December Mood Board

December 12, 2017

Happy Tuesday! I'm in the midst of "study week" here at Georgetown, which brings me a lot of free time (in addition to studying). One of my favorite things to do is make mood boards on Pinterest, but sometimes I take it a step further using BlogPixie's Mood Board templates.

Book Talk: The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

December 8, 2017
Lauren reading Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney's The Nest

I want to start off by saying that I am more excited than any of you know for this post! I'm writing a week in advance because I just finished the book and I need to express my love for it right. now. In all honesty, I was first attracted to The Nest because of its cover. The mint and gold quilted cover spoke to me and I immediately added it to my to-read list. I started it over Thanksgiving, without knowing anything about it, because I needed a break from nonfiction and memoirs. Starting with Half Broke Horses, I've read so many of that genre in the past few years, including An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth and Wild. A couple of months ago, I read Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff and realized that I wanted to read more contemporary fiction. Fates and Furies is one of my new favorites, and without realizing it I picked The Nest, which is eerily similar.

Holiday Wish List 2017

December 5, 2017
Lauren's 2017 Holiday Wish List Erin Condren Life Planner Peanut's Flannel Pajama Set Becca Champagne Pop Matt & Nat Webber Wallet Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz Marble Keyboard Cover Burt's Bees Personalized Lip Balm The Nest

Happy Tuesday! The holiday season is here so keeping the tradition I'm sharing my holiday wish list for the year! I remember when I made my Holiday Wish List 2014 on Polyvore! I was so particular about what I wanted and the images and used and adding the numbers in the circles...fast-forward to today and nothing has changed! Back in 2014, I got an all-time high of 5 items on my wish list (my mom used it to get my presents and I had no idea)! I continued the tradition in 2015 and 2016, hitting 4 and 3 items respectfully. I know the holiday is not about the gifts at all, but I love to try and see/guess how many items from my wish list end up in my stocking or under the tree! Feel free to use this list as gift-giving inspiration or inspiration for things to ask for; I tried to include a range of prices!

Blogging 101: Favorite Free Fonts Holiday Edition

December 1, 2017
A collection of seven free fonts that are great for graphic design.

Happy December! Now that it is finally December, I'm ready to jump headfirst into the holiday season! When I was planning this post I realized that it would kick off the holiday season on my blog so I wanted to add a bit of a holiday twist. 

Black Friday Blues

November 28, 2017
Fall Pinterest inspired outfit featuring Barbour and Burberry


Welcome back! I had the best Thanksgiving break ever and now I'm back at school grinding out these next few weeks until I'm back home for the holidays!

I'm Thankful For...

November 21, 2017











Happy Tuesday! Thanksgiving, AKA my favorite day of the year, is just two days away and I've been thinking lately about everything I have to be thankful for. Obviously, I'm thankful for my family, friends, and the opportunity to go to my dream school; but, today I want to focus on some of the smaller things that bring me joy! I'm thankful for...

5 Resources Every College Student Needs to Write A Great Paper

November 14, 2017

Welcome back! Midterm szn is finally over, but lately, I have been completely bogged down by the number of (I think excessively) long papers I've had to write. Don't get me wrong, writing is one of my favorite things to do, but not when it's 7-9 pages on Job (I actually got super invested by page 3, but that's beside the point). When I was going through edits and revisions for my final paper last Thursday, I realized that I had devised quite a method for paper writing. Not to brag, but writing is my strong suit and I've consistently done well on my papers in college so far (knock on wood). For that reason, I'm revealing my 5 tools and tips for writing a great paper.

Blogging 101: Content Creation

November 7, 2017

I'm back! After taking a short, week-long break from blogging, I'm bringing you the next installment in my blogging 101 series. I've shared already shared my tips and tricks on fashion photography, using blogger, and blog design; so the next step is creating your content! Obviously, this is going to (or at least it should be) different for everyone; these tips are general ideas and guidelines that you can apply to your blog no matter what the subject is.

4 Fun Fall Things to Do Instead of Halloween

October 31, 2017
Miss Lauren Alston instagram


Halloweekend is over and this year I spent it watching Stranger Things 2 and cranking out some essays. I've tried for years to be a person who gets excited for Halloween, picks out a great costume, and goes out and has a great time - but that's just not me. So instead of going out tonight, I'm going to drink my vanilla almond milk and watch a festive movie (even though I should be studying for my econ midterm tomorrow)! If you're like me you're not down for Halloween parties or trick-or-treating, here are a few ways you can celebrate the end of October either will your gals (and ghouls) or flying (on a broomstick) solo!

District Wharf | Washington D.C.

October 28, 2017
District Wharf Washington D.C.

District Wharf is one of D.C.'s latest day trip destinations, it opened just a few weeks ago on October 12. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to make it down there on opening day/night because it's super out of the way from school and I had a lot going on at that time (p.s. no one ever tells you that midterms will take over your life). But lucky me, today I was able to take my time seeing everything that the Wharf has to offer when it wasn't too busy. There are tons of restaurants down there that look amazing (I haven't eaten at any of them yet because I'm trying to save money and I'd much rather go with my family or a group of friends), but I'm especially looking forward to Taylor Gourmet (so many vegan options!).

Book Talk: Life in Motion by Misty Copeland

October 24, 2017
Lauren reading Misty Copeland's memoir, Life In Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina

Welcome back! This book talk is a bit delayed because I wanted to finish the book before writing this post. I started Life in Motion back in August and it's taken 2 months to read, not because I wasn't completely captivated by the story, but because I started the book during one of the busiest times of the year, the week before I moved to college. Now that my life has (somewhat) settled down and I was able to get Life in Motion from the library, I sat down in front of the fireplace (in the student center at my school...not the same as the one in my bedroom at home but it'll do) and contentedly finished the last few chapters.

3 Tips for Saving Money in College

October 18, 2017

Aside from time management, which I've already shared some tips on, one of the hardest parts of college is trying to balance a budget. Being a full-time student, I don't have a job and couldn't imagine working on top of my school work and extracurriculars (shout out to all the students that do though)! Most of the money in my bank account comes from my graduation money and the babysitting that I did over the summer. Trying to find ways to make a few hundred dollars last a whole has proven to be a bit difficult, so I wanted to share some of the tips I've learned so far this year for my girls (and guys) in the same boat as me!

It's Fall Y'All

October 12, 2017
A fall inspired casual college outfit.

A fall inspired casual college outfit.

A fall inspired casual college outfit.

A fall inspired casual college outfit.

I'm back today with some fun fall fashion! I've been obsessed with this outfit (I've worn it 2x in the past 3 days) because it's so comfortable and the colors are so fall! My favorite thing about this outfit is that none of the pieces are new, I created it from things I already had in my closet but had never worn together!

I got this faux burgundy leather jacket a few years ago from Tobi.com because I wanted something edgy, but more "me" than a traditional black leather jacket. This jacket is an unexpected fall staple because it's easier to wear than you might think. You may recognize this top from my Warby Parker post this past summer. At first glance, it's definitely a spring/summer top but the jacket brings out the burgundy/wine color and makes it more appropriate for fall. I also love that this top has a delicate, flowy bottom which makes the whole outfit a bit softer. If you've been reading for a while then you probably recognize these jeans as my favorite denim from Revice. They're a great quality denim and I own several pairs so that I can wear them multiple days in a row (not kidding!) The only thing I would change about them in this outfit is the cuff, the outward cuff in this look cuts off my legs and makes me look short (which I am, but the cuff isn't doing me any favors). Finally, I have these ankle boots which are nothing to speak of tbh. I've had them for years and you can tell that they are nearing the end. I just ordered new booties, though, that I cannot wait to share with you all!

Thanks for reading! What are your favorite pieces for fall? xo, Lauren
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Soul Cycle + New Work Out Clothes

October 6, 2017
Find Your Soul - Soul Cycle Georgetown

Miss Lauren Alston in Lulu Lemon Leggings

Miss Lauren Alston in Lulu Lemon Leggings

Welcome back! As you can tell by the title, this is a fitness post! I want to start doing these a bit more often because my fitness is routine is always changing. 

A few months back, I did an updated post talking about tennis and muay thai. Now that I'm in college it's a lot harder for me to enjoy both of those activities so I've adapted. I've started going to Soul Cycle GTOWN 1-2 times a week and starting next week I'm going to start going to the campus gym 1-2 times a week. I just discovered that full-time students automatically have memberships at our on-campus gym and I'm excited to see/use the resources available to me!

Last week, the Lulu Lemon on M Street had a major sale called 'The Clearing.' I've never invested in Lulu Lemon work out clothes before and I knew this was my opportunity to get some at a discounted price, so I woke up at 5:30 am on Saturday morning and got in line for the sale. All in all, the sale wasn't as big as I thought it would be so I only got one pair of leggings. It definitely was not worth all the prep I put into it, that night one of my friends told me that she went in the afternoon and was able to get what she wanted. You live and you learn. The pants that I did get, I'm obsessed with. They're a teal green with a mesh panel down the side and they are super comfortable. My top I've had for a while and it's a tank top so I don't get too warm during the class. It's my favorite because it has pockets in the front that are the perfect size for my chapstick and inhaler!

If you ever go to Soul Cycle GTOWN, you have to go to Kate C.'s class! She is so motivating and inspiring that I leave feeling great every time (granted, I've only been twice)! I'm about to head out to a Justin Bieber vs. Bruno Mars class with Tiffany and I am so ready to jam out (I'm hoping for some old school Bruno - Just the Way You Are used to be my favorite)!

Thanks for reading. What are your favorite workouts? xx, Lauren
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Blogging 101: Blog Design

October 3, 2017

Welcome back! It's the beginning of the month, which means another Blogging 101 post! If you missed my posts from the last couple of months, I shared information on fashion photography and using Blogger. Today's topic is blog design, which is probably definitely one of my favorite parts of blogging! You can find a bunch of information about blog design including where to get free fonts and tips/tricks, on my Pinterest board, but here are the biggest, most important, and most fun things!

1. Template

Your template is basically the structure of your blog. I use Blogger and I don't love any of the templates, but if you're willing to spend a lot of time learning how to code basic widgets, you could definitely make one of them work. If you'd rather download a preexisting theme to your site, it's not hard to find cheap and even free templates online. Here are some of my favorites: Gooyaabi Templates | Sky and Stars | Blog Pixie | pipdig

2. Fonts & Colors

While I could easily go on for hours about fonts & colors, I'll try to keep it simple. With fonts and colors, less is more; the fewer fonts and colors you have on your page the more professional it will look. When choosing fonts, you typically want 2-3; a statement font for your logo/blog title, a simple serif or sans serif for your main page text, and maybe another font for other headers that might appear on your page. When choosing colors stick to 2-4, a couple of neutrals and 1 or 2 statement colors. When choosing fonts and colors, take a few minutes to up font pairing and complimentary colors online. As far as downloading fonts, here are my favorite sites: DaFont | Befonts | Font Squirrel

3. Widgets

Widgets are super important for site navigation and convenience. Sidebars are easy to navigate and add smooth lines to your site when they aren't too cluttered. Make sure most things your readers might want to find (about me, social media links, search bar) are easily located, but also make sure that your sidebar doesn't go further than the last post on your page. Key widgets to include on your site are social media icons, favorite shops, popular posts, blog archive, and Instagram.


4. Header

Sticky headers are super popular on blogs these days and a pain to figure out. If you don't know, a sticky header is when the header of your blog stays at the top of the screen at all times, even when you've scrolled down. The best advice I can give you is to look up "sticky header" and the name of your platform or to find a template you like that already has one. The reason they are so helpful is that they are essential to great site navigation. If your audience scrolls down to read a post, or get's lost exploring your site, all they have to do is click home in the top left corner no matter what. It's also helpful for people who navigate quickly; if they scroll down to read a post and decide they want to send you an email or read your about page, the link is already there.

5. Images

Every post should have an image!! This is getting a little bit more into content vs. design, but when people go to your site they're more likely to click if they see an appealing image. I'll probably do a more in-depth post on this later, but aside from photography, graphics are very important. Make sure that any and all graphics are clear and sharp, because nothing looks worse than blurry images and text (I'm being kind of dramatic, but it is very important).

Thanks for reading! I love doing these blogging 101 posts, leave a comment letting me know what you might want to see next! xx, Lauren

24 Hours in Boston

September 26, 2017
Boston, Massachusetts

If you follow me on Twitter, then you'll know that I was in Boston for literally 24 hrs. My flight landed at 12pm on Saturday and I was headed back to the airport at 12pm on Sunday. Even though my time in the city was short, I had the best weekend I could imagine!

Dorm Tour - Georgetown University

September 19, 2017

To be completely honest, my dorm isn't done yet, I'm still ordering photos and figuring out how I'm going to fill the 4 bookshelves above my desk. But all the big things are set up perfectly and my dorm room is just now starting to feel like home!

The Cheapest Ways to Travel D.C.

September 15, 2017

Before college, I was warned against getting stuck in the "Georgetown bubble," which basically means spending all your time at on campus or in the immediate area. I never thought I'd fall into this trap because D.C. has so much to offer, but it's easier than I thought. While Uber is easy and convenient, it's too expensive to use all the time, so today I'm sharing a few of the cheapest and easiest ways to get around the city!

Fall Picks from J.Crew

September 13, 2017
J. Crew in Georgetown Fall 2017

J. Crew Not Your Ordinary College Party Event in Georgetown

J. Crew Not Your Ordinary College Party Event in Georgetown

Fall is right around the corner, and to be honest it already feels like it here in D.C. This past weekend, J.Crew had it's "Not Your Ordinary College Party" event at a number of stores and I made sure to attend the one in Georgetown. There was a DJ, Spindrift, and lots of shopping; how could I pass it up? While I was in the store, I saw some great pieces for fall, so I rounded them up for you all! Hope you enjoy! xx, Lauren


4 Tips for Time Management in College

September 9, 2017
4 Tips for Time Management in College

Welcome back! I've just finished my second week of college and while I'm still figuring a few things out, time management is not one of them. College is so much different, and better in my opinion, than high school because you make your own schedule as well as decisions about your priorities.

Currently Reading: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

September 7, 2017

the art of racing in the rain by garth stein review


Today I want to do a little book talk on a book that I'm currently reading, Garth Stein's The Art of Racing in the Rain. This book was super popular a few years back and I added it to my "to read" list on Goodreads and I'm just now getting around to reading it! 

Blogging 101: Using Blogger

September 1, 2017

Happy September! Like I mentioned in my last post, I'm going back to a twice a week posting schedule this month which is so exciting for me! A month ago, I started a mini-series called Blogging 101 and my first post was about fashion photography. The feedback on that post was overwhelmingly positive so I thought I'd follow up with another post dealing with one of the hardest parts of actually starting a blog. There are tons of posts out there about how to choose a blogging platform; I've only ever used Blogger, but Barefoot Blonde and  WP Beginner have some great posts. If you do end up picking Blogger, keep reading!

1. Creating Your Blog
One of the reasons I love Blogger is because it's a Google platform. This means I can use my Gmail to create my account. Once you've logged into the Blogger site with your email, you create your blog my picking a title, address, and theme. Your blog title is what your blog is called (obviously) so for me, Miss Lauren Alston. The address is what gets entered into the address bar at the top; if you haven't already purchased a domain than your address will have the .blogspot.com ending. If you haven't purchased a domain but you want to, don't worry you can buy one from Google later for just $12! Finally, choose a theme you love, but again you can always change it later.

2. Customizing Your Blog
Now that you officially have a blog, it's time to make it your own! Firstly, you can add widgets and rearrange the sections of your blog by clicking "layout" on the left sidebar. Some of the best/most useful tools for your readers are search bars, about me sections, and a blog archive. Once you love the layout, select theme from the left side and click customize. Here you can adjust the width or your main section and sidebar, as well as choose colors and fonts for your page text. Here in the details is where your blog really comes together. If you're new to design, you can make a mood board or choose 2-3 colors and fonts for your blog! You want to avoid anything too flashy or tacky and pair your fonts well. There are tons of tips for this on Pinterest, especially on my blog/business board.

3. Writing/Publishing Posts
Now it's time for (hopefully) the reason you started a blog in the first place: writing/publishing posts! To start a new post, select "posts" from the left sidebar, then click the orange "new post" near the top of the page. Here is where you're going to write your post and post title. Blogger makes it super easy to add other kinds of media to your post; to link highlight the text you want to be a link and then click "link" and insert the URL you want to go to. You can also add pictures and videos using the icons located under the title bar. To publish your post, simply click the orange "publish" button on the top right of the page. You can also schedule when you want your posts to go live by clicking schedule on the right sidebar and selecting a date and time.

That is pretty much all of the basics you need to know for Blogger. I do have tons of other tips and tricks for making your blog look more professional or glam-ing it up! Leave a comment with your blog (Blogger or not) and let me know if I should do another tips and tricks post. xx, Lauren

Loving Lavender

August 22, 2017
Miss Lauren Alston wearing a lavender romper from The Impeccable Pig with a black and white cardigan

Miss Lauren Alston wearing a lavender romper from The Impeccable Pig with a black and white cardigan

Miss Lauren Alston wearing a lavender romper from The Impeccable Pig with a black and white cardigan

Miss Lauren Alston wearing a lavender romper from The Impeccable Pig with a black and white cardigan

Hi everyone! I cannot believe that this is one of my last outfit posts of the summer and my last post at home before I move to D.C. The big move is the day after tomorrow and I have spent every spare moment in the last week double checking my packing lists and repacking everything so it will fit in the car on the ride up! I've had such a relaxing summer and I'm so blessed to have been able to spend time with my friends and family before I leave.

This past Saturday, for my last weekend in Chapel Hill, my sister and I went to an outdoor movie! When I checked online Wonder Woman was scheduled to start at 8 PM so we arrived at 7:30 to get a decent spot and make sure we were comfy with snacks. After waiting for an hour and 15 min, I checked on Facebook to see that the movie had been rescheduled to 8:30 and was only 15 min behind schedule. We waited and waited and at 9:15 the previews finally started, but with no announcement, they had switched to Power Rangers! Needless to say, we were not feeling it be I was so pissed that we wasted 2 hours of my last Saturday night. I didn't want the entire night to go to waste, so we tried (and failed) to build a fort in my room and we watch a movie on my laptop. Me being me, I fell asleep in the first 20 minutes!

Anyways, onto the pictures, I wore this adorable lavender romper during the day while we were shopping for last-minute college stuff and lunching at Panera. It's super airy and breathable which is great for NC heat and humidity! In the evening, once it cooled off, I added this black and white cardigan which has definitely been featured on the blog before. I love the look of a long cardigan and bare legs, so I try to add one to shorts and dresses whenever the weather permits! I picked up this romper back in May from The Impeccable Pig, and I'm so glad I did. It's fun, flirty, and perfect for late summer evenings! Unfortunately, it's no longer available but this dress and this romper are both from TIP and super similar!

My next post will be from my new home in Washington D.C. and I am so excited! Have you all started school yet? My first day of class is August 30!! xo, Lauren Alston

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Agenda Organization - Erin Condren Life Planner

August 8, 2017
Lauren Alston's Erin Condren Life Planner

Lauren Alston's Erin Condren Life Planner vertical layout with colorful theme

Lauren Alston's Erin Condren Life Planner vertical layout with colorful theme

Hi! I'm super excited about today because it's my annual agenda post! I've been doing this for the past 4 years (it's crazy I know) and every year looks extremely different from the last. I used a Lilly Pulitzer planner in 2013 (I have no idea where that post went, but unfortunately, it's gone), a Kate Spade planner in 2014 and 2015, and in 2016 I started using my Erin Condren Life Planner. Even though I'm in the same planner as last year, a lot has changed so I wanted to show you all how my planning style has evolved!

Blogging 101: Fashion Photography

August 1, 2017







Welcome back! A couple weeks ago, one of my good friends suggested that I do a blog post on how to start a blog (a blogging 101 if you will). I'd actually been toying with the idea for a while, but I didn't think anyone would want to read it-clearly I was wrong, but hopefully, more than 1 person will find it useful. 

Today, I'm starting with fashion photography because I think it's one of the hardest parts, at least for my blog. I do so many shoots with my sister where I think the pictures are coming along great, and then I go home and start editing and I hate them all. I've gathered some tips and tricks for you all to make every shoot a success.

Location
For the most part, I like to go with a natural background; you may notice that a lot of my pictures are shot in gardens or fields. Depending on the outfit, I'll want something a little more interesting for the background; in that case, I'll pick a mural or a painted wall of some sort. Anything that will either fade into the background or make your outfit pop is great! Also shooting from different angles gives you a lot more options and ways to diversity when you plan on having 5-8 shots of the same outfit!

Time
My favorite times to shoot are about an hour before the evening golden hour and a couple hours after the morning golden hour. I use the Magic Hour app on my phone for the times, but I like these times because it's not too hot (sometimes when I shoot in the middle of the day I start sweating 10 minutes into the shoot) and the lighting isn't too bright. This is also true of the actual golden hours, but I always feel like it's a little too dark and I'm rushed to take pictures in that time frame.

Camera
When I first started my blog I was using the iPhone 3GS, then I upgraded to a Canon Powershot 110, and now I use a Canon Rebel t6i. Honestly, though, if you're phone has a decent camera (which most smartphones do now) you can look up photography tips online and take great pictures. When you do get to the point where you want to elevate your photos but you can't afford a DSLR there are options; I used to check out a DSLR from my local library. Also, Light, which is a new camera technology company, has a new camera that's supposed to be super convenient and great for social media! While your camera isn't the most important part of photography, it can definitely improve your game. Reviews.com has a comprehensive post detailing the best digital camera - it's a great place to start when doing research!

Day Of
I always know what outfit(s) I'm shooting the well-before the morning off, and I have a location in mind even if I'm not 100% sure of it. I also always have some ideas in mind for what I want the shots to look like; if there's a theme or tone I'm going for or if there are any specific shots I want. Though it's good to have a plan, don't feel like you have to stick to your go-to poses. I would rather take 200 pictures and look either bad or stupid in 190 of them than take 20 pictures that I think will look good because it's what I always do and then not like any of them. 

My final advice is that some shoots will not work. Unless you're shooting with a professional photographer, in which case you should get your money's worth, it's ok to decide mid-shoot or even after the shoot that you're not satisfied and scrap all the photos. Even though it's frustrating and feels like an enormous waste of time, it's always better to upload something that you love and are proud of than post because you have to make a schedule.

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