Life Stuffs

Work, family and more

This past weekend Jacob and I were lucky enough to spend the evening with my friend and amazing photographer, Alex. Since graduating from The University of Iowa this spring (Go Hawks!), Alex has been diving into her photography full force. Check out her website here!

I wore this dress last year for graduation and was so excited to wear it again. While my dress is no longer available, I linked some similar dresses along with accessories below.

  

While I’m a little late for graduation ideas, white or ivory are great to keep in mind because they will look good with any cap and gown. Obviously black is a classic choice as well. A white shift dress like the ones below are perfect for a wedding shower, engagement party, rehearsal dinner…you get the idea.

  1. Lord & Taylor Scalloped Lace Shift Dress
  2. Kohl’s Lace Shift Dress
  3. Kohl’s Lace Shift Dress – Additional sizes
  4. Earrings
  5. Bracelet
  6. Sandals

To see the second outfit we wore, click to Alex’s post here.

(Alex’s magical unicorn photos versus the iPhone) Thanks for such a fun evening, Alex!

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It’s time for the #NSale! Nordstrom’s Half-Yearly Sale is always amazing, but make sure you hop on things FAST! I know in the past I’ve let items sit in my cart overnight and they’re gone the next morning. I kept my top picks under $50 for ya so you can snag a few extra things. Now, let’s shop:

  1. Decker Lace-Up Sandal
  2. Oracle Drop Earrings
  3. Movement Trail Blazer Tank
  4. Small Pineapple
  5. Jet Set Travel Card Case
  6. Cat Eye Gradient Sunglasses
  7. Denim Shorts
  8. Textured Stripe Slipdress
  9. Good Vibes Sweatshirt
  10. Home State Glass Coasters
  11. Getdown Sandal

I tried to keep it to 10 but had to sneak in one extra! I’m getting the shorts because I don’t have a denim pair and am thinking about the slip dress. Also considering the pineapple because who doesn’t need a rose gold pineapple?

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There is a shelf in one of my cabinets that looks like a mini Bath & Body Works. I know some people love having a signature scent to burn, but I like the scents to match the season. I wanted to share my three favorite candles that I’m excited to burn (hopefully with the windows open) very soon:

Bath & Body Works – Mango Coconut Cooler: My boyfriend’s mom gave me this candle and it smells like a tropical vacation, without being fake or overly sweet. I can’t find it online at the moment, but keep your eyes peeled in stores!

Bath & Body Works – Georgia Peach: This is the most delicious sweet peach scent. I burn through 2-3 of these in the spring and summer.

Milk Handmade – Meyer Lemon: I went to The Wicker Collective over the weekend and picked up two candles from Milk Handmade. I’m currently burning Paloma, which I love, but this one might smell even better. This candle smells just like an Italian Lemon Cookie, perfect for the kitchen.

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With Spring Break just around the corner, I wanted to finally recap our trip to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

For all of you big Harry Potter fans out there, I won’t go into too much detail to help keep the magic alive. But for those of you that aren’t Harry Potter fans, you’ll most likely think I’ve gone overboard on the detail. Here’s what you need to see, do, eat and drink at Universal Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter (plus a few other rides).

TIP #1: Go in the off season. I am so happy we got to go in February. Not only is the weather perfect, but you’ll also save on hotels in the off season. It was still plenty warm and we broke a sweat a few times standing in the sun. I can only imagine going in the summer.

Let’s start from the beginning: Jacob and I were so impressed and overwhelmed by the entrance to Universal that we actually thought we were already inside. This was my first time and I was excited for Harry Potter but not much else. After just seeing the entrance, that quickly changed. There are tons of shops and restaurants in the City Walk that stay open well after the park closes. If you’re hungry (or need a drink) when you get out, there are plenty of options.

TIP #2: Make sure you remember which thumb they scan when you check-in.

We went on two rides before we got to Harry Potter, Spider-Man and King Kong. Spider-Man turned out to be one of my favorite rides of the day. King Kong was ok, I’d only recommend it if you’re a fan.

TIP #3: Do Hogsmeade first (left side of the map). The crowd rushes to Diagon Alley first in the morning to go in the same order that Harry did. Trust me, it’s still just as magical going out of order, and you get to avoid some of the rush.

You can see the “skyline” of Hogsmeade around Jurassic Park (the only thing we ran out of time for, which Jacob was bummed about). This is where my heart rate started to pick up.

*starts crying because dreams do come true*

I couldn’t help but cry. I’ve reread Harry Potter quite a few times, have watched the movies countless times and even went to buy the books at midnight when they came out. Between the score playing in the background and the sight of Butterbeer up ahead, there was no holding back the water works.

TIP #4: Ask for extra foam on your Butterbeer. Just do it. The frozen Butterbeer is easier to walk around with but I preferred the original.

Honeydukes was amazing. I have a ton of pictures from inside but like I said, I don’t want to spoil too much. Make sure you stop in (and check out the counter where a bunch of celebs pop up…you never know who might be in there).

Next up, we went to school. I brought a small cross-body purse with me but be warned, they’re rarely allowed on any of the rides. We walked through Hogwarts and got to the ride but had to turn around to go put my purse in a locker (they’re free). It worked out well because there was so much to see and I’m glad we got to go through twice.

TIP #5: Walk through Hogwarts twice. Go through the first time to enjoy everything but instead of getting on the ride, ask for the stairs to the gift shop. Then go through again and hop on the ride. The ride was amazing. If you really want, do that twice while you’re at it.

After heading to school, we went on The Flight of the Hippogriff. I was impressed with how fun this ride considering it’s a shorter one. The highlight was seeing Hagrid’s little hut.

After the Hippogriff, we were ready to upgrade to dragons and went on the Triwizard Tournament ride.

TIP #6: The red and the blue dragon are different. The red dragon is smooth and fast, while the blue dragon is slightly slower but rougher. We did both because the lines were so short.

At this point, Jacob was super hungry so we decided to take the Hogwarts Express to Diagon Alley for lunch. The Three Broomsticks is in Hogsmeade and is served buffet style. We decided we wanted to go to The Leaky Cauldron in Diagon Alley for a sit-down lunch.

TIP #7: Buy the park-to-park pass. If you need so save money, don’t buy souvenirs that are going to inevitably clutter your closet as soon as you get home. Go for the experience.

Jacob had a pre-lunch “snack” before we went into Diagon Alley. He got the largest hot dog I have ever seen, smashed that and then at another full meal inside. All of the food is displayed in a case so you know what you’re getting. The fish and chips were awesome and Jacob got a chicken sandwich, which he said was good. The table next to us had an awesome looking cheese board if you just need a light snack.

Nerd alert: GRINGOTTS WAS SO COOL I FELT LIKE I WAS ACTUALLY HELPING HARRY ON THE RIDE. That’s all.

There is an ice cream shop outside of Gringotts with a bunch of fun and funky flavors. Stop in if you need a snack. The cup portion is definitely sharable.

After we shopped around for awhile, we decided to explore a little bit of the rest of the park. At this point it was around 2 o’clock, so as a reference, we spent a solid 5 hours up until this point just in Harry Potter.

My two highlights on the right side of the park were the Rip Ride Rockit and the Transformers ride. If you go on Rip Ride Rockit, which you should, listen to “Stronger.” Go on the Transformers ride even if you aren’t a huge fan.

TIP #8: The ride back to Hogsmeade is different than the one going to Diagon Alley, so make sure you ride it both ways.

As if I hadn’t had enough sugar already, I got a Pumpkin Juice before leaving the park. Strangely, it tastes exactly like apple pie, not pumpkin. Either way, it’s delicious.

We went on a few more rides before finally leaving as the park closed. The Hulk was fun but you can skip Dr. Doom. I never expected that I would’ve enjoyed Universal outside of Harry Potter as much as I did. If you ever get the chance – go. It’s incredible. If you have any questions, I’ll do my best to answer them down below!

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Hello and Happy March! Today I am so excited to share a post that you will hopefully find very helpful. I’ve gotten questions before on how I plan out my content so I wanted to share 5 tips and tricks to make your life easier!

1) If you are the type of blogger who just writes when they feel like it, I commend you. I am not that type of a person. I like planning out my content at the beginning of every month. I work a full-time job and know many of you are in school, have a family or even a combo! If you’re a busy person, plan it out. I use my ban.do agenda to plan everything in my life. This is my second year with a planner from ban.do and absolutely love the medium size.

2) I start by taking a look at big days that are happening that month – holidays, silly “National” holidays (i.e. National Flower Day is the 21st), birthdays…things like that. I try and use this as a framework for my blog posts. For example, on the first day of each new season, I always do a seasonal wish list, so that’s one blog post right off the bat. Favorites are another one that I know I’ll do at the end of each month. Try and keep a balance between new and exciting content as well as some regular content your readers can look forward to.

3) I like to print out two blank calendars. Start by printing calendars with the correct days so you don’t have to rewrite them all like I did! I use one calendar for my blog content and the other for my Instagram content.

  • I start by filling in all of the blog posts I want to do that month
  • Next, I’ll fill in the Instagram calendar with photo ideas that correspond with the blog posts I’m planning. I like to post 2 photos/blog post so I can promote the post across multiple days in case people don’t see it the first time.

You can see that once this is done, I have 15/31 days covered for Instagram pictures. The rest I’ll either come up with the day of, or it gives me some leeway if new things pop up and I have to do some shuffling.

4) Once I have my Instagram pictures planned, I like to write out their captions. I try to do this at the beginning of each week or when I’m on the couch watching TV. I normally am posting my Instagram pictures quickly while I’m at work so I obviously don’t want to be spending a lot of time writing a caption as I’m posting. About a month ago I had 15+ photos in my Instagram drafts with captions, tags and locations done when they were DELETED (no idea how)! I was really mad, so now I’ve gone back to how I did it before there were drafts and I write them out in my notes app.

5. Don’t forget to plan your hashtags! At the top of this screenshot, you can see a list of hashtags I commonly use. I keep them written out because I like to do anything I can to make my life easier! If you’re posting a picture of your food for example, obviously make sure you’re using the appropriate hashtags for that too to get as much visibility as possible.

That’s it! I hope that some of you found this helpful for all of your planning purposes! Please let me know if you have any questions down below or leave a comment on any of my social media, links are in the sidebar.

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