Kate Spade Sale: 5 Under $100

I arrived home from work today to the best news – a Kate Spade surprise sale! Up to 75% off handbags, wallets, jewelry, and clothing. Basically every college girl’s (not to mention every unpaid intern’s) dream come true. Kate Spade is one of my absolute favorite stores, so I took the opportunity to stock up! Here are five of my favorite picks from the sale, all under $100. You can find the sale online here.

1. Charlotte Street Colorblock Alek: $79

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This was my first purchase from the sale and I’m so excited to get it in the mail! I already have a large tote that I use for my internship, but I’ve been wanting a smaller bag for more formal occasions. The Alek is a cross-body bag with snap closure, and has two interior pockets for storage. I personally love the colorblock look, but it’s also available in black, sweetheart pink and guava! The bag was originally over $250, so it’s a total steal.

2. Wallflower Leverbacks: $25

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I love love love Kate Spade earrings, and am especially obsessed with these! They are 12-karat gold plated with white flowers, incredibly classy and perfect for spring. I already have a ton of Kate Spade bow jewelry, so it was refreshing to purchase a more unique piece. I’m planning on wearing them to an evening wedding this spring.

3. Grand Street Neda Wallet: $79

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One of my best friends purchased this wallet for me for my birthday last year in flamingo, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. The wallet is big enough that it can be carried independently from a purse, but it also fits easily in most medium to large totes. Mine has suffered a ton of daily wear and tear, and has held up like a champ! If you’re not a huge pink fan, it also comes in black and pebble.

4. Daycation Passport Holder: $25

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There’s nothing that makes you want to go on a vacation like a new passport holder. I really should do a better job of taking care of my passport – I am prone to just throwing it in the bottom of my purse or luggage when I’m traveling, which is an easy way to accidentally bend or rip the pages. The Daycation Passport Holder helps to protect your most valuable documents while abroad. I also love the flamingo pattern – it will definitely make me think of Florida no matter where I go!

5. Pomona Tank: $39

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Okay, so I know I complained earlier about owning too many Kate Spade items with bows, but this is too good to pass up. The keyhole neckline is so flattering, and the overall tank is perfect for many different venues. You can easily wear it with shorts (on your vacation with your new passport holder, of course) or pair it with a cardigan for a more dressed up look. Plus, when else can you get Kate Spade clothing for under $50?!

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What are your favorite purchases from the Kate Spade surprise sale? Share now by posting in the comments section!

 

College Tips Series: Internship Search

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I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about how I got my internship with the Pentagon this spring, and what advice I would give to others who are searching. Finding the perfect internship is no small task! For many of the ultra-competitive internship programs in New York and Washington DC, thousands of collegians across the country compete for only a few spots. This post contains my best advice on how to avoid all the stress and land your dream summer internship.

1) Explore your University’s Resources

I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to take advantage of the resources offered by your school. Chances are your University has a Career Services Office which is open to all students, for free! Making an appointment with a Career Consultant can help to narrow down your interests as you begin the internship search, and can give you a starting point when you aren’t sure where to begin looking. Many times, Career Consultants have an idea of places students have interned in the past and can put you in touch with people who share common interests.

Your school may have other resources available online, including a resume builder, practice interview questions, or a list of alumni in your chosen field. Try searching your University website to unlock this internship gold!

2) Take Advantage of your Contacts

In Washington DC, contacts are everything. I was able to get my current internship in large part because I had taken the time to get to know an alumna from my university working in the office. Having a contact isn’t a magic bullet: you will still need to show that you are qualified for the position. However, knowing someone in the office you’re applying to can help distinguish your application from the rest.

If you’re reading this and thinking, ‘I don’t have contacts,’ think again! You probably have a lot more than you realize. Start by making a list of everyone you know who works in your intended field, whether friends, family, former classmates, or neighbors. Now think about the best way to get in touch with them and ask for their advice.

If you are worried that reaching out to distant acquaintances about your summer internship might be awkward, keep in mind that everyone likes to be asked for their advice. Work with the Career Services department at your school to craft a polite and thoughtful email and go from there. Then, once you land the internship, don’t forget to continue to build your list of contacts for the future!

3) Polish your Resume and Cover Letter

There’s no getting around the fact that a professional resume and cover letter are essential to being chosen for an internship. Your resume should be one page in length (or up to two pages if you are applying to a position in government or a position where it is clearly indicated that you should list all of your qualifications). There are plenty of great resume builders online, or Career Services can point you in the right direction. Regardless of how you format it, triple check your resume before you send it out for spelling and grammar mistakes – nothing will get you sent to the back of the pile faster.

Writing a cover letter can be tough. The key to a perfect cover letter is that it be succinct (less than one page), personalized to the job you are applying to, and persuasive as to why you are the best candidate. Think of the cover letter as a short essay. It should contain a thesis (I am the best candidate for this position), and supporting arguments with specific examples illustrating why you are qualified. Again, be sure to look over your cover letter before it’s sent out to make sure there are no spelling or grammar mistakes and you referenced the right company name!

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How did you land your dream internship? Got ideas for future “College Tips” to be included on the blog? Let me know in the comments section!

Wear-to-Work Style

I can’t believe I’m already more than halfway done with my first week of work! These past few days have been a rush of getting moved into my apartment, meeting my coworkers and starting to get used to living in the city.

The weirdest part so far has been listening to the sound of cars and people outside my window at night. In Lexington, everything is so much quieter! It’s definitely going to take some getting used to.

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Yesterday, our class had an especially exciting day because we were invited to participate in a meet and greet with a senator on Capitol Hill. I absolutely love spending time on the Hill and walking through the beautiful marble halls of the Capitol building.

For the meet and greet, I wore an eye-catching red blazer, a classic white blouse, and a figure flattering pencil skirt. Here’s how to recreate my professional look with similar items:

1) A Pop of Color: Red Blazer

I was a little hesitant to wear such a bright colored blazer to work. At the Pentagon, clothing choices tend to be more conservative, and I didn’t know if it would be appropriate. To my pleasant surprise, my supervisor immediately complimented me on my outfit when I walked through the door! I can now confidently conclude that a red blazer belongs in everyone’s closet, regardless of your workplace.

A colorful blazer immediately draws the eye, and can add a youthful touch to your professional ensemble. I like this blazer in particular, which is the same brand as mine, because it has a more relaxed form and can easily be re-purposed to wear with jeans for a more casual event.

2) The Classic White Blouse

It’s so important to have at least one classic white blouse in your closet (aside from a white button down, which is also crucial). A classic white blouse is easy to wear with your favorite pencil skirt or cropped pants, especially if they have a pattern which makes them difficult to match with other colors.

I recommend choosing a classic white blouse with a few subtle differences to help set you apart. That’s why I’m so obsessed with this blouse, which is a v-neckline with a drape tie-neck you can make into a bow. I love tie-neck blouses so much that I actually have an almost identical version of this shirt in purple!

3)  Patterned Pencil Skirt

This is my first pencil skirt, and I love it. I have always been cautious about buying longer skirts because I’m on the short side, but I actually think the length is incredibly flattering (even more so than some of my shorter skirts).

The particular pattern I’m wearing from White House | Black Market was a little difficult to find online, so instead I am linking to one of my favorite alternatives. This skirt is the same length and style as the one I am wearing in the picture, but with a beautiful spring appropriate pattern. I love the idea of dressing up florals to be work appropriate! It’s definitely on my must-have list.

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I can’t forget to add that after our meet and greet, my apartment hosted a dessert party for our class. It was so much fun to spend time with everyone, and to enjoy these amazing sweet treats!

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How has your week been going? And what do you think of my first wear-to-work style? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section!

 

Last Day in Lexington

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I’m a little in denial that today was my last full day in Lexington. Tomorrow morning, I will be packing up all my things and heading to Washington, DC for my spring internship. As excited as I am to start working at the Pentagon, it’s definitely a little bittersweet. My boyfriend will be graduating at the end of this month, and we will officially become long distance as he heads off to flight training to become a pilot in the Air Force! I will see him again for his commissioning ceremony in May, but this will be the last time we are both living in the same city for quite awhile.

William and I celebrated my last day in Rockbridge County with a trip to the Roanoke mall. Unsurprisingly, I spent a small fortune in Sephora, and he graciously didn’t complain when I dragged him shoe shopping. (To be fair, we also spent a considerable amount of time in Sears looking at tools, auto parts, grills and lawnmowers.)

William bought me this Alex and Ani bracelet as a goodbye gift, which was incredibly thoughtful! I love the mermaid and the nautical inspiration.

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On the way home from the mall, we decided to take back-roads to enjoy the beautiful Virginia scenery. I will never get used to the mountains! During the springtime, the Blue Ridge Mountains are a stunning backdrop for an otherwise completely green landscape.

We stopped to take some pictures in this field and I love how they turned out. The faded lighting looks almost vintage, and you can see all of the colors of a perfect spring day in rural Virginia. I will miss this view when I head off to the big city life in DC! I’m wearing another of my favorite new dresses from Old Navy. I am so happy with the length and the relaxed fit, and you can get it on sale now from the Old Navy website.

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What are you looking forward to this spring? What words of encouragement do you have for me as I head off to my internship? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section!

Springtime Deals: $7 Old Navy Tunic

What a crazy week! After spending some time at home, I’m getting ready to head back up to Lexington for the last few days of my spring break. Then, on Monday, I will be starting my spring internship in Washington DC at the Pentagon with the Department of Defense.

It has been wonderful to spend some time with my family, but I’m definitely excited to get started with my internship. Expect many internship tips and wear-to-work outfits to come, not to mention stories from my adventures in DC!

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While I’ve been home for spring break, my mom and I have done a ton of shopping. One of my favorite finds has been this blue geometric tunic from Old Navy, which I got for less than $20 in the store. I was so excited when I took this top off the hanger and read the price tag. Now, since Old Navy is having a 30% off sale, the tunic is only $7 online (which is completely unbelievable!)

The tunic is super lightweight, and goes perfectly with a pair of white jeans. I personally think the v-neck cut is about as flattering as it gets. Pair with Sperry’s or Jack Rogers for a nautical feel, or dress it up with wedges. Did I mention it’s only seven dollars?! Grab it from the Old Navy website before the sale ends tonight to get the 30% off discount!

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Get the Look:

  1. Shirt: Old Navy Blue Geometric Tunic ($7 online until midnight tonight!)
  2. Pants: American Eagle Denim Artist Crop Jeans (similar)
  3. Backpack: Coach Turnlock Rucksack in pebble leather
  4. Shoes: Sperry Firefish Boat Shoes
  5. Nails: OPI in Strawberry Margarita

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What are your favorite springtime deals? Let me know in the comments section!

J Crew Factory 50% Off Sale

One of my favorite stores, J Crew Factory, is having an online sale today only until 11:59 PM! Everything online is 50% off, including clearance items. To celebrate, here are two must-have items to snap up tonight before the sale ends.

1. Navy Cora Suede Loafers

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I am seriously so excited to have found these loafers. I am normally more of a ballet flats kind of girl, but as soon as I tried these on in the store, I knew I had to have them. They are comfortable, work appropriate, and can be dressed up or down for the occasion. I could honestly wear these shoes every day and never get sick of them.

They’re on sale now and get a nearly perfect 4.3/5 stars on the J Crew Factory website. A perfect spring break splurge to celebrate the end of exams.

2. Printed T-shirt Dress

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I’m absolutely in love with this factory printed T-shirt dress. The pattern is so vibrant, and the fabric drapes perfectly. I’m a huge fan of J Crew dresses (seriously, they make up like half of my closet) because I know I can expect high quality material that will stand up to everyday wear and tear. This dress is definitely no exception. Pair it with a blazer and heels for work, or throw on a cardigan for class or a dinner date.

Bonus: the t-shirt dress comes in several other patterns, including mint cream, navy ivory dot, and seashore. Perfect for spring and so affordable at 50% off.

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What did you buy at the J Crew sale? Share your new purchases or shopping wishlist with me in the comments section!

Spring Break State of Mind

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The semester is finally over! I’m absolutely thrilled to be home and finished with exams. I love getting the chance to come home and spend time with my family (and of course my little dog Missy, who is always the first one to greet me at the door with a sloppy kiss when I get home!)

Since I’ve been home, my mom and I have hit up two of my favorite destinations: the mall and the nail salon. On Saturday, we also stopped by the St. Petersburg Mainsail Art Festival, featuring over 250 amazing visual artists! As an added bonus, they also had make-your-own hand dipped ice cream bars. Mmmm, so yummy. Check out my Instagram noellejulia for a delicious photo.

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Whenever I’m home on break, I always jump at the chance to put on resort wear and beachy clothing. There’s definitely nothing like Lilly Pulitzer to put me in the mood for Spring Break! Above, I’m wearing the Lilly Tabbie Tank Top, part of the Resort Basics collection. The tank is super stretchy, so it stays in place and tucks in perfectly to shorts for an “I’m ready for the cruise” look. The fabric is also much better quality than most of the tanks I own from other designers.

Lilly releases the Tabbie Tank in new prints all the time, so check back to the website frequently if you’re looking for a particular color! Right now they are offering True Navy and Resort White, both of which would match perfectly with patterned Lilly shorts.

I love wearing Jacks with my Lilly. They are the perfect shoes for Spring Break, and when paired with a Lilly tote, you’ll be feeling the beach no matter where you are! I’m wearing Jack Rogers Georgica Sandals in Gold,which are a nice change from the classic pair of Jacks I wear almost every day. They don’t get dirty as quickly as the regular Jacks do, and they’re a little dressier.

Last but not least, the Lilly tote. A must have for spring breakers everywhere. Shop my current print obsessions online at Lilly Pulitzer: Let’s Cha Cha, Flamenco, and Under my Umbrella.

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Where’s your spring break destination, and what will you wear when you get there? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section!

Dress for Success

On Wednesday night, I was invited to attend an Omicron Delta Kappa banquet honoring Lieutenant General Frank Libutti. Lt. General Libutti oversaw more than 80,000 Marines during his time in the military, and after serving in the Marine Corps went on to hold leadership positions in the NYPD and the Department of Homeland Security.

As a Global Politics major, it was an absolute dream come true to meet Lt. General Libutti and hear his advice on how to be an effective leader! In case you’re curious, the best piece of advice I picked up from the talk was to surround yourself with not only the best and the brightest, but also to form your inner circle of mentors and advisers from people who possess high moral character. While skill and intelligence may be important, there is no substitute for people who are committed to doing what is right.

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I definitely struggled with what to wear to the talk. At times, it can be very difficult (read: impossible) to find clothes that are both professional and age appropriate. As a petite woman, I find this to be an especially challenging struggle. I want to look put together, but not like I’m trying on my mom’s (or worse, my grandma’s) clothes for dress-up!

My solution: add a pop of color. For the banquet, I decided on a skirt (similar here) that is both professional and youthful. The bright color immediately draws the eye, and the flattering fit is business casual appropriate without being aging. I’m wearing the J. Crew Classic Mini in Spearmint. I’m totally bummed this skirt is sold out on the website, but luckily J. Crew Factory offers a pencil skirt version in tons of different color options! My favorite is “brilliant aqua.”

A bright skirt is a definite must have for a spring or summer internship! You know it’s a style win when even the First Lady is wearing it.

I accessorized with my super comfy black Merona Lainee Pumps (my post about them can be found here), and rings from Kate Spade. I also brought my trusty navy blue Longchamp, which has become my office staple because it’s light-weight and roomy enough to hold everything I need.

I wear the Kate Spade Love Notes Bow Ring basically everywhere I go, especially if I can pair it with other jewelry like the Kate Spade Take a Bow Ring. They match with anything, and as someone who absolutely loves bows they are a perfect girly touch without being over the top! (Excuse the unpainted nails, it’s finals week at W&L and I’ve been totally crazed for the past couple weeks trying to end the semester on a high note! A celebratory manicure is definitely in order now that I’m done with my exams).

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How do you dress for success when it comes to creating a professional look? Share your suggestions in the Comments section!

Everyday Style: Headbands

I definitely consider headbands to be an everyday fashion staple, especially for a girl on the go. When I wake up in the morning, I often have to be out the door in less than thirty minutes for class or a meeting. I don’t always have time to achieve the perfect blowout or to curl my whole head. Over the years, I’ve turned to headbands as a quick way to create a polished hairstyle without all the fuss.

In addition to a time-saver, I also use headbands as an excuse to channel my inner Blair Waldorf. As anyone who has ever watched Gossip Girl knows, headbands are a great way to accessorize, show off your personal style, and add some flair to an outfit. There are also about a million different ways to wear them (see here, here, and here for just three examples, courtesy of Queen B herself).

The best part is, with headbands, you can truly choose your own price range. The headband I’m wearing in the above pictures can be found online at Francesca’s for only $14. Below I’ve included links to my current Nordstrom headband obsessions, ranging from $20 to upwards of $100. Plus, Nordstrom offers free shipping and free returns on all orders!

Without further ado, here are eleven of my favorite headband picks – from beaded to bows to wraps.

Everyday Style: Headbands

Everyday Style: Headbands by noellejuliablog 

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How do you accessorize? Send me suggestions in the comments box!

Good Morning Baltimore

Capping off a very busy week, I spent the past two days at a conference in Baltimore, Maryland! I am the president of my school’s ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) program, which pairs college students with individuals in the community who need English language assistance. I was invited with two other members of the organization to attend the 50th annual TESOL (Teachers of English for Speakers of Other Languages) Conference in Baltimore.

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First, let me just say how much I love Baltimore. It was so nice to get away from the college bubble for a little while and spend some time in a big city. The weather wasn’t too cold while we were there, but it was incredibly windy! We explored the beautiful Baltimore Inner Harbor area and went downtown to check out the nightlife after the conference.

Walking around the city, I paired a light coat with my blue polka-dot conference dress (similar here). I also made sure to wear my favorite comfy flats for the conference. They’re nothing too fancy but they are incredibly comfortable and I always get a lot of compliments on them. The flats are perfect for long internship commutes, professional events with a lot of walking, or just comfortable everyday wear.

At the conference I heard best practices for teaching English from teachers and schools across the globe. I was amazed by all the creative things teachers are doing to improve the lives of their students. One organization had started a summer book club for refugee children, and another was using theater to teach children English. It was also fun seeing people from so many different cultural backgrounds in one place. Standing in the lobby of the conference center there were six or seven different languages being spoken at any given time!

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Oh, the food! I’ve never felt so full in my life. We definitely didn’t skimp on going to delicious restaurants. For dinner on Thursday night we ate at Maisy’s. My first time at Maisy’s was earlier this year when my boyfriend and I went to Baltimore on an overnight trip. It’s a dark, pub-like atmosphere, and the waitresses all call you “darling” when you walk in.

We ordered calamari as an appetizer to split between the three of us and it was super crispy and tasty. The best part, though, was definitely the main course. I ordered the Crab Filet Mignon, which is steak encrusted with blue cheese and crab and topped with raspberry sauce. AKA the best thing I’ve ever put in my mouth! I highly recommend Maisy’s to anyone in the Baltimore area.

For lunch on Friday we went to the French Kitchen, located in the Lord Baltimore Hotel. The restaurant itself is absolutely beautiful and the food was even better. I ordered the chicken pot pie. The pastry was thick and a lot more hearty than I expected, and it even included a crown, the symbol of the Lord Baltimore Hotel! By the time we got back to the conference I felt like I was entering a food coma.

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I am home in Lexington now preparing for final exams and I’m already missing the conference and the city vibes. Do you prefer city or country life? What are your best travel tips? Shout out in the comments section!