Thursday, January 29, 2015

My Favorite Past Travels (Part 1/7)

I absolutely love traveling. If I had no responsibilities and money wasn't an object, I'd probably spend every day for the rest of my life exploring new places. I've been wanting to blog about this for awhile, but I wasn't sure how to approach the subject. I've decided to split this into seven posts, because if I didn't, it would probably be the longest post in history. Maybe. Definitely.

With that being said, I've sifted through all of my travel photos and narrowed it down to my top 7 favorite countries/places I've been to. I really tried to narrow it down to five, but I couldn't. It was just too hard! So without further adieu, here is #7 off of my list!

#7: Portugal

Who I went with: my mother, father, brother, and nephew

Where we went: the Algarve region and Lisbon

When we went: summer of 2013

What we did: We stayed beachside in the Algarve region, but the weather was so bad we couldn't do much sightseeing. This was a huge disappointment, since the coast is supposed to be beautiful. In Lisbon, we shopped and ate, but a ton of things were closed down because there was a strike going on.

Why it's #7 on my list: Portugal would've been higher on the list if the weather was better and there wasn't a huge strike that shut all of Lisbon down. It was such an interesting place–– the food was great, the architecture was interesting, and the people were friendly.

Lisbon: Looking at the Atlantic Ocean
Lisbon: I loved this apartment building! It was so cheery.
Lisbon: Exploring with my family.
Algarve region: On the only day that the weather was nice, we went on the choppiest boat ride ever.
Out of the 40 people on the boat, only a handful didn't get seasick.

Lisbon: the bridge.
Lisbon: One of the best meals I've ever had. It was my dad's birthday dinner.
Lisbon: "Open your eyes" in Portuguese.
Lisbon: Graffiti on tile.
Lisbon: "General Strike: June 27th"
Lisbon: Near the zoo, they had animals painted on the columns of the underpass.


Stay tuned to read about my #6 place next week! If you've been to Portugal, what did you love about it? Feel free to share your experience in the comments below!

Keep up with me: instagram | tumblr | pinterest

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Liebster Award

Tori from The Champagne Edit nominated me for the Liebster award. It's an award passed around by bloggers as a way for readers to discover new blogs. Once nominated, you have to answer the set of questions provided by the blogger that nominated you, come up with eleven questions of your own, and then nominate eleven other bloggers.


I'm glad I was nominated by Tori. Prior to being nominated, I had not heard of her blog, but it's lovely! She just started it this year and it's great so far. Please make sure to check out her blog and her instagram feed!

Here are the questions that Tori provided me with to answer:

What has been your favorite purchase as of late? My favorite recent purchase has to be my new Ray-Ban clubmasters. They are so versatile and I've been getting a ton of wear out of them!

If you could live anywhere, where would you go? I have a hard time imagining myself living outside of the United States. I could easily see myself living in New York City or in Newport Beach, California.

What is your favorite pick-me-up? Diet Coke. It's the best. I might be addicted.

If money wasn’t an option, what fashion item would you go buy right now? This probably sounds cliché, but I'd buy a Birkin bag. They are beautiful.

What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re bored? Admittedly, I watch Netflix a little too much when I'm bored. Recently, I've been on a Friends binge.

How do you find inspiration for new blog content? I love asking my tumblr followers to see what they'd like me to post! I also like writing about things that make me happy in general.

What made you sit down and start a blog? I wanted to be able to creatively express myself while sharing the things that I love with others.

What’s your biggest goal for 2015? My biggest goal for this year is to complete 1/4 of my 101 in 1001 list. It'll be difficult, but I like challenging and pushing myself!

Do you consider yourself an introvert or extrovert? I definitely consider myself an introvert! I'm pretty shy.

What’s the biggest lesson life has taught you lately? Be willing to take a chance, because you never know how perfect something could turn out to be.

Who is your celebrity crush?
John Krasinski. Definitely him. He's so gorgeous, and Emily Blunt is one lucky lady.

Here are the eleven bloggers I'm nominating for the Liebster award:

  1. Emma at Dash of Serendipity
  2. Lauren at Boston Belle
  3. Claire at Precious as a Peony
  4. Mary at The Classy Capital
  5. Ellen from A Pop of Pink
  6. Nathalie from The Coveting
  7. Rachel from Something Pink and Sweet
  8. Caitlin from Your Typical Prep
  9. Jen from Confessions of a Prepster
  10. Rachel from The Polished Prep
  11. Claire from Simply Darling

If you’ve been nominated, here’s what to do: First, answer the questions you’ve been asked to answer. Next, find 11 bloggers to nominate (try to nominate those with under 1500 instagram followers, if possible) and come up with 11 questions of your own to ask them!

My Questions for the nominees to answer:
  1. If your house was burning down and you could only save three objects, what would they be?
  2. What is your favorite clothing item that you own?
  3. How do you find inspiration for new blog posts?
  4. What is your favorite quote and why?
  5. What made you start your blog?
  6. In your opinion, what is the most difficult part about running a blog?
  7. What's the one food you couldn't live without?
  8. What song instantly puts you in a good mood?
  9. What is your dream job?
  10. What/where is your favorite place in the world?
  11. What are three goals you have for this year?
If you were nominated by me and you end up answering my questions, please link to your post in the comments so I can read your answers:)

Emma at Dash of Serendipity's answers
Claire at Precious as a Peony's answers

Monday, January 26, 2015

Valentine's Day Gift Ideas

As a kid, Valentine's Day used to be one of my favorite holidays. I loved going to school and handing out/receiving those cheesy valentines with the punny jokes and the cartoons on them. Last year, I viewed Valentine's Day as a cruel reminder that I was single, but I've realized that being single doesn't bother me anymore. Now, I look at Valentine's Day as an opportunity to treat and love myself! Even though I don't have to go Valentine's Day shopping for anyone special this year (which is kind of a blessing because I don't have to stress out about it), I rounded up a few gift ideas for y'all. Happy shopping! For details on each individual product, click on the gift collages.






What are you hoping to receive this Valentine's Day? What are you planning on giving? If you have any gift ideas, feel free to leave them in the comments!

Keep up with me: instagram | pinterest | tumblr

Friday, January 23, 2015

What I Loved This Week

This week was a little less hectic. I'm still pretty busy, but it's becoming easier to manage all of my schoolwork because I'm settled into a routine. I have morning and afternoon classes this semester (with weird time gaps between) which has forced me to really manage my time. I wake up an hour before class, get dressed, eat breakfast, go to class, come back from class, work on homework for an hour, rush to class, come home from class, do more homework, more rushing to class, learn stuff, rush back home, change, workout for an hour, eat dinner, shower, work on more homework, and go to bed. Phew. It's a lot, but I've learned to love it and handle it. I enjoy being busy, and it makes me appreciate my free time and weekends more. Here are some things that made this crazy week a little more enjoyable.

VSCOCam

I've been loyal to Afterlight for months now. VSCOCam was always sitting in my "photography" app folder, but I never really got around to using it. This past week, I've used it to edit a multitude of photos and I can honestly say I'm addicted! You can share your photos with other VSCOCam users as well by signing in and uploading them to your grid. Here's mine!

American Sniper

I went to see American Sniper on Sunday with my friends. I knew it was going to be a good movie, but I didn't know it was going to be that good. I'd highly recommend it! I'm not going to go into excruciating detail because I know some of you haven't seen it or read the book, but Clint Eastwood did an amazing job directing the film, and all of the actors/actresses were wonderful. Random fact: Evan from Greek is now a Navy Seal... just kidding! But Jake McDorman, who plays Evan in Greek, plays Biggles in American Sniper. 

Laying out by the pool

A photo posted by Isabella Darden (@isabelladarden) on

I know what you're thinking: "Isabella, it's January. Have you lost your mind? It's like, negative thirty degrees out." But it isn't negative thirty degrees out. Fortunately here in Orlando, it's been sunny and nice the past few days, meaning I got to soak in some sun rays. The forecast is indicating that it's going to get cold again this weekend, but I'm glad that I got to be outside while I had the chance. I needed the vitamin D.

Favorite song of the week:

Love Me Like You Do / Ellie Goulding

Favorite quote of the week:

This quote was actually my senior yearbook quote in high school. I somewhat forgot about it until recently when I stumbled across it on pinterest. I love this quote because I believe it's 110% true–– if you aren't laughing every day, you're living life wrong!



What things made your week more enjoyable? If you'd like to share what you loved this week, feel free to do so in the comments below. I love hearing from y'all!

Keep up with me: instagram | tumblr | pinterest

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

My Backpack Essentials

Hello again! I cannot believe I've been posting as frequently as I have, but I hope I can keep it up! This is another post that was requested by one of my tumblr followers. Apparently people are curious about what I put inside of my backpack on a daily basis. I assure you I don't have anything fancy or remarkable in there, but I shall share the contents with y'all anyway.




























Well, for starters, there's my backpack. It's pretty important, because without it, I wouldn't be able to do this post. It's a North Face Borealis backpack. I've had it since junior year of high school, and it still looks pretty new! I love it. Now, for what's inside... drumroll...

  • my notebooks and textbooks I need for the day
  • my Lilly Pulitzer agenda
  • a spare computer charger in case my laptop dies
  • my laptop if needed for the day
  • my pencil pouch (which is just a Kate Spade makeup bag)
  • pens and pencils
  • post it notes
  • post it tabs for marking pages so I don't have to fold down the corners
  • highlighters
  • earbuds that I store in a coin case to prevent tangling
  • EOS chapstick
  • Altoids (I'm obsessed and I go through a tin a week)
  • a water bottle
  • a collapsable umbrella since it rains in Florida a ton
  • my wallet and student ID
  • I always keep a spare pen in the outside pocket in case I forget to pack my pencil pouch
  • a KIND bar in case I get hungry in class
  • my car keys if needed
  • extra hair ties
  • flash cards (I rarely use them but have them just in case)
...and that's about all, folks. What are your backpack essentials?


Keep up with me: instagram | tumblr | pinterest


How To: Make a Dorm Room Feel Less "Dormy" and More "Homey"

Dorm rooms can feel drab and cramped. The cinderblock walls aren't all that glamorous. The closet space can be minimal, and sometimes it might feel like you're living in a cave. An ice cave (if yours is as cold as mine). Except you're no ice queen. You're just a college kid that misses the nice queen sized bed you have at home (ugh, twin XL beds are not fun) and the freedom of taking bubble baths (communal showers, my friends) or eating ice cream at 2 am (I miss having a freezer). But... there is good news! You can transform your dull ice cave into a comfortable palace fit for a queen. I promise that it isn't that hard. Actually, it's kind of fun, because you get to do arts and crafty stuff! If you cannot tell, I love crafty stuff. Anyways, here are a few tips to help you refresh your dorm room!

Add colorful/patterned accent pieces



































If your room is lacking color, this is the easiest way to make it happy again! You can add bold throw pillows, a patterned rug, or spiffy picture frames. Here are my favorite finds:




What you'll need: matte photo paper, command strips, scissors, frames (I purchased mine from Ikea and if I remember correctly, 6 frames were less than $40 total)
  1. Find photos and quotes online that you want to frame. I made a pinterest board with the ones I chose for my wall (pictured above) along with other options if you need inspiration! 
  2. Print out the photos you've chosen onto the matte photo paper. Make sure to scale them to the proper dimensions to correlate with the frame size! Cut the photos out and stick them into the frames.
  3. Think about how you want to hang/position the frames on your wall. I opted to only hang 6 frames, but if you want a bigger gallery wall, here are some ideas on how to position your frames. 
  4. Use command strips to hang your frames! It's much easier to hang them with command strips rather than nails, and it'll be easier to take the frames down at the end of the year.
  5. Admire your spiffy new gallery wall.
Fill a corkboard with mementos and photos

This is the easiest way to display your own photos, ticket stubs, stickers, quotes, clothing tags, etc. Use colorful push pins to make your display even more festive!

Add more lighting

If your dorm room doesn't have a ton of natural light, adding a few lamps to your room might help it feel bigger and brighter. Regardless of how much natural light your dorm room gets, you should have a good desk lamp in case you need to work on homework late (or pull the dreaded all-nighter). If you have good desk lighting, your eyes won't feel as strained later, especially if you're reading a ton. 

Hang polaroids/ family photos with clothespins and string or clips and wires
















































(photo via little inspiration)

What you'll need: string and clothespins or wire and clips
What you do: Hang the wire or string and then clip your photos on. Bam. Super, super easy.

This is a super cute yet inexpensive way to display polaroids and other photos you've taken of your family members and pets. I've always thought that rooms felt more homey and inviting when they have pictures of loved ones hanging on the walls. 

Get super organized

Isabella, this seriously isn't a crafting project. How dare you suggest that I get organized!

I know guys, I know... but if your room is less cluttered and things are put away properly, you'll have more room (and you won't be tripping over textbooks and stubbing your toes on binders). In my opinion, organizing can be fun! Maybe I'm just a dork though. That's probably it. Anyways, make it fun by putting on good music... think about all of the clean, exposed floor you'll have to dance on when you're done organizing! You can buy super cute bins to hide stuff in, and you can make money by selling old clothing/stuff on eBay or Poshmark. After you're done getting rid of all of the stuff you don't need, you'll have much more room to store the stuff that you do need.

Add cozy objects

In my opinion, this is the best thing you can possibly do to make your dorm room feel like home. Adding warm blankets, soft sheets, plush pillows, and candles (if you're allowed to have them) will make your room and bed much more comfortable. Since the mattresses colleges provide are uncomfortable and have little to no support, investing in a good mattress topper is a good idea (I have this one).

Cozy throw pillows: Restoration Hardware Fur Pillow Covers, Target Faux Fur Pillow
Cozy throw: Barefoot Dreams Bamboo Throw (My aunt gave this to me as a gift and my friends are obsessed with how soft it is)
Candles: Capri Blue Aloha Orchid Candle (my favorite candle of all time), Voluspa White Mokara Candle, Bath and Body Works Lemon Mint Candle

Add seating for guests

I have this pouf in the jute/ivory and I love it! Not only do I use it as seating for myself and friends that come over, but I also use it as a step stool to get into my lofted bed. It's comfortable to sit on and small enough to slip underneath my bed so it doesn't take up too much space.

How do you make your dorm room more comfortable and homey?

Keep up with me: instagram | tumblr | pinterest

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Cold Weather Workout Outfit

This post was requested on tumblr, but I am actually very excited to write it because I've been working out a ton lately (well, a ton for me at least). I joined Orange Theory Fitness and I've been taking classes twice a week. So far, I'm loving it! It's a fun and quick way to burn a lot of calories, and the instructors are so nice and helpful! I love how they send you your detailed workout stats via email as soon as you leave. They collect the info from the heart rate monitor you wear while taking the class.



When I work out in the winter, I usually wear shorts and a tee since I'm sweating inside. If I'm walking or running outside, I'll usually wear workout leggings, a long sleeved shirt, and a fleece pullover or vest. Here are some OOTD photos I posted on my tumblr a few weeks ago from a long walk I went on:













































Sunglasses: Tory Burch (similar) | Running leggings: Nike (similar) | Vest: Vineyard Vines (similar) | Shoes: Nike (similar) | Shirt: Vineyard Vines

If I'm doing more rigorous exercise, I'll wear Nike Tempo shorts and a running tank top with running shoes.

Speaking of running shoes, does anyone have brand suggestions? I've been running about 2 miles during each Orange Theory class and my Nike Free Runs aren't cutting it. If you happen to know of a good brand, make my day and leave a suggestion in the comments below!

Keep up with me: instagram | tumblr | pinterest

Saturday, January 17, 2015

What I'm Loving This Week

This week was a good week. In fact, it was a damn good week. College classes started back up on Monday, and I love all of my professors so far. It's hard to believe that I'm almost done with my second year of college! This school year has gone by so fast, and I honestly don't want it to end anytime soon. Enough about me though... here are some things that have made this week even more pleasant and enjoyable:

Friends on Netflix

I started Friends on Monday. I chose it because I needed something less intense to watch at night before bed (you know, something less scary than Criminal Minds). I never thought I'd be a Friends watcher, but I'm so glad I decided to get into it. It makes me actually laugh out loud. I love its silliness. Although most of the jokes that the characters tell are simple, it's still dang hilarious. Plus, Chandler is pretty cute.

My new room: Before break, I moved out of my campus apartment and into the dorms with one of my best friends here. I was hesitant at first since I didn't want to be in a dorm room, but I'm so glad I did it! I'm sleeping much better in my new room since my friend is quiet, and I'm now in the routine of going to bed every night before midnight. It took me a few days to adjust to dorm life (since I've never had to live in a dorm room before), but even the communal bathrooms don't bother me. Last semester, I was cleaning up after my other roommates, and now I don't have to do that! 

Working out: I've been wanting to get into shape for a long time now, but I've never had the motivation or the push to do it. This week, my friends dragged me to Orange Theory Fitness. OTF's classes are a challenge, but it's so much fun! After my first class, I signed up for a membership because I enjoyed it so much. I'd highly recommend looking into it if you have a location near you.

Songs I'm loving:


My favorite quote of the week:
What things made your week more enjoyable? If you'd like to share what you loved this week, feel free to do so in the comments below. I love hearing from y'all! 

Keep up with me: instagram | tumblr | pinterest

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

101 Things in 1001 Days

I first saw the "101 Things in 1001 Days" idea on Mackenzie Horan's blog. After reading through her list of 101 things, I was inspired to create a list of my own! By the time 1001 days have come and gone, I will have graduated from college and I'll be out on my own in the real world. I feel that the following 101 things will help me grow as a person and prepare me for life after college. I am confident that I can complete them, and I'm excited to see where this adventure takes me!



Starts on January 14, 2015
Ends on October 11, 2017

  1. Publish one new blog post each day for an entire month
  2. Go a week without eating any fried food
  3. Travel to three new countries (1/3)
  4. Visit three new states (2/3)
  5. Travel to a new continent
  6. Try 30 new restaurants
  7. Run another 5k
  8. Take a vacation with my friends
  9. Learn a new recipe
  10. Go to the beach to watch the sun set and stay up all night until it rises in the morning
  11. Keep a journal for a month
  12. Go a month without drinking Diet Coke  (update: I have stopped drinking it completely) 
  13. Watch a tennis match at Wimbledon
  14. Get an awesome internship
  15. Go to at least three concerts
  16. Save $10,000 and put it in my savings account
  17. Host another giveaway
  18. Try five new foods
  19. Sleep under the stars
  20. Go snorkeling again 
  21. Go to a music festival
  22. Buy a better DSLR camera
  23. Write handwritten letters to ten people telling them how important they are to me
  24. Go back to NYC
  25. Ride on a sailboat
  26. Go zip-lining in Costa Rica
  27. Learn to drive stick shift
  28. Re-design my blog
  29. Drink a gallon of water every day for a month
  30. Make my bed every day for a month
  31. Go skiing
  32. Go to three new art museums
  33. Learn how to tie a bowtie
  34. Get a job
  35. Take a train somewhere
  36. Read 20 new books (4/20)
  37. Vote in an election
  38. Go an entire day without my phone/computer/etc
  39. Join a gym and work out twice a week for a month
  40. Get a professional hair blowout
  41. Clean out my closet and sell/donate everything I don't wear anymore
  42. Learn which blood type I am
  43. Go to sleep before midnight every night for a week
  44. Take a polaroid picture every day for a month
  45. Watch 20 new movies 
  46. Watch all of Grey's Anatomy on Netflix
  47. Give up eating out for a whole week
  48. Leave a 100% tip at a restaurant for good service
  49. Have a picnic in the park
  50. Take a photoshop class
  51. Learn how to make Crème Brûlée
  52. Go scuba diving again
  53. Go outdoor rock climbing again
  54. Send my mother flowers for no reason
  55. Reach 5,000 followers on my blog instagram, @yepitsprepblog
  56. Post to my blog instagram every day for a month
  57. Visit the Chicago Skydeck
  58. Go to the top of the Empire State Building
  59. Play tennis three times a week for a month
  60. Go a month without eating fast food
  61. Go back to Las Vegas 
  62. Sort through the 11,000 photos on my iPhoto and delete the unwanted ones
  63. Organize my Spotify account
  64. Unsubscribe from emails I don't want to receive
  65. Grow my hair out even longer (and then I chopped it off)
  66. Post an outfit of the day photo everyday for a month on my tumblr
  67. Visit the ancient ruins in Mexico
  68. Volunteer for a cause I'm passionate about
  69. Shoot a gun
  70. Create a budget for myself and stick to it
  71. Watch ten documentaries
  72. Buy a bar cart (I have one, but my roommate bought it... but I still own one, right?)
  73. Go a week wearing my glasses only (I realize now that glasses give me headaches so this is impossible)
  74. Complete 5 random acts of kindness
  75. Go to a drive in movie theater
  76. Be able to run 3 miles without stopping
  77. Try a Soul Cycle class
  78. Learn to surf
  79. Go camping
  80. Take a cooking class
  81. Travel to see the northern lights
  82. Go ice skating again
  83. Go on a hike
  84. Go a month without drinking alcohol
  85. Have breakfast in bed (does eating creme brulee in bed for breakfast count?)
  86. Go a week without wearing makeup
  87. Make homemade pasta
  88. Wake up for a week without hitting the snooze button
  89. Get a facial
  90. Buy a plane ticket to a random destination
  91. Collaborate on a blog post with another style blogger
  92. Donate blood
  93. Go skydiving
  94. Go to Bonaroo
  95. Get at least 9 hours of sleep each night for a week
  96. Go to a Taylor Swift concert
  97. Do a polar bear plunge
  98. Go paddle boarding again
  99. Pay for a stranger's coffee
  100. Donate $10 to charity for every incomplete task on this list
  101. Put $10 into my savings account for every complete task on this list
Coming up with 101 things was no easy task, but it's nice to know that I now have 101 achievable goals set for myself. If you'd like to create your own list of 101 things, let me know and I'll link it below for others to read!

Kendal // www.lifewithkendal.com
Taylor // www.collegecaffeinated.com