The weekend is finally here! Time to get out of the house and have little fun without emptying you’re entire bank account.

Here are 8 great date ideas to try with your boy toy or your best friend! (I’m single but I know what I’m talking about, I swear)

1. It’s simple, but taking a nice WALK or a HIKE can be relaxing and enjoyable. I love taking a friend and my dog just walking around the neighborhood or trekking through campus! Bring your other half to the closest park and see a beautiful waterfall, and maybe open a bottle of wine. Warm or chilly, a nice long walk can be much needed.

Photo by Kayla Marsh
Photo by Kayla Marsh
Photo by Kayla Marsh Hiking a trail at Great Falls Park with a breathtaking view.
Photo by Kayla Marsh 

2. A movie night is always a good idea– cliché right? Movie ticket prices have skyrocketed these days, but I try and attend $5 movie night every Wednesday. So pick and movie and a time that works for you! Sneak in your own snacks.

3. Another $5 per person date: Go to a winery for a tour. You’ll get educated, and score free samples of wine and cheese on your date!

4. If you can’t afford Beyoncé tickets, good news; there are other musical options. My friend Sarah and her boyfriend Jake sometimes just go hangout at a cafe listening to live music for an hour or two. Buy a few drinks and enjoy a local band or artist performance.

5. Ice skating is more pricey, but worth it! There’s the initial fee, plus a smaller skate rental fee (unless you already own some). Spend and hour or two frolicking and getting cozy on the ice in the brisk December air! Every time I’ve been, there’s great music and a fun/friendly atmosphere. Top it off with some hot cocoa when you get home!

Photo by Kayla Marsh
Photo by Kayla Marsh

6. Cooking for your partner has to be a no-brainer, am I right? Stay in for the night with a home cooked meal. My sister Emily always recites her favorite ritual, “Spaghetti, two massages, one bubble bath.” Priceless.

7. Have the happiest of hours at your favorite bar! Cheap drinks, pool table, and a jukebox. I know I’ve hit the jackpot when I find happy hour AND karaoke in the same place–SCORE!

8.  Cuddle up outside to a romantic campfire. My fire pit at home has made me some great memories.

Comment below with your great date ideas and favorite movie/bowling/skating night deals!

Check out my Pinterest board for more date inspiration


fashion friday

It’s Friday again – time for your weekly dose of fashion advice! One of the biggest expenses in the real world can be buying clothing, especially when you want to get a job and need to look the part.

For those of us brave enough to turn to the thrift store to solve this problem, we know that it can be a bit overwhelming. However, a trip to Goodwill can seem much less daunting when you go into it with some goals in mind.

There are certain pieces of clothing that act as a base for any wardrobe. These staple pieces are timeless, versatile, and a must for any young professional’s closet.  The best part is they can all be found for next to nothing at thrift stores, as long as you have some patience and a keen eye.

Here are a few classic items to be on the lookout for during your next trip to the thrift store:

  • Black blazer: You can’t go wrong with one of these. Just throw it on over a plain old button up and you are good to go!
  • White button up: This is quite possibly the most versatile piece of clothing. It can be paired with just about anything, layered, dressed up, or dressed down.
  • Pencil skirt: This is a great piece in just about any color, but especially neutrals. It can be paired with button ups, blouses, and even sweaters for a fun, yet still professional look. They are also very easy to hem if you find one a bit long for your liking.
  • Black slacks: These are the perfect option for the winter months when dresses and skirts are not cutting it in the cold. Whether they are skinny or have a wider leg, they can be paired with anything. They are also easily hemmed if needed.
  • Black dress: While the little black dress typically makes us think of a party scene, a tasteful one also works very well in an office setting. They can be paired with any type of blazer, cardigan, or jacket and are great with pops of color!

While you may find lots of bright, fun, and wild prints at the thrift store, it can be helpful to keep an eye out for staples like these, as well. These basics will pair well with anything; so don’t let the bold prints distract you from these classics!  They will make getting dressed much easier in the professional world.

Here is one of my most cherished thrift store finds: my little black dress.

Photo by Katie Kelly
Photo by Katie Kelly

It is so easy to throw it on with a blazer, like the one pictured above, and it has acted as a base for so many outfits in my professional wardrobe.

Check out these pins for some inspiration on styling these wardrobe staples, and keep them in mind next time you hit the thrift store!

Happy hunting!


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With Christmas season now in full swing, Thanksgiving may feel like a distant memory. However, when you open your fridge, the heaping pile of leftovers serves as a reminder of last week’s feast. Food waste is one of the biggest sources of money waste. You know that eating leftovers can save you money and time, but the thought of eating yet another turkey sandwich may make you cringe a little. Sounds like you need some recipe inspiration.

One of my favorite places to search for recipes is Pinterest. Check out my Pinterest board with my best pins of Thanksgiving Leftover Recipes! There’s a recipe for every palate:

This weekend, I tried a Tex-Mex Turkey Soup recipe from to help use up the endless amounts of leftover turkey in my fridge. It was relatively simple to make, which is good because like most of you guys, I don’t have a lot of time to spend cooking. For how easy it was to make it was also quite delicious! I ate it with cornbread and tortilla chips and I would definitely recommend the tortilla chips if you are going to make this soup! If you like your food spicy, just add a little hot sauce to amp up the spicy factor. Keep this recipe in mind for a cold night when you’re just in the mood for an easy-to-make, warm bowl of soup. 

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In addition to Pinterest and AllRecipes.comFitness magazine also offers some yummy alternatives to the turkey sandwich! Are there any recipes I’ve shown you today that you are dying to try? Or better yet, what are your personal favorite recipes that you make with your Thanksgiving leftovers? Please share in the comments sections below!

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It’s Wednesday once again, and that means its time for some exercise advice. Week-night-workouts are a must to stay in shape, but after a workday exercising can feel more like a chore than a healthy habit. Get excited for this weekend, because Saturday and Sunday are days to enjoy time at home and extra time to exercise. Grab your friends and even your dog, because this Saturday it’s time to kick your workout routine up a notch. There’s one completely free exercise resource that is often overlooked: the great outdoors.

Photo by Caroline Alkire

During these cold winter months the thought of running outside is daunting enough to make the toughest athlete cringe, but when it’s impossible to afford a treadmill or a gym membership, the outdoors may be the only option left.

Personal Tip: Check out these simple ways to stay warm during an outdoor workout, even when it’s freezing outside.

Who knew sprinting up that hill was actually worth it? According to Women’s Health Magazine website, running outdoors can have a healthier effect on the body than running on a treadmill. Reaching the dreaded two-mile mark may feel like a breeze on the treadmill, and Women’s Health says this is because the treadmill belt actually helps the runner along. Women’s Health also warns that treadmills can hurt a runner’s form, and distract runners from concentrating on their performance. While some gym-goers may still swear by the treadmill, utilizing the nature trails in your area is free and arguably healthier.

There are various activities you can do on an outdoor trail or in a park. Jogging is always an option, and the iPhone has apps that track distance and speed. My favorites are Nike Plus, RunKeeper, and MyRun GPS. All three of these are available in the app store, and are free. Running with a friend on the weekend is also encouraged, so crank up your iPhone music, and get to work.

Taking the dog out for a stroll around the neighborhood is a great way to work out, even if you want to take a day to rest. If you think walking outside is boring, spice it up with these easy tips.

Biking and hiking outdoors are fun ways to get that workout in. Bike rides can build endurance, and parks and trails often have ledges or benches on which runners can do abdominal exercises or pushups.

So embrace those sunny, weekend afternoons with friends and family. Slip on your running shoes and hit your nearest nature trail. Whether your running, walking, or biking, the opportunities are endlessly free.

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P.S. Check out this awesome website if you need help finding bike trails near your home.

Need some extra motivation? Check out this video!

Video made by Caroline Alkire

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As much we love fall, the cold weather can make us lose any motivation to cook a healthy meal after a long day. The takeout menus in the junk drawer may be calling your name, but you can resist the urge to waste your calories and cash by incorporating a crockpot into your life.

Throw some ingredients in before you leave for work and the crockpot will have a warm, comforting dinner waiting for you when you return home. Keep reading to learn the top reasons why a crockpot can be your new best friend this cold season!


Crock-Pot cooking is budget friendly, convenient, and healthy!

  1. It’s a well-known fact that buying in bulk can be cost effective in the long run. The Crock-Pot allows you to easily make a lot of food at once. Buy the ingredients to your favorite hearty stew or soup and make a couple of extra batches in the Crock-Pot. Keep the extras in your freezer for a later date and voila! You have a conveniently pre-made meal for those days you don’t feel like cooking. (It’s almost easier than ordering takeout).
  2. The Crock-Pot’s cooking technique—low temperature over an extended period of time—is perfect to soften up tougher cuts of meat. That’s good news for you because now you don’t have to splurge on expensive, tender meats. You can buy tougher, and subsequently cheaper, meat and after a day in the Crock-Pot, you won’t even be able to tell a difference.
  3. The Crock-Pot allows you to save time by significantly reducing cooking and cleaning time. Since the Crock-Pot cooks your meal for you during the day, you no longer have to spend time tending to a stovetop or oven. Also, most recipes are cooked in only one pot, so you’ll also only have one dish to wash after dinner. Those of you hate to cook and clean, rejoice!

Here are some recipes to check out if you need some help getting started.

Chicken Enchiladas:

Tater Tot Casserole:

Pot Roast with Gravy:

Beef Stroganoff:


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Christmas is quickly approaching, and what’s a great way to get everyone together for the holidays when you have a break from work? Throw a casual yet fun holiday party for your close friends and family! Hosting any kind of event can get pricey, but not to worry ladies I have some tips and tricks to make the season much easier.

First things first: Who will be invited? It’s no secret that the less people you invite, the less money you’ll have to spend/less work you have to do! A simple way to invite your desired guests is through emailing– use cute and creative fonts and colors to spice up your Evite.

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Secondly: What kind of edibles and beverages will you serve? Well, it depends on what time of day. A brunch or dessert party will save you money on expensive entrees and appetizers. Brunch could involve a simple pancake bar with various toppings and fun fruit additions.

A dessert party is also doable– you can score deals on brownie mix, cookie dough, or cake mix and make several goodies!

TIP: Always accept offers from people who ask “Can I bring a dish?” You can make a list of what your guests say they’re bringing, and even ask your family to help with food or your friends for their favorite wine to share within the invite!

You should pick a specialty drink such as mimosas! You can get inexpensive store brand orange juice and pick up a few bottles of Andre at the same time. By picking a signature drink, you don't have to spend money on different types of alcohol and just stick to one.
You should pick a specialty drink such as mimosas! You can get inexpensive store brand orange juice and pick up a few bottles of Andre at the same time. By picking a signature drink, you don’t have to spend money on different types of alcohol and just stick to one.

Lastly: give your place the right look. There are many stores to go to for cheap materials and decoration that are nice looking (try Target’s $1 Box!). Look around your house for things to  craft up, and also ask your parents about stuff they may have– you don’t have to spend a dime!

TIP: Keep everything in one color scheme! A “winter wonderland white” is simple and classy.

Goodwill (donating gets you a 20% off coupon!) always has homey decorations for good prices . There’s a whole section for kitchen items including glass cupcake stands and cute holiday platters. Spice up some dollar tree ornaments and candles with some glitter or spray paint and place these items all around the room. Add twinkling Christmas lights!

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TIP: Keep track of craft supplies you already have, and refrain from buying an excessive amount of other supplies. Some things cost less to buy already made!

Pinterest inspiration:

P.S.: score a Michael’s coupon with your email address!
Go get yours!

Happy hosting!


fashion friday

Clothes can be our best friend and worst enemy at the same time. We love going out in a pair of new Steve Madden pumps or showing up to a job interview in our favorite J.Crew blazer, but we really hate swiping our debit cards when we see the total we’ve racked up—especially when we’re living on a budget.

Do not fret, ladies, because there are solutions to this problem. A great alternative to shopping at department stores is to build your closet and professional wardrobe with thrift store finds.

I know what you’re thinking. Thrift stores definitely aren’t the most glamorous places in the world, but when you’re young and broke, sometimes you need to get creative in order to be fabulous.

Thrift shopping is an art form, and if you know the ins and outs of the thrift store, there is a good chance you might walk out of your local Goodwill with some great finds.

Here are some of my top tips and tricks to aid you in the thrift store:

  1. Commit to going thrift shopping, especially if you are new to the thrifting world. Set aside a good chunk of time. Most of the time you can’t just walk in and find something great right off the bat. Give yourself enough time to really comb through the racks and find the diamonds in the rough.
  2. Choose your thrifting outfit wisely. Wear clothes and shoes that are easy to take off and put back on because you will probably be in and out of the dressing room.
  3. Be thorough! Once you get into the thrift store, don’t be discouraged by the huge racks with tacky, old clothes. Sift through every item on the rack. The designer clothes might be hiding between a tacky Christmas sweater and a 90’s jumpsuit, and you don’t want to miss it.
  4. Don’t just stick to your own size or department. If you’re a size small, don’t just limit yourself to the small section. The clothing in a thrift store does not follow uniform sizes, so something labeled as a large might fit you, even if you wear a small!
  5. Inspect clothes before you buy them. Since you are sopping through pre-worn clothes, you are running the risk of holes, stains, spots, or tears. Most of the clothes are still totally wearable, but be careful and use your own discretion!

Just in case you are still a little bit skeptical of the power of thrifting, here are some YouTube videos of great finds for inspiration:

Happy thrifting!