Happy Thanksgiving

Just wanted to drop in and say Happy Thanksgiving to all of my wonderful readers!

I can only hope that you have a blessed holiday with your loved ones, are reminded of all of the reasons to be thankful this year, and that your stomachs will be as happy as mine is about to be!

Every year we spend Thanksgiving with my side of the family about an hour away from us at my aunt's house. There will be around 50+ Whalen's who will be there and I'm really looking forward to spending time with all of them! 

If you aren't braving the crowds for Black Friday (we are more of the sleep in and shop on cyber monday type of people...) and want to get started on your online shopping, here are all of the gift guides I've posted so far:

>>>gift guide {pretty little things}
>>>gift guide {for her}
>>>gift guide {for him}
>>>gift guide {stocking stuffers for him & her}

PS: The winner of my Minted giveaway (which was selected randomly through Rafflecopper) is: Margaret G! Thank you all for entering, I wish all of you could've won! :)


Gift Guide: Cute Stocking Stuffers {For Him and Her}

stocking stuffers christmas gifts

Everyone loves a good stocking stuffer!

Sometimes they are my favorite part, they are just so fun, aren't they? I love getting beauty items and little pieces of jewelry in my stocking and I love putting quirky gifts in Billy's stocking. You know, ones that are silly and that he would never expect!

When all else fails, a polka dot backup battery for your phone is a must-have that you know you will get good use out of (#iphoneaddicts). Oh, and I'm sure you have seen this necklace but I just got it from here for only $18, which is the lowest price I've seen it for. Be sure to add this pretty to your wishlist!

Last but not least, a very very special happy birthday to my DAD! I love you pops! 

One more day until Thanksgiving!

What is your favorite stocking stuffer to give or get?


Gift Guide: For Him

gifts for men christmas gifts for him

Today I'm back with another gift guide and this time I'm featuring (dun dun dun) all of those men in your life that are difficult to shop for. Every year it seems like the men take the most planning and time to shop for. That's probably because I'm always going back and forth on what to buy and how to make their holiday really good since they hardly buy things for themselves (hello! Billy rarely shops and that's an understatement...) 

I bought Billy a watch for Christmas a few years back and he wears it almost everyday, so I would say if you are stuck on a good, quality gift for your man that a nice watch (love the two featured above!) would be a great investment. If I'm really stuck on the smaller gifts, I usually turn to Nike or Under Armour for a nice jacket and workout top. The man in my household seems to really like the sporty items. :)

What is the best gift you have bought a special man in your life? Share with me!

See my {gift guide: for her} here.

While you're at it, make sure you enter the Revlon $50 Gift Card giveaway I have going on! I will be announcing the winner of my Minted giveaway tomorrow. Thank you all for entering.


Princess Maggie Announcement + Our Weekend

I have a big announcement to share today.

Remember when WE raised $1k for Princess Maggie? Well, I have been meaning to give you all an update on her for a couple weeks now, but am glad I didn't because it just so happens that a couple days ago I received a message via Facebook from Maggie's mom. I don't think there is a better way to share it other than coming directly from the family, so I will let her give you the update:


Those of you who donated, sent cards, and prayed for Princess Maggie helped to make this happen!! God is good. How about that to cheer up your Monday and to start the week of Thanksgiving off on the right foot? 

 Billy // Maggie // Me

In other, far less significant news...this weekend was awesome. 

Billy and I tried a new, upscale Mexican restaurant called Bakersfield {you cannot go wrong with all different types of tacos and margaritas in mason jars}. I got my hair done. Rocky got pampered at the groomer's. Billy and I declared Saturday morning "Katie and Billy's National-Sleep-In-Day-And Lay-Around-And Do-Nothing-Until 1pm!"...he even made me breakfast in bed. :) It was my niece Mara's 9th birthday party where we got to eat our 2nd Thanksgiving meal so far (yum!). And we saw Catching Fire! If you haven't seen it, GO! We loved it and liked it better than the first.

To make things even better, did you see that my favorite Tone It Up girls now have a SHOW that is starting in January on Bravo?! Pinch me. It's going to be a good week.

Glad you all are enjoying my gift guides so far! I am loving your feedback on them, too. More coming soon!


Holiday Gift Guide: For Her

Gift Guide: For Her

Oh, happy day! I'm so excited!

I might be biased, but this gift guide is my favorite of them all. Insert a little squeal. For this gift guide, I tried to my best to bring together a group of items that are classic, investment pieces that you will use for years to come. When I try to create my 'wishlist' for Christmas, I tend to ask for items that I know I will use over and over and that generally won't go out of style. All of these fit that bill. You just can't go wrong with any of them.

Everyone always asks me if I were to pick a second favorite color for Hunters boots other than the red, what it would be. I think I would have to say these. As for the sizing, you want to order a size down. I am usually a size 8-8.5, and I got a 7.

I'm still loving the boyfriend style watches, in both the rose gold and gold! You can wear them with anything and they will be in style for years to come! 

And because I forgot to add in a pretty bling necklace..here's some best sellers from Bauble Bar!

Get your shop on (or send this post to your significant other..)


Holiday Gift Guide: Pretty Little Things {For Your Girlfriends}

Gift Guide: Pretty Little Things {FOR HER}

Today marks the first day in my gift guide series. When putting together this gift guide, I was inspired by my own girlfriends and honestly, myself. Chances are if you really want something, your girlfriends do too! And let me tell you, most of these items I really want. Feel free to spoil yourself or your girlfriends a bit with these, or to add them to the good ole wishlist and send to your other half. ;)

There is a gift in here at each price point, with most of them being extremely affordable so that you can get multiples for your closest girlfriends. My absolute favorite item in this bunch would be the Kate Spade Idiom Bangle. It has cute sayings like "sidekicks", "two peas in a pod", etc on it. My best friend Steph surprised me with this as a gift (one for her, one for me-#bffbracelets) and we are constantly asked where we got it.

If you have a friend who is engaged, or recently got married, then the Mrs. Always Right pillow and the Mr. and Mrs. Cocktail Glass set is perfect for them!

As for the rest of the items, you can never go wrong with giving your girlfriends a gorgeous lipgloss or hand creme set, a makeup bag (perfect for traveling), a scarf, or a warm pair of gloves.

PS: Don't forget to enter this giveaway to win a $50 Gift Card. That could get you many of the above goodies! :)

Happy shopping and be on the lookout for more of my gift guides!


Christmas Cards: Win $75 to Minted To Get Yours!

I can't believe that I can actually say this, but I got our holiday cards ordered in November. I'm still a little bit shocked by this. If I had to pinpoint one reason as to why this magical thing happened, I would give all credit to Minted's new foil pressed cards. That's right...I said gold and silver foil pressed holiday cards. I was sold on our cards almost immediately.

I've used multiple companies for our cards in the past, but none have impressed me as much as Minted has. They send you a digital proof (for free) before your order is made so that you can approve the quality, look, and text. Not to mention, they have just about every possible design for a card that you could possibly want.

I'm so excited to get our cards in the mail (they are on their way!) and send them out to our friends and family. Which one do you think I picked?! They ARE gold (duh) but I plan to share them soon once I get them out in the mail. Minted also offers personalized wrapping paper with names, family photos, etc. This would so cute to get if you have little ones.

Today, Minted is being really awesome and giving you a chance to get your holiday cards for free! They are offering a $75 gift card to one reader so hurry up and get to entering below. 

*Disclaimer: I received courtesy Christmas cards from Minted, but all opinions are my own. I really mean it when I say the foil pressed cards make me want to do a big happy dance!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway


Friendsgiving {+DIY Hot Cocoa Mix In A Jar}

I'm about to get you a. really excited for Thanksgiving and b. really hungry....

Last year, I went over all the reasons why you should have a Friendsgiving, even though none are really needed because I think that everyone needs Thanksgiving more than one day per year. It's so much fun to have all of your closest friends together and eat all of your favorite foods, am I right? For our Friendsgiving, each couple or single offered to bring a different dish (or even two!) and then we provided dinner rolls, dessert, drinks, etc. on top of that. If you want a recipe (literally) for a good time, get your friends together at someone's house and do this.

It was so good that I didn't get many pictures of the whole event. I was just really in the moment enjoying the time we had together. Or you could blame it on the third helpings that I had...whichever.  I did get a few though of our awesome turkeys and I took pictures of the "favors" I made everyone. The boys deep fry the turkey and they did two turkeys this year. They put a cajun seasoning on top and I swear to you that everyone loves it. They say it is the best turkey they have ever had. If you have never had deep fried turkey before, you should! 

As for the favors, my checklist for these was something like this: Something everyone could easily bring home. Simple. Cute. Practical. Yummy. 

hot cocoa mix

How you do it: It's pretty simple. Just buy your favorite hot cocoa mix, mini marshmallows, mini chocolate chips, and Andes peppermints and layer them all in a mason jar. I didn't measure anything out really, except I put about a cup (or a little more) of hot cocoa in each. This will make around 8 servings or so of hot cocoa.

Good ole mason jars..always pulling through with the best ideas for me (you too Pinterest). Feel free to steal this idea and make some for your friends for the holidays!

Last but not least, for some reason I found this picture to be hysterical-baby in ghost chair? so posh!

2nd annual Friendsgiving...SUCCESS!

Have you ever done this with your friends? If not, what are you waiting for? :)


Revlon Nail Trends

All sample products reviewed were provided by Revlon...

 {Revlon Parfumerie™ Scented Nail Enamel}

If there is one thing I'm certain of when it comes to beauty tips, it's that having your nails done will always make you feel more put together and glamorous.

Between work, cooking, and going to the gym, sometimes I just don't have the time to put together a really cute outfit before a night out (you know that feeling of 'I have nothing to wear' but in reality maybe it's that you have TOO much to wear which is causing all the confusion?). Sometimes I'm in so much of a rush, especially this time of year, that I have to settle with wearing my hair back in a pony tail after using some dry shampoo, but a quick way for me to instantly feel more girly and put together is to make sure my nails are done. It's such a quick fix that always works.
Besides, what girl hates nail polish? I don't think I've ever met one.

It's not often that you would see me without nail polish on. Since I paint my nails often (every week almost), I like to stick with brands that I know are reasonably priced but will give me salon type results. I have been using Revlon's nail polish lately because the polish is thick and you don't even need multiple coats with these colors. I did one coat and was good to go! If I had to pick a favorite nail polish color (believe me, this is hard), I would have to pick a classic red like Revlon's China Flower. You simply cannot go wrong with bold red nails....


A nail polish trend I'm seeing a lot more of this season are metallics. This color, Autumn Spice, is perfect for the fall and winter months...
Revlon has taken nail trends to another level recently. They came out with scented nail polish shades (three different shade families: fruits and florals, sweet and spices, and freshes) where the fragrance of each bottle is revealed when dry. This just adds another fun touch that other nail polish brands don't have!

Way to go Revlon, way to go..
 Revlon Surf Spray (a perfect summer/spring shade!)

A little secret of mine is that I like to keep some of my favorite nail polish colors on my work desk (or in the drawer) for quick touch ups. Plus, it makes pretty decor! :)

I'll leave you with two thoughts:
1. Nail polish makes excellent stocking stuffers for any woman - mom, friend, wife, etc. (Christmas is coming quickly you know!)
2. A little extra Christmas cash always helps, right? Righttt?

Just answer this question below in the comments and maybe you'll have $50 more in your wallet via Visa Gift Card to spend on Christmas presents!

"Which favorite beauty tip secret would you like to reveal?"

*I will be back tomorrow sharing all about our Friendsgiving and sharing a fun DIY gift for your friends and family!

Sweepstakes Rules:
No duplicate comments. You may receive two (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
  • Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  • Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  • Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry. This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winner will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 11/18/13-12/15/13.
Be sure to visit the Revlon Brand Page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts and find more chances to win!


Five on Friday: Friendsgiving, House Updates, Hair, Oh My...


We are hosting our annual "Friendsgiving" this Sunday. This means a few things: we will be having close to TWENTY people in our house, thanksgiving foods are coming early (and twice) this year, and I need to have my stretchy leggings ready. 

Last year, we had about 9 people vs. 17-18, so I'm making things a little bit more casual this year. After a hefty Target bill (but I saved 5%?), our fridge is stocked with beer and wine, ingredients to make some yummy dishes, and I've already put together some cute favors for everyone to take home with them. They are so cute and I can't wait to share them next week! 

{these are the little name cards I made last year. I just hot glued fake feathers to the back of a pinecone! super easy and cute}


Why didn't I think of this sooner?! Genius.


 Heart elbow patches. Loving them and this sweater lately! 


I am thinking about getting balayage highlights in my hair. Have you heard of this? It's similar to ombre, but not so drastic. I swear, I go back and forth with my hair weekly. 

These are my inspiration pictures....
 {I am also obsessed with this whole look...}

but in all actuality, I really just want Victoria's Secret angel hair. Who can help me with this? ;) 

 Sigh...don't we all?!


I added some cozy, winter pillows to our family room couches this past week. They are from Target (link here, I swear I shop at other places...) and Rocky put his stamp of approval on them.

Did you see this one? Need.

Other things on the weekend agenda include painting all the trim in our upstairs (remember we finished the downstairs already? SO happy we did that and it's done!) and tonight Billy is bringing home our favorite pizza from our college town. This is especially exciting because it's 2 hours away so we can't normally get it, and it's one of the best pizza and breadsticks you will ever have (Pollyeyes for you Bowling Green, gals!)

What is on your weekend agenda?

If you are doing any online shopping, make sure you check out my 10 current fashion favorites post, if you missed it on Wednesday!

Link up for Five on Friday here.

Enjoy it and thank you {as always} for reading!


10 Current Favorites

Happy hump day!

I don't know about you, but it's always around this time of the year that I do the majority of my shopping online. The malls start to get crowded, the parking spaces are harder to come by, and it takes longer to find what you're looking for. Welcome, holidays! Plus you can almost always find a sale or free shipping code nowadays.

Today, I thought I'd share 10 of my current fashion favorites. Also, I wanted to tell you all that I'm currently working on a gift guide series that I will feature towards the end of the month {soon!}, so if there is anything specific you want me to feature, leave it in the comments below or send it in an email. I am really excited about this! Be on the lookout for it. 

Here is what I'm obsessing over right now:
10 favorites

1// Gap Plaid Scarf: Three words....mad for plaid. Plaid is huge right now. If you don't have a lot of plaid in your closet right now, an easy and inexpensive way to incorporate this trend is with a scarf! It's budget friendly and can be worn with multiple outfits. This scarf is even better in person...it's a must have.

2// Chicnova Open Front Lapel Coat: Here I am with the open front type jackets again, but I love this option and the price? Too good. Looks so chic!

3// Camo Skinny Jeans:  Camo is at the top of this favorites list right now. I have been searching for good camo jeans (love these-they are a less expensive option) for quite some time now. Express also has camo leggings that are cute and fun and would go perfect with boots.

4// J. Crew Plaid Shirt: See plaid love explanation above. This plaid shirt is a serious winner, that's all there is to it.

5// Bauble Bar Bib Necklace: Ah, the statement necklace. Honestly I don't remember the last time I wore earrings besides simple studs. It's all about the gorgeous necklaces lately. I'm drawn to necklaces that stand out and can be worn with many different tops, so you can get the most use out of them as possible. This one is at the top of my wants list.

6// Chicnova Pullover: Who hates a chic looking pullover? So easy to style and looks great. With this, I recommend going one size up (I did medium).

7// Sam Edelman Lucca Booties: I'm sure if you follow me on instagram, you know my love for any and all booties. If you are just looking for one pair to invest in, these would be my choice. They have just enough heel, are great quality, and are really versatile.

8// Oasis Leopard Print Scarf: The best way to spice up any outfit.

9// Faux Leather Skater Skirt: LOVE. One of my favorite outfits right now and that I'm seeing everywhere is to pair a leather skirt like this with a plaid shirt (like the one above). Add some tights if it's cold where you are (like here) and you're good to go! Here is another less expensive option.

10// Bauble Bar Bib Necklace (2): The blue and purple color combinations in this necklace are fabulous. Bauble Bar can do no wrong in my eyes. ;)

What do you think? What are your current fashion favorites?
link up here to share your random loves!

Again, like I said above, if there is anything specific you would like me to feature in my gift guide series (I love getting feedback and hearing your ideas of what you want to see!), please shoot me an email or leave in the comments below. Ta-ta.


Big Shot Brownies

brownies chocolate brownies

I have been meaning to share these brownies with you all for about a year now. Forgive me that I've been holding out on you this long and also that these pictures do them no justice.

I mainly post healthy recipes here on the blog (which I prefer!), but I couldn't help myself to finally share one of our family recipes and it's okay to indulge sometimes, especially around the holidays. I would be lying if I said I never indulged. I definitely do...and when I do, it feels real good. :)

Today is the perfect day for them, though, because see how they are dusted with powdered sugar on top? We got a little bit of our own dusting last night...

 I have to admit I'm enjoying it..there's something amazing about curling up with a hot cup of tea and looking out to this.
But moving on, you know how you have a favorite brownie, cookie, or cake recipe that your parents make? {Leave it in the comments below!} Well, this is me and Billy's favorite brownie recipe that my stepmom makes. There could be many different names for these: JuJu Delights, Best Brownies In The World, Or Big Shot Brownies (because they ARE the real deal). Call them what you want, but you just better make them! 

They have peanut butter chips in them and are the most moist (sorry I know everyone hates this word) brownies you will ever have. You can switch up the peanut butter chips to whatever you prefer, but I would leave them in if you want to experience love-at-first-brownie-bite. ;)

Big Shot Brownies:

+1 cup butter
+4 squares (4 oz) unsweetened chocolate
+2 cups sugar
+4 eggs
+2 tsp. vanilla
+1 1/2 cup flour
+You can add chocolate chips, peanut butter chips (my pick!), nuts, peanut butter or whatever you wish.

Grease 13x9 pan. Melt butter and chocolate.  Remove pan from heat and stir in sugar.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Beat lightly just till combined (don't over beat or brownies will rise too high, then fall) stir in flour.  Spread batter in pan.  Bake @ 350 for 30 minutes, but check them around 25 minutes. Let cool, then cut into bars.  If you want to make these in an 8 x8 pan, just cut the recipe in half.

From my family to yours.....enjoy!
And if you do make these-please instagram me a pic, or tweet me, letting me know how you like them! :)

What is your favorite family dessert?


My Office // Q and A

 "hustle" and "be brave" prints: crystal faye {2 for $18}

This little corner in our house has a long way to go, but it is still a space that I am becoming to love more each day! It's so nice to have a designated spot to work and get things done. I'm thinking about doing a big gallery wall with big empty frames (with a couple filled) and an inspiration type board on this wall, but sometimes go back and forth on it. What do you think I should do?! Decisions, decisions. I guess we will see what happens this winter when it's too cold outside to do anything and I feel like experimenting around the house. ;)

I thought I'd play along in a little Q&A today, feel free to copy it and share it!

1. What is the most played song in your music library? Because the most played song is a little shameful (Wrecking Ball-Miley Cyrus, anyone?), here's the top 5: Demons-Imagine Dragons, Dark Horse-Katy Perry, Drake-Hold On, We're Going Home, Timber-Pitbull (great workout song!), Stay-Florida Georgia Line.
2. What is your favorite thing about your current occupation or job, whatever it may be? Saving my clients money! (on their insurance) 
3. City or country? I'd have to say city overall by a hair, but don't count me out for loving being in the country. I love love love fishing, horseback riding, fires, the woods, all of it! See, now I'm confused.
4. What is your coping mechanism after a really bad day? Bad days are bound to happen, but I really try to not classify any day as "bad". There is always something good in every day...you just have to dig deep to find it sometimes. My bad days are typically the ones where I'm just feeling down on myself, or I feel disorganized/stressed out. My best coping mechanism for that would be to step away from what I'm doing and spend time alone. I am one of those people who just needs a certain amount of 'me' time. My favorite way to change my mood around quickly is to get a good workout in at the gym and sit in the sauna afterwards to unwind and relax. Endorphins can turn your day around instantly!
5. Favorite item in your closet right now? Leather pants, this jacket (just because it is so warm!), and of course these shoes.
6. Skill or craft you still want to learn or work on? Photography! I really need to learn how to do more with my DSLR, specifically shooting in manual.
7. What is your most precious keepsake? My love notes/journals that my Mom wrote and my engagement ring.
8. What’s at the very tip top of you holiday wish list this year? I actually haven't put together a wish list yet, but maybe a wine bar or a new handbag. 
9. What’s your favorite spot in the city you live in? All of our walking/running trails, Easton, Grandview, Short North (to name a few).