Wednesday, December 30, 2015

...and a happy New Year!

A look back at 2015 on miscelenious

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

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Lipstick Review Vol. 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

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

See you back next week!

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

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

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

structured and sequined

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

best holiday movies

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 11, 2015

Wandering the Web: have an awesome weekend

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 10, 2015

holiday traditions

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

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

delicious (and easy) holiday cookies

three-ingredient butter cookies for the holidays

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

7 things to do for the holidays in Des Moines

holiday activities in Des Moines

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

Friday, December 4, 2015

Wandering the Web: Have a fabulous weekend!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 3, 2015

what to wear to holiday parties

A beautiful dress for every holiday occasion.

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

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

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

all I want for Christmas...

Lipsticks, candles and baubles - oh my!

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Instagram Roundup No. 10

My life in November, via Instagram

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