The Classic Brunette: November 2015

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Black Friday Deals!

As I said in my last post, I'm in Lake Tahoe for Thanksgiving, and unfortunately for me, there is no mall here to go Black Friday shopping. Cyber Monday always ends up being my best friend, but this year, so many stores are offering up their online sales before Black Friday! I already ordered myself my first pair of Tory Burch boots because I couldn't pass up the current 50% off deal! I've gathered up some of my favorite deals and a few other sales below!


Tory Burch // Use code THANKS for 30% off when you spend $250
Kate Spade // Surprise sale up to 75% off
J.Crew //  30% off all items, 40% off sale with code HOLIDAY
J.Crew Factory // 50% off everything with code SHOPGIFTS
Gap // 50% off everything with code EARLY
ShopBop // Spend $250 get 15% off, spend $500 get 20%, and spend $1000 get 25% with code GOBIG15
Nordstrom // New items on sale and price matching!
Neiman Marcus // 20% off sale items, up to 40% off designer items
Macy's // 25% off clearance designer handbags, 50% off select juniors clothing, 60% off women's coats, 50% off women's sweaters, 70% off memory foam pillow & toppers
ASOS // Up to 60% off casual looks with code BLESSED
Express // 50% off everything
Bauble Bar // 30% off with the code THX
Vineyard Vines // 25% off full priced items, 40% off sale with code THANKS2015

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

(Un)Traditional Thanksgivings


I mentioned this in my Thanksgiving Outfit post, but my family never really has a traditional thanksgiving. We head up to Lake Tahoe every year, and never really do the same thing for the day of Thanksgiving. Since we don't have a place to cook a traditional Thanksgiving meal, we normally go out to a buffet somewhere in town that has everything we need to create a somewhat regular atmosphere of the holiday: mashed potatoes, turkey, pumpkin pie, you name it.

I love going up here and when it snows it's a truly magical experience (especially since I go to school in SoCal where it barely dips into the 60s during this time of year.) Lake Tahoe is one of my favorite places in the whole world, and although I sometimes get a little sad not having a traditional Thanksgiving, I wouldn't choose to celebrate it any other way.

When I came to college I realized that there are so many people who don't get to have their traditional Thanksgivings, especially those who are too far away from home to travel back for just a few days. The term friendsgiving gets thrown around a lot, and I feel like it's definitely an event that is prevalent while in college. So many people stick around campus for the holiday, and if you are like me, your friends at school are like your family away from home (cue my roommates saying "ew" and "aww" respectively.)

Friendsgiving doesn't have to be something to be ashamed of or saddened by because you aren't with your family. Think of it as another way to bond with those closest to you and have fun together! I personally haven't experienced one myself, but I know that any extra time spent with friends is bound to be a good time.

Although the tradition of Thanksgiving is supposed to be about spending time with loved ones, if you aren't able to, that doesn't mean that the holiday is going to be any less fun or special. I'm a big advocate for the occasional untraditional Thanksgiving, because it makes for some great memories that could possibly start some new traditions for you!

Now, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with having a regular Thanksgiving (because seriously what's better than family and a large home cooked meal?), but if you're like me and have an untraditional thanksgiving, I would love to know how you celebrate the holiday!

This post is a part of the #galpalholiday link up hosted by Cristina, Rachel, and Cathleen, so be sure to check out their blogs as well as the other posts in the link up!

Monday, November 23, 2015

How To Study (And Ace) Your Essay Test {Guest Post from Cristina}

You have to study a completely different way for essay-based tests than you would for multiple choice tests. I've taken several classes in college so far that require a blue book rather than a Scantron and they can be quite the challenge.

I'm in a class this year where we learn a whole slew of information over the course of a few weeks, and then, when given the exam, we are to answer only one question. The catch? We don't know what he's going to ask, so we have to study all of our notes. There's no multiple choice or fill in the blank, just blank lines of solitude waiting to be filled with what hopefully isn't BS (so help your grade).

I've done well on these tests, and I really credit my study tactics for this type of test. In just a few simple steps, you can be prepped and ready for your next bluebook exam!

Step 1: Rewrite Your Notes
This takes me approximately two days if I do it for two hours each day (math: 4 hours). I choose to rewrite mine by hand, but you can type them if you wish; whatever works best for your studying purposes. Make sure to write clearly and neatly, and use this time to locate any missing information. Call up some friends, use the Internet (wisely), or consult your textbook.

Step 2: Highlight
This is not just coloring. Highlight main words/phrases, so that they'll pop out at you as you study these notes. I use different colored highlighters for different things to keep everything organized!

Example: All things are made of matter
-highlight the words "all" and "matter"

Step 3: Pull-out The Main Ideas
There are two good ways to do this. Option 1 is to use notecards. Write your titles on the front and the main ideas on the back. Continue to study the notes guide you have made, but also implement using the notecards to really nail down the main points.

Option 2 is my method of choice. Next to the title, jot down the main ideas. It can be really simple; maybe just three words that can help you recall information on the subject.

Step 4: Time Yourself and Practice
Pull out some paper and set your phone timer, it's time to practice! This is a bit time-consuming, but don't fret; you don't have to write a whole essay. I like to write short, incomplete sentences that resemble something of what I really would write on the real thing. The important part is to not look at your notes and see how much you know. If you keep drawing a blank, you'll know what you need to study a bit more.

Thanks to Sami for letting me guest post on her awesome blog. You can find me over at cristinaoncampus.blogspot.com for more college tips!

X,

Cristina

Friday, November 20, 2015

Holiday Gift Guide!

Hunter BootsKate Spade Crossbody | Shep Shirt

Christmas is coming fast and my friend Skye and I decided that we should start getting in the spirit by making our gift guides! Some of these items are bound to be on sale with Black Friday coming up in a week, so best to have your eye on some specific things!

I've made three separate categories depending on who you are buying gifts for (or who's buying your gifts…): Affordable ($50 and under), Spend a little more ($50-$100), and Splurge ($100+). My personal favorites from this list are the plaid scarf, the monogram necklace, and the red hunter boots!

Be sure to check out Skye's Gift Guide on her blog The Equestrian Scholar!

Also, I'm at a bit lost on what to ask for for Christmas, and would love to hear some of the things you all are thinking of for yourselves! Seriously though, help a girl out in the comments with some suggestions!

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Most Delicious Bread Pudding


So I'm not the biggest fan of bread pudding, but I somehow pulled off a really delicious recipe that I will most definitely be making on a regular basis. This all started when I bought a loaf of french bread for a stew that I was going to make, but never got around to it. After two days, the bread got really a little stale. I didn't want to waste a whole loaf of bread, so I started thinking of ways to use it. I somehow remembered my mom telling me that you can use stale bread to make bread pudding, and so I decided to go for it. I wasn't expecting much out of this bread pudding, since I was really experimenting with the whole recipe, but it turned out amazingly well. I also wasn't expecting to share this on here, so that's why the pictures aren't really set up, but decided to because it really is just that good!

Ingredients:
1 French Loaf (or bread of choice)
2 eggs
2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar (+ extra for topping)
1/4 cup melted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
raisins (optional, my mom says "bread pudding is best with raisins")

Instructions:



First cut your bread into cubes. I found it was much quicker and easier to cut the bread into slices and cut the cubes from each slice. Cut as much bread as you can until you can't fit anymore into your pan (I'm not sure what size pan I used, but I fit about 2/3 of my loaf of bread). Put this bread into a large mixing bowl. 



Now combine all the other ingredients into another large mixing bowl. Mix until there are no lumps and all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed together into a fine liquid. 

Pour the mixture over the bread, and make sure each piece is thoroughly covered. Then pour the bread into your pan (there will be extra of the mixture, make sure that also goes into the pan).

Let sit overnight in the fridge. 



When you take it out, mix up the bread a little bit more to make sure each piece is coated somewhat equally. It's okay if there's still some liquid in the pan, but if there's a lot you should drain some of it out in order to make sure the pudding sticks better together in the over.

Cover the top of the bread pudding with brown sugar. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees, and cook for 45 minutes. Check on your bread pudding, see if it has "set" in the center (if you can make it jiggle, it hasn't fully set). If it hasn't, cook it in increments of five minutes until it does. Wait 2-3 minutes before serving.


Let me know if you try this recipe, I'm pretty proud of how great it turned out! 

Friday, November 13, 2015

Winter Outerwear Guide


Patagonia Quarter Zip | Pink Peacoat (Comes in 11 cute colors!) | Navy Peacoat | Toggle Coat
Herringbone Vest | Trenchcoat | Checked Ombre Coat | Black North Face

I'm a jacket hoarder. I live in California, so I obviously don't need a heavy winter jacket, but despite this I always seem to have at least 10 in my closet. (don't judge me!) Maybe it's the fact that I just love the look of winter coats, or I'm always expecting an unexpected, and definitely impossible snow storm, but I am always drawn to them when they start popping up in the Fall. 

For once I actually have a reason to buy some new, slightly heavyweight outerwear, because I'm heading to the United Kingdom at the end of December! I've been talking about it on Twitter every now and then, and also have a Pinterest board dedicated to the trip. All the plans have finally been set, and it's only starting to seem real to me since this trip has been in the works since last year! Don't you worry, there will definitely be a few posts about it around late December and January. For now, I've picked out a few of my favorite coats, jackets, pullovers, etc. in a bunch of different styles and prices for you to check out!

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Cutest Thanksgiving Outfits (On Sale!)




Thanksgiving has slowly become one of my favorite holidays. It means more to me now that I'm in college, because it's a whole week I get to spend with my family! I don't see them too often while at school since I'm down in Southern California and they're in Northern California, but I always get excited for November because it means I get to see them again! My family always goes to Lake Tahoe for Thanksgiving ever since I can remember, so we never really have a traditional Thanksgiving. We go out to a restaurant and just spend time together! 

It's always cold in Lake Tahoe during November (as it is everywhere else but SoCal!) so I'm always trying to find new sweaters and jackets to bring with me to prepare for the snow! I put together a few outfit ideas for you guys because I'll probably be wearing something similar to the above when I celebrate the holiday! 

Hope everyone's enjoying the colder weather like I am! It just hit the high 60s here, but I'm hoping for a little cooler!

Xo,

Friday, November 6, 2015

How To Get Out Of An Emotional Rut



Ever have one of those days where nothing seems to be going right? What about when that day turns into a week or maybe even a month? You might be in an emotional rut. Many things can lead to these emotional ruts (as I like to call them), and sometimes it's just a case of bad timing, bad luck, or a combination of the two. 

I'm going to get a little more personal today, because I want you to know that although my life looks like sunshine and rainbows on here and my other social media, that's definitely not always how it really is. For the past few weeks I've gotten myself into what seems to be a little pit of emotion that I just can't seem to escape. If you follow me on Twitter, you've seen that I've had a cold for the last two and a half weeks, and that's where this all really started. I don't know exactly why, but everything seemed to just continue to pile on all at once. I had a week full of midterms, some personal drama with friends, and some internal issues that I had continued to push down for a while, but decided to come back up at the same time as everything else. I'm not the type of person to complain about my stress and actual issues going on in my life, so it just made it worse when I wasn't talking to anyone about what was going on. I decided to make a post about it because it isn't as uncommon as you think, and I want to give some tips to help those who may end up in the same place as I am.

Talk To Someone

For me it was my parents, mostly my mom because I happened to be texting her when all this stuff was happening, but really it can be anyone you trust. It can be your best friend, your roommate, your sibling, a teacher, a therapist, anyone who will listen and make your emotions heard. Even if you don't tell them exactly what you're going through, telling someone that you aren't feeling so good in an emotional sense can lift a little weight off your shoulders. I know it can be hard to share things with other people sometimes, it's one of the most difficult things for me to do, but I promise even if you just give a little it will help give you a little more peace of mind.

Write It Out

I have a personal journal that I use from time to time (I write outside of my blog?!) to get out everything that's bothering me. If I don't want to share details with anyone I'll write it all in there and again it's just another way to force out whatever emotion you're feeling from being bottled up inside you.

Take A Hot Shower

It's a weird tip, but it helps. It soothes all the muscles in my body (especially when I'm sick!) and de-stresses me when I feel tense. It's my best thinking place, and when I'm in there I feel like I can organize all of my thoughts into where I want them to go. Obviously you can't just spend forever in the shower if you're having a bad day, but take a long one just to really clear your mind and loosen up your body.

Try Switching Up Your Routine

Feeling like everything around you is just uninteresting, or maybe you're just bored with your surroundings? See a new movie in theaters, go to a new restaurant, meet up with some friends you haven't seen in a while, do something that's fun but not something usually in your schedule. Make some time for yourself too, and do some things that always make you feel better!

These may not be the best tips in the world, but I wanted to do what I could to help people who have been where I am now, or end up where I am in the future. Life is stressful sometimes, and sometimes everything comes at you all at once at a rate where you feel like you're drowning. Remember keep your head above water and keep taking small steps to pull yourself out of the funk you're in.

Monday, November 2, 2015

USA Palm

 A few days ago I got the news that I was chosen as a representative of USA Palm! I have been following their brand on twitter for a few months, and every time they post pictures of their shirts I want  to buy them all! Their long sleeves always look so comfortable and perfect for the upcoming cold weather! One of the things I love most about them though is that 10% of their net profits go to oceanconservancy.org to help protect and save the ocean and marine life! Each shirt is from comfort colors, so they're extra soft and comfy! Here are a few of my favorite items from their website, be sure to use my Rep code: RepSamiM to get 10% off your purchase!


Coral Anchor Long Sleeve | Yellow Palm Long Sleeve | Light Pink Anchor Long Sleeve |
Tribal Pattern Sticker | Windbreaker | Flamingo Short Sleeve |

There are also a few things out of stock that I'm absolutely obsessed with (like this adorable dog long sleeve!), so keep checking the site to see when they come back in stock!
 
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