Wednesday, September 30, 2015

8 places to pick pumpkins in central Iowa

The best fall venues for picking pumpkins and apples around Des Moines

With my intense love for fall comes a natural love for all things fall-related, and that includes pumpkin patches. When I was a kid, one of my uncles bought the family farm from my grandparents and started growing pumpkins. He has acres and acres of pumpkins, and every fall my whole family would get together for a big party to help him pick them and then celebrate with tons of delicious food. It is one of my favorite childhood memories to this day.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Lessons learned from my first job

What I learned from my first jobs

A few weeks ago, the talented people at TheLadders asked me to share my experiences at my first job, which I gladly accepted because I think a lot of us can relate to the struggle of bad first jobs and finding a job after college. TheLadders is a comprehensive career platform that helps make your job search simple, focused and effective. Now for my first job story...

Friday, September 25, 2015

Wandering the Web: Have a relaxing weekend

Links for the week of Sept. 25

Unfortunately, I'm writing this post from my bed because it seems all my tea drinking couldn't stop this cold or whatever it is. I still had enough energy to make it out for dinner and drinks with my friends last night, which was a blast, but I think tonight's date night is going to be put on hold :( I plan to spend the rest of the day drinking tea and watching Netflix, and hopefully I'll feel energized and refreshed tomorrow.

I hope you all have a great weekend, and here are some of this week's interesting links...

1. Elle Australia puts the readers on the cover. (Who What Wear)

2. Your favorite childhood shows are coming back to Nickelodeon. (Time)

3. What does your lipstick shape say about you? Mine was dead on! (Harper's Bazaar)

4. The way we drink water could change a lot with this. (Esquire)

5. This man is recreating his late grandfather's photos in a beautiful tribute. (ABC)

6. Tattoos on aging skin — still beautiful. (My Modern Met)

7. Five fall lipstick colors — I think I'll be splurging on the NARS soon! (Cupcakes and Cashmere)

8. 12 things wealthy people did to get ahead. (Inc.)

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Cobalt and Cutouts

A cobalt blue maxi dress with cutouts for a subtly sexy evening look.

A cobalt blue maxi dress with cutouts for a subtly sexy evening look.

A cobalt blue maxi dress with cutouts for a subtly sexy evening look.

A cobalt blue maxi dress with cutouts for a subtly sexy evening look.
A cobalt blue maxi dress with cutouts for a subtly sexy evening look.
A cobalt blue maxi dress with cutouts for a subtly sexy evening look.

A cobalt blue maxi dress with cutouts for a subtly sexy evening look.
A cobalt blue maxi dress with cutouts for a subtly sexy evening look.

Charlotte Russe dress (not online, similar here, here and here) / Jessica Simpson sandals / Francesca's clutch (similarVersona earrings (in stores) / Maybelline lipstick in "Blushing Bud" 

There is nothing quite as classic as a maxi dress, but when you add a few strategically placed cutouts and the right color, it becomes the perfect mix of sexy and elegant. I wore this maxi to a friend's wedding last weekend — the long length was perfect for a fall evening, and the cutouts and flats fit right in with the casual outdoor setting just before sunset. I couldn't find this dress online anymore (I'll be sure to update this post if it comes back!) but I linked to a few similar options.

So, since I've gotten in the habit of posting outfit photos on special occasions, I decided to share this dress because today's my birthday! I'm going out for drinks tonight with some friends and then tomorrow night Adam is taking me out to dinner here. I can't wait! Although I've been trying really hard all week to stop a cold I feel coming on, so hopefully I don't get sick first... I'm 23 today, and I have to say I don't feel any different, haha! Do all birthdays between 21-25 feel the same? Or maybe 21-30? I don't know when I'll finally feel like I'm getting older, but I promise you'll be the first to know when it happens ;)

Do you like the cutout trend? What are your go-to sexy-but-elegant style pieces?

P.S. A polka dot maxi skirt, fall for flannel and sundress at sunset

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Fall bucket list

17 things to do this fall

Are you tired of reading about fall on my blog yet? I hope not, because this is only the beginning ;) With the first official day of fall being tomorrow, I wanted to share some of my goals for the new season. And what better way to do that than with another bucket list?

I have to be honest: a couple of these are extensions of things from my summer bucket list that just didn't get done, but better late than never right? And most of them are new fall things, like picking apples and wearing a couple's Halloween costume (that one was Adam's idea ;).

September has been a blur already — I can't believe it's almost over! I've only crossed one item off this list so far (tailgating, of course!), but hopefully in the next couple months we'll get many more accomplished!

On another note, you might have noticed that I haven't been posting on Mondays for a few weeks now. I've been doing some re-evaluating, and with all that I have going on between work, blogging and life in general, I decided the best thing for me — and my sanity — right now is to take my posting down to four days a week instead of five. This gives me a little more time to spend on curating better content, and it allows me to enjoy more of my weekends — and more time to cross things off my bucket list! :)

What is on your fall bucket list this year? 

P.S. my summer bucket list and fresh starts of fall

Friday, September 18, 2015

Wandering the Web: Have a beautiful weekend.

Links from the week of Sept. 18

Happy Friday, babes! Let me tell you: I am READY for this weekend. It's been such a full week and I feel like I haven't had the chance to even look at my to do list, so hopefully I'll have time to get a few things done this weekend. Tomorrow I'll be heading out of town for the night for a friend's wedding, and I'm so excited to celebrate with her.

What are you up to this weekend? I hope you have a good one, and here are some fun reads from this week...

1. Emojis for asocial people — too true! (Buzzfeed)

2. Beautiful ways to organize your jewelry. (Sweet and Spark)

3. So I guess honey isn't as good for us as we thought? (The Kitchn)

4. I love the striking images of this sculpture from Burning Man. (My Modern Met)

5. Did you see Tina Fey's kickass "Would you rather" question to Mindy Kaling? Hilarious. (Esquire)

6. What these 16 emojis actually mean — and what they don't. (Cosmopolitan)

7. Real people re-created iconic fashion ads. (Buzzfeed)

8. Mood this week. (Pinterest)

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Fresh starts of fall

Looking ahead to the most transitional season.

I have always loved fall. I think there are a lot of people out there who claim fall as their favorite season, and it's no wonder why. The air is crisp and cool; the leaves turn beautiful shades of orange and red. One of my favorite quotes about fall is a famous one by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and one I firmly agree with: "Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall."

Fall is a time of transition: students go back to school, activities that were paused for summer start up again, people are coming home from vacations. It's like someone has hit a collective "reset" button for the world.

The season officially starts next week, but I'm already in the fall mindset. This year is the first fall I am not going back to school, and it's a bittersweet feeling for me. Part of the reason I've always loved this time of year was going back to school — buying school supplies, preparing to see friends I hadn't seen all summer, cheering at football games, even the excitement of starting new classes. They were all things to look forward to as summer drew to a close.

I'm excited for the transition of fall, though. I'm ready for the cool weather, the leaves to change, to pick apples and pumpkins, to watch football games...and to break out all my favorite sweaters! But mostly, I'm excited to see what surprises the new season has in store for me. Each new season tends to usher in an era of change, especially fall, and I can't wait to see what this one brings.

What are you most excited for this fall? Is it a transitional season for you, too? Leave your thoughts below...I'd love to hear! 

P.S. Last year's thoughts on fall, my family pumpkin patch and my 2014 fall wish list

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Currently inspired by...

5 things that are inspiring me right now.

If you follow me on Instagram, you've probably noticed that I've started wanted to share inspirational quotes on Mondays. I started this because Mondays are hard, and I thought we could all do with a little extra motivation at the beginning of the week. So in keeping with that mindset, I wanted to share a couple things that are inspiring me lately, starting with this perfect fall look. I'm currently shopping for big cozy sweaters and black pointed toe booties, so you can tell why I'm lusting over this outfit!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

9 things I learned from Gilmore Girls

Life lessons taught by Lorelai and Rory

One day a few weeks ago I woke up at 5:35 a.m. from a really strange dream where I was living out Gilmore Girls. The weird part was that I was Lorelai, when most people who know me would agree that I am clearly a Rory. So I woke up from this dream, dazed from sleep, and just felt like I had to write this post. Because Gilmore Girls is a rite of passage — these two showed us a mother-daughter relationship like we'd never seen before. We laughed, we cried, and we definitely chose sides in the Battle of the Boyfriends. That's why I felt it was important to follow my hazy, post-dream thought and write this post. Plus, #TeamLogan forever!

1. Experimenting in fashion is encouraged. One of my favorite episodes of Gilmore Girls is the one where Rory starts school at Chilton and Lorelai wakes up late and wears a tie-die crop top, cut-off shorts and cowboy boots under her coat. But then there are the sequin tops and the feather boas and the time Lorelai wore a belt as a necklace. Fashion comes and goes, but memories are forever.

2. It's okay to be quirky. Lorelai is one of the more strange-but-awesome TV personalities, but I think nothing sums this up better than her fuzzy alarm clock. Wouldn't you like mornings a little more if you had a fuzzy clock to wake you up? (Yeah, it didn't work for her either.)

3. Even if the man seems perfect, that doesn't mean he's perfect for you. Oh, Max. Poor, wonderful, sweet Max. From the very beginning, he seemed like the perfect guy. But he just wasn't the man for Lorelai. This is a very helpful tip, but I would recommend figuring it out before the week of your wedding. Poor Sookie.

4. Weird games make life interesting. Lorelai and Rory always made up games to pass the time, which I think is an awesome habit. My personal favorite was "1, 2, 3, He's Yours," in which you count men on the street and have to choose one of them to be your husband. I only wish I had my own Kirk to make it more interesting.

5. Never get too attached to inanimate objects. The agony Rory felt over losing her perfect study tree on the Yale campus seemed so much more real after I went to college. Not all trees are good study trees, so when you find one, NEVER LEAVE IT.

6. The first step in breakup recovery is wallowing. Lorelai may have given some not-so-great advice in her day, but her incessant efforts to get Rory to wallow after her breakup with Dean show just how wise she really was.

7. Don't try to work for your boyfriend's dad's company. It just won't work out.

8. Don't steal a yacht. For obvious reasons.

9. It's cool to be best friends with your mom. I've always been really close to my mom, and I attribute that to both of us being the youngest in our families and the fact that she and I spent so much time together when I was growing up. When I was in high school, I remember talking to a group of girls about my mom and I told them we had sort of a Gilmore Girls relationship, and they were surprisingly envious of that. (I say surprisingly because high school is typically the time when kids do not get along with parents.) We've had our rough patches — just like Lorelai and Rory — but in the end, I'm always so grateful to know that my mom is my best friend.

Image via zap2it.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Wandering the Web: Welcome back, fall

Links from around the web the week of September 11.

Happy Friday! I'm extra-excited for this weekend because tomorrow is the Iowa State vs. Iowa football game, which is the biggest game in college football in Iowa. I'll be heading to Ames bright and early tomorrow to tailgate :) Go State!

What are your plans for the weekend? Got football on the brain like me? Whatever you do, I hope you have a great one! Here are some happy links from this week...

2. A peak at Target’s new Threshold collection for fall. Can I have it all? (Glitter Guide)

3. Now this is a couple who knows how to use a waffle iron. (Little Lessons by Chelsea)

4. How to curate your dream closet — great advice here. (The Decorista)

5. Jennifer Lawrence on how she's changed since the first "Hunger Games." (NY Times)

6. Loving Essie's fall nail collection. (The Stripe)

7. I love how he phrased this thought. (Humans of New York)

8. If it's been a tough week, enjoy this smile on me.  

Thursday, September 10, 2015

5 apps I use every day

5 of the apps that help my productivity daily.

I'm not a big collector of apps. I like to keep my iPhone clean, so if I download an app and don't use it, it's gone. I have very few apps on my phone that I don't use regularly, and most of them are ones that I actually use on a day-to-day basis. I love reading about apps that other people swear by, so that's why I wanted to share a few of my favorites today.

Wunderlist. I don’t think I could live without Wunderlist. Okay, that sounds a bit dramatic, but for a major list-maker like myself, it is a necessity. What I love most about Wunderlist is that it syncs between devices, so I can update it on my phone or my computer. I can also add multiple lists and group them together, and it even lets you star important items and set due dates and reminders. It’s meets all my OCD list requirements.

Latergramme. I mentioned Latergramme as one of my favoritetools for blogging, and it still holds true. I use it daily to schedule my Instagram photos, which is essential for me because even if I have planned photos to upload throughout the day, it never fails that I forget to post them while I’m at work or an event. Latergramme allows me to choose my photo, write a caption and do all my hashtags, then it pushes a reminder at the time you schedule it. I don’t know what I’d do without it — except probably have a very empty Instagram feed!

Dropbox. I’ve had a Dropbox account for years without really using it all that much. Now that I take approximately a million pictures every day for my blog, Instagram and just to remember all the cool things that happen in life, Dropbox has become one of my favorite tools. My phone storage fills up quickly with all my photos, but rather than buying a storage card I just move most of them over to Dropbox — that way I can access them anytime from my phone or any computer. It’s really helpful for staying organized.

Snapseed. I don’t do a ton of photo editing, but when I do need to, I use Snapseed almost exclusively. I use it mainly to crop or lighten images, and it’s been a lifesaver for editing images I take without optimal lighting (I know — the cardinal sin of photography!). It’s really simple and user-friendly.

Over. This is one of the few apps I’ve actually purchased, but I’m really glad I did. I use Over to create text photos to Instagram occasionally, but the majority of what I use it for is a “style diary.” I try to take photos of my outfits every day (at least every work day) so I remember what I wore on what day. It has stopped me from wearing the same dress in one week multiple times! I use Over to put the date on each photo so I can scroll through it like a little library.

What apps do you use every day? 

P.S. my most-used blogging tools and 5 blogs to help you become a better blogger 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

How I failed my first budget challenge

What happened when I set a financial goal for myself and failed.

In recognizing our strengths and weaknesses when it comes to spending, Adam and I have noticed we spend more money (and calories) than we’d like to on eating out. So at the end of July, we decided to challenge ourselves to one month of not eating out, as we saw this couple do. Spoiler alert: We failed — miserably. We ate/drank out in some way an astounding 16 out of August’s 31 days.

Our first problem was lack of clarification. Adam did not consider stopping for coffee as part of the deal, and I did. After the first weekend, when our friends got married and we stopped at a bar before the reception for drinks, we weren't sure if alcohol counted either. The couple in the article didn't count it, but in the end I decided it did count because it can take up a substantial portion of our incomes. 

There were days when one of us would have a packed schedule and be forced to either skip meals or eat out, which often resulted in eating out. Then we had a couple of friends who moved unexpectedly and wanted to have dinner one night — obviously we weren’t going to pass that up. Adam’s mom came to town one weekend and wanted to eat out, so we did. Then the Iowa State Fair happened — that was really poor planning on our part — and we couldn’t just not eat at the fair. Two times I had to go to different bars for columns at work, so that counted against us. One date night at Zoo Brew cost us dinner, although we held back on drinks — a small victory.

But the main problem I noticed were the inadvertent, easily avoidable dinners here and there. When I started my new job at Versona, I was putting in 13-hour days with no time to eat dinner at home, so I would pick up something on the way home at night. Other times were weekends when neither of us had stocked our kitchens or we just didn’t feel like cooking. That’s what really got us — laziness.

So we failed our challenge. But the fact that we started it in the first place made me much more aware of my spending in that category, even if I was mostly watching the numbers go up. I highlighted every dining-out purchase I made in red on my monthly budget, and it really trained me to see those as bad purchases. We realized that cutting something out cold turkey doesn’t really work for us. But I really think that if we set a realistic, attainable budget for eating out in the future, it will help keep us and motivated to do better and fix that weakness.

What's your biggest budget weakness? Have you ever tried the no eating out challenge? 

P.S. Big Girl Budget 101 and how to be productive

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

miscelenious turns one!

A look back on the first year of miscelenious, plus the perfect end-of-summer outfit.

A look back on the first year of miscelenious, plus the perfect end-of-summer outfit.

A look back on the first year of miscelenious, plus the perfect end-of-summer outfit.

A look back on the first year of miscelenious, plus the perfect end-of-summer outfit.

A look back on the first year of miscelenious, plus the perfect end-of-summer outfit.

A look back on the first year of miscelenious, plus the perfect end-of-summer outfit.

A look back on the first year of miscelenious, plus the perfect end-of-summer outfit.

A look back on the first year of miscelenious, plus the perfect end-of-summer outfit.

polka dot skirt / Express top / sandals (sold out, similar here) / (white chain collar) / silver bangle from Versona 

Happy Tuesday, lovelies! How was your Labor Day? Any fun end-of-summer bashes? I had a pretty low-key weekend, working at Versona and having some much-needed girl time with my sister and friends. I took sort of an unintentional tech break again, which was really nice — but I do have some exciting news to share today! This week (yesterday, technically) marks the one-year anniversary of my blogging journey! It was one year ago that I opened Blogger, picked a name and color scheme, and started miscelenious.

I wish I had taken screenshots of my first blog design, because it has changed so much in the last year. The content has changed a lot since the first post, too, which is definitely a good thing. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to write a lifestyle blog that covered a wide range of content, because I've always got so many different things on my mind that I didn't think I would be happy covering just one topic. In the year that I've been blogging, I've learned an incredible amount about the industry and what blogging is all about — if I had known then all that it entails, in all honesty, I might have chickened out. But I'm so glad I jumped in because writing this blog has been one of the most meaningful, exciting and motivating things I've ever done.

Blogging has given me the opportunity to meet so many great people and do so many amazing things. It's hard work, but the experiences it provides are invaluable. So, in honor of my first big milestone in the blogging world, I wanted to share one of my new favorite outfits (because how great is this polka dot skirt and the back detailing on this top?!) and 7 of my favorite blog posts from the past year (7 because the true anniversary of miscelenious is Sept. 7).

I hope you've enjoyed this first year of miscelenious as much as I have, and I hope you continue to enjoy it. As always, I love reading all of your comments, so don't hesitate to leave them. And if you have any suggestions for posts you'd like to see on miscelenious in the future, definitely let me know! I always want to provide the content you love most, because this blog is for you just as much as it's for me.

Thank you to all my readers and friends who have helped make miscelenious what it is today. I couldn't do it without you! Here's to another year of blogging! :)
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