May 31, 2013

How blogging has changed my life {blogaversary}

One year blogging anniversary

The title sounds a little dramatic, I know. But it's true. Writing this blog over the past year has been therapeutic, inspirational, interesting, challenging, and life changing.

Blogging about both my college life and the city of Atlanta has forced me to be more aware. Aware of the developments in my life, aware of failures and successes, aware of events and updates in my city, aware of trends, but mainly more aware of myself.

Although my blog is public and I encourage others to read and follow my posts, these words are my own personal thoughts - racing through my head, eager to be written down. I always get a little nervous pushing the "publish" button on my posts because blogging, like all forms of expression, makes the author vulnerable to the public. So thank you for reading and accepting my words and ideas that have made up Real College Student of Atlanta.

It wasn't easy and I faced more than enough rejection during the process of really promoting my blog and wanting others to read it. Yet, the end result makes all of that more than worth it. I've learned and been reminded over and over again that rejection is a blessing and a sign that what you thought you wanted or thought you deserved wasn't for you, because there's something better in store.

This blog has also served as a personal history of sorts for me. The past year of my life (most of it) is on this blog, (and on my hard drive, of course)! And I love how I can look back at my archives and read older posts and wonder "...what was I thinking that day?" Or refer to older posts in my newer posts because sometimes old thoughts are still relevant.

I'm so grateful for the relationships I've formed with other bloggers who read my blog and comment and vice versa, with readers and younger girls, and with small & large companies who have sponsored RCSOATL. I appreciate the comments, questions, emails, tweets, and support. And I'm grateful for my family and best friends who continuously support my dreams and ambitions, regardless of how crazy they sound. With a great support system, anything is possible. Thank you all so much!

Blogging isn't for everyone and if you dread writing posts, then it may not be for you! But...there is something that everyone can say they love. What drives you? What do you enjoy doing so much that you'd do it for free? How do you want to positively impact the world? Find what you really love to do and then incorporate that love into your daily life. Happiness is sure to follow.

How has blogging or reading a particular blog impacted your life?

May 30, 2013

Gallon of water a day...

keeps the doctor away? And hopefully the pounds too!

**Check in: after one week of the challenge, I've lost 7 pounds and my skin is clearer than ever!**

After a Memorial Day weekend full of amazing food dishes and best friend Shayla and I decided it was time to switch up our eating habits. She's an athlete, so she definitely gets her workouts in, but eating healthier is great for anyone!

While we have unique meal plans and workout plans, one thing we're both aiming to do?

Drink a gallon of water every single day for the next 25 days!

It's quite the challenge. But I started on Monday and have been successful thus far :)
Water is so so good for you and I already feel better and healthier.

I'm expecting great results from this 25 day challenge (healthier eating, lots of water, mini-workouts every day), so I'll be sure to blog about the results at the end!

P.S., the Summer Squat Challenge is still happening!! And working!!

May 29, 2013

Summer dresses by Madewell

At dinner with my niece
HOTLANTA is here and I can finally wear my summer dresses without a jacket! I've been buying dresses for upcoming events, weddings, parties, etc., and have found so many great options!

One of my favorite stores is Madewell, it's kind of a fusion of J. Crew and Urban Outfitters. They have a great store in Lenox Mall here in Atlanta! Check out some of my favorite summer dresses by Madewell!

Another reason to shop at Madewell? Teachers and students get a 15% discount when they present their school ID's!

Which one is your favorite?

Customize a weekender bag {Kate Spade Saturday}

If you haven't visited the Kate Spade Saturday website, you need to!
I love the more alternative designs of this brand in comparison to Kate Spade New York.

One really fun product they have? The Custom Small Weekender

I love designing/customizing things and making them uniquely for me, so this was seriously so exciting to discover! You can design your own Kate Spade bag!

Here's what happened when I pressed "Surprise me!"

I'm planning several weekend trips for the summer and this bag is the perfect size for those trips. Kate Spade Saturday lets you choose your colors for the bag's straps, pockets, body, base, and you can even get it monogrammed! 

My two designs are below, what do you think?!

Go play, now! :)
And enter to win a gift card to Kate Spade here!

May 28, 2013

Vintage shops in ATL

As much as I'd love to have a closet of all J. Crew & Kate Spade everything, that's not how life works when you're a college student/recent grad. And I'm OK with that because I've gotten some of my favorite items from thrift stores, vintage shops, or as hand-me-downs from my mom! Plus, you're more likely to have a one-of-a-kind piece and avoid matching someone else's outfit!

Vintage yellow beaded beret from my mom, love it! 

One of my favorite things to wear? Blazers.

White blazer I got in Cali for just a few bucks!
Love them, can't get enough of them.
And at least 80% of my blazers/sports coats are vintage.

Just got this skirt and color block blazer!

New blazers...every color :) to wear for work!

They're usually $5 or cheaper at vintage shops or thrift stores like Goodwill and in great condition! They have great items for guys, girls, and for your home. I always wash/dry clean my items after getting them, though! :)

Here are some of my favorite "vintage" stores in ATL:

What's your favorite vintage item?

May 27, 2013

Atlanta Braves games

"Take me out to the ball game, take me out with the crowd!"
OK, I know the song lyrics, but I'm not really a baseball fan. It's hard not to be living in Atlanta because people LOVE the Braves and attending Braves games.

with my friend Ross :)

I typically attend one or two games a season just to say I've been to a game that year, haha. But they are really fun, especially if you go with a good group of friends!

I went to a game last week with a group of friends and the tickets were pretty cheap!
 I really appreciate living in Atlanta when I go to the games and take in the fresh air and see the skyline in the backdrop of the stadium.

I was starving and had to get a hot dog, so good!

with my friend Paul :)

I also love seeing how people style their red & blue (Braves colors) in their clothing. Red and blue are mandatory, cowgirl boots optional :)

I thought Memorial Day was the perfect day to post about an American past time and a great summer event in ATL!

Have you ever been to a Braves game?

May 26, 2013

Summer iPhone cases

I'm perfectly fine with neon colors all year round, but I guess they're more socially acceptable in the Spring and Summer :)

If you've still got a winter color on your iPhone, it may be time to mix things up! I found this super neon/highlighter sparkly green case at J.Crew, on sale. It was meant to be.
A few months ago I discovered this website, Society 6, where artists can submit their unique designs/prints and turn them into all sorts of products. They literally sell anything. But I spend hours browsing their iPhone cases. They have TONS of great designs for guys and girls.

I've picked out my favorites that are perfect for summer! 

Which one do you like best?

May 25, 2013

1 Year RCSOATL Giveaway

As I mentioned in my post on blogging tips post, it's almost the ONE YEAR anniversary (May 31) of my blog!

How does one celebrate?
I'm thinking a BIG BIG giveaway!

I'm giving away THREE gift cards to THREE winners for the following stores:

I appreciate everyone who has read my blog over this past year!

Whether you normally comment or not, please leave a comment and let me know why you like RCSOATL?

Thank you, and good luck!!

May 24, 2013

Eating in ATL {South City Kitchen}

I finally went to South City Kitchen (Midtown) last week, and I finally understand what all the hype is about, it's so fresh, fancy, and delicious y'all!

I went for lunch and it wasn't extremely crowded (but it typically is). I'd heard that the fried green tomatoes are a must-try, and since those are one of my favorite dishes, it was a must-must-try.

They come in a great tomato sauce and with melted cheese, but still have that great fried green tomato taste! Yum.

The salmon was really great and a fusion of Asian and southern cuisine. 

They're known for their fried chicken which is unbelievably moist and flavorful. The preparation for the chicken takes around 30 hours, we were told!

I can't wait to go back and try more dishes!

Other places I eat in ATL:

May 23, 2013

Monogrammed Gold Cross Bracelet {Marley Lilly}

I'm in such a great mood! Just came back home to a package from the sweet ladies at Marley Lilly!!

I put their Monogrammed Gold Cross Bracelet on my graduation wish list and....dreams came true today!

Thank y'all so much, what a sweet surprise! My friends now want one too :)

You can order one and lots of amazing other items here!

Post grad plans

I'm currently in this limbo period of life since I graduated from college and wait to start the next step of life. So, what's next?


The reasoning.
               During fall semester of senior year I was pretty sure I wanted to enter the real world and work at as a "communications specialist" or "public relations representative" or "something that sounds as fun and cool." So I started applying for jobs. The salaries weren't great and I wasn't really hearing back from the companies I wanted to hear back from. 
               Then toward Christmas break I started to realize that maybe I didn't want to enter the real world...just yet. Maybe I was just following the path that so many of my peers were taking - finish school, find a job that pays well. It's what we're trained to do, right? But hardly any of my friends who had graduated before me and already entered the job force were thrilled or shouting joy about the real world. It just no longer seemed appealing.
              So I went back to the drawing boards of my life plan and asked myself what I really want to do, and how could I make that happen. I asked myself what am I really passionate about. What are the things, people, issues, hobbies that I can't go one day without thinking about. And I came up with the following list:
-I want to help those in need
-I want to improve the city of Atlanta
-I want to use my communications skills
-I want to interact with brilliant people and new people on a regular basis
-I want to travel...but not too much
-I want to learn something besides what I studied in college
-I want to be a positive role model
-I want to give back

The plan.
                  I decided that to sharpen myself as a person and as someone seeking employment, I should further my education. But not immediately. After four years of classes every semester (even summers), I'm taking a break this summer and this fall from school. I'll be working at my new job, which is a fellowship position, from June through December. Then, I'm planning to go back to school to get my Master's degree in Public Policy or Public Health starting in January. And I plan to get my PhD soon after that. So, I'll be a real college student for a little longer :)

The Georgia State Capitol at night...magical.

The job.
                     I get excited whenever I think about or talk about this incredible opportunity because it matches the list I made (above) almost exactly. I've been offered the position as a fellow in the Office of the Governor for the State of Georgia. The Governor's Fellowship Program is such a perfect fit for me because I have a strong interest in local government and public service. Since I haven't started yet, I don't know all of the fun details but I do know that I'll be in the Press/Communications Office and I'll get an in-depth look at the inner-workings of the Office of the Governor.
                     The job is at the Georgia Capitol, right in the heart of Downtown Atlanta, and it's seriously my favorite building in Atlanta. I cannot wait to go to work every day and be surrounded by brilliant political, legal, education, and world leaders! If you can't tell, I'm excited and really looking forward to starting.

The extras.
                     I'm a mellow Type A...meaning I have to stay busy with goals and projects, but I love short periods of nothingness too :) So in addition to preparing for grad school, working my new fellowship position at the Capitol, and blogging; I'm also working on the following:

-my second book, which will be less serious :)
-learning another language besides English and Spanish, I'm thinking Italian?
-creating an iPhone app
-continuing to speak to younger students about the importance of education
-and more!

How does that sound?

May 22, 2013

Michael Kors tote {perfect work bag}

Last week I posted my graduation wish list and while I didn't get most of the items on there...I did get one that I really wanted! My aunt got me this fabulous Michael Kors large black tote for my new job/big girl life. I've only had it for a few days but I'm already in love.

It comes in multiple sizes and colors. I was so tempted to get yellow (my favorite color), but stuck with classic black :)

I love how there's space for my Macbook, paperwork, and other items that would go in a purse.

And I got this smaller gold pouch from Kayce Hughes to hold my jewelry!

P.S. - Posting about my post graduation plans tomorrow!!

May 21, 2013

Shopping in ATL {Kayce Hughes}

I love summer because I have so much free time to go shopping :)
I've been wanting to check out a relatively new store in Midtown Atlanta, Kayce Hughes, and I finally did yesterday. One of my best friends, Shelby, and I had a fun time playing and shopping in the ATL Kayce Hughes store.

The store has the cutest set up and unbelievably adorable clothing for women and children.

Accessories, yes please. 

I need to borrow a baby to dress up - how perfect are those shorts!?

Loved this gold shimmery look

Shelby tried on some of our favorite dresses!

Loved this blue chevron print on her!

One of my favorite dresses :)

They have great game day dresses too!

If you're in ATL, definitely stop in their store or shop with them online!

What's your favorite Kayce Hughes item?


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