Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013: What A Year!

2013 has definitely been one of the more eventful years of my life. From graduating from high school in May, to moving to Columbia to start college at Mizzou in August, I've definitely had a year of milestones! 

I'm so thankful for my family and friends (new and old!) who have been by side during the events of the last year. I couldn't have done it without them, and having them with me makes things extra special!

On this last day of 2013, I thought I'd do a quick post with the three biggest highlights of 2013.

NUMBER ONE | High School Graduation

I graduated with honors from Central Catholic High School in May. I had a great four years at CCHS, and can't imagine spending my high school years anywhere else.

Here are some blog posts recapping my high school experience: 1/2

NUMBER TWO | Our Bike Trip to The Netherlands and Belgium

Each August, our family always goes on vacation before school starts up again. This year, we decided to hop the pond and spend ten days cycling around Holland and Belgium. It was my favorite vacation yet, hands down. The scenery was absolutely breathtaking, and there was no better way to see it then by pedaling through the countryside. We met great people, ate delicious food, and spent precious time together as a family. It is a trip I will never forget!

Delicious pannenkoeken

Biking by the seashore in Holland

Windmill in Kinderdijk

Canal in Amsterdam

Cruising the Amstel River in Amsterdam

Beautiful Brugge at night

To-die- for macarons in Brussels


I moved to Columbia, Missouri in August to start my college career at The University of Missouri. I couldn't have made a better college choice! I absolutely love it, and had an amazing first semester. I met so many great people, learned a lot, and definitely grew as a person. I am so proud to call myself a Missouri Tiger, and to study at the best School of Journalism in the nation.
To read a more in depth reflection of my first semester, click here.

My awesome roommate Erin, and our adorable dorm room.

Beautiful campus!

I met great new friends!

Love my Mizzou Tigers football!

2013 has been a successful and unforgettable year! 
Bring it on, 2014!

What were your favorite 2013 events and memories?

Stay Stylish. Stay Classy. Be Creative.


Saturday, December 28, 2013

Outfit: Blackwatch Plaid & Cheetah

I went out to dinner last night with my parents and brother and I decided to don my new flannel blackwatch plaid shirt that I got for Christmas.

It's definitely a "holiday" outfit, as I paired the plaid shirt with my favorite J.Crew minnie pants. Our Christmas tree is still up and it made the perfect backdrop, also adding to the holiday vibe. 

I was a bit apprehensive about paring the cheetah print heels and belt with the plaid, but I think it makes for a great combo. 

I added some pearls to the mix, and I had myself a classy and vibrant outfit!

Outfit Details: | Shirt, Tommy Hilfiger (similar) (My mom found mine at TJ Maxx!) | 
| Pants, J.Crew (other colors) |
| Heels, Calvin Klein | Belt, Express | Watch, Fossil (similar) | Bangle, Kate Spade |
| Necklace. Von Maur | Purse, Nine West (old, from my mom) |

Have you sported any of your new Christmas clothes yet?

Stay Stylish, Stay Classy, Be Creative.


Friday, December 27, 2013

A Yummy Holiday Treat

I hope all of you had a very merry Christmas!

Although Christmas Day has come and gone, and the sweet treats and goodies have since been devoured, I couldn't resist sharing a delicious recipe with you!

Although not strictly a "Christmas Recipe," it can be made festive by using red and green M&Ms. 

Introducing Confetti Crisp!

From my Instagram

My mom sent my some of this delicious stuff in a care package back in October. My friends and I finished it off within a day (guilty!). She received the recipe from a family friend.

This recipe is perfect for all of you sweet and salty fans out there! The recipe features saltines, peanuts, and pretzels, and M&Ms, brown sugar, and chocolate chips. Yummy!

My mom made a batch to take over to our neighbors for the holidays, and I whipped up a batch to take into work to share with my coworkers on Christmas Eve. It's a super easy recipe that takes under an hour, and is easy to package up as a gift.

This recipe is perfect to make this weekend to share with some people who you may have forgotten to get gifts for, or it would also be a perfect New Year's treat!

Here are step by step instructions

1. Gather your ingredients:
Brown Sugar
Vanilla Extract
Semi-sweet chocolate chips
Mini pretzels
Saltine crackers
cocktail peanuts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

2. Chop up the M&Ms and peanuts, and measure the amounts out. Next, break up the pretzels into little pieces.

Have all of your ingredients measured out and ready to go!

3. Next, line up the saltine crackers on an ungreased cookie sheet in a 8x5 grid.

4. Combine the butter, brown sugar, and vanilla in a saucepan, and turn on high. Stir frequently. When the mixture comes to a boil, set a timer and let it boil for four minutes.

Add the ingredients to a saucepan

When the mixture comes to a boil it will look light and fluffy

5. After the mixture has boiled for four minutes, remove the saucepan from heat. Pour the mixture evenly over the grid of saltine crackers, and spread with a knife if necessary.

Spread the mixture evenly over the crackers.

6. Next, put the pan in the oven for 10-12 minutes.

7. After the pan comes out of the oven, have the bag of chocolate chips open and ready. Sprinkle the chips evenly over the brown sugar mixture. Let them soften for a minute or two, and then take a spatula  and spread the melted chocolate evenly over the saltines.

Distribute the chocolate chips evenly over the saltines

Spread the chocolate out evenly with a spatula

8. First, sprinkle the pretzels over the chocolate, followed by the peanuts and the M&Ms. Press all the toppings into the chocolate.

Add the toppings!

9. Chill the pan in the fridge for 20 minutes.

10. Retrieve the pan from the fridge and use your hands to break the confetti crisp into pieces.


40 saltine crackers
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup mini twisted pretzels, broken into pieces
1/3 cup chopped cocktail peanuts
1/3 cup chopped M&Ms (or mini M&Ms)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place crackers on cookie sheet . Combine brown sugar, butter, and vanilla in small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until full boil. Boil for four minutes, stirring intermittently. Pour over crackers and spread evenly. Bake for 10-12 minutes until bubbly. Sprinkle chocolate chips over top and let stand for three minutes to allow chips to soften and melt. Spread melted chips over top. Add pretzels, peanuts, and M&Ms. Press lightly into chocolate. Cool completely. Refrigerate for approximately 20 minutes. Break into pieces.

Enjoy baking this recipe and sharing with family and friends!

Stay Stylish, Stay Classy, Be Creative.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas at My House

Happy Christmas Eve!

I hope all of you get the opportunity to spend your day with family and friends. Whether you will be traveling or snuggled up at home, I hope you have a very happy holiday!

I'll be spending today and this evening working, so unfortunately I won't be able to be with my family. I'm lucky to have a job to come back to over Christmas break though, so working on Christmas Eve is just the price I have to pay. Hopefully things at the restaurant will go smoothly, and being surrounded by fun coworkers will help the day be a little more merry.

I haven't really posted much over the course of the Christmas season, due to a busy finals week and such, so I wanted to take a little time to spread a little Christmas cheer around the blog.

One of my favorite parts of the Christmas season is decorating the house. I was sad that I didn't get to help decorate this year since I was away at college, but luckily my parents waited for all of us girls to come home at Thanksgiving to decorate the tree. Our tree has a theme of red, green, and gold, and we always do our best to make it "department store quality."

Other favorite decorations of mine include my mom's nutcracker collection, our porcelain nativity set, and the pink christmas tree in my bedroom.

Here's some pictures of the Russell house at Christmas!

Our Christmas Tree in our living room

Pretty packages

The dining room table. I love the ornaments that hang from the chandelier! 

The nativity scene. I have memories of setting this up as a child.

From my Instagram: The Christmas decorations in my room. (a pink tree, obviously)

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care….

I hope all of you have a wonderful Christmas holiday. Let us not forget the true reason for the season: Jesus Christ our Lord.
Let us also remember those serving in the armed forces, those who have lost loved ones, or those affected by the recent tornadoes.

Merry Christmas!

How do you decorate your home at Christmas? What is your favorite Christmas Eve tradition?

Stay Stylish, Stay Classy, Be Creative.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

DIY Collage Notebook Cover

I apologize for the lack of postings lately! Things got super busy after Thanksgiving, between traveling back and forth between Columbia and Blomington, taking finals, and packing up for winter break. I have officially finished my first semester of college, and I truly had a blast (read a reflection here). I'm back home in Bloomington for the holidays, and I am looking forward to relaxing and spending time with family and friends.

I have a five week long (yes five!) winter break. I'm excited to have that much time off, but I know I have to keep busy. Luckily, I was able to return to the restaurant where I worked in high school as a hostess. Besides work, I have a long list of craft projects to get done, books to read, and blog posts to write. The first craft project I accomplished is what I want to share with all of you today!


So the agenda I have right now only goes through December 2013. I am going to need a new agenda for the new year. I had bought a boring academic planner by Mead back in August, thinking I would use it, but it sat in my desk drawer unused since I already had a Sarah Pinto weekly planner. I didn't want the Mead planner to go to waste, so I decided to use it for the upcoming semester. The only problem? Its boring blue plastic cover just wasn't working for me. I've always loved to make collages, so I decided my agenda needed a little bit of collage treatment!

clear packaging tape
glue stick
old magazines
agenda, notebook, or folder
printer paper (or paper of your choice)

1. Start by collecting some old magazines lying around your house or room. My favorites are Glamour and Allure. Flip through the pages and cut out words, objects, and pictures that you like.

glossy magazine shapes

2. After you think you have enough cutouts, grab a piece of printer paper. Trace the outline of your notebook cover onto the printer paper and cut it out. You will glue your magazine shapes to the paper, and then tape the paper to the notebook cover.

This boring blue agenda got a major makeover!

3. Next, arrange your various magazine cut outs on the printer paper you just cut. Don't glue the shapes down just yet! Arrange them the way you would like all of them to fit first. Then, grab a glue stick and affix all of the shapes to the printer paper.

Shapes all arranged and ready to be glued

4. After you have glued all of your shapes onto the printer paper, flip it over. Make three rolls of packaging tape and affix them to the back of the printer paper. Then, press the collage onto the front of your notebook or agenda, lining the edge up with the holes that the spirals go through. Don't let the collage cover the holes.

5. After you have affixed the collage to the notebook with rolls of tape, you are going to "laminate" the collage with packing tape. This will help it stick to the front of the notebook, and also prevent your magazine cutouts from coming off the printer paper. To do this, cut strips of packing tape that are about an inch longer than the length of the notebook cover. Press the tape strips onto the cover, and fold over the extra edges to the inside cover of the notebook. You will probably use three or four strips of tape.

6. Voila! A stylish and unique notebook cover with little to no cost! 

Do you like to make collages? What do you have planned for your winter break? Let me know!

Stay Stylish, Stay Classy, Be Creative.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The FAIR-est Sweater of Them All

One of my favorite aspects of fall and winter fashion is layering and texture. I love to pair sweaters with buttons ups, socks with tights, and pick the perfect coat to layer over my outfit.

Sweaters and button ups are my one of my favorite combos, and while shopping this weekend in St. Louis, I noticed a fair (no pun intended) amount of fair isle sweaters on display.

Fair Isle sweaters are nothing new to the fashion world. The knitting technique originated in Scotland in the early 20th century. They have been worn by women and men alike over the past century, but all of a sudden they seem to have resurged in popularity.

I myself do not have a fair isle sweater in my closet, but I'm currently on the hunt. I would style mine over a denim button up with navy cords and bean boots, or wear it with a wool skirt and tights for more dressy events. 

Here's some fair isle style to get you inspired:

The whole family sports fair isle on Land's End's homepage

Sarah Vickers and company sport fair isle on her blog

Carly Heitlinger dons a sweater while out and about in NYC

Skiers wear fair isle in an old photo

Fair Isle on the runway a few seasons ago at Dolce & Gabbana

Here are some sweaters I'm currently coveting. Hopefully I can swipe one of these at a Cyber Monday sale. Who's with me?

Top Row (L-R)

Bottom Row (L-R)

Do you own a fair isle sweater? How do you style it?

Stay Stylish. Stay Classy. Be Creative.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Dressing for Thanksgiving Dinner

Just five more days of classes until I get to head back home to see my family and celebrate Thanksgiving. I can't wait!

I'm obviously excited for the food and seeing my family and high school friends. It will be so great to have a week off of school. Things have been pretty busy lately!

Besides thinking about my parents' Thanksgiving cooking, I've also been thinking about Thanksgiving outfits. I always like to put a cute but comfy little outfit together for Thanksgiving Day. Sure, I don't leave my house, and I could wear a sweatshirt and sweatpants, but it's nice to get dressed up for the holiday, don't you think? 

Here's some outfits I've worn in past years:

J.Crew Perfect Shirt (similar here)
Ralph Lauren Vest (Thrifted!) 
American Eagle Skirt
J.Crew Belt
Ralph Lauren Boots (similar here)

The Limited Sweater
Old Navy T-shirt
Talbots Belt
Easy Money Jeans

Depending upon your family's tradition, you might need a cute dress for a more formal dinner, or a flannel and cords for a comfy family affair. I've compiled a few looks to help you get started on planning your Thanksgiving outfit!




What do you usually wear on Thanksgiving? Have you given thought to this year's outfit?

Stay Stylish. Stay Classy. Be Creative.


Friday, November 15, 2013

Giving Talbots Credit

The word might make the fashion conscious shudder, especially those under the age of 25. Images of matronly sweater sets, too-long skirts, over-conservative pantsuits, and dull colors may come to mind.
You may want to think again.

The retailer has revamped its image over the past few seasons. Although the conservative middle age set can still find their staple sweater sets and business suits, Talbots also caters to a more youthful crowd. Bright colors have made an appearance, as well as more updated silhouettes. Fun patterns sprinkle scarves, blouses, and vests, and the jewelry has received a makeover as well.

My mother, a devoted Talbots shopper, quit shopping at the retailer a few years back. She was sick of the selection and the bland offerings. However, over the past year or so, she has gotten back on the Talbots bandwagon. I've tagged along with her to our local Talbots the past few times, and I've been very pleased with what I've seen.

The new offerings transcend age groups. The styles are classic yet current, and many of the pieces would be appropriate for a 20-something woman, but would look just as great on her mother. I'm very pleased with the way Talbots has re-invented itself. I don't think it receives enough recognition for what it offers. It gets overshadowed by bigger name retailers such as Gap and J.Crew.

If you haven't set foot in a Talbots store in a while (or at all), I recommend you pop in on your next shopping trip. You'll be happy you did!

I've compiled some of my favorites from the current collection. I hope this inspires you to set foot in a Talbots and bring a bunch of clothes to the dressing room!

Who doesn't love cashmere? I'm usually not a fan of turtlenecks, but I love the color blocking on this one! I think it would be super cute with navy cords or jeans, or make it a little dressier by pairing it with a wool navy mini and tights.
2. Coat
It's no secret I have a major coat addiction. I don't have a red one in my collection yet, so this may have to be my next purchase. The leather-buckle toggles add such personality!
3. Tote
This quilted tote will fit a 13" laptop, so it's perfect for the office or around campus. I think I love it so much because it's Mizzou gold! Also comes in navy or black.
I love ankle pants more than anything. They flatter me way better than regular length slacks. So cute paired with loafers, heels, or riding boots. The houndstooth is a perfect pattern for fall, and paired with a crisp blouse and blazer, is a perfect business casual outfit.
What's better than the perfect pair of riding boots? Fun boot socks, of course! I love wearing colorful patterned socks under my riding boots. The color blocking on this pair is super fun!
These heels are so festive and perfect for the holidays! They aren't too high, so they are perfect from transitioning from the office to a holiday party. I'd pair them with a black pencil skirt, a white blouse, and a red pashmina. 
Talbots has always designed beautiful silk scarves. This equestrian-themed one is no exception. Pair it with your favorite wool peacoat, or tie it on your tote bag for some extra pizazz. 
Cute belts can really spice up an otherwise plain outfit. The gold bow detail on this belt definitely makes a statement (in a good way). Pair it with your favorite jeans and a T-shirt, or belt your newest sweater dress.

Have you shopped at Talbots lately? What do you think of their revamped designs?

Stay Stylish. Stay Classy. Be Creative.