Life Stuffs

Work, family and more

I’ve been doing a lot of online shopping lately. When I say, “online shopping,” what I really mean is adding things to my cart and then never purchasing them because I still get the rush of seeing a potential purchase. I’ve found some pretty stellar dupes if I do say so myself, so if you’re on a budget like yo girl, enjoy all of these dupes for under $30.

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Marble-Top Table

(Left) Pottery Barn: $319.99 | (Right) Kmart: $29.00

Kmart has some seriously awesome home accessories? Who knew.

Pouch/Makeup Bag

(Top) Rebecca Minkoff: $59.99 | (Bottom) Old Navy: $10

Leather, faux suede…for an extra $50 in your wallet, I wouldn’t notice.

Golden Spike Necklace

(Left) Alexis Bittar: $245 | (Right) Forever 21: $8.90

Sure it may not be gold but if we’re being honest, you’ll be sick of this necklace in a year anyway.

Tote Bag

(Right) Madwell: $168 | (Left) Walmart: $9.97

I love my Walmart tote bag so much ! I definitely want to get the taupe and maybe the brown. My sister has the poppy and it is so cute. You could get all 10 of the colors from Walmart and still come out ahead of the Madwell bag.


(Top) Chloe: $495 | (Bottom) H&M: $24.99

No you don’t have pretty little frills but yes you’ll be able to pay your rent.

Expensive total: $1,287.98

Dupe total: $82.86

Which one of the expensive items do you think would be worth the splurge? Let me know down below!


Happy Thursday, or as I like to look at it, “Happy four more weeks until Grey’s Anatomy is back.” Today, I want to share some of my thoughts on the 2016 Summer Olympics. I love the Olympics. I think especially this year, the Olympics were so important for the nation and the world to have something to celebrate together.

In the midst of all of the excitement, one “news” segment I watched about the Olympics made me very upset. The clip from Sports Court on Fox News features Tamara Holder discussing female Olympians wearing makeup with Mark Simone, a radio host, and Bo Dietl, a former NYPD Detective. For starters, I thought of this when I saw their titles:

As in, how are you qualified to voice your opinion on this topic with your profession? I’ve been writing this post since I saw the clip last Tuesday, trying to collect my thoughts and make this sound like less of a rant, but I’m not making any promises. I’m not going to link the video because I don’t want Fox to earn another penny off of the video. If you feel the same, I’ve provided photos and direct quotes for your convenience. Let us all enjoy:

Here’s a visual of what we’re working with. Tamara Holder starts by saying, “Joining me are two men…”

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I’ve brushed on their professions but now I should point out the bigger issue: once again, here are two middle-aged white men sharing their opinions on a subject related to women that has NOTHING to do with them. Why?

Nicole, maybe you’re being too harsh. This is true. Let’s continue. Holder asks, “Do you think that women should feel like they need to be empowered by wearing makeup?”

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Mark: “The whole point of the Olympics, the whole reason for this training, for this work to get there, is product endorsements! Cosmetic companies – you’re opening up a ton of revenue for product endorsements. It’ll be great for every athlete in the future.”


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Bo: “I think when you see an athlete, why should I have to look at some chick’s zits or some guy’s zits on his face? Why not a little blush on her lips and cover those zits? I like to see a person who wins that gold medal go up there and look beautiful.”


NOPE I WAS RIGHT. We should have stopped with, “Joining me are two men.”

Before I share the thoughts that really matter, Bo, you should know that blush goes on your cheeks, not your lips.

Bo might not be all that bright though because he goes on to talk about Michael Phelps without knowing his name. He refers to Phelps as the “skinny guy” and says that he should put makeup on before accepting his medals so he doesn’t look like a “white rat.”

There are so, so many issues with this whole segment.

  1. Why are men, not even in the sports industry, sharing their opinions about athletes?
  2. Why are men, who don’t know the difference between blush and lipstick, sharing their opinion on makeup?

Simone Biles, if you can fly through the air and flip for infinity all while rocking some glitter eyeliner (I’m betting it’s Urban Decay’s Heavy Metal), you go girl. However, women should not have to feel like they need to wear makeup to appear beautiful for the sake of a man.

simone-biles-eyelinerNow someone who is qualified to speak on this topic is Michelle Carter, a female Gold Medalist:


Women are so much more. We are more than just one single thing and we are capable of doing so many things. Like Michelle Carter points out, women should not be defined just by what they do or what they look like. Whether or not women are wearing makeup should not change our accomplishments or the words coming out of our mouth.

Tell me, did you see this clip? What do you think? Let me know down below.


My stress level right now is pretty high. Not as high as it was 10 days ago when we didn’t have an apartment and needed one by August 1st, but still pretty high.


Let me backtrack. We’ll treat this as a mini life update and I’ll give you my tips along the way. Mainly I’ll tell you what NOT to do when looking for an apartment in Chicago.

A month ago, my boyfriend got a job in Chicago, so we knew we had one month to find a place before he started his job. It was all very exciting since we’ve talked about moving in together for awhile now, I just didn’t think it’d happen so quickly. At the beginning of the month, neither of us did a lot of active searching, other than figuring out what we could not afford. There was a lot of dreaming about winning the lottery.

Tip #1: Eliminating the bad is just as helpful as finding the good. Identifying what you don’t want/need/can’t afford is just as helpful as finding places that are a good fit. You’re still narrowing down your search in the right direction.

Early July, a friend recommended a real estate agent and I felt a huge sense of relief. Chicago’s a big city and even pinpointing the neighborhood you want can be a battle. The real estate agent failed to reply after my second email and at this point, another week had gone by. Feeling a little defeated, I went to my brother who’s lived in the city for a long time now. He helped me go through a few places, which gave me a little hope for what was out there. I had the most luck on Domu, and Zillow. Zillow is super user friendly. Say you message five places in a night, the next morning you’ll wake up with an email of the five places you contacted, their information and recommendations for similar apartments. Here’s a link to Chicago apartments.

Tip #2: You’re the only one that cares about you. This goes for finding your apartment, working with a real estate agent, leasing agent (is there a difference? I don’t know…I’m not adult enough) or a landlord. Look out for yourself because everyone else always has an agenda.


On the second week in, I went to see three places in two days and liked one a lot. The day after viewing it, I went to turn in our application and deposit only to find that someone else had put in an application just that morning. I was crushed.

Tip #3: Be Prepared. If you’re going to view a place…1. Ask if there are any apps in yet so you’re aware. 2. Come with your application and deposit so if you want to, you can jump on the place as you’re viewing it.


It was now he third week of July and we were back to square one. My boyfriend was searching during the day and I was looking in the evening after work. I was on Zillow one night and messaged over 10 places. The next day, I got an email back on one and went to see the place after work. I fell in love. It had everything we needed and more. It was slightly over our original budget, but we were able to eliminate commuting costs, which can be another $100+/month and is something to consider with your budget.

Tip #4: Dolla bills. Added costs you don’t always consider: Commuting costs, application fees for the apartment, security deposit for utilities, Chicago parking sticker…I’ll tell ya more when they come up. Make sure you have a little cushion for those “Oh crap” costs.


In the end, we got the apartment and signed just 10 days before move-in. We are so excited and cannot wait to get settled in. Check Instagram to see if I have any new pics of the place up next week!

Tip #5: Change your address. This might be a “duh,” but change your address before you go shopping! Just click here to change your address. You get coupons for Bed Bath & Beyond, Pottery Barn, Wayfair, Crate & Barrel and more.


Thanks for listening to my #ThursdayThoughts. You can read my last one in this new series here. Time to blog in Chicago! xoxo

I Just Graduated...Now What

I wanted to start a new series here on the blog called #ThursdayThoughts. In some ways, I feel like I’ve pigeoned myself into a bit of a hole by mainly talking about beauty and have wanted to branch out with my content for awhile now. To kick things off, I figured it was only appropriate to start with the largest life change I’ve experienced thus far, graduating college. It’s been a crazy last three weeks and I’m still trying to process everything. Writing has always helped, so here we are…

At the end of the school year, without any job prospects in sight, I decided that I was going to stay in Iowa until the end of my lease and come home after that. Then, in quite the turn of events, I was suddenly home for a week, employed, and working the next Monday (a story for another day). When I arrived home my mom had some brand new journals (always necessary to have one on hand) along with a book on my bed as a gift. The book is very appropriately titled, I Just Graduated…Now What? Hopefully it’ll help.

I didn’t think there’d be a life plan or anything along with my diploma, but I was at least hoping I’d feel a little more confident about the future once I walked across the stage. I’m starting to realize that the feeling I’m hoping for will most-likely never come. Being home is hard. I’ve suddenly burst into tears more than once when I’m driving and a song comes on that reminds me of my roommates. After work, it’s nice calling my boyfriend, but also sad. Before summers weren’t too terrible; we always had the August finish line to look forward to with visits in-between. Now it’s harder to figure out the next time we’ll see each other.

He's handsome, huh?

He’s handsome, huh?

I’ve so appreciated being home and know that my situation is better than most recent college grads. One major perk of my house: having a Mary Poppins purse-like pantry. Plus, my parents are pretty cool.

I’m not trying to complain. I just know that if I feel this way, there has to be at least one other person that has felt this way before too.

All in all, life is pretty good. Here are the main takeaways if you just want the highlights:

  1. Don’t ever wish college away. Ever. Even in the face of a cumulative final.
  2. NETWORK! If I hadn’t talked with a relative of a friend of my mom, I wouldn’t be at a desk right now (I’m on my lunch, don’t worry). 55 apps later and I had zip on the horizon. It ain’t easy out there, folks.
  3. Go with the flow. I’m a very high-strung person, so I’m trying to relax a little. Honestly, I was proud how flexible and non-stressed I was about starting a job so last minute, but things are great so far. As my boyfriend would say, “Chill.”
Would not have graduated without them

Would not have graduated without them

I think that’s everything for now. I’d definitely like to make this series a once-a-month deal, so I hope you all like it. I promise the next one will be cheerier. xoxo

These are some things that happened my senior year that were awesome. I tried my best to keep them in order, but I’m sure I messed up…

1. Took pictures on the Pentacrest late at night


2. Had a writing internship (you can read the piece I’m most proud of here)


3. Went on a lovely walk for a good cause


4. Went to our friends’ wedding (and had another friend’s wedding later in the fall)


5. Finally visited my friend at Wisconsin


6. Had some more great photo shoots with my friend Alex


7. Cut people’s hair at a party (I think I might have a future calling)


8. Made it on BUZZFEED

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9. Pariticipated in the Iowa Caucus

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10. Performed on a very snowy Kinnick (and wore snow boots)


11. Watched the Hawks go undefeated


12. Went to the B1G 10 ChampionshipScreen Shot 2016-05-08 at 3.28.46 PM

13. Also casually went to the Rosebowl (we’ll ignore the defeat)


14. Drank a classy cocktail in LA

*photo taken pre not post cocktail that's just how we operate

*photo taken pre cocktail not post that’s just how we operate

15. Watched the Parenthood series finale in one sitting

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16. Spent some time in Colorado with my favorite peeps (sister and brother-in-law included)


17. Rode a mechanical bull in a dress on my 22nd birthday


18. Got a tattoo


19. Tried something new and took a yoga class (still can’t touch my toes)

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20. Saw Matt Bellasai (you can imagine my excitement considering #8)

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21. Saw my favorite band for the…too many times


22. Lived with my best friends


This is just a snapshot of senior year, but I wanted to make a little something to look back on. I never thought that I’d fall in love with Iowa like I have, but I feel so lucky to have lived here these last four years. I’m almost a grad and post-grad life is starting to look up a little, so that’s exciting. Here’s to you, dear old Iowa U.