These Are the Summer Reading Books You Actually Want to Read

As your journey toward personal growth and adulting continues pulling you in a hundred different directions, both near and far from your potential, no matter what you’re going through, whether it be a break-up, confidence issues, a general life rut, or all of the above— it’s important to know you’re not  alone.

Even the most successful authors are juggling with their own demons everyday, writing about them, and sharing their struggles with the world. And because the areas we are weakest are the places that require the most attention, reading about other people’s experiences tend to have a positive impact on our own. Sometimes it takes feeling a sense of normality and connecting with someone through familiarities to help us move on and become worthy of the bigger picture.

These four self-help books cover a broad range of topics applicable to women’s lives, and offer sage advice on how to rise above them. Be sure to check them out— it’s time to broaden your horizons and allow something other than your phone screen to captivate your attention. Aim for the mentality that you can conquer every challenge you’re faced with, with poise and assurance, starting today!

1. You Are A BadA**  by Jen Sincero— I tend to be picky about the books I invest myself in, they need to be inspiring and smart, yet comical and entertaining, a combo which is rare to find, but always a winner once you come across it. This refreshing how-to guide does just that! By the end of You Are a Badass, you’ll understand why you are how you are, how to love what you can’t change, how to change what you don’t love, and how to kick some serious ass.

“It’s a self-help book that made me realize I can be powerful.” —Style Guru Samantha Neira

2. Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur— This #1 New York Times Bestseller is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. About the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity, taking readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finding sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look.

“I could feel this book in my bones, each page spoke to me spiritually and truly helped to get me through a difficult time in my life, and that’s exactly what author Rupi Kaur hoped her writing could do.”  —Style Guru Gabrielle Scherer

3. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz— This practical guide to personal freedom reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, The Four Agreements offer a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of true happiness and love.

“This book puts your problems into perspective and shows you how to forgive not only others, but also yourself. You feel totally empowered after reading it.” —Style Guru Norah Murphy

4. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Ruben— In this #1 New York Times Bestseller, Gretchen Rubin noticed that she was letting life pass her by, and wasn’t paying attention to the things that really matter the most. Sound familiar? Because of this, she dedicated a year of her life to enhancing her quality of living and kept track of her adventures along the way— in hopes of inspiring readers (like us) to find more fulfillment in their own lives.

“This book will inspire you to take advantage of every opportunity and train your mind to enjoy the little things that make life sweeter.” —Style Guru Jordan Shiley

So don’t think of it as “Why do I need someone else to tell me how to live my life?” Look to it as a push to bring you closer to your desired destiny. Just a chapter a day can make all the difference in how you see yourself and the world around you.

How to Study Without Getting Bored

I’m not going to lie, studying is something that very few people enjoy; however, it is something that must be done. Whether it’s writing a paper the night before it’s due or studying for an exam multiple weeks in advance, it’s important that you stay concentrated in order to retain the information you need to learn. Here are some tips to make studying a (somewhat) enjoyable experience.

1—Find a place that makes you want to study. Some people can study no matter the environment they are in, but it may be a more productive experience if your surroundings are interesting. It helps to study in places that are aesthetically pleasing, because it makes you feel like you are at a museum admiring the artwork or architecture instead of sitting in a room doing homework. Explore the buildings your campus has to offer. Try art museums, search for a new room in the library, or study in a quiet area outside.

2—Don’t dress like you just got out of bed. Although it is tempting to quickly throw on your most cozy sweatpants and sweatshirt, that may not be the best option when trying to get work done. It helps if you dress a little bit on the nicer side. For example, you could wear jeans, a sweater, and some fashionable sneakers. If you’re in clothes that resemble pajamas, the only thoughts you will be having are about your bed. Try dressing in nicer clothes so you are not tempted to snuggle in bed with a good movie.

3—Take notes in an engaging way. When taking notes, it can get extremely boring if it goes on for thirty pages and you’re writing with a black pen on lined paper. To make the process more engaging, try color-coding your notes using highlighters and colored pens. This allows the note-taking process to turn into a coloring project as well. Color-coding can also help you remember the information.

When it’s time to study, why not make it enjoyable? Comment below with your study tips!

5 Books by Female Writers You Should Read This Summer

Summertime makes for some well-deserved time to get back into reading books that inspire you. On your next beach adventure, chill coffee shop hangout, or lazy afternoon spent sprawled out on a blanket in the park, bring along a good book with you—and if it’s by a female writer, even better. Here are five books by female writers to fuel your girl power this summer.

1—How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran. Moran combines hilarious accounts of her own experiences with her observations on life to create what The Observer described as a “short, sharp, feminist manifesto.” How to Be a Woman has chapter titles such as “I Need a Bra!” and “I Start Bleeding!” You’ll laugh out loud at the hilarious way Moran tackles the complexities of being a girl in our modern world.

2—Whatever Happened to Interracial Love? by Kathleen Collins. A collection published posthumous, this book of 16 stories explores topics like race, gender, family, and sexuality from the 1960s to 1980s. Collins’s voice is original and timeless. While these stories of the multifaceted lives of African American women and interracial America happened decades ago, ultimately, they feel just as real and relevant today. The magic and power of this book make it one not to miss.

3—Anthropology of an American Girl by Hilary Thayer Hamann. This novel chronicles Eveline Auerbach and her transition from girl to woman in the dawn of the 1980s. Hamann’s novel sheds light on the pain and beauty of growing up female, falling in  love, and becoming who you’re meant to be. You’ll find yourself highlighting Hammann’s masterful writing that explains the feelings we’ve all had but have never been able to put into words. Just take it from my well-loved, heavily bookmarked copy pictured above.

4—Sad Girls by Lang Leav. Social media sensation and international best-selling author Leav has written a coming-of-age story that will be the hit of the summer. Leav’s debut novel tells the story of Audrey, a teenager struggling with anxiety and guilt after telling a lie that causes the death of fellow student Ana. Filled with twists, turns, and a dark romance with a boy named Rad, Leav creates a beautifully written book that pulls you in until the last page.

5—Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler. In Sweetbitter, Danler combines the chaos of the restaurant industry with the adventure of living in NYC for the first time. You’ll find understanding in the mistakes the main character Tess makes and the familiar feeling of trying to find yourself in the midst of it all. Plus, Danler’s exquisite descriptions of tasty dishes will leave you hungry for fancy foods and a trip to NYC.

What awesome books are on your summer reading list? Let us know in the comments below!

6 Books to Dress Up Your Coffee Table

There’s no denying that books hold a special power. Whether you pick one up to learn something new, gain a little inspiration, or attempt to catch up on your latest reading list, books are an escape. There’s nothing quite like sitting down, coffee in hand (hot or iced), and paging through an art book with its glossy, colorful pages or poring over the sketches of your favorite fashion designers.

I’ve rounded up six beautiful books that are guaranteed to dress up your coffee table (or desk, bedside table, or floor) and brighten your day. If you are what you read, then I’d recommend these.

6 Beautiful and Inspring Books to Dress Up Your Coffee Table

1—Things We Love by Kate Spade New York. Step into the world of Kate Spade New York. Travel to NYC for a pretzel, gain a new appreciation for typography, learn to cha-cha, discover new (old) photography, create a playlist, and more!

6 Beautiful and Inspring Books to Dress Up Your Coffee Table

2—New York Fashion by Sonnet Stanfill. From “sportswear chic” to “avant-garde,” this book takes you into the roots, rhymes, and reasons of New York fashion.

6 Beautiful and Inspring Books to Dress Up Your Coffee Table

3—Paris Versus New York by Vahram Muratyan. In an illustrated yet minimalist fashion, this book takes you from Paris to New York (and back again) with a turn of a page.

6 Beautiful and Inspring Books to Dress Up Your Coffee Table

4—The Fashion Book by Phaidon Press. From A to Z in roughly 503 pages, you can explore world-renowned designers, publications, and Hollywood stars. In this well-loved and popular book, you can even brush up your fashion vocabulary with its glossary of fashion terms in the back.

6 Beautiful and Inspring Books to Dress Up Your Coffee Table

5—Places to Go, People to See by Kate Spade New York. Perfect for anyone struck with wanderlust, this book is full of inspiring places and people. It’s all in the title.

6 Beautiful and Inspring Books to Dress Up Your Coffee Table

6—Gauguin by René Huyghe. Time to enjoy art for arts sake. Even if you prefer Warhol over Gauguin or Matisse over, well, everyone, owning at least one art book is necessary to inspire any kind of mind.

6 Beautiful and Inspring Books to Dress Up Your Coffee Table

What books are dressing up your space? Show us on social media by tagging @Cfashionista!

Here’s How to Actually Ace Your Finals, According to a Professor

Ah, finals—a word college students know all too well. For some reason, colleges have come up this “brilliant idea” to force you to cram every bit of information you’ve ever learned into a series of tests and papers during one week of the year.

So when you have four exams and six papers due in one week, how do you deal? Outside of crawling under your covers and giving up, there are a few ways to ensure that you’re prepared to take on the chaos that’s sure to ensue and come out unscathed.

And in the unfortunate event that you do bomb the test, is there anything you can do to redeem yourself? We asked Mika Pryor, a professor at the University of Kentucky, for her advice on what to do when this time of the year rolls around.

Keep reading for her tips on how to survive.

(Photo via @withlovethelms)

1—Preparing for finals Over the course of a semester, the amount of information given for you to retain can be overwhelming. If you’re a freshman, it can seem even more scary—especially when you’re asked to recall every bit of it for your first finals week. However, it’s important not to stress too much. “You made it to college and you wouldn’t be here if you couldn’t do the work,” says Pryor. “Just make sure you study during the semester and then again before the exams and do your best. Normally if you do the best you can you will do fine.”

Another aspect of exam preparation that’s important—but often overlooked—is mental and physical health. Obviously it’s tempting to pull a series of all-nighters before and during finals week, but that can end up being one of the worst things you could do for your grades. “Get plenty of rest before the exam so you have a clear head and you can retain information. If you wait until the night before and stay up all night you will not be able to think clearly and will not do as well on the exam,” says Pryor. We’ve all been there—those times when we’re sitting in class running on no sleep, and our minds go blank. When you’re being asked to recall a large amount of information in a short amount of time, the last thing you want is for your brain to be fuzzy.

(Photo via @sarahgargano29)

2—Studying for Finals So you’ve diligently studied your way through the semester, and you’ve finally made it to the finish line. How do you start studying for the big test? Pryor’s advice is to start in the classroom. “Always listen for the professor to repeat or really emphasize something during class,” she explains. “Instructors want you to do well on their exams and they want you to understand topics. If they are planning on testing you on something, they will usually try to really get the point across in class.”

Every student has their own study habits to fall back on, but there are a few reliable sources that apply across the board. Pryor’s suggestion is to study with a friend—this way, you can work on flash cards together, bounce ideas back and forth, and quiz each other on definitions and facts. If you know your tests will have big essays, this is also a great way to discuss the topics you know will be on the test and work out your ideas.

 (Photo via @maddyhaller)

3—Surviving Group Projects It’s inevitable that on top of all those tests, you will be forced into a group project that no one wants to do. You know it’s coming all semester, but that doesn’t make it any more bearable. We are all aware that putting so many different personalities together during the most stressful time of the year is a bad idea, but most of us have no idea how to get through it without losing our sanity. Pryor’s advice? “Try to be flexible and understand not everyone works the same way you do. Always try to have a good attitude and be prepared to pick up the slack if another group member starts to drop the ball.” It’s important to remember in group projects that this is a great way to learn how to work with others—something that you will always have to do in any future jobs. Use this opportunity to hone in on your leadership skills, and make yourself proficient in project management. “Don’t be afraid to take charge and make sure things happen,” Pryor says.

(Photo via @elizabethmorales)

4—Recovering From a Failure  Many students will fail a test or class during college—it’s a difficult part of life, but one that should be learned from. While failure is not the end of the world, it is also something that should not be taken lightly. However, it is redeemable, and can even end up helping you in the long run. If you don’t pass a class, Pryor says to “remember there are always repeat options, and you will normally do better in the course the second time around.” It’s also an experience that you should think about in future classes. Pryor recommends keeping an eye on your grades throughout the semester, because professors are always willing to help students come up with a plan to bring up their grades. “If they are failing during the semester and they wait until the end there really isn’t much I can do to help them at that point,” she explains. If you find that you have this problem, be sure that you are learning from it now, and changing your habits in classes going forward—taking responsibility for your grades is the first step in taking responsibility for your future.

If you find that you’re still having an abnormal amount of trouble in the class, try to use this stressful period as a time for reflection. “If you can’t understand the topics and you hate going to class, consider other majors and take some intro classes in other fields,” Pryor says. Instead of spending your time complaining about how much you hate what you’re learning and that you can’t pass your classes, try to use your frustration to figure out if what you’re studying is actually right for you. Being stressed about finals could actually end up helping you find a better path in college—and ultimately your career.

What other tips do you have that have earned you that A? Let us know in the comments below!

4 Books To Read If You Need An “Excuse” To Stay in This Weekend

It’s time to lose ourselves in a good book. Stay cozy under the covers and let your mind escape into a story. If you’re bored on your commute to work or school or looking for an “excuse” to stay in, reading will make the time flash by so quickly.

Here is an assortment of what CollegeFashionista Style Gurus are adding to their library.

Photo via sarahgargano29

Photo via allyfrancesca

1. Dangerous Liaisons by Choderlos de Laclos
This novel explores the decadency of aristocrats and ex-lovers. Marquise de Merteuil and Vicomte de Valmont play a sophisticated game of seduction and manipulation in order to entertain their jaded lives. Picture John Tucker Must Die but from Tucker’s perspective. You may remember the reference to this book in Blue is the Warmest Color.

2. Capture Your Style by Aimee Song
With a foreword by Diane von Furstenberg, you know this book is going to be amazing. This is the ultimate guide to curating your Instagram feed and growing your audience. Song built her personal brand on Instagram as the creator of her fashion blog, Song of Style. If you want to improve your Instagram and personal brand, this one’s a page-turner.

Photo via queenhalpal

3. I Don’t Belong To You: Quiet the Noise and Find Your Voice by Keke Palmer
In Palmer’s first book, she reveals stories from her personal and professional life. She candidly talks about 12 topics such as sexuality, race, anxiety, success, bullying, and body image to name a few. This is an inspirational guide and memoir that encourages young people to change their mindset and live with more freedom, confidence, and love.

Photo via stylebyalexis

4. Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
The #1 New York Times bestseller and queen of literary soul food is back with her latest novel that touches on the Zeitgeist of today. In this drama, a couple are admitted to hospital to have a baby and request that their nurse be reassigned because they’re white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is black, to touch their baby. The hospital complies, but the baby later goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is on duty. She hesitates before rushing in to perform CPR and her indecision ends in tragedy.

Photo via tayy_kay

What are you reading this winter? Comment below!

9 First Day of School OOTDs You’ll Want To Copy

Even as you grow up somethings never change. You are still a sucker for Disney movies and secretly/not-so-secretly sleep with your childhood blanket. You love to nap. And, of course, you still get excited to pick out your outfit for the first day of school.

A perk of adulting is that college semester system offers you not one but two first days of school. So as you gear up to take on this next semester, be sure to kick it off on the right (fashionable) foot.

Need some inspiration on how to go straight to the head of the class? Check out these real life college students’ OOTDs and get ready to ace this year in style!










Winter Break Reading List—6 Fashion Titles to Read this December

It’s time to take a break from your academic readings—winter break means creating your own personal syllabus for the coming weeks. In between all of those bestsellers you’ve picked up in the past months, try reading a few fashion-based texts. Writing about clothing and style isn’t limited to the pages of magazines or street style blogs. A great number of writers, editors, and fashion stars have taken to print to discuss the fundamentals of dressing.

Here is an assortment of books that I have been gifted or recommended over the years that have helped shape my sense of style and awareness in the fashion world. From dazzling images to intimate stories, these book’s demonstrate that clothing is intrinsically linked to who we all are as individuals.

Women in Clothes

A compilation of interviews, survey answers, anecdotes, Women in Clothes provides an overview of fashion from over 600 women. Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, and Leanne Shapton edited together this massive ode to the eccentricities of dressing with precision and delicacy. Clothing is often seen as frivolity, but the human experience highlighted in Women in Clothes reminds the reader of the important role fashion plays in identity.


Worn Stories

In a similar vein to Women in Clothes, Worn Stories looks at relationships between people and individual items of clothing. Each contributor selected a piece from their wardrobe and tells its story. From editors to actors to professors, the books points out that no matter who you are, or how far you are from the fashion industry, clothes can hold anyone’s memories in any walk of life.


Women in this Town

Following Men in this Town, Giuseppe Santamaria’s blog-turned-book takes readers on a tour of street style in six different cities across the world. Flip through for a look at exquisite and eclectic outfits, read more for interviews with the fashionable everywoman.



Aptly named for her status in 21st century fashion, Alexa Chung’s debut book is an easy read with insight into her It-girl world. Immerse yourself in this quick read as a break from school readings. Chung shells out perspectives on the fashion industry and modeling while providing visual inspiration in her musings, photographs and doodles.


The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

While not a book about fashion, Marie Kondo’s immensely popular tips and tricks can help any of us in an organizing rut. Whether you agree with her methods or not, Kondo’s ideas can lead to a reevaluation of your things and wardrobe this break—sometimes your clothing has piled up or remained untouched for a reason.


Suitcase Magazine 

While not a book, Suitcase is a magazine with longevity. My copy from two years ago is still enjoyable to read today as it was then. Each issue covers different cities from across the world and how to be a tourist in style. A mixture of travel and fashion tips, Suitcase is visually pleasing and full of useful information for those looking for hoping to explore abroad.


6 Ways Real College Students De-Stress Before Finals Week

Have you been consuming copious amounts of coffee recently, feeling high levels of stress or counting down the days until winter break? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions then most likely finals week is upon you. It’s no secret that we all dread this infamous week of exams, essays, projects and presentations. Still, it’s no surprise that CollegeFashionista Style Gurus have the perfect de-stress rituals. Keep on reading for some great ideas to help you make it through this tough week.

Peyton Lee

“When I’m behind in assignments and falling into a slump, I de-stress by creating opportunities to creatively stimulate myself. Whether it’s finding new fashion inspiration or bookmarking links from awesome articles I’ve read, staying involved in my favorite topics makes me feel motivated to keep killing it in my tests, articles and papers.”week16-peyton(Photo via @leytonpee)

Rachel Park

“Music is definitely my go-to form of de-stressing. I love listening to the new music playlist on Spotify to get me in the mood. For the times I REALLY need to get into the grind, I put on a 3 hour jazz cafe YouTube video and study the night away!”week16-rachel(Photo via @therachelstory)

Tiffany Borrego

“When I get really stressed out, I like to pull out one of my instruments and play for a little while. It always gets my mind off of things and sometimes when I’m writing an essay or taking a long exam, I’ll play for five minutes and then keep going with my assignment! It truly helps me out with stress.”week16-tiffany(Photo via @tiffanygeovana)

 Gabrielle Scherer

“I always make time to go to the gym. Working out always helps de-stress and taking breaks between studying helps me retain a lot more than cramming does!”week16-gabrielle(Photo via @gabscherer)

 Mandisa Shields

“I always try to listen to upbeat music. It keeps me awake while I’m studying and cheers me up when I’m stressed. I’ve had Starboy by The Weeknd on repeat all week!”week16-mandisa(Photo via @mandisashields)

 Sofina Bassett

“I recently bought a heated Sherpa blanket (BEST PURCHASE EVER) and I love turning it on and reading in bed with a giant cup of chai on my nightstand.”week16-sofina(Photo via @sofinaa)



Six Things You Must Do To Ace Finals That Have Nothing To Do With Studying

‘Tis the season…for finals. While you already know you need to create outlines, review class notes, make up all those chapters you were supposed to be reading during the semester and so on, acing finals isn’t all about textbooks and study sessions.

There are several things beyond the books that are vital to not only surviving finals, but thriving. How many of these things are you considering when planning your finals’ study strategy?

Wake-up strategy. Instead of pressing snooze 17 times, mindfully set your alarm for a time you will respect. Setting your alarm for 6:30 a.m. knowing full well you won’t get out of bed until 8 not only starts your day with a major fail, but you’re intentionally depriving your body and mind of that all important restful, deep sleep. (Photo via @christinenrqz)


Take a mental “bake.” Bragging how many hours you spent in the library won’t mean diddly squat if they aren’t productive. Your brain can only be on low battery for so long before you start confusing Alexander Hamilton with Alexander Wang. Just as you coordinate your study groups, schedule time with your roommates away from the books. Bake an obscene amount of cookies; watch one episode of your favorite show; color. Take time with your friends so you can go back to hanging with (and understanding) our Founding Fathers. (Photo via @valeriecammack)


Actually study. I know that sounds like common sense, but when you are studying, actually get to work. Don’t waste time at the library bouncing from table to table to gossip, sending 23 Snapchats or Facebook stalking your ex. Get in, get out and get that A. (Photo via @lizzykimn)


Embrace your study surroundings. There are definitely two camps of people out there: those who can only study in silence and those who concentrate with background noise of a marching band performing in the middle of a thunderstorm. Don’t fight your instincts. If you work better in a busy coffee shop, go there. If you are most productive from the confines of your bed, study there. Your environment is an important thing to consider when creating your final exams study strategy. (Photo via @beedurst)


Write it out. Actually putting pen to paper and taking long-form notes and creating physical outlines may help you better retain the information. Faster retention equals less time studying. Also, who doesn’t get all the feelings when you get to cross something off a list? (Photo via @kalynnelizabeth_)


The sweat(s) life. Don’t stress about having the perfect OOTD when you have far more important things to worry about. Plus, who wants to sit for ten hours straight in leather pants? Find a pair of knit joggers or a cozy oversized sweater and let your look be more relaxed. (Photo @sarahdewald)