How Not Posting New Content Improved my Blog

For the past two months I haven't posted any new content on my blog. Not one new blog post, guest post, picture, nothing; but my page views have consistently stayed the highest they've ever been! 

In the middle of the semester, I was completely stressed out, to the point where I contemplated dropping out and opening a Mac n' Cheese store with my friends in Disneyland (we were going crazy.) I had no time or mental energy to come up with new content or even think about my blog.

When I was getting ready to go back home for Thanksgiving break I started thinking about how I hadn't done any work my my website and how my page views must've been in the toilet. I logged into my analytics and saw that they were actually some of the highest they had ever been! I started looking at where they came from and realized three key things:

  1. my highest read posts have been my most read posts for over a year: most of my new content wasn't even making it close in my statistics for viewership. 
  2. most of my new content had nothing to do with my old content.
  3. my traffic came mostly from Pinterest and other blogs (thanks for all the shoutouts guys!) 

This information was eye opening. I realized all of my new, irrelevant content was almost like digital clutter weighing my blog down. I looked at my analytics honestly and objectively and realized that I'm not a fashion blogger, or a food blogger or a travel blogger. My blog is a guidebook for life based on the obstacles I've faced. People respond the best to the things I can write the about the most honestly: right now that's college! 

I've used my analytics to help me create ideas for new content in 2016. Instead of posting daily of weekly I will be posting relevant content bi-weekly! 

What do your analytics say about your blog?



Dorm DIYs

I LOVE crafting. I'm obsessed.  I could sit in my room painting things and pouring glitter until my hands turned numb.  The problem with doing this in the 10ft x 8 ft dorm room is that theres not too much space to glitter as my heart desires. 

But with the help of $30 and some brown paper bags from the grocery store, I got to make the cutest, UMass inspired, wall hanging. 

What I Used: 

  • 5 Wooden Letters from the Target Craft Section;
  • A 2oz bottle of white, satin, paint;
  • A 2oz bottle of gold, glitter, top coat paint; 
  • A foam brush 
  • A brown paper bag 
  • 1 packet of Command velcro strips 

I cleared off my desk, unfolded the brown paper bag, and laid it out on the top of my desk.  I painted two coats of the white paint onto each of the front sides of the letters.  I suggest not painting the backs of any crafts for your dorm because if the paint scratches your dorm wall you could get charged for it. While the top coat was still slightly wet I painted the top glitter coat.  

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You can't see the glitter visibly until light shines on them.  During the day when the sun hits the letters they sparkle; and at night when I have my strung lights on they glow.  And the white backdrop makes them fit perfectly into my minimalistic, chic, dorm. 

Have you done any Dorm DIYs lately? 



Apartment Hunting

Life has been hectic with midterms, my job and mourning over the loss of not being in a sorority.  It's safe to say there have been plenty of late nights, devoured brownies, and time spent watching season after season of Grey's Anatomy. 

But something exciting that's going on is that my friends and I are starting to hunt for apartments for next year! This is especially exciting for me since HGTV has been one of my favorite T.V. stations since I was 8, and I almost applied to school for interior design. 

 Photo from:

Photo from:

Thinking about budget, and bedrooms, and square footage is exciting for me! This process has been nuts since we can't actually sign a contract until next May at the latest. 

My Must Have for an Apartment or House:

  • A max monthly rent of $2,500.00 a month
  • 2-4 bedrooms
  • A balcony or backyard
  • Relatively clean kitchen 
  • Anything but carpet (hopefully) 
  • Within 3 miles of my college campus
  • The ability to paint the rooms for the duration of the contract 

Do you live off campus? How was your house search? Is is better than living on campus? 




Back on Campus

This past Thursday I finally moved back!  To say I'm excited is seriously an understatement.  Be warned this is a sappy post. 

The first week of my freshman year I may have been the only one who was not homesick; and I didn't feel homesick until our laundry room in the basement flooded (for the first time).  But this year is different.  When I was at home I actually made attempts to spend time with my parents - because I actually wanted to. Weird, I know.  My relationship with all of my parents (child of divorce) strengthened this past summer, and it was a lot tougher to leave. 

It also didn't help that my mom just had a baby six months ago, and step mom had a baby a little over a year and a half ago, and I wanted to spend time with. {Granted minimal time because I'm not good with babies, but you get the point}. 

 My Mom's Adorable Daughter Frankie 

My Mom's Adorable Daughter Frankie 

 My Dad and His Handsome Son - Mason 

My Dad and His Handsome Son - Mason 

But as different as leaving this year was, I am also a thousand times more excited than I was last year.  The friends I made here at UMass last year are like family to me now, and five months is a long time to go without seeing people that you're used to seeing all day everyday.  

I'm stepping out of my comfort zone this semester: I will be going through Sorority Recruitment in a little less than a month, I'm about to begin my first semester on the Executive board of the Women in Business Society on campus, and in only one week I will be fulfilling a life long dream of mine. 

My dorm before I decorated

And you know something surprising?  I am so excited for class!! I'm probably more excited for actual school more than anything (*cough* Geek *cough*).  The classes I'm taking this semester are things I'm interested in, or challenge me and make me think. 

It's an amazing feeling to move back onto campus knowing I have an amazing family supporting me at home, a wonderful relationship (happy almost two years :)), and just the most incredible group of friends.  I couldn't be more thankful to all of those people and to all of my readers going into this year. 

Thank you again! 



Preparing for Sophomore Year Move-In

Sophomore year is two weeks away! I cannot believe it.  I feel like just yesterday I was touring colleges excited about the future, but nervous to leave my high school bubble.  Now I'm anxiously waiting to return to campus.  

I've started preparing to return to school (mostly because I just can't wait to be back), and it's been so much easier than last year!  After living in a dorm for so long I now feel like I know what I should pack, how I should pack it, and what I really don't need to bring. 

| Backpacks > Tote Bags | 

When I went to my all-girls high school I used a purse for my school bag, and every other time of the year.  So last year, in addition to my backpack, I brought 5 tote bags, and 2 cross body purses. I now know that that was completely unnecessary.  If I ever used a purse, I put one thing in it. There was no need for all those tote bags!  I plan to bring one or two smaller purses with me this year. I will also be investing in a larger backpack.  My beloved black north face backpack was just too small for everything I needed to carry. 

| Leggings are necessary |

This year will also be the year I invest in more leggings.  I love love love lululemon leggings. Their really the only leggings I'll wear (aside from a few old favorites).  But last year I only brought two pair thinking I would probably wear real pants more often.  Again, I was wrong.  Leggings are the northeastern college girl's uniform. Literally. I am budgeting to buy 3 or four more pair of basic colored leggings from the lululemon outlet store before I return to school. 

| Purge, Purge, Purge |

I just recently invested in the app Stylebook to help me with this task.  I brought so many clothes last fall to college that when I was packing to go home, realized I hadn't even unfolded let alone wore most of them.  Lay out everything you think you want to take to college and ask yourself some questions.  When will you wear this? How often do you wear it now? Is it appropriate for the climate of your college? Is it a useless t-shirt from high school? is it ripped or stained? Does it fit? 

Don't take anything that doesn't fit in hopes of eventually fitting into it.  It'll never happen. 

| Plastic Bins | 

When you pack for college don't use cardboard boxes.  Instead, invest in some plastic bins and space bags.  I space bagged all of my clothes that I was hanging and putting into my built-in wardrobe at school to save space in my car and lighten the load.  But I didn't use plastic bins. 

 how funny is this picture of my roommate, friends and I's first time going to target at college?

how funny is this picture of my roommate, friends and I's first time going to target at college?

This year I will be buying as many bins as I can because I didn't realize how much dead space there was in my dorm that I could've used for storage.  My 15 pairs of shoes were always everywhere; so I'll be buying a bin just for them, and packing my shoes in it for the journey.  Same goes for my extra sheets and towels, you'll always need a place to keep them. 

The Cure to the "Blogger Headache"

One of the biggest struggles I have as a student blogger is physically staying in front of my computer for as long as a need to be.  I suffer from chronic migraine, which comes with the burden of an almost daily headache that begins around 1 o'clock if I don't already have a migraine.

When I was 13 I was given prescription glasses (despite my almost perfect vision) to try and help my headaches.  When I was 15 they discovered I had astigmatism, and hoped that new glasses would help, they didn't. 

I was told to wear the glasses while I worked on the computer or watched TV, which is basically all the time.  But instead of helping they actually worsened my headaches.  As soon as I took them off I'd get confused or disoriented and have to sit for five minutes before I stopped being dizzy. 

Recently, a company called Phonetic Eyewear reached out to me about a new type of glasses made specifically for computer use.  I was ecstatic!  I went online to look at some of the glasses thinking they'd look like boring, ugly standard looking glasses. Oh My I was surprised! The glasses reminded me of Warby Parker and they were extremely affordable. It's on $49 for a pair with just the computer lenses, and $99 with a prescription. 

Once they came in the mail i was so anxious to see if they worked.  I put them on and didn't notice kind of drastic change right away, but as soon as I took them off I realized how much they were helping me. 

These glasses are meant to block the blue light that comes from computers from entering your eye and causing your eyes to strain, which typically causes those afternoon headaches for most people.  When I took these glasses off and saw my laptop for the first time I was amazed! I had no idea how blue my screens really were. 

I've been wearing these glasses for about a week now and the difference is amazing.  All you students, bloggers, or student bloggers out there need to look into getting a pair of these glasses.  Not only will they look super cute in your Instagram pic with your Starbucks and the book your reading, but they'll also help save you from that eventual blogger burnout caused by eye strain.  

Honestly guys, I'm amazed at how much I love these glasses.  I feel like an idiot for spending so much money on prescription glasses I never wear.  When I'm not as poor of a college student as I am right now I will be buying at least two more pair. 

If you end up trying out the glasses, let me know what you thought of them! Use the code "LIFESTYLIST10" to get 10% of your order! 

I can't wait to see if these help you guys! 



Madeline & Company Backpacks

School is almost here! (que happy dancing now!) I am so excited to go back to campus, but I have a huge list of stuff to get done before I go.  One of the things I need to do is buy a new backpack. 

Last year I invested over $100 into a north face backpack because I had always heard that those are the best.  I was sadly mistaken.  Only one binder and my laptop fit into the backpack, and I could barely squeeze my water bottle into the side pocket. 

During the Smart Girls Group conference, which I unfortunately could not attend, an adorable high school senior named Madeline, of Madeline & Company, debuted her new backpack collection {read her interview on The College Prepster Here} Guys, I am in love! These backpacks are literally perfect. 

  • it's almost 9 inches deep which allows you to carry plenty of books (why other backpacks don't have room for books baffles my mind)
  • There is a padded laptop sleeve built in to the inside
  • Cushioned shoulders and back
  • Water bottle sleeves on the side that aren't made out of mesh, but still waterproof
  • Small zippered pocket on the inside for your phone and any other small supplies (ex. pencils, pens, headphones, etc.)
  • And motivational words on the back panel of the bag to lift you up on your most stressful days! 

The bags come in eight color combinations: four featuring black as a base color and four featuring navy.  And some bags even have the cutest striped lining.

But my absolute favorite part of these bags is that they're Made in America! For the same price as a North Face backpack you're getting much more functionality and you're helping create jobs in your country.  

I'm ordering the black one with the gold and pink stripe this week (because it matches my blogs design and I love it so much).  Use the code "xocollegelife" for 10% off the purchase of your new backpack.  And be on the lookout for an updated What's in My Backpack post for sophomore year featuring my lovely new backpack coming soon! 



My Skincare Routine

this is not a sponsored post, these are my own thoughts and opinions. 

I have tried pretty much everything you can buy at CVS for your skin.  Growing up even when I didn't have acne, I've always had blotchy, red, skin. It's something I used to be very self conscious about that I'm just now starting to get over. Plus I have a skin allergy to Tea Tree Oil that makes it hard to get higher end products.

Being a generally lazy person for someone who always has two planners, no matter what I tried I never really stuck with it because I didn't see instant results.  Or even worse I saw an instant result that was bad. 


About a month into college I stopped washing my face all together.  It was causing me a lot of break outs that I wasn't used to and it made my skin dry and irritated (which just brought the red blotches out more).  What I did do was just use make-up remover wipes before I went to bed and moisturized.  I've alway used Neutrogena original make-up remover wipes because they just leave my skin feeling the best. 

After I remove my makeup at night, I use Neutrogena's deep moisture night face cream.  This is honestly a miracle worker.  Whenever I put this on I wake up with dewey glowing skin and it's just awesome.  It's even more amazing in the winter when your face is dry and windblown. 

Every morning I usually splash some water on my face then put on Neutrogena's daily moisturizer for oily to combination skin.  These three things (plus some of the Neutrogena simple face cleanser once in a blue moon) kept my skin looking amazing at school! But when I came back home for the summer I noticed my skin was more oily and I started getting a few little blackheads. 

This is when I decided to purchase Neutrogena's toner. I had never really used toner before but I started just putting it on a cotton ball and rubbing it over my skin after removing my makeup and before I put on any kind of lotion.  The first time I used it I noticed it took off a bunch of makeup dirt I didn't know I had on my face, and it was less oily. 

My love for Neutrogena is ever growing, and I promise you this is not a sponsored post, I'm just in love with all of their products! 

How I Edit My Instagram Photos

My Instagram account has become my baby.  I could spend hours photographing, editing and thinking about pictures for my Instagram feed.  But working two jobs, running a blog and trying to have some form of social life and fitness routine don't really leave that kind of time for photo editing. 

Screenshot 2015-07-22 14.54.30.png

I've tried every editing app from Snapped to Photoshop, and I've narrowed it down to two apps: Facetune and VSCOcam. 

| Facetune | 

I first discovered Facetune when I was fifteen and had a face full of acne.  Facetune is like photoshop, but really cheap, and really easy to use.  I downloaded it to get rid of the pimples on my face, shed a pound or two and give my photos high quality appearance.  This is the complete opposite of what I use it for in my blog photos.    

Facetune has a really amazing teeth whitener editing tool that I use on almost every single one of my photos.  It doesn't just make whites whiter, but it brightens colors that can be dulled by interior light or photo angle. 

 Before Facetune Whitening 

Before Facetune Whitening 

 After Facetune Whitening 

After Facetune Whitening 

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It's a subtle but incredible difference.  Having the picture be lighter and brighter allows the contrast to show more clearly when I boost the brightness and contrast in the actual Instagram App. 

| VSCOcam |

I don't use VSCOcam for any actual Instagram editing.  Shocking right? Instead I use it for post planning.  The "library" feature on VSCOcam allows you to lay out your photos in a 3x4 grid just like it would appear on your Instagram profile.  This way I can see if the picture I want to post fits in with the aesthetic I want people to feel when they view my profile. 

Preplanning my feed has helped me gain focus on my goals for my Instagram instead of posting the first thing that comes into my camera roll. 

  Have you used either of these apps before? What was your experience with them? 



Why I Unfollowed Over 100 People, and Why You Should Too

I love social media.  I love it!  It's the reason I chose my major (marketing) to begin with.  I love learning new things and seeing statistics grow.  And I love the community you can build within your own niche. 

But recently going on to any of my social media sites have felt like a chore.  I chucked it up to just being stuck in a rut, or the fact that theres not too many exciting things happening.  But then I also noticed that not only were my stats not going up, they were going down! I was losing followers. 


I'm a big believer in quality over quantity.  So having fewer followers isn't necessarily a bad thing if the people who unfollowed me weren't in my target audience, or weren't interested in what I had to say.  But the problem was I was loosing followers from that target audience. My lack of motivation to use social media had lead to me loosing some of my greatest assets. 

I knew I had to do something, so I open twitter and was scrolling through my feed when I realized almost everyone I was following was tweeting about something I couldn't care less about.  Then I started noticing this on Instagram, and Facebook, and even my Tumblr (which I had rarely been using). 

I decided to spend the last week of my life reevaluating every one of my social media sites.  I went through my following list and unfollowed any dead accounts (hadn't been active in over a month), and accounts that I personally didn't have an interest in, and any brands or stores I knew I was never going to buy anything from because I'm poor and their clothes aren't that cute. 

After doing this for each one of my accounts, and unlocking every page  became a fan of when I was 13, I started feeling Inspired!  I wanted to tweet, I wanted to Instagram; I even created a brand new tumblr page for all my favorite insta's and posts where people can ask me questions without having to email me. 

After completely overhauling my social media I became more involved with my digital community, and more interactive with the people I follow as well as just in general.  And you know what? It's been three days and I've already been gaining, rather than losing, followers. Quality followers who would actually benefit from my posts and who I could mutually benefit from. Being genuine, social and interactive on social media will lead to organic follower growth. And following fewer people who inspire you, rather than a lot of accounts you don't really like, will help you become more interactive naturally. 

Not only has it helped with follower growth, but I just feel so much more productive now, it's like clearing out your inbox: you feel like a new person!

Fall in love with your social media again! If you decide to do this let me know if you can see any growth!