Saturday, September 8, 2018

10 Life-Changing Habits to Start this Semester



Hello, beautiful! In my three years at college, I've found that the "New Year, New Me" mentality doesn't only apply to January 1st - it also applies to the beginning of a new semester.

There are oh-so-many memes laughing about how we all start in blazers on September 1st, only to wind up in sweatpants by Halloween. But in all seriousness, I believe we should ride our good intentions at the beginning of a new semester for all that they're worth!

This semester, take advantage of your back-to-school motivation - and that "New Year, New Me" attitude, of course! - to start healthy habits that will set you up for success. In case you don't know where to begin, this post offers ten ideas for small, but mighty habits that just might change your life this year.

So, without further ado, keep reading to check out the life-changing habits you should start this semester to set you up for success in the 2018-19 academic year!




Wake Up Early


Giving yourself extra time in the morning is one of the healthiest habits for your body, mind and GPA! As a college student, taking an hour or two to have a leisurely cup of coffee and get some work done before you start a busy day of classes is the definition of life-changing. If you want to transform your life this semester, try setting your alarm a few hours earlier than usual. You might roll out of bed feeling like a zombie at first, but once you get used to your new start time, you'll be so glad you took the leap of faith.

Make Your Bed


I spent the greater part of first and second year with my room looking like the aftermath of a violent tornado. Note to self: don't be that girl this year! You might not be able to control all the clutter once your school year gets chaotic, but getting into the habit of making your bed each and every morning, no matter how tired you are, is a healthy start. One of the keys, I've found, is to steer clear of too many throw pillows and blankets. Pinterest-worthy home decor may be cute, but if you don't use it, it doesn't belong on your bed - and probably not in your life in the first place! 

Stop Buying Starbucks


I fully admit to being a hypocrite when I write this, because I know that grabbing too many Venti iced nonfat vanilla lattes is one of my worst vices on this planet. However, spending too much money at Starbucks - not to mention every other takeout coffee chain out there - is one of the bad habits I'm trying to curb this semester. You don't need to spend money on a fancy espresso drink when you have a perfectly good coffeemaker at home!

Pro tip: take the money you would be spending on a daily latte and save it for something big, like grad school applications or a spring break trip abroad. I promise you won't be missing that sweet vanilla syrup when you're sitting on the beach in Europe, or in orientation at your dream program! 

Dress Up for Class


As a high school senior getting ready for freshman year, I read a thousand blog posts that told me to dress up for class. This advice is cliche for a reason: dressing to impress helps professors remember you, and shows them you take their classes seriously! Consider your sense of fashion your secret weapon when it comes to getting a good participation grade in your lectures. When you're dressed professionally and memorably, you leave a lasting impression that helps professors grade you fairly and shows them the incredible student we already know you are...not to mention, it's a great excuse for a back-to-school shopping trip ;)

Prep Your Meals


Us busy college girls like a dinner we can pop in the microwave and eat in five minutes flat. Still, we all know those Amy's frozen dinners I love so much aren't as good for you as the packaging makes them appear. Admittedly, I'm no fitness pro, and I still love a good frozen pizza as much as the next girl - but planning and prepping meals ahead of time has definitely made it easier for me to stay healthy on the go! Making a grocery list with a few deliberate recipes in mind, as well as cooking things in big batches with lots of leftovers, helps make sure that none of my food, time or money goes to waste during my seriously busy week.




Walk Everywhere


Another area where I'm prone to wasting money is transportation - namely, Uber. And while calling a ride share is a great option when it's late at night or you're far away from home, it's just not necessary - or practical - to call a car for all your daily destinations! Simple though it may seem, I think walking to and from classes is a life-changing habit to get into at the beginning of the new semester. Not only will you save money by avoiding Uber, but you'll also find yourself in much better shape after walking a few miles around campus every day for a year. Trust me when I say that your body and wallet will thank you for replacing your ride share habit with a good pair of walking shoes! 

Shop Savvy


If we're being honest, quitting shopping for clothes, shoes, books or whatever your vices may be is probably a great habit to get into - but it's also a little unrealistic to expect yourself to quit shopping cold turkey. The key, IMHO, is to shop savvy: seek out low prices, clip coupons and join rewards programs; do whatever you have to do to get your fix of fashion, footwear and fiction on the cheap. 

Here are a few life-changing shopping tips I swear by for saving money and kicking ass as a broke college girl: 

  • Shop dollar stores for fuss-free essentials like baking supplies, spices, dishes, cutlery and more. You can also get everyday items like shampoo, conditioner, tampons and tissues for half the price by buying items in slightly smaller quantities there.
  • Check out thrift stores, as well as secondhand online sellers like thredUP, for fashion that's both chic and cheap on a budget. 
  • When shopping online, use the filters to your advantage: filter out anything that's over your budget using the price range filter, and be sure to always sort products from "Prices: Low to High." 

Read Ahead


Remember how back in middle school, teachers treated reading ahead like it was basically a crime? Thankfully, college could not be any more different - and chances are, you'll be rewarded with better grades and more free time by getting ahead on your classwork long before it's due! Take advantage of the calm before the storm at the beginning of the semester to start reading while you've still got the time. This will make it easier for you to stay on top of your syllabus once school starts getting busier - and hopefully to avoid having to pull an all-nighter to cram for your midterms.

Drink Responsibly


At the risk of sounding like a broken record, you definitely don't need to drink to have fun in college - but if you do, there's a good and a bad way to do it. I'm not going to tell you not to get drunk, but if you've gotten into some unhealthy drinking habits in the past, this semester is the perfect time to change that. My top tips for responsible drinking (while still having fun!) are:
  1. Pour your own drinks. Don't share drinks - that's how I ended up with strep throat for a month last semester! - or drink anything poured by a stranger, unless you can watch them do it and know your drink is safe.
  2. Eat beforehand. Never drink on an empty stomach. Unless you want to get drunk off two shots, throw together a sandwich and eat it on the way!
  3. Stay hydrated. With water, that is! This will help you avoid hangovers...but if you do happen to get hungover, Pedialyte really does help.
  4. Use the buddy system. It's never fun to be thrust into the role of mom friend without warning. That being said, be responsible for your own drinking - but also look out for the people around you. If you look out for your friends, chances are, they're going to return the favor. 

Take Sleep Seriously


Last but not least, let's talk about one of my favorite subjects: sleep! It's oh-so-important to get a good night's sleep each and every night, yet most college students tend to neglect this essential area of health and wellness. If you want to make an impactful change in your life this semester, try getting 8-10 hours of sleep each and every night. I know, I know: getting that much sleep can sound impossible when you're juggling a busy class schedule, extracurriculars and a sh*t ton of homework. However, getting enough sleep at night keeps you mentally and physically healthy, and better equips you to deal with all the crazy things you're balancing on your busy plate!


What habit are you committing to keeping this semester? LMK @haleyblogs or in the comments below! 


Sunday, September 2, 2018

How to Pay for Grad School // Guest Post from Frank Financial Aid



Hello, beautiful! Long time, no blog. I've been fortunate enough to be traveling abroad in Europe for the past week - not to mention moving into my newly renovated campus apartment and getting ready for my senior year! Eek!

Awhile back, a representative from Frank Financial Aid reached out offering to share some tips on financing a graduate education. Since I am so close to going to law school myself, I saw this as the perfect opportunity to learn more about paying for grad school - and share what I learn with all of you!

So, today, I have a special treat for all my readers of Haley Marie Blog: a guest post from Frank Financial Aid detailing all the best ways to pay for a graduate education. I hope you learn as much from their advice as I did - and take what you learn to heart as you pursue the next step in your college career!

//

Graduate school can be a great way to differentiate yourself in the job market and specialize in an industry or field of your choice. For many though, getting that Masters or professional degree can come at an inaccessible price, especially for those who already carry debt from their time as undergraduates.

The graduate financial aid process differs from the undergraduate one. Many of the federal programs aren’t as readily available, and there is more competition for a fewer number of scholarships and grants. Still, there are some good options to choose from if you’re looking to get financial help. Here are some of the best ways to finance your graduate education:

Employer Sponsorship


One source of funding that doesn’t exist at the undergraduate level, but is an option at the graduate, is aid through corporate programs. Some companies will pay for their employees’ degrees, usually contingent on an amount of time worked for the company already, and a pledge to work for it after the degree is completed. Although almost exclusively confined to fortune 100’s, they’re worth checking out if you plan on going to graduate school.

Consulting, tech, and finance are vastly overrepresented industries where companies help their employees get through graduate school. Not all will cover 100% of tuition and fees, but many will give a yearly stipend or gift to full or part-time students in their employ.


Federal Loans


The William D. Ford Direct Loan Program offers graduate students unsubsidized loans,  which means they accrue interest while the student is enrolled in school. This is the largest government loan program for graduates, as students can expect a maximum of $20,500 per school year. If this amount isn’t sufficient, they may also apply for Direct PLUS loans to reach their total financial need. Good credit history is generally a requirement for access to these loans, and as in the undergraduate process, students must submit FAFSA and meet the requirements to be eligible for the federal aid.

A word of caution: students should only take out loans when, and in the amount, that is absolutely necessary. Given they have to pay interest on them while in school, and forgiveness or cancellation is rare, they should only be used to fill the gap of basic expenditures such as tuition, fees, textbooks, supplies students may need money for.

Graduate loans have higher maximums than undergraduate ones because it’s more expensive to get an M.A than B.A, and students who apply will be seen as independents; this means that individuals will generally have access to more money in loans. It’s important to keep in mind that you still have to pay them off, and just because you’re eligible doesn’t mean you should take out every cent you can.


Grants


Government Pell Grants and FSEOGs are a common way of paying for undergrad, but these forms of federal aid are only available to graduate students under very specific circumstances. Namely, only those who are pursuing some kind of post-undergraduate teacher’s certification or licenses are eligible.


Private Loans


As always, private loans should be your last choice after you've exhausted all federal, state, institutional and non-profit options. They normally have the worst terms of agreement, and usually can only be accessed with good credit history and/or a cosigner.

That being said, if a student has a good credit history and is being offered favorable terms and interest rates on a loan, they shouldn’t ignore them because they’re coming from a private lender. As long as the terms are clear and the creditor is reputable, then they should be treated as a serious source of aid for graduate school.   


Institutional Aid


School scholarships are a good source of aid for would-be graduate students. Though not as common as undergraduate scholarships, many institutions will provide merit-based aid to students with exceptional academic and professional backgrounds. However, unlike the undergraduate application process, which is simplified by the College Board’s CSS Profile, no such equivalent aggregator exists at the graduate level.

To obtain this kind of aid, graduate students must generally apply through each of their individual schools financial services office. Each will vary in the number, amounts, and selectivity of their scholarships, but as a general rule you can expect them to be competitive. This is because competition is much greater at the graduate level, because it self-selects for the most ambitious, and the amount of resources available are less than for those pursuing a bachelor's.


Work Study


The Federal Work Study Program is available at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, where it functions in almost identical ways. Under work-study, the government allows students to work on or off campus as half or full time students. Graduate students are paid either by the hour or on a salary, depending on the kind of job they're performing, but they are guaranteed at least the federal minimum wage.

The purpose of work-study is to give students access to extra income for school related expenses, without affecting their aid eligibility. This is because FAFSA calculates aid through EFC (Expected Family Contribution) and COA (Cost of Attendance), student income is included in that formula. So if you’re making more money, then your EFC increases and your aid eligibility goes down.


Teacher and Research Assistant


One of the benefits of being in graduate school is that you are in a position to capitalize on your specific experience and skill set while you’re enrolled. Most undergraduate classes have TA’s (Teacher’s Assistants) who answer students questions and grade their papers. They are usually decently paid, and a great resume builder as well.

Similarly, a lot of professors are involved in at least some kind of research, and require skilled assistants to collect and analyze data, as well as conduct literature reviews. A lot of graduate students, especially those looking to get into academia, will find this kind of job a worthwhile pursuit. Even if this is not the case, research experience is a good indicator of knowledge and experience in a particular field, and can get you great connections with professors and other students that you can use after you graduate.



There are plenty of sources you can look towards to help finance your graduate education. As a general rule, you should first look for free money that’s already available to you, and then turn to loans and other kinds of debt. Federal aid will usually have the best terms, but that isn’t necessarily always the case, so keep your eyes peeled for good deals which may save you money in the long run. Make sure to do your due diligence beforehand, so once school starts, you’ll be well set up financially to concentrate only on school and get that graduate diploma.


How are you paying for grad school? 

Send me any tips we missed @haleyblogs or in the comments below!

Friday, August 10, 2018

How to Style Sunglasses for Summer | Feat. New Styles from Warby Parker



Hello, beautiful! Haley Marie Blog is proud to present this amazing collab with Warby Parker, the stylish prescription frames company that's perfect for glasses-wearing gals. I am excited to help WP announce its latest collection for Summer 2018 with this blog post featuring the brand's newest styles of sunnies.

Sunglasses are one of those functional items that every girl needs for summer - ya know, so you can shield your eyes from those harmful UV rays - but they present a plethora of problems for the average consumer. Me personally, I have trouble finding frames that fit my petite bod (#ShortGirlProblems).

However, the biggest problem I find when shopping for sunglasses is finding a pair that stands out from the basic black. That's a problem that WP's new line happily fixes! Their sunglasses are as unique as you are as an individual, so you'll never have to blend into a boring sea of shades ever again. Plus, their styles are all available with prescription lenses, so you don't have to do the awkward layering thing in 2k18...if you wear glasses, you know what I'm talking about.

Check out my top four picks from WP's line below and how I style these unique shades for summer! And, as always, be sure to share this post on social media - and tag @haleymarieblog and @warbyparker - if you love what you see :)

Peplum x Classic Frames

As much as I rambled on about my hatred for basic black, I've got to admit that classic frames still have a special place in my heart. WP's newest black frames, however, are anything but boring! They come with a cute red, white and blue stripe detail that's perfect for soaking up those USA rays all summer long. 

Thanks to that classic color scheme, I paired these frames with a peplum tee from Tommy Hilfiger - because what better way to wear red, white and blue than the king of RWB himself? The peplum on this top is perfect for adding curves to petite frames, and masquerading any muffin top you might be concerned about.

Wear Me With...


High-Waisted Bikini x Retro Frames

Um, vintage T-Swizzle anybody? But seriously: these millennial pink cat-eye frames are the perfect throwback to a bygone era. They're perfect for adding the allure of a horizontal line to oblong faces. Coupled with their totally-kawaii take on tortoiseshell, you'll feel like the belle of the beach in these shades all summer long. 

As for this swimsuit, you have retrowear company ModCloth to thank for its adorable butterfly print and flattering figure. With its high-waisted bottoms and supportive top, this outfit is perfect for beach bumming it at any size. 

Wear Me With...



Pulitzer Prints x Lenses a la Jackie O 

You might recognize the silhouette of these latest frames from our late First Lady Jacqueline Onassis Kennedy - aka the beloved fashion saint Jackie O. These frames from WP are perfect for balancing and slimming round faces, without overwhelming petite gals. Pair them with a shift dress from our lady Lilly Pulitzer and you'll have an outfit that Jackie O herself would approve of.

This shift dress will outfit you in a classic silhouette that couldn't go better with these vintage 1950s glamour shades. And better yet: this LP print is limited edition, from the designer's collab with Gwyneth Paltrow and her lifestyle brand Goop. Pretty pinks plus lacy pom-pom trims? Gwyn, can I just say...I hope you're here to stay.

Wear Me With...


Greased Lightning x Lady in Red


Me singing to these leather pants: "You're the one that I want! You are the one I want...ooh ooh ooh, honey...." 

All jokes aside, let's stick with our theme and return to our vintage look of the day, aka a Sandra Dee-inspired ensemble featuring WP's cherry bomb frames. This shape is perfect for slim faces and adds the perfect pop of color to an all-black uniform. If you're a gal like me who struggles to incorporate color into your closet, you might consider opting for a pair of punchy frames like these! 

As for those infamous leather pants, you can feel good about this pair from Free People - because they're completely vegan. That's right, no animals were harmed in the making of this style! So, feel free to enjoy your Broadway moment guilt-free. After all...you deserve it!

Wear Me With...


Which style from Warby Parker was your fave? LMK @haleymarieblog on social media - or in the comments below!




Monday, August 6, 2018

A College Girl's Ultimate Bucket List



Hello, beautiful! I can't believe my senior year of college is already here. Just three years ago I was a starry-eyed, bushy-tailed freshman getting ready to start my first year at Boston University. Now, I'm graduating a year early with a degree in Communications Studies (minor in Political Science), planning to take a gap year to blog and teach barre3 and eventually pursue a J.D./M.S.W. so I can  help children with complicated family situations like mine. Oh, how the tables have turned...

As I enter my third and final year of college, I've been thinking a lot about the things I've already accomplished, and the things I'd still like to accomplish, during my time at BU. Namely, I've been working on a bucket list every girl should check off before she graduates from undergrad - and today, I'm here to share that bucket list with you!

To me, what's just as important as the grades you get in college are the memories you make. Even though I am graduating early to get a jump-start on my career, I would never want to feel as if I'd missed out on my final year of undergrad to get a 4.0 or cram for LSATs. Instead, I want to make sure that I live my last year at BU to the fullest, and spend as much time as possible with the most important people around me.

On that note, here is my ultimate bucket list for any college girl who wants to live her undergrad experience to the fullest, too! Keep reading to see which items I've checked off of my bucket list, and what I still plan to accomplish during my short time left at BU.




Stay Out Dancing All Night


Haley's bucket list: Incomplete! 

One thing I've been wanting to do since I came to BU was go out clubbing with some of my friends. To me, this is an amazing way to bond with your girlfriends, without pressure to dance with or hook up with guys. In Boston, there's an amazing gay club that lets in college students as young as 18. My BFF and I have been saying we were going to go for months now - but I vow to make my senior year the year that that finally happens! 


Hit the Campus Hookup Spot


Haley's bucket list: Incomplete! 

If you're not sexually active yet, more power to you - but if you are, and if getting sexy in public is one of your wildest fantasies, then you have to add this to your college bucket list. At BU, that spot is the fourth floor of our main library. I still haven't made this bucket list dream come true, but let's cross our fingers that senior year is the time I finally find a way to make it happen.


Start a New Friendship


Haley's bucket list: Complete!

College is the time to make best friends for life - and I'm happy to say that I've met so many amazing girls (and guys!) that have changed my life for the better. My BFFs Jenn, Julia, Maddi and Jakob are my rocks, and I couldn't live without their late-night advice (or momming after a long night out...Maddi knows what I'm talking about!). Now, the only thing that will make this bucket list item even better is making sure I stay in touch with them even after I'm graduated and gone. As of now, I'm pretty much the worst long-distance friend ever - but here's hoping that changes when I'm about to start missing some of my all-time favorite people next May! 


Rule Sorority Recruitment


Haley's bucket list: Complete!

While I understand sorority life isn't for everybody, my college experience would not have been the same if I had not joined Kappa Alpha Theta my spring semester of freshman year. Because of Theta, I've met about 50% of my closest friends, become deeply connected to our philanthropy (Court Appointed Special Advocates...hmm, sound anything like what I want to do with my life?) and been a mentor to my adorable and amazing little Kiana. Going into my senior year - and final recruitment with Theta - my goal for recruitment is to pref a girl who thinks Theta, so I can help carry on the Theta legacy long after I've graduated.


Make Straight As for the Semester


Haley's bucket list: Incomplete! 

As embarrassing as this is to admit, I've yet to make straight As for a semester while in college. My best semester, I got a 3.7 with two As and two Bs - but going into my senior year, I'm challenging myself to top that and shoot for a 4.0. This will help me a lot with my law school applications by bringing up my cumulative GPA after a couple of well-deserved Cs during my semester from hell (aka the semester I had strep throat for a month straight). Though it is more difficult at some schools than others to earn a 4.0 - hello, grade deflation! - nothing should stop you from aiming high and holding yourself to strict standards for your academics.


Host a Wine Night


Haley's bucket list: Incomplete! 

Ever since I moved into my apartment on campus, me and Julia have been saying we were going to host a party-slash-wine-night for all of our best friends. Now that it's my senior year - and I still haven't done this (not in the new place, anyways) - I can't wait to have all my friends over for a Pinterest-worthy wine night they'll want to plaster all over their Instagrams. Being the hostess with the mostess has been one of my best traits since high school, so what better way to show my appreciation for my BFFs during my last year at BU than with an incredible soiree? 


Plan a Trip for Spring Break


Haley's bucket list: Incomplete! 

Spring break at the beach is one of the quintessential college experiences - and what better time to live it up than your senior year of college? This year, my goal is to plan an amazing spring break trip with some of my closest friends to help us celebrate our last year together as a squad. I can't wait to spend my spring lounging in the sunshine, drinking cocktails out of coconuts and making memories with my favorite people. Next step? Start saving money for the trip now, so I'm not strapped for cash when March 2019 finally comes! Caribbean, here I come....


Pull an All-Nighter


Haley's bucket list: Complete! 

One of the times I first knew I was in love with David was when, after we first met online, we stayed up literally from 4pm to 7am talking all night long. To me, pulling an all-nighter was one of those "typical college experiences" that I thought was overrated - normally, I'm the world's biggest fan of my blanket and pillows! However, after that experience with David, I understand the appeal of pulling an all-nighter, especially if you're surrounded by people who are special to you. That late at night, you find yourself getting vulnerable and opening up to others in ways you didn't think were possible. So, what better way to solidify your bond than an all-nighter with your closest friends or significant other?


Show Your Team Spirit


Haley's bucket list: Complete! 

Because BU doesn't have a football team (long story short: we used to, but we sucked), hockey is the most hyped sport on campus. Our hockey team is pretty much treated like 1D by the professors, and freshman girls have been known to swoon for them from time-to-time (okay, pretty often). That being said, one of the experiences every BU freshman needs to have is dressing up to go to the Beanpot, an annual hockey tournament between some of the best hockey-playing schools in Boston, MA. It's held each year in the arena where the Bruins play, but the highlight? The trash talking is unreal! If you ever want to get out your frustrations by chanting at your school's rival, then a sports game is THE place to do it, hands-down.


Order Pizza with Your Roommate


Haley's bucket list: Incomplete! 

Not everyone is best friends with their college roommate - and that's okay! However, if you don't already know your roommate, I think everyone deserves the chance to start a friendship with the person they're spending a majority of their time with (at least, if you're a Netflix-in-bed kinda person like I am). Some of my best college memories have been staying in with Julia and coloring or doing face masks - but an in-room pizza party just for us totally takes the girls' night to the next level. 


Take a Date to Formal


Haley's bucket list: Incomplete! 

On the sorority scene, no social occasion is as important as winter and spring formals - basically two dances at venues reserved exclusively for members of our sorority. Last spring, I attended formal with my friend Jakob and we had a total blast. However, I've yet to bring a date who was more than platonic to this all-important sorority event! My hope for my senior year is that David will be able to fly out for at least one of my major formals, so I can finally knock this off my college bucket list before it's too late.


Spend a Day Volunteering


Haley's bucket list: Complete! 

As a member of Kappa Alpha Theta, raising money for our philanthropy is super important to me. In fact, CASA's mission to train and provide court-appointed advocates for children in the foster care system was one of the reasons I decided to attend law school in the first place. Each semester, we spend a day hosting a big philanthropy event for all the sororities and fraternities on campus. We are usually successful in raising a couple hundred dollars for CASA through this event - but most importantly, it's an amazing opportunity to spend quality time with my sisters, and help the children of CASA while we're doing it.


Start a Photo Album


Haley's bucket list: Incomplete! 

In general, I'm passionate about being present when I'm with my family, friends and loved ones. Usually that means I don't take many pictures of my friends and family. This year, I'm hoping that I'll remember to snap a couple more pics so I can put together an album to help myself remember these past three years of my life! This is also important to me so I can give my closest friends an album to remember me by when I head out of BU and into the next phase of my life - but shh, don't tell....


Walk the Stage at Graduation


Haley's bucket list: Incomplete! 

Last but not least comes the one thing every girl's got on her mind from the moment she walks through the door on her first day of class: GRADUATING! Walking the stage at graduation is going to be bittersweet. As much as I'm sad to think of what I'm leaving behind, I also know it's going to be incredibly rewarding to see all of my hard work come to fruition in the form of my degree. All in all, I can't wait to see what the future has in store for me and Haley Marie Blog, but it wouldn't bother me to wait a little bit longer before I check this final point off my ultimate college bucket list!


What bucket list items are you crossing off this fall? LMK in the comments below or @haleymarieblog on social media! 

Friday, July 20, 2018

Body Confidence at Any Height // Petite Wardrobe Staples Feat. True & Co.



Hello, beautiful! When you're petite like I am (we're talking 5'2" and below, here), shopping for clothes - and all the frilly, lacy things that go beneath them - can be stressful AF. Sleeves are too long, pants fit you in either the waist or legs (but never both!) and stores don't carry bra sizes small enough for a petite gal's erm, well, gals.

That's why I was super excited to learn about True & Co's mission to help every girl find a bra that fits. When they reached out to me to ask if I wanted to participate in their body confidence project - not for sponsorship - I was thrilled to spread the word about their fit-finding service.

I volunteered to write this post to help spread the word about True & Co and its' awesome quest to make sure girls like me with odd sizes don't have to search low and high for a well-fitting bra anymore! Because, honestly: for us shorties, what could be better than that?

As someone who's 5'2," ranges anywhere from an XS to a size 4 in clothing and wears a size 30D - yes, 30D - in bras, I know the struggle is real for those of us shopping for short legs and tiny torsos. Thankfully, after 20 years of experience as a short girl, I've picked up a couple of tricks for finding clothes that fit - and, of course, wearing them with confidence!

Here are all my tips for rocking your short bod with confidence, and my favorite clothing brands for fitting a petite frame. But first, three cheers to True & Co, without whom this post may not exist: hip, hip, hooray!


Why I Love Being Short


Like most teenage girls, it took me a long time to start feeling comfortable in my own skin and loving the body I was born with. Some days, I wished that I could be as tall as my friends, or not feel the compulsive need to wear high heels to school dances so I could be tall enough to dance with my dates. Other days, I looked at other short girls around me and wondered why they were so skinny: as a shortie with boobs and a butt, I often felt "fat" simply for having some meat on my petite bones! 

Eventually, I realized that being short was a blessing in disguise. Sure, I can't reach the top shelf without standing on a chair - but chances are, I can also reach into that weird space under the fridge or under the car seat when you inevitably lose your phone someplace small and specific. 

As a dancer, I also learned to love my short frame - because unlike other areas, like modeling or basketball, ballet dance actually values us short girls! Did you know some ballet auditions will look for girls specifically under 5'6"? I don't bring this up to encourage ballet's often unhealthy standards of beauty - we all know how Black Swan went for Natalie Portman, after all - but rather to point out how transformative it can be when you find a community that not only accepts you, but also finds your imperfections desirable. From ballet I learned that if you have an "odd" body type, you can find some community or standard of beauty somewhere where your body is anything but "odd" after all! 

And you know what else? Some of the women America considers most beautiful are way shorter than you probably think they are. Kim Kardashian may have curves galore, but in reality, she's only as tall as I am! (5'2," to be exact.) Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga may know how to belt, but they're both only 5'1" - so, as tall as my somewhat-shorter mother and grandmother before me. And funny girls Anna Kendrick and Amy Poehler? Both are only 5'2," but both are capable of bringing out the big laughs! 

There's nothing wrong with being taller than 5'2." You could be 4'9" or 6'1" and I wouldn't care - I'd still want to be your friend! But as a short girl who has sometimes gotten down on herself about her height, or felt frustrated that clothes weren't made for me, finding role models to look up to and spaces where my body type was valued completely transformed my body confidence. 

Whereas I was once terrified to stand next to my equally-short friends in a bikini, for fear of looking bigger than them, I am now proud to be a curvy 5'2" (just like Kim K!) and love to brag about finding the perfect pair of petite pants for my curves. I am also on my way to embracing my body in new ways, too: I am also a yogi, and if all goes as planned, I will become a certified barre instructor in September 2018! It's all about finding that balance between loving your body the way it is, and finding new ways to use and improve it through mindful movement. 


Where to Find the Perfect Fit


If there's anything I know to be true about being a short girl, it's that finding clothes that actually fit can be a pain and a half (to say the least!). For some reason, stores all seem to think that us petite girls all fall into one body type - one I'd liken to the 90 lb girl you knew in high school who stayed skinny despite subsisting only on french fries. 

However, like all women, short girls come in a range of shapes and sizes. You can't put us in a box, people! Thankfully, with 20 years of experience of living life at 5'2" and under, I've gathered a few shopping tricks for finding the perfect fit at any height. Here are some of my favorite stores for stocking up on petite wardrobe essentials, and my recommendations for the best products around.


Skinny jeans that won't bunch: Hollister Co.


Hollister Co. isn't just for your teenage cousin anymore, shorties: I've sworn by its jean sales ever since I discovered the range of shapes, sizes, cuts and styles they offer. No other store even comes close to offering as much variety as Hollister! Their jeans start at size 00 and run all the way up to size 15 - plus, they've got short, regular and long inseams/legs for girls of any size. 

Haley's pick: Advanced Stretch High Rise Jean Leggings ($29, On Sale)





Ankle pants that actually hit your ankles: J. Crew


Finding work pants when you're 5'2" means a major ride on the struggle bus, people! Most styles are either too long, too baggy or too tight - which is why discovering J. Crew Factory's selection of petite ankle pants at 19 was a true revelation. Because nothing screams "adulting" better than a good pair of ankle crops - am I right or amirite? (Psst...they come in sizes 00-12, too!)

Haley's pick: Petite Winnie Pant in Navy ($34.50)




Sleeves you won't need to roll up: LOFT


When you're under 5'3," sleeve lengths can be one of the trickiest things for a clothing brand to get right. A size XS might fit you in every other place...but when it comes to the sleeves, well, let's just say you could fit an entire second hand in there. That's why I was excited to discover that LOFT - one of my favorite clothing brands of all time! - offers a wide variety of tops in petite sizes. Their tops boast shorter sleeve lengths and a better fit, for petite girls ranging all the way from size XXS to size XXL. 




Mini dresses that fit mini girls: Lilly Pulitzer


Lilly Pulitzer's shift dresses may not come in explicit petite sizing, but as a girl who is 5'2" (and wears a size 2 from Lilly), I have always found her shift dresses to fit better than any others. They're tasteful and tapered, with a snug fit in the bodice and a flattering above-the-knee hemline - yes, even at 5'2"! Plus, Lilly serves gals in sizes 00-16, so you're guaranteed pretty prep at almost any shape.

Haley's pick: Mila Shift Dress in Blue Peri Pop Up Stuffed Shells ($178)






A watch that won't overwhelm little wrists: the FitBit Alta


The FitBit Alta makes the perfect watch for little wrists because it's far from big and bulky, with a slim face that's amazing for petite body types. Not to mention, it's pretty dang smart, too! Functioning as a pedometer, pager (yep, that's right - you can read incoming texts on your Alta!) and calorie-tracker all in one, the Alta proves that great things do indeed come in small packages, after all.

Haley's pick: FitBit Alta HR in Soft Pink/Rose Gold ($149.95)





Gape-free cups you'll be able to fill: True & Co


Last but not least, we get to True & Co - the form-fitting lingerie company that inspired this body confidence post in the first place! To me, feeling confident in your lingerie is less about black lace and booty, and more about the right fit. At True & Co, the focus is on finding bras and panties that fit your unique body right - not looking like a Victoria's Secret angel strutting her way down the runway. With an easy quiz to help you find the right fit, you'll be on your way to wardrobe bliss in under five minutes.


Haley's pick: True Everyday Demi Bra in Dulce ($14, On Sale!) 



What wardrobe staples do you swear by? LMK @haleymarieblog or in the comments below! 


Friday, July 13, 2018

SPONSORED: 12 Products to Help You Glow Up This Summer



Hello, beautiful! As relieved as I have been to take a break from blogging (and spend time with my handsome boyfriend), I'm excited to get back into my regular routine - and share more of my inner life with you guys here on Haley Marie Blog, of course.

Today's blog post is all about the coveted summer glow up, which, let's face it, we've all been secretly craving since June 1st. I'm a firm believer that every body is a beach body, and that we don't need an Instagram filter or makeup mask to love ourselves the way that we are - but that doesn't mean we can't prioritize taking care of our bodies inside and out, too! 

More importantly, it's important to acknowledge that what we see online - whether in the blogging, YouTube or Instagram communities - isn't always what we get in real life. To me, the glow up trend highlights an important reality of being a woman in the public eye: it takes a lot - and I mean a lot - of effort to keep up appearances! 

Lately, I've been obsessed with absorbing as many summer beauty secrets as I can on Pinterest to help me master the art of physical self-care. My adventures eventually led me to learn about some incredible products to help you get that #glowup this summer, which I'm sharing with you today on the blog. 

As I tell you the products I swear by for boosting my physical appearance, I encourage you to keep in mind that these supplements, scrubs and shampoos are part of what goes into being a beauty and lifestyle blogger. In other words, what you see on my blog and Instagram feed is not what you get when I roll out of bed at 7 AM in my favorite whale pajamas. 

My life is far from perfect. However, with a little help from the right products, you, too, can live like one of your favorite bloggers! Assuming, of course, that I'm one of your faves :) 

On that note, I can't wait to tell you all about my newfound beauty secrets for the perfect summer glow up - but before I go any further, I just want to take a brief moment to say thank you to Ritual for sending me their Women's Multivitamin to review and for inspiring today's post! Here's to the perfect daily ritual that helped me get my summer glow going on - and the ultimate women's health product that I hope you will love as much as I do.


Skin & Body


Step one to glowing up? Glowing skin, of course! This summer, show your full body and skin a little TLC - it is your largest organ, after all. Oh, and while you're soaking up those summer rays, don't forget to slather on some broad-spectrum SPF....because skin cancer isn't a good look on anyone, babe!

Ritual Essential for Women (AD)




When Ritual offered to send me their cult-favorite women's multivitamins to try, I couldn't be more excited. Not only are these vitamins totally Instagram-friendly (for all you bloggers out there!), but they're pretty much your typical multivitamin on steroids. These vitamins are free of synthetic colors, nausea-free and will leave your mouth minty fresh, meaning no more icky capsules that taste like dog food.



Ritual's Essential for Women formulation comes with nine key nutrients that are, you guessed it, essential to maintaining a healthy body and glowing skin. Their Omega-3s come from algae oil rather than fish, so you can feel good about getting your nutrients from a 100% vegan source, if you're into that kind of thing. Add on folate, boron, magnesium and more, and you've got yourself a supercharged multivitamin that's the perfect addition to your summer glow-up routine!


ClassPass Membership


As much as I love beauty products, there's only so much that scrubs, lotions and cleansers can do for your body. In the end, I'm of the opinion that there's nothing better than good old-fashioned exercise for giving you that summer glow. The key is finding an activity you love to do, and doing it often! That's what's great about ClassPass: their flexible monthly membership allows you to try out tons of classes nearby on the cheap. Click here to get a $40 credit from yours truly (aka a free week of ClassPass)! 


Foreo FoFo


The Foreo FoFo is Foreo's next-level skincare technology. Included in every fabfitfun box this summer, the FoFo hooks up to Foreo's app to conduct personalized moisture readings - that's right, this device's unique sensors can determine whether your skin is hydrated too little, too much or just right. After these readings, the app gives you a personalized skincare treatment plan that syncs to your device, so you can have the cleanest skin of your life in less that five minutes. Can you say "hello, summer glow?" 


Curology Acne Treatment


If you've ever struggled with hormonal acne, then you know how much Curology's customized acne treatments have helped me in the past. (Click here to check out my blog post all about it.) All you have to do to get a custom acne formulation from Curology? Snap a couple of pics, send them to your virtual derm and wait. Your custom formula will be on its way to your doorstep in no time, leaving you with nothing left to do but relax and get ready to thank Curology for its borderline-miraculous results.


Hair & Brows


Don't underestimate the power of hair to make a statement. Personally, I consider my hair an accessory of its own - and when I'm having a bad hair day, it's impossible for my look to stay on fleek without some serious doctoring in the salon or vanity mirror. That's why if you want to glow up, it's just as important to take care of your hair as it is to take care of the rest of your body! Oh, and don't forget your brows - after all, if your eyes are the window to the soul, then your eyebrows are pretty much the curtains to your soul. No pressure ;)


The Perfect Cut & Color


There's a lot to be said for a good haircut when it comes to styling the perfect look. I'm a big believer in investing in a quality salon experience - as in, a professional cut and color - in exchange for months upon months of great hair days. Because why waste your money on weekly blowouts when you could get a flattering haircut and air dry it? Don't just use the hashtag #WokeUpLikeThis - get a hairstyle that actually looks good when you wake up! A word of advice: salon consultations are key - and once you find a stylist you like, stick with 'em.


Love, Beauty & Planet Blooming Color Shampoo and Conditioner


Colored hair, beware! Traditional shampoos and conditioners can easily lead to brassiness and sun-bleaching if you're not careful. That's why I take care to use products specially formulated for colored hair. My latest obsession has been the Love, Beauty & Planet Blooming Color Shampoo and Conditioner for color-treated hair. The shampoo and conditioner both use coconut oil, murumuru butter and rose to keep your hair glossy and soft, and your color looking good as new. I highly recommend this product for hair that glows, especially if you're looking to extend the time you spend between salon visits.


It's a 10 Miracle Leave-In for Blondes


I can't possibly say enough about the It's a 10 original leave-in treatment - so you can imagine my glee when I discovered a special formulation especially for blondes. While I'm not blonde all-over, I like this product because it protects my highlights from sun damage and brassiness. After all, the perfect glow-up is all about that "I look amazing but I didn't even try" aesthetic - and there's no better way to ruin that than a botched dye job. Moral of the story is that you should always take care of your color-treated hair - and, of course, don't forget a spritz of It's a 10 before you leave for your next jet-set adventure.


Benefit Brow Bar


Last but not least, I'm loyal to the Benefit Brow Bar inside my local Ulta for giving me arches sharp enough to kill a man (don't worry, I kid). But seriously: the Benefit Brow Bar offers the most legit brow wax I've ever received! Before they even start slathering your skin in hot wax, they first map your brows and fill them in with a pencil so they can see where to start and stop waxing, tweezing and trimming. Then, your stylist gets to work with the speed and precision of a professional stunt driver - and soon enough, you'll have the best brows this side of the Mason-Dixon line.



Sexual & Mental Health


I firmly believe that when your body is healthy on the inside, you'll shine from the inside out. To me, mental and sexual health are both two HUGE components of what makes somebody healthy on the inside. (After all, what better way to glow up than afterglow?) The idea is simple: when you're happy and sexually satisfied, you put your best self forward. That confidence and joy you feel will leave you practically radiating from the inside out!


Sustain Natural Latex Condoms


Step one to sexual health: practice safe sex each and every time! Start by getting tested, and only having sex with partners who have tested clean, too. Then, use a barrier method - the right way - each and every time you have sex. (Side note: here's a handy guide from Planned Parenthood on practicing safe sex, whether or not you live with an STI.) Sustain's Natural Latex Condoms are a great barrier option for penetrative sex, and can also be turned into dental dams with a couple of handy snips. I love these condoms because founder Meika Hollander designed them to be fair-trade and chemical-free. For an extra-good time, pair them with Sustain's all-natural lubricant to reduce friction (and the chance of breakage) while doing the deed.


HUM Nutrition Moody Bird 


When I learned there was a vitamin that could prevent me from experiencing such bad PMS and mood swings throughout my cycle, my reaction went a little something like this:


But in all seriousness, I can't rave enough about HUM Nutrition's Moody Bird supplement. It contains all-natural Dong Quai and Chaste Berry herbs, which have been used in natural medicine for centuries to help regulate the menstrual cycle. And, what's better, you can get $10.00 off your first order with my code 14B2CC! Head on over to HUM Nutrition to shop Moody Bird ASAP

Spring Valley Cranberry Chews


Spring Valley's Cranberry Chews are pretty much Pinterest's number one obsession for women's health. Not only do the natural benefits of cranberry help protect you from UTIs (so does peeing after sex, FYI), but there's a conspiracy theory that they might even improve the taste of your lady parts during oral sex. Granted, there's no scientific evidence showing that this is true, but hey: I'm willing to try anything once for the sake of better sex.

OMG Yes Video Subscription


I've raved about OMG Yes before in my 5 Things I Wish I Learned in Sex Ed post, but I stand by what I said! For $40.00, you get lifetime access to OMG Yes's library of video tutorials and hands-on demos. The subject? How to masturbate especially for women - and, of course, how to better communicate your needs when translating the hands-on approach to a partner in the bedroom. It's a pretty price to pay for Orgasm 101, but with the orgasm gap as wide as it is, it's my firm belief that more women should know this resource is out there...and that more women should be investing in their pleasure through OMG Yes!


What glow-up essential do YOU swear by?
LMK @haleymarieblog or in the comments below!

Friday, July 6, 2018

First Apartment Wishlist + Priorities Questionnaire



Hello, beautiful! If you've been following my college journey on Haley Marie Blog for the past two years, you know my time as an undergrad at Boston University is about to come to a close in May 2019. (Yep, that's a year early, for those of you who might be wondering...cuz I'm just that good! LOL, JK - although I am seriously graduating early....)

For me, graduating means a lot of big life transitions. Not only will I be getting a grown-up job (#adulting) while studying for law school on the side, but I'm also planning a big move-in with my long-distance boyfriend in his home city of Cleveland, OH.

As an East Coast girl through-and-through, adjusting to Midwest culture while exploring an entirely new city together is going to be a huge stepping stone for me on my journey into adulthood. And as excited as I am to share this experience with David, I have to admit that I'm a little nervous to make this giant leap into the next chapter of my life.

One part of adulthood I am excited about, though? Apartment shopping! Daydreaming about our new place on Pinterest is one of my favorite ways to banish the senior scaries when I start to panic about my impending graduation....hence this wishlist detailing all the cutest home decor a girl could ever ask for.

Plus, as a reward for bearing with me as I walk you through this vivid dream of mine, I'll be sharing a helpful Apartment Priorities Questionnaire to help you and your roommate(s) or partner find your dream place in a pinch. Whether you're looking for a quiet two-bedroom in the suburbs or a quaint studio apartment in the big city, this free printable will help you narrow down your apartment search from positively overwhelming to slightly more bearable.

So, without further ado, let's give three cheers for free printables - and three cheers for decorating the perfect apartment! Let's get started, shall we?

Living Room



Ikea Holmsund Sleeper Sofa in Light White Gray ($549)


Amazon LED Word Clock ($80)


Ikea Adum Rug in Light Brown Pink ($60)


Target Darlah Medium Firwood Table ($43)


Target White Solid Cotton Woven Throw ($43)



White Barn Pink Prosecco 3-Wick Candle ($25)


Etsy Shawshank Redemption Movie Poster ($5)


Etsy Legally Blonde Movie Poster ($5)






Kitchen



Ikea Bjursta / Henriksdal Dining Set ($445)


Amazon Keurig in Turquoise ($130)


Amazon Chef's Path Airtight Storage Set ($60)


Anthropologie Kupia Handpainted Vase Set ($58)


Ikea Vardera 18-Piece Dinnerware Set ($40)


Lilly Pulitzer Low Ball Glasses in Catch the Wave ($32)


Ikea Rustik 20-Piece Flatware Set ($30)


Target White Storage Cart ($30)


Ikea Bestaende Dish Drainer ($25)


Etsy Happy Hour Sign ($22)


Amazon Stylish Steel Mug Tree Rack ($21)


Ikea Oversikt Mug ($4)




Bedroom




Ikea Dyfjord 4-Drawer Chest ($189)


Target Amherst Mid Century Modern Writing Desk ($171)


Target Winslow Tufted Back Chair in Blush Pink ($170)


Urban Outfitters Anna Desk Lamp ($74)


Amazon White Cheval Free Standing Floor Mirror ($53)


Urban Outfitters Copper Wire Wall Square Grid ($49)


Target Gray Heather Comforter Set ($48)


Amazon FurHaven Orthopedic Pet Sofa ($31)


Etsy Big Spoon Little Spoon Pillow Case Set ($28)


Target Pink Pleated Round Throw Pillow ($27)


Target Cream Faux Fur Throw Blanket ($26)


Amazon Pale Pink Supreme Sheets ($25)


Amazon Marble Ceramic Ring Dish ($12)


Target Stackable Shoe Rack ($11)


Target Deep Fabric Bin in Light Gray ($10)


Target Standard Fabric Shoe Bin in Light Gray ($10)


Poppin Blush This + That Tray ($10)


Poppin Blush Desk Accessory Tray ($10)






Bathroom


Amazon Dark Walnut Brown Bathtub Caddy ($25)


Mimihome Tropical Palm Leaf Shower Curtain ($18)


Amazon Copper Wire Storage Basket ($14)


Nate Berkuss Gold Glass Canister ($13)


Target Pearlized Soap Dispenser ($10)






Want your free Apartment Priorities Questionnaire?



Click here to download 100% FREE!