December 31, 2013

The Year in Review: My Top 13 Posts of 2013

So can you believe that 2013 is almost over? I'm a little stunned myself.. 2013 started as a crazy year. I was in college, having fun and learning a lot along the way, and I can't say that 2013 wasn't a year to learn. I've learned so much throughout the year. I've gained tons of friends, lost a couple and realized how important some relationships are to me. I've opened my mind, my heart and my soul to accept change as it came, to let people in and to discover new things. And I'm super proud to say I've done all of that in 2013. A lot of things came about in 2013 that I wasn't expecting: new relationships, old friendships, and a lot of learning lessons, and I don't think I would have had it any other way.

One of the most important things to happen to me in 2013 was this blog. I never would have come this far with it if it wasn't for the positive feedback I get everyday. I'm so beyond proud of how far The Caro Diaries has come in 9 months, and I'm so excited for it to grow over the next year and hopefully many more. If it wasn't for all the texts, messages and comments I got after I wrote my first post in April, I wouldn't have wrote my second one in May, and I certainly wouldn't have written almost everyday in June, July and August. Although I've been a really bad blogger lately, it's getting those messages and the comments from other bloggers and friends (IRL ones too!) that encourages me to post another one. I'm so excited to be entering 2014 knowing how far I still have to go, and to be embarking on the journey to get there!

So, to recap my year: here are my top 13 posts of 2013.

top three most-read posts:1) Makeup Hacks Every Girl Should Know: I never expected this one to be so popular, but everyone seems to love it and find it! It's still one of my most popular posts every month to this day!
2) The 30-book Challenge: I never expected people to like my book choices as much as they did, and somehow they keep coming back! I'll admit - I never read all 30 books but the year's not over yet! I'm almost done :)
3) Gifts for the Sorority Girl on your List: This is one of my more recent posts, and I'm in shock how much it turns up on my stats feed. It's so funny to see the google searches that land them on my blog - even today I got "christmas gifts for a sorority girl" - Christmas was last week, y'all!

top three most useful posts: 
Y'all know how much I love helping out college kids - i'm a college kid myself! So I'm showcasing my three most "useful" college posts from this year!

4) discounts every college kid should know about: it's obvious why this one is as popular as it is.. college kids love saving money! Hey, me too - that's why I wrote the post!
5) the items you shouldn't forget when packing for college: I've been there. I forgot them too, and it would have saved me a shit ton of money if I packed them in the first place - so I thought this post would be a good idea. I loved the positive feedback on this one!
6) things to do the summer before college: this was one of my more controversial posts, and by controversial I mean I told people to break up with their boyfriends - rough! I seriously had friends calling me cussing me and asking me if I thought they'd be the turkey dump! (oh, and just so you know.. they were.)

top three fashion posts:
I'm a self-proclaimed fashion whore, but I'm a college student sticking to my budget so I had some fun with my fashion finds this year. I didn't share as much as I'd like to, but here are some of my faves!

7) clothes you need for college: I had a lot of fun putting these together - I got to think to all of the outfits I wear on a regular basis - class, frat parties, clubs, even costume parties - and put it all together, which was awesome!
8) my 10 fall wardrobe essentials: I'm pretty new to this "Fall" thing - actually I'm pretty new to this whole seasons thing. Back home, the only season is hot and we have it year round, so preparing for my first fall in 2012 was a rough one to say the least. At least I've learned to adapt to the weather, and especially the fashion - and I'm betraying Trinidad and the Caribbean by saying fall's my fave season!
9) steal their style with monogrammed necklaces: Although this was a sponsored post, I had a lot of fun putting it together and writing this one. I got to show off my fave necklace (it never leaves my neck - seriously), and I got to surf Pinterest - what more can I want in a post?! My favorite part is definitely people messaging me to tell me that they ordered the necklace themselves and they love it! It makes me so happy to know people actually listen to me! (I'm the last of six, so that NEVER happens!)

top three personal posts:I barely got too personal on the blog this year, except for a couple Wednesday Wisdoms here and there, but there are some posts that stand out more than others and I'm sharing them with you.

10) Wednesday Wisdom on Friendship: this post hurt a lot for me to write, and even reading it over months later, it still hurts. It was a topic that was really close to my heart. I learned a lot about friendship in 2013, and this being one of the most important lessons: sometimes, you just have to let go.
11) Home Is Where The Heart Is: this was actually the first real post I ever wrote, and it got me a lot of great feedback. I remember writing it clearly, and just hitting post and waking up the next morning to texts from friends saying they loved it, and running into friends on the quad who said I inspired them to start their own blogs - and it made me feel awesome. So here's a little TBT for you all :)
12) That Time I Joined a Sorority: This was also a more recent post, but I was so excited after joining Alpha Chi Omega that the excitedness just transferred over into my writing and you can really see it there. It was the first post about my sorority, and all of the feedback I got from sisters was awesome and really made me feel at home. Up to now, my sisters support my blog 1000% and it's an amazing feeling - feeling so at home, and belonging somewhere so perfectly.

my favorite post of the year:
It's difficult for me to choose one post that's my favorite, but I'm choosing a post that's really different from what I'm used to. I did something completely different, inspired by one of my favorite bloggers Sarah. So in case you missed it, here's number 13.

13) Things I Just Can't Seem to Get.

Have an amazing New Year's Eve, everyone! And an even better 2014. I'll see you crazy kids next year! (That seriously never gets old!)
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December 18, 2013

Christmas Gifts for the Sorority Girl

And we're one day closer to Christmas! You've seen my techie and my stationery lover gift guides, I'm back with some gift ideas for that sorority girl on your list: cough, me..

The sorority girl is one of the easiest to shop for, as long as you know her sorority.. so stalk on Facebook till you see her reppin those Greek letters - google them if you have to, and get to shopping!

{one} anything from Adam Block Design:
See that little ad to the right on my sidebar? That's Adam Block Design and they're a sorority girl's best friend! He makes custom designs for chapters and you can even buy shirts that he already made for other chapters! They're the cutest way to show your Greek pride and the sorority girl on your Christmas list will most definitely love it! I have my eyes on a ton of stuff already! Oh and I may or may not be biased by attaching the photo of the sweatshirt he designed for my AXO chapter..

{two} a Spirit Jersey:
Everyone knows that sorority girls and spirit jerseys go hand in hand. They're the comfiest shirts ever, we can wear them with shorts, leggings or jeans, and they rep our sorority.. they cover every required field for the perfect shirt. Plus, they come in really cute colors and you can have your chapter name on them or your founding date. You can order them anywhere online, like from ABD or from other retailers.

{three} anything from Lilly Pulitzer's sorority collection:Lilly has been making prints for her favorite sororities for years now, and every year she adds a couple more sororities! (Luckily for me, AXO is on that list this year!). She makes a typical lilly-like pattern, using the sorority's colors, symbol and name, and sells a ton of stuff in the sorority print like clutches, phone cases, scarves, stationery, bags and more. They're a little pricey, but buy your sorority girl any of those and you've won best gift.

{four} a necklace from Dogeared's sorority line:Dogeared, who already make super cute jewelry, have a sorority collection which is to die for. The necklaces are simple and feature the sorority's symbol, like Alpha Chi's lyre, Theta's kite, ADPi's lion, DeeGee's anchor and more. It's a simple gift that shows that you've put thought into it!

{five} Cheryll Duffie's book:"Anything I Need to Know in Life, I Learned from Being in a Sorority" is a book that every sorority girl should read, and I know would be a great gift for any girl who's in or considering joining a sorority. It shows that there's more than just t-shirts, mixers and wearing your letters, and Duffie captures this perfectly! You can read more about her book here.

So hopefully this list helps you do some shopping for that sorority girl on your Christmas list! I'll be back with more gift guides tomorrow. Happy Shopping!
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December 17, 2013

Christmas Gifts for the Stationery Lover

Oh I'm back and with more Christmas shopping help! You remember my techie list, well I'm here to help you shop for that stationery lover on your list: cough cough, if anyone needs any ideas for me, here's where to start….

{one} any of the Knock Knock stationery pads:

These are hilarious and so useful, and every single time I
see one I want to buy it. My credit card cries when I pass the Knock Knock section of my school bookstore, and I really just want every single item they make. Plus, they have this adorable handwritten collection that I'm obsessed with..

{two} an Erin Condren planner:It's no secret that I'm obsessed with Erin Condren's planners. I did two giveaways for gift cards there, I have my own planner and I convinced about six of my family members to buy them for themselves, so let's just say Erin and I have a love/love relationship. If I was an affiliate for Erin, let's just say I'd be making some serious money.. just look how cute the planners are:

{three} anything from Kate Spade's stationery collection:I swear to you, the designers behind that collection are genius and I want it all! Seriously if anyone is looking for a gift for me, buy me everything Kate Spade til I die. The collection is absolutely perfect and trust me when I say hide your credit cards!

{four} Sharpie pens:I'm obsessed with Sharpies and Post-Its and when I walk into any stationery store, a piece of me dies inside when I see those aisles. So I obviously bought a bunch of Sharpie Pens for school this year, and they're as amazing as you expect! They're seriously thin enough to write with, and they don't bleed through the paper and still give you the pop of color like the Sharpie markers. So buy every single Sharpie for that stationery lover on your Christmas list.

{five} Lilly Pulitzer notebooks:No stationery lover's gift is complete without notebooks in Lilly prints! They come in all different sizes, and Lilly has tons of prints to choose from so that you can personalize any gift! Plus, how encouraging to write in such an adorable notebook!

{six} a Staples gift card:What stationery lover's Christmas gift would be complete without a gift card to the motherland themselves? When all else fails, get them a $100 gift card and let them go wild - cause that's what I do anyways! Ugh.. I want it all!!!! Can't you hear it now? That was easy!

Happy shopping! Christmas is 8 days away!
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December 13, 2013

Christmas Gifts for The Techie

So I'm done with finals. Thank God, and I'm going home for Christmas tomorrow. Thank God. And Finals sucked. Big time.

You know what else sucks? Christmas sucks.

I mean I'm kidding. Christmas is awesome. I actually love Christmas and look forward to it 11 months of the year, but shopping for Christmas sucks.
I love giving gifts. I love seeing people's expressions when I got them a gift they actually like, and I love showing my appreciation for people. I love handwritten cards and I love sentimental things. So Christmas is my ish.. not kidding. That being said, I hate shopping for gifts. Yeah it's great giving the gifts, but figuring out what everyone wants, and finding the 86 gifts for my 40 family members in 3 stores is literally hell. I'm not gonna lie, it's a real bitch pain.

So I've put together a little series that I affectionately named "Christmas Gifts for Everyone on Your List". Catchy, huh? I thought so too.. So to start the series off, let's find some gifts for the techie.. (I'm looking at you, Dad!)

{one} iPhone 5S:

The perfect gift for anyone: a $200 phone that hasn't changed much since the last one. But it looks really cool and I want it.. And that fingerprint sensor? Ugh, I want! PLUS, it comes in gold, and you all know that's my best friend!

{two} iPad Mini:

Also known as the iPhone Large, the iPad Mini is the perfect gift for all those techies on your Christmas list. It's small enough that you can carry it in your purse or around with you, but big enough that you can watch movies or play games on it. I'd buy it..

{three} Kindle Paperwhite:

Now I'm a little biased because I love books and I love my Kindle, but it's hands-down the best gift I've ever gotten. It can hold millions of books and most of them are sold for under $10. Reading at the touch of a button? I think yes! The Paperwhite is special cause it has a special back light so you can even read at night, and it doesn't give off glare like the iPad does. So reading on kindle > reading on iPad. At least that's what the commercials say..

{four} Matrix Audio QUBE Speaker:

The QUBE is about the size of a golf ball, and weighs about twice as much but can fill a room with sound for eight hours straight. It's the tiniest loudest speaker you'll come across, and a perfect gift for just under $50.

{five} Logitech Washable Keyboard:

Every techie knows how annoying it is when crumbs, food, or anything really spills on your keyboard, so some genius made this washable keyboard and I'm obsessed! You can literally submerge this keyboard underwater and I want one right now - it's so cool and I'm pretty sure every techie will want one too!

Happy shopping, y'all! I'm homeward bound tomorrow - ughhhh cannot wait.

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December 09, 2013

Things I Just Can't Seem to Get

So you guys all remember my #badbloggerproblems, well it wasn't really a post about being a bad blogger, but this time I admit, I've been a horrible blogger. I've neglected this blog for a couple weeks, but honestly I've been 110% stressed out and on the verge of a panic attack every single day with finals week being this week. I know I gave some tips for finals week, but it's easier said than done.

I've taken residency in the library at school for the entire semester, and now that it's finals week everyone wants to study in the library and there are no seats available. Panic. I'm convinced there should be like a country club membership, and if you've checked in a certain amount of times for the semester, you should be guaranteed a study spot for finals week. But really.

So I spend more hours in the library than a health science major. The security guards who sit in the library after midnight actually know and recognize me now. My eyes look like I haven't slept in weeks (wait, that's true!). My migraines come so bad and so frequently now that last night I resorted to doing work under the desk so that the light wouldn't bother me. Is my life a struggle or not?

I was reading one of my fave bloggers, Venus Trapped in Mars last week and she wrote a post about things she can't seem to find. It was one of those moments when you're like damnnn what a good idea! So I'm continuing Sarah's trend with my own: Things I Just Can't Seem to Get.

1) The right shade of anything:So I found that foundation that everyone's been raving over at Sephora. I spot it, I approach it, and then I pick it up. But wait.. what shade am I?! Pale? Light pale? NUDE?! WHAT AM I?!!!! No one knows.. So I always go with pale, and then I either look too light or too dark, and I waste $30+ on a foundation that I've used once. And I just go back to the same old foundation I was using before.

2) Nails:
Like I really can't get nails. I try to grow them out and they don't.. or they do but they just look so ugly when they grow out and I end up biting them again. Hey! Don't blame me.. blame the stress I'm under! All I want is for my nails to look like this:

3) The perfect cream/white sweater:No seriously, have you found it? Cause I'm still looking. I have ten thousand white and cream sweaters, but god forbid one of them looks anything like what I pinned on Pinterest. Impossible. It's like those sweaters are from a parallel cute sweater universe, and I'm not okay with it.

4) A straight eyeliner line
Every single time before getting ready to go out, I do my makeup, finish my eyeshadow and have it looking perfect and then opt to use liquid eyeliner to create the perfect top lid, and somehow every. single. time. it screws up.. WHY?!! Is it so hard to get a straight, perfect line?!! Who is this makeup artist from Pinterest and why can't my eyes look like hers?!!

5) Matching eyes:
Speaking of makeup, if i somehow manage to make one eye look great - scratch that, slightly average - the other one is guaranteed to screw up and never look as good as the first. WHY?! My eyes end up looking like this:
every. friggin. time.

6) The perfect shade of lipstick: 
Now I'm gonna be honest - I hate  wearing lipstick because I always look like a drag queen, and that's putting it nicely. Sarah says she looks like Khloe Kardashian. I end up looking like Big Ang.. we all know her. Is it so hard to get this color in a lipstick and for it to look that good on me?! Clearly yes, because like those sweaters, this lip color is stuck in the parallel Pinterest universe.

7) A cute dress, or for it to look this good on me: 
Christmas time back home is really dressy - we have functions every single night for a full week, and I'm supposed to look really nice for all of them. Hair, makeup, heels and the works. But unfortunately I couldn't find one damn dress that looked cute this year. I went into Macy's - somewhere I was sure I would find at least one cute dress - and I feel like I walked into my grandmother's closet because every dress was by Anne Klein or someone else. Obviously every time I found a dress I liked it was probably the most expensive item in the store. Is it so hard to have a cute in-style dress available for less than $300? Clearly.. but I guess we buy them anyways, cause I did. But of course I couldn't find anything that looked like this:

Or maybe I just need to look like her.. either way, I lose.

8) Where the hell my QCard, cell phone, flash drive, hair clip, pony tail and any other item that's smaller than the palm of my hand goes: If it's small, I've guaranteed to have lost it. Seriously, I don't know where everything goes but I can never find it - do they grow legs and run away? I'm convinced my ID hides from me, especially when I'm late for class - no one wants me to go to class. I swear I need something that tracks everything for me - keys, IDs, my cell phone (especially when it's on silent - aka always), my hair ties and clips, pencils and pens that I swore were just in my hand, and quite frankly my brain cause that's been missing for a while too. 

SOS guys, it's finals week. Hope my mini-freakout didn't scare you away cause I promise I'm still fun!

What can't you find? Can you help me find any of these?!