Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year // Thank You

     Sometimes there are moments, even years, in your life that stand out as exceptional. 2014 was one of those for me. I accomplished so many things that I have always wanted to do and met so many wonderful people. Back in March, I started this blog! I'll admit I had absolutely no idea what I was doing or getting myself into, but it was hands down one of the best decisions I have ever made. I had the opportunity to interview country music singers, work with some of my favorite companies, and connect with so many amazing bloggers.
      I just wanted to say thank you to anyone who has done a guest post, collaboration, interview, and to anyone who has commented on a post or even just read my blog. You all have supported me and I cannot thank you enough. The highlight of this year, honestly, was starting this blog and connecting with all of you through this amazing creative outlet. I hope you all have a wonderful and blessed 2015 and are as excited as I am for this new year!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Staying Fit Through the Holidays

This time of year is filled with busy schedules, calories, and cold weather. It seems nearly impossible to not gain weight, but I have found some ways to still enjoy the holidays without adding some extra pounds. Let me know some of your fitness tips in the comments!

1. Portion control: It's okay to indulge in some Christmas cookies and drink hot chocolate - just don't do it multiples times a day, everyday. "Everything in moderation" is a saying my mom and dad taught me growing up and I have found it very true. Depriving yourself will most likely end in binge eating, so instead, just take enough food to fill a small plate.

2. Indoor exercise: The weather in California doesn't change much and I am still able to exercise outside. However, I know this is not true for many parts of the country or world. Indoor exercises such as yoga and pilates are a great way to stay in shape during the holidays. There are thousands of videos on YouTube that you can follow along to with no equipment necessary!

3. Eat a healthy breakfast: Starting out the day on the right note is a must! If you eat small, healthy meals throughout the day, starting with breakfast, you won't be as likely to fill yourself up with sugary foods and desserts.

4. Watch the drinks: The holiday drinks are a huge part of the season, such as pumpkin spice lattes, eggnog, and various alcoholic drinks. It is surprising to find how many calories are in these, so just be aware of it and, again, consume in moderation.

5. Budget your time: This time of year is hectic and chaotic between attending parties, Christmas shopping, and traveling. Making time for yourself in your schedule is important. Even just an hour to exercise or clear your head is necessary for your health during this busy time of year.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Holiday Dresses

Holiday dresses are one of my favorite parts about the season. I love the sparkles, the colors, and the textures. I feel like this season, especially, has so many cute ones that I can't even choose a favorite. However, I have picked out some of the ones that caught my eye. I love how they can be styled so many different ways as well with shoes, accessories, and jewelry. Let me know which ones are your favorites in the comments!

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Under $50 Gift Guide for Friends

I absolutely love getting gifts for my friends. Over the years, I have had some of the most incredible people come into my life, and I find that the holidays are a great time to reflect and show my friends how much they mean to me. This year, I wanted to get more personal gifts for my friends and this is what I came up with! Let me know what you are getting for your friends this year!




Monday, December 15, 2014

Surviving Finals

One of the downsides to this time of the year is that for most college students, it's time for finals. Fortunately, I survived mine last week! However, I know many colleges have their finals this week, so I thought I would start this Monday off by giving some of my tips and tricks. Let me know what some of your tips are in the comments and good luck to all taking finals this week!

1. Libraries or Coffee Shops: This is the best place for me to study and focus. I sit down with a cup of coffee (see tip #2) and get to work. The library is ideal, but often times during finals week, it is extremely crowed, so coffee shops off campus work well. The important thing is that you find a place where you will be productive.

2. Coffee: This is a must for me. My finals were back to back, so after one was done, I had to study for the next. Unfortunately, this meant late nights, and coffee became a necessity. If you don't like coffee, you can try tea or any other caffeinated beverage. Just remember to stay hydrated by drinking water with it as well.

3. Eat well and exercise: This one is so hard for me to do during finals week, but it's important to do if you can. Eating well will help you focus and have more energy. Exercising is a great way to relieve stress, and it doesn't have to take long. Just a quick walk or jog around campus will refresh your brain and release endorphins that will make you feel better.

4. Dress well: I'm not saying dress up, but if you feel confident going into your test, you will likely see better results. Wear something that is comfortable, but also makes you feel good.

5. Take breaks: I know this is hard to do as well, but the brain needs a break! Get up and stretch or go talk to a friend. You will come back refreshed and ready to focus!

6. Remember it's just a test: During finals week, I see students, including myself, get so stressed out over studying. It's important to take a step back and realize that it's just a test. All you can do is give it your best effort, and even if you don't do well, life will go on. 

Good luck everyone!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Interview with Laura McCormick


Laura McCormick is a rising force in the country music industry today. She brings a free spirit feel to the genre, and it can be heard on her new album Box Full of Trouble, which was just released. I was fortunate enough to talk to her about her music, fashion sense, and more.

1.     I know you were an ICU nurse before you became a singer. What made you want to pursue music as a career?

I’ve always wanted music to be my career, and I knew it would be eventually, I just took an unconventional path to get here. The need to make music and connect with people on that level runs deep in my blood, it’s not a want- it’s a basic need.

2.     How would you describe the style of your music and where do you get your inspiration?

I personally call my style/genre of music “southern rock”, but it’s definitely a mixture of rock, blues, and country. I’m constantly inspired by everything and everyone around me. All of my songs are written from my own personal experiences or my perception of the experiences of those around me.

3.     I know your debut album, Box Full of Trouble, was just released. What is your favorite song off the album?

That’s a hard question. All of the songs I have written are like my children. I like different ones best on different days for different reasons. Mostly, it depends on what mood I am in because each song brings back the certain emotions that went into the writing and recording process for that song.

4.     What has been the most memorable moment of your career so far?

So far, I’d say the day I finished my first album. I know earlier I said that I’ve always known somehow one day I’d end up pursuing music BUT it still felt more like a dream than a reality. Finishing my album was the first physical step forward towards turning my passion and dreams into a career and a future!

5.     Is there someone in the industry today who inspires you or that you would like to model your career after?

Oh gosh, this is a hard question too! If I had to pick one, ultimately I’d say Stevie Nicks. As a woman, she portrays such a strong presence. She’s beautiful and timeless, yet mysterious. These are qualities as a woman I hope to exhibit. As an artist, her music exudes the same character. Her lyrics are honest and enchanting backed up by haunting melodies, and to me that’s a powerful combination. She’s managed to keep her music interesting and edgy throughout the decades. In my opinion she’s captivating in every aspect.

6.     What do you like to wear when you perform on stage?

On stage I have kind of a gypsy-rock type of style. I like to wear things that demand attention! Bold colors, fringe, leather, feathers, bright red lipstick…. It’s all fair game. Essentially it’s just a slightly amped up version of my daily attire.

7.     What is a little known/fun fact about you?

I was on the golf team from elementary school up until high school; with Dustin Lynch actually! I even won the Regionals in 8th grade.

Find Laura here:

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Handbags 101: What's in My Bag

     I am a firm believer that the right handbag can pull any outfit together. It is one of the best and most useful accessories women can wear. Because of this, I think it's okay to spend a little extra money on one that works for your lifestyle. I recently saw Rue La La's handbag guide and was inspired to share some of my favorite items to carry around with me during those busy days. Rue La La has a wide variety of stylish handbags from big leather bags to smaller clutches at great prices.
     As a college student, I've learned that it's important to stick to the basics and keep things organized. I carry a large black leather tote bag that is durable and can hold items such as my laptop and books. However, a big bag also means that it can get messy quickly. I have often thrown things that I don't need like receipts or one too many lip glosses in my bag until it's is overflowing and I can't find the items I actually need. Recently, I cleaned out my purse and am trying to be really good about only keeping necessary items in there. This is what ended up staying in my purse after:



1. My wallet- This seems like an obvious one, but it's one that is necessary and one that I have forgotten occasionally.
2. Chapstick- My lips get super dry, especially in the winter time, so this is a must for me.
3. Keys-Another obvious one, but it's important to always have your keys with you.
4. Pen- There have been so many occasions when I'm out and about and need a pen or someone else needs to borrow one.
5. Sunglasses- I cannot drive without sunglasses, so these are a must for me.
6. Gum- Many times when I am out, I stop for a bite to eat or to get a coffee. Afterwards, it's nice to have a gum with me so that I have fresh breath again.
7. Hair tie- The car my roommate and I share is a convertible bug and we always have the top down, so putting my hair up when driving is a necessity for me. That is, unless I want to spend 10 minutes brushing out my hair every time we arrive at our destination.
8. Lilly Pulitzer Makeup Bag- I put the basic necessities in here as far as makeup goes. A little powder for touchups, some lipstick, and a roll on perfume is all I need to bring on the go.
Bonus: Book or computer if it fits- as a student, it seems the to-do list is infinite. If I am on the go, stopping at a coffee shop or the library to work on some homework is a must.

Let me know what you all keep in your handbags!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Interview with Mitch Goudy


“This is the second album I’ve ever released; I’m 19 years old now”. While it takes most artists decades to release two albums and have two songs in the top 75, it has only taken a few short years for Mitch Goudy. #ROWDIE, which was just released on Tuesday, is written and produced by the Iowa native, and every song contains a different feel and story. As a fellow 19-year-old, I was fortunate enough to talk to Mitch on the phone the day his album was released about his music, his recent partnering with the fashion label STRUT, and more.

1. Congratulations on the release of your album! What has today been like for you?

It’s a hard thing to explain really. It’s very exciting, but it’s also nerve-wracking. Oddly enough, you’re always being a creative person; I’m already thinking about what I want to do creatively next. But I’m also very, very excited. It’s so cool seeing all these tweets about these songs. On this album, I produced all the music and played a lot of the instruments. I was part of the engineering, and I wrote all the songs on the album, too, so I was heavily involved. When you write an album, you’ve known about the songs for a year or so, so it’s funny when it’s released because everyone’s like “Oh, all this new music!” and you’ve heard the songs a 100,000 times, but it’s something that is so overwhelming to feel.

2. How does #ROWDIE compare to your other album Wild?

It’s completely different, I’d say. This album is called #ROWDIE, and I started playing the songs when I was out on radio tours. So I’ve gotten to travel all over the place. My thing was, when I was going to these country concerts – I love them, I love country music – but if you look at my iPod, I’ve got everything on there. You would think I like country music, but you’ll see everything from reggae to screamo to dubstep. I like it all and that really rubbed off on my music. I’ve gone to a lot of country concerts, and to me they all started to sound the same, and that was okay – they all sounded great and I’m definitely the opposite of a hater – I love all country music. But for me personally, I didn’t want people to get into a few songs on my album, and go, “I’ve heard it all”. I want every single song to be a different page and a different flavor. So that was where we went, which is kind of unheard of in country music, and what country radio started calling it is hybrid country. I’ve never heard it called that before, but if it becomes a thing, I’ll be pretty dang excited. It really was just something that came from my imagination; it’s what I love.

3. What made you want to pursue music as a career? Did you always know that’s what you wanted to do?

No, not really. I’m pretty young, so I’d say I found out pretty quick. I used to be real big into sports, but I got a knee injury when I was younger, and that’s when I really couldn’t play sports anymore. So that week I was on the couch and I really couldn’t walk around because my knee was hurting so bad. My dad brought home a guitar and said, “You’ve been dancing and singing Garth Brooks since you were three years old; now maybe you can make some noise with this”. So he brought home a teach yourself guitar book, and it sounds so old fashion, but I turned on the radio and just started playing along. That’s how I learned, by just hammering it out and that’s why when I go down to Nashville, they’ll say the way you play guitar is really unique, and that’s because nobody taught me. But I will say for anybody out there, sometimes a tragedy turns out to be the best thing that ever happened to you.

4. What has been the most memorable moment of your journey so far?

That’s tough, but I’d say this album has probably been the most memorable moment. It’s just been a huge learning experience, and it’s also been a test of my endurance and how bad I want it. I was involved in every single aspect, and I had to learn as I went. The album is truly me; every single note on that album, I was a part of to help pick out and to help play. It’s just a really cool moment for me. I’ve had some other awesome things happen; I’ve met some great people, and I’m not taking any of that for granted, but just to have an album that is exactly what I want, to put my talents to use, and to push myself has been really awesome for me.

5. I know you recently partnered with the fashion label STRUT. Have you always been interested in fashion?

You know, when you grow up in southeast Iowa, there is kind of a certain way you dress. But I was always kind of ‘that kid’, and I always liked fashion. Now, was I going to go to fashion school? No. But I’m a very creative guy, so I always had ideas about fashion. So when this opportunity came and I met Rachel, it was one of the coolest moments because she was like, “What do you want?” And I’m sitting there like ‘I have no idea’. So we just sat down and I started hammering out some of the craziest ideas, and then it took a few months. Then, all the sudden, she came with this whole rack of clothes, and it was just a surreal moment because what I had imagined was exceeded. She took some of my ideas and made them way cooler. Modeling for her has been awesome, and I am jacked for the clothes because I like to do things completely different, and nobody owns these clothes, and hopefully soon they will.

Find Mitch here:

Friday, October 17, 2014

My Dorm Room






It took some time, but here are some pictures of my dorm room this year! I'm really happy with the way it turned out. My bedding is Kate Spade, the monogram "L" is from Swoozies, and the rest is from Target! Let me know what you all think in the comments!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

What to Wear to a Fraternity Semi Formal

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6

     Fall means cooler weather, riding boots, sweaters, scarves, and endless amounts of pumpkin everything. In college, it also means fraternity semi formals! And that means an excuse to go buy a super cute dress. But dress shopping can also be stressful if you don't know what to wear, so here are some tips!

1. Keep it classy: You want to make a good impression in front of your date and his brothers. Wearing something that doesn't reveal absolutely everything is a good idea.

2. Darker colors: Since semi formals are held in the fall, neons and florals should probably be saved for another event. That being said, wear what you feel the most comfortable in.

3. Short and sweet:  Semi formal dresses are normally kept above the knee - save those floor length gowns for formal! 

4. Heels: As far as shoes go, most women wear heels. That being said, make sure you are able to walk and dance in whatever you choose. You want to be able to have a good time and not focus all of your energy on not tripping or getting blisters.

Like I mentioned before, you ultimately have to wear what you feel the most comfortable in! As long as you feel good about yourself, you will be sure to have a good time. I am going to one in two weeks and still don't have a dress, so let me know which one you like in the comments!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Interview with Chris Lane


           When the phone rang, my voice was nearly gone from being sick and having formal recruitment the night before. But when I it picked up on Thursday morning and heard “Hey, is this Laur-Laur?” I realized that Chris Lane was synonymous with a good time. He then proceeded to let me know that if he needed to step in and hold down some sorority events, he was all for it.
            For as much personality and humor as he possesses, Chris has the talent as well. He has had huge success with his single, ‘Broken Windshield View’, and spent this past summer on tour with Florida Georgia Line. He is heading out on tour again this fall with Jerrod Niemann, as well as finishing up his record. I was fortunate enough to talk to him about his music, career, inspiration, and future plans.
             
 1. What made you want to pursue music as a career? Did you always know that’s what you wanted to do?

I did not know that music was something that I wanted to do until 5 or 6 years ago. I played sports my entire life; that’s honestly all I ever do. My dad drilled that into my head – football and baseball – my entire life. I ended up playing college baseball, and I thought I would move on to play professionally, but I had a few knee surgeries that kind of put me back a little bit. When I graduated from college, I moved home, and that’s when I started learning how to play the guitar and got my love for singing. Even though I loved singing along to the radio my entire life, never did I ever want to sing in front of anybody. It’s pretty wild how it worked out; to make a long story short, I went from playing baseball, to on tour with Florida Georgia Line at baseball stadiums, so it’s pretty wild.

2. How would you describe the style of your music and where do you get your inspiration?

I’ve always been a huge fan of George Strait, Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban and those guys for awhile. I think like most artists, you go through different phases as you’re growing up. In high school, I listened to some hip-hop, even going into college and stuff like that, but you know, listening to country music in the meantime through all of that. I think that’s how a lot of people grew up, with mixed in pop. I feel like my music has influences from all of that; it’s just pop/rock kind of stuff. But that’s my style, and I have always been a huge fan of Jason Aldean as well. I feel like ‘Broken Windshield View’ kind of has that, not an Aldean feel, but it has similarities in the lyrics and stuff like that.

3. What has been the most memorable moment of your career so far?

Well, I am a huge Atlanta Braves fan and one of the coolest things I’ve gotten to do is, well I am a huge Chipper Jones fan too, and the coolest thing I’ve gotten to do was go to the Atlanta Braves stadium on Chipper Jones’ retirement night. It was the most people that have ever been in Turner Field in history, and I got to go out on the field and play 3 songs, and they gave me a jersey, and it was a real Braves jersey with my name on the back of it. It was just awesome.

4. Broken Windshield View has had so much success on the charts and with airplay – did you know it was going to be a hit right away?

I knew it was a great song, I can’t say I knew it was going to be a hit by any means. I knew it was a great song and it had three amazing writers on it. This was one that I did not write, but just some of the lyrics and the demo of the song, I felt like it would be a great song, and that was one of the main reasons I wanted to cut it.  I’m super excited that it’s done as well as it has so far and I just hope that it will continue to grow from here.

5. I know you were on tour with Florida Georgia Line this summer and now you are going on the road again with Jerrod Niemann this fall. What is your favorite part of being on tour?

Just playing to a packed house and a lot of different people every single night, and even the camaraderie on the road between the bands that you’re with. Just getting to hang out and just getting to know everybody and meeting so many new people; I love that, you know, I love talking to people.

6. Do you have any pre-show rituals or anything you do to get ready for a show?

We usually have a dance off in the band room. We talk about the show right before we’re about to take the stage and do a prayer, and then we just jump around and hit each other, and get pumped up that way. It’s kind of like a football game.

7. Is there anyone in the industry today that you look up to or that you would like to model your career after?

Absolutely – I’ve always been a fan of George Strait, Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw, and Kenny Chesney. But if I can say there is one person that had a major influence on me wanting to learn how to play the guitar, it was Keith Urban. I’ve always been a huge fan of him and his music, and I always will be. I would say he’s been a major influence on even my life now in a way. Not every song, but some of the first songs that I wrote, I was like “What would Keith Urban say?” When I sat down to write, I would be like “What would Keith Urban write?”

8. Is there going to be a new album or single that fans can expect in the upcoming future?

I’m working on finishing my record right now with Joey Moi, who did Florida Georgia Line and Jake Owen. We’re going to start out with six songs and then finish the record. So I’ll put out six songs first, and ‘Broken Windshield View’ will be included in there. We have a lot of songs right now that I am very, very excited about, and I cannot wait for people to hear it.

Find Chris Here:

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tailgate Season

Floral // Red // White // Black // Boots // Navy

Fall is here, which means football season is in full swing! Here in the United States, both collegiate and professional football is a big deal. Plus, who doesn't love tailgates? Unfortunately, my school doesn't have a football team, but that doesn't mean I won't be watching a few games. If I were to go to a football game, these are some dresses that I think would be really cute! Let me know what team you're cheering for this year, and if you'll be making it to any games!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Interview with John King


John King is the real deal. Influenced by his roots, both his parents and Georgia are part of the reason he is making his Opry debut today. His song "Tonight Tonight" has been played during multiple NFL games this year, something he says is "surreal". I was fortunate enough to talk with him on the phone about his life, career, music, and future endeavors.

1. What made you want to pursue music as a career? Did you always know that’s what you wanted to do?

As a kid growing up, I started off singing in church and fell in love with it at an early age. It’s always been something that I love to do and it’ s funny because I can’t think of myself doing anything else now. My parents really had a big influence in it. My dad was a music lover; he raised me on a lot of southern rock and country. As I got older, I started to progress and had some bands in high school. Once I realized ‘Hey, we’re pretty good’ I got more serious about it. When I got into college at the University of Georgia, I started playing there and around town and got out touring a little bit – that’s when it really got serious and went to the next level.

 2. How would you describe the style of your music and where do you get your inspiration?

There is definitely a lot of rock influence. My dad raised me on a lot of Skynard and Allman Brothers and these really great southern rock bands. So southern rock was really where I drew a lot of my influence and still do. That’s still a big part of what we do. I kind of have me parents to thank for that – they were really good about playing good stuff for me.

3. I know in a few days you’re going to make your debut at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. How does that feel?

I’ve been trying to not think about it too much because if I do, I know I’m going to get kind of nervous, but right now I’m just really excited. It’s such a huge honor; it’s sacred ground. I mean, everybody, all the greats, have played there, so just the fact that I’m going to be there playing in the same spot as Hank Williams and Waylon Jennings and all these guys that I have always looked up to, it’s just a huge honor.

 4. Is there anything you can share right now about an upcoming album or single?

We are working on the record right now, and I’m really excited about it. There are eleven songs on there and every song I’m just so proud of. I’m proud of the whole album. We’re not exactly sure when, but we hope to have it out early next year, but there is no set date yet. All I can tell you is it’s really good and that you’re going to love it.

5. I know you’re single “Tonight Tonight” has been featured in two NFL broadcasts this year. Which team are you cheering for this year?

I’m a Falcons fan; I grew up a Falcons fan being from Georgia. It was pretty cool because last week, the song was featured during the Falcons-Buccaneers game, so that was pretty cool seeing my home team play and then hear the song in there. That whole thing is just surreal to me, that they’re using that and to hear it on NFL. Growing up a football fan, it’s crazy to hear my song on there.

Find John here:

Image taken from www.johnkingcountry.com