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Behind the Blog: The College Prepster

Carly Heitlinger of The College Prepster is our kind of girl. Not only does she have a blog on our daily read list and a cozy New York city pied a terre, but her doggie? Yeah, you’re going to want to steal him. We chatted with Carly about inspiration, the business of blogging and important things like her go-to recipe. Read all about it below including a glimpse of her doing her thing from Cynthia Chung.

SMP: Some words you live by?
CH: Live Your Dreams

SMP: What did you think your dream job was before your dream job found you? 
CH: I’ve wanted to be and do just about everything growing up. For a while I thought I would be a lawyer. I thought I’d be a Rockette or on Broadway. I thought about becoming a brain surgeon (until I hated my AP Chemistry class…). I even wanted to be an editor for a magazine. I started to panic a little bit in college when I realized I had no idea what I actually wanted to do, so I feel super fortunate that I stumbled into the world of blogging.

SMP: What is one piece of advice you would give to a blogger just starting out? 
CH: Do it because you love it! If the only thing you expect to get out of blogging is the pure enjoyment of writing and publishing your own blog, you will ALWAYS be (and feel) successful!

SMP: What was the tipping point in your business that made you feel like your blog was going to thrive?
CH: My blog income was matching my actual job’s salary for about six months. In July of 2013, my blog revenue jumped to more than twice my job salary even though I was only doing blog work for about four hours a day (in the middle of the night). I knew that if I could devote more time to blogging, as well as get some actual sleep, it could really grow even more. Everything (traffic, social numbers, engagement, income, opportunities) took off at that point.

SMP: What’s your favorite quote that describes your creative process?
CH: “To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.” ― Joseph Chilton Pearce

SMP: What’s a typical work day for you like?
CH: It’s all over the place! No one day is the same!

SMP: One tip for bloggers hoping to monetize their blogs?
CH: Say NO if it’s not a good brand fit. It will hurt you in the long run if you take an opportunity just for the money.

SMP: Do you have any secret talents?
CH: I used to be able to solve a Rubik’s cube… I wonder if I can still do it?

SMP: If you could dine with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?

SMP: Where do you see yourself in five years?
CH: This is always a tough question. I never ever would have guessed five years ago that I would be where I am today, so I have no idea what another five years will bring!

SMP: Any guilty pleasures?
CH: Watching Dance Moms!

SMP: The best advice you’ve ever received?
CH: Take things as they come, one step at a time.

SMP: What’s your best tip for balancing work and personal life? 
CH: You have to be deliberate about creating balance. Balance doesn’t just happen; it’s a goal, something to strive for. For me, I had to really give myself permission to have a personal life. Once I felt like I “could” have a life it was a relief to be able to step away from my work. Of course, I work so much efficiently and I’m so much happier working, even though I’m not working around the clock. It’s great!

SMP: One thing you can’t live without?
CH: My Nespresso maker. I don’t know how I started my mornings before it!

SMP: What is the hardest lesson in business you’ve ever learned? 
CH: You can’t be everything to everyone.

SMP: Your secret to success?
CH: Be true to yourself.

SMP: Best moment of your career so far?
CH: Being featured in Teen Vogue was really a dream come true.

SMP: Advice you’d give to your younger self?
CH: Relax more! Things work out just fine!

SMP: Your favorite instagrammer?
CH: My friend Julia: @juliahengel

SMP: Your go-to recipe?
CH: Brussels sprouts! A drizzle of olive oil and a dash of salt before throwing into a pan on the stove.

SMP: Stranded on a desert island question… what’s the one cocktail you would take with you?
CH: I’m not the biggest drinker, but I would totally love an unlimited supply of Le Pain’s mint lemonade!

SMP: One place everyone must visit in their lifetime?
CH: I loved visiting Scotland. I wish I could have stayed there for a month!

SMP: The best job you ever had?
CH: The one I have now: blogging!

SMP: What would you tell someone who’s considering starting a blog?

CH: Give it a try, you could end up absolutely loving it. It’s free and easy to get started so nothing should really hold you back.

SMP: If you had the opportunity to get a message across to a large group of people, what would your message be?
CH: Take your time finding your passion. Remember that it can change over time; figuring out what you don’t like will get you one step closer to finding what you do; and there’s no “right” passion.

SMP: If you could do it all over again, would you change anything?
CH: There are things that I look back on and cringe about. I’ve certainly made mistakes and could have done numerous things differently and better… but I know that each bump and misdirection lead me to where I am today and shaped who I am today. With that in mind, I wouldn’t change a thing. (For example, picking The College Prepster as a name wasn’t a great long term strategy, but that’s because I didn’t know I would be doing it long term at all. It made sense at the time for me… and maybe things wouldn’t have played out the way they played out had I never been The College Prepster!

Photography: Cynthia Chung | Home Of: The College Prepster

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DIY Pucker Planters

I call it The Pucker Planter. Too cute? You be the judge! Spruce up your home this Valentine’s Day by adding a little something to your plants! You can be on trend with the love-y theme without going over the top! xoxo Lexy of The Proper Pinwheel


ceramic planters in assorted pink colors (mine from IKEA!)
liquid gold leaf


step-1There really isn’t a science to the art of painting lips. It’s really just a series of short brushstrokes that you use to shape the lips. Keep a space between the top and bottom and don’t worry about smoothing the edges on the inside. It will look more natural!

step-2Paint your lips with the liquid gold leaf and allow 30 minutes to dry (so fast!). Add more than just lips to your planters by painting on hearts, words, or a few simple x’s and o’s!

step-3Place a few succulents in your planters and you’re all set! These pucker planters may just convert all those anti-valentine’s day folks so find a friend to give one to! Enjoy!

Concept, Styling, & Photography: Lexy Ward

Lexy Ward | The Proper Pinwheel

DIY, Lifestyle
12 Tips for Transforming Your Closet from Rue La La

A girl’s closet is something to be cherished but if you are anything like the majority of the population, a morning spent looking for something to wear can turn that wardrobe haven on its head lickity split. Well fear not, Nancy Soriano of Rue La La is dishing the secrets of a gorgeous closet and showing us just how to transform it into the prettiest spot in your home. And when you’re done gobbling up this how-to, you can find all the pieces featured in their Editor’s Closet Sale starting now!

From Nancy… Having spent my career in the home design industry, interior style is something I live and breathe every single day. I have learned (through my own fair share of mistakes!) that design becomes great when it’s not just the perfect expression of your personal style, but it’s also functional- it solves a problem or serves a specific purpose in your daily life. Great design equals smart design.

With that in mind, one of my favorite activities – especially in winter and at the beginning of spring – is to clean out, reorganize, and style my closet. However large or small your closet is, it’s an important space that often gets overlooked, even though it’s used every day, often multiple times a day.

After years of reorganizing, I’ve found that with the right hangers, wall hooks, trays, boxes, lighting and seating (if you can fit it!), it can be easy - and surprisingly fun – to transform your closet into a beautiful and functional space. My mantra: Assess, organize, & design.


1. EDIT. First things first, make sure you use what you have in the closet. Go through the closet at least twice a year and asses what you actually wear and don’t. My feeling: If you haven’t worn it in two years, toss (unless it’s an heirloom.)

2. LET SEASONALITY BE YOUR GUIDE. Decide what you’ll wear now and what needs to be stored.

3. ORGANIZE YOUR WARDROBE BY TYPE AND COLOR. For example, sort your suits from your blazers or jackets. Then arrange by color. This doesn’t work for everyone, but it helps me find what I want quickly (especially when I have early morning meetings).

4. USE GOOD, THIN HANGERS. They will save you space. Use the same style hanger to give a uniform and tidy look. (Make sure to remove dry cleaning bags). Consider using a palette of hangers…. grey, white, and pale pink.

5. OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF MIND. Use trays, and open containers, like baskets for accessories that you use often and enjoy looking at. Don’t be afraid to mix finishes and tones. Trays are a great way to store the jewelry, headbands, and scarves you love and frequently wear. You can mix and match them too.

6. COLOR YOUR CLOSET HAPPY. Paint the interior an unexpected hue. Not ready to do the whole closet? Then paint one wall. And, make sure the color doesn’t fight with your clothes. Going with neutrals? Layered tones and hues. Either way, keep the palette of your closet cohesive.

7. FOR EXTRA OOMPH, LOOK TO WALLPAPER. Create a stylish look by wallpapering the entire closet – ceiling included. Consider a deep color with a white pattern then have all of your closet fittings in white and silver.

8. CONSIDER PLACING A DRESSER IN THE CLOSET – especially if you have a small bedroom. You can install shelving above.

9. GOOD LIGHTING MAKES A DIFFERENCE. Invest in a floor lamp, wall sconce, or even a glam chandelier, for an instant walk-in upgrade.

10. ADD A MIRROR, and not just one of those over-the-door kinds It will make your closet feel and function more as a dressing room.

11. MIX OLD AND NEW. As a big collector, I like to mix my vintage pieces with newer items (this is big for me). For example, consider galvanized metal with mirrored pieces or glass.

12. TAKE A SEAT. A small pull-up chair, tufted bench, or mirrored console table will transform a lonely closet into a livable space.



1. Hampton Semi-Flush Chandelier | 2. Geometric Bar Tray | First Closet Image: Tessa Neustadt | 3. Randy Slipper Chair | 4. Mademoiselle Painting | 5. My Sexy Shoes Painting | 6. Venetian Mirror | 7. Hanging Accent Mirror | Second Closet Image: Golden Swank | 8. Vogue Living | 9. Clos-ette Hangers | 10. Lavinia Bar Cart | 11. Ramsey Bench