Decorating My New Apartment

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It sometimes feels like I’m in a constant state of packing and unpacking, moving and settling in. I’ve been moving in and out of student housing since I was fifteen, and after finally moving back home for a year, it’s time to move once again. As most of you know, I will be moving to North Carolina in August to start law school at Duke! As many times as I’ve moved, this time feels unique in a couple of ways. First, it’s a much bigger move. Before, I had roommates who would bring things, so I usually only had to furnish my own bedroom. Now I’m going in with a clean slate and will have to furnish an entire apartment. Second, the distance is a lot further this time. I was always under 2 hours away, so moving was just a matter of taking a few car trips. Now I have a twelve hour drive, which feels a bit more daunting. There a few other difference as well, like the fact that my brother is my roommate instead of a group of girls, or that i now have to also think of my pup, Luca, and how he fits into the mix. I’m getting a little dizzy just thinking of all this now, but mostly I’m just really excited to begin this new adventure!

The thing about moving so far is that the cost of getting my furniture all packed up and moved is about as much as it costs to buy new stuff (at least that seems to be the case for me and my Salvation Army bed frame). I’m not too upset though, because I get to decorate all over again! Since before I even signed the lease, I’ve been on the hunt for cute pieces to make my new home feel, well like a home. I’ve found some amazing pieces to fill my space (without breaking my budget), so today I wanted to share them with you!

Bedroom

My decor style is pretty simple, I like light white pieces and gold accents. My style for my bedroom would best be described as feminine, modern, and glam. I like clean lines. Lots of white and gold accents. Here are some of what I’ve bought for my bedroom so far:

 

White Queen Sleigh Bed

Bed: I love this sleigh bed. I was debating getting an upholstered bed, but i really likes the simple, feminine style of this one. I also like that its wood, so I can always repaint or strip it down and stain it if I need to.

 

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Nightstands: Something that I was so insistent on was having two nightstands. I’ve always only had one, but I love the symmetry of having two. I absolutely feel in love with these when I say them and couldn’t be happier with my choice. The drawers are a pretty decent size as well, so I plan to use them for extra storage.

 

Gold Etagere Bookshelf

Bookshelf: As much as I love white furniture, I wanted to make sure that I had a little more golden glam in the mix. I really like the way I’ve seen gold etagere bookshelves styled, so I got this one to put my favorite pictures and little treasures on display.

 

Gold Makeup Organizer

Golden Makeup Organizer: I got these organizers to use in my room and my bathroom. I love how they fit so perfectly with the theme. They’ll perfect for my makeup and jewelry too! I ordered mine from Wayfair, but they don’t appear to be available anymore. The ones linked are identical ones from Amazon.

Blue Ginger Jar Lamps

Blue

Pink Lamps

Pink

Lamps: I’ve been seeing ginger jars all over some of my favorite decor spaces. I wanted to add some more color into the space and these lamps are perfect. I still haven’t decided which to get but these are my top choices:

Area Rug

Rug: My apartment is all hard flooring, so an area rug was a must for my room. I debated getting something with more color, but I like that this one is so versatile and will be able to work in any space.

 

Living Room

If it was just me, my living room would be filled with a lot more white and gold; however, my brother doesn’t share my same love of gold bar carts and pops of pink. Instead, I went with a coastal farmhouse vibe for our shared space, and I actually love how well everything seems to be coming together so far.

Couch

Couch: I was dead set on getting a white couch, but the maintenance to keep it freshly white would be a nightmare. I decided to save the couch of my dreams for when I’m fully on my own and instead got this lovely light sand colored one. It’s a little more gray than beige but the color matches perfectly with all of the other upholstery we got.

Blue Area Rug

Ranck Sky Blue/Light Gray Area Rug

Blue Beige Area Rug

Kalil Blue/Beige Area Rug

Rug: I’m actually using the rug I bought two years ago in the living room. I got it at Homegoods, but will link some similar ones I also love.

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Ottoman: I also bought this at Homegoods, I love the weather wood look and it matches the couch perfectly.

TV Stand

TV Stand: I like how this tv console warms up the space with a wooden tone. The sliding doors are perfect for storage and really add to the farmhouse feel.

 

Kitchen

Table: I looked all over for a table and ultimately just bought one for $20 at salvation army. I was originally hoping for a more beachwood look, but the one we got is a darker color. I actually think it will help add some contrast to the space, so I’ll keep you guys posted on that.

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Chairs: We went with these classic looking chairs for the space I think they’ll look really cool never to the darker table

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Settee: A challenge with furnishing a lived in space is finding the balance between aesthetic and function. I want our living space to be somewhere we can hangout and entertain, but there really want room for more than just a couch in the space so we had to get creative. I chose this settee for the dining area because it will double as additional seating in the living room if we need. The two spaces are open and connected, so it works out really well.

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Bar stools: I saw these stools and though they were the perfect way to tie everything together, The bluish gray stripes on the upholstery tie in nicely with the pillows we picked out for the living room. I also love the light wood.

 

I still have a few things here and there that I need to get, but this is the bulk of it. I’m so excited to see how it all comes together when we finally get to move in!

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I’m Going to Law School!

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It’s been a minute hasn’t it? Well, if you missed me don’t fret – you’re about to get the full scoop on what I’ve been up to while I’ve been MIA around here. When I first started Bay State Blonde it was so I could share all my favorite things, the things that bring me all the joy this crazy world has to offer. I feel in some ways I’ve succeeded in that and in others, I have come up short. I really hope that in this next chapter of my life (that you’ll hear about shortly!) I will be able to stay true to that mission and help BSB really grow into what it was always meant to be. So what’s been going on? What on earth has made me so busy that I’ve neglected one of my biggest passions? 

Well…after graduating nearly a year ago, I have started a full time job in Boston, adopted the cutest pup in the world, oh and got into law school.

I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I knew I wanted to be a lawyer, but it’s been all I ever saw myself doing since I was in grade school. Law school was one of those dreams I woke up with each morning and went to bed with each night. This dream and I grew to be so intertwined that there came a point where I couldn’t even tell who I was if not an aspiring lawyer. Well, as it goes with most dreams, this one came with its share of trying times and seemingly endless challenges. Firstly, I knew very little people who had applied to law school before and I was the first in my family to ever even entertain the idea of grad school. Next, there was the biggest roadblock at all – the voice in my head telling me all the things I couldn’t do instead of all the amazing things I could. I could (and probably will) write an entire post about that voice and how I’ve learned to quiet it. But for the sake of saving you guys from having to read a novel today, I’ll just say that this voice proved to be my most tenacious rival throughout this process. Now let me tell you something you probably already know, applying to school is hard work. It’s a full time job on top of your full time job. I had to make sacrifices – this blog was unfortunately one of them – but… it paid off!

I spent most of last summer studying for the LSAT and all of fall working on my applications. I sent my applications to a few schools in early December very unsure of what to expect. I was hoping for good news to come as an early Christmas present. But given the fact that schools take anywhere from weeks to months to get back to you, I knew it was a long shot. Nevertheless, I found myself checking my email so often it became a mindless habit.

Christmas came and went and I left for Florida to spend New Year’s with my boyfriend and his family. While away I did my best not to think about it and to just enjoy my time, but the curiosity, nervousness, and excitement permeated my every thought. I’ve always had high hopes of big things happening in 2019 and I was dizzy with the thought of what this next year could bring. After returning from all the New Year’s Eve celebrations, I have this distinct memory of looking at myself in the mirror and seeing something different I couldn’t quite explain. Blame it on the champagne, but in that moment I said, “this year I’m finally going to live my dream.” Well, God wasted no time. On the evening of January 1st, I opened my email to find a message with the subject “Welcome to Duke Law.”

That moment is one I already know I’ll remember forever. I couldn’t believe that my dream was finally a reality. At the time I didn’t know what school I would choose, but it’s not surprising that I ended up choosing the school that made me feel so special right off the bat.

Despite all the excitement I was afraid to really consider what this news meant. I’ve lived in Massachusetts my whole life, aside from the four years I spent just an hour away in Providence. I know that moving away is a normal part of life and something that people do every day, but to me it seemed like the most daunting thought in the world. Over the next few months I waited as more schools got back to me, but with each new acceptance I couldn’t help but compare it to Duke.

In late March, I went down to visit Duke’s campus. At first I felt like I was in a foreign world. Where were the old colonial houses I grew so used to back home? Why was the city so quiet? After grabbing dinner, my mom and I took a drive to the Sarah P. Duke Gardens on campus and that’s all it took. I think it took a good minute or two for me to pick my jaw up off the ground after seeing the awe inspiring beauty of this place. The sun had just started to slip below the tallest tree line and specks of golden light were splattered along the rows of flowers. In that moment this place that once seemed too foreign and far, felt entirely like home. If you ever have the chance to visit, please do. It really is quite a beautiful piece of our little world.

For the first time in weeks, I went to sleep that night with more excitement than fear about this new chapter of my life. The following day was filled with the kindest faces that made Duke feel even more like home. By the end of the day I was itching to get to the bookstore to start building my collection of apparel. When it was time to go, all I wanted to do was stay. The flight home felt far quicker than it had been on the way down. Everything truly began to fall into place and to add to an already happy ending, my little brother decided to move down with me and be my roommate. Such a beautiful surprise that I never would have expected, instantly settled any last worries I had about being alone. As it turns out, my new home will be filled with family and tons and tons of love. We will be heading down in August together and at last, I feel as though I understand when people say “if it’s meant to be it will be.” A year ago I could only dream that someday I’d be writing this post. I cannot wait to see what other beautiful surprises lie ahead.

Thanks for letting me share this slice of my life with you, but now it’s my turn to read! Have you guys ever moved far away from home? Have you ever gone to law school or grad school? I’d love to share in your experiences as well, so comment below or feel free to reach out to me!

If there’s anything else that I didn’t get to share that you’d like to know more about let me know!

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Surviving Finals During the Holiday Season

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Happy Holidays!

The most wonderful time of the year can easily become one of the most stressful for college students. When all you want to do is drink hot cocoa and decorate your dorm in christmas colors, you are stuck in the library studying for finals or finishing all those endless assignments. Finals week can be tough, but it seems especially hard during the holiday season.

For me, I just got back from Thanksgiving Break and bam! finals, paper, projects all seem to have piled up overnight. I just want to be back home in my bed with Netflix and no work looming over my head. After talking to my friends, and working as a tutor at my college, I have found that I am not alone in this. So many students begin to feel rundown and burnt out this time of the year, and the excitement of the holidays is just another distraction.

So today, I am going to talk about all my tips for surviving the end of the semester and finals when all you really want to think about is the holiday season. This is a long post, but hopefully a helpful one!

  1. Remind yourself of how far you’ve come. Maybe this semester was really tricky, or maybe it was a breeze, but either way you’ve made it this far and that’s something to be proud of. You’ve already put in the work up to this point and it’s important to take a minute to recognize this, especially when it seems like there’s so much more to be done. This leads me to my next point…
  2. Make a thorough list of everything you have left do. You can write this on a sheet of paper or make a checklist or an excel sheet – it’s all about what works for you. I’ve tried each way and I am a big fan of excel sheets. I actually make one at the beginning of the semester for all my classes based on the information in the syllabus. This helps me to track my progress throughout the whole semester. But you can do the same thing just for finals. Once you have everything laid out in front of you and when it’s due, it should begin to seem a bit more manageable.
  3. Start working! Whether you want to start with the easiest assignment and get it out of the way or just tackle each little by little, you have to start somewhere! For me, I take one day where I get a head start on everything and plan out each project, paper, or study plan.
    1. For papers: I start by picking apart the assignment and making a list of all the aspects that I need to address. Sometimes my papers just flow and I can skip this step. However, often when I feel overwhelmed, I need to start tackling it piece-by-piece. I take the prompt and then make and outline. If it’s a research paper, I head straight for the library and take over a table with books and papers with colorful sticky notes. Then I feel that I can begin writing.
    2. For projects: I mainly do the same things as I do for a paper, but it all depends on the project. My big projects for this semester are: researching different financial indexes over the last few recessions and coming up with an art project (about my blog!). For the finance one, I start by figuring out what information I need and making a list (I love lists). Then I’ll start gathering the information and go from there. For the art project, I plan on making an outline of my presentation and the key points I want to hit and then incorporating it all together in Powerpoint.
    3. For exams: As a tutor, I get a lot of people coming to me with help for exam prep. Each class is different, so exam prep needs can vary. I find it especially helpful if the professor gives a list or outline of the information that the exam will cover. Some professors do and some don’t. I then take the list and mark everything I am completely confident on in green, the things I know a good amount about but am still unsure of in yellow, and the stuff I really don’t know or really need to review in red. This helps me to see what I should focus most on. (These Stabilo Pens are my favorite!) From there I’ll begin making a study guide. I like to handwrite mine on blank computer paper because it gives me complete freedom to put things where I want (I also like trying to make them as pretty as possible). I find that making these guides are useful because I am reading over my notes and the material again, but I am finding new ways to express the information. Make sure you fully understand what you’re writing or mark it to come back to again on your guide.*This is a very brief overview, feel free to comment below if you have any questions. Hopefully soon I’ll be able to come up with a better and more comprehensive guide you guys, so let me know if you have any suggestions*
  4. Set a schedule. Sometimes I do this before starting, sometimes I have to start my projects before I can even figure out how much time to devote to each. Try to set a realistic schedule for how much time you will have to work on each assignment and prioritize based on due date and difficulty. My paper is due last, but I know that I can’t save it for last because it is going to take me the longest to finish! Make sure to allow time for breaks and not to overwork yourself. It’s easy to say that you are going to spent 8 hours straight in the library, but it’s much harder to actually stay productive for 8 hours…
  5. Make time for fun! Yes, it’s finals week, but it’s also the last week of the semester which probably means that it’s the last time you’ll see your friends until you get back! Take time to do things you enjoy, college is all about balance. Plus, if you’ve stayed on tray with the steps above, you’re probably much farther ahead than you would have been anyway, so you deserve a little break. Go downtown and see the christmas lights, maybe go ice-skating. Do something for yourself!
  6. Speaking of doing things for yourself, make sure that you are eating and sleeping and drinking water. The first two aren’t issues for me but the last is my downfall. I am always forgetting to drink enough water, but it is so, so important! All three are. I have seen my friends pull all-nighters and be miserable for the rest of the week. I know everyone says it, but it’s true! Take care of yourself first, it’s not worth making your first trip home one to urgent care (like I did…sorry Mom).
  7. Finally, remember to breathe and have confidence. You can do this! And before you know it, the exams will be over, your papers and projects will be turned in and you can focus on relaxing and being with family and friends!

I hope this helped! I’d love to hear for you guys. Did you find these tips helpful? What are some of your favorite ways to stay sane during finals week? Feel free to comment below.

Love Ashley