Staying Healthy & Happy in High School

This blog post came to me one day when I was sitting in class, thinking about the crazy week I have coming up and wondering how I would be able to juggle tennis, multiple exams, and final projects that all demand my full attention and time. Coming out of a stressful few days this past week, I realized that the storm was definitely far from over. Long stretches of being constantly busy are a huge part of high school, especially during junior and senior year. It can be easy to give into the stress and develop unhealthy habits, but if you do this every time you're faced with a packed schedule, you'll end up constantly sacrificing your health - and your happiness will suffer too. Today, I thought I would share what I do to maintain my health (physically and mentally) and happiness in high school!

1. Find your sport. 

I actually look forward to playing tennis every day after school. Some may look at two hours of practice each day plus four-hour matches and think "that's such a time commitment, how will that help to reduce my stress if I'm already overscheduled with academics?". Logically, it does seem like it would add stress. However, while I do lose time that I could be spending doing school work, I find that working out does wonders for my stress levels. Honestly, what's better at the end of a long day than getting on a court and letting go of all your stress? Beyond just mental health, it also feels great to keep up your physical health and to feel strong.

No matter what your thing is (be it team sports or just hitting the gym), I'm a firm believer that being active is one of the most important things you can do to stay healthy and happy in high school.

2. Indulge in something little every day.

You've probably heard the cliche "treat yourself". That sort of becomes my motto during really stressful times. Whenever I have a really busy week, I promise myself a latte from my favorite coffee shop in the morning. It helps me get out of bed and gives me something small to look forward to that instantly brightens my day. It's also a commitment to myself, and my way of reminding myself that my happiness and mental health matters even during the most stressful moments in my life.

Whether it's coffee, sparing a few minutes to have a jam session with your favorite power anthem, or even a nice facemask while you study, make sure you make an effort to indulge in something small to help alleviate your stress.

3. Make a plan.

I live, breathe, and will probably die by my agenda. It has my entire life in it - my monthly calendar, homework, assignments, daily to-dos, everything. Whenever I'm feeling like I just physically won't have enough time for everything on my plate, I open up my agenda to the weekly spread and map things out ahead of time. I break down bigger tasks into daily to-dos and prioritize what's high urgency vs. lower urgency based on due date, the time I expect things to take, and how late I'll be getting home from tennis/school on any given day.

Making a plan instantly takes a weight off my shoulders. Often, something that seems overwhelming looks a lot more manageable when you break it up and put everything on paper. Then, all you have to worry about is the to-do list you've set up for each day, and by the due date, you'll have everything done.

4. Prioritize yourself. 

During your most stressful days, it's important to put yourself first. Giving time to others is a huge part of how I live my life. However, I've learned that if I'm so busy that giving time to other people is making me stressed, I'm not in the right mental state to help them anyway. It's always better to be honest and say that you need to focus on getting things ticked off your to-do list than to stretch yourself way too thin helping one person with this assignment and a friend with another while your own work looms overhead.

5. Remember that you are incredible, and you can make it through. 

High school - especially junior and senior year - can often be a game of endurance. Take everything day by day, and know that even if it seems like you won't make it out alive, you will!


Feeling Spotty

 sweater: J.Crew (old, also like this version) // skirt: Kate Spade (old, similar color) // bag: Longchamp (color no longer available) // sunglasses: Amazon (dupes of the Karen Walker sunglasses) // shoes: Sam Edleman (old, similar) // pearls: vintage // claddagh ring: The Irish Jewelers

Spring, is that you?? All last week, the forecast predicted that we would get hit with yet another Nor'easter this weekend. However, the day that I shot this (last Sunday, since this post will go up on Wednesday) was actually sunny and warm enough to be comfortable without a coat! I'm hoping that this is a weather trend that will stick around; so far we haven't consistently been into the 50s, but as long as we're in the 40s things are moving in a very springy direction and I'm loving it.

In honor of the upcoming season, I brought out one of my favorite transitional outfits: a lightweight sweater paired with a knee-length skirt. This combo is warm (especially if you wear a wool sweater) but also feels very springy.

Today, I wore this spotted skirt from Kate Spade. It looks white in some light, but it's actually a light blush pink color (see my previous post about classic spring colors!) with black spots that remind me of dalmatian print. This, of course, instantly brings to mind 101 Dalmatians, which was my favorite Disney movie growing up. Yet another point in the skirt's favor! After searching for over a year, I bought this piece second-hand a few months ago with the intention of adding it to my spring/summer wardrobe. Much like leopard print, I find that this quasi-dalmatian print can act very much like a neutral.

I'm also wearing my gray sweater with pearlized embellishments on the neckline. Don't quote me on this, but I believe it's from J.Crew's winter 2014 line. I bought it second-hand (predictable, I know!) last year and I've worn it a lot, especially during the early spring season. Because it's a 3/4 sleeve I think it's a little too cold to wear during the winter, but it works great as a transitional piece or thrown on during a chilly summer night.

To carry all my extras, I'm bringing back out another spring staple for me: my Longchamp. This is one of my favorite bags, and one I don't think I'll ever be able to part with. I bought it at the Longchamp store in Rome when I visited my grandparents three years ago, so it carries amazing memories with it. I wear it all the time during the spring/summer, both for its bright color and for how practical it is. This was one of two totes I brought with me to London and Amsterdam last year and it fits all the essentials and then some. Today I stowed a blazer inside it in case I got cold; thankfully the weather was so nice I didn't need it!

Finally, my shoes. These shoes are amazing. I've been searching for a dupe for the Chanel classic cap-toe pumps for what feels like forever. Vaneli makes a really popular version but at over $100 a pair they were still outside my budget. I ended up scoring these Sam Edelman shoes second-hand in practically perfect condition, which was an amazing find as they're made of genuine leather and are a spot-on dupe. I actually prefer the leather version to Vaneli's dupe (which is canvas), and it's closer to the look of the original Chanel pair. These are so comfortable, add a bit of height and just make you feel effortlessly elegant.

Shop this post:

Are you as excited for spring as I am?


Classic Spring Color Palette

Spring hasn't actually sprung (as I'm writing this it's still 38 degrees outside), but I'm mentally ready for the warm weather and the return of the leaves. I recently read Sarah Vickers's post on her spring wardrobe over on Classy Girls Wear Pearls, and it put spring on my mind. While I love the rich jewel tones of fall/winter, there's something so appealing about the bright colors of the warm seasons, especially when you're permanently attached to a space heater like I am at the moment. Today I thought I would share the colors that I'm seeing as brands roll out their spring collections, and which shades are a mainstay in my spring/summer wardrobe year after year.

Blush pink is everywhere this spring. It's always been a popular color with the return of warmer weather, but this year retailers are really putting an emphasis on it. Personally, I much prefer blush to other pinks - I think its warm undertones are a lot more flattering on my skin tone than cooler shades of pink.

I'm loving the mixture of pastel and darker shades of blush; J.Crew has been filling their newest arrivals with variations of the color and I think their design team has done a great job of staying true to classic cuts and shades. Madewell also recently updated their small transport crossbody with new shades and the warm pink they brought out is a stunning, fresh neutral that can take you all the way through summer. I'll definitely be adding a piece or two to my wardrobe for the season!

Hydrangeas are my favorite flower, and unsurprisingly hydrangea blue is by far my favorite spring/summer color. It's actually embarrassing how much blue there is hanging in my closet once I get my warm-weather clothes out of storage! We see this shade return year after year, both on its own and incorporated into patterns like classic blue gingham. 

Out of all three colors I've featured here, this is the best color to invest in - it's a wardrobe workhorse with the versatility of a neutral while being light and appropriate for the warm seasons. Many of my cotton button-downs are in this shade, and they work perfectly with so many different color combinations in the summer.

Yellow is another color that we see return again and again, but this season it appears that pastel yellow has been cast out in favor of her brighter, slightly darker sister - marigold. This is a welcome change for me; while I love pastel yellow I'll be the first to admit that it definitely washes me out. 

Marigold is the everygirl's yellow, it's flattering on both warm and cool skin tones and has an undeniable cheeriness that makes me instantly think of a spring. Another plus of marigold over pastel yellow? Marigold can take you into summer, while pastel tones can seem a bit dull come the summer months, especially when we're all tanned and glowing (can you tell I'm reminiscing?). 
For colors to be truly versatile in your wardrobe, you need to be able to pair them with at least a few different neutrals to create balanced outfits. This spring/summer, my neutrals of choice will likely be light cream and navy blue. Brands have really been pushing these shades in their color schemes for the new season, and I think they work wonderfully together! Hydrangea can also act as a neutral for many outfits, and of course, all of these shades look great with a crisp white as well. 

What colors are you incorporating into your wardrobe this spring?


Tennis & Workout Clothing Must-Haves

Picture credits to my coach!

I think most people have "their sport". Tennis is definitely mine.

I've been playing since I was nine; I started at my neighborhood bath & racquet over the summer and then began playing for USTA. In the spring of freshman year, I found my second home when I made the varsity girl's tennis team, and I was so excited to be named Junior Captain last year. Now, my senior season is fast approaching and I don't know where the time went! I'm so ready to see all my girls again but every match will be bittersweet, knowing that they're my last in High School.

As senior captain this year I've been pulling everything together before tryouts. I've also been getting my own workout wardrobe ready to go! Although I play volleyball in the fall, I wear very different clothing for tennis, and many of my tennis pieces transition into regular workout wear whenever I go to the gym. Over the years I think I've finally figured out what works for me.

Today, I thought I would share my essential pieces. Whether you're just getting into the sport or want to round out your wardrobe, I hope you'll find some inspiration (and a bit of advice) to pull from!

1 // The perfect yoga pant. 

This is a must, especially if you're playing outdoors in the colder months. Personally, I would recommend a plain black skinny style (as opposed to boot-cut), just because I find it layers better underneath skirts, giving you an extra layer of warmth. My favorite brand for these is Athleta; they come in tall, petite, and regular sizes and fit like a dream! Nike and New Balance are also great choices. I do own a pair of Lululemons, but honestly, while the fit is great I've been disappointed with the quality and can't recommend them for that reason.

2 // The right shoes.

Not all athletic shoes are created equal. There is definitely a huge difference between a pair of running shoes and a pair of true tennis shoes. It has to do with how you move in them; the former gives more linear support for back-to-front movement while running, while the latter gives lateral support for the side-to-side movements in tennis. I'm a firm believer that it's important to buy shoes that are meant for your sport, especially if you're serious and practicing several hours a day. Like I've mentioned, I go through tennis shoes really quickly, so I've tried a lot of different brands over the years before settling on Nike as my favorite. However, there are so many different options and I would recommend finding a store in your area that can properly fit you.

3 // The classic skirt. 

Tennis skirts are my favorite thing to wear during the season. Don't get me wrong, I love athletic shorts as much as the next girl, but there's something that's so much more comfortable about a good tennis skirt. I would definitely recommend looking into the Nike skirts, they run small (I typically wear a small/medium, and I buy a large in Nike for a looser fit) but the quality is amazing. I've had several of mine for years, thrown them in the washer/dryer countless times, and they still look great.

4 // Supportive sports bra. 

Sports bras are so so important. There is nothing worse than not feeling secure and comfortable when you're trying to focus on a match. My personal favorite style for tennis is from Victoria's Secret; they're ultra-supportive with an underwire and clasp, and nothing will be moving while you're running around on the court. For regular workouts, I actually prefer a softer fabric sports bra that's more compressive than it is supportive. My favorites are from various brands, and I usually find good options in the workout section at Marshall's. The important thing is to make sure that you feel comfortable in them!

5 // An invisibobble.

My hair hates staying in ponytails, and it's a huge problem during tennis season. A few months ago I discovered the invisibobble, and decided to try it out for myself. In theory, the spiral band should keep my hair in place, but I wasn't sure if that would be the case in practice. Well, let me tell you, this thing is no joke. I can put my hair in a high pony, and if I tie it with this, it will stay in all practice. It's amazing! I would highly recommend picking one up. Pro tip: if your invisibobble stretches out too much over time, just stick it in some boiling water and it will shrink back to its original size.

6 // Workout tops.

I own more t-shirts than I can count, but I rarely wear them for tennis. I find that lightweight workout tops (the kind made from moisture-wicking material) are much easier to move in and a lot more comfortable. Early in the season, when it's still cold, I wear long-sleeved tops (my favorite are from Old Navy -- if you haven't checked out their activewear line, I would highly recommend it!). Once the temps rise I switch to wearing almost exclusively tank tops. My "lucky" tank top is a red one that was part of my high school uniform freshman year; it's from Wilson and it still fits like a dream all these years later.

7 // An easy pullover.

One of the trickiest parts about dressing for spring tennis is the fact that the temperatures can vary so much, even over the span of a few hours. I always have a pullover in my bag to layer if needed. It's important for me to have one that's made with a stretchier, breathable material to make it easy to move my arms in (anything that restricts my arm movement is a huge no-no!).

Those are all of my tennis and workout clothing must-haves? Do you play any sports, and if so, what are your favorite items?