It has been a hot minute since I’ve done a random life post, but today I’m kind of in the mood to dump my brain and catch you all up to speed with the random things that I’ve been up to!

I’ve been working hard to get everything together for my nursing school applications. I owe you guys a post on my career change and new life “plan” so I’ll try to get that done soon. Last weekend I went to an all day study group to prepare for the North Carolina Nurse’s Aide exam, which I’ll take an about three weeks. All of the skills seem fairly painless, but taking blood pressure is harder than I imagined! I just need to practice, so I’ll be annoying my friends for the next few weeks asking to take their BP. :) I’m pretty sure I know what nursing schools I’ll be applying to, but am trying to solidify the list in the next few weeks. I’d love to have all of my applications submitted before Christmas so that I can just relax and enjoy the holiday season.

nursing school meme

Speaking of holidays, I am almost completely finish with my Christmas shopping! I don’t know what’s gotten into me but I am a crazy person for Christmas this year. We have decorations on our mantle, tree-scented candles burning, and Christmas music playing. I’ve even wrapped all of my presents! The only present I’m stumped on is something for JB, so if you’ve got any good ideas for guy gifts, leave me a note in the comments. :)

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Tip for you guys hunting for Christmas presents: stalk your local TJ Maxx and/or Marshall’s. My local Marshall’s is right beside Trader Joe’s, so I make a quick lap around every Sunday before I do my grocery shopping. People always tell me that they can’t find anything there, but you just have to have the patience to look! I scored one of my best finds ever last week… a GlamGlow mask. I’ve been reading about these masks on blogs and in magazines for years now but they retail for $70. Um yeah, never gonna spend that much money on a face mask. But at TJ Maxx last week, they had a brand new, unopened GlamGlow Youthmud mask for $6. $6!!!! So awesome. I need to try it a few more times, but if it’s worthy, I’ll write a little review for ya.

youthmud glamglow

Moving on to some exciting news – my brother is opening a cupcake shop! He and two of his friends got together to bring Smallcakes to Durham. Clearly we are related, evidenced by our love of dessert. You may recognize Smallcakes from Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” and a few appearances on “The View.” USA Today even listed it as one of the Top Ten Cupcake places to try in the country! I’m so excited for the grand opening in a few weeks and have volunteered myself to be the official taste tester. If you’re local to the Raleigh/Durham area, I would LOVE to see you at the grand opening in a few weeks. Feel free to follow them on Twitter or like their Facebook page to get more info about an opening date, daily flavors, etc…

Smallcakes RDU

I’m working on a line of handmade (cupcake themed) greeting cards for the grand opening, so that has been taking up a good amount of my free time. I think they’re turning out to be pretty darn cute, though, so it’s a fun project to work on. If they sell well, I’m planning to getting them printed in bulk… cutting out all of the little pieces of paper and gluing them together takes a long time. The other night I made 11 and it took me three hours!

New Girl crafting gif

I  really can’t complain about three hours of cupcake making because I’ve been passing the time with my latest obsession… Scandal. Wow, guys, I’m late to the game on this one. A few weeks ago I was home sick with the stomach bug and texted some friends asking for a Netflix show recommendation. I knew I wouldn’t be leaving the couch all day so I wanted something to help pass the time. Everyone responded with “SCANDAL!!!!” so I decided to give it a go. So glad I did because I l-o-v-e it! I am watching it during all of my free time; when I do my make up and straighten my hair, during nap time at work, on the stair climber at the gym; when I get home in the evenings. Obsessed. I’m about half-way through Season 3 and will be really sad when I’m all caught up. That scene with Olivia’s mom’s wrist in prison though… about puked. Hmm yes my weak stomach around blood will make my nursing career interesting!

scandal olivia pope gif

Thanks to my vigorous Scandal-watching, I really haven’t been doing too much reading. I started The Night Circus a few months ago, but have found it a bit slow to get started. I’m about 30% of the way through but can’t say I’m very invested. Have any of you read it? Does it pick up? Should I continue on? I’ll have a post for you guys at the end of the year reviewing what I read in 2014, if you’re looking for recommendations.

Oh! Last thing. JB and I are going to Florida this weekend! We are going to a wedding in Winter Park on Saturday, and on Sunday we are going to Disney World with some friends! Sunday just so happens to be JB’s birthday, so it’s good timing. We haven’t decided for sure what park we are going to do, but we’re leaning towards Hollywood Studios. I worked at Disney one summer (7 years ago now, ah!) but can hardly remember what all there is to do in Hollywood Studios. Anyone have any recommendations? The two things on my must-do list are Tower of Terror and eating one of those chocolate-dipped Mickey ice cream bars. After working at Disney I swore that I would never go back, not even take my kids, but I think I’ve had enough space now to be excited about it. :)

disney world meme

Questions for you:

1. What the heck do you get guys for Christmas?

2. Any Scandal fans? What’s your latest Netflix obsession?

3. What are you reading? How is it?

4. Disney World recommendations?

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Who’s tired of hearing me talk about clothes? Probably all of you. Promise that this will be the last “fashion” related post for a while! It’s been a few months since I’ve shared some goodies from Stitch Fix, and today I’ve got two boxes to show ya. My August box was a really great one! Sadly my October box was kind of a bust, but I did get one keeper.

Fall Stitch Fix Review

Here’s what I got:

August Box

Market and Spruce Analisse Anorak Jacket – $88

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I’ve always appreciated the attention that Stitch Fix pays to my style board on Pinterest. I had pinned this anorack jacket and was so happy to find it in my Fix! It has a detachable hood and the sleeves roll down to full length. I kept it and have gotten lots of wear out of it.

Henry & Belle Moby Moto Detail Skinny Jean – $78

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I was really conflicted about these jeans. I actually liked them, and my roommates gave them the thumbs up, but when I asked on Instagram, everyone said to send them back. They fit great, but the “moto” seams made me unsure. Returned.

Under Skies Haizel Paisley Print Shift Dress – $78

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Haha, I think my face says everything about this dress. The fabric was very nice, but the print and fit were so matronly. Returned!

Fun2Fun Torrance Lace Detailed Sleeveless Blouse – $38

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I really like this top! It’s edgy yet feminine, something I’m kind of going for right now. I kept it and have worn it a number of times. Great for date night!

Gorjana Marina Hammered Metal Stud Earrings – $34

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These earrings were just my style. So much so, that I already own the exact pair of earrings! I appreciated the nice brand, it’s something I’ve seen at Nordstrom and other nice boutique stores. If I didn’t already have an identical pair, I definitely would have kept them. Returned.

October Box

Bay to Baubles Betsey Gem Triangle Layering Necklace – $28

Bay to Baubles Betsey Gem Triangle Layering Necklace

Meh. This necklace was fine I suppose, but nothing special. The quality felt cheap, like something I could find at Target or Forever 21. It also was constantly tangling in the 3 or 4 minutes I had it on. Returned.

Market and Spruce Alan French Terry Asymmetrical Zip Cardigan – $68

Market and Spruce Alan French Terry Asymmetrical Zip Cardigan

Haley got this sweater in a different color in her last fix and it was so cute on her. It looked terrible zipped up on me, but I did like it unzipped. The fabric was really soft and thick, and while I do think I’d get a good amount of wear out of it, I just couldn’t justify the $68 price tag. Returned.

41Hawthorn Carson Graphic Chevron Cross-Front Blouse – $64

41Hawthorn Carson Graphic Chevron Cross-Front Blouse

My biggest complaint about Stitch Fix is that I don’t think they always take feedback into account. I honestly cannot possibly count how many times I have asked for NO sheer items and NO chevron print, yet every time, they send me something sheer or chevron. This top is BOTH! I actually thought it looked decent on, but I couldn’t think of anywhere I would wear it. Also, in my requests for this box, I asked for “cozy items for fall.” A sheer tank top certainly does not meet that criteria… Returned.

Fate Leonard Geo Knit Cotton Sweater – $64

Fate Leonard Geo Knit Cotton Sweater

I’m sure that this sweater would look good one somebody, but that somebody is not me. Doesn’t it look extra cute with my workout pants and socks? Ha! Returned.

Skies Are Blue Sia Floral Embroidery Peasant Blouse – $58

Skies Are Blue Sia Floral Embroidery Peasant Blouse

Like I said, Stitch Fix does a good job of paying attention to Pinterest boards. I had pinned this top and was happy to receive it. I felt like it fit the bohemian style that I had requested well. Kept it.

So, did I make the right decisions? Anything I should have kept that I ended up sending back? If you’d like to give Stitch Fix a try, you can sign up here!

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Fall wardrobe staples for a fraction of the price

A few weeks ago I shared a list of staple pieces that I was hoping to add to my wardrobe for the fall season. After a few weeks of hunting for just the right pieces, I’ve made a number of purchases that I’m really happy with. The best part is that I saved a lot of money by hunting around, shopping sales, and finding great look-a-likes. In fact, I saved almost $400! Here’s the breakdown of what I pinned and what I purchased:

Jack Rogers flats v. Antonio Melani flats

It was quite an extensive search that finally led me to the Antonio Melani Prima Flats! I sent out a plea on the blog and on Facebook, asking everyone to recommend their favorite flats. I received a number of great responses and looked up reviews on every different brand. I was leaning towards purchasing a pair of Tieks, but they gave me serious sticker shock and I felt like the ratio of positive to negative reviews was a pretty even 50:50. A girl in my Life Group suggested Antonio Milani flats, a brand carried exclusively at Dillards. These flats ended up being exactly what I was looking for! They are classic, incredibly comfortable, and go with everything. If you order these, keep in mind that they stretch out a little!

Vans look-a-likes for only $12!

I’m a nanny, so my daily wardrobe is pretty casual. I have a pair of teal vans that I wore often this summer, but they don’t match many of my fall/winter pieces. I recently found this Lace Up Canvas Sneaker at Old Navy and they have been just a great as Vans. Old Navy was running a sale at the time so I actually got them for 50% off the sticker price. Win!

American Apparel Circle Scarf

Allow me to introduce you to the amazingness that is the American Apparel Unisex Circle Scarf. My friend Kara told me about this scarf recently and shortly after Jess from How Sweet Eats blogged about it as well. That was all I needed to make the purchase. I was so happy to find a skinny stripe that looked similar to the Forage scarf that I pinned. They have a ton of colors on sale right now for only $14!

Lululemon Wunder Unders v. Zella Live In Leggings

Everyone loves Lululemon’s Wunder Unders, but you’ve got to admit, they’re overpriced. The Zella Live In Leggings are nearly identical and are only half the price! I have heard that one of the Zella execs used to work for Lululemon, but then branched off to make a line for Nordstrom. Either way, I love these things and wear them at least three days a week.

Patagonia Better Sweater knock off for half the price!

Another look-a-like for half the price! I was in the market for a cozy fleece and was thrilled to find the The North Face Crescent Sunset Full Zip Jacket on sale at Nordstrom! I think Nordstrom is my new favorite place to shop…

Madewell Transport Tote knock off. 1/3 of the price! #totewell

I owe this find to Caroline Joy of Un-Fancy. I follow her on Insta and squealed when she posted this Faux Leather Tote. It is from the junior’s section of Nordstrom! It is also reversible – you can flip it inside out for a black bag. It’s pretty much a dead ringer for the famous Transport Tote from Madewell, for a fraction of the price.

Have you made any fun fall purchases or scored any great deals lately? I’d love to hear about them!

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