Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Have a very merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas Week! Somehow it seems like Christmas has taken forever and sneaked up on me, all at once. I'm so happy to have a couple weeks off work to spend time with my family and enjoy the holidays, but I'm definitely keeping busy.

I (finally) finished up the rest of my Christmas shopping yesterday and then made the drive back to my dad's house with one of my brothers. After visiting grandparents on both sides, I'm so full of yummy treats and rich foods that I won't even be hungry for Christmas dinner. Well, maybe... ;)

With my time off from work (and school!), I'm hoping to read a couple books, get my nails done, finally start listening to the apparently amazing Serial podcast, and of course, work on some wonderful new blog posts for 2015.

Starting this blog has been so fun for me (and hopefully for all of you!), and I have high hopes for its development in the next year. So stay tuned for some great new content, and here's a look back at misc•eleni•ous throughout its first four months.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Wandering the Web: It's graduation day!

Guys! Tonight is my college graduation. I can't really explain what I'm feeling right now, because it hasn't really sunk in yet that I'm about to close another chapter of my life. I think it will hit me once I start working full time and stop having to think about homework and tests.

But do you want to know what I'm really excited for... Reading books for fun again! I just bought this one on my Kindle last night, and I can't wait to spend an evening reading for pleasure again. It feels like it's been forever!

Anyway, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend too, and maybe you'll finally finish up all your Christmas shopping if you've been waiting till the last minute like I have ;)

1. These earrings are actually made out of KFC chicken bones...And they cost $200! (Who What Wear)

2. This girl sends out Christmas cards declaring her single status every year, and they're great. (Buzzfeed)

3. I have to try these chocolate-dipped peanut butter cookies. Yum! (A Cup of Jo)

4. Obsessing over this gorgeous sequin blazer and asymmetrical black dress. (Kacie's Kloset)

5. My favorite relationship quote right now. (Piccsy)

6. I told you Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga were the most unlikely yet perfect duo. But this song is still my forever favorite of theirs. (The Tonight Show)

And some others...

Andy Grammer made this sweet video to show what real love looks like — spoiler: it's beautiful.(Refinery 29)

I would love to see this mini wireless tripod in my stocking this Christmas ;) (Who What Wear)

Love this style for a New Year's Eve dress. (DailyLook)

Adam and I can't wait to go see the new "Hobbit" at this new movie theater that just opened in Des Moines.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Where do you go for inspiration?

Let's talk about being inspired. Where do you find inspiration? What type of inspiration do you look for?

Pinterest is a creative person's best friend and my go-to place for inspiration and ideas. You can find everything you're looking for and anything you didn't know existed — all in one site. I absolutely love all that randomness.

This week I decided to go through and share with you my favorites from December. Of course, I've been looking at style and decorating ideas for the holidays, but I've also found some random gems that I just love (like that lip artwork and the pink hair).

1. Berry lips 2. Mix and match rings 3. Black leather skater skirt 4. Cranberry cocktails 5. Busy bridge 6. Pinup style 7. DIY iPad holder 8. Cute couple 9. Blogging tips 10. Glitter eye makeup 11. Best friend LBDs 12. Holiday nails 13. DIY brush trees 14. The perfect quote 15. Sparklers 16. Marilyn Monroe 17. Simple decorating 18. A twist on the classic loafer 19. Tom Ford's lipsticks 20. Pink hair 21. Festive wrapping 22. Gold lip artwork 23. Smart reminder 24. Holiday wedding 25. Big brothers 26. Simple Christmas tree 27. Black and white beauty

Do you use Pinterest to motivate yourself or influence your style?

Related: I wrote a similar article about the top Pinterest accounts to follow when I was writing for Iowa State's fashion magazine called Trend. Read it here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

What kind of music do you listen to?

I listen to music every day at work and often when I'm studying, reading or blogging at home. When I'm at home or using my own computer, I listen to one of my many Spotify playlists — which I'm always updating. But at work I just use Pandora, and the stations can be totally hit or miss.

A few weeks ago I created a Mumford & Sons (my favorite band) playlist, and I can count on one hand the number of times I've listened to anything else since. It's amazing! It has folksy music like the Head and the Heart, which I love, and some more mainstream music like Phillip Phillips. But the best — and most surprising — part: it plays so much piano music without any words at all.

That is something I never thought I'd enjoy listening to, because I've always been the type of person who likes to listen to the lyrics and sing along. But it's so perfect for work! I can concentrate on what I'm doing and still have beautiful melodies playing in the background. It's not quite classical music like Beethoven or Chopin; I would call it a little more modern-classical. The one composer I love the most is Ludovico Einaudi. The music has such a beautiful sound, I can't help but be mesmerized each time it plays.

So I'm wondering: What kind of music do you listen to while you work or study? What playlists or stations would you recommend? I'd love to hear!

(Photo via tumblr)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

On my mind: Non-boring white walls

Now that I'm getting ready to graduate and will soon be shopping for a new apartment, I've been thinking more and more about how I'll decorate it — and I've fallen hard for the white wall trend. I used to think all-white looked boring and unfinished, but there are so many beautiful ways to style it, and they all look so bright and clean.

And I really love the idea of statement furniture, rather than a whole matching set. It's a great way to add personality and variety.

My personal style has taken a much more minimalistic approach this year, and you can definitely see that creeping into my home decorating visions, too. These are a few of the looks inspiring me right now.

Monday, December 15, 2014

How to survive finals week

My last week of finals (ever!) is finally here, and I am so excited! Only two exams separate me from that diploma on Friday and a full-time job come January.

I feel so fortunate to have my first job lined up prior to graduation. It's a major weight off my shoulders! The only downside is that it's making it even harder to keep myself focused on studying. Know the feeling?

If there's one thing I've learned after three-and-a-half years of college studying, it is the importance of taking study breaks. When I'm trying to cram weeks' worth of information, I need a little time to give my brain a break and restore my mentality. If I look at the same information for too long, it all starts to blur together. So I let myself take 5 to 10 minutes away from the books to just relax — and then I can get back to focusing.

My study breaks often consist of Pinterest and Buzzfeed, but since Christmas is just around the corner, online shopping works just as well. 'Tis the season :) Here are a few of my favorite Pinterest finds to keep your smile bright throughout the studying:

1. These xo gold and pink macarons — beautiful on the plate, but I'd prefer them in my belly. 

2. A beautiful shot of one couple's joy in sharing a moment away from the rest of the world.

3. These best friends are a match made in heaven. Can I have them both?

4. I'd like to think the mess going on in my brain currently is all glitter and sparkle.

And finally...a little reminder from Anna Wintour to be fearless this week:

Anyone else out there studying for finals? How do you prefer to spend your study breaks? I'd love to hear :)

(Photos via ShirleroStyle Me PrettyPensees Duchoeurphoto, Heart of the Matter, Who What Wear)

Friday, December 12, 2014

Wandering the Web: Have a wonderful weekend

It's Friday! I've been waking up thinking it was Friday for the past three days, so finally I'm not disappointed!

Yesterday was my last day of classes (ever!), so this weekend I don't have to worry about any homework, which already feels like a big weight off my shoulders. Tomorrow my mom and sister and I are continuing our Christmas tradition of going to see the Nutcracker in Ames. I love the ballet so much, so I can't wait to see it again.

What are your plans for the weekend? If you're around Des Moines, try to get outside and enjoy the warmer weather :) As always, here are some fun links I found around the web this week:

1. Tim Burton talks about his work on the new film "Big Eyes" — the true story of Walter and Margaret Keane and the iconic paintings. (Vulture)

2. I can't wait to try this recipe for red wine hot chocolate. Chocolate and wine — my two favorite food groups. (immaeatthat.com)

3. Did you know bubbles freeze? And in really beautiful shapes, too. (Distractify)

4. London opened its first cereal cafe, and I'm seriously ready to book my tickets... (Buzzfeed)

5. This poignant photo project shows the reality of issues our society has yet to overcome. (In the Making)

6. A photographer created this series of photos to bring fiction into real life, and it works perfectly. (Esquire)

And a few more...

The reality of Instagram photos. (emmadime.com)

This photo of Marilyn Monroe as you've never seen her just surfaced and is expected to sell at auction for $8,000-$12,000. Oh, and her iconic bra recently sold for $20,000. (Huffington Post and Refinery 29)

11 things you didn't know Google could do. (Time)

So, Grumpy Cat is real — and very, very rich. (Buzzfeed)

Have a great weekend, lovelies!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Dining in Des Moines: Eatery A

In continuing with my reviews of new restaurants in Des Moines, today I'm talking about one of my new favorites: Eatery A. It's a Mediterranean restaurant that uses fire and smoke to bring out the flavors in all of the food. Adam and I went there for the first time for our anniversary dinner last month, and we both loved it.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Where do you spend the holidays?

If you could have Christmas anywhere — where would you go?

I saw this article by Travel + Leisure magazine on the best places to spend Christmas, and it got me thinking about where I'd like to spend the holidays in the future. I've only ever been in Iowa for Christmas and New Year's, but I think I'd love to visit a new place and see how it's different from here — maybe a warmer climate without snow? (Side note: I love the way Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell have ornaments floating in the pool in their amazing Christmas commercial.)

Here's my top picks of places I'd love to spend the holidays some day:

1. New York. The Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve... it seems pretty fabulous, despite the masses of people and tourists. (And there is so much to do!)

2. California. I've only ever had a white Christmas, and don't get me wrong — I love snow on Christmas. But I think it would be fun to experience a green winter for a change.

3. Munich. That 100-foot Christmas tree sounds like something I want to see, for sure.

4. France. It's France — need I say more?

Where are you spending the holidays this year? Do you have a favorite place?

Related: My wish list, the perfect Christmas playlist and holiday dresses.

(Photo via the Daily Mail)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Weekend shopping roundup

Express is having a great sale on dresses, so I just ordered this black one (for only $40!) to wear on New Year's Eve. I really wanted to get this purple version to add a little color to my closet, but they didn't have my size in stock. Must be a sign that black is my color ;)

I love the style and feel of this dress. I already have it in the navy blue sparkle, and it's just so comfy! It's so easy to throw on, and I always feel great when I wear it. That's why I couldn't resist getting another one when the price was so good.

These pearl studs are also on the way, because I've been dying to try out this double-sided earring look for a while. I can't wait to get them in the mail next week — along with all the Christmas presents I bought over the weekend :)

I'm also loving this floral dress from ASOS (Maybe add it to the Christmas list? ;), and these new earrings from Forever 21. I've been looking at these earrings for weeks, and I finally just bought them while I was picking up a few gifts. Now I can't stop wearing them!

What trends have you been wanting to try lately? Leave your comments below!

(Images via Express)

Monday, December 8, 2014

Christmas cookies and a sweet surprise

Adam's mom surprised us with a package of Eleni's Cookies from New York last week, and I can't tell you how excited (I think giddy would probably be a more appropriate word) I was when I opened the box and saw my name all over the packaging.

You know how all the kids had rulers and pencils with their names on them in second grade? Well, my name Eleni, and doesn't get printed on rulers. So you can probably understand how exciting it was to see my name all over a bunch of cookies.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Wandering the Web: It's finally December!

Happy Friday, friends! Have I mentioned lately how happy I am that it's finally December? There is so much going on this month! I'm working on final projects and studying for exams now, and then...I graduate! I'm so excited to move onto the next chapter of my life. Even though I'll miss the fun and freedom of college, I'm really looking forward to a more regular schedule (and that regular paycheck — am I right?).

Anyway, this weekend I'm doing a little Christmas shopping with my mom and sister, an after-hours party for work and hopefully a relaxing day of football on Sunday. Oh, and some homework sprinkled in there of course ;)

Here are a few interesting links I found this week:

1. This girl tried paper-bag speed dating...and it sucked. (The Cut)

2. The director of Mockingjay talks about working with Jennifer Lawrence and Philip Seymour Hoffman. (Vulture)

3. Pastel armpit hair is a thing girls are doing now. (Refinery 29)

4. Cheryl Strayed talks about her book, the movie and what she wants to teach her children. (Vulture)

5. Ever wonder how those multimillion-dollar Victoria's Secret bras are made? (Refinery 29)

6. This hot cocoa bar would be such a great addition to a holiday party. (Sugar and Charm)

Movie review: 'Horrible Bosses 2'

Okay, so I came pretty late to the Horrible Bosses party...as in just saw it last weekend. I know. I'd been meaning to watch it, but it wasn't very high on my list. But when the sequel came out and Adam was dying to see it, I had a reason to watch it.

We wanted to see a movie last weekend, but Adam decided I couldn't see Horrible Bosses 2 without watching the first one, so we went to see Big Hero 6 instead (side note: such an awesome animated movie; if you haven't seen it yet, I definitely recommend it). So I finally watched Horrible Bosses with him and... I loved it. In large part because Charlie Day is my favorite human being right now (currently obsessed with Always Sunny in Philadelphia, in case you didn't know).

After that, I was super-excited to go see the new movie. It got pretty terrible reviews across the board, but honestly, we loved it. We laughed so hard throughout the whole movie! I think it might have helped that I had just seen the first one and it was all so fresh in my mind, whereas going back to the same characters and story after several years can be underwhelming if it's not done well.

But I didn't think it was as bad as critics say at all. The plots are supposed to be ridiculous — that's why it's funny. And everyone who returned to their roles did so flawlessly. The one-liners were heavy and hilarious, the drama was kind of intense at times, and Jennifer Aniston came back sexier and crazier than ever.

If you liked the first movie and you're looking for a good laugh at the expense of some ridiculous characters and plots...you'll probably like Horrible Bosses 2.

Have you seen it yet? Do you plan to?

Related: movies for a rainy day and Gone Girl.

(Photos via The Hollywood Reporter and The Bonus Review)

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The choice to have children: public opinion or private decision?

I've had a couple different conversations recently about people asking newlyweds (or any couple) when they plan to start having children, or badgering them that "they better start soon," or some other variation. So when I saw this article about famous women on childlessness, I wanted to share it. (Zooey Deschanel's answer is particularly good, but that's for another post.)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Santa Baby... My own wish list

Picking out everything for my gift guide and looking at all the other blogger guides out there gave me some great ideas for my own wish list, so I thought I'd share some of the other things I'm loving right now. It seems like Christmas will be here in a flash, so I need to start getting on top of my own present shopping — but I'm secretly hoping some of these will show up under the tree for me this year, too ;)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The best (and easiest) pasta you'll ever make

My mom got this recipe from her best friend several years ago, and it completely changed the way I feel about pasta. I was never a big pasta fan before this dish, but now it's my absolute favorite meal. I'm convinced I could eat the whole thing if my stomach would let me.

Monday, December 1, 2014

The perfect Christmas playlist

Happy Monday lovelies! It's finally December! Has everyone else been listening to Christmas music for weeks already? Or is that just me? ;)

Well, whether you already have your Christmas playlist perfected or it's in need of a tune-up, I put together a list of my favorite holiday tunes. (In no particular order, because that would have been impossible...)

My love for Christmas music is somewhat inexplicable, even to me. I've always loved it, but now I look forward to listening to it weeks before the holiday season. Is that weird? (Probably.) Christmas songs are so romantic — which, I have to say, I don't fully understand, but I still love it.

What are your favorites? Leave your comments below! I'm always looking to expand my already ridiculously long playlist.

P.S. If you haven't already heard Kristen Bell and Straight No Chaser's new "Text Me Merry Christmas" on the radio, you should give it a listen. It's super catchy and pretty amusing.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Wandering the Web: Happy Thanksgiving weekend!

Are you all pleasantly stuffed with delicious turkey and pumpkin pie? I am. Our two dinners yesterday both had such amazing food, but I actually did a pretty good job at not letting myself eat all the food ;)

Do you have any fun plans for the weekend? It's supposed to be 50 degrees tomorrow here! We're going to tailgate, so I'm extremely happy by that forecast. But first, I have to get through a day of work (yes, on Black Friday). So here are some fun links from around the web this week:

1. Right now I'm loving these interchangeable Kate Spade watches. They're the perfect transition from work to party. (Nordstrom)

2. A Thanksgiving dinner made out of balloons, because why not? It's adorable. (The Kitchn)

3. If you need something to do besides shopping this weekend, check out one of the many new movies in theaters now. I just saw Hunger Games and loved it, and I really want to see The Imitation Game. (Vulture)

4. Jimmy Fallon and Rashida Jones sang a holiday medley of 2014's most popular songs on The Tonight Show last night, and it. Was. Epic. (Today)

5. Have you seen these Polaroid instant digital cameras? I would love to have one of these for scrapbooking! (Anthropologie)

6. Thanksgiving has now become "Gray Thursday," because people can't wait to hit those great sales... Even when there's 8 inches of snow. (New York Times)

Have a lovely (and warmer!) weekend :)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Holiday gifts for every guy

Part two of the Gift Guide is dedicated to all the special men in your life. Because, if you're like me, you know all too well how stressful it is to shop for guys. Whether brothers, dads, boyfriends or just friends, it can seem like a daunting task to try to find just the right gift.

1. Wireless speaker (Urban Outfitters) 2. Cards Against Humanity (Amazon) 3. Fossil travel kit (Nordstrom) 4. Whiskey stones (Thrillist) 5. LIVE cologne (American Eagle) 6. Notebook (Raygun) 7. Under Armor gloves (Scheels) 8. Earbuds (Urban Outfitters) 9. Four-cup French press (Thrillist) 10. Checkered underwear (American Eagle) 11. Printed Matchbook (High Street Market) 12. 22 Jump Street (Amazon) 13. Navy watch (Thrillist) 14. Faux fur winter hat (Express) 15. Beer maker's guide (Urban Outfitters) 16. Stripe sweater (American Eagle)

With this list I tried to find items for every type of guy: the athlete, the party guy, the stylish guy and the funny guy. And they all come at a varying range of prices, so you'll find something for every budget.

What are some of your ideas for guy gifts? Leave your comments below :) I'd love some help!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Holiday gifts she'll love

With Black Friday only a few days away, I'm sure all of you go-getters are probably ready to start your holiday shopping. So what do you buy for all the special ladies in your life? Gift cards are great, but if you really want to impress them, a thoughtful and personal present is the way to go. In case you're scrambling for creative ideas, I've done a little research to make your life a little bit easier this holiday season.

No matter who you're shopping for or what her style is, these gifts are perfect for a variety of women (I personally think those glitter studs would be a lovely addition to every girl's jewelry box). And the prices range from $2 to $39, so you won't break the bank — you might even have enough extra dough to get a little something for yourself ;)

1. State necklaces (Fifth and Mae) 2. Geometric terrarium (Urban Outfitters) 3. Slippers (Victoria's Secret 4. French print matches (Design Darling) 5. Over-the-knee socks (Forever 21) 6. Astrology candle (Anthropologie) 7. Elephant hook (Francesca's) 8. Gwen Stefani nail polish set (Ulta) 9. USB wall charger (Urban Outfitters) 10. Today notepad (Anthropologie) 11. Minimalist rings (Fifth and Mae) 12. Glass water bottle (Amazon) 13. Birdcage candle holder (Target) 14. Fashion bobby pins (Anthropologie) 15. Kate Spade glitter studs (Nordstrom) 16. Wool blend baseball hat (Express)

Do you have any favorites on this list? What items would you add? Leave your comments in the section below... I'd love to hear :)

Friday, November 21, 2014

Wandering the Web: Have a beautiful weekend

What are you doing this weekend? I think we're going to check out the Christmas light setup for Make-a-Wish on Saturday, and then hopefully the rest of the weekend will be pretty laid back and relaxing. I'm so excited to have a break from classes next week, but I've got a lot of work to do on final projects and exams, so I can't let myself spend too much time lounging around.

I should probably get ahead on my workouts since this year we have two dinners on Thanksgiving day (yes, two!) — but I'm about to win a record for longest time away from the gym, and I wouldn't want to ruin my streak ;)

Hopefully you're gearing up to relax for a day or two yourself over the holiday, and here are a few links to help with your Internet-surfing:

1. Kristen Bell teamed up with Straight No Chaser to make a new generation-relevant Christmas song called "Text Me Merry Christmas," and you have to listen to it. (Refinery 29)

2. A look inside the closets of six L.A. fashion bloggers. (Refinery 29)

3. How beautiful is this cork board world map? Would be fun to fill with photos of your travels. (Anthropologie)

4. Obama (kind of) talks about his plan for immigration and how "we were once strangers, too." (New York Magazine)

5. A new eyeliner trend that's not actually eyeliner... Say what? (Refinery 29)

6. How to get ready for a party in five minutes, how to look great even with a hangover, and how to look fresh after a long flight. (A Cup of Jo)

Have a wonderful (and tasty) Thanksgiving week!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

A new restaurant in Des Moines

A few new restaurants have opened recently in downtown Des Moines, so Adam and I have been trying visit some of them. I love all the new trendy hangouts coming to the area; they all have such great styles, and each has its own unique feel to it. Last week we went to RoCA (short for Restaurant on Court Avenue) and Eatery A (details coming soon!). 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The key to healthy lips

Lipstick is my favorite beauty product and accessory (clearly). I wear it almost daily, and I'm always on the hunt for new colors and brands. The key to getting your lipstick to look just right is...

Monday, November 17, 2014

Small towns, bigger city

I moved to the Des Moines area earlier this year from a much smaller town about an hour and a half away — and I immediately fell in love with this city.

I used to think Iowa was boring and didn't have much to offer (I grew up in a small town where the only places open after 10 p.m. were the gas stations and the 24-hour gym). But there's a surprising amount of unique, fun things to do and see here. You just have to go to the right place.

Des Moines has been ranked one of the top up-and-coming cities on several occasions and for different reasons. And there are even lists that say it's one of the best cities for young adults. It's really an exciting time to live in this area, with all the growth and change happening. Apartments are sprouting up on just about every empty corner, new bars and restaurants are opening all the time.

This summer Adam and I went to wineries, explored the Pappajohn Sculpture Park, scouted new restaurants and played mini-golf. And there's still so much more. I never thought I'd fall in love with Iowa, but there's something kind of magical about it — especially its capital city.

Can you relate? Have you ever discovered a "new" old place that changed your mind about your home state? Or somewhere new altogether?

(Photo via Iowa House Republicans)

Friday, November 14, 2014

Wandering the Web: Celebration weekend

Happy Friday, everyone! Do you have any big plans for the weekend? Adam and I will be dating for a year on Sunday, so we are celebrating by going to dinner at this new restaurant tonight and throwing a party with our friends on Saturday night. Maybe it's cheesy, but I love celebrating these milestones, especially with someone as wonderful as Adam :)

1. This bike trail was inspired by Vincent Van Gogh's "The Starry Night," and it's so beautiful. (My Modern Met)

2. "Why I can't wait to be a fat bride," really makes you think about society's beliefs and the strong people who can actually overcome them. (The Guardian)

3. I bought these black flats a few weeks ago, and I am in love! I wear them all the time, and they go with almost everything. Now I'm thinking the blue ones look gorgeous too... (Kohl's)

4. I love wine. This list of Trader Joe's wines will be very helpful in deciding which one to take to my family's Thanksgiving at my grandparents' house. (The Kitchn)

5. I'm obsessing over these gorgeous black and white grid pants from ASOS. I'll be ordering mine after work tonight — while they are still 20 percent off! (ASOS)

6. Last night Adam and I had an argument about... New Balance sneakers, of all things. He thinks they are all awful and better left to the 1980s, while I think they can be really stylish. I especially like these and this look. Do you have a strong opinion about New Balance?

Have a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Winter-ready accessories

Well, the first snow finally made its way to Iowa. I was the tiniest bit happy about it when I first looked out my window...but that all went away when I stepped outside and the wind whipped my freshly curled hair in a mess around my face while I was brushing the snow off my car windows. It's too early for snow!

But since I can't really fight it, I decided to look at new gloves and hats. Here are a few of my favorite combinations from the items above.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Pet names: yes or no?

I've always used pet names (like "baby" and "love") in relationships, and even with my friends (doll, girlie). But I got to thinking about it the other day, and the more I did the more I felt like using pet names sort of takes something away from that person. It's almost like they lose a sense of their individuality when we replace their real names with generic nicknames.

Of course, there's the argument that pet names are special between two people, and it adds another level of intimacy. (And to be clear, I do agree with that viewpoint and still like using them.) But doesn't it also feel intimate to hear your significant other whisper your name after "I love you"?

Since paying attention to it, I realized I almost never call Adam by his name when I'm talking to him. But I also noticed he does the same with me. Then the other day he sent me an email and started it with "Eleni," and my first thought was, "Oh my gosh, is he upset with me?" He wasn't actually upset; it was just so odd to see him write out my name when addressing me, because we do that so rarely. But I've been trying to use his name a little more in conversation, and it actually does feel kind of romantic.

What do you think? Do you use pet names with your S.O. or friends? I'd love to hear...

(Image via Ruffled)

Friday, November 7, 2014

Wandering the Web: Have a wonderful weekend

Do you have any fun plans for this chilly weekend? Every day the weather seems more and more wintery (which I don't love), but it also means bigger, warmer scarves (which I do love), so at least there's a silver lining! Adam and I are going to a wedding on Saturday, and I'm actually pretty excited; it seems like forever since I've been to a wedding (and I got a new dress for it, so I'm excited to get dolled up after being sick most of the week:).

Have a wonderful weekend, and here are a few links I found around the web this week:

1. A beautiful new way to wear scarves that I hadn't thought of before but absolutely want to try. (Who What Wear)

2. The talented Hollywood director whose masterpieces are less than three minutes long. (Vulture)

3. The life and times of Taylor Swift, in infographics. (Vulture)

4. This girl tried vinotherapy, aka a wine bath. I love drinking wine, but swimming in it? Hmm... (The Cut)

5. Gorgeous mason jar sleeve hand-made with leather. (A Beautiful Mess)

6. Adults tell how they learned about sex, and it's hilarious. (Buzzfeed)

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Holiday dresses for every occasion

Now that Halloween is over and the holiday season is upon us (I think we can thank all the department stores for filling our minds with Christmas thoughts before we've even had time to plan the Thanksgiving menu...), it's time to start thinking about holiday parties — which means holiday dresses. Here are some of my favorites for every occasion, from cooking the turkey to opening presents with your S.O.'s family to ringing in the new year.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

9 movies for a rainy (or sick) day

Rain seemed to be the theme of 2014 here in Central Iowa for a while. And even though it's been relatively dry for the last week or so, it's still cloudy and chilly — aka, Perfect Movie Marathon Weather.

Plus, I've been sick for the last week so laying on the couch watching movies in my pajamas sounds like heaven to me, regardless of the weather. Here are my marathon picks, with a variety of genres for every taste.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Wandering the web: Happy Halloween!

Do you have any plans for Halloween weekend? Adam has been sick this week, and I'm starting to feel a tickle in my throat, so we might just spend the night at home drinking lots of tea... (at least that sounds good to me ;)

What do you like to do on Halloween? Dress up and go out? Stay in and hand out candy? I'd love to know... Here are a few links I found interesting this week:

1. A new TV show based on Cosmopolitan is in the works, and it sounds amazing. (The Cut)

2. Lazy-girl tricks to get the wrinkles out of your clothes without ironing. (WhoWhatWear)

3. How to learn a foreign language as an adult. (Time)

4. I would love a set of these vintage tumblers to add some flair in the kitchen. (the catalog)

5. Need a last minute costume idea for the little ones? (Or yourself?) These felt masks look adorable and simple to make. (A Beautiful Mess)

6. This new game from a photographer and his dog is better than Where's Waldo. (Feature Shoot)

Thursday, October 30, 2014

My weekend in Kansas City

This week has been pretty hectic, but I wanted to share a few highlights from my trip to Kansas City over the weekend. My friends Felicia and Kenz and I decided to get away for a couple days and drive a few hours south.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The new (80) million-dollar view in NYC

This is what I imagined living in New York City would be like at age 12. Gorgeous views of the New York skyline, a beautiful penthouse 96 stories high with fabulous designer furnishings. That's what I get for letting movies guide my judgments.

Of course, now I know that views like this one are only for the very (very, very) rich. I don't think I'll be living there anytime soon, but it's still fun to imagine. What would it be like to walk out of your bedroom in the morning to see the sun rise over the Empire State Building?

Maybe someday I'll know, but for now, I'll just enjoy my coffee from the third-floor balcony, with a beautiful view of the sun rising over Wal-Mart.

(Photo via Daily Mail)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Coffee table books

Before I got my Kindle, I hated Kindles. Not just Kindles; all e-readers. I love traditional books: the smell, the texture, the feeling of having something "real" in your hands. 

But then, one night, I wanted a new book, and I didn't want to wait. So I downloaded the Kindle app to my phone and then the book. A minute later, I was reading it. Hello, game-changer! I read it on the bus and before class, without having to add any extra weight to my already-sagging backpack. I loved it.

A year later, I still love e-books and all their convenience, but I love love LOVE the idea of decorative (and interesting) coffee table books. I'm not sure I'd like to house shelves full of books because they are such a pain when you're moving, but I think I can handle a small set of them...

Someday, when I finally have the time and budget to decorate exactly the way I want, a beautiful coffee table to decorate with quirky odds and ends is first on my list. Right now I'd display Humans of New York, Yes Please, The Great Gatsby, The Extraordinary Book of Useless Information and #Girlboss.   

What books would you (or do you) have on your coffee table? 

(Photo via The Every Girl)

Monday, October 27, 2014

About strong women

In the last year, I started to recognize that there is one key element that will likely determine whether or not I like a book, and it is the Strong Female Lead.

There are two types of Female Leads: those who make the changes, and those who wait for changes.

I admired the Strong Female Leads who could get through a bad situation on their own, and I was annoyed with the women who let work, men, life or other women destroy them (both in fiction and non-fiction).

And I didn't just feel this way about books; I looked for the same characteristics in the women I watched in movies and TV shows, and in real life. I realized I couldn't stand the women who just sit down and take the crap dished out to them, the women who have no fight in them and little ambition.

That's why I was annoyed for most of the beginning of Wild by Cheryl Strayed. It's a memoir about how she let her life fall apart after the death of her mother and then set out on an 1,100-mile hike of the Pacific Crest Trail to figure it out. She had basically given up — and I wanted to do the same with the book. But I wouldn't let myself, and I'm happy I didn't because by the end of the book, she had become an incredibly strong woman. It was her real-life journey from a fragile woman to a Strong Female Lead.

Now that I've figured it out, the way I select books has changed as much as the way I read them. That's why I finally joined the party and bought Tina Fey's Bossypants. I'm a huge Tina Fey fan, and it's easy to see she's the type of person who makes things happen for herself (she did create her own award-winning sitcom), which is why I wanted to read about her life from her perspective. It's a short, easy read and not what I expected, but it's funny and honest and definitely makes you think.

And I can't wait to read Amy Poehler's new book, Yes Please, which comes out tomorrow(!). Much like Tina Fey, Amy Poehler is hilarious and awesome, and she clearly doesn't let anyone or anything stand in the way of her own success. I'm excited to learn about Poehler from her own perspective.

(Image via Word and Film)

Friday, October 24, 2014

Wandering the web: a new series

What are your plans for the weekend? I'm heading out for a girls' trip to Kansas City with a couple of my wonderful friends. We're renting a small place on airbnb, and we'll probably do a little shopping, sight seeing and lounging. It'll be so nice to get away for a few days. Hope you enjoy your weekend, and here a few of my favorite things from around the web:

1. Birdman, starring Michael Keaton, Emma Stone and Zach Galifianakis, came out last weekend and I really want to see it. But, sadly, so far there are no showings in Iowa. (Vulture)

2. These "punny" flower bouquets would be an adorable gift. As well as the DIY book that features them. (A Cup of Jo)

3. I adore these black peep toe booties. So perfect for fall. (Somewhere, Lately)

4. Gold playing cards would be an adorable coffee table accessory, and they'd be a perfect stocking-stuffer for Christmas! (Anthropologie)

5. How cute are these high-fashion pumpkins? Anna Wintour and Grace Coddington are my favorites. (Domaine)

6. I took this Ben Affleck butt-chin quiz the other day and my results were embarrassingly good. But I don't get tired of looking at him. (Vulture)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Family pumpkin patch!

Last weekend Adam and I visited my favorite place in the world: my uncle's farm and pumpkin patch. The farm has been in my family for longer than I even know, and I grew up visiting during harvest season and picking pumpkins. I always make at least one trip back every fall to get some pumpkins and see the family. Get ready for lots of photos.

Dad and Grandma had a great time taking rides on the ancient golf cart... Until it broke down.

But the guys took a loot and got it working again. Hooray for manly men ;)

My grandma was happy to see my grandpa's old tractor looking as beautiful as the day he bought it. The best part about visiting the farm is all the family memories there.

And making new memories.

And taking a million pictures.

And a little outfit of the day action. Did I mention fall is my favorite?
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