Wednesday, December 30, 2015

...and a happy New Year!

A look back at 2015 on miscelenious

Happy (almost) New Year! Can you believe 2016 is just two days away?? Where did the year go... 2015 has been a pretty monumental year in my life, with many transitions, new beginnings and endings. My blog hit its first major milestone, one of my outfits was featured on Lauren Conrad's blog (!!) and I finished my first year of full-time employment after college — among many other things, of course. In keeping with tradition, I wanted to share a little review of the last year here on miscelenious, so feel free to join me and keep scrolling!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Lipstick Review Vol. 3

Reviewing Rimmel London Lasting Finish, NARS lipstick and Maybelline Color Sensational Vivids

1. Rimmel London Lasting Finish by Kate No. 08 — This was one of my very first lipstick purchases because it’s about as close to the color of my natural lips as there is, and perfect for beauty beginners. It’s a neutral shade that goes with virtually anything, and it’s very flattering. I love it for those days when I want to wear lipstick but nothing too bold, or outfits that don’t seem to match any other lip colors. The dusty pink shade is great for all seasons, so I get a lot of wear out of it, plus the formula is one of my favorites. It’s creamy without being too thick and it’s not sticky at all. It won’t last all day without reapplying, but the color is so natural that it won’t be obvious if it fades a little bit, which is a major win if you work long days like me. Rating: 5 stars.

2. NARS lipstick in "Scarlet Empress" — If you’re wondering why I haven’t posted a lipstick review since October, this NARS lipstick would be the reason. After I bought it, I wore it just about daily for the whole month of November (between my colds, that is). It’s the absolute perfect shade of purple, and it’s actually sort of a chameleon because some days it looks much darker than others. (You can see an example of the difference in this post.) It’s my favorite shade for fall and winter this year (obviously), but I can’t wait to experiment with it in the warmer months, too. I’ve been a huge fan of NARS ever since I bought my first lip pencil (Dragon Girl) over a year ago. This was my first try with one of their lipsticks, but I have to admit I wasn’t super impressed. The formula is super soft and comfortable for all-day wear, but it doesn’t last nearly as well as the lip pencils. I’m not sure if it’s just this shade since it’s the only one I’ve tried so far, but it takes a few coats to fully cover and it rubs off pretty easily, which can be a pain. Rating: 4 stars.

3. Rimmel London Lasting Finish by Kate No. 111 — This is the first tube of lipstick I have ever finished, which already says a lot! It was my first red lipstick and one that I loved because the color is universally flattering and the most perfect dark-bright red. This Rimmel London formula had a strange-but-not-bad smell to it, but it never bothered me. It's good for long-ish wears, but it can get a little sticky by the end of the night, so I try not to wear it for morning-to-night occasions. It goes on thick and feels creamy so it doesn't dry out your lips, which is great. What I love most about this lipstick is the slightly deeper tone that pairs so well with different colors. Rating: 4.5 stars.

4. Maybelline Color Sensational Vivids in "Neon Red" — A bold orangey-red is a statement maker for sure, so I probably wouldn’t recommend starting out with it if you haven’t tested the lipstick waters previously. I didn’t want anything too orange, so I went with the “Neon Red” in the hopes of having a stronger tone of red. I love this color for summer because it’s vibrant and bright, but I’ve also worn it in the winter to liven up a dark-colored ensemble. I like this Maybelline shade because it goes well with my light skin tone and doesn’t wash me out. The formula is creamy with a glossy finish, and it lasts pretty well throughout the day without leaving your lips stained after you take it off. Rating: 4.5 stars.

Which one of these shades is your favorite? Do you have any lipsticks you'd like me to review? Just leave a note in the comment and I'll be sure to check them out! 

P.S. Lipstick reviews Vol. 1 and Vol. 2

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

Merry Christmas Eve! I will be taking the rest of the week off from posting to celebrate Christmas with my family, but I just wanted to wish all of you — my beautiful readers and friends — a very merry Christmas and happy holidays. I hope you all have a chance to step back from the busyness of your lives to really enjoy the season and the people you are sharing it with.

See you back next week!

P.S. No, those aren't giant's just a mini tree ;)

P.P.S. Check out the rest of my holiday posts, if you're interested.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

structured and sequined

An easy way to add sparkle and glam to your office uniform

An easy way to add sparkle and glam to your office uniform

An easy way to add sparkle and glam to your office uniform

An easy way to add sparkle and glam to your office uniform

An easy way to add sparkle and glam to your office uniform

An easy way to add sparkle and glam to your office uniform

boyfriend blazer / faded chambray / sequin shirt (old, similar here and here) / Express jeans (50% off through Christmas!) / Forever 21 boots (sold out, similar here and love these!) / NARS lipstick in "Scarlet Empress" / Baublebar button-up ring / similar silver watch

There's still a little time left in the Season of Sparkles (aka the holidays), which means all things sequins, shiny and shimmery! I've really been getting into the sparkle this year, buying sweaters and shirts with hints of glitter and wearing sequined tops like this one. For this outfit, I wanted to add a girly touch to a classic menswear look, which is a style I'm currently loving.

The boyfriend blazer, chambray and pointed toe boots add a masculine touch to the outfit, while the pink sequin top adds a festive and feminine element that's absolutely perfect for the holidays. This outfit is fun but still low-key enough to wear to the office. Just throw on a matching lipstick and you're ready to go!

Are you wearing all things that sparkle this season? What's your favorite way to add a little glitter to your outfit? 

P.S. What to wear to holiday parties, faux-leather skater skirt and my fall uniform

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

best holiday movies

10 great (and cheesy) holiday movies to put you in the Christmas spirit

Happy Tuesday! First, let me start by saying sorry for the lack of posts last week. If you saw my Instagram, you might know that I was sick (again) and decided to take the whole week off to get some very necessary R&R. Thank goodness it paid off, because I did not want to be sick for Christmas! Now... back to the fun part.

The holiday season is my absolute favorite time of the year, and one of my favorite traditions is watching some of the cheesiest, most stereotyped Christmas movies ever made. I know — how original, right? ;)

You know the ones: girl bemoans spending the holiday season alone, perfect guy shows up out of nowhere, kisses her under the mistletoe and Santa’s magic ensues; the holidays are romantic and perfect after all!!! When it comes to Christmas movies, the cheesier the better. There are only 3 (!!) days left till Christmas, but there's still time to watch your favorite movies! Which is what I'd love to be doing every single day in December. Basically, if you need me in the next 72 hours, you can find me watching ABC Family and Hallmark. Here are the movies I’m most excited to watch:

Holiday in Handcuffs. A personal favorite and possibly the epitome of Christmas cheesiness.
The Mistle-Tones. A Christmas musical?!?! Obviously, yes please.
The Holiday. In the realm of beautiful yet unrealistic scenarios, this is one of my favorites.
Snowglobe. A whole Christmas town that lives in a snow globe — ‘nuf said.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas. This one is less cheesy and more rite-of-passage, but it’s a classic that should be watched every year. (The Jim Carrey version, not the cartoon)
Holidaze. If it’s got Jennie Garth, it’s got to be good.
Snow Bride. What would Christmas be without a good lie to start a relationship?
A Royal Christmas. Spending the holidays in a castle, because it’s normal.
A Bride for Christmas. Trying to get someone to marry you by Christmas? No problem.
Let It Snow. Really, anything with Candace Cameron Bure is a holiday must.

Side note: Have you seen Bill Murray's Christmas special, A Very Murray Christmas, on Netflix? Adam and I watched it a couple weekends ago and it was... different. But highly enjoyable if you like weird, nonsensical things ;) 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Wandering the Web: have an awesome weekend

Five wine myths debunked, a neurotic's guide to small talk and Instagram Husbands

We made it! It's Fridayyyyyy! Anyone else as excited as I am? This week has been a little crazy, and it doesn't look like the weekend is going to slow down much for me... I still have so much Christmas shopping to do! Am I the only one procrastinating? I still have no idea what to get for all the men in my life. It's always the hardest part, therefore always the last to be done, haha. What do you have planned this weekend?

1. A neurotic's guide to small talk — the second one is my favorite. (NY Times)

2. Why jackets are the best shirts. (The Cut)

3. Five myths about wine debunked by a sommelier. (Food52)

4. Tips for making and keeping you're NYE resolutions. (My Domaine)

5. "In defense of being average." (Mark Manson)

6. This student made an art project out of telling people they're beautiful. (Lost at E Minor)

7. Why Drew Barrymore believes women' can't have it all — at least at the same time. (Forbes)

8. And for a hilariously true laugh: Instagram Husbands. (YouTube)

Thursday, December 10, 2015

holiday traditions

The holiday season has always felt like a magical time to me. Maybe it’s because I’ve watched one (or 20) too many cheesy Christmas love stories on Hallmark, but I just love the sense of excitement and hopefulness that surrounds this time of the year. Seeing holiday lights on the houses and giant Christmas trees set up in the mall, people bundled up in scarfs and hats and powdery snow falling at night… Okay, so this description is about 1000 times more Hallmark movie than Iowa reality (especially since it hasn't snowed in weeks here!), but you get my point, right? The holiday season is beautiful.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

delicious (and easy) holiday cookies

three-ingredient butter cookies for the holidays

Since I was visiting my brothers in Ohio last weekend and seeing the new house they bought for the first time, I decided to do something I rarely ever do and bake some cookies. I know — revolutionary.

I found a recipe for 3-ingredient butter cookies on A Cup of Jo a while back and have been wanting to try them, and since I already had two out of the three ingredients in my kitchen, I decided to give it a shot. The recipe was straightforward and very simple; the only hard part was stirring in the flour using a spatula and my extremely weak arm ;)

I wasn’t sure how I’d like the taste of them since it’s just butter, sugar and flour, but they were rich with just the right amount of sweetness. The only downside? The recipe only made about 20 cookies… So if you’re planning to make these for a holiday party (which I definitely am!), I would recommend doubling or tripling the recipe (they're also bite size). You can have fun adding garnishes for different tastes and looks. I used mint-chocolate chips on my first batch.

Have you made butter cookies before? What are your favorite toppings to garnish them?

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

7 things to do for the holidays in Des Moines

holiday activities in Des Moines

It’s easy to get lost in all the holiday prep this time of year, and sometimes we forget to actually celebrate. We’re too busy shopping for presents, decorating the house, etc. to take a minute and remember that there is still fun to be had before Christmas hits. Anyone feel me on this? Well, this year I found some fun holiday-themed activities to do before Santa gets here! Some are family-friendly, and some are for the more booze-enthused ;) Whatever you're looking for, here are 7 holiday-themed events and activities to add to your calendar this year:

Friday, December 4, 2015

Wandering the Web: Have a fabulous weekend!

The perfect holiday blazer, period-proof panties and one-meme wonders.

Happy Friday babes! How's your week been? Mine has flown, thanks to work and a busy schedule preparing for my weekend trip to... Ohio! The sis and I are heading out east to visit our brothers for their company Christmas party. We're leaving straight after work at 5 p.m. tonight for a quick 9-hour car ride, which should be super fun ;) But hey, the forecast is calling for unseasonably high temps for December the next few days, so I can't complain about that!

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend, and here are some fun links I found this week...

1. I really want to watch the Grammy tribute to Frank Sinatra this Sunday. Will you tune in? (Vulture)

2. In LOVE with this metallic blazer from Banana Republic. How great for NYE?! (Refinery 29)

3. Just bought this black matte nail polish, and I can't wait to try it! (Target)

4. Period-proof underwear is apparently a thing now...would you use it? (Women's Health)

5. Hilarious thoughts from a Starbucks barista — lol at 13! (Cosmopolitan)

6. "I was Internet famous." (New York Magazine)

7. How to entertain people who don't drink. (The Cut)

8. How great are these cookie baking essentials for Christmas? (Feast + West)

Thursday, December 3, 2015

what to wear to holiday parties

A beautiful dress for every holiday occasion.

The holidays are upon us (finally!) and that often means a full calendar of parties, events and get-togethers. My favorite parties are the ones that require guests to get all dolled up — and who doesn’t love to rock sequins on New Year’s Eve?! I’ve only got a couple parties on my calendar so far, but that won’t stop me from buying at least one new dress! I’m sure many of you are also looking for a dress or two for holiday work parties or maybe even family gatherings, which is why I rounded up some of my favorite styles from stores like Nordstrom, Asos, Tobi and Express

Are you dressing up for any holiday parties this year? Which dress is your favorite? I think mine has to be... a tie between the black maxi and the metallic green dresses!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

all I want for Christmas...

Lipsticks, candles and baubles - oh my!

I love making gift guides, so naturally I had to continue this year's series with a little wish list of my own ;) And of course my Christmas list would have three types of lipsticks on anyone surprised? Even though there are many things I could add to my list for my kitchen or apartment in general, I still believe that presents are a time for giving things that people want as opposed to what they need. Most people will buy needs before wants, so I think it's nice to surprise them with gifts they might not go out an buy for themselves. Aka, this fun pajama shirt, glitter pumps and a fun movie that I love.

What's on your wish list this Christmas? Are you asking for more "wants" or "needs" this year? 

P.S. Last year's wish list, a gift guide for her and a gift guide for him

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Instagram Roundup No. 10

My life in November, via Instagram

Happy first day of December! Is anyone else freaking out just a little bit that Christmas is only 24 days away? Just me? Well, even if I am (slightly) overwhelmed with all I have to do before the holiday hits, I'm still excited for December. And for this Instagram roundup! November has been a great month, and here are some of the highlights...

Friday, November 27, 2015

Wandering the Web: Happy shopping!

best Black Friday sales 2015

Happy Black Friday, everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday! Many of you have probably already started your Black Friday shopping by this point. I may or may not be late in posting this because I was doing a little shopping of my own this morning... ;) There are lots of great sales to hit up today, so don't miss out if you're planning to do some Christmas shopping! Hope you all have a great weekend, and here are some of the sales I'll be shopping...

1. ASOS — 30% off with code BLESSED.

2. Baublebar — 30% off with code THX.

3. Express — 50% off and free shipping.

4. Nordstrom — 25% off select items.

5. Loft — 40% off with code BF40

6. Aerie — 40% off plus free shipping, and buy one get one free PJ pants.

7. Sole Society — 30% off all shoes and select accessories.

8. J. Crew — 30-40% off using code HOLIDAY.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

tips for your first holiday with your SO’s family

I think most people can agree that meeting the parents is a little stressful. I’ve always dreaded it, even though I’ve never had a particularly bad experience. It just makes me nervous and a little uncomfortable — basically the same as meeting anyone new when you’re an introvert, ha! But seriously, meeting the parents can be intimidating, especially if it’s during the holidays, which is typical for new couples. If you’re planning to meet your S.O.’s parents during the holidays this year, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

gift guide: for her

gifts for all the women in your life, in every price range

Another gift guide is here, and this one is for the ladies! I've gathered up some of my favorite gift ideas for sisters, best friends, moms, boyfriend's girlfriends and all the other women you know! I found a lot of goodies this year, but I think my favorite is definitely the the Kate Spade wine stopper and cork screw! How adorable, right?

I also love the passport holder, perfect for the girl on the go. It's also customizable, which is great if you're looking to add a personal touch! And of course, you can't go wrong with a cute coffee mug or the perfect dish and organizer to display your favorite baubles.

What's on your Christmas wish list this year? 

P.S. the perfect gift guide for him

Friday, November 20, 2015

Wandering the Web: have a healthy weekend.

A perfect holiday gift guide, tips for throwing a dinner party and why our culture romanticizes stress

Happy Friday, friends! How has your week been? I have been sick for most of it, and Adam had to fly to New York unexpectedly for work, so the majority of my week has been spent in bed and watching Friends. Fun stuff, this whole almost-winter thing, right?! Ha. Anyway, I'm looking forward to a better weekend and Thanksgiving (!) next week. I can't believe it's time for Thanksgiving already, but here we are! Soon you-know-what will be here... ;)

Anyway, I hope you all have a fun (and healthy) weekend, and here are some good links from this week:

1. This dad's beautiful explanation of the Paris attacks to his son with break your heart. (Buzzfeed)

2. Which college majors lead to moving back in with Mom and Dad. (Time)

3. Expert tips for throwing a fabulous dinner party. (Cup of Jo)

4. Have you seen Krista's online holiday gift guide? It's absolutely amazing! (Covering the Bases)

5. Will you watch Jessica Jones? It looks intriguing... (Vulture)

6. This long-distance couple had a great idea for staying close on Instagram. (Cosmopolitan)

7. Why do we romanticize stress? (The Everygirl)

8. "Romantic freedom was his principle, and yet I was the only one out there living it." (NYT Modern Love)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

gift guide: for him

gifts for every man in your life

It's that time of year again... the gift guides are out! I love picking out gifts, and this year I found a bunch of great stuff for all the men in your life. For the fashion-forward, the cocktail lovers and the techies, I've rounded up some of my favorite items in every price range. Picking out the perfect gift can be stressful, so I tried to find things that could appeal to most guys — every guy needs a watch and underwear, right?

What is your method for picking out the perfect gift? 

P.S. Last year's gift guide for him and for her

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Thanksgiving-inspired table settings

I’ve never really had the desire to host my own Thanksgiving, but now that I’m starting to be a grownup — you know, living in my own place, setting budgets and baking pies and whatnot — I suddenly have the urge to play hostess. It’s not in the cards for this year, though, as I’m usually too busy to even remember to buy groceries once a week so preparing a whole meal just isn’t going to happen. But hopefully by next year I can start to think about at least throwing a Friendsgiving, which would be so fun.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

(faux) leather skater skirt

A date night outfit to break out of the jeans-and-sweater rut.

A date night outfit to break out of the jeans-and-sweater rut.

A date night outfit to break out of the jeans-and-sweater rut.

A date night outfit to break out of the jeans-and-sweater rut.

A date night outfit to break out of the jeans-and-sweater rut.

A date night outfit to break out of the jeans-and-sweater rut.

A date night outfit to break out of the jeans-and-sweater rut.

A date night outfit to break out of the jeans-and-sweater rut.

A date night outfit to break out of the jeans-and-sweater rut.

faux leather skater skirt / cropped sweater (old, similar here and here — also love this one!) / black tights / black booties (old, similar here and here) / chain clutch / Versona sunglasses (similar here) / NARS lipstick in "Scarlet Empress" 

I'm usually a jeans-and-sweater type girl when it comes to the colder months, but lately I've been trying to break out of that sartorial box and challenge myself to create some looks that involve a little more effort. Because let's be honest: jeans and a sweater is pretty much the go-to for those freezing days in January. That's why I donned the tights and a chic faux leather skirt to add some spice to this cropped sweater.

With regular jeans, this cropped sweater tends to look a little blah, with the shorter hem getting lost in all the denim. With the sweater, I think it plays dual roles as both the statement piece and the blank canvas. The leather skirt draws the eye, so the plain sweater doesn't draw too much attention from it, yet the shorter cut makes it really pop (if that makes sense!). I love how the all-black from my skirt to my boots allows the dark wine color of the sweater to stand out, but it still keeps a sophisticated look perfect for a date night. I got this leather skirt last year, and let me tell you: If you don't have a leather skirt in your closet, head to the nearest mall because you need one! It is so versatile and easy to dress up and down.

What's your substitute for the jeans-and-sweater monotony of fall/winter? I could use more ideas! ;)

P.S. A wine-inspired wish list, my fall wish list and my favorite cardigan

Friday, November 13, 2015

Wandering the Web: Have an amazing weekend!

Coloring books for grownups, first impressions and a rewrite of an iconic song.

Happy Friday, everyone! Is it just me, or did this week creep by at a major snail-like pace? Oh well, I'm just happy the weekend is within reach now! Tomorrow Adam and I are going to a Beer, Wine and Food Expo for the first time and we're both really excited. Then, after such a busy week, we're hoping to take it easy and relax on Sunday, maybe watch a little football.

What are your plans this weekend? Anything exciting? Here are some links from this week, and I hope you have a great one!

1. This app turns watching Netflix into a group game, and it sounds awesome! (Business Insider)

2. What we assume when we first meet someone new. (Time)

3. Ten best websites for women leaders. (Daily Worth)

4. "Almost everything you see is an idealized version of someone's life." (Cupcakes and Cashmere)

5. What do you think of adult coloring books? I really want one! (Refinery 29)

6. Are you following Twitter Polls? It's hilarious. (Twitter)

7. James Corden's update of "Ironic" with Alanis Morissette is TOO FUNNY. (Rolling Stone)

8. The psychology of logo color in business. (Inc)
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