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.
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