5 Steps to a Better Sleep

June 30, 2015

I've never been the type of person who can function well off of only a few hours of sleep, so a good night's rest is important to me. I notice that I sleep so much better when my room is clean, organized, and I feel comfortable and ready to rest.

Here are some things that I do to ensure a good night's sleep...

1. Frequently clean sheets and make bed Whenever I came home from college, my mom always had my bed ready with clean sheets and I swear crawling into a freshly made bed made me so much more at ease and ready to sleep. 

2. Clean and organize room When everything in my room is in its place, I feel much more relaxed and end up having a better sleep.

3. Create a restful setting I think setting a certain tone before you go to sleep can be something to keep in mind. An organized room and low light can do wonders for resting your mind and preparing to sleep. I love to burn candles and turn on my string of lanterns in the hour before I go to sleep.

4. Stretching before bed At college, I got into the habit of listening to mellow music and doing some stretching before bed (here are some of my favorite stretches). I felt incredibly relaxed afterwards, and I think moving your body a little bit before bed can do wonders for that night's rest.

5. Calming music I go through phases where sometimes I prefer falling asleep to silence and other times I must have music. Either way, I almost always listen to slow, calming music at some point before I go to sleep. I used to swear by Songza's Fall Asleep playlist (and am thinking of getting back into it) but sometimes simple piano or instrumental music does the trick too (this is my sister and I's favorite!).

What does your nighttime routine look like?

Weekend Reading

June 26, 2015

Happy Friday! I had a long week of work and finally got to spend the day relaxing yesterday. I went to the beach with a friend and then had dinner and a boat ride at her lakeside home.

Beautiful views from our boat ride around the lake.

These pink peonies provided a dose of pretty while I was at work earlier this week.

The sunsets this week have been incredible. These pink clouds at work early in the week caught my eye.

Some links I loved this week...

1. 10 towns in Europe that are gorgeous but not well known... constantly wanting to roam the gorgeous, historic streets of a European city.
{ via TripAdvisor }

2. Amy Schumer cracks me up, so I'll have to set aside some time to work my way through this YouTube series she did for Comedy Central.
{ via YouTube }

3. Some good beach read recommendations... I've been flying through books lately and am always looking for suggestions.
{ via Town and Country }

4. KJP and crew were around the corner from where I work yesterday!
{ via Instagram }

Summer Sunsets

June 25, 2015

If I could watch the sun set every night, I would. It's one of my favorite things to do. I'll go for a drive around the farmlands and look at the colorful clouds over the rolling hills or I'll go to the ocean and watch the sun sink under the horizon. 

Yesterday was a clear, sunny day, but some clouds moved into the sky at night and I knew it would make a beautiful sunset. I convinced my sister to drive down the peninsula with me and catch the sunset.

We missed the actual sun (it dipped below the horizon just before we got there), but we were happy to sit on the rocky coast and watch the sky change colors as the light faded.

It started out with oranges and yellows...

...and soon turned to vibrant shades of pink.

Pastel skies straight from a watercolor painting.

I just had to share this amazing view... all of these photos are unedited, too! Maine was definitely showing off last night. I think it was the prettiest sunset I've ever seen!

Best Places to Find Dorm Decor

June 24, 2015

About this time last summer, I was busy trying to find pieces for my dorm room. For me, it was important to find unique pieces and also find decor that I really loved, because I knew I would be living with it for the next year.

Throughout my experience of searching for bedding, decor, etc., I've compiled a number of sites that are good resources for finding dorm decor.

Basics and storage:
These are the more generic stores that you typically would start your search at. I would try to avoid buying your bedding here because chances are many people are going to get theirs from these stores. I also found the selection at these stores to be limited, especially towards the end of the summer. Instead, these are the places to stock up on basics (towels, mattress topper, storage bins, etc.). 

Personalized items and unique decor pieces:
It's fun to have unique pieces incorporated into your dorm decor. In my dorm, I had a monogrammed throw pillow from Etsy. You can find anything from fun decals to pillows on the site, and I like supporting the small businesses that sell through Etsy. I also think some unique decor pieces could be found at Anthropologie

Bedding and pillows:
I would say that bedding is the most important part of the dorm room. Your room is small, so your bed is the central focus of your space. I spent time picking out my color scheme that was represented in my bedding and pillows and searched high and low for what I had in mind. It pays to look for what you really want and not just settle, because you will spend so much time in your room and specifically your bed. I got my bedding from American Made Dorm and it was very high quality.
Leigh Deux, American Made Dorm (use code SAVE15Now for 15% off), 

Desk Supplies and Accessories:
Your desk is the other large piece of furniture in your room, so having it nicely organized and styled makes a huge difference. I loved having desk organizers for the drawers, acrylic makeup organizers for the desk, and glass jars for my pencils. I always found great, nice looking storage trays and desk organizers at Homegoods.

I also put together a college packing list if you're not sure where to start.

Where do you get dorm or home decor?

Netflix Picks

June 22, 2015

I used to not be a big TV watcher, but with all the downtime in college, I found myself turning to Netflix to relax. Now I love getting into different series and finding new favorite shows.

Here's what I'm loving on Netflix right now...

Parenthood I'm a huge Gilmore Girls fan (I rewatched the whole series over the course of the school year) and my sister has been recommending Parenthood to me for years. I started watching because Lauren Graham was in it, but I've fallen in love with all of the characters. The show follows an extended family with a host of quirky and lovable characters. It's such a well-written show that I would recommend to everyone!

Velvet Velvet is actually a Spanish TV drama and it's in Spanish, but has subtitles. My mom found this and got me hooked on it this summer. It focuses on a department store in 1950s Madrid, and all of the relationships and drama between the employees. The acting, clothing and cinematography are all amazing.

Mad Men This is a popular show focusing on the advertising execs of the 1960s, and I've been trying to get into it for awhile now, and am finally making progress. I think I'll watch more of it when I finish up the other series that I'm watching!

These are the three Netflix shows that have been on my radar lately, but some other favorites of mine are Gilmore Girls, The Office, Girls, and Scandal.

Here are my recommendations for TV show by mood and some Netflix documentaries I love (I would definitely add Fed Up to this list!).

What do you like on Netflix?

Weekend Reading

June 19, 2015

This week was a busy one. I started a new job at a candle store in my town and attended a number of yoga classes.

Last Saturday, my dad and I hiked Mt. Megunticook in Camden, Maine. It was a moderate hike and totally worth it for these amazing views from the peak. I love coastal hikes because you can see both the ocean and mountains from the top.

I've been loving yoga this summer. I've been three times this week and I actually look forward to going, which is not an easy thing to say about exercise! Anyways, we often have class outside, which I love. Outdoor classes take place on a pier overlooking this view... such a gorgeous spot!

It was a beautiful evening after outdoor class on Wednesday so my sister and my friend and I took some pictures on the docks. It's so rewarding to feel my practice improving.

My friend Hannah and I love driving around the picturesque farmlands a few minutes from my house. We often go to a farm market for lunch after yoga, and it's situated in some of the prettiest areas of Maine countryside I've ever seen.

Onto some links for the week...

1. This is a fun video that captures each the fitness trend of each decade from the past century.
{ via YouTube }

2. I love looking at home tours, especially coastal houses. This one is especially beautiful...
{ via Lonny }

3. I liked these surprisingly sensible weight loss and health tips from supermodels.
{ via StyleCaster }

4. I've been trying to eat more mindfully lately, so I liked these useful tips on properly reading a food label. 
{ via Lauren Conrad }

5. I just discovered Ebates, a site which gives you money for shopping online... I feel less guilty about all my online purchases now!
{ via Ebates }

6. I can attest to most of this list! 26 of Maine's most beautiful places...
{ via Maine Today }

What to Do on a Short Visit to New York

June 18, 2015

I'm by no means an expert on New York City, but as someone who's stayed for short periods of time, I've learned to prioritize what to do in New York. There are so many things to see, but there are several items that I think are "musts" for anyone who visits.

When I plan short trips to the city, I want to hit all the "must-sees" as well as discover my own favorite spots and areas. New York has so much to do that it can be hard to narrow it down, so I've created a list with the top things that I think shouldn't be missed while in the city. These aren't really unique or off the beaten path, just classic New York things that I think you have to include in your itinerary.

1. Visit Central Park 

Make it to the Reservoir, the Lake, and the Pond, Bow Bridge, and the fountain if you can.

2. Spend a few hours at an art museum

I would recommend the Met, but if contemporary art is more your thing, the MOMA or the Guggenheim is great too.

3. Visit the 9/11 Memorial and Museum

It's extremely moving and an integral part of the city's identity.

4. Walk the High Line 

A popular activity for good reason, walking along this converted rail line is a unique urban experience.

5. Grab lunch at Chelsea Market

You'll find a variety of delicious and healthy food options, plus fun shops to look through.

6. Brave the crowds for shopping in SoHo

The buildings in this section of the city are beautiful, and the shopping is crowded, but fun.

7. Visit the Flatiron District for food and shopping

Grab gelato at Italian food mecca Eataly and enjoy it across the street at Madison Square Park.

8. See a Broadway play or ballet performance

You can't go wrong with a Broadway play but a great alternative option is seeing an ABT (American Ballet Theatre) performance at the Metropolitan Opera House.

9. Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge

Take the subway to Brooklyn and walk back across the bridge towards Manhattan for beautiful skyline views.

10. Sightsee the famous spots

They may be touristy, but spots like the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and Times Square are iconic for a reason.

What are your must-do activities in New York?

Recent Reads #3

June 16, 2015

Whenever I don't have school, I tend to read avidly. Since the summer began a little over a month ago, I've already finished three books. I love reading book recommendations so I figured I'd share some thoughts on my recent reads, as well as some blogs that I've been into reading lately.


Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walters I'd seen this book on some summer reading lists for a while now. It contains several different stories set in various locations and time periods: Italy in the 1960s, present-day Hollywood, and present-day Pacific Northwest. Although it was interesting how the stories all tied together, I didn't find myself particularly connected to any of the characters (maybe because there was so many) and I found myself wishing the book had chosen to focus on one or two plots.
One Plus One by JoJo Moyes JoJo Moyes is one of my favorite authors -- her books always have quirky, likable characters and the stories are typically romance but have a little more substance and food for thought. This one, involving the stories of two very different people converging in a road trip, is no different. Following a non-traditional but sweet family and a rigid businessman on a road trip across England was highly entertaining.
Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult This was one of the best mystery books I have ever read. It follows a young girl trying to piece together the night of her mother's disappearance with the help of some eccentric characters. A large part of the story involves elephants, which I found interesting. There are some shocking twists and it's definitely a page-turner.


Corals + Cognacs Ever since visiting New York, I found myself drawn towards blogs that are based in NYC, like this one (although the blogger, Hallie, is moving to Chicago shortly). I love Hallie's writing style, which is a lot more personable than most blogs; you almost feel like you're having a conversation with her.
Bows and Sequins This is another New York-based blog that I'd come across for awhile but only recently started reading. The blogger, Jess, has cute but easy style, and I enjoy her travel posts.

See my other Recent Reads posts here and here.

Have you read anything good lately? I'm all ears for book and blog recommendations!

College Packing List

June 15, 2015

When I was thinking about packing for college about this time last year, I remember being so overwhelmed. I searched Pinterest and looked through several different lists, trying to find the best way to organize my college shopping. 

Ultimately, I ended up at school missing several really key items (like all of my school supplies, any utensils/plates/bowls, etc...) so clearly I wasn't very thorough! The good news is that it's not the end of the world if you forget things -- you can always pick up supplies in stores near your school right away or as you go along in the year.

This year, though, I decided to create my own list of things to bring to college. I know there are tons of these out there, but I think it's good to read a few and cross-reference.

Continue reading to see my list of what to pack for college (and you can download a PDF of it here)...

Weekend Reading

June 12, 2015

I had a nice, low-key week hanging out with my sister and friends, babysitting, and going to yoga.

On Wednesday, my family and I went out to dinner in Boothbay Harbor, one of Maine's prettiest coastal towns.

My sister Kinsey and I on the docks.

Yesterday, my friend Hannah and I went to yoga and then had a healthy and delicious lunch at a farm market. There were incredible views of farmland around the market, which was in an area that I had never been before, and it didn't even look like we were in Maine anymore! I'll have to take some photos next time.

Here are some links on my radar this week...

1. I'm a sucker for a good sunset... loved seeing Maine a few times on this list of beautiful sunsets around the world.
{ via Town and Country }

2. Murad Osmann is one of the best Instagram accounts out there with his amazing #FollowMeTo pictures, which show his perspective as his wife leads him to beautiful spots around the world. They just got married, and did one of their signature snapshots at their wedding... so cute.
{ via Elite Daily }

3. I read Sheryl Sandberg's book Lean In and love what she does to empower women in the working world. Her husband's recent sudden death is so tragic, but her posts about it have been incredibly eloquent.
{ via Facebook }

4. The Gilmore Girls reunion at the ATX Television Festival was perfect.
{ via Huffington Post }

5. Loved Julia Engel's recap of her Alaska trip on her blog... it looked amazing and made me want to go! (Still trying to figure out how she looks so cute while traipsing through the Alaskan wilderness...)
{ via Gal Meets Glam }

6. A J.Crew video from last summer that rewinds people jumping into the pool... I kind of want to watch this over and over.
{ via YouTube }

What to Pack in a Travel Tote

June 10, 2015

A well-packed day bag was necessary during my trip to New York last week. I was walking around the city all day and didn't make it back to the apartment where I was staying until late at night, so I needed to have all my essentials on hand.

Here's what I packed in my bag while traveling to and from New York and while walking around the city:

My tote bag is the large Longchamp Le Pliage in Slate. When I ordered it I was skeptical if it would be too large for an everyday bag, but it works great!

☑︎ Book My mom carries a book with her everywhere and she passed this on to me, at least when I'm traveling. I read on the bus and whenever I had some downtime in a coffeeshop or park.

☑︎ Magazine Magazines are great to slip into a travel tote bag because they're light and easy to carry but provide good entertainment for a few minutes.

☑︎ Gum A must for freshening breath after meals or coffee.

☑︎ Hand sanitizer Another necessity, especially after taking the subway and before eating a snack or meal.

☑︎ Phone charger + headphones My phone has the worst battery life, and it's never good to be stuck in an unfamiliar place without your phone. Headphones are also a travel necessity for long bus or train rides.

☑︎ Hand lotion + lip balm A nice-smelling hand lotion and moisturizing lip balm are great to freshen up midday. They're especially good to have on hand in the wintertime when skin gets dry easily.

☑︎ Snack A granola bar or handful of pretzels are always good to have in your bag -- you never know when you're going to need a snack. I have to have snacks for long bus or train rides.

☑︎ Tissues A common-sense item that's good to have with you throughout the day.

☑︎ Tide To-go A spill or stain is bound to happen when traveling... I use this at least once a trip!

Latest Instagrams

© charlotte {b} harris | a new england-based lifestyle blog. Design by Fearne.