Monday, August 31, 2015

Style Spotlight: dainty rings

Dainty rings that make the most of minimalist style

one / two / threefour / five / six / seven / eight / nine / teneleventwelve

My favorite accessories seem to change weekly (remember when I was all about the ear candy?). I tend to go through phases where I only want to wear statement necklaces, or I only want to wear bracelets — whatever it may be at the time. One accessory trend I've been crushing on for a while, though, is dainty rings. I absolutely cannot get enough of these chic, effortless and classic pieces.

I bought this one and this one back when Shopbop was having a big spring sale, and I've been wearing them almost every day since. They've taken the place of my favorite statement rings and instantly found their way to the top of my favorites list. I love how they look classy and minimal, but they still reflect my personal style. Every time I wear them my hand feels instantly dressed up. I personally love the rings from Shopbop and Nordstrom because they're high-quality and affordable. But if you're in the market to spend a little more, Zoe Chicco has beautiful higher-end rings.

What are your favorite accessories right now? How do you feel about the dainty ring trend? Where is your favorite spot to shop for jewelry?

P.S. playing it by ear, statement necklaces and spring-time shopping

Friday, August 28, 2015

Wandering the Web: Have a good weekend.

Fun links from around the web for the week of Aug. 28

Happy Friday! How was your week? Mine has been swamped, which is why I missed a couple days on the blog this week. I am ready to get some extra sleep this weekend and hopefully get recharged for next week. It's almost September, and that means my weekends are soon going to be filled with football, tailgates any other fall-related activities I can squeeze in!

What are your plans for the weekend? I hope you have a great one, and here are some fun links from this week:

1. There are actually four types of introversion — which one are you? The thinking one suits me. (Science of Us)

2. The archaeology of a purse made me laugh. (Gemma Correll)

3. 11 things to know about Instagram for business. (Crowdfire)

4. Would you try wrapped sneakers? (Refinery29)

5. 25 cocktails everyone should know. (Serious Eats)

6. The reality of being a celebrity assistant. (Cosmopolitan)

7. The most popular emojis by state — way to go Iowa... (SwiftKey)

8. Did you see this couple's "newborn" photo shoot? I loved it. (Buzzfeed)

Thursday, August 27, 2015

A tour of Hotel Renovo

A look inside Urbandale's newest boutique hotel.

A look inside Urbandale's newest boutique hotel.

A look inside Urbandale's newest boutique hotel.

Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend a Des Moines blogger brunch at the newly opened Hotel Renovo in Urbandale. First, I want to say a huge thanks to Chelsea for planning the event. I haven't had the chance to meet many of the bloggers in my area, so it was great get to know these fabulous ladies. Now, let's talk about how gorgeous this place is! (Get ready for picture overload!)

Monday, August 24, 2015

Fall for flannel

The perfect flannel shirt for fall and summer.

The perfect flannel shirt for fall and summer.

The perfect flannel shirt for fall and summer.

The perfect flannel shirt for fall and summer.

The perfect flannel shirt for fall and summer.

The perfect flannel shirt for fall and summer.

The perfect flannel shirt for fall and summer.

The perfect flannel shirt for fall and summer.

The perfect flannel shirt for fall and summer.

flannel shirt / Express jeans / Loft sandals (sold out, similar) / rings
Baublebar bracelets (sold out) / Maybelline lipstick in "Vivid Rose" / Express sunglasses 

Happy Monday, friends! How was your weekend? I spent Friday night at the state fair, which was amazing, and then Sunday morning I went to a Des Moines blogger brunch at the brand new Hotel Renovo, which was absolutely stunning. I'll share more details on that later this week! 

Now let's get to the outfit! This is one of my new favorites, and it's perfect for this cooler fall weather we've been having recently. I bought this flannel shirt during Nordstrom's big Nsale, and it is the best flannel I've ever found. It's so comfy, and it'll be great for layering in the fall and winter. And can we talk about these sandals? The ones I'm wearing are sold out (they were only $10 when I bought them a couple months ago!), but I linked a similar pair. I love this style because it's a little different than the tradition T-strap, and I've practically been living in them for the last month! 

I'm so excited about this cooler, 70-degree weather we've been having and I hope it sticks around for a long time! I hope you all have a great week! :)

Friday, August 21, 2015

Wandering the Web: Have a fun weekend!

8 links from the week of August 21

TGIF!!! I am so excited to get this weekend started, how about you?! Tonight Adam and I finally get to make a trip out to the Iowa State Fair. We're seeing The Fray and Andy Grammer (and trying lots of foods on sticks). I've been waiting for this for week, so I can't wait to kick off the weekend with such a fun night!

What are your plans for the weekend? I hope you have a great one, and here are some links from this week...

1. This photo series shows the beautiful relationships between mothers and daughters. (Refinery29)

2. I've been researching classic drink recipes for a project at work, and now I really want to try a Mint Julep. Have you had one before? (My Recipes)

3. This home tour is making me crave a house of my own. (Cup of Jo)

4. Have you seen photos of Banksy's new "Dismaland" installation? It's intense... (BBC)

5. I absolutely love marble cutting boards and serving trays right now. (The Kitchn)

6. Trying to keep this quote in mind lately. (Pinterest)

7. Len isn't returning to Dancing With The Stars this season :( Who will everyone boo at now? (Variety)

8. Lace-up flats are insanely trendy right now, but I'm not sure how I feel about them. What do you think? Love or hate? (Glitter Guide)

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Must-have closet staples under $100

The perfect staples for every fashion girl's closet

Do you ever have those days when you're just standing in front of your clothes and thinking, "I have nothing to wear"? I find myself in that situation way too often, and usually it's because my last few shopping trips have resulted in trendy or statement pieces that are't good for everyday wear. Because of too many "nothing to wear" days, I've been trying to curate a wardrobe built around a few basic pieces that can mix and match easily to create different outfits — even on those days when you feel like you just can't put an outfit together.

Building a wardrobe can seem intimidating, especially if you're starting from the ground up. Choosing outfits can be stressful, and differentiating between trends you'll wear for a few weeks and classic pieces you'll wear forever isn't always easy. That's why stocking your closet with a few staples is essential in building a wardrobe that will work for you for season after season. 

My favorite staples are classic, simple pieces that transition effortlessly from hot summer months to the cold winter. A classic little black dress in a style that you love will never go out of style, just like a comfy gray v-neck, which can be dressed up (with black skinnies and strappy heels) or down (with distressed jeans and Converse sneakers). These 8 pieces can create countless looks together, and they are all tried and true pieces that will benefit your closet long after you buy them. 

What are your favorite closet staples? What would you add to this list? 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Big Girl Budget 101

How to make a budget that works for you.

When it comes to building an effective budget, I don't think there is one right way for everyone. We all have different incomes, expenses, spending habits and circumstances in general. It might take a couple tries to figure out what works for you. I tried out a few different things before I discovered a budget that really worked for me. After learning what worked and what didn't, I decided to put together a little step-by-step guide that might help others with similar situations.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Housewarming gifts your friends will actually like

Housewarming gifts that your friends will love and actually use.

I'm in that stage of life now where friends are getting married, having babies and buying first homes. We're all such adults now! With so many people moving and starting new adventures, housewarming parties are going to start to take the place of all the weddings. Housewarming parties are a fun time to celebrate a new stage in a couple's life, and the perfect way to help them settle in is with a nice gift to make their new house feel like a home.

A housewarming gift should be fun, practical and it should definitely reflect the couple. You don't want to get something that they won't use, and you shouldn't get something just because you'd want it (is this only tough for me?). Rather than buying a gift that will sit and collect dust or a piece of art that might not match the rest of their decor, your best bet in buying a perfect housewarming gift is one that is likely to be used in everyday home life, like a cozy throw or a pretty coaster set.

Which item is your favorite? Do you have a go-to housewarming gift? 

P.S. home decor wish list and the perfect home office

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Tipsy Traveler

A blackberry peach cocktail made with IngeniOz vodka to represent the beautiful state of Iowa

Happy Monday, lovelies! Today I'm very excited to share a cocktail recipe that I created for the 5 O'Clock Fashionistas new Coaster 2 Coaster series. The lovely Jacque asked me earlier this summer to create a cocktail that represents Iowa for her blog, and I came up with the Tipsy Traveler. It's part blackberry, part peach — and absolutely delicious (if I do say so myself)!

A blackberry peach cocktail made with IngeniOz vodka to represent the beautiful state of Iowa

You can read the full post and find the recipe on her blog. I hope you all enjoy it!

P.S. The hangover cure in a bottle, Eatery A and RoCA

Friday, August 14, 2015

Wandering the Web: Have a super fun weekend!

Happy Friday y'all! How's your week been? Mine has been a little hectic, but I managed to sneak in a little fun here and there. Adam and I went to Zoo Brew at the Blank Park Zoo on Wednesday night, and it was so fun! We'd never gone before, and I haven't been to a zoo since I was about 6, but we had a blast. My favorite exhibits were the giraffes and flamingos :)

Are any of you planning on heading out to the Iowa State Fair? If you are, don't forget to check out my guide here! I hope you all have a fun weekend, and here are some links from this week...

1. Love the look of this DIY ribbon-wrapped chain necklace. (I Spy DIY)

2. What's the most popular way to laugh in your state? (Refinery29)

3. Behind-the-scenes photos of Princess Diana's wedding. Oh, to be royal. (Cosmopolitan)

4. Historical photos with a whimsical twist. (My Modern Met)

5. PB&J ice cream sandwiches!!! (Perpetually Hungry)

6. Yay! Aldo shoes are coming to Target! (Target)

7. "Things that will happen if I don't take my phone out right now." (The New Yorker via Cup of Jo)

8. I just bought this shirt, and it's got me craving fall weather! (Nordstrom)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Iowa State Fair Guide: My 2015 state fair bucket list

My bucket list for the 2015 Iowa State Fair Guide

To wrap up my first Iowa State Fair Guide, I've made a bucket list of things I want to do at the fair this year. Some are ones that I've done before, while others are ones I've wanted to try or haven't heard about before this year. There are some things I like to repeat from year to year out of tradition, but this year I also want to try a few new things and maybe make some new traditions. Here's what I'd like to see and do at the State Fair this year:

1. Try a wine flight from Top of the Vine. Can you believe I only just heard about this? It sounds perfect for me!

2. See a concert on the Grandstand. This is my biggest state fair tradition — I go to at least one every year. This year is The Fray with Andy Grammer!

3. Ride the Sky Glider. I've only done this once, but it's so fun and gives you such a great view of the fair!

4. Try a new food item. Some years I do this, and some years I stick with my favorites (cough, cornodog, cough). What new food should I try this year?

5. Watch a free show. Either a free concert, the Red Trouser Guys or maybe even the Chainsaws — I haven't decided yet!

6. Take a ride on Ye Old Mill. I've never done this, but apparently it's an old tradition for lovers to kiss while on the "love boat." It sounds too sweet to pass it up!

7. Ride the Ferris Wheel. Ferris Wheels have always been my favorite part of theme parks, but I don't think I've ever done it at the fair. This year I'm hoping to change that!

Are you going to the Iowa State Fair? What's on your state fair bucket list? Any votes for which new food item I should try this year?!

P.S. 7 free things to do at the fair, 10 foods to try and 8 things you'll see at the fair

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Iowa State Fair Guide: 8 things you'll see at the fair

From people to animals to celebrities, there are some things you can always count on seeing at the Iowa State Fair.

The Iowa State Fair is like the Walmart of events: It's prime time for people watching. Walking through the fairgrounds, you'll see a little bit of everything, and it makes for quite the show. Here's my list of 8 things to look out for. If you have more, feel free to add them in the comments!

1. A Grandstand band member/performer. I went to a Boys Like Girls concert at the fair when I was in high school, and while we were walking through the carnival section before the show we saw this guy talking to a small group of people. We wouldn't have thought anything of it, except he was wearing all black clothes in the middle of the fair, which is not a super normal sight for mid-August at the Iowa State Fair. We found out later that he was actually the lead singer of Boys Like Girls, and we probably could have met him had we actually known what he looked like. Moral of the story: Know your band's faces and be on the lookout. Some of them really do like to mingle with fans.

2. Presidential candidates. Seeing as how Iowa is one of the most important states for politics, the Iowa State Fair is a hotspot for people running for president. Find them speaking, eating, promoting and generally chatting up voters at every corner of the fair. You never know, you might just get a selfie with the next POTUS.

3. Cutoffs and cowboy boots. What would a fair be without a little country? Plaid shirts, cutoff shorts, cowboy hats, large belt buckles and boots abound, especially on the nights when a country singer is headlining the Grandstand.

4. A stumbling drunk person in the street. With so many beer tents sprinkled throughout the fair, it's not surprising that some people have a little too much fun. There's always that person who thinks it's a good idea to wander out of the tent, leaving their friends to chase them as they stumble through the crowds.

5. People with fanny packs. Well, it frees up both hands for food and drinks, so I guess it's not the worst idea?

6. People carrying a bag of freebies from the Varied Industries Building. It's a massive showcase of businesses and their booths. It seems to be mostly hot tubs, but there are a lot of free products and samples to be had from various tables. And some people just can't say no to that 16th plastic cup with a home furnishing store's logo on it.

7. Farm animals. It's a well-known fact that fairs are full of animal contests and 4-H events, but bonus points if you can spot an animal somewhere inside the fair where it's maybe not supposed to be.

8. A sunglasses-shaped sunburn. Spending all day — morning till midnight — at the fair in the hot August sun leaves for some really fun sunburns. You'll know the campers and daily fair goers by the white raccoon eyes and extremely pink faces.

What would you add to the list of things you'll see at the state fair? 

P.S. 7 things to do at the fair and 10 foods to try and my 2015 fair bucket list

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Iowa State Fair Guide: 10 foods to try

miscelenious Iowa State Fair Guide: 10 foods to try

Welcome back, babes! As promised, I'm back with another Iowa State Fair Guide post. In case you couldn't tell, this one is dedicated to food, because if we're being honest, that's pretty much the main attraction here. The Iowa State Fair is famous for putting anything and everything on a stick. From the normal corndog to the weirder caprese salad — it's all there. Here I've put together a list of 10 foods, both old and new, everyone should try (or at least consider trying) at the State Fair. Be sure to let me know your top picks in the comments below!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Iowa State Fair Guide: 7 free things to do at the fair

7 free things to do at the Iowa State Fair - miscelenious

The Iowa State Fair is so big and so jam-packed with things to do that it's impossible to narrow the must-do list down to any number. The best way to experience the fair is to keep going back, whether that means returning every day, a couple days each year, or just one day every year. My personal recommendation is to check it out a couple half days each year, because it can get a bit overwhelming to be there longer than that, but I know some people who camp at the fair for the whole time, every single year, and love it. Whatever floats your boat!

No matter how you decide to do it, the Iowa State Fair is one of the best (if not the best) state fairs in the country, so it's something that should be on everyone's bucket list — Iowans especially. And for those of you who are trying it out for the first time this year, I've put together an Iowa State Fair Guide. I'll have a different post for the next four days, so make sure you come back every day to check it out! Today, we'll start with 7 free things to do at the Iowa State Fair.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Wandering the Web: have a great weekend!

wandering the web featured links from the week of Aug. 7

Happy Friday, babes! Wow, this week has been another crazy one! My mom's birthday was on Tuesday, and my sister and I had surprised her with tickets to see Shania Twain in Des Moines last night. Oh man, it was THE BEST concert I've ever seen. She is such a great performer, and I had forgotten how many great songs she has! My mom and I used to listen to her CDs all the time when I was a kid, so the concert was really an amazing time for us.

Adam and I will be attending another wedding this weekend (I'll be wearing this dress), and we're really excited to see more college friends again. I hope you all have a great weekend, and here are some links from this week...

1. A few good reasons to stop drinking Coke ASAP. (Design Taxi via Cup of Jo)

2. #ILookLikeAnEngineer is a pretty badass movement. (ABC News)

3. How to make your Instagram photos pop. (The Wonder Forest)

4. Two ways to create the perfect cheese plate — we did this last night! (

5. Would you try this bold color combo? (Vandi Fair)

6. Two-ingredient desserts? Yes please! (My Domaine)

7. There's more than one Song of Summer this year... (Vulture)

8. What is your policy on drinking alone? Do you have one? (Cup of Jo)

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Sundress at sunset

By now you all probably know that I love me a good sundress. There was a time in my life (as in, pretty much my whole life up until last year) that I didn't even like dresses. Seems kinda hard to believe since I wear them pretty much exclusively now, huh? But I've learned that when the temperatures are in the 90s and the humidity levels/heat index make it feel more like a constant 105 degrees, an airy sundress is the only way to go.

Seriously guys, I think 95% of every one of my shopping trips this summer has resulted in at least one new sundress in my closet! (insert teeth-baring emoji here)

I wore this sundress to listen to a live band at Penoach Winery, which is one of my favorite things to do in the summer. It was perfect for a warm evening, and once the sun went down I only needed to add a light jacket. I especially love this printed dress from Express because it can be easily transitioned from work to date night, as it's a bit more dressy than many other sundresses. I couldn't find the same pattern I'm wearing here online, but I did find a couple other cute options in the same style, and you might be able to find more prints in stores. But let me say, this dress is sooo comfy! The material is so soft, and I love the mesh detailing at the neckline. You really can't go wrong with it!

What is your go-to summer wardrobe? Any sundress-obsessed girls out there like me??

P.S. the perfect printed sundress, cool summer style and what to wear to a wedding

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Dancing with the Stars Live Tour

dancing with the stars live tour omaha

It's no secret that I love (like, LOVE) Dancing With The Stars. I remember watching the very first season when it came out 10 years ago, and right away I was hooked. Then watching the 20th season last winter, my sister and I would text each other during the show about performances and celebrities we couldn't believe were still there. We kept seeing promos for the Live Tour happening this summer and one night we decided to bite the bullet and buy two tickets!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Book review: 'Me and Earl and the Dying Girl'

me and earl and the dying girl book review

This review is a strange one for me to write because one of my friends recommended this book to me, plus it's so popular that it has been made into a movie that critics and audiences both loved. But I did not like it at all. I don't think I hated it, but my feelings are close to that. (Warning: a few spoilers ahead)

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl seemed like an interesting concept. I first learned about it with the movie previews, so I had a little bit different expectations than what I would have if I had I just picked up the book on its own. But on the other side of that, I didn't see a lot of previews for Me and Earl, so I didn't have a lot of expectations at all. I just knew that it was about a guy who's mom made him hang out with a girl in his class who was recently diagnosed with cancer. And that it wasn't a sappy teenage love story. Because he explicitly states that. So that's what I knew about this book.

I was open-minded going into it, but Me and Earl just wasn't my type of book. There was no point where I actually wanted to keep reading. The only reason I did was because I hate the feeling of not finishing a book. Let's start with the technical parts: The writing was good. Jesse Andrews is a screenwriter-turned-author, and this is his debut novel. You've got to give the guy major props for landing a movie deal with his first book, am I right? So the writing was good for the most part, but I didn't like how he often broke into screenwriting form. I understand that he's playing up to his strengths, and that it makes sense for the story because Greg (the "Me" in the title) is a filmmaker, but it felt awkward and broke up the flow of the book.

As for the story, the synopsis I gave at the beginning really does sum up the book. There's not much more than that except for Greg's awkward social encounters with just about everyone, the history of his filmmaking and not-quite-friendship with Earl, and how he tries to make a film for Rachel (the Dying Girl) and fails miserably. I couldn't stand Greg because he made EVERYTHING so awkward. I mean, I get that he's a hormonal teenage boy, but can he really not have a normal 2-minute conversation with a pretty girl? Apparently not.

The part I really hated was how little emotion he had. Even after all the time spent with Rachel and watching her go through chemo, Greg still wasn't all that much troubled by her death. You know how we always complain about the stereotypical happy endings when everything is wrapped up all nice with a bow at the end of a movie or book? I'm the same way — why can't we have realistic movies, the endings aren't always happy, blah blah blah. Well, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl doesn't have a happy ending. It has a (probably) realistic ending. And to me, it kind of sucked. So, maybe I do want the stereotypical happy endings only?

I still want to see the movie version, because I think I'll actually like it better than the book, but I can't recommend a book I didn't like. So if you liked Me and Earl, I'd love to hear your thoughts. If you didn't like it, I'd love to share opinions. And if you haven't read it, I'd recommend you pick up Saint Anything instead.

Have you read Me and Earl and the Dying Girl? Share your thoughts below...I'd love to hear what all of you really thought of it!

P.S. Reviews of Saint Anything, Paper Towns and The Girl on the Train

Monday, August 3, 2015

Instagram Roundup No. 6

anthropologie coffee mug and audrey hepburn book

July has been a crazy-busy month, so I wanted to give you a glimpse of what's been going on before we get too far into August. As you know, I've been renovating my bedroom a little bit, and I'm finally in the "final stages" part of the renovation journey. I've been having a lot of fun adding pops of color and personality to my room, including this monogrammed coffee mug and Audrey Hepburn coffee table book.

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