The Back-to-School Bucket List You Need This Fall

School is officially back in session and fall is right around the corner. I couldn’t be more excited for the leaves to start changing colors, the return of football, and the fresh start that a new season brings. However, I know that getting into the swing of things can be extremely difficult, especially in college. That’s why I like to make a back to school bucket list each fall so that I can start the year ready to conquer whatever may lie ahead. It’s also a good way to make the most out of every experience! Whether you’re a new freshman, a graduating senior, or anywhere in between, you will want to make your own back to school bucket list. Here are the top three items on my bucket list.

1—Get a planner you’ll actually use

This may sound like a no-brainer, but I’m a firm believer that there are two types of planner users: those who use them systematically and those who don’t use them at all. I don’t know about you guys, but I tend to fall in the latter. I can’t bring myself to keep it updated as often as I need to or I don’t have “that much” going on a certain week, so I lose track, etc. Whatever the reason, I can never stick with it for an entire year. However, this year I intend to change that. I spent a long time choosing a planner I loved, and I’ve challenged myself to keep up with it and stay organized.

PHOTO: Anna Buckman

2—Try a class outside of your comfort zone

I am a communication studies major, who pretty much only takes communication classes. However, that’s not getting the full college experience, so I like to challenge myself to take a class I wouldn’t normally take. These have ranged from criminal justice to theater to psychology classes. Take advantage of all your school has to offer!

PHOTO: Kenia Viezcas

3—Participate in a school function

I don’t know your school’s level of spirit, but at the University of Alabama, we pretty much live and breathe the Crimson Tide. Maybe you don’t have football, therefore, I encourage you to try something else. Last year, I participated in the Alabama Dance Marathon where we danced for 12 hours straight to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network! I grew closer to my city and my school and that’s something I think everyone should experience!

PHOTO: Kenia Viezcas

Overall, the biggest item on my list every year is to make as many memories as I can and enjoy every single moment. College flies by in the blink of an eye; I remember thinking this even my freshman year. These four years are truly some of the most challenging, fulfilling, and life-changing. While they may not be “the best four years,” in my opinion, they come pretty dang close.

Do you have your own back to school bucket list? Share it with us on social media! Don’t forget to tag @Cfashionista.

Turns Out Your Next Vacation Destination is Closer and Easier Than You Think

For the busy Fashionista, summer days are often scheduled full of family vacations, internships, and eight-hour work shifts. It’s important to put ourselves first every once in a while and find new ways to have fun. I am a huge believer in taking time to exhale from all of life’s stresses. One of my favorite ways to do so is to squeeze in mini day-trips whenever I can to clear my head. Here’s how I achieve the perfect mini day trip getaway.

Day Trip Getaway - 1I love to scroll through Instagram to decide where I would like to go to for a day trip. By scrolling through your favorite blogger’s feed who generally lives in your area, you can find so many unique places that happen to be not too far from you. Since I live in Southern California, I’ve found a lot of fun places through L.A. bloggers such as Cactus Mountain in Joshua Tree, Thousand Steps in Laguna Beach, and El Matador Beach in Malibu.

Day Trip Getaway - 2

The second step to achieving a relaxing, mini day trip is to create your ideal playlist filled with your favorite tunes to blast through the car speakers. My go-tos typically include Rooney, The Rolling Stones, and Homeshake. Before heading out the door, protect yourself from harsh UV rays shining down on you with your favorite hat and sunglasses, throw your current page turning read into your bag, and voila! Let’s get on the road.

Lastly, what creates a great getaway is sharing your trip with a good company and documenting it along the way. When traveling anywhere, whether it be abroad or just two hours away, I value being open minded and not always necessarily having a set plan. Some of the best trips come out of wandering around and finding new hidden treasures that feel like it’s a place only you and your adventure buddy know. In order to remember exactly how I felt in that moment, I love having my camera on hand at all times so I can keep those moments with me forever.

Where would you go on your day trip getaway? Let me know in the comments below!

3 Techniques to Help You Get Into Journaling

Journaling is a beautiful, unique, and unrestrictive creative outlet. There are dozens of ways to journal and you can add your own creative twist to it. I began journaling a little over a year ago and I wish I would have started sooner. It is amazing to look back to a year ago, even a month ago, at what was going on in my life. Here, I’ll explain to you three of my favorite and most beneficial ways of journaling that will change your life.

1—Dailies. For starters, a structured form of journaling is what I like to call “Dailies”. This way is helpful if you are trying to get into a new routine, create habits, or if you just have a lot on your plate. Every morning I write what time I wake up, what I eat for breakfast, my workout, and make a plan for the rest of the day and a little to-do list to keep myself on track. At the end of the day, I do a small recap on what happened and write my gratitude. This is more of an agenda-like way of journalling to get yourself more organized.

2—Prompted journaling. For those of you who are just plain bored and want to spark your creativity, I’d recommend prompted journaling. You can either buy a journal with prompts already made for you, or another way is by watching a TED talk about a certain topic that catches your interest and writing your response in a reflection-like, opinionated sort of way. This is great for learning new things and to help the development of opinions and ideas. I have learned so much from this technique of journaling, it definitely gets my brain going.

3—Goal setting. If you are a person with a ton of goals, the first step to achieving them is writing them down! Writing down your goals is already half the battle. Most people have goals and never care to figure out how the heck to achieve them. Keeping a journal of everything you want to accomplish and the steps you take to achieve them keeps your mind focused and centered on your journey to success. Plus, imagine looking back at this journal after you have achieved all of your goals.

The best part of journaling is that there are no rules and you can totally make it your own. If you’re thinking about journaling, go for it! Pick up a pencil and let your mind wander; complete, creative freedom. Get some cool pens and deck it out, or just keep it simple. The most important thing is to not make it forced, it shouldn’t be a chore to journal. Find a technique that you love and be excited about doing it. It can be hard at first, but oh so worth it.

What’s your favorite way to get creative with journaling? Comment below!

4 Chicago Neighborhoods That are Perfect for Your Instagram

Chicago is a big city with a lot to see. Of course, there are the main attractions that you must see when you visit, such as Cloud Gate, Millennium Park, Giordano’s, and the Buckingham Fountain. There also more hidden gems in Chicago neighborhoods. Rather than trying to capture the perfect picture of your fashion, get out your camera because Chicago is perfect for your Instagram. Here are four neighborhoods in particular that I think would make great additions to your Instagram.


1—Buena ParkBuena Park is not filled with tourist attractions like Cloud Gate or Millennium Park. It is more low-key than the other Chicago neighborhoods. It has a beach called Montrose Beach and is north of the loop; it’s a great location for running, walking, picnics, swimming, and almost anything outdoors. There’s a dog beach where owners can take their dogs and let them run around. Montrose Beach has a great view of the city if you want that picture of the Chicago Skyline. Buena Park has elevated train tracks, which would be a great picture to get when coming to Chicago to remember your visit.

2—West LoopWest Loop is an upcoming neighborhood full of suitable places for Instagram. Some of my favorite places to shoot include the blue brick wall and the red doors. There’s also the drink up wall, wing wall, avocado wall, and the blue doors. When visiting Chicago, the West Loop is one of the top places you should go. On top of murals, it contains some of the best food in the city with a retail area.

3—Lincoln ParkLincoln Park is one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Chicago, filled with lots of cool restaurants and tourist attractions, including the Conservatory and the Lincoln Park Zoo. The Conservatory is filled with plants, fish, and small ponds. The Lincoln Park Zoo is filled with nature trails and lots of greenery, along with animals. Both of these places are free to the public and perfect backdrops for your Instagram photo.

4—Wicker Park. Wicker Park is one of the trendiest neighborhoods in Chicago. It is full of restaurants, coffee shops, thrift shops, and music stores. All of the decorations and themes for the shops are original ideas that you will not see in any other place. While you are in Wicker Park, you can get your palm read or look at the murals on all the buildings. You can enjoy a drink in a pineapple in the summer, or a hot coffee at a coffee shop in the winter. Just make sure you check this part of town out.

Have you visited any of these neighborhoods? Post a picture on Instagram and tag @CFashionista!

How to Help Your Local Shopping Centers Stay Afloat

Most of you reading this already know that there’s a certain joy that comes from shopping. Never mind the mountains of money you owe on your credit card, that stinging feeling can easily be soothed by the comfort of your new Adidas shoes. Your tears can be wiped away by that new, unnecessary tissue box dispenser with the cool artsy carvings on it. Now, where would you be had that local mall with the fun stores not been a short 20-minute drive away? You would be at home, shoeless with a boring tissue box, probably awaiting an online order that is soon to disappoint. Little do you know how much of a negative impact all your online shopping does to these brick and mortar businesses you love so much.

Don’t get me wrong, I, just like any other person, enjoy my casual Saturday morning online browsing. Buying things online is easy and effortless. But more times than not, my purchase doesn’t turn out the way it looked online, takes forever to ship to my house, and I have the pain of trying to ship the item back just to start the entire process all over again.

While you may think returns are harmless, returning an online item in stores can harm the neglected business. Return after return adds up for a store, pushing its sales down and making it responsible for selling the item that was never a part of the original stock. If for some reason no one else wanted the item, the store profits become negative. Small things like this (on top of online markets) take away from business and hurt some of our favorite stores—resulting in less merchandise and eventual shutdown.

Can you imagine a life without shopping centers where you bought everything online? It’s a nightmare if you ask me. We also cannot forget the other fun aspects that aren’t fulfilled from a computer screen. Shopping centers allow you to meet up with friends, experience fine dining, get a little extra exercise, and most importantly, take the items home that same day. These little ingredients are all part of what makes avid shoppers come back for more.

So, the next time you are shopping online, check to see if the item you want can be bought at a store nearby. If so, use your day off to get out there, socialize, and support your local businesses before it’s too late!

How important are shopping centers to you? Tell me what you think in the comments below.

Fall in Love With Your Hometown

This past fall I moved nearly 900 miles from my hometown to begin the next chapter of my life at college. Being so far from home forced me to face unfamiliar challenges, but it helped me discover who I really am.

After adjusting to my new life in Colorado, coming home for the summer was bittersweet. However, as I continue to plan for the future it is becoming all too clear to me that I have to enjoy the time I am able to spend here. In order to really appreciate the place where I grew up, I needed to gain a new perspective of my hometown. Here are some ideas for you to fall back in love with your hometown this summer.

1—Go back to the basics. Remind yourself of all of the reasons that make your hometown feel like home. Take the time to enjoy the people and places of your town so you can look forward to visiting them again when you come home. Reminisce on the old memories and create new ones. After all, what makes hometowns so special are the memories that were created in them.

2—Discover something new. Even if you think you may know everything and everyone in your hometown, chances are you haven’t seen it all. Go on an adventure with the friends you grew up with and do something you haven’t done before. Rediscovering a place you know so well can show you that your town has more to offer than you previously thought.

3—See the town from a new perspective. See your hometown from a different view and you may discover something you had never seen before. Find a bridge or a tall building to get a glance of the town you grew up in from a new perspective.

How will you renew your love for your hometown this summer? Let us know in the comments below!

Island Life Guide For A Full Experience

After a full year of studying and working you are probably ready to enter a stress-free zone. Spending your summer on an island gives you the opportunity to relax, get a tan, have fun and explore anything it has to offer. Here is how to have the time of your life!

Take your most amazing clothes with you

Have in mind that islands basically require colorful clothes. It is important for both your happiness and to keep the heat away as much as possible. Always pack swimwear, flip flops, and beach towels.

Buy the right book

Since you will probably leave your laptop at home and you will be away from your favorite series for a while make sure to pack one or two books. As a huge literature lover I will list out some books ideas for you. Girl Boss by Sophia Amoruso, Idol by Carrie Duffy, Half of A Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie are just a few of my suggestions.

Visit as many places as possible

It is necessary to see as many places as you can wherever you are. Islands usually offer amazing nature that we don’t see on an everyday basis and great places to hang out at. Don’t forget beach bars and summer festivals that might be near you. In my opinion, local traditions and food can be very interesting too. Try to get to be a part of the place as much as you can.

Make a travel journal

I usually carry a Moleskine journal with me on my vacation to write down every detail of my trips and make sure I will never forget them. And of course my Polaroid camera that allows me to print instantly and put the pictures next to its description

Where will you be this summer ? Let us know in the comments below!

If Ya Wanna Be My (Summa) Lover

The nineties have returned with a vengeance in the fashion world, from platforms to jellies to *gasp* scrunchies. But I say it’s time for a resurgence of the greatest nineties trend; the girl gang. This summer, trade in your #relationshipgoals for #friendshipgoals. A college girl is only home for three months before heading back to the reality of due dates and dusty professors, so why waste a summer on a romance? Fall for your BFFs this season because, honey, if Carrie Bradshaw has taught us anything, it’s that gal pals are always in style.

First things first: Being a part of the #girlboss era means that spontaneous adventure plans usually get axed by work. So reach out to your girl gang to make a date. Write down your plans in a cute planner to give you things to look forward to during your long days at work. Don’t have a girl gang yet? Thank goodness for social media! DM that girl with the awesome sense of style you’ve seen on Instagram, and you’re set.

When your ladies have all gotten in formation (hopefully in your matching ASOS Best Friend jackets), make sure to take lots and lots of pictures. This is the youngest we will ever be and the oldest we’ve ever been; and if that isn’t an Insta-worthy occasion I don’t know what is. Invest in a Polaroid camera this summer for memories you can take with you back to your dorm room in a fun photo album. The film may fade over time, but the memories certainly won’t. Although friends don’t let friends go home without a good selfie to post, try to stay off your phone while you are spending time with them. Life is ten times better when you actually experience it, not just through the Snapchat lens.

Being in your twenties is known as your “selfish” years: a trial period for the rest of your life. Although it’s great to have your friends by your side, don’t lose focus on the most important, challenging, and most rewarding relationship you’ll ever have: the one with yourself. Take time this summer to get to know yourself by yourself. Who are you when social media isn’t looking? Summers come and go, friends come and go, styles come and go (thankfully), but the one thing that will always stay is you. This is the summer of love; of self love.

How do you plan on spending your summer months: with friends, yourself, or your SO? Any tricks on how to balance relationships with friends, yourself, and romantic interests (oh my)? Share below or on social media (be sure to tag @CFashionista!) to help a girlfriend out.