Graduation GIfts Under $75

I can't believe the end of this week will be the beginning of May!! May brings lots of celebrations, including graduations. Whether it's High School or College graduation, they both signify a new transition and chapter in life.  I was recently asked for some ideas for graduation gifts. Although it has been a few years since I graduated, I can still remember a few things I received. While cash is always appreciated, sometimes an actual gift is a bit more meaningful.  Today's list of gifts are all under $75!

Anytime you are starting a new phase in life, organization is key. A custom May Designs agenda is a great way to get organized. I use one of their notebooks and agendas daily for blog scheduling and brainstorming.  Whether it's for personal note or a message to a potential employer, personalized stationery will always be used.  I love to give travel accessories. This jewelry organizer and this jewelry roll are both compact but hold a lot of jewelry. Years ago I was given this curling iron holder and I still use it daily! 

If the graduate is about to start college, a towel wrap is a necessity for dorm life. Etsy has tons of options and most can be personalized.  These Anthropologie candles will make a new house, apartment or dorm room feel like home! 

Times of transition can be quite stressful for the new graduate. A massage or facial gift card can be a nice surprise and will make them take some time for themselves. If the new graduate will be driving a lot, a gas gift card can help with those expenses.

I hope this list gives you a lot of ideas and inspiration for the graduate in your life!

Kara Krittenbrink

Braid Class: Fishtail

In this previous post I taught the Dutch French Braid.  At that same braid class I went to at Blo the Fishtail braid was also taught. I can't say enough about the class.  It was well taught and I had one on one time with a stylist when I had any questions or problems. I was able to do the Fishtail before the class but I learned a few tips that helped tremendously. 

Fishtail - the Basics
It is my favorite braid to do and is typically the hairstyle I go for when I need to fix a bad hair day. Once you get the basics down, it is not a hard braid to do. The finished braid looks so intricate and time consuming but its not!! While you are braiding, keep the fishtail as tight as possible! Once you are done, you can loosen the braid but it is very difficult to make it tighter.


Prepping your hair for the Fishtail is the same as other braids (explained here). You want to give your hair some grip so the braid stays put.  Having some curl or wave to your hair will give the braid more texture and interest. 


  1. Gather all of your hair at the nape of your neck. If you are first learning or need help keeping the braid tight, tie your hair in a ponytail with a clear elastic.
  2. Divide your hair into two equal sections and hold one with each hand.
  3. Take a small piece from the outside of the right section and cross it over to the left section.
  4. Take a small piece from the outside of the left section and cross it over to the right section.
  5. Repeat until you reach the end of your hair.
  6. Tie off with a clear elastic.
  7. If you started with the hair tied in a clear elastic, cut the elastic out.
  8. If you want the braid messier or looser pull on pieces throughout the braid.
  • After you cross each section over pull your hair tight.
  • Varying the size of each section will make the braid look more or less intricate.
  • If you want volume, tease your crown area before you start the braid.
Note: The picture above is a French Braid Fishtail. It works similar to a regular French Braid (explained here). I started with 2/3 of the hair and added hair from the sides with each cross over. Once all the hair was added, continue on as a regular fishtail. 
Kara Krittenbrink

Embellished Sandals

Whether you are ready or not, sandal season is coming! It's time for pedicures and neon nail polish. I love the comfort and ease sandals bring to your wardrobe. The embellished sandal has been popular for a few summers and it is still on trend for this one (last seen here). I love any trend that adds  glitter or shimmer to my outfit!! A little (or a lot of) sparkle elevates basic slides and flip flops. I also love this trend because you can find embellished sandals at all prices. Below I have put together a few of my favorites. 

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 After hunting for my size, I recently picked up these sandals from Target.  They are the perfect weekend shoe.  I will pair them with jeans now while it's still a bit cool out. When it warms up they'll look just as great with maxi dresses and shorts. I also love this pair.  You can wear them with all of your summer dresses and give your heels a break. 

Please share your favorite way to wear embellished sandals in the comments below!
Kara Krittenbrink

Delicate Jewelry

I love statement jewelry but this Spring another jewelry trend is getting it's day in the sun, delicate jewelry.  The small, dainty pieces are a great way to change up your look.  The most on trend delicate jewelry is gold, but if that's not your favorite you can find pieces in all metals.  A few of my favorite pieces are below.

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This is one of those trends that can be worn with all types of outfits, dressy or casual.  You can customize the look by layering or stacking a few pieces together.  My favorite look is a simple jeans and tee with a long and short necklace layered over it.  I love this Stella and Dot necklace too. It is an easy piece that can be worn separately or with all three strands.

Kara Krittenbrink

Wedding Wear: Under $100

Wedding season has officially arrived. If your fridge looks anything like mine, you have several weddings coming up. It's a nice thought to be able to get a new outfit for each one, but my budget definitely doesn't allow that! I like to buy a few dresses each season to rotate with the other ones I already own. I have pulled together several great dresses (and one jumpsuit) in different styles that will make you the best dressed guest. My favorite part is that they are all under $100!  At these prices, you'll be able to purchase one for your next event (or maybe two).

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The midi length has quickly become a favorite of mine. It feels ladylike and flirty at the same time.  I'm a big fan of prints in the spring and summer, especially floral! If you are afraid a midi will make your legs look short pair with strappy heeled sandals.  A nude heel will also help with elongating your legs. 

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I've become a jumpsuit fan (as seen here). Both a maxi and a jumpsuit can be dressy or casual, with the right accessories. You can pair it with strappy sandals or wedges and gold jewelry for a dressier wedding.

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Fun prints can make simple body con dresses a little more exciting (as seen here). All of these dresses are from ASOS, a great resource for on trend items at every price point. The black and white geometric print is really slimming with the black paneling and peplum detail. I especially love this pink one, the bright color is to die for!  

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Solid colors aren't always boring, they can make an impact too! The bright yellow color will look great with your summer tan and a red lip.  This coral dress is very structured and gives you an hourglass figure. It is the perfect dress to pair with a statement necklace or a bold pair of shoes!

Kara Krittenbrink

Beauty Rx: Highlighter

Contouring has become a hot trend lately in the makeup world but is something I have not attempted.  One thing I do love from contouring is highlighting, it’s been something I have been using for years.  This multi-purposeful beauty product gives your skin a glow and can help blur imperfections. I have used a few different highlighters but my favorite by far is Benefit's High Beam. The color is a soft pink that flatters most skin tones and the texture is thick enough to stay put all day. Here are a few others that would work great. 

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I use it daily to help my eyes look more awake and refreshed. I also use it to help my dark circles look better.  For a special night out or when I’m taking more time to do my makeup I’ll highlight my cheekbones and cupids bow too.  Blending a few drops into your foundation or moisturizer will give your skin an all over glow.

In my daily routine I put some under my eyebrows and in the inner corner of my eyes. I find that gives my skin a more awake and refreshed look.  I also apply it under my eyes before I put on concealer.  The highlighter helps soften my dark circles so I require less cover up. 

 Highlighting Eye
  1. After moisturizing put 2 to 3 dots of concealer under each eyebrow and blend it along the brow bone.
  2. Put a small dot on your fingers and blend into inner corner of each eye
  3. Finish the rest of your makeup as usual
Blurring Dark Lines
  1. After moisturizing put 3 dots under eyes
  2. Blend along dark circles and down on side of the nose
  3. Apply foundation as normal and then concealer if needed
Other Highlights
  1. After applying foundation and blush blend a few drops of highlighter along cheekbones
  2. The most amount of highlighter should be on the apples and blended out
  3. Blend a tiny bit of highlighter along the cupid bow before applying lipstick
Kara Krittenbrink

Braid Class: Dutch Braid

Braids are a fun way to change up your normal hair routine or to hide a bad hair day!! If you follow me on instagram (EverydayK_) you saw that I recently went to a braid class at Blo, a local blowdry bar.  I have a grasp on the basics and was hoping to learn some new techniques at the class.  In an hour we were guided thru 3 braids, Dutch Braid, Fishtail and Waterfall Braid.  Today, I'm sharing the Dutch Braid technique. Look for later posts on the other 2 braids!

Dutch French Braid – the Basics

The Dutch braid is like a basic braid but instead of taking the strands over the braid when you cross them, you take it under.  This makes the braid look like it's sitting on top of the head instead of blended in.


You can braid hair when it’s curly or straight. Curled hair will add more texture to your hair. If you hair is slick and maybe “too clean” I add dry shampoo or texture spray to it. Spray it on your roots and down the hair shaft. If its dry shampoo, work it into your hair and then brush it out after a few minutes.  This adds some grip to your hair. If you want a bigger braid look, you can pull the braid apart (see below) and having a grip to your hair helps with this.

  1. Take a small section from one temple to the other and divide into three strands.
  2. Take a strand on one side and cross it under the middle one, take the section on the other side and do the same and repeat once more. Now each strand has been braided once.
  3. Add a small section of hair to the new strand before you cross it under the middle strand, repeat on the other side.
  4. Keep adding sections of hair to the braid as you go.
  5. When you get to your neckline and have added all of your hair, continue braiding until you get to the end of your hair and tie off with a clear elastic.
  6. If you want the braid to be appear bigger, start at the top of the braid and pull each loop out a bit. You can play around with this technique and see what you like best.
 Once you have the basics down, you can get creative!
  • Adding less hair to each section will make the braid look more intricate.
  • Start the braid higher or lower on your head
  • Start the braid on the side of your head for a fun side braid.
Special thanks to my lovely hair model, Mandi!
Kara Krittenbrink

Work Wear: Pants

Working in a corporate environment, many of my clothing purchases are for work.   I try to find pieces that can mix and match with many items in my closet. I am a strong proponent that just because it's work doesn't mean you can't have fun with your outfit!! Working in a business casual environment, dress pants are a staple item.  You can find all types of cuts, fabrics and colors.  Having a variety of pants can break up the monotony of a "work uniform". My rule is to keep the more modern "fun" styles in basic colors.  I'll buy the classic cut pants in more adventurous colors.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE the JCrew Reese pants (last seen here)! They are my favorites and I can't say enough about them. The crepe material makes them extremely comfortable, you won't think you have dress pants on when you wear them.  A cropped length is great for both flats and heels. I like how the length shows off your shoes!  I wear these year round and am looking at what color I should purchase next. Maybe the blue?

When you need a more traditional dress pant The Limited's Cassidy pant should be your go to pant.  This pant will make you feel like one of Olivia Pope's gladiators.  You mean business! They will make your legs look really long especially when you add a pointy toe heal.  This pant looks especially good when you tuck in and belt your top.

JCrew's Minnie pant is a fun pant (last seen here), especially for Spring and Summer.  I have both the dark green and black pair and wear them at least once a week. It's slim fitting but the stretchy fabric is super flattering.  I typically add longer length tops and tunics with this pant. I recommend going down a size because they will stretch a bit as you wear them.

This pair by Vince Camuto may be my next purchase. I love the belted waist and the pink color is to die for!  I will style them with a slim fitted button down (from this post) and a pair of pointy toe heals.
Let me know in the comments if you have any other great pant recommendations.

Kara Krittenbrink

April Wishlist

Spring has officially sprung! I am ready for sandals, drinks on patios, and weekends spent outside.  I have rounded up a few picks for you of some items I have my eye on lately.  Travel seems to be on everyone's mind during the spring and summer. The weekender bag is a great size for short trips and is the perfect carry on.  This Paper Crown dress is both comfortable and easy to wear. It comes in the most adorable print!  It would look cute with these sandals or these.  I'm always looking for the perfect pair of jeans (who isn't?) and this pair was recommended to me. 

Kate Spade Weekender Bag (also here) - Kate Spade Glitter Sunglasses - Bauble Bar Tassel Necklace
Paper Crown  Swing Dress - Natasha Woven Box Clutch -  Seychelles Embellished Slides
Kate Spade Scallop Tote - BlankNYC Distressed Jeans - Sam Edelman Sandals
Kara Krittenbrink


Although I have tried on many, it has taken me awhile to purchase a jumpsuit.  I see them in magazines and on my friends and think they are adorable but not for me.  I love wearing rompers in the summer but felt differently about jumpsuits. I didn't think they could be flattering on my body type and I was WRONG!

The first thoughts I had when I put this jumpsuit on in the dressing room: Comfortable. Easy. Versatile. This Vince Camuto one has everything you could want for in the most incredible print!  The straight cut leg and drawstring waist help create a flattering figure.  And let's talk comfort, the jersey fabric feels like you are wearing pajamas! I never want to take this off.  You can take this from work to happy hour by adding a blazer for work and a fun lipstick for after.  You can also rock this jumpsuit at a spring or summer wedding!

The pop of color in my hands is a fun clutch I just picked up! I am a sucker for anything with laser cut leather.  The intricate detail and fun orange color is hard to resist.  Add the crossbody straps and you have the perfect purse to run errands on the weekend.

Vince Camuto Jumpsuit - Steve Madden Sandals (similar, here)

Kara Krittenbrink