Valentine’s Day Outfit

oday, I am lazy. And I have no witty words or clever thoughts. So all you get is outfit inspiration. But, Valentine’s is coming up (it’s my least favorite holiday, I’m not even going to lie to you guys). And I know a lot of people actually really like this holiday—which is so beyond my understanding, but there you have it—and since a lot of people actually like this holiday and since a lot of people actually probably have plans for this holiday, a lot of people will be wanting to know what they should wear. So I’m here to help. Valentine’s Day Outfits.

(Personally, on Friday night, my Valentine’s Day outfit will probably be me in sweats. On the couch. And if we do go out, it’ll probably be to a movie with friends. In which case, I’ll stick to my trusty jeans and cardigan combo. It’s never steered me wrong before! And if we don’t go to a movie, we’ll probably just decorate cookies. Because if I have to celebrate this holiday, why not do it with mass amounts of sugar intake! That’s what I say. And I just want to also say that I’m not against love. I love love! I just don’t think we need a holiday to celebrate it. Let those of us who have love celebrate in our own way, every single day of the year. No need to rub it in the faces of people who don’t have love. Nobody wants to watch the Glen Coco’s of the world swoon and coddle over each other. It’s really just rude to the rest of people who aren’t Glen Coco. And also, I’m just not overly fond of pink…)

Anyway, even though I may not be all that thrilled to celebrate on Friday, I do love all of these outfits. I found some spectacular skirts on Asos and decided that if one needs to do a Valentine’s Day outfit, one should do it in a skirt! And all of these are perfect.

Outfit One

The shoes from this first outfit are numero uno on my shopping list once I’m off my shopping fast (a story for another time, if at all). I can’t not have them in my life! And that leather skirt, so in right now. Swooooon.

Valentine's Day Outfifit
Blouse // Necklace // Clutch // Shoes // Skirt

Outfit Two

Metallic is so huge right now, and I love the pops of pattern and color in this outfit. The bright pink earrings are perfect for Valentine’s Day. But mostly I’m dying over that skirt. It has POCKETS! Insert 6 heart-eyed emojis here.Valentine's Day Outfifit

Earrings // Blouse // Skirt // Clutch // Shoes

Outfit Three

What a cute idea, to wear heart earrings and a “love” necklace on Valentine’s Day! I’m sure I’m the first person to have thought of this…

Valentine's Day Outfifit

 

Top // Earrings // Necklace // Clutch // Shoes // Skirt

Outfit Four

Gosh, I am seriously dying over this skirt! And the sequin top. And the snakeskin shoes. Mostly, it’d just be great if I got up right now and walked into my closet and this outfit was there. Maybe if I had this, I’d actually want to celebrate Valentine’s Day! Maybe.

Valentine's Day Outfifit

 

Top // Earrings // Clutch // Skirt // Shoes

Outfit Five

I have a grey tee almost just like this and it’s one of my favorite shirts. So whenever I can incorporate it into an outfit, I’m a happy camper. Especially when I’m able to dress it up, like this outfit does. Super fancy and trendy lace skirt, with metallic heels, a sequin clutch, and a plain grey tee. Perfect.

Valentine's Day Outfifit

 

Necklace // Tee // Clutch // Skirt // Shoes

Outfit Six

And of course, I had to include at least one cardigan. My go-to. My favorite. This outfit is perfectly girly. And even though it’s heavy on the pink, I’d still wear it. And you better believe I’d rock it.

 

Cardigan // Top // Skirt // Clutch // Shoes

Is It Spring Yet? Rainboots!

Is it spring yet? Remember how last week I talked about them winter blues? Well. It’s snowing in Denver again. So I guess, really, the answer to my question is a most definite “no!” It is just not spring yet. So I decided to start counting down. I’m going to count down to blue skies and warmer temps.  Then I’m going to count down to bright colors and tulips. I’m going to countdown to all sorts of Cadbury Eggs. After that, I’m going to count down to baseball and summer vacations. And I’m going to count down to April showers, the quintessence of spring. The moment when the cold snow finally turns into oh-so-welcome, little drip-drip-droplets of soft, cool water.

Oh Bambi.

Anyway. What better way to count down to April showers than by shopping for rainboots? Rainboots are to April as April showers are to spring: the quintessence. (Too much to use that word twice in one post? Eh, I’m leavin’ it.) So, I have scoured these internets high and low for all sorts of different rainboots for you! That is, if you’re in the market. Which, you probably should be. Because, spring and April showers and rainboots and Bambi!

Our Favorite Rainboots

Is It Spring Yet?? Rainboots! #hunters #target #lace #tartan #spring #rainboots #ankle boots #leopard #floral #snakeskin #polkadots #metallic:

001 // 002 // 003 // 004 // 005 // 006 // 007 // 008 // 009 // 010

 

011 // 012 // 013 // 014 // 015 // 016 // 017 // 018 // 019

I want ALL these rainboots. I have included all sorts of different rainboots to choose from, you’re welcome. If you’re looking for some brand name/splurge rainboots, try #1, #2, and #19 (Hunters), #4 (Ugg), #7 (Valentino), and #9 and #10 (Sperry). If you’re looking for something a little less pricey, but still good quality, try #3 and #17 (Target), #15 (Kohl’s), and #11, #12, and #14 (DSW).

What style of rainboot should I buy?

I tried to include a variety of trends. Ankle boots are huge right now. I have a pair of knee-high Hunters, which are always practical and never go out of style. But really, ankle boot rainboots (#4, #10, #11, and #19)? I mean, seriously. I am seriously dying over #11 in particular. With the bow!! And the #10 rainboots are fur-lined! Sperry, for the win!

Anything tartan or plaid is also very trendy right now. The tartan Ralph Lauren rainboots (#13) would be the perfect way to incorporate this look into spring. Metallic is also big, so why not add some metallic to your rainboots? I submit to you that I cannot think of one good reason not to. Sperry’s got Metallic rainboots down (#9 and #10). Plus, I mentioned above, fur-lined! Helloooo! If you like the lace trend, try lace rainboots (#4, #7, and #8). And then, of course, anything printed. Printed rainboots are soo fun! We already talked about the tartan and lace. There’s also polka dots (#12), snakeskin (#16), leopard (my fav! – #17), and floral (#18).

Aaaand, I think that just about covers it for rainboots. Check back next week for the second edition in my countdown to spring… what will it be, what will it be? Oh, the suspense! 😉

OCD: Grocery List edition (free printable)

 

So this ecard perfectly describes my life. Every single Sunday evening, I plan the meals for the upcoming week. Then, I take an inventory of everything I have and everything I need and smash all the items I need onto one very unorganized grocery list. Theeeeen, on a separate, clean sheet of paper, I write out every needed item based on where it is in the store.

 

And WHAT a hassle it is. It is quite a process, let me tell ya. I swear, I waste precious moments of all my Sunday nights going through this same routine. Each and every week. Then not so long ago, Tracey and I were chatting, and I hesitantly told her about my OCD tendencies. Mostly I was hesitant because I knew she’d judge my weirdness and call me a freak. But then, oh gracious gods of grocery shopping, she said she does the same thing! As long as I’m not alone in my OCD, then it’s alll gravy, baby.

 

But still, what a hassle! So we decided we needed a list to make things easier for us. A ready-made grocery list, with the categories already separated out into line-items based on where things are located in the store. And because we are in the business of giving our opinions freely and putting them where they don’t belong, we are giving you our grocery list. And 2 different versions of it. We know.

 

And, here’s a fun disclaimer: I do my grocery shopping at Walmart. Now, I know there are lots of people who are mortally and morally and whatever else against Walmart. If you are that people, just hear me out before you go and get your panties in a bunch. I am a poor newlywed and Walmart has the cheapest groceries I’ve found anywhere, by a long shot. I personally can’t afford to buy all my groceries from Whole Foods (or as my husband calls it, Whole Paycheck. Am I right? Seriously, break my bank, why don’t ya!). Walmart is very practical for my budget. Therefore, that’s where I buy my groceries. However, I will say that produce and deli at Walmart, almost always generally sucks. So. I go elsewhere for those items, unless I’m in a colossal rush. So anyway, what I was going to say is these particular grocery lists are in an order by which most Super Walmarts abide. If you would like a customized grocery list, in the order of whichever grocery store you shop at, leave a comment with the order you’d like, and we’ll try to get it over to you just as soon as we can 🙂

Curing the Winter Blues

I want to be somewhere tropical right now. Somewhere that the white sand is almost too hot to stand on barefoot. Almost too hot, but not quite. Somewhere that a colorful beach towel is perfect for taking a nap in the bright warmth of the sunlight. Somewhere that I can take a couple of steps and end up in the cool, bright blue, salty water, looking for turtles and fishies through a snorkel mask. Somewhere that a line of tall palm trees casts the perfect amount of shade and breeze.

I want to be somewhere that my only care is that my piña colada is going to melt too fast. Or that the sun is going to set too soon. Or that a coconut just might fall on my head. Or that my skin might maybe get a little too red.

Instead, I’m sitting in my tiny apartment. In the middle of suburban America. In the middle of a snowstorm. Where the space heater humming at my side isn’t quite warm enough and the sun has already set and there’s no hope of wearing a swimsuit any time soon. And my cares instead include worrying about what to cook for dinner this week, and when I’m going to finish all the piles and piles and piles of laundry or go grocery shopping, and wondering what bills will make their way to my mailbox tomorrow.

Instead of a piña colada and a suntan, I’ve got the Winter Blues*. In years past, I have cured my Winter Blues with some really fattening foods, as many chick flicks as I can handle, and a healthy dose of a patience, just waiting for longer, warmer days to find me again.

But this year, mostly for the sake of the blog and having something to talk about, I’ve decided to put together a list of 10 things, besides chick flicks and binge eating candy and cupcakes, that can help me through my Winter Blues. And luckily, if you’re reading this, I’m gonna let you use these ideas too. Gosh, we’re nice, huh.

WinterBlues

1) Keep Up on Your Resolutions — Odds are you had some resolutions you made a couple weeks ago when the New Year rolled around. And what better way to keep up on those resolutions than by trying to defeat your Winter Blues? Exercise more. Eat healthier. Work out a budget/get out of debt. Write letters (actual snail mail letters, people) to loved ones. Whatever your resolution may be, winter is a great time to try to achieve them, especially if you’re trying to defeat the Winter Blues. Instead of using winter and the cold and the shorter days as an excuse to get you out of your resolutions, use winter as a reason to actually accomplish those things. Find ways to motivate yourself. It will be worth it, I promise you.

2) Start a Recipe Group or Book Club — Get some friends from the neighbor or from church or from your kids’ schools and plan a time once a month or once every two weeks (whatever fits everyone’s schedules) and get together. Share recipes or read books together. It’s a great opportunity to get out of the house, socialize, meet new people.

3) Be IN Winter — Go out in winter. Don’t let winter keep you inside. Find an activity you enjoy despite the cold outside. Go snowboarding or skiing and snowshoeing. Go sledding or snowmobiling. Go ice-skating or find some ice castles. Go to the zoo. Just make sure to bundle up reaalllyyyyy well.

4) Learn a New Hobby — If you’re too afraid of #3 (understandable if you’re anything like me… I despise being cold more than anything), then stay in your house and learn a new hobby. Learn to sew or cook or bake or scrapbook. Take a class online to help you learn photography or web design or graphic design. Learn how to draw or write calligraphy. Pretty much anything. If there’s something you’ve been wanting to do but just haven’t found the time, why not start now, while you’re sitting in your house feeling sorry that it’s just so darned cold outside.

5) “Spring” Cleaning — Why not get a head start on cleaning your entire house? That way, once spring does actually decide to roll around, your house will be spic and span and you’ll be ready to go outdoors and enjoy the fresh, warm weather!

6) Binge Watch a Show — This is one of my favorite things to do, I admit. It’s bad. I really should do something more productive with my life, but when it’s cold outside and I just wanna curl up under a blanket, Netflix becomes my best friend. Sign up for Netflix or Hulu or even buy a season of that show you’ve heard is soooo good, but you just never had time to watch it.

7) Write in a Journal — I think this one is pretty self-explanatory. Write about whatever you’d like. Things you’ve done. Goals you have. Ideas you’d like to share one day. About how much winter sucks.

8) Create a Photo Book — Websites like Shutterfly, Mixbook, or Snapfish are great tools to help you organize your photos into cute, personalized books. Make a book of your last family vacation, or what you did last summer, or what you did over Christmas break. I guarantee looking through all those pictures will chase those winter blues right away.

9) Serve! — Volunteer at shelters or food kitchens or nursing homes or even your kid’s school. Go by yourself or with friends or with kids. Seek out people who may need your help. I know from experience that the best way to keep you from thinking about yourself is to help someone else in need.

10) Plan a Trip — If all else fails, and you happen to have some money you’ve set aside for a rainy day (or in this case, a snowy day?), go on a trip. Take a staycation for a weekend somewhere close. Take an extended weekend somewhere slightly further away. Take a weeklong trip somewhere you’ve been dying to go. Go somewhere warmer than where you are if that’s what your heart desires. Or go to the mountains somewhere and lock yourself up in a cabin and do any of the ideas above.

Let us know what your favorite things to do to cure your Winter Blues are. And if none of the 10 ideas work for you, just appreciate how beautiful winter can be. My husband took this picture with his iPhone after a snowstorm earlier this month. Whoooaaa. Good job, Kent!

IMG_4172

*Winter Blues in its most severe form is sometimes referred to as Seasonal Affective Disorder. It’s a real thing. This post is not meant to belittle or demean that condition or anyone who suffers from it. We are not doctors, and our advice/opinions are not meant to imply that we are. We merely want to share our very unqualified opinion about some things that help us brighten up our own dark winter months.

Last Call: Winter Coats

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! January is almost over, which means we only have a couple months of winter left, which means Spring! Which then means Summer! Not that I’m counting down the days or anything… except, OK, yes I am. Summer and me, you guys, we are friends. We get along. Summer and me, we have a great relationship. So, it’s no surprise that I’m excited for it to get back into my life.

But until then, I will finish using my snowboarding season pass – gotsta get my money’s worth – and I will keep drinking as much hot chocolate as my tummy will let me and I will keep washing my car after every snowstorm and I will keep my winter coats in the forefront of my closet. As should you… as should you.

So (and my summer-loving self is saying, ‘thankfully!’), this is the last call for winter coats. A winter coats roundup of sorts. And if you’re in the market for a new winter coat, now’s just about the best time that you could be looking! Winter coats and jackets are starting to go on sale to make way for all the spring items that stores are getting in stock, but it’s still cold enough in most places that there is still a good variety to choose from. And the best part (or worst part, depending on how you look at winter) is that you still have a couple months to wear them, depending on where you are. But then, they won’t be so worn that you can’t get use out of them next year too.

LastCall

A couple of things you may want to remember when shopping for winter coats at this time of year:

1) Search for a sale. If you find a coat you like, but it’s not quite on sale yet, either search somewhere else for a similar one or just wait for the one you like to go on sale. Odds are it is on sale somewhere or it will go on sale soon. After all, like I said above, spring is quickly approaching (yay!) and stores are going to want to get rid of their winter coats sooner or later.

2) Keep in mind the season… after all, it is still winter for just a bit longer. Try to find jackets that are versatile enough that you can wear them to finish off this winter season, but that maybe you can keep wearing into spring – you know, maybe something that’s not too dark or too heavy – and that you can, again, wear when winter inevitably makes it way back into your life.

Below, quite a few options of winter coats – several of them are on sale or clearance – to get you started. We aim to please, mostly is what this post is.

(Also, let it be written, let it be known that my love for the Target clearance section surpasses my love for most other things. Just to throw that out there.)

Denim

Dark (Clearance) // Light // Dark (Splurge)

Wool

Gray (Sale) // Maroon (Clearance) // Hooded // Melange // Blue (Sale)

Trench

 

Tan (Clearance) // Tan // Red (Sale)

Stripes

Black & Grey (Clearance) // Red

Rain

Blue // White (Splurge)

Quilted

Navy // Teal (Splurge)

Plaid

Red (Clearance) // Black (Splurge/Sale)

Peacoat

Red (Clearance) // Grey // Striped (Sale)

Parka

Maroon (Clearance) // Red (Splurge/Sale) // Blue // Green

Military

Green // Blue (Super sale!)

LeatherSleeves

Fur-trimmed Black // Funnel-neck Black (Splurge)

Leather

 

Black // Pink // White

Random

Leopard // Biker // Blazer // Camo // Floral

 

Stocking Stuffers Under $50

So the holidays are NUTS, am I right? And apparently that makes us bad bloggers. And for that, we are really, really sorry. Things like trips and weddings and shopping for gifts and spending time with family and baking for neighbors (and baking for myself) and making Christmas cards and in Tracey’s case editing photos and sitting in holiday traffic and packing for holiday trips… it’s actually all what makes the holidays the best! But it’s also what makes us bad bloggers. Come January, we’re gonna be back at this thing full force, arms a swingin’, dukes up, that sort of thing. (Along some pretty exciting changes too. At least that’s what we’re aiming for.) But, until then, enjoy a few posts sprinkled in here and there, like you enjoy some cinnamon and marshmallows sprinkled on top of your favorite hot chocolate. Today’s post was actually written last week, but hasn’t been ready to post until today. That’s how nuts these here holidays have been.

I am so excited about today’s post! We have stocking stuffers! Who doesn’t love opening their stockings on Christmas morning? I would argue it’s one of the best parts of Christmas. I love seeing what’s going to be stuffed inside that giant, fuzzy sock. Not to mention I love love love all the items I’ve picked out. I can only hope my stocking looks this good on Christmas morning. And I can only hope the same for my husband, also. Guess I better get on that, then.

All these items are under $50. And you’re welcome for that. What are some of the things you guys are going to put in your stockings this year?

stockingstuffersHER

01 . 02 . 03 . 04 . 05 . 06 . 07 . 08 . 09 . 10 . 11

01 and 02 – Bath and Body Works has some great stocking stuffers. And they always have great sales! And I die over all their Christmas/winter scents. The candy apple Christmas one might just be my favorite.

03 – Candle. Because.

04 – And perfume. Because. This one from Victoria’s Secret is the perfect little size to fit into a stocking and it smells amazing. I carry this exact one in my purse. It’s perfect for on-the-go.

05 – Who doesn’t want to spice up their passport a little bit? A passport case is such a cute way to do it.

06 – Jewelry box on the go? This is a perfect idea and I can’t believe I didn’t think of this sooner. The perfect size for your stocking!

07, 08, 09, 10 – CLOTHES! When you were 7, getting clothes for Christmas was THE worst. Now? Probably one of my favorite things to get. Funny how that works, eh? Chunky scarfs, pack o’ belts, cute accessories, and stripey socks? May your stocking look this good and you have a happy new year.

11 – A ticket stub book, to keep all your tickets for 2014. Amazing.

stockingstuffersHIM

01 . 02 . 03 . 04 . 05 . 06 . 07 . 08 . 09 . 10 . 11 . 12 . 13 . 14

01, 02, 03 – Mancessories. Men just need pocket knifes. Odds are your man already has one. But if not, go get him one stat. He is a man after all. iPhone wallet or money clip… depending on what your man prefers to carry. Both are practical. Both are perfect stocking stuffers.

04, 05, 06 – Because usually men just stink. It’s just part of who they are. So poo-pourri because nobody wants to deal with smelling thaaaat. ManCandles, just because. And Sasquatch soap, mostly because this one made me laugh.

07 – Sometimes people think I’m joking when I say I love bowties. But aren’t they just the cutest! If your man thinks he can’t pull off a bowtie, stick one of these suckers in his stocking this Christmas and prove him wrong. Which just happens to be one of the things we women do best.

08, 09, 10, 11 – Not sure how many men love getting clothes for Christmas. But sunglasses, sports socks (that look like shoes, hello!), beanies, and gloves are so super practical. You just can’t go wrong with these as stocking stuffers.

12 – Portable fire starter. See 01 about being a man.

13  – Bacon toothpicks!!!!!! (That many exclamation points is still not enough)

14 – Retractable auxiliary cord. I actually got one of these for Christmas from my man last year and I love it. Seriously. Love it.

Christmas Printables

It’s freezing over here on the west coast today. Actually, it’s literally below freezing. I woke up to -8 today and the high is only 14. But here are some free Christmas printables to help make your spirits merry and bright, and hopefully a little warmer if you’re as cold as I’ve been all day.

Christmas_Printable_ColdOutside Christmas_Printable_ColdOutside2 Christmas_Printable_comfortandjoy Christmas_Printable_JoyWorld Christmas_Printable_JoyWorld2 Christmas_Printable_mayyourdays

Christmas_Printable_WonderfulTime Christmas_Printable_WonderfulTime2 Christmas_Printable_WonderfulTime3I have one printed out and sitting in a frame by my tree:

tree

 

What to Wear: Holiday Parties

I don’t try to keep it a secret that this is my favorite time of year. The sights — snow and Christmas trees and twinkling lights and stores all decorated. The sounds — Christmas music and fires crackling and the noise of family gatherings. The smells — pine and cinnamon and nutmeg and hot chocolate and turkey and fire and pumpkin and cookies and breads and cakes and candies and spices. And all the feels — warm, soft sweaters and blankets and the way the pine tree crinkles in your fingers when you hang ornaments. And the tastes — oh, the tastes. Mostly the same as the smells, but in your mouth! Sweets and spices and turkey and pies and everything bad for you.

There really is just something about this season. When I was little and growing up, the best part of the season was the countdown to Christmas Day… knowing that one night soon, while I slept warm in my bed, the mysterious and elusive Santa Clause was going to visit my house and leave me toys! But, now that I’m older and the novelty and magic of Santa and the joy of toys on Christmas Day have worn off just ever so slightly, my favorite part of the season is each day of the countdown. I revel in each and every day leading up to Christmas. I try to make the days last as long as possible. I want as long as I can to stare at my Christmas tree. I want as long as possible to listen to Christmas music. I want as long as possible to smell Christmas smells and to taste Christmas tastes. And I want the holiday parties to last forever.

We all have different holiday parties and going-ons and what-have-yous this holiday season for which we will need to look our festive-best! Gatherings for work or church or school or family or friends. And why wouldn’t we want to look just joyous? There’s something magical about getting dressed up in the spirit of the holidays. There’s just something about expressing our holiday joy through our clothing. So, if you’re stuck on what to wear to your holiday parties this year, here are 10 outfits that just might help you out.

outfitguide

As I was putting these outfits together, I tried to keep in mind things that would make them specific to holiday parties. For example, all of these outfits are either slightly or significantly more on the dressy/formal side of things. I think that holiday parties are definitely something to get dressed up for. Try to steer clear of the casual looks. However, if you don’t feel so comfortable in something quite so formal or fancy, some of the options I have here are a mix between casual and dressy… a perfect balance.

Keep in mind that when looking for things to wear to holiday parties, staying on trend can go a long way! I think holiday parties are a good chance to splurge on something you wouldn’t normally pay for, something that you wouldn’t normally wear. If there’s a trend that you like but wouldn’t normally otherwise try to pull off (maybe because it’s “too out there” or “it wouldn’t look good on me”), give it a try at your holiday parties! Odds are, you’re going to look great. Some of this year’s trends that I’m particularly loving for holiday parties — and that you’ll see repeated in the 10 outfits below — are plaids, metallics, leathers, brocade and tartan prints, and sequins.

Of course, you have your holiday classics too. Like lace, all things sparkly, and standard holiday colors such as deep reds and blues and greens and purples, and always black, gold and silver. I’m also a huge fan of winter whites, always.

outfit1

In this first outfit, I paired a leather top with some black jeans. The jeans make it feel more casual, but when you remember the leather shirt and add some metallic pumps, it brings just the right amount of fancy to this outfit.

shirt // hudson jeans // pumps // clutch // necklace

outfit2

I am seriously obsessed with this outfit. It just screams “holiday parties” to me. The brocade, floral print of the skirt, that has a metallic sheen to it, paired with the metallic sweater. The deep teal from the clutch that matches the skirt perfectly. And the adorable t-strap pumps to tie everything together. Of course, you can always add your own jewelry or even a pair of black tights (if you are prone to coldness like me)!

sweater // skirt // clutch // pumps

outfit3

I’ve gotta be honest… I wasn’t too thrilled with the tartan print when I first saw it starting to trend a little bit ago. It isn’t entirely my style. However, as I started thinking about holiday parties and how to dress for them, I realized that the tartan print is just about perfect for that kind of a setting. I mean, red and green stripes? You really can’t look more like Christmas joy. For this outfit, I paired the on-trend tartan-print sweater with some leather pants… which is just about as casual as I’d say you should go for holiday parties. But when you pair it with these amazing red suede pumps, you’ve got the perfect amount of holiday-party fancy. Tie it all together with some gold accessories and a red clutch.

sweater // pants // pumps // bracelet // clutch

outfit4

Is there a print more adorable than polka dots? I submit that there is not. And when this polka dot sweater is paired with these super on-trend gold metallic pants, it makes for a perfect holiday party outfit. Also, I’m dying over these zip-up booties. Probably, these are being added to my Christmas wishlist as we speak.

sweater // 7FAM pants // booties // bracelet // earrings

outfit5

We have now moved into the dressier realm of our outfits. I love dresses and skirts for holiday parties. How perfect. And how cute is this little blue number with the bows? The tights, sparkly shoes, and silver accessories make this blue dress holiday perfect.

dress // tights // pumps // cuff // clutch

outfit6

This outfit has everything… all my requirements for holiday party dressing. It’s dressy. It has the metallic trend and the classic lace. There are sparkly pumps. There are deep colors of gold and purple and shades of black. I would daresay you might not even need to add frosting (jewelry), but of course it wouldn’t hurt! ; )

dress // pumps // clutch

outfit7

This outfit may seem a little light for some holiday parties, but I love it. You are likely to stand out in something like this, since everyone else will probably be wearing dark, wintery colors. I love the lace and I’m seriously obsessed with these shoes. As always, a little sparkle on your wrist to finish it off.

dress // pumps // bracelet

outfit8Something similar to this is actually what I’m planning on wearing to one of my holiday parties. I love the two-tone sequin skirt. It’s super on-trend and so, so festive. I paired a plain, chiffon blouse in a deep purple (holiday colors!) since the skirt is the focal piece of this outfit.

blouse // skirt // booties // tights // necklace

outfit9

This outfit takes close to casual again. The plaid top — which is super trendy — could be pretty casual on its own, but when paired with the sequin pants and open-toe pump booties, you are definitely still on the fancy side of things and you’ll be “just right” for your holiday parties.

shirt // pants // booties // bangles

outfit10

Now, what would a holiday party be without the classic LBD? Any little black dress will do! Pair with some classic, holiday-red pumps, the on-trend brocade clutch, and some gold jewelry for a timeless, holiday look.

dress // pumps // clutch // bangle

Honorable Mentions (items that aren’t included above, but that I love and want to share with you anyway):

Lace Dress // Lace Tights // Statement Necklace // BCBGMAXAZRIA Red Dress // Black Pumps // Sequin Clutch // Crystal Earrings // Gold Metallic Clutch // Fendi Purple Suede Pumps // Maroon Dress // Black Sequin Skirt

We would LOVE to see what you guys end up wearing for your holiday parties. Add a picture of your outfits on Instagram with the hashtag #OUOholidaydress and we will be sure to feature some of you in a post of our own!

*This is not a sponsored post. Tracey introduced me to Rue La La the other day and I happen to be obsessed, which is why more than half of the items in these outfits come from that website.

Pumpkin Spice Arctic White Hot Cocoa

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We know, the name of this concoction is quite a mouthful. Pumpkin Spice Arctic White Hot Cocoa. But trust me, your mouth (and tastebuds) will be thanking us once you try this deliciousness. This was a joint effort on mine and Tracey’s part. I helped her discover the Land O’ Lakes hot chocolate last year. Then she said to me, a couple weeks ago, “Dude. Land O’ Lakes Arctic White hot cocoa mix and pumpkin spice creamer. It will change your world. Go. Now.” So I did. And she was right. It changed my world. I haven’t even attempted to make any other hot chocolate variation since trying this one. But, I added my own little twists to Tracey’s recipe too.

Here’s the final recipe: Make Arctic White according to package directions. Add about 2-3 tablespoons pumpkin spice creamer (depending on how pumpkiny you like it). Add 2 dollops of cool whip (generally I use a good ol’ spray bottle of whipped cream on my hot cocoa, but I didn’t have one at the time, so I used cool whip instead, and boy am I glad I did). Top with mini marshmallows and a couple sprinkles of ground cinnamon.

I think I’ve had one of these bad boys every day since I first tried it. It’s perfectly warming to the soul and tastes incredible.

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Tips and Confessions in Mixology

andreaYou guys, I am so freakin’ excited about this guest post today. Andrea is Tracey’s friend from Texas, and this post is pure gold. Seriously. Just keep reading! It’s a literally mouth-wateringly good read. When I finished reading this post for the first time, I texted Tracey and said, “Your friend Andrea is a genius. I’m pretty sure I will be going to 7-11 today when I get off work. I HAVE to try her 7-11 Italian soda! Genius!!!” I am really that excited about this. This is Mixology at its finest, to be sure. Thanks so much for posting today Andrea : ) After this gem of a post, we will definitely need to have you back.

My name is Andrea and I am a drinkaholic. Not the alcoholic kind, mind you, but the carbonated, don’t-need-an-ID-to-buy-it kind. My vice is Diet Coke (henceforth referred to as DC). It brings me sunshine and warmth and smiles and all those good vibes and warm fuzzies. I will drink it hot or cold, bubbly or flat, any which way it can come. But I digress. The purpose of this post is to relay the secrets of an avid drink mixologist — not to proclaim my love of DC.

So… let me spill some of my precious Mixology secrets about how to go about mixing drinks and hope that the lessons I have learned along the way will benefit you in some small part.

If you’ve never mixed any kind of drink before, have no fear. My Mixology tips start with the basics…

Mixology

Mixology Confession #1. The best DC is at McDonalds. Hands down. I can’t explain it, but it is just the best. Ever. This one isn’t so much of a mixing tip, but just something that I feel like everyone should know.

Mixology Confession #1b. Another interesting fact, and also not so much of a tip, is that sometimes when I’m feeling a little frisky, I mix 2/3 DC and 1/3 Diet Dr. Pepper. It’s magic, I tell ya!

Mixology Confession #1c. I feel like I just need to add this one in here too while I’m sharing interesting tidbits. I’m mostly from Texas. I kind of claim it since I’ve been rooted here since 14, and in Texas, you refer to all soda as coke. It’s just a thing. Sometimes your waiter will ask if you want a coke and then he’ll say, “What kind?” It’s not so much like this anymore since the city has been growing so much, but I still think it’s fun. And I plan to employ this terminology in my post.

Mixology Tip #2. An easy place to start mixing drinks is using a Coca-Cola Freestyle. This super fabulous invention lets you pick just about any Coke product and add in a handful of different flavor options. Don’t be afraid, it’s really fun… and refillable so you can start all over if you don’t like what you’ve come up with. A lot of restaurants are getting them so keep your eyes peeled. I’ve seen them at Firehouse Subs, Double Dave’s Pizza, Wendy’s, Burger King and Five Guys Burgers.

Mixology Tip #3. My next recommendation would be to head to your local Sonic Drive-in. If you don’t have one… I’m really, really sorry. All drinks are better with nugget ice. I’m seriously coveting one of these beauties. Also at Sonic is a long list of quality flavors (this is where Sonic triumphs over the Coca-Cola Freestyle) and some are even sugar-free (WHAAA?). Also of note… you can add as many flavors as you want!  Oh, the possibilities. Some of my favorites are:

  • Raspberry Vanilla Diet Coke — prepare yourself, this one is amazing
  • Mango Sprite — refreshing and tropical, also my hubby’s fav
  • Mint Sprite — think Mojitos
  • Ocean Water — this is a Sonic original, but its pretty much just Sprite with Blue Coconut
  • Cherry Limeade — this is another Sonic original, and it is not one to be missed

Mixology Tip #4. If you’re looking to take your drinks a step further, then you’ve come to the right place. Remember those delicious Italian Sodas OUO gave you, where they took club soda and added syrup and heavy cream? Holy yum! I decided to take my own leap into the Italian world of Mixology after inspiration from your very own Tracey. (Isn’t she fabulous in every way??) She offered up the suggestion after hearing it from your other very own Hey Megan. So really I must credit this stroke of genius to Hey Megan. Thank you for changing my world.

I took her fabulous idea and ran with it… to 7-11. Hellooooo Big Gulps! You may not know it, but 7-11 is a paradise for mixology. They have massive cups and coke machines and oodles of additives. But right now, it’s really important that you pay close attention or else you might hate me and it would discredit all my hard work and sacrifice. Do not use the added flavors they may have dispensed with the cokes. They ruin everything. Your Diet Coke will definitely not taste right. Dump it out and start again. Fill your cup with plain Diet Coke (or whatever coke) and back away from the dispenser.

Take your cup to the coffee counter. They usually have several syrup options. French Vanilla, Vanilla, Hazelnut and Caramel. Big Tip — never use the Hazelnut. I learned this one the hard way. It’s probably the one and only time I couldn’t even force Diet Coke down my throat. You could use vanilla and it would still be great, but I usually go for the caramel. It’s sultry and tasty and delicious in a coke. A few squirts and you’re on to the next step. Slide down towards the creamers. It might be scary, but just take my word for it. Grab a few of the half-and-half creamers and dump them on in. Slap on a lid, stir lightly with your straw and you’re set.

This option is delicious with Diet Coke, Diet Dr. Pepper and Coke Zero. Those are my big 3. There’s really no competing with them. And the fun thing about using DDP is that it sort of tastes like a sugar cookie… but with a lot less guilt. It’s also important to note that another of my favorites is Coke Zero with Almond Joy Creamer. You don’t need any additional syrup or creamer, it’s all built into the one. It’s like a little dessert, but with the easiest recipe ever.

A few other random 7-11 suggestions:

  • Do not put the half and half in first. It makes fizz that equates to a root beer float. No one wants to spend 15 minutes sucking out that fizz.
  • Some 7-11s may have the fresh half and half in a dispenser. This can also work well in your drinks, but it’s kind of hard to fit a Big Gulp underneath the dispenser so be warned.
  • Save your big gulp cups. You can refills for 89 cents! Any size!
  • Though it is tempting, the Double Gulp is really hard to hold. So unless you can palm a basketball, I recommend sticking with a Super Big Gulp. Also, the Double Gulp is super top heavy and may wreak havoc on your car interior if you take a turn too quickly.
  • You can also implement these same tips for the best hot chocolate known to man. Also provided at 7-11.

So that’s the scoop. I really hope you find the time to try out at least one of my recommendations. They may leave you with a crippling addiction to 7-11 (my counter girls know me by name now), but in the end you’ll thank me.