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DIY Painted Cooler

Pinterest Cooler

I have made a post on how to make a painted cooler before (check it out here!) but I figured I should update the post and tutorial! In college, if you’re invited to a social it’s tradition to make your date a painted cooler. I made my husband a cooler in my first tutorial and he absolutely loved it! But you can paint a cooler for ANY occasion! In this tutorial I made cooler for my friend’s birthday. Also, I had help from our dog Sutton making this cooler (he’s in the background of all of the pics!)

Here are the pics of my husband’s cooler!

Here are a list of the materials that you will need, but I must say that the most important thing you will need is TIME. It takes a lot of prep and drying time if you want a great cooler that will last and stand against scratches.

Materials:

Cooler

Paint (acrylic)

Paint pens

Spackling

Sandpaper

Plastic paint primer

ModPodge or sealant

Newspaper with dark images or carbon paper

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The first thing you need to do is to peel off all of the stickers on your cooler. Next, sand the entire cooler down. It’s much easier if you have an electric sander, but you can definitely do it by hand. The purpose of sanding down the cooler is so that the paint will stick to it. There is a shiny coat on the cooler which makes it easy for the paint to scratch off. Trust me, this step is very essential!

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Once you have it sanded down, it will be quite dusty. So, take a damp rag and wipe down the surface of the cooler.

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Next, fill any logos or indentures with the spackling. Take a putty knife and fill them in and smooth it over. You will need to let it dry according to the package (I believe it’s 12-24 hours).

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After it has dried, sand the putty down by hand to make it smooth. It’s a good idea to wipe it down again with a rag.

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Now, using plastic primer, spray over the entire cooler. This will give you a clean canvas to work on. Also, this will help to make your work stick!

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Once the primer dries, it’s time to start painting! It’s a good idea to go ahead and figure out what you are going to put on your cooler. If there are some logos that you want to have JUST right print those out on the computer. I free-handed a lot of sides on this cooler, but it’s a good idea to sketch it out on paper and then transfer it to the cooler.

You can transfer your images or sketches by placing it on top of newspaper. It’s best to use carbon paper, but if you don’t feel like going to the store, newspaper is your next best bet. (It’s best to cut out a section of the paper that has a lot of black ink on it like a picture) I taped it to the cooler and then traced and pressed down on it with a pen.

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Once you have all of your ideas and logos down, time to paint away! It’s best to use paint pens for lettering and outlining! I’m quite impatient, so I use a hair dryer to help speed up the process!

Also, every time you finish painted a section or side, I would HIGHLY recommend lathering it with mod podge. This will help your work STAY and reduce the risk of it getting scratched!

Use every inch of the cooler that you can! Paint something creative on the corners and along the edges!

For this cooler I painted the handle in glitter gold. If you do this, make a base coat of regular gold with gold spray paint, THEN spray over with the glitter gold. Seal the glitter with a sealant or ModPodge

To finalize the cooler, coat the cooler in ModPodge or sealant to assure that your hard work doesnt scratch off!!

I’m so proud of the finished cooler!

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3 Looks & 1 Dress by London Times

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I am so excited to write this post! The awesome team at London Times reached out to me to do a partnership with them. I had to choose from several of their amazing dresses (it was so hard) and I chose the Parker Shift Dress. In this post I show you 3 different ways on how to style it!

Now this dress is so versatile and absolutely PERFECT for fall. I love the bell-sleeve details on it. It is also SUPER soft! I can’t express how soft this dress is! For the first look, I went with a casual-everyday look. I just simply paired the dress with some jewelry from KJP and some Frye boots.

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Dress: London Times | Necklace: KJP | Bracelet: KJP | Ring: KJP | Boots: Frye

For the next look, I styled the dress for a work/business look. This was pretty simple and I accomplished this by wearing some pointed-toe heels and wearing a belt around my waist. I absolutely love this look for the office and I have gotten so many compliments on the dress already!

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Dress: London Times | Necklace: KJP | Shoes: Jessica Simpson

For the last look, I styled the dress for a date night look. I wore a jean jacket over it and paired it with some ankle booties from Toms. My husband took these pics, and he kept complimenting how well the outfit looked for a date night. It’s cute, dressy, and comfortable!

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Dress: London Times | Necklace: KJP | Booties: TOMS

I absolutely love this dress and I love how versatile it is. Thank you again to the amazing team at London Times for considering me for this partnership!

Cheers!

Kelly

Blog

Happy Queen Bee Day!

Today is my best friend’s birthday so I decided to dedicate a blog post to her and our friendship. As most of you know by now, Hailey and I met through our dogs’ Instagram pages. We both had crazy GSP puppies and desperately needed a play date. Cotton and Bendel instantly fell in love with each other, and Hailey and I found out that we have more things in common than we’d like to admit. Thus began the start of our squad and our amazing friendship. I’m so happy Hailey and Bendel came into my life. We have been there for each other every step of every day and most importantly, we got through the puppy stage together! Without her I’m not sure what I would have done!

What really makes me proud to be Hailey’s friend is that she is the most caring, focused, and driven person who always goes above and beyond and exceeds expectations at pretty much everything. Hailey is such an amazing person and friend in so many ways. I truly value her being in my life, always having my back, and keeping me on track. Best of all, she shares a love for food (especially BBQ) and always makes sure that I eat. We literally talk all day every day and call each other whenever there is even the slightest inconvenience in our lives. We support each others’ shopping problem even when we know we shouldn’t be buying things. She also shares a love for all things preppy and macarons.

I am so blessed to have such an amazing best friend! And I wish nothing more than the happiest and most amazing birthday a girl could ever have for Hailey! Cheers to 24! Check out our pics below!

Cheers!

Kelly

Blog, College Prep

College Prep: Shopping & Eating Healthy

College students encounter many responsibilities, expectations, and challenges on a daily basis. All of this can make It quite difficult for college students to practice and maintain healthy choices. However, making conscious efforts to practice healthy habits will help to ward off the dreaded “Freshman Fifteen” and have an overall happy and healthy well-being.  In this post I will share basic tips for college students on how to practice shopping and eating healthy.

Shopping Healthy:

In college, your budget may be a bit small for grocery shopping. However, if you nourish your body with good foods, then you won’t have to spend as much money in the long run on junk foods which just make you even more hungry or sluggish. When you’re shopping, try to shop healthy. Make it easy for yourself to eat right by purchasing healthy food options. It’s okay to splurge on a few of your favorite unhealthy snacks but try to limit it to just one or a few.

If you haven’t seen the documentaries Fed Up and Food, Inc. I HIGHLY recommend checking those out. I think you can watch them on Netflix, but you may be able to find them for free online. The reason I suggest watching these is because they really go in-depth about consumer trends in the US and how they have had an effect on our health. The biggest takeaway from these is to become conscious of how much sugar is in your food. Sugar is pretty much a drug and it is hidden in so many foods. The way that sugar works is that it tricks your brain into thinking that it is full, but then a little while later you’re hungry again. So, just because on the package it says, “low fat” or “organic”, it still may not be good for you because it is loaded with sugar. So next time you’re shopping check out how much sugar is on the label—it will probably shock you! There are some cereals that have more sugar in one serving than a can of soda! Just being aware of what goes into your body and its effects can influence the way that we shop.

Eating Healthy:

When we are at home with our family, we are quite spoiled by the good food that is prepared. In college we don’t really have that luxury which makes it hard to resist eating out and eating unhealthily. Eating out is a budget buster AND a belly buster. Having a healthy diet can help to boost your immune system, maintain a healthy weight, and improve your overall health. So, here are a few tips for eating healthy:

  • Learn proper portion size: Remember that moderation is key for anything in your life. This is especially true for food. It is quite easy to mindlessly eat while studying or binge-watching Netflix. So, try to become more aware of and track how much you are eating. You can eat too much of even the healthiest of foods. Just keep in mind that moderation, variety, and balance are essential to staying healthy! Which leads me to my next tip…
  • Snacking: Snacking throughout the day can be a great way to monitor and keep your appetite in check throughout the day. It can always stop you from mindlessly eating or eating for comfort. I tend to eat several small meals throughout the day (essentially, I just graze and snack all day). It is important to not skip meals throughout the day so that you can keep your energy and attention.
  • Meal/snack prep: To make things even simpler for yourself, after you go shopping go ahead and portion out your snacks and meals. Fill snack-size Ziploc bags with carrots or nuts so that you can just grab them on the way out. Having things already prepared will make you more likely to eat your healthy choices and avoid eating out.
  • Make an eating schedule: This may sound tedious, but it can be quite helpful. Typically, my daily diet goes like this: Glass of water, breakfast, (sometimes a mid-morning snack), light lunch (usually a salad), a smoothie around mid-afternoon, dinner, then a glass of water. This isn’t to say that I strictly follow this every day, but it helps me to have a routine and keep track of what I have consumed.
  • Learn to cook: Equip yourself with simple, cheap, and healthy recipes that you can cook yourself. Learning how to cook can be quite fun but more importantly, it’s great for your health and budget. On Pinterest you can find tons of quick and simple healthy recipes that will help you to stay track.
  • Invest in a blender: I have mentioned before that every day I drink a smoothie. This usually takes the place of a snack, but it is packed with a lot of veggies, nuts, and fruits. Making a smoothie everyday can be quite fun, but it is also quite nutritious. I used to buy fresh fruit prep my smoothies ahead of time, but that became very time-consuming. Now, I just buy frozen fruit and mix it in with a banana, juice or milk, spinach, and chia seeds.

Staying on top of your eating habits is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It will help you to have more energy and focus on your schoolwork. It is totally okay to indulge every now and then by eating out with friends or snacking on ice cream. The most important thing is to just try and be more aware of what you are eating and how much. Being mindful will help you to make better decisions!

Cheers!

Kelly

Blog, College Prep, Style

College Gameday Outfits

In the South, college football is considered a religion. So, you better believe that game days are an event that you dress up for. Not all colleges have a big football program or even consider it to be a big deal. For instance, my sister went to a private school in upstate New York and her friends thought it was odd when she asked, “What are you wearing to the game?” But, for most schools that have a football program that the whole school gets excited for, gamedays are the days to dress to impress.

I grew up as an SEC fan which meant you wore your LBD, sundresses, or anything semi-formal to the game. Sometimes you could get away with wearing a jersey, as long as you dressed it up cute. Keep in mind that not all schools have the same “football culture”… My first football season at Florida State was a bit of a shock to me. I went in thinking that girls dress up for the game by wearing classy dresses or cute outfits…but I was wrong. Most girls were wearing bralettes, crop tops, and high-waisted booty shorts to tailgate in (and most weren’t even in school colors!). While these are trendy and can be cute, it definitely is not my style, nor would I feel comfortable wearing so little! So you can imagine the looks that I got when I wasn’t wearing the same.

I knew I had to re-strategize my gameday outfits, but didn’t want to compromise my own style and comfort. My rule of thumb when putting together an outfit is feature one body part. Whether it’s your legs, stomach, booty, or cleavage, just show off one! Leave people wondering about the rest and have them focus on the best! Putting all of your “goods” on display (in my personal opinion) is not the best way to present yourself. For my gameday outfits I usually will find a super cute dress or will pair a crop top with high-waisted pants. I usually shop the local boutiques for my outfits. Usually boutiques will carry your team’s colors! I also do a lot of my gameday shopping online at Impressions, Lulus, or Mint Julep. Don’t forget to accessorize with jewelry and wear comfortable shoes! Below are some pics of my past gameday outfits. I hope you enjoy!

Cheers!

Kelly

Blog, College Prep

College Prep: Declaring a Major

Going to college is such a rewarding experience in so many aspects of your life. However, the main purpose of going to college is to gain the knowledge necessary to prepare you for your future career. Thus, declaring your major is an important part of the college experience. The thought and task of choosing your major can be overwhelming. But, fear not! College is the arena and time to discover who you are, what you enjoy doing, what you’re good at, and what you want to be. In this post, I will tell you about my own experience with changing majors and will offer some thoughts on the process and when to declare your major. Please keep in mind to not change your major several times like I did! I will discuss the cons of doing so!

First off, let’s address what exactly IS a major?  A college major is a subject area that a student specializes in. There are a group of college courses that should be taken in sequence during their associates or undergraduate studies. Most curriculum require core classes that all students take, with specialized courses tailored to your major that will be taken later on in your college career.

From Graphic Design to Child & Family Sciences

Now, let me tell you about my exploration of majors… When I first started college, I KNEW that I wanted to be a graphic designer. I loved drawing, painting, and designing, so I was absolutely CERTAIN that this was what I wanted to do the rest of my life. As I started going through classes, I realized how time-consuming and expensive It was to be an art student. I should have looked up careers before declaring to be an art major. Instead, I did this post-hoc and learned that snagging a career as a graphic designer isn’t the easiest and most fruitful. I told myself, “You can always do your art as a hobby, but maybe not as a career.” So, instead of seeking advice from an academic advisor, I decided to switch majors on my own to marketing (my second semester of my freshman year). My thought was, “If I can’t design the ads, I can totally sell It!” HA! Looking back I see all of my mistakes by not seeking help and not really looking into what was required course-wise for making this switch. I learned VERY quickly that I was not cut out to be a business major. There are just some things that you think you would be good at, but once you get into It you realize that It’s just not for you. All of the math and economy jargon went COMPLETELY over my head, so I went back to the drawing board…

This time, I was a bit wiser and sought help from an academic advisor when I wanted to change my major. After chatting a bit, I expressed an interest in sports medicine and possibly being an athletic trainer (complete 180 from graphic design). I really enjoyed some of the classes I had taken, so I figured that I would give It a shot. For most athletic training programs, It is best to decide that you want to do that VERY early on in your college career. There are several other majors like this, too. The reason why is because of the course progression—meaning that the sequence of courses must be taken at certain times and you have to have a certain grade to move on. Everything is a prerequisite for all other courses, and some courses are only offered in Fall or Spring. Basically, you have to pass everything and get It all right! This can be very stressful! On top of that, you also have to do some “clinical” work and observe or practice in the field.

I was an athletic training major for more than a year, but I really didn’t feel like It was right for me and I was super stressed over course progression. So I went back to my academic advisor in distress around my Junior year and asked what I could do at that point. This meeting is really what changed the trajectory of my college and life career and I wish I could go back and hug her. She suggested that based on the courses I had already taken and rather than starting all over again, that I should consider Child and Family Development. It had the same core curriculum as athletic training and some of the courses I took overlapped. Once I declared my major, I fell in LOVE with this major. I met some of my best mentors in that department who encouraged me to go to graduate school. Since then, I have a bachelor’s in Child and Family Development, a masters in Child and Family Sciences, and I am now finishing my Ph.D. In Human Development and Family Sciences.

Disadvantages of Waiting to Declare Your Major

Again, I DO NOT recommend changing your major as many times as I did or changing It so late in the game. Some majors require a rigorous application process in which admission into the program isn’t guaranteed. Students (and mostly their parents) want to graduate college in 4 years. This can be accomplished by choosing a major and sticking with It, rather than switching over several times or waiting too late. If you wait too late to change your major, there may be a semester or two worth of courses that you have to take to catch up on the core requirements for that major. It is not imperative to declare your major during your first semester of college. It is better to wait and explore your options and interests so you can avoid getting behind on classes. It is best practice to have declared your major by your sophomore/junior year.

Benefits of Waiting to Declare Your Major

Studies have reported that about 80% of students change their major at some point in college, and 25% of students change their major after their freshman year. This is the time of your life to explore your interests. A lot of core classes are the same, so I recommend taking an intro class in the field that you are interested in to see if that’s something that you want to stick with. A great thing about college classes is the diversity of instructors teaching the classes and the students in those. A lot of amazing professors teach core and intro classes, so if you have a class that you really enjoy the instructor do not hesitate to reach out and start a conversation with them. Ask them about the field, their job, etc. You would be surprised how helpful small conversations can be! Explore your options and talk frankly with your academic advisor to determine the major best suited for you. Keep in mind that you can always choose to minor in a subject, too! Whatever you choose, and whether or not you stick with it, choose something that interests you to motivate you to keep going and to make the grades. Furthermore, when you do choose or consider which major to choose, think of why you are choosing. Is it because it’s what your parents want? Is this something you have always wanted to do? Just think of the reasons behind your decisions before making one.

From Fashion to Law

I can’t emphasize enough that college and this time of your life is meant for you to explore the world and learn about yourself enough by now. Sometimes late in your college career you may realize that you want to pursue a different field or attend graduate school in a similar/related field. But, you may be so far along in your major that you may as well just graduate rather than setting yourself back in courses and having to pay more money. In those cases, just know your chosen major does not define who you are or your career path. Life is about using the opportunities that have been presented to you and making the best of them. My husband was a fashion major in college. When he met me, my roommate was in law school and after hanging around us and starting to calculate what his next move in life was going to be, he decided that he had the potential and opportunity to go to law school. We always get funny looks when we tell people that he was a fashion major in college and is now in law school. Most students we have met in law school were business, criminal justice majors, etc. Regardless of his undergraduate major, I can proudly say that my husband is in the top of his class in law school.

While this post is a bit on the anecdotal side, I do hope you found this post helpful and informative! I would love to hear your experiences with declaring and changing majors in college!

Cheers!

Kelly

Blog, College Prep

College Prep: Roommates

Unless you shared a room with a sibling, college will be the first time that you encounter the experience of having a roommate. For many freshman, your roommates will be randomly selected unless you specifically requested to be paired with someone. Typically after the first year, many friendships and relationships have been made so a lot of students request to live in the same dorm with or look into getting an apartment with their new college BFFs. Regardless if your roommate is a new face or someone that is your best friend, you never truly get to know someone until you live with them. You will learn a lot about their personal habits for hygiene, eating, responsibility, organization, etc. There are several things you can practice to have peace and harmony in your home with your roommates.

Respect

Having and showing respect for yourself and your roommates is probably the most important thing to practice. We all come from different backgrounds, families, places, and all have different life experiences—these are the things that make us who we are! Respect your roommate’s space, belongings, their schedule, and their beliefs. Remember that your roommate may not feel comfortable doing all the things that you are comfortable with. The Golden Rule applies here—do unto others as you would have them do unto you. So, don’t gossip about each other and never make fun of or belittle each other. A few other things to keep in mind: Be sure to clean up after yourself; respect quiet time; never wake a sleeping roommate (unless they ask!); don’t use their stuff without their permission; maintain and respect privacy; be reasonable about visits from friends; and be reasonable about inviting over “special” friends you intend to be intimate with.

Communication

It is so important to communicate effectively with your roommate. Talk about any issues or concerns instead of hoping that they will go away on their own. Do NOT be passive aggressive if something is bothering you (like leaving Post-It notes everywhere). Be sure to trade numbers so you can chat throughout the week. To help with communication, set up a roommate calendar (whether on a big wall calendar or through an app on your phone) so you know when each other has important dates, tests, projects, etc. so they can quietly work or study. I have heard of some roommates developing a contract, stating specifically what is and is not accepted and who has what responsibilities in the home.

Along with this, perhaps set aside a day each week that you both get together to tidy up the dorm/apartment, do laundry together, or even cook/eat out. This will give you time to do things together and catch up on each others’ lives. Remember, your roommate may not be your best friend, but It will make It easier for you if you communicate with each other to live harmoniously.

Cleaning

Through all of my years in college and graduate school, and talking to other people, It seems that cleaning/cleanliness is the main issue that cause conflict between roommates. Remember, we are all unique people with different experiences which means we don’t all have the same idea of what “clean” is. The best rule of thumb is to clean as you go, and to not let little things pile up and get out of control. It is understandable that we get very busy and stressed sometimes and, as a result, we tend to get a little messy. Staying on top of cleaning is important to not let things get out of control! This is especially important for those who live in a small dorm room. Remember that your dorm is not only your living space but your work space as well. Keep It tidy and organized so that you can do your best in school!

Handling Conflict

No matter how hard you try, conflicts may still arise. In that case, consider the importance of effective communication. First, focus on the problem, not the person. When resolving conflicts, be sure that you are addressing the conflict instead of your roommate. When you attack your roommate this will cause further conflict. Next, validate your roommate’s position. Let them know that you understand where they are coming from and offer empathy. Put yourself in their shoes to better understand their point of view. Also, give positive feedback! We all like positive feedback and compromise when possible. Compromises are great, but be sure to stand your ground in a mature way. Finally, once the conflict is resolved, keep It to yourself. Avoid the temptation to rehash all of the details with your friends. Remember, this isn’t high school anymore and college students are expected to manage conflict in a mature way! Sometimes you just have to pull up your boot straps and move forward!

I would love to hear your experiences (good and bad!) with your roommates!

Cheers!

Kelly