Hi friends!

I have been blessed with the opportunity to do a lot of incredible things lately. With last year’s study abroad experience, my adventures at New York Fashion Week, and still even more adventures approaching, it has been a wild ride. However, all of these experiences made a huge impact on my budget and I’ve had to completely reevaluate how I am spending my money. 

All that being said, I am constantly inspired by the space around me and ever since I was in high school, I have been constantly changing my decor in my bedroom so that it’s always fresh and updated. My room at school has pretty much been decorated the same for a year and a half.

While that seemingly hasn’t been too long, I’ve been so ready to give it a small refresh. As you might remember, last September, I gave you a Campus Bedroom Tour , so if you’ve forgotten how my room looked last semester, you can take a peek at that post. 

Since I am on a budget now, these are a few of things that I’ve had to keep in mind in order to reorganize my room for a low cost. 

  • Make a Big Change for Less Money. When I hosted a party in collaboration with TeenVogue last semester, they sent me a lot of clothes for my guests to wear that I wanted to showcase for the party. I ventured to Walmart and found a garment rack for $9. That clothing rack has become one of my favorite parts of my bedroom now, since I incorporated it into my room decor after the party was over. So maybe you don’t need a garment rack. Whatever your “garment rack” is, get it! If you’re not blowing a lot of money on something that will completely change the look of your space, I say go for it. It may turn out to be some of the best $10 you’ve ever spent. 

  • Shop Your House. This was one of my favorite things when it came to reorganizing my bedroom this time around. I was able to go back home over Christmas break and find some really great picture frames and other decor items just sitting around my bedroom at my mom’s house. I swapped these items out with other items I didn’t want anymore in my bedroom here at school and I was good to go. Many of the items on my new little gallery wall came from other places in my apartment or mom’s house, so it feels great that I didn’t have to buy anything. 
  • Deep Clean. One of the other things that I did recently to completely update my bedroom was simply by starting with a deep clean. I’m serious when I say that I don’t think my bedroom has been this clean in the almost two years that I’ve lived in this house, so it was definitely needed. After the deep clean, I had enough of all of the clutter I had to clear off my desk, dresser, etc. to actually clean it. By doing this deep clean, I realized how much excess I had piling up and was able to take two trash bags to Plato’s Closet and three trash bags to the dumpster. Success! Once all of that was out of my room, it already was quite different looking! 

  • Have Some Hometown Pride. I absolutely love being able to represent my hometown of St. Louis through my Modern Map Art print of the city! It looks perfect mixed into my gallery wall of all the things that matter to me so much! I am absolutely obsessed with this map and think it is so cute. There are also all kinds of different colors on the website as well to chose from. To me, there’s nothing like sharing the love of your favorite city whether you’re happily living that city or missing your hometown a bit! Even by simply spicing up my gallery wall, it felt like just the change that I needed! 

And with those tips in mind, I hope you are able to hit the ground running to create a different space with the space you already have. With a bit of thinking outside the box, you can absolutely transform your space, even if, like me, you’re ballin’ on a budget. 

Thanks for reading along and I wish you the best week! 

Olivia

 

Thank you so much to Modern Map Art for gifting me this beautiful STL map for free. All opinions are my own. 

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Yesterday was my birthday. I woke up this morning and it really sunk in. I’m 21. Twenty – one trips around the sun and a life of adventures that have been packed into those years that I now have under my belt. Throughout all of those years, I’ve learned a bit about important life lessons. So today I just wanted to share some of those with you, but let’s be real here, I’m pretty sure this is more a letter to myself than trying to teach you all anything. 

10 Life Lessons I’ve Learned to Love.

  • Be Spontaneous. In my life, I absolutely would much rather have every. little. detail. planned out down to the smallest little thing. But, after a semester studying abroad, I realized that some of the best moments can happen when you say “YES!” to something last minute or unexpected. Whether it was airplane tickets I would purchase about 8 hours before the flight was scheduled, or even deciding to go hang out with friends last minute when I’d planned to stay in and watch a movie, so many of my best memories coming from spontaneous decisions that I’ve made. I might change my crazy ultra-planner self after all.
  • Don’t Compare. It can be so incredibly easy to look through Instagram or Facebook and see these incredible people (for me, it’s women who are in college and killing it as bloggers). The comparison game is so real, you guys. I actually have an incredible amount of self confidence but still fall prey to these feelings all the time. I’ll be scrolling through social media wistfully looking at a “perfect” account and wondering how I can get mine to look just like it. I feel like especially in any creative industry, this is an especially prevalent feeling. If you’re looking for an inspirational account to help you combat some of these feelings, try The Rising Tide Society. This account has been one that helps me stay grounded, especially with their tagline being, “community over competition”. 
  • Friends Take Effort. There have been enough friendships that I haven’t put enough effort into, and plenty of people who haven’t put enough effort into me either. Because of this, those friendships have either suffered or simply slowly dissolved. When you find a good friend, let them know. Show them how much they matter to you. Don’t ignore their texts, do something spontaneously kind for them, and pour into them like you’d want to be.
  • You Don’t Have to Be Friends with Everyone. I felt like this was appropriate coming after that last point. As a people pleaser, I get really bent out of shape if I find out that there is someone out there who doesn’t like me. But, what I’ve learned is, that’s inevitable. There will be plenty of people out there who you’ll get along with and be friends with, so it really, truly is okay when there are a few that don’t fit into that category, either. This one is an especially hard one for me to get through to myself on even still because I want 100% of the people I meet to like me! 
  • Don’t Give Up. If there’s something that almost five years of blogging has taught me, it is surely to never give up. This truly has manifested itself into one of my biggest mottos, no matter how cliche or overused it may be. As I wrote posts for so long on this blog as a senior in high school, nothing really ever came of it and I didn’t honestly see it going anywhere. But to have the platform that I now have and the opportunities that I have now, it really speaks volumes to the concept of not giving up. 
  • Internet Validation Doesn’t Matter (That Much). So this is an interesting one for me. While I am 110% grateful for each and every one of my followers, readers, subscribers, etc., what I have come to realize that it’s the people in my real, everyday life who are invaluable. This sounds a little harsh but let me explain. Those comments and likes used to give me so much validation, and that’s where a lot of my confidence and self worth would come from. But, then I realized that there is simply so much more to life than that. If my blog suddenly got shut down or one of my social media accounts get suspended or some other crazy thing like that, I need to be able to be completely fine and happy regardless. Learning this lesson, I reached out more to people in my everyday life and put more value in those friendships! This doesn’t mean that my blog/Instagram friends aren’t important to me…because you all are seriously the greatest! 
  • It’s Okay to Change Your Mind. Whether this means on your political views, values, etc….it is okay to change and sometimes I need to remind myself of this. As we grow, we are constantly evolving into (hopefully) the best version of ourselves, so it’s completely okay to realize that maybe those viewpoints from when we were younger aren’t how we feel now. Sometimes this is hard for me because I’m afraid of what other people are going to think if I’m not just like them or different from who they originally met or befriended. But, I’m doing myself a major disservice if I try to hide who I’m becoming from those who love and respect me. 
  • Self Care is SO Important. Whenever I tell other people this, they think I mean this in a really floofy way, as if I’m telling people to meditate 24/7 or something. That’s not my intention but hey, if you want to take up meditation to be your best self, go for it. Subscribe to podcasts, read good books, get some sleep. Whatever it means for you personally to be your best self and grow, go for it. Everybody has different things that are important to them as far as self care goes, so if that means watching some Netflix and eating popcorn in bed to you, go ahead.
  • Choose Your Involvement Wisely. Whether you’re entering college and thinking about what clubs to join, or you’re a small business owner/mom/contemplating joining PTA, this is for you. My heavy campus involvement has simultaneously been the best and worst thing. It has brought countless friends, great experience, and so much community, but it has also brought me so much stress. After I quit everything second semester of sophomore year to study abroad, I was much more choosy about my involvement when I came back to my campus junior year. I chose to get involved in the things that really mattered and that I enjoyed, rather than the things that I felt were simply “resume fillers”. 
  • It’s Okay to Ask. So, I have always felt the need to do everything myself. I’m pretty sure it’s a major pride issue, but I’ve never been one to ask for advice or help. But, if there’s one thing that the last year or so has taught me is to ask for advice. Don’t always assume you can do a job the best alone, or know the best answers. People in my life are incredibly supportive and helpful, and I’m sure you might find they are like that in yours, too. 

These are some of the lessons that have helped me so much in college, and simply through life. I hope they strike a chord with you as well! Have the best week. 

Olivia

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So, for my first post of the New Year, I decided that I wanted to share a bit about my goals for this year.

I’m that sappy kind of person who always makes a solid resolution list every single time the New Year rolls around. Actually, most of my resolutions I stick to. A few years back, I made a “read a book a week resolution”, and that actually happened. I’ve made personal, professional, and academic resolutions in years past, and stuck to all of them. So, when 2017 rolled around, after some thought, I surprised myself and decided not to make any resolutions whatsoever.

Isn’t that a bit strange, you might think? Well, for me, yes it very much is. While very uncharacteristic, I actually am so excited about this year. I’m jumping into this year without expectations or standards. To be quite honest, I want this year to teach me whatever I’m supposed to learn, not just what I decide on the first day of the year that I need to learn. I’m letting go of the feelings of perfectionism that come alongside those resolutions that I make every year and opening up my life to a little bit more simplicity.

Now, I think goals are amazing and they are something that each and every one of us need in our lives to motivate us towards bigger and better things. This year however, I’m not going to have an overall goal though. Neither do I have a fancy “word of the year” as I’ve chosen in years past (aka “brave” circa 2015 or “spontaneous” circa 2016).

Instead, I’m taking this year one day at a time. If you’ve come to my blog today to find a post about my future resolutions, this isn’t a post all about my goals for the future. While I do most definitely have those, I also want to be clear that this year, I’m wanting to live a bit more simply, and let whatever needs to change me, change me.

I don’t know about you, but after seeing all kinds of lofty New Year’s resolutions scattered about all of my social media, it left me feeling anything but inspired. For some reason, all of these resolutions left me feeling a bit anxious and not good enough. There is so much freedom that comes with just being gentle with yourself, and letting things happen just the way they’re supposed to…

Each and every year, January 1st brings with it an opportunity to start new and fresh. That is what I’m aiming to do, but I sure as heck don’t have everything figured out. So, instead of stressing that I don’t in fact have it all together to start out the new year, I already am feeling much more relaxed due to the fact I haven’t blown my resolution yet.

All this being said, I still am a fan of resolutions and goals, this was just a much needed resolution vacation for me. While I am on this hiatus from lofty resolutions, I still value and understand their importance. It’s just not something I’ll be doing this year.

I’m so grateful for each one of you and how incredible it has been to have you all follow me on my blogging journey. I’m wishing you a wonderful 2017.

Much love,

Olivia

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Hey friends!

As I sit here typing this, I am all but ready to dash out of my apartment in my college town and head home for Thanksgiving. Just kidding. There’s still about a week more until I can officially head home, but my mind is so incredibly focused on thankfulness and how grateful I am (and yes, the Thanksgiving turkey, haha!) that I can hardly contain it.

That being said, I wanted to share a bit about why I’m filled with so much gratitude right now…and to finally tell you about my secret project that I was working on a while back in Chicago.

A few weeks ago, I was asked by the Kraft Heinz Company Foundation to come to Chicago, one of my most favorite cities in the world, for an exciting collaboration to go behind the scenes at the Kraft Heinz Company Foundation. When I learned about the Foundation’s efforts to eliminate world hunger and malnutrition, it was such an easy choice to jump on board!

I was invited to spend a day helping pack meals that would get sent around the world. The Kraft Heinz Company Foundation wanted to create a momentum of giving back within their company, so they host meal packing events like these to spread the word about their mission of ending hunger throughout all realms of the company.

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It was so wonderful to see the KHCF do something so different than simply just writing a check. As a group, hundreds of employees signed up to work different shifts during the day, in order to package the meals that would then get shipped all over the world.

In these bags, a small (but mighty) packet of micronutrients is included. This is sprinkled on the food that’s included in the package in order to combat malnutrition. These packets were filled with all the healthy essentials that are so important for us to intake, but so often aren’t included in the types of meals that those living in poverty eat regularly.

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Throughout the entire process of packaging meals alongside so many other people, the staggering statistics of how many millions of people are living around the world in hunger really sunk in. Being part of such a movement, I realized that the things I saw firsthand while living in Guatemala could now be helped. When I spent the summer living in Guatemala before I started college, I saw people whose entire meal planning process depended on how much they made selling their wares in the market that day.

There were plenty of people in Guatemala who wouldn’t be able to afford meals after a slow day at work, and that has always stuck with me and deeply impacted me by witnessing that. This campaign really touched me because I was given a tangible way to help people around the world, combatting hunger and malnutrition.

I couldn’t be more grateful for this experience as well as to be introduced to some of the sweetest and most genuine ladies EVER. The opportunity to share this experience with several other college ladies who blog was something that I don’t take for granted. It was so awesome to get to be included in this time of helping others and see Chicago all at once with some women whom I now get to call some of the most inspiring girl bosses I know.

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Now I want to hear from you. What are you grateful for this fall? I want to challenge you to take that overwhelming amount of gratitude and do something special for someone else this season. There’s not really much that beats the feeling of helping others, and I want to start a momentum of doing good and giving back. Let’s get in the spirit of Thanksgiving, friends!

Much love,

Olivia

Kraft Heinz paid for my trip to Chicago for the meal packaging event and I couldn’t be more grateful for this opportunity. 

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For years, I maintained an on-again, off-again relationship with podcasts. I never had the commitment to consistently listen to them. Now that I’ve found a ton of podcasts that I’m ultra-passionate about, I can’t stop listening to them. I’ve given up my Netflix shows in place of listening to podcasts. The best thing about them is that they only require listening, so, for multi-taskers like me, it’s awesome because you can cook, do laundry, clean your room, etc. without being glued to a screen to know what’s going on!

I love listening to a variety of podcasts that cover all kinds of topics, so hopefully one of the ones I share below will jump out and interest you. This month, I decided to take the budget I have for myself a lot more seriously, so I cut out my monthly Spotify subscription. It was definitely a lot harder than I expected, because I realized how much I use the app, and what an integral part of my drives it is.

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Podcasts have really come in handy since they are a free alternative, and they can be funny, educational, storytelling, or really any kind of thing you want them to be! Here are my top five picks that I can’t stop listening to ~ simply search any of these names in the iTunes Store and they should pop right up!

1. Women, Work, and Worth

This podcast has been so influential in my life the last few months that I’ve been giving it a listen. Mavenly + Co. is such a great resource for young professionals and women who want to excel in their careers. Some of the topics that they talk about on the podcast include things like working abroad, starting a business, taking risks, becoming your best self, etc. The list goes on and on, and honestly you will never be wasting your time by giving one of these episodes a listen. They are such an investment into your own self, and the advice and organic conversations that they have on the episodes are so insightful. One of their last episodes a few days ago was really helpful because it talked about deciding whether you want to go to grad school. Since this is a goal of mine for the future, it was so helpful to lay out a plan based on what I learned from the episode!

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2. Accused

Guys. I cannot get enough of this podcast. This 8 episode series produced by the Cincinnati Enquirer has got me hooked. If you listened to Serial and loved that, then you will be absolutely intrigued by Accused. This podcast digs deeper into a 1978 cold case around the Miami University campus in Ohio. I was so obsessed with this that I listened to all 8 episodes in a little over a day. That should say something right there, because I have never been one to binge watch or listen to anything. Ever. There is just something about true crime that really gets me. All the books, documentaries, and shows lately I seem to be taking in are related to true crime. Years ago, I wanted to be a forensic nurse and work on crime scenes with trauma victims. Now that I’ve gone a different path, I see this as my outlet for the part of me that’s so highly interested in crime.

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3. CollegeFashionista Office Hours

It might not surprise you to see the CollegeFashionista podcast on this list, since I write for their website. However, I really don’t think I’m biased when I say that this is one of my favorite podcasts out there. Specifically, it’s so me. The podcast interviews a girl boss in the fashion industry who has really stood out as a young entrepreneur or had great success. The podcasts are short, usually under 15 minutes, so I can knock out an episode in the time it takes me to drive to campus and find a parking spot. If you’re looking for a quick dose of inspiration, knowledge, and usually humor, this should be your go-to listen.

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4. The Lively Show

This is my newest podcast discovery, thanks to the recommendation of my boss. The entire reason this conversation came up was because I was sharing my love for Brené Brown, and then my boss informed me that Brené actually was a guest on Jess’ podcast. In that moment I knew I had to check it out, so I did. Jess incorporates peace, joy, and fulfillment into each one of her podcasts. Whether it’s her talking nearly the entirety of the podcast, or she has someone on that she is interviewing, those three values are always incorporated. Everything she packs into her podcasts is so uplifting and often geared towards entrepreneurial women. I would highly recommend this if you want to finish an episode feeling refreshed and encouraged.

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5. Young House Love Has a Podcast

Young House Love has been one of my favorite websites for a while, but it wasn’t until later this summer when I realized they had a podcast. That made me love them all the more! Sometimes, you find people that you love on one outlet, but when you follow them on another, you realize, ehhh maybe I don’t like them so much after all. The contrary happened with Young House Love. John and Sherry were able to add in humor and cute quips back and forth that don’t necessarily make it into their weekly blog posts. It’s cute to be able to see people’s personalities in ways like through their podcasts. To me, their podcast is the perfect mix of topics. While of course they talk a lot about DIYs and home renovations like their blog focuses on, they also have a great addition of episodes not related to home reno things like “how should bloggers create sponsored posts?”, “why we quit our blog for 12 months” and “design, blogs, and girl bosses”. This podcast also serves as my outlet to dream about the future and what owning an apartment or a home will be like, with the ability to do all kinds of amazing DIY projects!

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Do you listen to podcasts? What are your favorite ones? I’m constantly looking for more because I want to constantly be learning and taking in more information. Any recommendations you might have for me are welcomed in the comments below! Thanks!

Have a great week!

Olivia

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