The Classic Brunette: March 2016

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Sorority Jewelry with A-list Greek

As many of you know, I'm a sorority girl. Joining Alpha Gam is one of the best decisions I've made in college, and I'm so happy and grateful for all the opportunities it has brought me. I joined during my sophomore year, and I've made so many close friends in the sorority that I can tell anything to. I'm not saying sororities are for everyone, but if you do think it's something you're somewhat interested in, I highly recommend it!

I'm so excited to feature the company A-list Greek today because they make such cute sorority accessories! The founder, Hope Gray, is actually an alum from one of the sororities at Chapman, which is why I'm even more thrilled to be working with her and her team. (Also all Chapman alums!) When Hope reached out to me to collaborate I immediately said yes. A-List Greek offers so many quality products from stackable rings, big/little matching jewelry sets, marquee lights, and more! If you aren't in a sorority, they also do super cute customizable necklaces. I'm honestly in love with everything on their site, and will definitely be recommending them to anyone looking for sorority swag. 



I think the stackable rings are my absolute favorite. They're adjustable so they fit any finger, and the rose gold is just too pretty. I just love how girly and dainty they are and they work so well with my other rings. Ever notice how well rose gold pairs with all other metals? I'm already wearing these daily, and have gotten so many compliments on them.

Another thing I loved about the company is how cute their packaging is! All my items came in an envelope sealed with gorgeous gold washi tape, and who doesn't love any excuse to add a touch of gold? Then there was this adorable box the rings came in and I knew I was already in love. I also got some cute Alpha Gam temporary tattoos along with some Alpha Gam and A-list Greek hairties that were so pretty. Plus, who doesn't need more hair ties, they're always disappearing on me! They are also ridiculously fast when it comes to shipping, that might just be because I live a town over from their office, but even then it was so quick! All these little extra details really push A-list Greek over the edge and show that the women there are going the extra mile for their customers. 

Working with Hope and her team has been so amazing, and they are all such sweet women. I can't wait to see how this company evolves over the next few years. Be sure to check out their website and get yourself something nice. ;)

Don't forget to check out their social media channels as well! Follow them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Blue and White Porcelain Print Dress







Dress: Marshalls, Similar | Shoes: Nordstrom Rack, Similar | Sunglasses: Sunscape (only $16!) | Lipstick: Too Faced Melted in Melted Peony

I came back from my spring break yesterday, so today means the start of school again. I would much rather stay in vacation land and not go back to the real world! I spent a great week in Lake Tahoe, where we had such random weather.  The day we came up it was a little chilly, then the next night is snowed about 4-5 inches, and two days later all the snow had melted away. Even though I knew there was going to be snow, I didn't pack like it. I had a romper, a few dresses, and some tank tops. I only brought one sweater and one jacket, so I survived in those basically the entire time!

I really wanted to have this post up for Thursday, but with the snow it was not an option. I was freezing just walking to and from the hotel room, so I was not about to step out in a short dress and stand in the wind for a half hour. Thankfully it heated up later in the week and I was able to be comfortable outside in this dress and now I can share it with you! 

I found it at Marshalls and fell in love with it. It's perfect for the warmer weather and I just can't get enough of the bell sleeves! The material is also super light weight and soft, so I feel like I'm dressed in pajamas. Have I mentioned how much I love pajamas? I couldn't find the exact dress anywhere online, but that's always how it is with Marshalls. All the good stuff is hiding in the store! Also this is in no way sponsored, I just really love Marshalls. I'm probably in there and T. J. Maxx like twice a week, it's a pretty bad habit of mine. 

What did you do this week?

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Spring Bralettes and Pajamas

If there's anything that really excites me while shopping, it's buying new bras. I'm not sure why I love it so much (my wallet sure doesn't!) but I love all the fun colors, patterns, and trends that come out nearly every month. Bralettes are becoming a whole new sub-category of bras that I can add to my collection, and I just love how stylish they are. I think they're perfect for layering under flowy tanks and dresses, but my favorite way to style them is while lounging in my pajamas! This Spring is bringing in some great colors and styles for both bralettes and pajamas, so I wanted to share some of my favorites with you all!

I'm a big believer in staying in pajamas as long as possible. Is it a bad habit? Probably, but I do all my best work while in pajamas at home. In the morning I'll wake up, drink a glass of water to start my day, look over my To-Do list that I've made for the week or the day (let's be honest, I have multiple lists going at all times) and set aside some tasks that I have to do before I leave for school. The morning is also the time where I read a lot of blog posts! I love catching up on my favorite bloggers to see what they're up to while easing into my morning routine. 

What's a typical morning look like for you?

SHOP THE POST:


Monday, March 21, 2016

Blogging Tips From Gossip Girl


If you haven't seen Gossip Girl, then you haven't lived. I joke, but seriously it's a great show if you love drama, great clothes, and New York City. I love the show, but when I started blogging, I realized how great of a blogger Gossip Girl actually was. Looking back on the show for the 4th time watching it through (no shame!) it's obvious that a lot can be learned about Gossip Girl's blogging methods, so here are a few of my favorite tips that I've learned from the show!

Know Your Audience 

Gossip Girl has her audience completely defined. As it says in the opening credits, it's "Your one and only source into the scandalous lives of Manhattan's elite," so her audience is gossip loving teens and young adults based in New York City. What you can take from this is that your blog should fall into a specific audience or niche, and your posts should be relevant to your audience in order to keep them interested in your writing.

Update Consistently

Gossip Girl updates what seems like every five minutes on the show. You definitely don't have to post that often, but maintaining a consistent schedule that your followers know will help bring them back to your blog for every new post. During the times where Gossip Girl stopped updating, she became more and more irrelevant, and people stopped following her. Keeping to a schedule will not only help your followers keep updated on when you will put out a new post, but it helps you as a blogger to stay on track! If you have a posting schedule set, you'll be more inclined to get things down before that deadline. 

Have a Bomb Email List

It seems like Gossip Girl's updates get sent out to everyone's phones, which means she obviously has a great email subscription list! (Btw you can sign up for my email updates in my sidebar!) It's important to have this feature in your blog because it means people can read your blog wherever they have email, and don't need to be on your actual blog to see your content. 

Have a Consistent Voice

Have you noticed that the style of Gossip Girl's writing never changes? It's always sassy, playful, a little snarky, and downright honest. Maintaining a consistent writing voice is key to a successful blog! No one wants to read a blog that is unpredictable, especially concerning writing. If one post is full of swearing and all caps lock and the next one is sweet and full of compliments and "y'alls" you aren't going to understand where this blogger is coming from.

Reference Others In The Community

I'm not saying to go spilling the secrets of everyone you know, but that you should mention others who are relevant to you. This could mean mentioning an interview another blogger in your niche did that you loved, sharing a great post from a blogger friend who's just starting out, or talking about a few of your friends in one of your own posts. Whoever you mention, be sure to let them know that you appreciate them or are speaking about them, and most likely they'll take the time to thank you or share your thoughts with their readers. (which means more readers for you!)

Have you learned anything about blogging from Gossip Girl or any other TV show? 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Seeing Green

I've never been too big of a St.Patrick's Day fan, not that I've had anything against the holiday, but no body I know ever does anything fun! St.Patrick's Day always felt like every other day out of the year except for the fact that someone may threaten to pinch you if you aren't wearing enough green. I've definitely used the "my eyes are green!" excuse when I've been caught without anything green on me! This year I've decided to find some cute accessories that will save me from being pinched!

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Monday, March 14, 2016

What To Pack For Spring Break


Spring break is just around the corner for me, and it seriously couldn't come any sooner! After a bunch of stressful midterms, I'm ready to have a little break from it all! This year my family is heading up to Lake Tahoe instead of staying home, and although it's supposed to snow (what!?) I can always dream of sunny skies. So lets get going on what you need to bring to have the perfect spring break!

The Perfect Weekender

First things first, you need the perfect bag to pack everything in. Whenever I travel home I have my go to monogram weekender that I use. I can easily fit a week's worth of clothes in it, my laptop, a few school books, and more! Having a great, sturdy weekender is something that you'll need not only for college, but for life!

A Stylish Cover Up

Whether you're headed to the beach or the pool, a cute cover up is a must! If you find one that transitions from pool to casual wear, then you've hit the jackpot. I've been loving ones with pom poms, is anyone else obsessed with that trend as well? Shop a few of my favorites below!



Sunscreen

Not just important for a sunny vacation, but for everyday. I always use Neutrogena's Ultra Sheer sunscreen! I have normal to dry skin, and this formula doesn't make me greasy or dry out even more, so it's perfect for me. However, I know everyone's skin is different, so be sure to test what works and doesn't work for you.

Fun, Casual Shoes

If I didn't love cute shoes so much I would spend all day in comfortable flip flops or slippers. The second I see sandals that are both stylish and comfy, I snatch them up! Spring break is the perfect time to break out your flip flops for the beach and then wear some bright sandals while walking around town. Here are some of my favorites!

Check out some more of my favorite spring break items below!


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Friday, March 11, 2016

The Classic Brunette Q&A



I've been seeing a few bloggers here and there doing Q&A type posts recently, and thought now was a good time to put one up! I had you all ask questions on my Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and through email (theclassicbrunette@gmail.com) and here are my answers! 

1. How do you edit your Instagram photos?

This is a very long process, haha. I could probably write a whole post just about editing Instagram photos! I'll give the shorter version, and you can let me know if you want a longer post on it. 

Before the editing even starts, I have to make sure there's good, natural lighting. Harsh fluorescent lights will make the pictures come out yellow and sometimes completely direct sunlight can wash things out. So when I'm taking pictures in my room I make sure to open up all my windows to get as much light as I can. After taking the photos I use a few different apps to edit depending on the photo. Snapseed is my favorite since it allows you to edit individual aspects in the picture. I normally bump up the brightness of my whites here and then add a little contrast and saturation to the colors (but I never go over +25 or it starts looking fake!) For pictures that don't need the individual edits I use A Color Story. I love this app because you can save the editing steps you take if you want so you can use them on future photos! I always add brightness, a little contrast, some clarity (not too much or it looks grainy!), and occasionally I use the "pop" filter or experiment with a few filters that make the whites brighter and colors more vibrant. When I use a filter though I normally drag it down so that the filter is "faded" (Is that the term?) to about the midpoint. 

So there you go! I could definitely go into more detail on that, so let me know if thats something y'all would like to read!

2. What's your favorite place to promote blog posts?

Pinterest! I promote on all social media channels, but Pinterest is my favorite because it really brings people into the blog. (Are we Pinterest pals yet? @samimast) Most of my traffic comes from there, and there's a good reason why! It's super visual (duh!) and I just love to see how specific people can react to each image. Twitter is my second favorite since people can directly respond to me, but it doesn't have the wow factor that Pinterest does. 

3. Where do you get inspiration for your blog?

The biggest inspiration for blog posts comes from my everyday life. If I'm feeling stressful, I write a post about stress. If I saw one of my friends rocking some killer heels, I'll write about heels that I love. Inspiration always comes when I least expect it, and annoying as it is, a lot of time it comes just as I'm falling asleep! I always keep my phone on my nightstand, so when I get an idea I write it down in the notes section. I also get a lot of inspiration from other bloggers as well, if I see someone doing something like the 101 in 1001 posts or something of that nature where everyone can personalize it, I'll think "Wow that's a cool idea!" and I'll write one of my own. I never steal ideas though, that's just a big no-no in not just the blogging world, but the writing world as a whole. 

Outside of that though I will definitely ask my friends and family if they have posts that would interest them or think would interest my audience. Sometimes these ideas pan out, other times they don't, but friends and family are a huge source of inspiration as well.

4. How far ahead do you write posts?

When I have a lot of time on my hands (winter break, summer, etc) I'll write up a few posts that will go over the next few weeks. Other than that though it's mostly a few days before or even the night before! Right now it's 10pm the night after this post was supposed to go live (Midterms!) so sometimes life and time gets away from me, and blog posts don't always get priority!

5. Where is your marble laptop case from?

I get this question all the time!! Probably because I've been putting it on Instagram a lot lately... I actually got it on eBay for pretty cheap! I had seen a lot more expensive versions (there was one with gold corners and I desperately wanted it, but was not okay with spending $75 on it!). So mine is from here and it's color number 22!

6. What's your favorite thing about your school, and what do you suggest high schooler's look for when looking at colleges?

I have to say that my favorite thing about Chapman is how small classes are. I love that the professors know my name and that I can talk openly with them about everything school and personal related. (Shout out to my professor and friend Julye who reads my blog!) That's definitely the best thing because if I do have any issues, or if I'm feeling completely overwhelmed with things, I feel like I can have a real conversation with the professor about what's going on. I know at bigger schools this really isn't a thing, so I'm not sure how the other side feels about this!

The size of Chapman, although great for getting to know teachers, still kind of freaks me out with everything else. What I mean by this is that it almost feels a little like high school at times. I see familiar faces everywhere, this means people I like as well as people that I'm no longer friends with due to a falling out, people I've embarrassed myself in front of, etc. That's really a small negative, but it's definitely a real one! 

What I recommend to high schoolers who are looking at colleges are these things: 

1. The program of your expected major:

I'll use my own major as an example. I knew going into college that I wanted to be a history major, so I looked at schools that had very good history programs. My school makes history majors write a 50 page senior thesis, present to a conference, and most students get published in an award-winning online journal. The program is hard, but go hard or go home, right? If you don't know what you want to major in, don't sweat! Maybe you're interested in a few different ones, research schools that have those areas of study as an option (some schools don't offer specific majors!) and whichever one you end up at, you'll have those options waiting for you.

 2. The Size

The size of your campus will determine what type of community you will have. From what I've read about in my extensive college searches during my senior year of high school as well as what I've heard from friends over the years, the big schools have the most "school spirit." My sister went to UC Berkeley and the school is huge! She had so much school pride, everyone went to the football games in the school's colors, the school had cheers that everyone knew, etc. 

At Chapman, this is completely different. Most people I know only go to our school's Homecoming game, and then ignore the majority of the other sports games during the semester. Of course there is variation, but small schools always tend to lean on the lower side of school spirit. Everyone I talk to loves Chapman, but we definitely don't have that big spirit that is shown in basically all college movies. We do however have a bigger sense of community in the way that everyone knows someone who knows someone. If you want a campus where you'll see friendly faces everyday, look into the smaller or medium schools; if you want the spirit and energy of a whole school gathering together to cheer each other on, maybe look at the bigger schools or schools with exceptional sports teams.

3. Location

Location. Location. Location. I cannot repeat how much I based where I applied on this criteria. I personally wanted to go to school in a bigger city on the East Coast. Funny how I ended up going to a school in a small city in California, right? Maybe you have a favorite city and want to apply to a few schools there, or maybe you want to stay close to home, or if you're feeling like you really need a change of scenery and want to apply to an international school, I say go for it! You really never know what will happen when you're deciding on the schools you actually get into, so apply to the places that interest you, near and far. 

4. Price of Tuition

I would love to say this isn't a factor in college decision making, but it most definitely is. If you know you aren't looking to pay that much for school, look into public schools in your state! Private schools are always much more expensive than public schools, but always remember that scholarships are there to help! (Apply to as many as possible, trust me on this, you never know what you will get!) You can't rely on scholarships and grants for everything though, and if ending up with a lot of student debt isn't what you want, it might be time to cross those more expensive schools off your list (Unless it's your dream school, then I give you my full approval!).

These are just a few of the things I looked for when I was applying to college, and my wants and needs were all over the place! Like I said, I wanted a school on the east coast in a big city, so how did I end up at Chapman? For the longest time I had actually decided I was going to go to NYU. It was one of my dream schools, when I got in I cried because I was so happy. But the program they put me into wasn't for me, I had no financial aid or scholarships, and it just ended up being too expensive. This happened again with Boston University (the place I almost transferred to freshman year, but that's a whole other story) where I just didn't have the funds to make it realistic. I chose Chapman because I wanted a campus, which neither NYU nor BU could 100% give me, it was close to my family, and I got generous scholarships. Everything is really up in the air when it comes to making final decisions on colleges, but trust that you'll end up in the right place! And even if you end up transferring, it doesn't mean you've done it all wrong, it just means you're doing what's right for you.

Woo! That was a long one! If there are any questions I didn't answer let me know in the comments or send me an email at theclassicbrunette@gmail.com!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Obsessed With: Colorful Heels

It's beginning to look a lot like Spring; although in Southern California it's debatable that Winter ever really showed up. This means it's time to store your boots in the back of your closet and bring out your sandals, flip flops, and if you're feeling fancy, some colorful pumps. I never really have an excuse to wear heels, but that doesn't stop me from buying them! You can say that's irresponsible, or you can just say I'm dressing for my dream job, either way I don't see myself ending my love of fun heels. I swear I'll need them someday!

I have a few pairs in my closet that I always bring out for my sorority's business meeting, and I think I'm in need of a few new colorful additions. Here are some of my favorites I've seen that are all under $100! I included a few of my favorite neutrals as well, just because you can never have enough shoes that go with everything in your closet.


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Let me know your favorite in the comments!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Februrary 2016 Instagram Roundup!

Hello lovelies! I've been posting a lot more consistently on my Instagram (@samimast) lately, but can't always give all the details in the short captions! I've decided to start a monthly round up of Instagram posts, that are deserving of more detail. These will hopefully help answer the questions of "Where did you get that?" and "What is that?" etc. that I always have about everyone else's photos. Enjoy!


I've basically been living in this striped tee from Gap (similar) since I bought it a few weeks ago. It's such a staple and it's probably the most comfortable thing I own! Also I've made this Kate Spade tote my official school bag, and I have to say it's perfect for lugging around all my crazy heavy laptop and notebooks!  

Red Heels | Similar Fuchsia Heels | Gold Flats
I have a shoe problem. Too many colorful ones that don't get worn often enough, partly because I have nowhere to wear them! 


Southernly Stated was nice enough to send me this tank top and it's slowly become one of my favorites! I wear it so often since it's so comfortable and the weather's been getting significantly warmer.


My desk is finally organized! Well...it was when I took this photo! I've been trying a new thing where I take a few minutes before bed to clean everything up and put things in their right places. So far its been extremely effective for keeping my room clean!

Similar Earrings
I'm trying to expand my jewelry horizons! More dangly earrings please! Seriously though, if you have any places where you buy cute non-stud earrings let me know in the comments.

Similar Sweater | Similar Shorts | Booties
I'm heading home this weekend, and I already started packing....on Monday. According to my mom the weather has been warm, but my phone says it's supposed to rain. I'll be packing this shorts and sweater combo to try and adhere to all temperatures!

On a separate note, I'm gearing up for a Q&A post for next week! So if you have any questions about anything and everything, ask in the comments, on my Instagram @samimast or email me at theclassicbrunette@gmail.com and I'll answer them next Thursday for my first #TCBAnswers!
 
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