Friday, May 29, 2015

Friday Favorites: I Passed My Prelim Edition!

Hey there! Sorry, I know it's been a while...these past couple of weeks have been super busy as I prepared for my preliminary exam for my dissertation research proposal! So today, I'm recapping my favorites from the past couple of weeks!
1. Passing My Prelim Exam!!!!!
There are not enough exclamation points in the world to show how excited I am to have my prelim exam behind me. This past semester I wrote a 100 page research proposal including my review of literature, research objectives, and preliminary experimentations with conclusions and proposed next steps. I sent a copy off to each of my doctoral committee members and waited, fingers crossed, until my prelim two weeks later. Unfortunately, my grandfather passed away a few days before my originally scheduled prelim. I thankfully got it rescheduled for a couple of weeks later albeit with much stress due to limited committee member availability during the summer (insert frustrated emoji here). It really was starting to feel like I was never going to get it over with and I had been preparing for literally months.
I was super stressed the morning of and this was the first thing that popped up on my newsfeed:
 God truly makes me laugh! I know He brought this to my attention to put things in perspective and make me laugh!

Anyways, that afternoon I gave my hour long presentation to my committee, got grilled with questions for 30 minutes, and then sent out of the room while they all laughed about making me sweat it out for the next 15 minutes discussed my academic work this far into my PhD. Then, very anti-climatically, they shook my hand and said, "You passed," and went along their merry little ways while I did cartwheels inside and then proceeded to eat the 23 leftover chocolate chip cookies,  that I made from scratch the night before, that they didn't eat.
The hubs treated me to a nice steak dinner out and I guess, in the midst of my euphoria, it somehow slipped my mind that I was .001 miles away from a Versona Accessories store! The hubs so kindly mentioned this fact to me, willingly drove me over, and patiently answered 15 millions questions including:
"Isn't this cute?"
"Which one of these tops do you like better?"
"Wouldn't this be perfect for 4th of July?"
"Should I get this necklace, it's only $4 on clearance?!"
"What about this purse? Do you like it?"
As we say in the south, "Bless His Heart." He was so generous in letting me steal another hour of his night to painstakingly consider every piece of merchandise in that store and come away with a couple of #fab new pieces:
Top: {Versona Accessories, similar*} Shorts: {JCP, old} Flats: {Marshall's, old} Watch: {Cato Fashions, old}
*I couldn't find this specific leopard top online but I linked a similar version I saw in store too.
I've been coveting a leopard blouse/button-up for quite some time but never found the perfect one until now! These are perfect for dressing up or down. I can wear this with a suit or a pair of denim.

Shorts: {Versona, similar*} Top: {Marshall's, old} Necklace: {Bijoux Boutique, old} Flats: {Walmart, old}
*It looks like they're sold out of these shorts online but they still have them in stores.
I had been eyeing these shorts online for a while now and happened right upon them in store and in my size! Love! The fit is great and they are perfect for hot summer weather.
2. My Brother graduated from College!
I wasn't lying when I said it's been a busy couple of weeks. My not so little, little brother graduated from Miami University last week! He was a four year student-athlete and is now going onto professional school for further study. I am so, so, so proud of him and wish more than anything that I could have been there to see him not only graduate, but step on the mound one more time.
3. A Day at the Zoo!
The hubs and I took a Saturday trip to the zoo this past weekend which helped keep my mind focused on something other than my impending prelim. The NC Zoo is a couple of hours from Raleigh and we arrived around 1pm. To say this place was packed would be a monumental understatement! We were instructed to park on the side of the road along with the 100 other crazy families arriving at the same time. We walked a mile to the entrance, stood in line to get tickets for an hour, and then stood in line again from one exhibit to the next. I praise you people with kiddos and strollers! I could barely get myself up and down the hills and trails let alone with a crying, screaming kid and double wide stroller. Shew! We had a great time though! It was truly a beautiful day to go and not super humid or hot. I took 800 pictures of the giraffes and lions and got maybe 2 that were decent. All in all, a successful day in my book!
4. Little Tucker Beans
After grooming two weeks ago!
It wouldn't be a blog post without this little guy included! He gives me so much comfort and stress relief and he doesn't even know it.

This was #obvi before grooming but it so suits him and the stage (gosh I sound like he's a child...but he is my child) he is in at the moment. He is totally the king of our apartment up on his throne looking out
5. Crafting & Baking
I've done quite a few crafts and baked a whole of goods here lately. I find working with my hands to be a great stress reliever, especially when I get a cute and yummy end product out of it! More to come on the blog for both of these projects: Summer Flip Flop Wreath & Ultimate 3-Layer Cookie Cake!

I guess that's all folks! For now...Have a Happy Friday and enjoy your weekend

Friday, May 22, 2015

Pink + Zebra Palazzo Pants


I love a great pair of palazzo pants (and a cute pup named Tucker)! I have 4 or 5 pairs in my closet and they are so comfy! You can dress them up or down, wear them to run errands or to church, as I did this past Sunday. I love the bold colors and fun pattern in this most recent pair I purchased at Cato's. I linked directly to this pair but they have numerous options! The best part?! None of them are over $20 and some are on clearance for just $10!!! I'm sharing a few of my favorites below :)

Palazzo Pants

See how I styled my other palazzo pants here, here and here!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

WIWW: Colorblock Style Challenge

Happy Wednesday friends! Believe it or not this week is halfway over and it's "What I Wore Wednesday!" Today I'm sharing my looks from the Instagram color block style challenge that I shared with you last week.

Teal & Yellow
Top: {Marshall's, old} Denim: {JCP, old} Tank: {Old Navy, old} Necklace/Bangle: {Cato Fashions, old} Flats: {Walmart, old}

Coral & Cobalt
Top: {Versona Accessories} Denim: {NY&CO} Necklace: {Bijoux Boutique, old} Flats: {Topshop, Spain, old}

Teal & Pink
Top: {Marshall's, old} Denim: {NY&CO, old} Necklace: {Bijoux Boutique, old} Flats*: {Walmart, old}
*Yes, I'm wearing flats in all of these photos. The research lab I work in requires closed toe shoes so fab sandals and such are not an option for my everyday wear :(

Purple & Cobalt
Tank: {Marshall's, old} Cardigan: {The Limited, old} Denim: {NY&CO} Necklace: {Versona Accessories} Flats: {surely you know by now...}

Yellow & Cobalt
Tank: {J Crew} Denim: {NY&CO} Necklace: {Cato Fashions, old...I really need to expand the yellow in my's basically nonexistent} Flats: {Gap, old}
Well there you have it folks! It feels good to complete an entire style challenge, Monday to Friday. I'm working on another this week, again by the same creative Instagram gal. So far, I'm 2/2! Cheers to the weekend!!!...yes, I realize it's only Wednesday ;)

Friday, May 15, 2015

Friday Favorites

It's FRIYAY!!!...and I don't know about ya'll but this has been one stressful week for me. Between rescheduling my preliminary exam, my testing chamber breaking down, and being behind on our overall research project, it has all started to catch up to me. So, I'm linking up with Andrea, Erika, and Narci to recap my favorites from this week. I'm soooo looking forward to planting my behind at the pool the next couple of days!
1. I love participating in style challenges on Instagram, but the month long ones overwhelm me. My perfectionist personality kicks in and I think if I can't do all 30 days, what's the point. That's why my FAVORITES are Shannon's style challenges. They are weekly and I don't feel so bad if I can't participate one day, or one week, here or there. Plus, she is super creative and they're always fun! I love seeing how everyone else interprets the theme for the day!
This week was all about color blocking and I shared my Pinterest inspiration with you all in Monday's post. Here's a sneak peek of Monday's look, Teal & Yellow:
I'll recap all of this week's looks next Wednesday for WIWW.
And, if you want to participate, here's next week's style challenge:
2. My second FAVORITE this week was throwing Travis a little surprise birthday party at our apartment in Raleigh. I had purchased the gifts, décor, party supplies, and baking ingredients a few weeks ahead of time but we were unexpectedly out of town on the day of his birthday. So, I rushed home Monday afternoon and whipped this little party up in under 2 hours. It was like a marathon for icing cupcakes!
My FAVORITES were the yummy Mountain Dew Cupcakes, which we've gorged snacked on all week, and the candy bouquet. I love decorating, baking, and crafting! I might need a support group for my addiction :) If I come home with one more bag of dollar tree craft/décor items Trav is gonna kill me!
3. Watching movies has always been a FAVORITE of mine. I watched "The Other Woman" on HBO Monday night and it was pretty hilarious. If you have HBO, or HBO Go, and a free girls it. I literally LOL'd! I can't say the same though for the other movie I watched this week. Thanks to my sister-in-law's suggestion, I found "The Cleveland Abduction" on and watched it over the course of two nights. It was quite intense and very saddening. There were a couple of parts that I couldn't watch. I had to turn away. I also watched the documentary online that follows the movie.
Then, thanks to an Insta-friend's suggestion, I purchased the book written by Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus on Kindle. I started reading it last night and I'm already almost half way through. It's not a pleasant read but, WOW, these girls are amazing survivors. What they went through was beyond horrific but they maintained their faith and hope in a hopeless situation. I plan to read Michelle Knight's book as well.
4. And my all time Summer FAVORITE?! Pool Time!!! I got in my first little glimpse of pool time last night. The sun was virtually nonexistent by the time I got home and down to the pool but it was so nice to escape for a little while with a good book and music. That is where I plan to spend 95% of my weekend! Maybe I will do a summer pool bag post soon!
5. My final FAVORITE this week is teal nail polish. I am searching for the perfect teal color and I think I found it but I refuse to pay $10 for a bottle of nail polish. It was an Essie polish but I can't find the exact color online or remember the full name. It had the word "checkbook" in it but that's all I can remember...of course! Anyways, I tried an old OPI teal-ish color I had at home but it's too dark and shimmery. I'm probably going back for the shade I saw earlier this week. I'll let you know when I find it!
Well, that's a wrap folks! I hope you enjoy your weekend!


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Travis' 27th Birthday

Yes, I threw a birthday party for my husband...yes, I just said husband...and yes, you read that title right...he turned 27 a week ago today. I love crafting, decorating, and baking so I had planned for some time to put together a little birthday surprise for him. Last week we were home and celebrated with our families then. I still wanted to put this little "party" together for him, especially since I had already purchased everything and his gifts had been wrapped and hidden under the bed for 3 weeks!
I'll do a supplies list at the end of this post with details of everything I used and where I purchased it. The majority of items came from the Dollar Tree, Walmart, and leftover party supplies from last year.

I was somehow able to miraculously whip all this together in less than 2 hours including these delicious Mountain Dew Cupcakes!

I posted my Mountain Dew Cake recipe last year for Travis' birthday, and I have been making him this same cake for years now, so I decided to switch it up and do cupcakes. I followed my original recipe for a bundt cake but separated it into fun party cupcake liners instead. I wanted big cupcakes, not puny ones, so I double scooped (using a cookie scooper) which made only 18 cupcakes instead of the typical 24. But believe me, that was plenty for the two of us!
The original recipe calls for a glaze, not icing, so I used this Mountain Dew Cake frosting recipe. It turned out really runny so I added another 1/2 cup of powdered sugar at the end. That, along with letting the cupcakes cool (I did this all in under 2 hours remember), using unsalted butter instead of margarine, and following directions properly probably would have avoided the runny icing debacle 5 minutes before Travis was supposed to walk in the door....but anyways! 

I'm not sure at what point I decided on a royal blue and lime green theme but I picked the paper products up at Walmart

This candy bouquet was so fun to make...#not. To be fair, I made this early last week when I wasn't in the best mood or emotional shape but it stressed me out! The hot glue kept cooling off and the skittles boxes wouldn't stay together. A couple of ponytail holders later and I said good riddance. Overall, it was pretty simple, and cheap, to make. And it's a cute gift no matter the occasion!

I cut out a 5x7 piece of the gift wrap and slid it into a frame just for decoration. I also slapped a bow on the box of Red Bull just because I had an extra one and #whynot. I picked up the birthday hats at the Dollar Tree and broke 4 of them within 30 seconds of trying to one on. Note to time buy better birthday hats at Walmart or Party City (if this was a legitimate kids party or something).

I colored my buttercream icing using 5 drops of yellow and 1 drop of green (lime green instructions on the back of the food coloring box saved me) and topped with lime green sugar sprinkles.
Funny story about the cupcake display holder. We received one off our wedding registry almost two years ago. I had taken it out of the box when we moved in so it would fit in the cabinet but had never assembled it. I tried assembling it last week and it was broken. It suddenly dawned on me that we had a Bed, Bath and Beyond a couple of streets over from us. I jumped in the car, took it back, and explained that I didn't have the box or receipt but it was a gift off our registry. Long story short, after 3 employees searched for 30 minutes in store and online, I realized it was from our Macy's registry, not BB&B! I was mortified...I politely admitted my mistake to the cashier and humbly walked out. At that point, all I could do was LOL. This was shortly after my fight with the candy bouquet...
Walmart had this cute 13 cupcake display holder for $13. I snagged it in a pinch and it worked perfectly!

Travis was pleasantly surprised and loved his UK vest, baseball video game, and candy bouquet.

He better eat every last piece of that candy bouquet! {I'm not bitter about it...can you tell?}

Tucker & I had to take a picture to prove that we were there and all my our hard work paid off! Excuse Tucker's hair...he has an appointment at the groomer's this week.

I snagged these "Happy Birthday" candles at the Dollar Tree.

Happy 27th Birthday Travis! Tucker & I love you so much!

Birthday Hat Selfie!
Supply List:
Dollar Tree:
-Gift wrap/bows/tissue paper
-Birthday Card
-Blue/white pattern plate
-Birthday hats
-Candy for bouquet
-Floral foam block for bouquet
-Food and supplies to make Mt. Dew Cupcakes and frosting
-Red Bull
-Happy Birthday streamer and banner (old, last year)
-Cups, forks, straws, plates, and napkins
-Cupcake holder
-Wooden dowels for candy bouquet

And for your comic relief (as if this post hasn't been one already) here are a few outtakes from mine and Tucker's photo shoot:

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

What I Wore Wednesday

I'm catching up today on my last style challenge I participated in a couple of weeks ago on Instagram.
Preppy Chic - Pearls & Gingham
Gingham Button-Up: {JCP, old} Floral Accent Cardigan: {NY&CO, old} Denim: {NY&CO} Flats: {Walmart, old} Pearl Necklace: {Cato Fashions, similar}
Nautical Chic - Striped Boat Sweater & Gold Accents
V-Neck Sweater: {Banana Republic - STILL ON SALE} Cropped Pants: {Elder Beerman, old} Flats: {Target, old}

Sporty Chic - Denim on Denim + Sneakers
Jeweled Chambray Button-Up: {LOFT} Black Denim: {Versona} Sneakers: {Target, also love these}

Boho Chic - Denim Tunic & Crochet Vest
Denim Tunic*: {Target} Crochet Vest: {Cato Fashions, old} Leggings: {Kohls, old} Boots: {DSW, old}
*This "tunic" is really a dress but on my 6' frame it is most certainly a tunic as it bears parts of my legs that no one outside of my husband should ever lay eyes on...hence the leggings and "tunic." So if you are considering this, know it will most likely fit you like a normal dress.

 The last day, Friday, was Paris Chic. I didn't participate because I had scheduled a practice run of my preliminary exam (before it was postponed due to the passing of my grandfather). I was too busy making sure I looked professional, picking up doughnuts, and preparing my presentation to find something that also fit this theme. Better luck next time! 4 for 5 is pretty good!
I'm excited to show you my color blocking looks from this week, on the blog next week. So far, I'm 2/2!
Also, here's what I wore for a couple of outings while we were home last week:
I LOVE this dress! I've had it for about 3 years now and it's is SO fun!  It's super comfy and I love all the color and patterns. I scored it at Belk when I was visiting NC State for Six Sigma classes {for size reference, this dress is a size 6 and is plennttyyy long enough}. This was my favorite time wearing it to date because....THOSE you see those shoes?!
Gah...I'm in heaven in those heels! I scored these beauties (originally $150) on the 75% off clearance table at Macy's a few weeks back when I was out shopping with my Mom. We had an extra 25% off Friends and Family which made them a whopping $20!! They're gorgeous, they fit perfectly, are extremely comfortable, and make me feel so fab! The hubs wasn't super amused that I was almost as tall as he is (6'4") but he is a good sport about me wearing heels and is still, clearly, taller than me, even in heels. I'm sure you'll be seeing a whole lot more of these on the blog soon!

This picture doesn't do this outfit, or these pants, justice. I plan to do a full outfit post featuring these beauties soon! The best part? They're just $20 and you can shop them online! For size reference, I'm 6' tall and a medium is plenty long on me.
Here's to more outfit posts soon! Tomorrow I'm rounding up a post on the surprise birthday celebration I threw for Travis in NC earlier this week.

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