Thursday, July 30, 2015

Wandering the Web: Have a fabulous weekend!

Happy Thursday everyone! I'm signing off early this weekend because my mom is getting married on Saturday and we will be busy with last-minute wedding details until then! Hellooo pedicures and mimosas with the girls! ;) I hope you all have a fabulous first weekend of August, and here are some fun links from this week...

1. How to be more photogenic. (Who What Wear)

2. Everything you need to know about using Snapchat. (Business Insider)

3. This 6-year-old is on a heartbreakingly sweet mission. (Cosmopolitan)

4. #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter is full of hilarious truths. (Twitter)

5. 13 graphs for people with anxiety — #truth. (Buzzfeed)

6. "23 things I wish I'd known at 23." (Who What Wear)

7. A history of what's considered sexy in fashion. (Refinery29)

8. HGTV's Jillian Harris talks about being real when blogging, online bullying and her favorite design trend. (

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Iowa wineries: Penoach Vineyard and Winery

For anyone who knows me well, they know I love a good glass (or two... or bottle...) of wine. So when my mom invited Adam and me to go to a local winery to hear a live band last summer, I wasn't about to say no. My first-ever winery visit was to Penoach Winery in Adel (a small suburb of the Des Moines region), and it has since become my favorite place for local wines.

The events are simple, yet so fun. Twice a month from May through September, the winery has a live band and a tent set up for guests to park their picnics under. You can bring in all the food you want (some people bring in literally tables full of food!), but they also usually have a food truck as well. Outside drinks aren't allowed because obviously they want you to buy their wine, but for just $15 a bottle you can have any flavor they have, chilled and ready to go. They also have a tasting station so you can sample a few kinds before you order a whole bottle. One of my favorites is the Rustic Red.

For food that night, my mom stocked up on some of our favorite wine-pairing appetizers, like gourmet cheeses, ham and turkey, focaccia, olives and crackers. Honestly, if I could eat these items for dinner every night, I probably would! I love picking out our favorite foods and packing a cooler for the winery. It's so much cheaper than eating out, but it's just as fun because you get to be around other people and listen to live music! The best part about this night was seeing a group of 50- to 60-year-old women dancing to all the 80s tunes — one woman was so into it that she stripped her jacket off and threw it in the air!

The winery itself is absolutely adorable. It's located outside the city on a gravel road and a large acreage. The owners live there in a gorgeous two-story white house, and they sell the wine out of a little barn in the backyard. The bands perform on a patio attached to the barn, and the guests are seated in an open grassy area next to the vineyard. It's such a beautiful area that I love to just walk around and take it all in.

If you live in/around Des Moines, Penoach is definitely a place to add to your bucket list!

P.S. 10 free things to do in Des Moines, 5 happy hour specials in Des Moines and my own summer bucket list

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Lighter than air: the National Balloon Classic

The part I love most about being a journalist is the exposure I get to new things. Since starting my job as a reporter in Des Moines, I've written about professional bull riding, the local transgender community, Wizard World Comic Con and, most recently, the National Balloon Classic, which is the second-largest hot air balloon event in the U.S., hosted right here in central Iowa. For each of these stories, I've studied up on the subject and talked to people involved to learn about it from the inside, and then inform the general public about it. I love being able to do that, but what I love even more is being able to experience some of what I cover. Which is why I ventured the 30 miles or so out to Indianola last weekend for my first hot air balloon experience.

Monday, July 27, 2015

What to wear to a wedding

What to wear to a wedding has been on my mind a lot lately because we're currently in the middle of our "three weddings in four weekends" part of summer! Two weekends ago we were at a wedding in Okoboji, so I opted for a palm print dress to match the lake town vibes. This weekend my mom will be getting married — thankfully I don't have to plan an outfit for that one because I've got a bridesmaid dress waiting in my closet! And then the weekend after that we have a couple more friends getting married, and I haven't fully decided what to wear to that one yet (although I'm leaning toward this one).

So, naturally, I've been scouring other blogs and shopping sites for dresses or ideas to get some inspiration. And even though summer is halfway over and many of you have probably been to a wedding or two this season, there's bound to be at least a few more sprinkled in throughout the year! Which is why I've rounded up some of my favorite dresses for wedding guests — everything formal, fun, flattering and fashionable ;)

Do you have any weddings to attend this year? Which dresses are your favorites? 

P.S. 11 dresses for the offbeat girl, cool summer style and the perfect printed sundress

Friday, July 24, 2015

Wandering the Web: Have a great weekend.

Happy Friday, friends! I'm really excited for this weekend because tomorrow I'm going to the National Balloon Classic for the first time! The Classic is a huge (second biggest in the country!) hot air balloon festival in Indianola, which is only 30 minutes away from where I live. Apparently my parents took my siblings and me to it when we were really young, but I have no memory of that so I've been looking forward to it for weeks!

What are you looking forward to this weekend? I hope you have a great one, and here are some fun links from this week...

1. I'm adding this pasta to my list of recipes to try this summer! (Iowa Girl Eats)

2. Tips for taking photos while traveling. (World of Wanderlust)

3. 50 celebrities talk about the reality of filming sex scenes. (Cosmopolitan)

4. I love the idea of using decorative baskets for storage. (Apartment Therapy)

5. The emotional stages of cleaning out your closet — made me laugh. (Who What Wear)

6. This guy has been eating Chipotle for more than 150 days straight... (Esquire)

7. I want to throw a party just so I can use these flamingo balloons. (Oh Happy Day)

8. "How I became the best-selling author of 'Luckiest Girl Alive'" (Cosmopolitan)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Grilled chicken pita pockets

Ever since Adam bought this new cookbook, he's been doing most of the cooking when we have date nights in, but I thought it would be nice to give him a break and make him dinner for a change. I wanted to try something new, and when I stumbled across this post I had saved for new varieties of pita pockets, I was practically drooling. They are so simple to make, but they are absolutely delicious.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Bedroom update: room tour

Welcome to my once-again revamped room! I've been teasing some of my latest updates on Instagram, so I'm happy to finally give you a peak into the full thing. It's still not finished yet (I know, could this project take any longer?), but I'd say it's about halfway there at this point. I still have to add curtains, wall decor and a couple new nightstands. But other than that, keep reading to see everything I've done since the very beginning of my remodel

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Book Review: 'Saint Anything'

Sarah Dessen has been one of my favorite authors since my sister first gave me a copy of Keeping the Moon when I was a young teen. For that reason, every time she publishes a new book I read it with excitement and high expectations. And, overall, I really haven’t been disappointed. (This Lullaby and Dreamland wouldn’t go on my favorites list, but they still have their merits.) So when I heard about Saint Anything, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Wandering the Web: Have a fun weekend!

Woohoo! It's Friday again! This week has been fun, but a little crazy. I went to see Minions with my mom and sister (it was pretty funny!) on Tuesday, and Adam and I were supposed to go to Zoo Brew on Wednesday, but it rained :( We were bummed, but Adam decided to make a new recipe with tilapia and veggie sauce that was AMAZING. His new favorite thing is cooking up new healthy recipes — and my favorite thing is reading while he cooks ;) We're headed to Okoboji tomorrow for our friends' wedding, and I'm so excited! What are you up to this weekend?

I hope you have a great one, and here are some fun links from this week...

1. I love love love the look of this home office. (Glitter Guide)

2. "I want people to hear what I'm saying and take me seriously." (The Cut)

3. How to answer all the questions people ask when you have twins. (Buzzfeed)

4. This coffee art is seriously insane. (HonestlyWTF)

5. Cereal — on the rocks. (The Kitchn)

6. How would you react if nude baristas made your coffee? The woman at the end made me laugh. (Esquire) --photo on esquire's twitter

7. Making your own clothes rack would save so much money! And it looks so stylish. (Cupcakes and Cashmere)

8. Would you wear this new (and super affordable!) fashion trend? (Refinery 29)

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

New Netflix binge

Have you heard of the new(ish) Netflix show Grace and Frankie? I'm assuming a lot of you have because it came out in May, but have you watched it yet? I knew I wanted to see it because I love Jane Fonda (plus it's written by the co-creator of Friends!). I finally watched the pilot episode this week, and it's already got me hooked.

For those who don't know the story, it's about two slightly-older-than-middle-aged women who find out their husbands, who have been business partners for years, are leaving them so they can marry each other. Grace and Frankie have known each other for a long time, but they've never exactly gotten along. Grace (Fonda) is the put-together semi-celebrity who wants everything to be perfect, while Frankie (Lily Tomlin) is a free-spirited woman who's more than a bit eccentric. Of course, though they hate each other, they end up getting high on the beach and sharing their pain together.

All these bombs are dropped in the first episode, and it's a touching look at the emotional shock both women face after they find out their husbands have been seeing each other for 20 years. There were some tear-worthy moments, but it was also very funny. I can't wait to watch the rest of this season to see what else they've got in store.

Have you watched it yet? What do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts...

P.S. How to Get Away with Murder and 10 shows Netflix should add

Photo via Indie Wire

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

DIY marble table top

For all you wannabe DIYers out there, this one is for you! This is a project I've been wanting to do for a long time, and I finally got it done last weekend. Adding marble contact paper to an old table is the perfect way to up-cycle an old piece of furniture, and it was so easy — no tools required. I had this wooden fold-up table that belonged to my sister when she was younger. It had marker stains and sticker residue all over the legs and top (you can see what it looked before in this post), so obviously, I had to do something to fix it up.

I put a fresh coat of white paint (left over from my bedroom!) on the legs to brighten them up a bit, and then I bought a roll of marble contact paper to cover the table top. I was nervous to apply it because I'd never used contact paper before, so I searched Pinterest a little bit and found a tutorial for the best way to do it. My table was a bit trickier because it has round corners, but I managed to get them covered fairly well for my first time. There were a few wrinkles on the corners, but the rest was smooth and beautiful, and I love how it turned out. I haven't done a DIY project forever, and it felt so good to be crafty again! Now I've got a list of all the projects I want to do, so watch out, Pinterest ;)

P.S. 6 DIY projects and painting my bedroom white

Monday, July 13, 2015

Cool summer style

maxi skirt (similar) / Forever 21 v-neck tee / Old Navy slip-ons (on sale for less than $15!) / Steve Madden sunnies (similar) / Fifth and Mae necklace (old) / chain-link bracelet (similar) / NARS velvet matte lip pencil in Cruella 

I know this is an unusual outfit for mid-July, but Iowa is not known for its consistent weather patterns, and the day I wore this was cloudy and chilly. This is my favorite maxi skirt because it is so big and flowy, and I just feel a little fancier every time I wear it :) I love pairing with a plain v-neck to make it a bit more casual and relaxed, but I also like to style it with a crop top for the weekends. (P.S. this is one of my favorite outfits to transition to fall!)

What are you all up to this week? I've got a date night with Adam tonight since we didn't get to see each other all weekend, and my sister and I are taking our mom to see the new Minions movie because my mom loooves the minions — it's adorable! Then Adam and I heading to the zoo for Zoo Brew Wednesday night and this weekend two of our friends are getting married! It's definitely going to be an exciting week! Hope everyone is having a great Monday!

P.S. the perfect printed sundress, short hair love and an off-the-shoulder top

Friday, July 10, 2015

Wandering the Web: Have a wonderful weekend.

Happy Friday, babes! I can't believe the weekend is here already, but I'm glad it is because I've got a big to-do list! I have a few things to get ready in my room so I can do a bedroom tour here in the next two weeks (!), and I'll be working on a really fun project coming out in the next month, so stay tuned to see what it is!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend, and here are some fun links from this week...

1. A sanitary twist on beer pong. What do you think? (The Kitchn)

2. Have you seen the new Cupcakes and Cashmere fashion line? It started selling out after just a few days! (Cupcakes and Cashmere)

3. Cotton candy ice cream shots are definitely going on my to-do list! YUM. (Sugar & Cloth)

4. You may or may not have heard, Nordstrom is having a kiiiinda huge sale. I love this wall print. (Nordstrom)

5. 17 struggles all fashion girls will understand — made me laugh. (Refinery 29)

6. What do you call these popsicles? I had no idea there were so many names! (Buzzfeed)

7. Loving fun espadrilles for summertime shoes. (Glitter Guide)

8. Do you know the correct way to store wine? I did not... (Cup of Jo)

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Home decor wish list

You may remember (though I wouldn't blame you if you didn't because it's been forever in the works) that I have been in the process of redecorating my bedroom. Well, it's taken much longer than I had hoped thanks to my surgery, lack of time and having to wait for my mom to move her furniture out. But! It's finally coming together now.

Last weekend Adam and I put my new desk together, and I rearranged my bed and organized the space. I bought this adorable new 3x3 cube bookshelf in lieu of a dresser or vanity because what I really needed was more storage and surface space. I love the possibilities this unit provides — and there are so many ways to decorate it! I've already got my eye on several items to fill it with, so I thought I'd share some of my favorites with you.

I'm all about functionality since I have such a small space to work with now, which is why I've picked a lot of pieces that can double as storage either for jewelry or other little odds and ends. I love the mirrored tray and velvet bust for displaying some of my prettier necklaces and things, and the coral candle could be cleaned out and used for a trinket box when the candle is gone! And how cute would the wooden ampersand figure be spray painted gold and placed with photos of you and your S.O.? I love it.

What is your favorite piece on this list? Do you have tips for decorating in a small space?

P.S. the perfect home office, painting my bedroom and my new bed set

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Instagram roundup No. 5

Ok, seriously — where did June even go?! I feel like it JUST started, but nope, the 4th of July has already come and gone... With so many things going on, this summer is really flying. Now I'm trying to schedule time to do all the things Adam and I still have left on our summer bucket list! But I can't say this summer hasn't been a pretty great one so far, because we have done a lot already. First up: the Ed Sheeran concert last month. We had pretty much the worst seats possible (literally seated in the last row of the highest section in the back corner!), but it was still so great. Ed is a musical boss. If you have the chance to see him live, take it!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Book review: 'Paper Towns'

Happy Tuesday! Sorry I've been a little MIA this weekend. I intended to take Friday off for the Fourth, but the weekend was so packed I kind of forgot to prepare a post for yesterday and, honestly, it's just nice to take an extra day off sometimes.

OK. Let me preface this review by saying I did NOT choose to read Paper Towns because it was written by John Green. Of course, I did read TheFault in Our Stars before that movie came out and loved it (both the book and the movie), but it didn’t give me some intense desire to read all of Green’s novels. I actually wanted to read this one only after seeing previews for the movie (and because I have a mini girl crush on Cara Delevingne, but I digress).

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Wandering the Web: Happy Fourth of July!

In honor of the Fourth of July this weekend, I'm taking Friday off and sharing my weekly links a day early. We've got a busy weekend planned with friends and family, and I'm so ready to kick back, relax and have some fun! Do you have any big plans for the weekend?

I hope you all have a great holiday, and here are some fun links from this week...

1. Thinking I'll try this manicure pretty soon. (Le Fashion)

2. Bombshell is becoming a musical, and I am more excited than a kid at Christmas. (Vulture)

3. How fun would confetti poppers be for this weekend? (

4. Models on what it's like to pose nude for photo shoots. (Who What Wear)

5. Parmesan garlic potato wedges look sooo yummy! (Creme de la Crumb)

6. Ben and Jen broke up, and the world has a lot of feelings about it. (Buzzfeed)

7. Sole Society is having a MAJOR sale through this Saturday, and I'm thinking I need to pick up a pair of these. (Sole Society)

8. Did you know you could turn a watermelon into a keg?! (Refinery 29)

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

10 free things to do in Des Moines

Since I'm a recent college grad and living on a college grad's budget, making weekend and evening plans typically revolves around the cost — because let's face it: fun can get expensive. Even just a simple night at the bars with friends can quickly add up to a $100 tab, and that's just drinking and talking! So when Adam and I think about our next date night or our weekend plans, we try to find things to do that won't break the bank. The great thing about Des Moines is that there are so many free activities to do here. Live music, museums, dancing, exercising — just to name a few. So even if you are on a tight budget, your social life doesn't have to suffer for it. For those of you living in the Des Moines area or even just visiting, here are 10 free things to do in Des Moines:

1. Bike on the many Iowa bike trails. The Des Moines area has approximately 1 billion (maybe a little less...) miles of bike trails, with plenty of restaurants and bars along the way. A great way to get exercise and enjoy the beautiful scenery of the state — you might even find more than cornfields (gasp!).

2. Explore the East Village shops and boutiques. This one could cost you some money — especially if you like vintage pieces and eclectic finds — but I really do love just the experience of walking through all the shops in the East Village. From antiques to modern home decor, there's a little bit of everything.

3. Tour the Iowa Capitol building. This is something I've never done, but I've heard from several people who have that it's a very cool experience. The capitol is beautiful from the outside, so I can only imagine how the inside looks. And hey, you might even learn a couple things while you're there.

4. Try yoga at Gray's Lake Park. Yoga in the Park is every Saturday morning from June to September, and tons of people turn out each weekend to participate. You don't have to be an expert to go, just willing to try a few poses and meet new people.

5. Experience the Des Moines Farmers Market. Also known as the Downtown Farmers Market, this is the king of all Iowa farmers markets, stretching several blocks every Saturday morning from May through October. This one can also cost a few bucks, but it can be done for free — if you have good will power. Find everything from fresh produce and lemonade to handmade jewelry and yard signs.

6. Visit the Pappajohn Sculpture Park. Free and open 24 hours a day, the Pappajohn Sculpture Park is an outdoor grassy area next to the Des Moines library that displays art by 22 artists from around the world. It's the perfect end to a dinner date night downtown, or the beginning of a Saturday spent with family.

7. Learn to salsa with free lessons at Lime Lounge. If you've ever wanted to learn how to salsa, you can do it for free at Lime Lounge on Thursdays. Salsa Des Moines provides free lessons at 8 p.m. and the floor opens at 9 p.m., so come alone or with a group and dance the night away.

8. Tour the Salisbury House. The Salisbury House is a historic 42-room mansion built in 1923 (completed in 1928). With ties to Salisbury, England, it now houses various events, including Shakespeare on the Lawn each summer.

9. View an exhibit at the Des Moines Art Center. The DMAC holds various art exhibits throughout the year, many of which are free to the public and open for several months. The hours can be a little difficult for those working 9-to-5 jobs, but they're always worth it.

10. Enjoy an outdoor concert at one of the wineries or outside of Jordan Creek Town Center. Live music is in abundance in Des Moines, especially during the summer. You can find outdoor concerts pretty much anywhere, and many of them are free. We like going to Penoach and taking our own snacks for dinner. They don't allow outside beverages because they want you to buy theirs, but you certainly won't be disappointed — it's my favorite wine in the area.

P.S. my summer bucket list, 10 patios to enjoy in DSM and 5 happy hour specials 
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