Back to school: The ultimate list of dorm essentials + the one item not to forget on move-in day!

Back to school shopping used to be one of my favorite parts of a new school year, as I’m sure it was for many people. A particularly fun year was before my freshman year of college. The items on your back-to-school shopping list were more than just clothes, notebooks and new pens, but also bedding, kitchen items, and even some furniture. While this list seems exciting, it can also be overwhelming with the amount of choices in stores like Target, Walmart, and Bed Bath and Beyond.

As a college student who lived in 4 separate forms of housing, as well as a 2 year NYC apartment veteran, I have learned through trial and error what the best products are and where to buy them.

My advice here is to not be to concerned about matching everything your roommate has, as that seems unnecessary to me. You should pick what you want it to look like and maybe it can compliment your roommate’s vision.

My other tip is that not everything needs to be totally instagram-worthy. Definitely get cute items if you like them, but I don’t think spending outrageous amounts of money on dorm items is the best choice, as they can tend to get ruined or just worn out after a few years! I personally splurged on my bedding and kept everything else simple.

Without further ado, here are my dorm essential picks!

Bedding Essentials

Cute and functional duvet and shams

Lilly Pulitzer for PB Teen Duvet and Shams in Orchid Border and Elephant Bazaar

My bedding that I used all 4 years of college was from the Lilly Pulitzer for Garnet Hill Collection, which I loved! Unfortunately, that’s no longer available, but Pottery Barn came out with a new collection last year which has a whole bunch of awesome bedding and furniture. My sister actually has the Elephant Bazaar in her dorm currently, and we have the Orchid Border with the Bolster Pom Pom Pillows in the twin bedroom in my house on Martha’s Vineyard!

A duvet insert

Naturally, a duvet means you need a duvet insert. I had a microfiber one as opposed to down, because its less expensive, but also just in case of spills or who knows what. Down is not the easiest to dry or clean.

A comfy mattress topper

This is the same mattress topper that I had, which seems expensive but I knew I would have a twin XL bed for at least 3 years. It was also SO comfortable, I had the best bed and my friends would even come over to sit on my bed!

The ultimate mattress protector

The same exact mattress protector I had, which protects from everything you could possibly think of. I truly don’t think another one is worth the money!

Neutral sheets and pillowcases

I kept it very simple with a jersey cotton sheet set! The set won’t break the bank, are easy to throw in the wash, and are super comfortable. I still have these type of sheets at my apartment!

A body pillow

My roommate and I both had our beds against the walls, which obviously meant each of us had a cement block wall next to our beds. We both had body pillows to help us from not touching the often cold, cinder block wall. I had a fun, furry one which made my bed extra cozy and Morgan had a monogrammed body pillow!

A cozy blanket

My boyfriend and I are all about the cozy blankets! He got me this one from Walmart before I moved into my new apartment, and it was the perfect gift to match my bedding! In college, I had a similar white one that I folded at the end of my bed.

Headboard pillow

I didn’t have a headboard at first in my dorm, until I found a piece that goes on like a headboard that someone left in the hall after de-bunking their bed. I got lucky there, but I wished I had a cushier head board instead of the ugly brown wooden one. This pillow headboard would have covered the ugly brown one, I wish I knew about these sooner! Here is another pillow headboard from BB&B!

Bath and Laundry

Towels and washcloths

Having a few extra clean towels is always a good idea, so I’ve linked these towels from Target, which are plain but useful. I picked up these ones as hand towels for my current apartment when we moved in because there is a Target right near us! Here are some options from Walmart and Bed Bath and Beyond as well.

A simple shower caddy

Nothing screams college dorm more than a shower caddy, right? I had this exact same one from Bed Bath and Beyond my freshman year, and you really don’t need anything fancier than this. They now even have phone pockets?! This has me cracking up, but I guess it is smart just in case someone accidentally locks you out of the room when you are in the shower! Here are some other shower caddy options from Amazon, Target and Walmart. I have recommended all mesh versions, because you don’t want to have something else to clean, and these don’t retain water, so theres no mold involved!

A sturdy hamper

I got a hamper on a HomeGoods run with my mom before college, and I still have it to this day! While it held up pretty well, it has really started to breakdown recently. I love it so much I just keep it to put my dirty jeans in. I replaced that with a hamper that has separate sections for whites, darks, and colors, which I’m a big fan of since I am a laundry sorting stickler. However, in a dorm you probably want something a little smaller, so here are some options from Bed Bath and Beyond, Amazon, Target and Walmart.

Storage and other items

Bedside table

This cart from Target is cute for using as surface space, as well as storage. It’s always great to have spaces to put things so they are not in the way in such a small space! Sterilite drawers also are great for extra storage and some surface space near your bed.

Extra drawers

If you are anything like me, you’ll probably need more than the 3 drawers that the school gives you in your dorm furniture. I got some easily movable Sterilite plastic drawers  that I actually packed some of my clothes in for the move. It made it easy to move limited items but it was pretty heavy! Here are Target and BB&B options as well.

Lamp

Absolutely necessary in my opinion! The lighting in dorms is typically very institutional. In other words, it’s not very good. I loved doing work in bed, so a lamp was great to either turn on with the lights off or just for some extra lighting! I still have this classic, plain Target lamp. Similar options from Bed Bath and Beyond, as well as Walmart.

Over-the-door hooks

These will come in handy on both the door too the room, as well as on the closet doors! I found the more hooks, the better. Here are options from Target (with a basket on top!), Walmart and BB&B (also has a towel bar — perfect!).

Under bed bins

Bins under your bed are a great way to store extra clothes, as well as baskets for snacks, cleaning supplies, or bags!

Trunk

I just think that a trunk is a quintessential going off to college item! I had a green trunk that my mom bought for me years ago from Bed Bath and Beyond, and I brought it to college with me. My sister ended up getting one too, just because its so cute! It also doubles as storage, so although it took up a lot of room in my little dorm room, I made space! While they are on the expensive side, I have linked a few different options from Target, Walmart, Bed Bath and Beyond, Pottery Barn, and Amazon.

Decorations

Fairy lights

Soft fairy lights add another nice form of lighting, as well as decoration to a dorm room or apartment. These photo clip lights are also perfect for polaroids! *buys for apartment*

Cork boards & letter boards

As you can see from my freshman year dorm photos, cork boards were the move (I had these tile ones). Letter boards came into the game later, and they are so cute!

Frames

Cute frames can also make your dorm feel more home-y, whether they are for family/friend photos or even fun prints (like my favorites from Evelyn Henson!). Frames from Target, Walmart and Amazon linked here! My wall frames pictured here are the ones linked from Amazon, which were inexpensive and look great on a white wall.

Acrylic organizers

Perfect to keep on that institutional desk that you can’t get rid of! I loved having these to just hold my little things and get them out of the way, all in one place. They look put together and they can be for more than just makeup/beauty items. I just picked up a new one from Target, and had this one in college, plus here is another one of my favorites!

Essential Oil Diffuser

This is the perfect item to help you destress when you are in your dorm room. You can get relaxing essential oils and mix them together to create great scents! Also great because you can’t have candles in dorm rooms. (I did and I always forgot to hide them and would have to get my room inspected lol) Linked from BB&B, Walmart, Target and Amazon!

Hanging aids

Command hooks, strips and Scotch mounting putty and mounting tape are king in a temporary space. The best way to hang up photos, lights and hooks are command brand! That way when you leave the room you wont get charged for damages. These command clips are also great for hanging lights on the wall!

The one item not to forget for move-in day

A great pair of scissors

Honestly, my friend’s mom got me this exact pair of Scotch scissors right before I moved in and thank god she did! These were being used throughout the entire move in and I kept them in my desk drawers, so they were easily accessible. They got a ton of use, and I feel like they are a very forgotten tool, especially on move-in day when you need them the most! DON’T FORGET THESE!

 

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My favorite Glossier products

I have never been much of a makeup girl (other than mascara), but last year I stepped into the Glossier show room for the first time with my friend, Elizabeth, and I was instantly drawn to all their products. I don’t know if it was the monochromatic packaging or the fun product names, but I felt compelled to buy some makeup for the first time in a long while.

The show room allows you to sample and try their products, which are all laid out on white pedestals. Since the line isn’t huge, they have everything very spread out and organized in a type A fashion. My first visit, I purchased 2 lidstar cream eyeshadows and 3 balm dot com skin salves. I since have been back several times and made a few other purchases, such as the lash slick, solid perfume, and more.

Here are some of my Glossier favorites so far:

Lash Slick

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The lash slick is a great mascara for length. They don’t really make my lashes volumized, but they do a great job of lengthening and not clumping together. While I usually prefer a black-brown mascara, lash slick is all black. It still looks great and does the job while not being too much. I personally think it’s great for both day and night, aka perfect for a day-to-night look from work!

Lidstar

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I have purchased lidstar a few times because I love them so much! I have slip, fawn, and moon, and I bought another duo and gave slip to my sister for her birthday. I love how subtle they are, while still being fun. They are all fairly neutral, and layer perfectly. I sometimes layer all three, and I like to use moon as almost a highlighter for the brow bones and corner of eyes. Can’t recommend enough to those who like more of a minimalist look.

Boy Brow

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Okay, so I tried boy brow several times. It doesn’t work for me because my eyebrows are decently colored and I don’t want them too thick, but they are great for people with unruly or extremely light brows!

Balm Dot Com

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I LOVE balm dot com, which my friend Elizabeth introduced to me. It was actually the first Glossier product I heard about! My first purchase at Glossier was actually a balm dot com trio. I use the tinted versions on my lips, and the other versions on my hands and elbows as well!

Soothing Face Mist

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This mist has the best scent. The rosewater is so relaxing and it just makes you feel cool and refreshed. Good for sensitive skin as well.

Super Pure Serum

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The Super Pure Serum is supposed to help skin keep in balance. While I’m new to this product, I do think it is helpful to incorporate into your everyday routine. Zinc is great for the skin, which is an element of this serum. They also have a few other serums that I would like to try, and they are offering a trio of the serums for a great discount!

 

Let me know if there are any Glossier products you would like me to try, or you would like to hear more about.

Happy shopping, xx

The Shopbop Sale: What I Got!

I know I’ve had so many shopping posts lately, but there are just so many great sales going on!

The Shopbop sale is ending tonight, so I took time to get some last minute shopping done. Honestly, I only buy from Shopbop when they are having a sale, because I feel like I could get most of these things at a department store or boutique in person, rather than just buying it online for the same price.

Maybe I’m just lucky that I have these brands readily accessible near me most of the time, however I don’t usually go out and buy really expensive brands on the regular. I am an advocate for quality over quantity, however some times fast fashion is the answer. Anyway, I kept it simple this time and only picked up two really cute and necessary items from the Shopbop sale! Pro tip: use code EVENT19 for 20% under $500, or 25% over $500.

Levi’s Mile High Ankle Skinny in “And Then Some”

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I have never actually worn Levi’s before, but they seem to be relatively affordable and exactly what I’m looking for in plain denim. I got the ankle skinny, so I hope fully wont have to hem them!

SUNDRESS Lina Dress in Gingham

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I saw that Mumu and Macaroons wore this in an Instagram recently and it is just too cute. Hurry there’s only a few left in size xs/s!

Happy shopping!! xx

Aerie Swimsuit Picks on Sale for 4 days!

Many people hate buying/shopping for swim suits, and sometimes I know exactly what they mean. Before my trip to Florida, I was looking for a cute but simple bathing suit that was not going to break the bank and not really finding exactly what I wanted for in store at Aerie or Target, and not really anything online.

Thankfully, Aerie has updated their website with some more fun spring/summer prints and styles of bathing suits. They are also currently $17 for tops and bottoms, which is pretty cheap! I added a few extra options that are of varying prices, but they are still on sale.

I think that their bathing suits are good quality, especially when they are having a promo like this, which makes it very affordable. There are also even cheaper options other than the new arrivals.

Gingham Bikini TopΒ + Bottom

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Pink Seersucker Bikini Top + Bottom

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Green Seersucker Bikini Top + Bottom

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Two-tone Wide Strap Bikini Top + Bottom

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Striped High-neck Bikini Top + Bottom

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Lace Up One-Piece

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Pique Printed One-Piece

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Happy shopping! xx

40% off J.Crew Full-Price Styles!!

J.Crew is one of the best stores to buy basics, as well as fun, seasonal pieces, and everything in between! They are also known for their great sales and factory stores, as well as their collaborations with different brands.

I personally have been a J.Crew fan for years. While I usually shopped in store, since moving to NYC I have become a big online shopper. J.Crew’s new loyalty program that get you free shipping and gives you rewards makes it even better!

Anyway, here are some of my favorites for this 40% full-price styles sale. Use the code “REFRESH” at check out!

Strappy soft rayon wide-leg jumpsuit in polka dot

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Cute and comfy jumpsuit for summer nights or even as work wear with a cardigan!

 

Ruffle-front mini dress in soft rayon polka dots

 

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Polka dots are so cute for spring/summer. I’m loving them! This mini dress is fun and feminine, and looks like the perfect length.

 

High-neck jumpsuit in gingham cotton poplin

 

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I got a striped version of this jumpsuit last fall, and I LOVE it. It’s so comfy and looks very chic. I got the petite size, but probably could have done the regular, as the hems are still a cropped look. LOVE, love, love this in the gingham print as well.

 

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A perfect tank for spring layering and summer heat! This is simple and would work great with tight pants for tucking in, or with elastic waistbands.
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Very classic eyelet top, which looks very comfy and is waiting in my cart right now. I read the reviews which said across the shoulders this top could feel small, so I decided to order a small, rather than an XS. I also am obsessed with the blush pink color!
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I’ve had my eye on this sweatshirt forever, it would be perfect for spring under a lighter jacket or in the summer if you have a very cold office like mine! All white and gray and white are my personal favs.
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This is just adorable. It has everything thats in for this season, and everything I love: pink, gingham, and POM POMS.
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I have been in to lighter jeans lately (and darker jeans who am I kidding?), but I love the extra flair that the design provides on these, plus a trendy raw hem.
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These shorts look very comfy, and I love the items I have from the Point Sur line so far!
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Beware: this link is to the petite size, so don’t order them in petite by accident. These are practical, sleek-looking, and on sale!
Happy shopping! xx

Taking my Bar Cart to the Next Level!

Bar carts are so fun and versatile. They are a great place to store things in a small apartment, and they also can be dressed up for fun!

This One Kings Lane bar cart was a recommendation from Amy of amybelievesinpink, which my mom bought last year on sale. She decided it was not what she wanted for our house in Martha’s Vineyard, so she decided to give it to me for my new apartment! While this bar cart is certainly different, and more of a statement piece, I actually love it in our apartment. It really adds something to our very neutral look, and is the perfect size to hold all of our alcohol and fun cups!

I have been wanted to upgrade my bar cart in some way, adding something fun to it that would go with the summery feeling this cart already gives from the turquoise color and the bamboo material.

I finally found the perfect items to do so! The first item is this marble cheese board with a gold pineapple detail. This marble cheese board can serve as just a tray that we keep on the bar cart, or exactly what it’s meant for when we have guests over. The second item that will really spruce up the bar cart are these gold pineapple marble coasters! These will really help preserve our table and bar cart from rings and liquid stains, while also feeling cute and summery.

I have had my eye on these items for a while, and the coasters are 20% off right now. The cheese board is also on sale, however today you can get one Williams-Sonoma item 20% off with free shipping on your order by using the code “SPRING” at checkout! I already placed my order and I am so excited to use these.

J.Crew Factory Haul

Hi! I’m back from my vacation in Florida, which was super nice and very relaxing. While I was down there I learned how to play pickleball, went to the beach, the pool, out to eat, and SHOPPED.

When I’m with my mom and sister, we love to shop! We are dangerous in a store with a sale. We went to J.Crew Factory and the whole store was 50% off. I got a few things that I thought I would share with you, since J.Crew Factory is always going on sale.

Navy Blue Tank with Gingham Hem

This shirt fits so well. It’s soft and comfortable, yet cute and work appropriate! Currently 50% off + and extra 20% online, so hurry and grab it. It comes in a few colors, my personal favorites were the navy gingham and the gray and white.

Destination T-shirt

I love, love, love this destination tee! I have been to all these cities, and have lived in two of them, so I knew I had to get it. I also love it because it’s a fun plain white t-shirt to wear with blue or black jeans. Plus, there’s a bagel in the New York section, so how could you not?

Broken-in T-shirt

I picked up this shirt in both navy and white. I always feel like I have no shirts, so picking up these two neutral colors will help when I want to wear a pair of fun, printed pants or a bold jacket.

Bow-neck Sweater

Yes, I got this bow-neck sweater in Florida. Yes, I had to carry it back in my suitcase. Yes, it was majorly discounted and totally worth it. I have the light gray bow- neck sweater dress and it’s super cozy, along with this sweater!

Tortoise Sunglasses

I have too many pairs of sunglasses, but this pair goes with everything. I also like having a cheaper pair of sunglasses around, so its not the end of the world or a huge loss if I lose or break them by accident!

3 For $12 No-show Socks

I always jump on a cute pair of no-show socks, just in case they do end up showing a bit… but I love these NYC socks! I also got the anchors and the doughnuts. SO cute.

Scalloped Hem Sweater

I have a similar sweater in this color (just without the scallop hem) and it’s great. The color is fun and makes my eyes pop, and the scallop hem is even better! I think I might buy this in black because I just love it so much.

Scalloped Cami Tank

I didn’t pick one of these tanks up this time around, but I have it in pink and it’s perfect to spice up a pair of jeans. I also find this color works perfectly with some of my Lilly bottoms as well. I really want the light blue color or plain black next!

The code EXTRAEXTRA will give you an extra 20% off your purchase today. Happy shopping!