Thursday, April 30, 2015

Product review: Jamberry nail wraps

jamberry nail wraps floral and white

At some point in high school I started wearing nail polish regularly, and ever since then it's become a rarity to see me with naked fingernails. I think the most I've gone without polish is about a week, and even that is a struggle for me. I've always loved the look of fancy nail art — but I'm not about to pay for a manicure every week.

When all those nail wraps started coming out a few years ago, I was really intrigued. So many designs and colors. Fast-forward to now and I'm still obsessed with all the pretty patterns these wraps come in, but I've been too cheap to spend the money on them without knowing how well they actually work or if I can even put them on correctly. So when the lovely Melanie wanted to send me a sample of her Jamberry wraps, I jumped at the offer!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Mother's Day gift guide

I hadn't planned to make a gift guide for Mother's Day, because honestly I am so bad at preparing for it. Even though I've always been super close to my mom (I'm talking Gilmore Girls close), Mother's Day always sneaks up on me and I usually end up going in on a gift with my siblings at the last minute. I know — that's an awful way to be.

Well, now that I've been living with my mom for a year (meaning no rent and lots of fantastic home-cooked meals by her), it's time that I put some much-deserved extra thought into a nice gift for her. Did I mention she's also been playing nurse to me since my foot surgery? I seriously don't know what I would do without my mom. She's so selfless and so caring, and I only hope that I will be like her when I am a mother some day.

That being said, here are a few ideas if you're still looking for a great Mother's Day gift. All of these items are less than $60 (the book is less than $5!), and they range from simple to sweet. If you want to give something to your S.O.'s mom, maybe a pretty candle or coffee mug would be a good route to go. Or, if your mom sang lullabies when you were little like mine did, maybe a print with the lyrics on it would be meaningful to her.

I hope this helps in your search for the perfect Mother's Day gifts for all the special moms in your life!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

How to wear summer's hottest trend

Forever 21 top (similar) / Express jeans (similar) / wedges (old, similar – also love these) / Smith sunnies / Francesca's clutch / NARS lip pencil in Yu / Baublebar bangle / rhinestone bracelet (similar) / chain link bracelet (similar

Off-shoulder tops are really hot this year, and I'm dying to get my hands on a few. I've always been a fan of this style but it always seemed too "scandalous" when I tried to wear it before. If it's done right, off-shoulder tops/dresses can look fun and flirty without being revealing. I stumbled across this top at the mall one day and I couldn't resist. It's my first jump into this trend, but it certainly won't be the last! I love the boho-peasant-type feel, and I think it's perfect for a casual look with jeans or shorts. Unfortunately I couldn't find the same one online, but Forever 21 has a bunch of other great prints and colors to choose from, and I'm also loving this one from Nordstrom.

If you're nervous about trying out this trend, I recommend starting with something similar to this shirt that still has straps. It doesn't feel quite as open and it's a little more secure than some of the tops that go straight across. That being said, there are so many different off-the-shoulder styles to try so just find one you like and do your thing!

Looking back at these photos makes me even more restless to ditch the crutches and trade my boot for wedges! It's been so long since I've worn anything other than pajamas and sweats! Although I have to say I am enjoying all the extra reading and Pinterest time I've been feels a little bit like being back in college again ;)

P.S. A lovely spring dress and the perfect striped skirt

Monday, April 27, 2015

Date Night Des Moines: exploring the city

The weekend before my surgery, I told Adam I wanted to do "lots of walking activities!" since I knew I'd be laid up for a while afterwards. Sadly, the weather was cold, windy and rainy both days. We had plans to explore downtown a little bit, but decided it wasn't worth the drive if we were going to end up hiding out from the rain. So instead we made our first trip to the West Des Moines Public Library (it's been years since I've been to a library outside of studying!), where we found a beautiful pond with walking trails...

So even though it was a chilly 50 degrees and we were both underdressed for it, we stayed out for a while and walked around, taking in all the strange sculptures and beautiful weeping willows (both Adam's and my favorite tree) and the geese swimming/flying around.

Walking has always been one of my favorite activities. Whether it's with a friend, a date, my sister or my dad — it's a nice way to talk without pressure or expectations; it's just relaxing and free. And what's even better is walking somewhere that you're not completely familiar with because you never know what you might discover.

P.S. Mini-golf date night, coffee, books and Lent and Creme Cupcakes

Friday, April 24, 2015

Wandering the Web: have a relaxing weekend

Hello all you lovely people. It's Friday! Which means it's almost Saturday! But I have to say, now that I've been working from home and glued to the couch all week, those facts aren't nearly as exciting to me as they usually are, haha.

My recovery has been going really well so far. I go back on Monday for a checkup and to get the huge bandaging taken off my foot, which will make showering a million times easier. I've still got a long way to go before I'm back to normal, but we're getting there! It's nice to have time to slow down and rest, but I'll be so happy when I can get back to a normal lifestyle.

What is everyone up to this weekend? I might be tagging along to my sister's so she and my mom can paint the basement. Wherever I go, you know I'll be holding down the couch ;)

1. I'm dying to try out this low-calorie baked chicken parmesan soon. (Skinnytaste)

2. Gorgeous pieces of jewelry under $25. (Who What Wear)

3. I adore all these different tiles for various rooms in the home. I can't wait until I have a home to decorate! (Damsel in Dior)

4. This book sounds excellent. (via Cup of Jo)

5. How beautiful is this DIY watercolor print? (A Beautiful Mess)

6. These cocktails would liven up a summer party (The Every Girl)

7. Mary-Kate and Ashley's early stuff is coming to Nickelodeon, and I have reverted to my 10-year-old Olsen-loving self. (Refinery 29)

8. Thinking about chopping off a little more hair again... What do you guys think?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

10-minute homemade quesadillas

Adam and I have been trying to eat out less to save both money and calories. We noticed we've been spending way too much for the convenience of going out when we actually love cooking together. Last weekend we did really great by making every single meal at home and having a great time doing it. These chicken and veggie quesadillas were my favorite meal of the weekend, and they're so easy to make.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Life updates: Surprise!

So. Yesterday I had bunion surgery. If you're thinking, "Isn't that only for old people?" you're not alone, because that's what I used to think, too. And just to clear it up: a bunion is not some nasty growth that looks like an extra toe or something, which is what my siblings like to say to make fun of me. By definition, a bunion is basically a painful swelling on the joint of the big toe, causing the bump that sticks out on the side of the foot. They're completely hereditary and no shoe will fix it; they just get worse every year. Fun stuff, right?

I've had these my whole life (and I'm learning that several people on both sides of my family have as well), but my right foot started bothering me pretty badly in November. It was difficult to wear shoes and I had to keep bandaids and creams on it just to tolerate them through the day. Finally, it came to the point where I could no longer wear even my loose tennis shoes comfortably so I went to a podiatrist. Then scheduled surgery immediately. Happy summer, right?! Haha. I won't go into surgery details, because some people have been grossed out by it, but I'll just summarize it by saying my foot is now home to two little titanium screws. (Cue "Titanium" being sung by Brittany Snow and Anna Kendrick.)

The good news: the surgery went great; my doctor said I have "bones like cement," which is apparently a good thing. I haven't been in much pain at all, and my family has been wonderful and taking care of my every need. The bad news: I'll be wearing a boot for about six weeks and using crutches for at least the first four. Sadly, those two things make it difficult to get around very well (especially since I live on the third floor) and I won't be doing any new outfit posts for a while :( But I have been preparing for this for a month, so I'll still be posting my other content normally!

I didn't tell most people about my surgery before it happened because I'm a fairly private person and I wanted to keep it quiet for as long as possible. But I wanted to share it on my blog because it's going to be a major part of my life for a while, and I want to be as transparent as I can with all of you who read misc•eleni•ous. Because we're all friends now and that means sharing surprise life updates! ;)

A couple things I've learned from the first day of post-surgery: two+ weeks is going to be a long time to spend on the couch — I'm already fantasizing about making trips to the kitchen and my bedroom. My parents are wonderful people who put up with all my pre-op nerves and post-op helplessness — my dad brought me an Oreo every time he got up without me even asking, and for that, I'll always be grateful. And I've also learned that apparently me being both happy and productive are a clear sign that I'm on drugs. So there's that...

I'll finish up by saying a huge thank you to all the people who I did tell and who gave me words of encouragement and support before the surgery, and to my mom, dad, sister and boyfriend for coming over and helping me afterward. You are all amazing people, and I'm very blessed to have you in my life.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Movie review: 'Woman in Gold'

Adam and I went to see "Woman in Gold" last week, and I thought it was a beautiful movie. Have you seen it? It's the true story of Maria Altmann, who's fled from Austria with her husband after her family lost everything to the Nazis, including the famous painting known as Woman in Gold. The painting was a portrait of her aunt that had been stolen by the Nazis and kept in an Austrian museum. "Woman in Gold" became so revered that Altmann's case to reclaim her family's ownership to it reached the Supreme Court.

Here's a photo of the painting (it doesn't do it justice, though), which is now on permanent display in the Neue Galerie in New York City:

This movie was so touching. It showed Altmann's passionate fight for her family's paintings and flashbacks of her memories before and after the Nazi invasion. There is so much history to this story, but I think the movie focused more on the emotional history than the facts. And I think that's okay because it was such an emotional experience. Helen Mirren (Maria), Ryan Reynolds (Randy, Maria's lawyer) and Tatiana Maslany (young Maria) were wonderful at portraying all of those emotions.

I really loved this story. It left me wanting to learn more about it — so much so that I'm adding this book to my reading list.

Have you seen "Woman in Gold" yet? Will you? 

P.S. 'Horrible Bosses 2,' 8 movies for a rainy day and 9 movies to watch with your S.O.

Monday, April 20, 2015

My favorites from the Lilly Pulitzer for Target collection

When I first saw the previews of the Lilly Pulitzer for Target collection, I knew it was going to be fun. But when I finally got the full glimpse of it on Sunday, it was like a beachy heaven! Sadly, I wasn't able to buy any of it yesterday because I spent a litttttle too much money on all the friends and family sales this month and now I'm putting myself on a strict budget... I know a few of you are feeling me on that one!

Anyway, that won't stop me from lusting over all these gorgeous summer prints and colors. How great are these items for brightening up your whole home? Since I couldn't partake in all the crazy action, I put together all my favorite items here — in case they ever come back in stock!

What are your favorite items? Did you go to the collection opening yesterday? I'd love to hear your stories!

P.S. The perfect home office, favorite spring nail colors and the brights are back

Friday, April 17, 2015

Wandering the Web: have a great weekend

This week has been a whirlwind. I've been swamped both at work and at home — I didn't even get a chance to publish yesterday's post, which was already done! But don't worry, you'll see that next week, I promise! Anyway, I still have a lot to do this weekend, but I'm looking forward to spending some time venturing around downtown Des Moines tomorrow with Adam. We plan to visit the library, the sculpture park and a few others. What are your plans for the weekend?

1. The best reactions to Hillary's announcement. (Cup of Jo)

2. Would you wear a work uniform? (Harper's Bazaar)

3. I'm really loving this song right now. (YouTube)

4. This negative space manicure is so bold and fun for spring. (The Beauty Department)

5. So Kanye West topped the Time 100 list... Sound off your opinions in the comments below — I know you've got some! (ABC News)

6. I love the sporty chic trend happening this year. Would you try it? (Elements of Ellis)

7. This new store has a "pay what you earn" philosophy when it comes to gender equality. (Refinery29)

8. Okay, have any of you started watching "Lip Sync Battle" yet? From the clips I've seen so far, this could be my new favorite show. (People)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Whimsy & Spice homemade s'mores kit

whimsy and spice smores kit marshmallows

Last month I entered a giveaway from Print (Em) Shop and couldn't believe it when I found out I won this beautiful s'mores kit by Whimsy & Spice! The lovely Em sent the gift and it arrived looking even more delicious than I imagined...

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Striped skirt and smart shopping

Express skirt (cheaper versions here and here) / shirt (old, similar here and here) / Nessi and Co. bracelet / Baublebar button up ring / Forever 21 ear jackets (similar) / heels (old, similar) / MAC lipstick in "pink nouveau"

This striped skirt is one of my new favorites. It's so fun and classic, and it truly goes with everything! I bought it back in February anticipating I'd get a lot of use out of it this summer, and I can't wait to wear it with this top. I actually saw it at Express and thought it looked cute, but the price tag was a bit more than I was willing to pay for it. Then I stopped at Target the same day and found the exact same skirt for $40 less! So you can bet I tore it from the rack and practically ran to the checkout. Unfortunately, I can't find it on Target's website anymore, but I linked up the Express version and a couple similar styles for much cheaper.

I wore this outfit to work one day when the weather was especially summery, and it was perfect office attire. I chose strappy heels to give it a slightly edgier feel than classic black pumps and went for bright accessories to liven it up (because you know I'm a little obsessed with bright colors right now). The other thing I have to mention about this skirt is the shape. The material is really thick, so it holds its round shape pretty much no matter what (you may notice my bum looks especially round in the side views ;). Do you remember in the second Pocahontas movie when she wore that wooden skirt hoop and it flew up every time she sat down? That's how I felt when I sat down, haha! Luckily there were no skirt scandals, so it's safe to wear in public ;)

How's everyone's week going so far? I've got a really busy week ahead at work, so I have a feeling it's going to go by really fast!

P.S. The perfect Easter dress, 11 offbeat dresses and Go Blog Social swag bag

Monday, April 13, 2015

On my mind: the perfect home office

Happy Monday lovelies! The sunny weather has returned to Iowa the last few days, which has been a much-needed mood lifter! Did everyone have a good weekend? Adam and I spent most of Sunday browsing Target and Bed, Bath and Beyond for new furniture for his apartment, and along the way I found the perfect desk (pictured above) for my room on sale at Target. It was the last one the store had in white, so I grabbed it fast! I had planned on buying one from Ikea, but this one was cheaper and had a much bigger drawer so I knew it was the one.

Finding the desk got me even more excited to start designing the "office" part of my bedroom makeover, so I decided to put together a wish list of some of the items I'm currently crushing on. Most of these are from Target and super affordable, like this adorable patterned chair for only $40!

I'm so excited to set up this new desk and get to work on filling it with fun new office supplies. It'll make blogging and working from home so much more fun to have an organized and colorful space!

Which items are your favorite? Do you have any office supplies you can't live without? I'd love to hear!

P.S. Tackling the closet, painting the town white and a cheery new bed set

Friday, April 10, 2015

Wandering the Web: have a fun weekend

Happy Friday babes! Got any fun plans this weekend? After a couple busy weeks, I'm happy to say we're taking it easy here. I'll be celebrating a friend's birthday tomorrow with shopping and drinks, and tonight I'm hoping to fill up on pizza and Netflix :) I hope all of you have a great weekend, and here are some fun things from this week...

1. Anne Hathaway is officially the queen of lip sync. (Vulture)

2. I love this idea for a DIY toilet paper holder. (Design Love Fest via Cupcakes and Cashmere)

3. This discussion on ridiculous Urban Outfitters tees made me laugh. (Buzzfeed)

4. Career advice from some of L.A.'s top millennial designers. (Refinery 29)

5. I might have to enlist my dad to help me build this sofa sleeve with built-in upholder. (A Beautiful Mess)

6. J-Lo's dress seen 'round the world sparked the creation of Google Images. (Vogue)

7. Just ordered this ring during Shopbop's big sale, and I'm already in love. (Shopbop)

8. This funky cake cutter looks kind of awesome. (Amazon)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Go Blog Social swag bags

As promised, here's a rundown on all the goodies they gave us at Go Blog Social last weekend. The Go Blog Social sponsors are amazing, so prepare for a little photo overload (sorry not sorry). I'm not much of a beauty expert, but I am very excited to try out all these great products! Keep reading to get all the details...

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Date Night Des Moines: Double dates and dive bars

pool dive at stevie c's

I live in Grimes, which is a mostly residential suburb of Des Moines, and even though I've been here almost a year now, I really haven't explored much. My mom has lived here for four years though, and her favorite local place is (surprisingly) a dive bar on Main Street. If you knew my mom, who found beer disgusting until about six years ago, you'd be as shocked as I was when she told me about Stevie C's.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

My weekend at Go Blog Social 2015

go blog social logo gbs2015
Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend part of the Go Blog Social conference in Kansas City, and even though I was only able to go for the second day, it was such a great experience for me. We had four great speakers throughout the day, talking about building a blogging community, landing paid brand opportunities, pitching to brands and what it takes to build a business.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Wandering the Web: have a creative weekend!

I'm telling all of you to have a creative weekend because I am leaving tonight for day two of the Go Blog Social conference in Kansas City tomorrow, and I am so excited! I don't know many other bloggers outside of social media yet, especially in the Midwest, so I'm looking forward to meeting some talented ladies and listening to their great advice this weekend!

I'll be sharing a recap from the conference on my blog next week, so be sure to check back for all the fascinating details! Until then, have a lovely Easter weekend, friends!

1. Would you go to this new selfie museum? (Travel + Leisure)

2. How much time did you spend on Google's Pac-Man for April Fools? (KCCI)

3. Here's where to find the best blooms for all your spring photos. (Mashable)

4. 11 apps lifestyle editors can't live without. (Domaine)

5. A moving article about Matthew Perry outside the realm of "Friends." (Buzzfeed)

6. Drooling a little bit over this pasta recipe. (Cup of Jo)

7. "Full House" is finally getting the reboot we've all been waiting for...or dreading. Thoughts? (Vulture)

8. A model on "The Price is Right" accidentally gave away a car on the show. For real. (Yahoo)

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Favorite spring nail colors Vol. 1

If you've been following my Instagram, you know that my nails have been brightening up big time in the last few weeks. With spring comes soft pastels and bright neons, and after months of dark winter hues I can't get enough! That's why I decided to share a few of my top favorites for the spring and summer months.

OPI and Essie are two of my favorite nail brands, but I've got several of these Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear colors because they have a great variety of colors and they're only about $2 a bottle. Plus, they typically last about a week before chipping, and you've gotta love that! Here's the run-down:

Essie polish in limo-scene. I talked about this color in my last nail polish post because I had just bought it, and I am glad I did. This color is so pretty and feminine. It's a warmer version of white with a slight pink coloring, which makes it the perfect spring shade when you want a classy manicure.

Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in lacey lilac. This one has been in my polish library (is that a thing?) for a several years, and last year I felt so-so about it. But when I put it on for the first time this season, I was like: WHOA, BEST COLOR EVER! Ok, that was cheesy, but I really, really love this pastel purple and the way it looks on my hands. I think it would look great with all skin tones.

OPI in dim sum plum. I borrowed this pink from my mom because I don't have much for pink in my closet (including nail polish), but this shade is just gorgeous. It's sophisticated but fun at the same time. It's one of my favorites for my toes in the summertime.

Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in coral reef. I just picked this one up a few weeks ago on a whim, and I am completely obsessed. I put it on my nails immediately (loved) and it's currently on my toes (love x2). It's really bright, but the color seems to change depending on the light so it always looks just a little bit different. I think this one will be showing up in a lot of my Instagrams this year, for sure ;)

What are your favorite nail colors right now? 

P.S. My favorite winter nail colors and a trick to remove dark nail polish stains

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Instagram roundup No. 3

I can't believe it's already April. Seems like March just flew by, right? I've been really busy this week getting ready to attend the Go Blog Social conference this weekend (which I am super excited about!) so I'm a little behind on my blog. Hence the Insta-roundup! The above photo is the dessert Adam and I shared when we went to the Scenic Route Bakery for lunch a couple weeks ago. So yummy!

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