December 10, 2015

Caribbean Hues


You should all know by now that I live in the Caribbean, so for those few months that I'm not in school, I'm #blessed enough to be in great weather. Think 90 degrees, palm trees and spending days by the pool tanning. I'm heading home for winter break in a week, and my Christmas vacation is filled with family dinners and reuniting with all of my friends and family, and of course, lots and lots of great warm-weathered dresses.


Think Caribbean hues: bright whites, ocean blues and the perfect pink on your lips. It's my go-to when I'm at home, and I love how much this dress fits the bill. I especially love how this dress can go from day to night with the change of some accessories. 


I picked up with Ralph Lauren dress a little over a year ago at a steal of a deal at Macy's, if I told you how much I spent you'd think I was lying. But the perfect lace combined with the appropriate hemline made this the perfect dress for almost everything: I've worn it to a dinner with heels, during the day with sandals (like my go-to gold Jack Rogers!) and my sister's even stolen it and worn it to my own 21st shindig. 


I accessorized with a gold tasseled foldover Lilly Pulitzer clutch I picked up last year, a pair of gold bangles and a pop of color: the perfect shade of blue statement earrings. 


Topped off with a golden tan (more like sunburn in these photos, whoops!) and a pair of classic RayBan aviators (in gold, nonetheless!), this became one of my favorite outfits: the epitome of Caribbean style. 


Now if you don't mind me, I'll be staring at the calendar until it's time for me to go home and back to this weather! Until then...

SHOP THIS POST:
dress: Ralph Lauren (old) / similar | sandals: Jack Rogers Hamptons sandal in platinum
clutch: Lilly Pulitzer (old) / similar | sunglasses: RayBan Aviator Gradient | jewelry: Ilmes Jewellery

Photos by Epidemic Studios


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November 18, 2015

Thanksgiving with Teleflora

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Teleflora and Millennial Blogs. Thank you for supporting the brands that make The Caro Diaries possible. All opinions are my own and that of The Caro Diaries.


Despite the fact that I'm not American, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I mean, QU gives us a full week off of school, so the fact that as of tonight, I'm on my Thanksgiving break (thank God for the perfect Senior schedule!), is always a reason to celebrate! But Thanksgiving is always a bittersweet one because I'm so far away from my actual home and my family, and while all of my friends get to spend the holidays stuffing their faces with tryptophan-loaded turkey and all the good stuff, wherever I am isn't the same. Don't get me wrong: I love spending Thanksgiving in the U.S., and the last three Thanksgivings have all been completely different: one spent in New Hampshire with my sister and BIL and their family, one spent in Florida with my cousin exploring state school life and seeing more family, and the last one surprising my parents and flying home (much needed!). 

But Thanksgiving isn't really about spending time with your direct family, but more about surrounding yourself with people you love: even if it's not the traditional setting. This year, I'll be exploring Philly and visiting one of my best friends in her new apartment as she settles into grad school life, and the idea of doing nothing but lounging around, watching movies, ordering takeout and drinking wine sounds fantastic to me right now! 


Despite the fact that there's not huge Thanksgiving feast headed my way, I still wanted to make my little dorm room feel festive. As you may remember, one of the things on my 101 in 1001 list was to get fresh flowers for my room once a week, and when I discovered Teleflora's seasonal bouquets, it was the perfect combination. With selections like the Thanksgiving Garden Centerpiece, Maple Leaf Bouquet, Classic Cornucopia Centerpiece, and the Country Artisan Bouquet (my personal fave!), Teleflora has all the options and more for the fall flowers you most definitely need on your Thanksgiving table this year. 

I picked out the Country Artisan Bouquet for my bedroom, and priced at just under $75 for the extra-large premium option, it was the perfect way to brighten up my dorm room, especially with how gross Connecticut has been looking lately (and especially because my Seasonal Affect Disorder has been TOO real lately! This time change is killing me!). With beautiful lilies, carnations and roses, it turned a college bedroom into home for the holiday season - all I was really missing was my family! 


The flowers lasted me more than a week (and that was with my sub-par watering skills and zero access to natural light!), and still remained as beautiful until their "death". But the vase that it came in survived long past the flowers' lifespan, and it was way too cute to get rid of! While I don't have much need for a vase for traditional flowers (although it will come in handy when I pick up my next bouquet.. need to stick to my 101 in 1001 list!), I decided to utilize it in a much more "college" way: storage hacks! 


Throwing my hair straightener and curling wand in the vase, as well as my go-to round brush, it was the perfect addition to my bathroom countertop space (and saved me from all of the clutter that was there previously). I even added my favorite craft - the gold glitter-dipped mason jars - to hold my makeup brushes and continue the organization trend. Talk about a gift that keeps on giving! 


I don't think even I realized how much a bouquet of flowers could brighten up a room, and a mood on some tough days! 

Have you ever bought flowers for yourself or for your dorm room or apartment? Who would you buy Teleflora flowers for this Thanksgiving?

 Autumn harvest colors of are in full bloom in Teleflora’s stunning collection of fall bouquets. Order at Teleflora.com.


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November 16, 2015

Ballin' on a Budget: Crafting for your Sorority Little

As many of my readers know, I'm one for the savings. I've been meaning to make this into a series for quite some time, so I figured I'd start where I know the most: my littles. Welcome to the first installment of the Ballin' on a Budget series.. aka my life motto as a college student!

I've mentioned this before, but I have two littles in my sorority, but I didn't take them at the same time, After getting my first perfect little, we did informal recruitment in the Spring and they needed bigs for the new members. My little was 100% ok with it (more okay than I was really), and we began the process of "dating". I knew my second little was the one for me when she accidentally liked a picture from my first little's Instagram from like 30 weeks back. I was like YAASSS SHE'S STALKING US SHE LOVES US!

Little #1 - Lia - just took a little of her own and she finally realized how big of a task it was preparing for her. If you don't pay attention, you can spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on your little, and while it is super tempting (because we love spoiling our precious babies), it's probably not the best idea for your wallet to blow hundreds of dollars that you may not have.


Because I've done this one twice, I figured I would share some tips to help some potential bigs with the crafting process.

// know your budget: 
The biggest thing is to be realistic when it comes to crafting for your little. Realistically assess how much you are willing and can afford to spend on your little - a lot of money isn't necessary for beautiful gifts for your little, so be honest with yourself and know what you can spend before you start the crafting process.

// don't try to compete: 
I know how tempting this can be, especially when your friends are also taking littles. We all want to spoil our perfect littles, but sometimes we can get caught up in trying to compete or match every little thing someone else is doing. Your little loves you for you, not for the gifts you buy her. So no, you don't need to buy her a designer bag or craft super crazy expensive elaborate crafts, just create something meaningful and spoil your little with love!

// buy in bulk or larger portions: 
When I was crafting, I made sure to buy larger tubes of acrylic paints that I knew I would use a lot of, like white, red and green (my sorority's colors), and black. Buying bigger packs of canvases, larger bottles of glitter and value packs of glue sticks and mod podge saved me a ton of money in the long run! Don't need all of this? Share supplies and split the cost with a friend or someone from your fam!

// ask your big for help: 
Big always knows best (don't tell my big I just said that..) and she can lend her expertise to you! Whether it be ideas, or bribing her to make some crafts for her new G-little (shout out to Tamar for making the cutest Lilly-inspired letters for my little!), your big will be there to help, and if all else fails, I'm sure she'll be by your side with a glass of wine cheering you on! Remember, she did this all for you last year, we know she's capable to do it again!

// buy dollar store versions: 
Scouring dollar stores is one of my favorite broke girl hacks when it comes to crafting. On a super strict budget? Skip Michael's and the real mason jars for similar-looking dollar store versions for only, you guessed it, a dollar! Need cute baskets to hold all your gifts? Check out your local dollar store!

// make a list: 
Make a list before you go supplies shopping! This seems like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how easily it is to pick up random (and often unnecessary) things as you stroll through the aisles! Make a list of all the things you need and stick to it!

// search for sales: 
Joanne's, Michael's, Hobby Lobby and even Walmart constantly have sales on craft supplies. Many of these stores even have student discounts, so get a membership card and save yourself 10% on your order. Every penny counts! Plus, many Greek online shops have flash sales to save you money on lettered shirts, sweatpants and other sorority memorabilia.

Taking a little in a sorority is one of the best feelings and most important parts of being in a sorority. Through my two littles, I have found sisters, best friends and two of the most important people in my life (and my Snapchat best friends list.. #goals). Good luck crafting!

Need craft ideas? Try these Lilly-print wooden letters, and these gold glittered mason jars
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October 28, 2015

College Care Kit with Pfizer

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BeHealthyForEveryPartofLife #CollectiveBias
Every year before I go back to school, I find myself stocking up on new medication for my medicine drawer. With a little past of sickness, I'm always super careful to have everything that I need at school with me so that the transition to Fall doesn't get me super sick.


Despite keeping medicine in my bedroom at all times, I wanted to create a little to-go package to keep in my backpack with me. When my little gave me this little "Chic Happens" pouch, it was the perfect starting point for a college on-the-go care kit. I hit up Walmart, my go-to for all my college essentials and quickly filled my cart with some of my favorite Pfizer products

I started by adding Emergen-C, which is my go-to vitamin supplement to keep me healthy as the seasons change. My immune system is ridiculously weak for some reason, so whenever the temperatures start to drop, I'm the first to get sick. So using Emergen-C is the perfect way to combat the usual sickness that accompanies the Fall season. And the healthier we are during the day, the healthier we are at night, which is ultimately the goal of college, am I right?! 


I also added Advil Liqui-Gels (please use as directed). For someone who hates medication and swallowing pills with a burning passion, these are a life-saver. Nothing is faster on pain (among OTC pain relievers) and I use these pills for every kind of pain but especially my migraines and muscle pain.. #legday! 

I couldn't make a Fall care package without adding some Chapstick for the ultimate hydration once the seasons begin to change. The colder it gets, the more chapped my lips start to feel, so I always have one (or three) ChapStick tubes in my bag at all times. I picked up the ChapStick Total Hydration tube that comes with argan oil, avocado butter and rosehip oils to smooth and moisturize lips, which you can find in your ChapStick section and it's drastically changed my lips this season! I can't imagine using anything else now! 


I added a pack of tissues, some bandages and a few emergency tampons to complete my essentials pouch, and I can't say how perfect it is having this in my bag throughout the day. 



Have you ever made a college essentials kit? What do you include in your must-have pouch? 
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October 22, 2015

Budgeting On Vacation

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for American Express Serve. I applied for the Serve Cash Back card to facilitate my review and received a promotional item to thank me for my participation. 

I just got back from an exciting trip to New York. While I live so close to NYC, I don't go as often as I'd like, and I take any chance that I can get to be there. So when we planned the ultimate girls' trip to NYC for last week, I was so excited to get off campus, away from school work, stress and the crazy atmosphere.


We tend to do this trip every few years, whenever someone in my family gets married, and with my sister's wedding coming up in the spring, we had a full week filled with wedding dress, bridesmaids, invitation and every other wedding detail appointments. Besides those, it was also filled with the funniest list of dares for my sister to pull off throughout the week (complete with proposing to complete strangers in the middle of Times Square, and having an emotional breakdown while wearing a wedding dress.. check and check!).

One thing about traveling is how quickly I spend. Between train tickets, paying for cabs and for all the impromptu Starbucks PSLs, the money racks up pretty quickly, and that's before I even hit Bloomingdale's. I know how expensive NYC can be, so I try to budget myself when I know I'll be in the city, and I try my best to put a cap on the amount of money I spend on cabs and unnecessary coffee runs!



I spoke a little bit in the past about how much I loved American Express' new Serve Cash Back prepaid debit card. Before I go on a trip, and especially to a city like NYC where I know I'm prone to dropping lots of cash on cab rides, I load up my prepaid debit card with a solid figure that'll cover my spending for the week. That way, when I swipe, I'm not pulling cash out of my shopping fund (or even worse, savings!), and I can track how much I spent on smaller purchases separately.

The American Express Serve® Cash Back card is a full-service reloadable prepaid account, and the best part is that it offers access to money management tools at no cost, AND cash back on everyday purchases. So, while I was stuck in traffic watching the taxi meter climb, I knew that I would still be saving myself money by earning 1% cash back for every dollar spent. Plus, it saved me the hassle of always carrying cash on me or being unable to track what I spent on cabs.

Traveling and getting off-campus is something that's incredibly important to me (and my sanity!), and I'm lucky enough to have had the fantastic week with my sisters and cousins and to see my mother and aunt. And for the first time, I didn't leave NYC regretting how much I spent on small purchases. Having the card for everyday small purchases (and sometimes even using it for bigger splurges, like my most recent indulgence at NARS.. can you BLAME me?!) has honestly changed how I've looked at spending: both on vacation, and at home.



Wanna see more of my NYC vacay? Follow along on Insta (and see which super-famous celeb I ran into!).. it's a good one! And don't forget to register yourself for an American Express Serve® Cash Back prepaid debit card (which can be mailed to you for free!), and start saving money while you spend!

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September 28, 2015

Save While You Spend: Cash Out, Cash In and Cash Back

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for American Express Serve. I applied for the Serve Cash Back card to facilitate my review and received a promotional item to thank me for my participation. 

If you haven't figured it out as yet, I have a little bit of a spending problem. Okay, I'm being dramatic, but I do get a little swipe happy. Between grocery shopping, weekly Starbs runs, or just making impromptu purchases, my debit card is very active. And if I don't track my spending, it's really easy to blow through my budget. 

Regardless of our spending habits, everyone could use a lesson or two in budgeting and financial responsibility. Using the new American Express Serve Cash Back card, the first prepaid debit card to offer cash back, we can earn 1% cash back on every dollar we spend. So when we're buying those impulse purchases, we'll at least be saving a little something. 

The American Express Serve® Cash Back card is a full-service reloadable pre-paid account, and the best part is that it offers access to money management tools at no cost, AND cash back on everyday purchases. So for the first time, we won't feel TOO guilty about our triple venti mocha chai whatever it is that you drink.


It's super simple: you use the prepaid debit card like you would any other - online or in-store, and after your purchase, you can go to your account and access your 1% cash back for every dollar that you spent. The cash back is just added to your account and ready to spend whenever you are. You can load money on using free Direct Deposit, or you can just transfer money by linking the card to your current debit card and start saving 1% cash back immediately.

One of the best parts is that while it's not an American Express credit card, the American Express Serve Cash Back card offers you access to all of the benefits of being in the American Express network, like the world class 24/7 AmEx customer service, purchase protection and roadside assistance hotline that you can call in case of an emergency for reliable service. For only $5.95 a month (and free in certain states, like Vermont!) American Express Serve® Cash Back cardholders have free direct deposit, free online bill pay, and free in-network ATM withdrawals.

And setting up is easy too! You don't even have to go to a bank: just register online to get a prepaid card in the mail for free, or buy the card at a retail store for around $3.95 (prices vary per retailer). There are no credit checks, minimum balances or hidden fees. And with the American Express Serve Mobile app, you can check your balance and recent transactions, pay bills on the go, deposit checks and send money to family or friends who have a Serve account.

For a college girl on a budget, this was probably the best debit card that I could find, and while my spending hasn't slowed, my saving has increased with 1% cash back on every dollar. While it's small, it's something, and isn't that the best part of it all?

Register yourself for an American Express Serve® Cash Back prepaid debit card (which can be mailed to you for free!), and start saving money while you spend!

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September 20, 2015

Organization for Creative College Students

It should come as no surprise to any of you that I love planners. I mean, one of my first blog posts on The Caro Diaries was about my love of planners, and my inability to choose just one. I've been using Erin Condren planners for a few years now, and I absolutely love it, but being involved on campus, having an on-campus job, being an RA, being a member of a sorority, a full-time student AND a blogger can clutter up your planner in 3.5 seconds, and I found myself dreading looking at my planner every day.


Enter The Happy Planner! With tons of space for stickers, personalization and fitting in every little aspect of your life, it's a fully customizable planner that can legit adjust for every single person's life. The company that makes the planner, me & my BIG ideas, sent me a huge package for me to try out the planner myself, with motivational quotes, every sticker imaginable and interchangeable covers because they already know I can't make my mind up! Plus, take 20% off ANY online purchase with the code HCCARODIARIES

What I love most about this is that it is 100% customizable in every sense of the word. You can take ALL of the pages out, add more in, change the color and size of the rings, add in sticky notes and pop-in notebooks, and even add in expansion packs to include things like cleaning, budget and shopping lists! Isn't it genius?! 


And with inspirational quotes every month, and pop-in inspiration cards like the "my life is joyful" and "things are about to get really good", it's just begging you to have a great week! Every month also has the cutest planning page, with goals, important dates, special events and little "don't forget" spaces to remind you to make the most out of the month! How can you not be inspired?! 


For me, I'm not the most creative person. Shocking, I know. But my planners have all been very boring in terms of my weekly decorations. But because me & my BIG ideas sent me so many packs of stickers (seriously, so many stickers!), I knew I needed to step up my game. Luckily for me, their Instagram page is overflowing with inspiration from crafty and creative people before me, and I'm just stealing their ideas cause GUYS HOW CUTE ARE THESE! 


There's nothing like stickers to inspire your week, to turn a stressful week around, and to remind you to be thankful and live in the moment. When life gets hectic, when my head feels like it's about to explode, throwing my little "I am happy" card makes my week just a little bit better! 


For those creative souls, this is a must-have, and at the price that it's currently at, it's a steal! But I won't lie to you and say you're not about to drop your life savings on every single accessory they have because YES you do need that gold foil sticker pack, as well as everything else they have in their store

Don't forget that if you're interested in buying anything from the me & my BIG ideas online shop, use my discount code HCCARODIARIES, which will save you 20% off any of your purchases until the end of the year. 

This post is sponsored by me & my BIG ideas and Her Campus Media. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make The Caro Diaries possible! 

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September 18, 2015

Fall Fashion Finds

As you know by now, I'm a very smart shopper. The biggest sales, the greatest deals, thinking about how I can wear the piece rather than when I can wear it: I think before I buy. Now don't get me wrong, I make impulse purchases all the time, but they're more "bite the bullet before my smart shopping self convinces me not to and I really really want this so I'm just gonna do it" purchases!

Because I shop smart, I'm a frequent customer at Marshalls. You name it, they have it, so it's always a go-to for me for whatever season. No lie, I stop by my local Marshalls at least once a week, because they get new items in every single week, so there's always something for me to find and want. Regardless of the season or the occasion, I never leave Marshalls empty-handed, whether it's workout clothes, a new pair of shoes, or finishing touches for my bedroom on-campus.
I'm obviously a big fan of Marshalls, so when I was offered the opportunity to shop my favorite fall trends at my local store, I jumped at the chance. I believe in splurging on yourself, buying high-quality pieces and investing in a good wardrobe and great accessories, and at Marshalls I've always found that doing that doesn't require me to spend a ton of money. With high-quality brand name and designer fashions, plus the newest and cutest home decor, all at incredible prices, Marshalls had legit everything I needed to start my senior (eek!) year off right!
When I spotted this wool vest, I couldn't help myself from throwing it into my shopping cart because isn't it just the cutest?! SO versatile and flattering, I paired it with the comfiest designer white tee, but I know that almost every shirt in my closet can be transformed to work with this, which is how I know it's a great purchase. 
I combined them with my go-to medium-wash jeans, and an animal-print neutral flat. These bad boys are staples in my wardrobe throughout all the seasons - I bought both of these items almost a year ago, and they still get utilized weekly! 
Finishing off with my favorite gold accessories, and of course my sunglasses, because I don't go anywhere without them on my head, and this was the perfect Fall transitioning outfit for the bipolar weather we've been having in Connecticut. 
With summer coming to an end, my school always hosts Fall Fest - an outdoor country concert with food trucks and our favorite singers, so I was shopping around Marshalls looking for the perfect flannel to wear this weekend. When I found this one (and seriously at only $16), I bought it without even trying it on. Not only is it the perfect thickness (not too thick so I can still wear it while it's warm, but still a little thicker than a regular button up to transition perfectly into the winter), but it was my ideal flannel colors, and it is the comfiest thing that I have ever put on! 
While I originally thought I would only style this tied around my waist with a pair of shorts, but when I saw these designer navy pants and I knew I wanted to try them together. The perfectly oversized shirt combined with the tight legging style of these pants made this one of the comfiest outfits, while still making me look somewhat put together. Plus, can't you see this shirt paired with leggings this winter? I can and it's already getting me excited for bum weather! 
And for those of us who just have no idea what trends we should start shopping, Marshalls rounded up some of their favorite (and some of my personal favorite) fashion bloggers to showcase their Marshalls finds! Want fashion inspiration? Look no further! Not sure where there's a Marshalls near you? Find your local store and start shopping now! 

But before you go, enter to win one of two $50 gift cards to Marshalls! 


SHOP THIS POST: 
Outfit One:
shirt: c/o Marshalls | vest: c/o Marshalls | jeans: Gap 'Always Skinny' (currently on sale!)
shoe: Ash (majorly on sale here!) | necklace: Madewell | earrings: Gorjana (similar) | bracelets: Ilmes
Outfit Two: 
shirt: c/o Marshalls | pants: c/o Marshalls | sandals: SimplyVera Vera Wang (old!)
necklace: Spring Street via TJ Maxx | sunglasses: Tom Ford 'Alicia' 

This post is sponsored by Marshalls and Her Campus Media. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make The Caro Diaries possible! 

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September 16, 2015

Pop of Pink

Nothing screams Caroline more than a hot pink skirt, am I right? For some reason, I find myself buying hot pink items more and more, and my closet is slowly transforming from a "winter" to a "summer". OK, not quite, but I do appreciate a little pop of color now and then. In the last year, I've picked up an asymmetric dress, and adorable Kate Spade crossbody, and this midi skirt all in the same color.

When I was in Florida last December, I was strolling through Town Centre Mall in Boca Raton looking for outfits I wanted to bring home with me for Christmas. I knew that for New Year's Eve, I wanted something a little fun and very me, without being cliché and buying a sequined dress, and I had the idea of getting a midi skirt.

I stopped into a small boutique called Intrigue Couture after hours of searching unsuccessfully for something I liked, and within minutes my eyes (and heart) discovered this hot pink midi skirt that was practically calling my name.

I knew I wanted to avoid going the typical route, and wanted to dress this skirt up with something a little funner and sexier, dare I say it! I found this leather striped crop top that paired perfectly with the super girly skirt, and walked out the store with a full outfit in hand.


Did I mention the skirt has pockets?! Talk about a win/win!


Combined with a simple pair of black pumps, and some silver (or white gold) jewelry, this was definitely one of my favorite outfits to wear. I danced and twirled all night, and couldn't think of a more perfect outfit to ring in the New Year with.


SHOP THIS POST:
top: Lucy Paris / skirt: Lucy Paris / heels: Steve Madden
jewelry: Anoushka by Ilmes Jewelry / handbag: Smythson Double Clutch


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