I Moved & Exploring 12 South
My Life

I Moved & Exploring 12 South

Guess what?! I moved. A…

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DIY Back-to-College Care Package
College

DIY Back-to-College Care Package

This is a sponsored conversation…

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Weekend Getaway: Door County, WI
Travel

Weekend Getaway: Door County, WI

If we’re being honest, working…

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My Reverse Bucket List
My Life

My Reverse Bucket List

I have to be honest,…

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Summer Essentials 2016

Summer Essentials 2016

If you’ve been around long enough, you know a few things about me: I’m forever in love with summer and obsessed with pink. If you haven’t been around long, you probably still figured it out pretty quick. The official first day of summer is June 20, but school is out, the weather is warm and I just got back from vacation (come back soon for my vacation recap), so to me it’s already summer. Because I’m already in the summer mood and in honor of the official first day of summer coming up, I compiled a list of my favorite essentials for Summer 2016. I mean, you have to have time to prep, right? So the earlier the better, I guess! Here are my must-haves this summer:

Textured Summer Straw Hat – I tried on this hat when I was at J.Crew over the weekend, and it was adorable. If you are looking for a super floppy hat, this summer hat isn’t for you. It has a shorter brim than the traditional “floppy hat” and well, just doesn’t really flop that much. It looks more formal and elegant than its casual counterpart.

J.Crew Beaded Tassel Earrings – Summer can get hot… Duh, right? But when it’s 95 degrees out, I don’t like wearing anything that clings to my body or is too heavy. So, instead of wearing a chunky statement necklace, in the summer I like to trade my necklace in for a pair of bold statement earrings like these beaded tassel earrings from J.Crew. With earrings, you won’t feel weighted down or have heavy jewelry sticking to your chest or wrists when it’s hot and humid outside.

Lilly Pulitzer iPhone 6/6s Cover – Under My Umbrella – I currently have a black and gold Kate Spade case on my phone that I’ve been obsessed with ever since I bought it with my iPhone, but it’s no longer right for the season. I swear, my phone case has the power to change my mood, and a black and gold case is not putting me in the summer mood! It’s time to switch it out for bright colors and a bold print.

Winthome Mandala Round Beach Towel with Tassels – Round beach towels in my style are hard to come by. I was lucky to have stumbled upon this one on Amazon. It’s pastel, floral and has tassels- three of my favorite things. Want something a little edgier and less girly? Check out my second favorite round beach towel from Kind & Good!

Lilly Pulitzer Big Flirt Tumbler with Straw – I shared this tumbler in my last post, but it honestly is so essential in my life. If you’ve hung out with me in the real world, you know I drink large amounts of water (or as Katie would say, “I drink more water than a racehorse”). I’m constantly carrying around a water bottle. It is safe to say my tumbler has become an accessory.

Essie Blanc and Essie Muchi, Muchi Nail Polish – I have bought Muchi, Muchi by Essie three times now, so there is no way it wasn’t going to make it onto my list of summer essentials 2016. On the other hand, I bought Essie Blanc for the first time this year, but I know that I will definitely be buying this one again. It’s bright white, so it may seem a little boring in the bottle, but on your nails the color turns into a bold statement for the summer.

Ray-Ban ‘Highstreet’ 49mm Sunglasses – Dark Havana – Circle glasses seem to be making a comeback, and although I could never pull off such a unique frame, I have been obsessing over rounded frames this summer. The ‘Highstreet’ Ray-Ban sunglasses are a good compromise. They are rounded but still have a frame that adds interest and takes away from the harshness of circular lenses.

Triangl Gigi in Strawberry Shortcake – I used to be strongly opposed to triangle bikini tops (as in the shape- not the similarly named brand). I felt they were never flattering; my chest just looked so funny in them! The problem was the thin material and lack of support. Since I first started disliking triangle string bikinis, I’ve found better options. Like the Gigi bikini in Strawberry Shortcake from Triangl and this triangle top from PINK that I purchased earlier this year.

Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer – I’ve talked about Jergens Natural Glow on Youtube before. If you’re trying to get a healthy tan before stepping out in your itsy bitsy bikini, I recommend Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer over anything else- even a spray tan. I’ve struggled to find the best tanning solution for myself in the past. I will not do tanning beds, and I have had a few too many failed spray tan attempts. The best spray tan I’ve ever had was when it was done by a professional- not in a booth, but those are also more expensive. Jergens gives me a great tan- just like my best spray tan experience, and it is way cheaper. Another pro is that you can control how dark you want your tan to be. Too light? Apply again. Too dark? Skip a day. The choice is yours.

Rachel Rachel Roy Off-The-Shoulder Flutter-Sleeve Crop Top – To be honest, I don’t have a particular reason for this top to make my list of summer essentials other than it’s flouncy, white and off-the-shoulder (three of my favorite things). The crop top just screams summer to me; you’ll feel like you should be walking down the streets of the Greek Isles in this one.

Jack Rogers Lauren Double-Strap Sandal – These are my favorite pair of Jack Rogers. I normally try to find good deals for you guys, and unfortunately I didn’t with these ones. I think they’re worth it at the full price though. If you are looking for a steal, check out this pair.

I want to know: What are your summer essentials this year? What is your favorite trend for Summer 2016? Let me know in the comments below!

Top: Red Dress Boutique (similar) | Shorts: Apricot Lane | Shoes: Jack Rogers Larissa Thong Sandal (ON AMAZING SALE) | Necklace: A-List Greek c/o | Bracelet: Shell Accent Open Cuff (ON AMAZING SALE) | Sunglasses: American…

Graduation & Post-Grad Plans

Graduation & Post-Grad Plans - Ali in Bloom

A week and a half ago I graduated from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign; it seems like just last year I was telling you guys about my high school graduation! Turns out that was actually three years ago. I think it’s true what they say; time goes by faster and faster as you get older.

Graduating college has meant a lot of change. I moved back home. I had to update my about me page because I can no longer call myself a college blogger?! I’m taking the first real break since who-knows-when.

Life has been good though, and I’m thoroughly enjoying my break. I’m taking the time to spend time with friends and family, enjoy the warm weather and post here three times a week (starting next week look out for posts Monday, Wednesday and Friday). I’m also taking this time to work on my Youtube channel. I’ll be posting once a week to Youtube, so make sure to watch for a new video every Friday! Despite editing my about me page because I can no longer call myself a college blogger, I’ll still be sharing college-related posts. After graduating, I think I can give an even better perspective on this whole crazy journey we call college. I’ll also be adding post-grad posts into the mix, giving my advice on the job hunt and living a fulfilling life in your 20s, etc. I’m really excited about this more specific direction I have decided to take!

Graduation & Post-Grad Plans - Ali in Bloom

So… The moment you have all been waiting for, I know. Outside of keeping up with Ali in Bloom, what are my post-grad plans? In an effort to be as transparent and open as possible with you all, I will be the first to admit: I have no definitive, concrete plan, and right now, I’m okay with that.

The past three years have been the busiest, most life-changing years of my life. I grew up. I found myself. I discovered new passions and made my way back to old ones. Now, I’m taking this opportunity to sit down and reflect on where life has lead me and on how I’ve grown as a person. Being able to self-reflect and better understand myself, I can only hope, will help me in the future to be the best person I can be.

Now, when I say I have no definitive, concrete plan, I don’t mean to say that I have no plan at all. If you have been around since January, you probably saw my goals for 2016. One of the goals I set for 2016 was to turn my blog into a business and make it my full-time job. I still want to turn Ali in Bloom into a business. I love this blog, you guys. I really do. It has been with me for so long- through so many different parts of my life. I’m not forgetting about this goal. I still have my business plan tucked away in my journal along with mini-goals to keep me on track, but for a number of reason, I won’t be pursuing Ali in Bloom full-time just yet. Here’s why:

  • I want direction. I do want to move out of Illinois at some point in my life (by that I mean some point very soon). As much as I love it here, I don’t want to miss a single opportunity to explore and see the world. Taking on the challenge of moving somewhere new is something I think needs to be experienced at least once in a lifetime. Working as a full-time blogger, I wouldn’t have a reason to move. I still could, but finding a job out of state is definitely a little nudge that I want for myself- plus it takes away the difficult decision of choosing where in the world to move.
  • I want experience. Sure, managing my own website looks great on a resume, but I’ve never worked in the corporate world full-time. I want to give it a try so that I can know both ends of the spectrum. I really strongly feel that working for a company will give me invaluable skills.
  • I want stability. Right out of college, I feel like I need stability to get up on my feet. I have student loan debt and an empty savings account. College will do that to you, am I right? I want a steady job that can help me in the next chapter of my life as I move out on my own and take on more expenses.
  • I want to be a part of a team. This may be the biggest reason I want to join the corporate world. I love being a part of something bigger than myself. At Ali in Bloom, it’s just me.

With that being said, I will start my job search in July after I finish up the last of my break plans. I’m hoping to find a position in the editorial field. One of the major things I learned quickly on this break is that I love writing and inspiring. At the end of the day, writing is the reason I started blogging in the first place. The wonderful connections I’ve made and photography, videography and marketing skills I’ve learned along the way are all bonuses.

All in all, I am so very excited for this next phase in my life. I may not have a concrete plan, but that only makes it more exhilarating. I could end up anywhere. I could do anything. Meet anyone. Experience everything. As I move forward in my job hunt, I will be sure to keep you in the loop and let you know where I end up. And thank you. Thank you to everyone who has read Ali in Bloom once or 100 times. It doesn’t matter. You all have supported my passion and helped me rediscover my purpose!

Did you have a concrete plan when you graduated college? Did they unfold how you expected they would?