NYC Fall Packing List

New York weather can be unpredictable–– so far, fall has been pretty warm, but it's supposed to get cold this week. My biggest piece of advice for packing for NYC is paying attention to the weather forecast a few days before you go and to pack layers. Layers are truly magical because you can adjust your outfit as needed. Whenever I pack for a trip, I try to pack quality over quantity–– pack really good staple pieces that you can style various ways so you don't end up filling up a 50lb suitcase! Also, these pieces would make for a great fall capsule wardrobe. I am currently trying to rebuild my fall wardrobe myself, and I am going to start with a few pieces below.

Suggested items:

Bottoms: Dark skinny jeans / black skinny jeans (good for day and night)
Shoes: Comfortable yet stylish tennis shoes / Black booties (also good for day to night)
Accessories: Scarf / A functional yet stylish bag / A black belt / Bracelet or simple jewelry (optional)
Warmth: Cardigan / Sweater / Warm coat
Layering basics: Black turtleneck tee / White long sleeve for layering


October Favorites

October is almost over, and I wanted to take a moment and share my favorite things/products from this month! I have never done a post in this format before, which is quite a shocker because these kind of posts are fun to read and always popular. Like I said in my "On Rebranding" post, I want to share with you guys more about myself and what I love. I've tried to include beauty and fashion elements and also things I have enjoyed seeing/doing over the past month. If you enjoy this kind of post, please let me know so I can continue them!

On Rebranding

I have wanted to "rebrand" for quite some time now. The blog name "Yep It's Prep" suited me really well when I first started my blog. Truth be told, I outgrew the name about a year or so ago, but I was scared to leap and change it to Isabella Darden. My old blog name allowed me to gain so much traction. It drew in readers, and I got to use the name to land myself some amazing opportunities. That being said, I think it's important to be who you really are, and Yep It's Prep isn't me anymore. Now, I am just me. I don't want to attach labels to myself because I am constantly changing and growing as a person, and my style is constantly evolving as well. Starting today, Yep It's Prep is now Isabella Darden. With this change, I want this blog to represent what I love, eat, and breathe. I want to start sharing more health and lifestyle posts, and I want to make things more personal (without getting too personal).

Then & now: Back in the day, my signature look definitely included button downs galore and preppy puffer vests. My hair was so long and I usually wore it curly. The photo on the left was from the first shoot I did after getting a 50mm lens–– it was basically my first "real" outfit post. Now, I usually wear my hair straight and it's much shorter. Although I still dress in a somewhat "classic" manner, I am not afraid of trying trends and breaking rules. I used to hide behind sunglasses in most of my posts–– I now embrace my inevitable undereye bags.

I'm going to use this announcement to update you guys on what's been going on in my life lately and to explain why I have not been posting as much. I have a full-time job now, and I leave my apartment every morning at 8:15am and don't get home until 7:30pm most nights. I love my job, but since I am working 10+ hour work days and dedicating myself to my new role, it leaves less time for me to blog. Weekends are the only time that I have now to create content, which makes things complicated. Virginia, my roommate/photographer, is in grad school and she has a busy life as well, so it's harder to shoot now. I am thankful for her doing it when she can, but it just doesn't happen as frequently as it used to and that's completely ok. This might mean fewer outfit/style shoots until I figure something else out, but I am realizing that's not a big deal. I know that the people who genuinely enjoy reading my posts are not going anywhere, even if it means I am posting less frequently.
“About all you can do in life is be who you are. Some people will love you for you. Most will love you for what you can do for them, and some won't like you at all.” 
― Rita Mae Brown
Honestly, for a hot second, I pondered quitting my blog. I have never known myself to be a quitter even in the most challenging times of my life, but I was not feeling like producing content and I thought my free time could be dedicated to other areas of my life. I felt like my posts were not as interesting and that if I was not going to put 110% into it, that I should put 0% into it. Turns out, I didn't need to quit, but just to pivot. This rebrand allows me to re-focus on what blogging means to me, and I am excited to move forward with it. The new name means that I don't have to necessarily worry about falling under certain categories (you know, the whole "preppy" label), and I believe that the name change will possibly lead to more exciting collaborations with fun companies.

I wanted to end this post by thanking every single person that has ever visited this blog. It sounds silly and dramatic to say, but without such a strong group of readers, I would never have been able to partner with so many brands/companies that I love. You all are the reason I got to work with some of my absolute favorite brands (Free People & Anthropologie collabs = dreams made). You guys have made so many wishes come true for me, and I love you for it!

Connecticut Charm

Greenwich is such a cute little town. I love taking the Metro North up there for a day to escape to true peace and quiet–– everything is so serene, and it's a great way to escape Manhattan for a while. Greenwich Ave kind of reminds me of Savannah, so it's nice to get a feeling of being home while being so far away! One look I think I have finally perfected is the "comfy yet polished" travel look. I think the key ingredients of pulling off this look are jeans that fit really well, a comfy flat or loafer, and a basic top with minimal accessories. I swear by my Madewell high waisted jeans and I have been wearing the hell out of them lately because they are incredibly well made and do not stretch.

One of my favorite stores lately is Aritizia. I recently picked up this versatile white camisole and this chevalier jacket. They make the perfect pair, and I think it would look cute to wear both pieces with the camisole tucked into a black skirt! I know I will get a ton of wear out of both the jacket and the cami. Aritizia is one of those stores I can always walk into and find something. While some items are affordable, some are a little on the pricey side, but I am willing to purchase staple/investment items from there that can be in my closet for a long time. Aritzia is unfortunately not on affiliate platforms so I linked similar items below, but you can most definitely shop the looks using the links above!


Step by Step Fall Skincare Routine With Clarisonic

To me, skincare is one of the most important things on the planet. Your skin is your biggest organ, and it deserves all of the love and pampering that it can get. For as long as I can remember, I have been a victim of terrible hormonal acne. I kid you not, it has been so bad that I have taken 5 rounds of Accutane and have not seen lasting results from it! There has been only one thing that has helped me manage my crazy skin conditions, and that is my Clarisonic. I have used one every day for about 2 years now, and I am not kidding when I say it has changed my life. Now, I only get the occasional pimple instead of a full-fledged war zone.

First Signs of Fall

These photos were taken a few weeks ago on the first "real day" of fall when it was finally crisp enough to break out a sweater and jeans. I feel like I keep obsessing about the season, and until this year, I didn't understand why everyone loved fall so much because I hadn't truly experienced it myself. In the south, it stays hot until practically November and the leaves never really change. Now I get it–– the subways are no longer sweltering, you can finally walk 20 blocks without profusely sweating, and everything just feels fresher overall.

My Current Workout Routine

Let me preface this by saying that although I workout, I am in no way, shape, or form an expert. I also eat plenty of cheat meals, I cancel workouts sometimes, and I am not perfect. It looks like I have abs when I wake up, but after my first meal, I'm bloated. I could eat healthier, but I love fries and cookies too much. It's all about balance!

When I first moved here to NYC, I knew I wanted to get into some kind of routine workout-wise since there are so many cool classes to take and so many great places to run (I'm looking at you, FDR drive and Central Park). When we leased our apartment, we got a year free gym membership at the place in our building, but I was looking for something more motivational to really get me going.

After some initial hesitation, I purchased a ClassPass membership, and I am hooked. I signed up for 10 classes a month, which is perfect to supplement the running I do on my own time either outside or in the gym. It works out to about two classes a week, and I usually schedule them on Tuesdays and Thursdays. They also have free classes that don't take away from your 10 class limit, and I love doing those on the weekends. So far, I have tried: FlyWheel Cycling, Barry's Bootcamp, Peloton Cycling, SWERVE Cycling, Pop Physique Bar class, and a few of the freebies. SWERVE, Peloton, and Pop Physique are the ones I always have in rotation because I love them so much (you're allowed to go to the same studio 3 times within a month if you have the 10 class plan).

I have found the instructors to be super motivational in most of the classes (I nixed FlyWheel because I was so bored and I hated the music) and they really push you to your best. I honestly leave SWERVE and Peloton so happy and satisfied mentally, and most of the reason I work out is for my mental health more than my physical health.

When I am not doing a ClassPass class or I am traveling, I try to get in some cardio each day and lift some weights. For example, when I went home a few weeks ago, I was running 2 miles on the treadmill each day and following it with 20 minutes of ab exercises and then 10 minutes of arms/legs. Youtube has a ton of amazing quick ab workouts available, and this is usually where I get my inspiration. Kayla Itsines, the creator of the Bikini Body Guides workouts, also occasionally posts workout videos on her Instagram that I like to try. I honestly hate running, but it makes it a lot easier if I download a Netflix show on my phone to pass the time. Killer playlists also help, but TV really does it for me because I don't find my mind wandering as much. I will link some of my favorite YouTube exercises below! Most can be done at home, which is a bonus.

10 Minute Intense Abs Workout Routine
HIIT and Abs
10 Minute Ab Workout
15 Minute Beginner's At Home Cardio Workout
15 Minute Low Impact Cardio
20 Minute Bikini HIIT Workout
15 Minute Full Body Workout

Also, if you want to try ClassPass, here's a link for $40 off your first month. This is definitely not sponsored–– I just love being able to use the app to try new classes that kick my ass and provide motivation... and honestly, it's at an affordable price that works out to less than $15 per workout class (which is unreal because most of the places they have to offer are usually upwards of $30 per class through the studios).

I have also linked some of my favorite, inexpensive workout outfits below. It makes it easier to get motivated when you're feeling cute and fierce, you know??


Pickin' Apples

Having grown up in Savannah nowhere near apple orchards, I had never picked apples in my life until last weekend. It was always on my bucket list of things to do since it looked like fun, and I am so glad I went to Silverman Farms in Connecticut with my friend Marlee last weekend to do so! It was super busy (I seriously did not know how popular of an activity it was until I saw the farm) but I am glad we braved the lines. The air was crisp, so I wore my new Madewell jeans, scarf, and sweater and paired it with my old J. Crew field jacket and Tory Burch booties.

I wish I had more time to fully enjoy the farm and eat their fresh apple pies, but I had to head back into the city to get prepared to start my new job! I love it so far. I am truly so happy here in New York, and a few months ago I could have never imagined all of these positive changes happening.