Holiday Gift Guide

The Christmas season is upon us once again and so ensues the hectic shopping experience and the dash to find the perfect presents for friends and family. I will admit that I am not the best at coming up with gift ideas so I sometimes shamelessly ask my friends and family what they want; but not this year! I tried to brainstorm early and compiled a list of inexpensive gift ideas for your friends, family and any white elephant gift exchange you find yourself in.

For gift inspiration for friends I thought of things I would like to have for myself then got on Pinterest and clicked on the ‘Gifts’ drop down menu at the top of the page and searched for gifts in my price range. A mere 3 hours later and I had this holiday gift guide:

  1. Envelope clutch–The perfect holiday bag that will transition into New Years. Plus, the clutch can often double as an iPad or e-reader case. Trendy yet practical. This one from H&M is only $12.95.
  2. Monogrammed bangle–What is more personal than monogrammed jewelry? This bangle bracelet from Etsy is simple and classic and will be a sure hit with friends. Etsy has a ton of other great personalized jewelry items too. This bracelet is $32.
  3. Instagram magnets–Now your favorite photos can be displayed outside of your Instagram account. Sticky gram will print and send you the photos of your choosing, but hurry! The last day for Christmas shipping is December 9th. These magnets are $14.99 for 9.
  4. Style coffee table books–It is never too early to start an impressive collection of coffee table books. So if you have stylish friends with a penchant for high fashion then maybe a memoir like Grace Coddington’s is the perfect gift. It’s $20 at Barnes & Noble. Other honorable mentions are: Gospel According to Coco Chanel and The Little Black Book of Style. 
  5. Unique iPhone case–Society 6 is a website that offers a huge variety of unique cases and skins not found in stores. You can also pick out stationary, canvases and throw pillows to match the case you choose. This case would make a great gift for a girlfriend and its $35.

Holiday gifts for friends

Now for white elephant gift ideas. Since there is typically a strict budget in place for these exchanges I suggest finding inexpensive and humorous stocking stuffers or making your own gift for people to fight over in the exchange. Here are some ideas:

  1. Holiday sock-covered wine–Buy a cheap pair of socks, preferably holiday themed, and use them to cover a bottle of wine. Wrap one around the bottle and use the other to tie around the bottle neck.
  2. Manicure set–Fill a mason jar with nail polish, cotton balls, a small bottle of nail polish remover and a nail file. Let’s hope a woman gets this in the exchange.
  3. Hot chocolate kit–Fill a mason jar with hot chocolate mix, marshmallows and peppermint sticks for one lucky person to enjoy. Garnish the jar with a ribbon and you have a nice, inexpensive treat.
  4. Chalkboard paint coffee mug–Buy a small bottle of chalkboard paint and a plain white coffee mug and paint the bottom portion of the mug so whoever gets it can personalize it with their own designs. Fill the mug with candy and watch people fight over this unique creation.
  5. Gloves filled with winter essentials–Buy a pair of gloves or mittens from the dollar store and fill with various items to get someone through the winter season like, lip balm, lotion, hand sanitizer and tissues. Practical yet creative!

For the above Christmas gift ideas and more DIY projects visit my “Holi-daze” Pinterest board to get your creative juices flowing. Do you have an inexpensive holiday gift guide of your own? What DIY projects are you planning to tackle this season? Share in the comments.

Happy Holidays!


5 Stranded Braid

Hey Bloggers!

I recently started the painful process of studying for finals, but to keep my brain form having an utter meltdown I’m trying a new system. One hour hardcore hitting the books, then a 15 minute break. During my last break I was mindlessly looking at Pinterest when I came across a link for some hair tutorials. The 1st one was for a 5 stranded braid. I have hair down to the middle of my back so I’m always looking for new ways to wear it that isn’t a top knot. For some people braiding with 3 strands is daunting…let alone 5?! I gave it a try anyway and in practice its really not too hard at all! In the video she does a goofy little chant saying “over, under, over, under…” You may feel goofy doing it but it really did help! Here’s the finished product:


I just curled the pesky layers around my face that wouldn’t go into the braid. And there you have it! Looks fancy but totally manageable. Check out this tutorial to give it a go for yourself.

Happy Friday! Off to class…

❤ Ash

College Fashionista Feature

I had one of those days a couple of weeks ago where I actually allotted myself more than 15 minutes to get ready. Shocking, I know! Especially for someone who spent her high school years shamelessly laying out her clothes the night before so I could sleep in as much as possible. This particular day a couple of weeks ago was the perfect day to play dress up. The sun was shining, the air was crisp and I was feeling classy, like I could give Kate Middleton a run for her money, so I slipped into a trusty pair of heels (on the brink of destruction but I don’t dare part with them) and went for a casual, business-chic look. I wasn’t heading to an interview. I had only one class that day. I had absolutely no reason for dressing up but it gave me a confidence boost, as most great outfits do, and it ended up paying off because a friend of mine and College Fashionista contributor flagged me down to photograph my outfit of choice for a weekly feature article. It was instant justification for such an ambitious outfit on such an insignificant day.

Black pants, knit sweater and heels: All from H&M
White t-shirt: Old Navy
Bag: Francesca’s Collections
Necklace: Handmade! An original by yours truly. See this DIY post
Photo source: College Fashionista via Nicole Ranieri

I won’t lie, I was pretty proud of this outfit. I had nothing going on that day; no commitments, no meetings, but the outfit fooled people into thinking that I had a busy, important day in front of me. A number of friends asked me what interview I had. It’s fun to mess with people isn’t it? We all know the old adage, “Dress for the job you want, not the one you have.” Well I’m putting this into effect early in light of my current ascent into the workforce and true adulthood.

To achieve this look shop for the basics. The tailored black pants are not only slimming, but can be business-y or dressed down for a funkier, casual look. The white v-neck is a staple item. You can never have too many white t-shirts in my opinion. Crew necks, v-necks, slouchy, fitted…buy them all and buy them cheap. Do the “half-tuck” into your trousers or jeans to add a bit of character to the outfit. Finally, a basic black satchel is a must. I like to see mine as pretty versatile. It has the long strap so you can sling it over your shoulder to look bookish and important and it also has the hand strap so you can place the bag on your forearm and carry it like a Kardashian sister (you know what I’m talking about).

Do you have those days when you dress up just because? What items in your closet give you a confidence boost?


Columbus a Fashion Capital?

I used to question the merits of living in Columbus after graduation. After all, what does it have to offer? I mean, it’s no New York, Chicago, or San Francisco. Sure, we love our Buckeyes, have an up-and-coming downtown and some sweet shopping centers but it’s not a city that pops into your mind when you think about living the typical metropolitan lifestyle. So when my mom showed me this Columbus Dispatch article  about Columbus having the third-highest concentration of fashion designers in the country, I was like, “Say what?!” Now this piques my interest.

New York City still dominates the fashion stratosphere, with Los Angeles in a close second. After visiting New York City for a short weekend, I have been limiting my job search to only that city. Three days was all it took for me to be completely smitten with the Big Apple. My head was in the clouds and sometimes still is, admittedly. I think, oh I can live there! (Even though it’s ridiculously expensive.) I can ride public transportation and learn the subway system! (Even though I hate crowds and am terrible with directions.) It will be just like Sex and the City! Ha, a girl can dream, right? But I digress.

Looking over Central Park

The more I think of Columbus’ impressive ranking, the more it brings to light all of the creative aspects of my city. From the Short North–the pseudo-hipster, art gallery district with local boutiques–to Columbus College Art & Design (CCAD) that cranks out all these talented local designers, to Columbus Fashion Week, a novice in the fashion week tradition but attendance continues to grow in its three-year reign, there are more fashion opportunities than I had originally thought.

Fashion meets Columbus. Ash and I in our Miles of Style post.

So maybe Columbus isn’t so bad after all. It’s style merits are climbing and who’s to say it won’t become the next New York City? As it turns out, I could have been living in a fashion capital all along.

Is your city an up-and-coming fashion capital? We want to hear what your city’s style is like in the comments below.




Last Minute Costume Ideas

If you are a procrastinator by nature, like myself, then you might still be juggling a few costume ideas in your head. Halloween is kind of a big deal at my college. We have a reputation for a fun, albeit out of control, block party that usually results in many arrests and stories plastered all over the news. But hey, the people watching is great and the costumes are truly one of a kind.

This year my brainstorming session for costume ideas was limited to blonde, sitcom and movie stars from the nineties, as my friends pointed out were my only logical choices since I am also blonde and remind them of a young Melissa Joan-Hart. I settled to go as a more recent movie star from a movie us girls all know and love; Mean Girls. That’s right, I am going as the devilish high school “Plastic” that everyone loves to hate; Regina George. The outfit is simple: pleated skirt, tank with holes strategically cut over the chest area, a pink cardigan, an “R” initial necklace, and a burn book that doubles as a clutch for good measure. The costume cost me a total of $6. Not bad! So it got me thinking about other cute costume ideas that girls could create mostly from items they already have lying around their closet.

And they are:

1. Rosie the Riveter–The iconic war propaganda poster is now a cheap and easy costume. Just wear a denim shirt, red lipstick, red bandana, and practice flexing your arm.

2. The Orbit Girl–Easy! Wear all white, find a teal scarf and practice showing those pearly whites of yours. Maybe distribute Orbit gum as a cute gimmick.

3. Flo, the Progressive lady–Just grab a cheap apron, throw on some red lipstick, make a name tag, and you are ready to go.

4. Cher from ‘Clueless’–The classic nineties school girl look of tall stockings, a short skirt and perfectly coiffed hair. Be sure to practice your, “As if!”

5. The Morton Salt girl–Got a yellow dress or coat and an umbrella? There ya go. Carry a can of Morton Salt as a purse by poking holes in the can and stringing some yarn through it.

6. A ‘Pretty Little Liar’ or a ‘Gossip Girl’–This is easy, just dress cute and assume the role of their character for the night.

7. Carrie Bradshaw from Sex & the City–The pink tank top and tutu outfit, of course. It’s iconic.

8. An Olympian–Just throw on your sportswear of choice and make a gold medal and a head wreath. Winning!

9. Any of the Spice Girls–I’m sure you have a crop top or two lying around. Add shiny leggings and an arm cuff and you got what you want, what you really really want.

10. Rachel, Monica, or Phoebe from Friends–Overalls for Rachel, fat suit for Monica, and oversized clothes and lots of rings on your fingers for Phoebe. This would be a great group costume.

11. One of your friends–Just raid your roommate’s closet and go as them. After all, imitation is the highest form of flattery.

12. Honey Boo Boo–Simply wear a white tank (dirtied with ‘sketti’ stains) and a tiara. “You better redneck-ognize!” Carrying a stuffed pig would complete the look.

13. Karen from Mean Girls–God, Karen is so stupid! But, my fellow Plastic would be a great costume. Just put a backwards ‘K’ on your chest in rhinestones and rock a pair of mouse ears. If anyone is confused just say, “I’m a mouse, duh!”

14. Your social media page–Wear a white t-shirt and write on the front to make it look like your Facebook or Twitter profile. Tape on a profile picture, add some recent posts and comments. Carry around a sharpie so people can “write on your wall.”

I hope these ideas help. If any of you have other cheap and easy costume ideas, leave them in the comments. Have a safe and fun Halloween!

On a side note, here is a preview of my Regina George costume. It really is “so fetch!”

“And evil takes a human form in Regina George…”

Happy Halloween!




Fashion is what you buy…

Some of you may have heard the quote: “Fashion is what you buy, style is what you do with it.” I love this quote because anyone can buy that chic, off the rack dress, but it’s how you style it that makes all the difference. Style isn’t just your favorite sartorial choices; no, it speaks to who you are and tells a story about your life. Cheesy right? Well it’s true!

I am a firm believer that personal style is variable and can change monthly, weekly, daily, depending on your mood. Style belongs on one long spectrum that stretches beyond what we can see at the moment. There is no right way to style and as new fashions trickle down off the runways, style will evolve and so will we.

Ashley and I started this blog as an outlet of inspiration not only for ourselves, but hopefully for others who are needing a “style shower” of inspiration. Even if your style doesn’t jibe with ours, there is something to say for creeping on other people’s fashion choices and borrowing a bit of style insight.


Photo credit: Alex Giffin Creative