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Saturday, May 31, 2014

{more} Boy Presents

The night before I posted the first Boy Presents post, I gave John a pair of Ray-Ban aviators for his birthday. He'd been talking about them for a few weeks, and I had been wanting to give him a new pair of sunglasses anyways.

However, afterwards, he was on the road to orientation, and he sent me this:



































"A man likes to choose what he wears, but he appreciates complimentary things like that."

So basically, at least in John's case, he likes it when I find classic accessories for him but he picks the things the accessories go with. If your dad, brother, or father thinks like John (I know my dad and brother do too!), it's best to go with things that add to the guy, not make him.

Boy Presents 2







Click on the links below to see the full Polyvore set and links to all of the products!

xx, Victoria
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Friday, May 30, 2014

Spring Fling VoxBox

After joining Influenster in April, I knew immediately that I wanted to get my hands on a VoxBox. Essentially, as a member of Influenster, occasionally I will be sent products to test and then review.










As a part of the Spring Fling VoxBox, which is supporting the new Kate Winslett movie Labor Day, I was sent the following:


































Kiss Everlasting French Nails // Nivea Skin Firming Body Lotion // Rimmel ScandalEyes Retro Glam Mascara // Playtex Sport Fresh Balance Tampons // Softlips Cube

Kiss Nails - well, I don't tend to gravitate towards French nails in the first place, and I've never used press-on nails. I was babysitting, had the VoxBox in my bag, and the little girl asked me if she could use them. She loved them!

Nivea Skin Firming Lotion - Ooh do I like this lotion! It left my skin silky and it wasn't greasy. It's a win-win in my book!

Rimmel ScandalEyes Retro Glam Mascara - This mascara was unlike anything I had ever tried. I'd seen the catchy commercials, but I was a little undecided about the consistency of the mascara. It was very thick and well, frankly, a little clumpy. However, it did really make my lashes big and opened my eyes extensively. Here's a selfie I took while trying it out!



































Playtex Sport Fresh Balance Tampons - Because boys read this too, I won't say much about these, but it was nice to receive them because I use Playtex anyways, and I highly recommend them!

Softlips Cube - I always have chapped lips. I feel icky if I don't have like 80 lip balms on me at one time. I just like having several on me, but I love the smell and texture of this one! It left my lips silky but didn't feel goopy.

Major thanks to Influenster for sending me this VoxBox! I really liked all of these products and just might buy the full-size versions when I run out!

xx, Victoria
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* I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Summer Mani Shades

In the summer, I love a good bright mani. The brighter the better in my opinion!


Essie - Peach Daquiri // Essie - Butler Please // Essie - Sugar Daddy // Sally Hansen - Lacey Lilac // Revlon - Bubbly // OPI - Cajun Shrimp

A couple coats of these babies pop against a little tan and look so good against any summer outfit.

What are your nail polish shades for summer?

xx, Victoria
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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

3 day wave

I think I've mentioned this a gajillion times already, but graduation was this past weekend. Essentially, I curled my hair on Friday night and didn't wash it until Monday morning.

Besides the fact that this seriously goes against my hair rules (I am an obsessive hair washer. Usually 2x a day. Bad, I know...), it had to be done. This wasn't the first time that I hadn't washed my hair in a few days, but in my defense it was only because I loved the style and needed it to stay. 


The first photo was taken on Saturday morning, and the second on Sunday morning (I didn't take on Friday night, sorry!). I liked how as time went on, my hair got looser but still held a wave. 

Here's how to keep the waves:

Day 1
Curl tightly - I mean Shirley Temple curls. Ridiculous looking ringlets that belong in a circus. That's what you want to start with.

Spray it in - use copious amounts of hairspray. My personal favorite is Herbal Essences Volumizing Spray because it is inexpensive and accessible, plus it actually works. However, after you mist it all over your head (flip your hair over and spray it too, by the way), make sure you comb through. If not, the hairspray can make your hair a little chunky and nobody wants that.

Day 2
Brush through - get all of the tangles out. This will loosen the curl a lot, but it should bounce right back. If it doesn't bounce back the way you want, re-curl a few of the pieces.

Dry shampoo - I use a Tresemmé dry shampoo, again because of the accessibility. A pump of that gets any extra grease that might have accumulated out of my hair and cuts down on product buildup. 

Re-curl - if needed, re-do a couple pieces on low heat, and gently comb through. After this step, throw on some more hairspray. Just a light veil ought to do it.

Day 3
Comb through - at this point, not much of the original curl is left. Likely, you have a gentle wave. So today, comb through instead of brush. Get the tangles out of course, but try not to pull too hard on your hair. 

Dry shampoo - again!

Shine spray - on the third day, hair can start looking a little dull or super oily, so once the dry shampoo clears up all of the grease, use a shine spray to re-instill a little bit of gloss to your hair.

If you have any tips to keep a hairstyle for a few more days, please let me know! It always makes me sad to have to shampoo away a hairstyle that I love.

xx, Victoria
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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A word on patriotism

As we all know by the abundance of sales this weekend, Memorial Day was yesterday. A day to remember the brave men and women who have fought to protect our freedoms as citizens of the United States, a day where the nation takes a day off to think about and thank these people.

I think that Memorial Day is a great holiday. There is no doubt that American troops, past and present, deserve recognition, thanks, and respect.

And I know, I know, you aren't supposed to talk about religion, money, or politics, but let's try politics just for a moment.

A patriot is someone who openly criticizes his or her country with the hopes of bettering it. They are a satirist with a motive towards change. A nationalist is someone who blindly complies and supports his or her government without questioning its motives or actions.

I would consider myself a patriot. I have serious issues with the way the American government is working, but that doesn't mean that I don't love and respect the country in which I live. I have such awe and respect for our soldiers, but I don't respect the wars they fought in. I believe that the war in Afghanistan is unnecessary. The war in Vietnam was unnecessary. Some of the conflicts during the Cold War were unnecessary. Of course, these are my personal opinions, but I don't think I'm the only one with "USA" stamped on her passport who feels this way.

I disagree openly with many of the American government's actions. Be it parts of NSA surveillance, foreign policy (in general), Guantanamo Bay, abortion, healthcare, the lack of a limit on campaign contributions, education, etc., the issues facing today's government are astronomical.

A few years ago, during my "sassy teenager phase" (when I was 13-15 I was really quite a pain to my parents and was a smart aleck all the time), my mom used to tell me that I should be a lawyer due to my argumentative nature. This got me to thinking, maybe I should be one. I should go to law school and then get into politics, I thought to myself. However, I did not realize at the time how many disagreements I had with the American government and its policies. I did not realize that I hated the full-blown plutocratic policies happening before my eyes or the way that public education was becoming privatized.

Now that I am more aware of these issues, and feel that I am cognizant enough to take a public stance on them, I realize that I am no longer blindly pledging allegiance. I share my issues with you all in the hopes that you will see another perspective, or realize another facet to an issue that you may have been previously unaware of. My intention is to be a patriot, to show my support for American through pointing out its flaws in order to better it.

So, I do support our troops. How could I not? They continually lay down their lives and freedoms for me, the average American girl who sits at home and writes a blog, and you, the citizen who is reading this blog.

I hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day and that you take a moment to decide - are you a patriot, or a nationalist?

xx, Victoria
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Monday, May 26, 2014

New favorite snack

A couple months ago, my mom brought home a box of kale chips.

As kale was becoming more and more popular, and as my never ending search for the perfect snack continues, I hesitantly tried it.

Personally, I wasn't a fan at first. Just plain, leafy, dryness was not my idea of a grand old snack. But then, my mom brought home another box of kale chips, and these were divine.




































Please excuse the candid car photo, but after finally finding them on my own, I was too excited. 

I was on a sushi run at Whole Foods and stumbled upon my favorite kale chips. They aren't just plain, flash-dried, or baked kale. They have vegan cheese on them (which sounds gross, I know, but it's actually delicious!), and some seeds and nuts thrown in there for flavor.

They are by far my new favorite snack, and because of all of the nutrition benefits of kale, I feel full and energized after I scarf down some of these yummy chips.

What's your favorite snack?

xx, Victoria
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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Summer Style Linkup

Happy Saturday!

Today I am so excited to participate in a Summer Style Linkup with Sarah Smile.

Summer is probably my favorite season of the year. I love the easy, carefree vibes that come with the season, and the sense of simplicity. It's a time where you can run around in shorts, barefoot, and happy. No schoolwork, minimal stress, it's just the best!


































One of the best parts of summer style is minimal makeup. 

When I do wear makeup in the summer, my routine is as follows:
Primer
Concealer
BB Cream
Finishing Powder
Blush
Mascara





























I love this routine. It's so simple, takes less than 10 minutes, and stays put through hot, humid days. The best part is, if I need a little touchup, all I have to do is grab the kabuki brush and the finishing powder and it looks like I just put on my makeup instead of wearing it for several hours.

Be sure to head back over to Sarah Smile to see the other blogs participating! Major thanks to Sarah for hosting!

xx, Victoria
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Friday, May 23, 2014

Skin Detox

My oh my, is my skin crazy lately. If you've been reading Memphis Made for a while, you recall that my pale, easily sunburnt, sensitive skin tends to get a little out of hand whenever I truly tax my skin for a few days in a row.

This past weekend, I had a huge family dinner, Commencement, John's commencement and birthday, and an all-night lock-in with the entire senior class.

Basically, my skin hates me right now. I've worn ridiculous amounts of makeup and have been so awful about taking it off! Besides that bad habit, I wanted to share my tips with you all to get skin to calm back down.


































Really get the makeup off.
I use my Clarisonic to get my makeup of after using the Neutrogena Makeup Removing Wipes. When you really get the makeup off, use a gentle wash, like Cetaphil or Aveeno. The goal is to not further irritate your skin but to gently cleanse it.

Get the gunk out.
In the picture above, my face is slathered in a purifying mask from Murad. Besides how clearly cute it looks (wink wink) it feels so good when I wash it off and my skin feels squeaky clean. However, this will draw all the impurities out, and as a result, can make me breakout for a few days while all of the dirt clears the surface. However, it's worth it in the end!

Settle down.
Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! But really, find your strongest face lotion and slather it on.

Hopefully after these steps your skin will calm down. It may take a few days, but if you are steady in your regimen, you will be back to normal in no time.

xx, Victoria
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Thursday, May 22, 2014

High School: A brief memoir

So, I graduated.

I have a diploma, I have a cap, a gown, a tassel, and a memory.


I'm enrolled in college, so I guess this makes me a current college student. Besides the strangeness of this fact, I think I miss high school already.

Why?

Because it's the weirdest time ever.

Because you learn how to handle strenuous academic situations, because you figure out who you are socially, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. You have this time to change and morph into whoever you want to be, but at the same time you are restrained to who everyone else expects you to be too. You have the unique challenge of mixing what you are, want to be, and what everyone else wants you to be.

As a freshman, I was hyper, anxious, hard-working, and socially awkward. As a sophomore, I was pretty much the same, except I was more cocky. Junior year, I think that I came into my own a little bit socially, and finally, as a senior, I was tested with stress, college, relationships, leadership, and everything else that could happen to test a seventeen year old.

High school is a time of firsts. First car, first failure, first kiss. So many major milestones and changes happen that it's hard to not be constantly flustered and amazed at everything happening around and in yourself.

In my opinion, that's the beauty of high school. You have no idea what the hell is happening to you but at the same time you can't help but notice how much you've changed since your first day as a freshman.

My time in high school took me on a crazy ride with my parents, friends old and new, teammates, and teachers. What gets you through high school is the people who love you and the people who hate you as you experience these major parts of life that you can never get back.

And then, four years later, it's all over.

So, I graduated.

xx, Victoria
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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

What I'm Listening To

I hope you all are out on summer break, because four days into summer, I am loving it.

What better way to kick off summer than with some great jams?


1. Somewhere Only We Know // Lily Allen

2. Problem // Ariana Grande

3. Classic // MKTO

4. You Make Me // Avicii

5. Runaway Baby // Bruno Mars

6. All The Small Things // blink-182

7. Potential Breakup Song // Aly & AJ

8. Jerk It Out // Caesars

Click here to listen to the full playlist!

Have a great day and happy summer!

xx, Victoria
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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Boy Presents

I hate buying boys presents. They don't want the newest handbag or makeup line, and a gift card to Starbucks or Sephora doesn't do the trick.

Anytime that there's an event (i.e. graduation, birthday, etc.) that I need to get John, my brother, or my dad a present, I panic! I never ever know what to get them because they're not materialistic at all. I love that about them, but dang does it make it tough to get them things!

However, I think I've figured out a few general gifts that work for dads, brothers, boyfriends, and all types of guy friends in between:

Boy Presents



Cooler - paint that boy a cooler! I know that it's standard to paint boys coolers for fraternity formals, but I see no reason why you can't for another occasion! If your guy isn't in a fraternity, paint some cool song lyrics, a preppy logo, and his name on the cooler. He'll use it, promise!

Cologne - John somehow snagged a little bit of this cologne and wore it one night, months ago, and I still remember how amazing it smells. Chanel de Bleu is my personal weakness, but hey, there are tons and tons of affordable colognes out there. Plus, if you buy his cologne, you get to pick how he smells! Check out a bunch of options here

Shades - my brother is always breaking his sunglasses, and he loves a good, classic (pricy) pair. Ray-Bans are my go-to brand because they're well-made and the prices are reasonable enough. I think aviators & wayfarers are great picks for guys because they look good on just about everybody, and they aren't fluffy or fruity.

Cuff Links - at some point, every boy will attend a formal event and need a tuxedo. When he does, some good cuff links are the way to go. You can get monogrammed ones (!!!) or ones that have a special meaning to them. For example, my dad is an avid fisherman, and a pair with a hook on them would be great for him.

Any other boy present tips? My dad's birthday is right around the corner!

xx, Victoria
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Monday, May 19, 2014

Commencement

I am now officially a GPS alum and I am so excited!

Commencement was Saturday morning and it was a blast. I don't think I've ever cried happy tears prior, but it was a wonderful day.







This is such a surreal feeling and I am so grateful for my time as a GPS girl. It's been an amazing seven years at my school, and I know that nothing can replace the memories that I have or the people who made me who I am today.

Here's to the girls.

xx, Victoria
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Saturday, May 17, 2014

Here's to the girls

I am graduating from high school today.

Wait, WHAT?!

I can't believe this is actually happening right now. If you're reading this and it's around 9 or 10 AM, EST, chances are I'm walking across the stage right now, receiving my diploma in my cap and gown.

This day is one of mixed emotions. For starters, I can't believe I actually made it. Seven years of cramming, stressing, procrastinating. Seven years of crying, hysteria, laughter, camaraderie. Seven years of all-girls dance parties and random school-wide singing is all over today.

When I came to my school as a sixth grader, I was hoping that when I graduated, I would be as cool as all of the seniors were. They were so put-together and awesome. I was in awe of their intelligence, their poise, and their ability to drive, date, and text people (I didn't have a cell phone then).


































Now, as a senior who is less than 3 hours away from being an alum, I know that none of these things are really true. I still cram, stress, and procrastinate. I still cry, get hysterical, laugh, and need my friends and classmates. I will still openly welcome a dance party and school-wide sing along.

However, now, I can drive, date, and text. Am I cool yet?

I guess what I really want to say today is that I made it. I made it out of here alive. My school has a reputation for being extremely challenging academically, and I conquered it with a GPA that I am proud of. I made it through honors classes, AP classes, physics, calculus, and teachers who pushed me to be better.

My school has a saying, "here's to the girls." It's a part of our alma mater, and it's a part of us as students. The school is built around the students, and I honestly cannot thank everyone there who has helped me through a bad day, stayed up late to study with me, encouraged me in the pool and in the classroom, and who has touched my life in some way during my time here.

Here's to the girls.

xx, Victoria
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Friday, May 16, 2014

What to wear to graduation

It's officially graduation season.

Facebook is flooded with cap and gown photos, people attending graduations of friends and family, and some cute, and some not so cute outfits.

When in doubt, little sundress (NOT WHITE) and sandals are wedges are the best bet. Check out some options here:


Graduation Ideas




The links to all of these options can be found through Polyvore (just click on the picture, and it will take you there!).

Any sundress is a perfect option, really. Modest is the hottest, y'all!

However, don't wear white! Often the graduates will be in white, and it's their day to shine and be celebrated.

Wedges or sandals are good options. They look summery, will keep you a little cooler, and almost always look chic!

Are you going to any graduations?

xx, Victoria
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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Student Athlete Stereotypes

Y'all may remember a post I did on Southern Stereotypes a while back. I was really fed up with the way people continually perceived me simply based on where I was from, and wanted to set the record straight.

I've noticed over the years that people are starting to respect student-athletes more in some regards, but less in others. Recently, it was discovered that basketball and football players at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill were all "African Studies" majors. Cool, right? The problem was, the classes that made up this major did not exist. The exposé further discovered that many of these student-athletes could not even read on a third grade level and were attending one of the most prestigious state universities in the country.

Upon hearing about this story, I was very disgruntled. The "dumb jock" mantra had just proven itself right, yet again.

However, I don't believe that this notion of a "dumb jock" is actually true.

I am a swimmer. During the regular season, I get up and go to practice. Then, I go to class and back to practice. This is the average routine for a student-athlete. Wake up, train, learn, train, learn, sleep. Repeat.


Although athletics do take a huge chunk of time out of my day, I wouldn't trade it for anything. Because I am a student athlete, I can do my homework on a bus, I can communicate with my teachers that I'll miss a lesson or need to make up a test, and I can utilize the help of my fellow teammates and classmates.

These are all important. But the most important thing I've learned as a student athlete is how to manage my time.

Often, people believe that all student-athletes are really just athletes who somehow walk out with a diploma. They cheat their way through classes, or they just don't attend.

This may be the case for other schools. But for me, I go to practice, and I go to class. I do all of my work and I work with my teachers to alter the schedule as I need to. If I have an out of town meet and will be gone all weekend, that is no excuse for me to turn my work in late unless it is a special circumstance. I do my work on the bus there and home, and often sacrifice precious nap time (student athletes love nap time) to do work as I need to.

People forget that student-athletes essentially have two full-time jobs, while the average student just has one.

So, the next time you write someone off as a "dumb jock" because they showed up to class with wet hair or super messy homework, try to remember that they have been up for hours, working, and will be up again, putting in exhausting amounts of labor to represent the school that you both attend.

xx, Victoria
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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Smart Girls Group Debut!

Ahh I am SO excited to announce that I am now a Loop Writer for the Smart Girls Group!

via

As my duties as a writer for the High School section of the Loop, I have a monthly article, and this is my very first one!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Graduation Etiquette
Congratulations! You made it!

If you are a graduating senior, major kudos to you for surviving high school, AP exams, and just getting here. Graduation is a bittersweet time for us seniors, because we are about to leave the life we know behind, but it is also a time to move on to the next chapter in our lives.

Part of being a Smart Girl is making sure that you do the right thing, especially in terms of etiquette. By now, you probably have your graduation announcements and are mid-planning if you are having a graduation party.

The Announcements
If your school sends out formal announcements, the announcements will have two envelopes. The outer one must be addressed formally – ex.,
Mr. and Mrs. John Smith
123 Main Street
Signal Mountain, Tennessee 34909-1443

But the inside envelope (yes there are two…silly I know) can be addressed more casually, like
Uncle Jim and Aunt Sally
123 Main St.
Signal Mtn. TN, 34909

The Attire
So, then, all of your friends and family come to graduation, you get that diploma, and then it’s time for pictures. Depending on your school, your graduation dress codes may be completely different. I know of a school that has their girls wear white formal, floor-length dresses, and some let the boys wear athletic shorts.

Generally, I would recommend a modest and timeless dress. The key is to wear something that you can look back on in thirty years and still find appropriate and flattering. If you haven’t been to a graduation ceremony at your school before, do a little digging in last year’s yearbook or on Facebook to see what prior graduates have worn.

The Celebration          
After your big photo-op, you might be having a graduation party. If you are, make sure to be a gracious hostess, and mingle with all of your guests no matter how much or little you like them. Remember that your guests are there to honor you, so just be the Smart Girl that you are and say hello to everyone and make sure that they have everything that they need.

When the party ends, help clean up. No matter where the party is, be it at your home, a local venue, or someone else’s home, offer to help clean up.

The Notes
The next day, as you are recovering from your amazing graduation experience, take an inventory. It is likely that you received a gift, or several, so write out a list of what gifts you received and who gave them to you. From there, write thank-you notes and send them promptly. One to two weeks is an appropriate time to send them out.

Again, congratulations on graduating. It’s a pivotal moment in your life, and it’s taken a lot of hard work to get to this point in your life. Here’s to 2014!
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Be sure to check out The Loop for daily articles from other Smart Sisters! I am so honored to be a part of such a great organization, and can't wait to continue writing for The Loop!

xx, Victoria

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Dancing Queen

I suck at dancing. I just don't move in a smooth way or in a way that is attractive in any way.

One of the things that happens at an event where there is dancing (i.e. school dances/prom) is sweat.

Sweat happens.

Often, my makeup starts to slide around once I start sweating, be it due to nerves, heat, people conglomerated together, whatever it is, every single blemish I worked so hard to cover is gone.

Hellooooo, acne & dark circles.

Oh, I want to cringe looking at it! You can see how shiny my face is when just 2 hours prior my makeup was clean and matte.

After this dance, I messed around with a few new products and figured out how to get my makeup to stay put!

Primer & Powder
I'm not one to go out and spend gobs of money on a product that I'll use a ton of, especially if I'm worried about it clogging up my skin even more. I use both of Neutrogena's Shine Control products for both primer and finishing powder.


via
via

Not too much foundation
I think part of my problem was that I was practically caking on my makeup. Besides the fact that this is terrible for your skin, it also means that when you start sweating, you melt. In the picture above, you see how frazzled my face looks and how uneven my complexion was. My skin has cleared up a lot since that dance in December, but of course I still get blemishes. 

When I was finally confident enough to not use so much makeup, when I did sweat, it didn't look like I was a dripping mess. Since there wasn't that much makeup there to begin with, my makeup didn't slide off or around my face, and if it did it wasn't nearly as noticeable.

These two tricks have been so helpful through May Day and prom, two notoriously warm events, and I'll be using them this weekend for graduation (!!!).

xx, Victoria
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PS - if the title of this post made you want to listen to some Mama Mia, here's the song Dancing Queen. Happy Tuesday!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Lust List

Whew, it's been a while since I've done one of these!

I'm kinda proud of myself for not being such an online shopping feign lately, but, ya know, graduation is coming up, and that's a great time for some gifts... ;)

Graduation Lust List



I'm pretty sure most of these items were on my previous lust lists, but hey, I'm persistent in what I want!

Also, just added, this clutch from Kate Spade's new collection. Thank you, College Prepster for showing off the new line!

All of these items would make great grad gifts, or variations of them. What would you want for graduation?

xx, Victoria
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