the snow for hours on end then this is the post for you. A snow day is the perfect time to catch up on things that need to be done, but who really wants to do that? That’s what regular days are for! For the past two days I’ve been snowed in due to #snowpocalypse2016 and my friends and I have made some awesome memories and none of them involved building a snowman.

First we started our day off by attempting to make grilled cheeses, but that ended with smoke alarms going off so I won’t elaborate any more on that. After the grilled cheese fiasco we decided to try our hand at baking indoor s’mores bites. We followed a recipe from Pinterest that can be found here. The s’mores were pretty foolproof and tasted great. We ate them right out of the oven.

With our s’mores bites in hand we settled in for the evening with our “adult coloring books.” I can not tell you how fun these are, we colored for hours. I bought the coloring books at Target and you can purchase your very own here. Coloring is an awesome stress reliever and a great way to pass the time when your snowed in.  I definitely recommend giving it a try. For the rest of the night we just had a nice old fashioned sleepover. From hilarious YouTube videos (our favorite channel is wafflepwn) to devouring pizzas to dancing to our favorite Spotify playlists, we had a fantastic night.

By the third morning we all had cabin fever, but not much was open so we decided to brave the outdoors.  We planned a photoshoot in the snow. This activity involved a bit of preparation so after our sleepover we all woke up early and went our separate ways to get ready for the event. A couple of hours later we met back up, all dressed in warm coats and furs. We posed for pictures all morning. From silly faces to serious, we took all kinds of pictures. It was such a blast to get ready with my best friends and just have fun snapping pictures in the snow.

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So the next time that someone asks you “Do you wanna build a snowman?” you can say no proudly and use this post to suggest plenty of other fun activities for a snowy day.

Stay warm and sparkly,

Samantha

The Simple Joys of Life

Close your eyes. Now, take a minute and think about all the things you’re thankful for. The things that immediately come to mind are probably big things such as family, friends, shelter, health, and safety. With that being said, there are many small things in life that just make the world a little better. Often times, these small joys in life go unnoticed. These are the things that make the bad days better and the great days fantastic. I’m going to share a list (in no particular order) of some of these wonderful little things that make life that much sweeter.

  1. Puppies
  2. Fresh Flowers
  3. Coffee
  4. Girl Scout Cookies
  5. Snow Days
  6. Dancing Like No One Is Watching
  7. Free Wifi
  8. Fuzzy Socks
  9. Manicures
  10. Christmas Lights
  11. Laughing So Hard It Hurts
  12. Fast Internet
  13. New Car Smell
  14. Brunch
  15. Knowing Every Word To A Song
  16. Summer Camp
  17. Having Time to Yourself
  18. Fall
  19. Fresh Starts
  20. The Beach
  21. Warm Hugs
  22. Winged Eyeliner
  23. A Freshly Made Bed
  24. The Royal Family
  25. Handwritten Letters
  26. Waking Up And Realizing You Still Have Time To Sleep
  27. Chocolate Fountains
  28. Exercising
  29. Eating Your Favorite Meal
  30. Spending All Day In Your Pajamas

I encourage you all to take an extra minute today to reflect on all the simple joys that make your life better.

Stay Sparkly,

Samantha

Marleylilly Statement Style

One of my favorite ways to build an outfit is to style around a statement accessory. I love this method because dressing around a statement piece is fun, and not to mention easy. All you have to do is choose your accessory, and then finish with basic pieces to compliment the accessory. This is an excellent time of year to try out this method because holiday style is all about extravagance and making a statement.

Thanks to my friends at Marleylilly (my go-to retailer for all things monogrammed), I was able to practice this with a beautiful pink monogrammed crystal bracelet that is perfect for all of your holiday events! Monogrammed jewelry is so classy and the color of this bracelet adds the perfect amount of sass.  This beautiful bracelet features my monogram on a small charm, and I adore the combination of pink and gold.

I styled this bracelet with an Ann Taylor LOFT blouse, SOLD Design Lab jeans, Urban Outfitters booties, and a Tory Burch handbag.

Have fun with statement dressing this holiday season!

Stay Sparkly,

Samantha

Seventeen Social Club – Sally Hansen Insta – Dri

Hey y’all,

Seventeen Social Club and Sally Hansen recently hooked me up with some awesome new nail polish. It is called Insta – Dri and I used the color “Ablazing.”  This color is so bright and happy. I love how this quick drying polish gave me a picture perfect manicure. My nails were done drying in just sixty seconds. This polish is an absolute must have for girls like myself who are constantly on the go and don’t want to wait around for their nails to dry. A manicure is one of my favorite ways to add a pop of color to an otherwise boring outfit or to brighten up any outfit. A bright manicure in a color such as “Ablazing” is the perfect way to make a statement. I highly reccomend this polish to anyone who is looking for a quick and long lasting manicure. nailssally

Mercedes Benz Fashion Week – Sherri Hill

Hey y’all,

If you didn’t already know, New York Fashion Week is going on. Today is the last day and fashion week is wrapping up with a runway show by the wildly popular dress designer, Sherri Hill. Along with the runway show (which you can watch here at 5:30 EST http://www.sherrihill.com/livestream/), the fall 2015 collection will also be released this evening. So in honor of this, I have decided to share my top ten all time favorite dresses designed by Sherri Hill.

10.  21272-by-sherri-hill

I love this dress because of the intricate beading on the neckline. I am a huge fan of white dresses and the pop of blue in the beading is perfect.

9. 21210-by-sherri-hill

This dress is so unique. I love the beaded metallic belt and it is the perfect way to add a touch of sparkle.

8. 32138-by-sherri-hill

I love the striking red color of this dress. I am obsessed with how unique the beading around the neckline is.

7. sherrihill2941

The lace overlay and detailing on this dress is to die for. I love the cut and the detailing on the hemline.

6. 21186-by-sherri-hill

I love the navy lace and high neck on this dress. I can speak from experience when I say that the cut of this dress is extremely flattering and comfortable. (I wore this dress in Oct. 2014)

5. 11175-by-sherri-hill

I love the simplicity of this dress. The beading is truly exquisite and I love how the gold and turquoise contrasts with the black.

4. 21217-by-sherri-hillalt11

I love the sparkle on this beautiful cocktail dress. The use of sequins and lace creates a unique bodice, and the bottom is just full enough.

3. 9703-by-sherri-hillalt4

This dress is stunning. I love the shape of the beads and the neckline.

2. Prom-Dress-Sherri-Hill-Sherri_Hill_5207_navy__1

I absolutely adore this dress. It is absolutely timeless, and I adore the way the lace was used to create an illusion type bodice.

1. 32225-by-sherri-hillalt4

This is my favorite Sherri Hill gown to date. I love the bright color palette, and when paired with the key hole and open back, this gown is a true showstopper.

I hope that you all enjoyed this post and I’ll be back soon with my take on the Fall 2015 collection.

xoxo,

Samantha

Monday Mashup – Taylor Swift 1989 by Kurt Hugo Schneider

Prepare to love this video just as much as I do. It features every song on Taylor Swift’s 1989 in under three minutes.

xoxo,

Samantha

P.S. – “Mashup Monday” is a feature I will post every Monday that includes a cover/remix/mashup of my some of my personal favorite music choices.