UNDER $50 

#1 Philips Norelco Beard Trimmer BT7215/49 $49.95
Why this makes a good gift: It's a subtle way to give a hint "hey trim that thing, it's tickling my face." 

#2 Ɯberleben Fire Starter $16.00
For your man who likes to camp, plus it's German made so you know it's quality. 

#3 The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook $15.00
For when your man starts an out of control fire with this fire starter, now he'll know what to do. 

#4 Heavy Duty All Metal Tube Wringer $22.00
For the man who refuses to buy toothpaste until it's absolutely, positively empty. And yes, I say this from experience. 

#5 Sak Gear Waterproof Dry Bag $22-$27 depending on size 
Perfect for going to the beach, camping, hiking, or any other activity. Keeps any contents dry and it comes in tons of colors. 

#6 Tile Pro with Replaceable Battery $35
Put this on your man so you always know where he is! No, don't actually do that that's a little creepy. 

#7 Men's Touchscreen Leather Driving Gloves $23-$32 depending on lining
One of my favorite things I've ever gotten as a gift, these are very warm and great for everyday use. You can choose from fleece, wool or cashmere for the inside 

#8 Flick Candles $17
My personal favorite is Fantasy Football Failure so you can remind him of how he wasted good time watching football that he could have been spending with you. I mean he probably lost anyway let's be honest. But in all seriousness these are perfect for any occasion or gag gift trade, they're hilarious. 

#9 The Marlowe Lunch Bag $35
This is actually pretty cool, it's like the upgraded adult version of a paper lunch bag. It's made from wax canvas so if anything spills it's easy to clean too. 

#10 Oliver Rocket Bath Bomb Set $20
Everyone loves bath bombs, if he says he doesn't either tell him he's lying or bribe him with the idea of using them together. Win win. 

UNDER $100

#1 JBL Charge 3 Portable Speaker $99
Play some romantic music while you're in the tub with your bath bombs and you can even light your Fantasy Football Failure candle with the fire starter, it's the whole package. But seriously, I have this and the sound quality is great for being under $100

#2 Roku Streaming Stick $60
So you can Netflix and Chill! No but let's be honest he's probably too cheap to buy cable. I'm right aren't I?

#3 Deep Sea Sand Art $85
I honestly don't even have a good reason other than this thing is mesmerizing to watch. Also good desk art for him at work, he can watch this while pretending to actually be working. 

#4 Grill Master Crate $99
Comes with barbecue sauces, seasonings, 4 meat thermometers, wood chips, a meat tenderizer, and a cast iron smoker box. Really an awesome gift for $100 and it comes in really cool packaging too. 

#5 Bose Soundsport Wireless Headphones $99
I have these and I love them, I've had them for a couple years now and they still work perfectly. Wireless headphones are great for a lot of things: commuting to work, the gym and really anything else.

UNDER $250

#1 Waffle Robe $120
Comfortable and made from Turkish Cotton, it's like a luxurious burrito for your body.

#2 Flaviar Spirits Club $210 for the year if paid annually
This is the gift that keeps on giving! It's $20 a month and each month they send samples of all kinds of different liquor to his door, and it even includes access to rare and vintage spirits which is pretty cool. 

#3 Savage Industries EDC Two Sail Cloth Bag $145 
This is so cool so excuse me while I geek out. Made from recycled sail cloth it would make a cool bag for travel or work, even a gym bag. It's super heavy duty and easy to clean too. The coolest part? Savage Industries is owned by Adam Savage, one half of the Mythbusters!

#4 Book of the Month Club $150 per year 
Another gift to last the year, this subscription brings together new and highly rated books and lets them choose what book they'd most like to read that month. This would make a really cool gift for anyone who loves to read. 

That concludes the gift ideas! I think there are a lot of really neat ideas on this list that aren't super cookie cutter, there is something for everyone from the reader to the outdoorsy guy. I'd love to know if you choose any of these and what they think! Now on to the next part of this post.

THINGS TO AVOID 

#1 Clothes 
This could honestly go for anybody I personally struggle with wanting other people to buy me clothes because if it doesn't fit it creates a chore for either them or me to have to go return or exchange it. Unless you know of something specific, I'd skip the clothing. 

#2 Cologne 
Everyone's nose is different so this is something I think is really hard to buy for someone else. If you want an input go shopping together. 

#3 Anything Crazy Expensive 
I assume this goes for any guy but I don't want you to run out and spend $500 on me, I would much rather have something that someone put thought into. 

#4 Something Super Generic
Things like gift cards; to me they feel really impersonal, almost like someone forgot you until the last minute or didn't feel like putting any thought into the gift. 

That's all for now! You will probably be seeing me posting more around here but I hope you enjoyed this post and I hope it helped give you some unique and fun ideas for the guys in your lives. Talk to you next time!

Coffee Catchup

It has been way too long since I've posted on the blog consistently but so much has been happening! I figured it was about time to update you all on what I've been up to, so I'm launching a new series: Coffee Catchup where once a month I'll hop on and round up what I've been up to that month! Now, grab a coffee and let's get into the interesting stuff.


#1 Moving to Des Moines

As most of you probably already know my boyfriend and I moved to Des Moines in April and we are loving it! Seriously, if anyone in their 20's is looking for a decently affordable place to live with lots of great places to eat and tons of things to do Des Moines is definitely worth looking into! We were a little hesitant about moving to a bigger city but we are so glad we made the leap! There is so much going on in this town that boredom won't ever enter your vocabulary. We looked at a ton of different housing options before moving here and while we fell in love with a few, most did not include parking which would end up being around $250 per month alone. Ouch! We actually ended up living at the very last place we looked at which is infuriatingly hilarious given how many different places we looked at but it's downtown, includes free parking, an amazing community of people, and a dog park! Which brings us to my next update, or should I say pupdate!


#2 We Rescued 2 Dogs

If you know me at all you know I'm a huge dog lover. Seriously, I'm the girl who actually squeals when I see a dog in public. (Sorry Chris!) It's actually kind of a funny story how we came to adopt these two, so I have to tell you. Shortly after we moved here we discovered that our building has a get-together called "Yappy Hour" every Wednesday night where everyone brings their dogs outside to the dog park so the dogs can play and the owners can socialize. It's so much fun! The first few weeks we went just to meet our neighbors and get our puppy fix. After a few weeks we toyed around with the idea of getting A dog. Singular. One dog. Well Chris, against his better judgement, let me drag him to the animal shelter around the block from our new place where we asked if they had any dogs. It seemed they mostly only had cats but she said they had two dogs, brother and sister (Freya and Odin), who had just arrived. However, the brother (Odin) was already pending adoption. This broke my heart because they are 4 years old and have been together their entire lives and the thought of someone splitting them up left me devastated. We fell in love with both dogs, they have totally different personalities and it is so funny to watch them interact! We begged the adoption counselor to reconsider splitting them up but she said that there wasn't much she could do. We agreed that we couldn't leave Freya there by herself so we signed a contract that day and headed directly to PetSmart to pick up all the supplies we needed for our new pup! We were set to pick her up the next morning so we could have that night to get everything we needed and get the apartment ready for her. Little did we know, life had other plans! When we returned to the shelter the next morning the same adoption counselor from the previous day was working and she informed us that Odin's adoption had fallen through. The people planning to adopt him didn't have the heart to split them up so she asked if we wanted both of them. I had told Chris the night before that I wanted both of them and that if for some reason Odin's adoption didn't work out we would either take both of them or neither because I couldn't be the one responsible for splitting them up. So we decided on the spot that we would take them both. We asked her to keep them for a little while longer while we ran back to PetSmart to get another set of everything, she agreed. So like little kids at Christmas we ran back to buy more supplies and go back to get our new puppers! We signed all the rest of the paperwork and brought them home that day and they have been so happy! We've definitely seen their personalities come out and they both LOVE to snuggle. There has definitely been some times where we've been overwhelmed by the fact that we never meant to have two dogs but it has been such a gift! You can enjoy some wonderfully weird pictures of them below.




#3 New Jobs

Obviously with moving comes the stress of finding a new job. For both of us, we didn't want to settle into something we weren't passionate about and we wanted to get into the career fields we want to end up in. We have both been so incredibly lucky to find jobs we love! I took a job as an Ophthalmic Technician at Iowa Retina Consultants and I love it! Most of you don't know this because I don't talk about it very often but I have worked in eye care for about 4 and a half years now and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. Chris got an amazing job in the legal department at Meredith Corporation. He wants to go on to law school eventually, and this job is great for getting his foot in the door and getting some legal experience before he takes the LSAT and applies for law school. I'm so proud of him!

So that's just a little taste of what has been going on lately, as well as me updating the blog! I feel like my life and style has changed a lot in the past year so I've been trying to figure out how to balance blogging with working full time and trying to have a social life and to be honest it's been super hard. I'm starting to fall into a routine finally so you should see a lot more posts here soon! I've also been revamping the blog to reflect my more casual but still classy approach to my personal style. I feel like my outfits have been a lot more simple lately and as much as I love my Lilly and always will I just don't find myself reaching for it like I used to. I'm excited to share my new style that I hope will be not only attainable for everyone but also affordable. I'm really excited to change things around here, so look forward to hearing from me more!

My Favorite Holiday Traditions

I don't know about you, but I am so excited to decorate my apartment and get the tree up so we can enjoy it! Nothing is better than making your home feel so cozy and warm for the holiday season. I just love coming home to the most inviting apartment and relaxing with a cup of hot cocoa and watching a Christmas movie, and *spoiler alert* that is most likely where you'll find me for the next month. I really have no shame.

That being said I wanted to kick off the holiday posts with a couple of our favorite holiday traditions, I love the fun little things we do every year and it's always one of my favorite parts of the holiday season. Traditions mean a lot to me, my family had them when I was younger and I loved starting my own once I moved away from home. Chris has always been a saint putting up with some of my crazy or random ideas but a couple of them stuck and now we look forward to them each and every year. I'd love to hear what traditions you all have, feel free to leave them in the comments below!

#1 Pajama Picking

This first tradition was actually something really random and spontaneous that happened while we were out doing our Christmas shopping one year. We were in Old Navy and we came across some adorable pajamas, anyone who knows me knows that I am a sucker for a good pair of pajamas all year round but winter pj's are my favorite. We actually both had the same idea at the same time, we decided that we wanted to pick out a pair of pajamas for each other and save them for Christmas Eve.

#2 Cocoa, Cookies, and Christmas Eve

So like I mentioned above we picked out pajamas for each other but we didn't let the other person see them until Christmas Eve. So we like to spend Christmas Eve relaxing at home in our pajamas watching ELF and eating cookies we make together that day and drinking hot cocoa. It's a nice way to just spend some time together before the chaos of all our family Christmas parties.

#3 Christmas Movie Marathon

Chris and I both work Monday - Friday so we try to find as much quality time together as possible at night and on the weekends. For the whole month of December we try to watch a Christmas themed movie at least a couple times a week and one on weekends. It's just a good way for us to come home and relax either after work or after a really long week and it always gives us something small to look forward to. I'm actually considering writing a separate post with our favorite Christmas movies so be on the lookout!

#4 Ornament Swap

This one is absolutely my favorite tradition, so I saved the best for last! I'm honestly not even sure I remember how this one came about but it is so much fun and I think it really takes a lot of thought from the other half, it's always such a sweet thing and it doesn't have to cost much. So every year before Christmas we exchange Christmas ornaments. We each pick out an ornament that signifies something we did that year, somewhere we went, or something that happened that we want to remember. For example, this year I got him a Christmas ornament of the scales of justice because this year he graduated and got his first job in the legal department of a large publishing company and I'm so proud of him! This year he got me a beautiful ornament from DisneyWorld since back in February we went for my birthday and it was the first time I had ever been! It was so much fun.

So that sums up all of my Christmas traditions! I think every couple should do an ornament swap because I think it is so much fun and so special to see what the other person thinks was an important event or trip, or even just something that means a lot to you or something that reminds them of you! I'd love to know if you steal any of these for yourself, they're so much fun and so special that I felt like I needed to share! Again, I'd love to know about your favorite traditions in the comments!

I'll see you back here soon for more holiday posts!

The Perfect Host/Hostess Gifts for the Holidays

Hey guys! I wanted to start off the holiday posts with a list of small gifts that would make the perfect gift for your holiday host or hostess! I like to keep a basket in my closet with small gifts so that when I get invited to things like a housewarming party, or a holiday I have something for the person who has so kindly shared their home with us. I don't think these gifts need to be extravagant, just a small token of your appreciation because typically they are providing food, drinks and a space to spend time with the people close to you. I try to find things that I know will get used and won't just sit in a closet. The best part of this list? All of these gifts are under $50!


#1 Hearth and Hand Wooden Vase 

This vase is so beautiful and simple, it could go with virtually anyone's decor. There is something to be said for a clean and classic vase, this is it but with a really cool twist. It's something that is sure to be used for fresh flowers all year! This would be perfect filled with seasonal flowers, it's sure to be appreciated.


#2 Acacia Wood Cheese Board + Tool Set

This adorable set would make a perfect gift for any occasion, it's so stunning that nobody would guess it's under $30! This is sure to get some use for anyone who loves to entertain! The fact that the tools all store nicely in the bottom is an added bonus.


#3 Capri Blue Fir + Firewood Candle

If you've ever smelled the Volcano candle that everyone knows and loves and wished they had a holiday version you're in luck. This fir and firewood candle smells like Christmas to me, it smells like sitting next to a warm campfire in an outing of pine trees. This is the perfect holiday gift and it doesn't hurt that the jar is beautiful too.


#4 Hearth + Hand Stoneware Scalloped Cake Stand

This is such a pretty addition to anyone's kitchen, especially if your host loves to bake. The white makes any dessert pop and it's perfect for displaying delicious thanksgiving pies. This is absolutely something that will get used for every occasion all year. It's so elegant nobody would ever guess how inexpensive it is!


#5 Cast Iron Trivet

Personally I think this would make a great gift for any occasion because I'm not sure about you but I can never have enough trivets, especially when I'm serving a big meal like Thanksgiving. This one also just happens to be decorative enough to be displayed as well. The cast iron makes this trivet super heavy duty too so it can hold up to even the heaviest pots and pans.


#6 Stoneware Serving Bowl Trio

The perfect gift for the host who loves to entertain. This cute little bowl trio is perfect for dips, salsa, or condiments at a summer bbq! It could also be used as prep bowls while cooking. This multipurpose gift is sure to see some use around any kitchen.


#7 Capri Blue Volcano Candle

Last but certainly not least is the hugely popular Capri Blue Volcano Candle. This candle is perfect for burning all year round and the jar itself is perfect for anyone's decor. It can even be repurposed after the candle is gone. I actually have mine holding cotton pads in my bathroom!




Let me know if you picked up any of these for gifts this year or if you're like me and have a gift basket always stocked and ready for whatever occasion comes your way!


My Favorite Fall Comfort Food


Hey guys, long time no talk! I've been revamping the blog a lot lately to include more lifestyle posts and to share things that I really love whether that be clothing, food, or fun things to do! I miss blogging but life has been changing a lot lately so I'm finally getting back into a routine, I apologize that it's been so long, I miss y'all!

To kick off my return to blogging I wanted to share my favorite fall comfort food with you! During fall, and quite frankly all year, I am a sucker for anything pumpkin. I'm not kidding you; candles, pumpkin bars, coffee, everything. I hoard that stuff during fall like it's nobody's business. So I figured I'd spread the love, if you're as obsessed as I am, you have to make this pasta! It looks beautiful which means it would be perfect for entertaining but it's simple and so delicious that it's also the perfect comfort food for a lazy night in and a Halloween movie marathon (Hocus Pocus anyone?)

homemade pumpkin pasta sauce

PUMPKIN PASTA

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Spaghetti or Alfredo Noodles 
  • 1 1/2 cups Pureed Pumpkin (plain do not use pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil 
  • 2 cups Milk or Heavy Cream 
  • 1/4 cup Shredded Parmesan 
  • 1 Tbsp. Parsley (you can use fresh, I use dried because it's always in my cupboard)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 clove Minced Garlic (I use already minced garlic in a jar so I use about 2 Tbsp. but I love garlic so you can cut back some if you don't want it to be too strong)
  • 1/4 tsp. Nutmeg
  • 1 cup Chicken or Vegetables Broth

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan. 
  2. Add minced garlic and cook one minute until fragrant (don't let it brown)
  3. Add broth and let simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Stir in the milk or heavy cream, pumpkin, nutmeg, salt, and pepper and simmer for ten minutes. 
  5. Cook your pasta per the directions to al dente. 
  6. Mix your pasta with the sauce and cook for a minute. 
  7. Top with the parsley and parmesan cheese. 
That's it! It's seriously that simple. I'd love to know if you try this recipe and what you think!

Easy Errand Day Outfit

Okay y'all I need to take a second to gush over these shoes! I scored these a couple weeks ago at Marshall's and I've been waiting for a good day to bust them out. It's been so incredibly cold here in the Midwest lately and the day we decided to go out and shoot it was in the 40's! I will totally take that over the negative temps we've been having.


These shoes are literally all of my favorite things wrapped up into one. I've been hesitant to try out the mule trend from this fall but when I saw these I knew that I had to have them. They're navy blue, velvet, and they have a bow on them. Honestly, what could be better? Unfortunately I can't find them anywhere online but I've linked some other really cute options!

college blogger, lifestyle, iowa city, casual outfit, casual ootd, college style, iowa blogger, simple outfit, long cardigan

Recently I've been loving the long cardigans as well. I was always kind of nervous to try these out since I'm only 5'2 but I'm so glad I gave it a shot. They give even the simplest outfit a unique and put together look while also being super cozy! I snagged this one at Old Navy about a week ago and I've been pairing it with everything lately. 


These jeggings are also from Old Navy and y'all they are TO DIE FOR. They have an elastic waistband and they are seriously so chic while also being insanely comfortable. I have them in two washes now and I'm obsessed. I'll definitely be buying them in any color I can find. If there's one things you need for the rest of winter/spring, it's these jeggings. Trust me.


That's all I have for now! I'm working to create a lot of really great content for the blog this year. I got a new camera and I'm working really hard to upgrade the blog, my photos, and my content overall! I'd love to hear from you about what you think, what you love or what I could change to make things better for you guys! I'm also going to be launching a new series soon so keep an eye out! 




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