The Evolution of Halloween Costumes

Happy Halloween Joyflakes!

It's that time of year again. Girls of all ages will be dressing up in costumes that are in no way weather appropriate and there will be at least 3 sets of Mario Brothers at each party/bar you enter. What's crazy to me, is the difference in costumes over my 25 years of life.

When I was younger, Halloween was a day to wear an appropriate costume to school and then go trick-or-treating around your neighborhood in what may have been a different, less appropriate costume. Princesses, crazy Hawkeye fans, cheerleaders, grim reapers, pirates, indians, peter pan, there were all kinds of options for costumes. The one I saw most often though, was the child dressed in a giant winter coat with 10 pounds of makeup or face paint. You know the one I'm talking about right? It was insanely popular here in the midwest. The kids with the really glitzy big coat costume might even have had a hat to go along with it.

As I grew up and entered high school, trick-or-treating either became something you may have had to do with the kids you babysat for, or something you wouldn't do because you knew a pumpkin full of candy was nowhere near worth the effort of finding the perfect giant coat costume. Instead, we shed our giant coats to hang out in basements wearing costumes that rarely required real pants. Growing up in a college town meant that the basement you hung out in may have been your friends...or it may have been the sketchy house party someone you knew, knew someone at. Either was much warmer, much smellier, and completely free of giant coats.

In college, costumes tended to come from one of two camps. Option one, the "sexy            ." This costume could be pretty much anything. Sexy nurse, sexy girl scout (keeping that old sash DID prove to be a good idea!), sexy librarian, sexy zombie, the options are endless. Option two, was the "I'm hilarious" costume. This option generally required more cloth to DIY and often required more explanation but you may have been more comfortable.

Post college, my Halloween game has gotten stronger. Last year I was Paula Deen and Misha was a stick of butter and we clearly won the holiday. This year? I'll be working and as such will be a very work appropriate Rosie the Riveter. My hope is that by next year I will be able to dress up for the holiday as a woman on the couch with a glass of wine, bowl of popcorn, and Netflix.

What are your Halloween plans?


Getting Rid of a Sad Day

I'm having a sad day. It happens every once and a while when something right off the bat goes wrong. Today it was the fact that something we had planned kind of spontaneously wasn't going to work out after all. I hadn't realized quite how excited I was before the plans got stomped into nothingness and that made me particularly sad about the whole situation. In order to get rid of this sad day, I listed off every possible happy thing I could think of. The result wasn't an all out win, the situation still makes me sad, but at least it's not infecting the rest of my day any more!

Just in case you're having a sad day today too, here is my list of things that make me happy:

  • Puppies

  • The Favorite Coffee House playlist on Spotify

  • My FREE burrito from Pancheros that I will be devouring at lunch

  • My PIC sending pictures of our adorable puppy to cheer me up

  • Looking up right at 11:11 and making a wish

  • All of the exciting things that we get to do in the upcoming months


  • 45 Days until we get to go to Kristkindle market in Chicago

  • My parents coming to visit from Kentucky for Thanksgiving

  • Date Nights at the Englert theater

  • Snuggly sweaters

  • Getting to wear jeans to work

  • Watching other people's lives on YouTube

  • Listening to my Saturday Sounds playlist on spotify at least once a day

  • Hot cups of delicious tea

  • Having a little corner of the internet universe where I can put light into the universe

  • Knowing that no matter what, at the end of my long day, I get to take my bra off, put on sweatpants, and enjoy a couch snuggle with my puppy

  • Buying Christmas presents for friends and family

  • The perfect crisp fall weather that Iowa is experiencing

  • Brunch with good friends

  • Grits

  • Reading blog posts about places I've never been

  • Hitting unsubscribe on spam emails

  • Macaroni and Cheese

  • Flaming Hot Cheetoes

  • Bubble baths

  • Hot apple gillette's with fresh whipped cream

  • Pizza

  • My buddha tea bag holder

  • Fairy lights

  • Painting my nails

  • Writing

  • Talking to friends who've moved away

  • Scented candles that make rooms extra cozy

  • Local shops

  • Scarves

  • Cozy socks

Feel free to share your list too, I'd love some more happy thoughts today! Just tag me at @KNdoubelU on instagram or twitter with your happy thoughts. I'll be sure to send a little happiness back at you.


I'm an expert

I love story time. It was one of my favorite things growing up and with grandparents like mine, it still is. But instead of listening to a wonderful story told by an amazing storyteller, I'm going to subject you to my storytelling skillz.

Once upon a time, I was called to be an expert witness in an incredibly important court case. My expertise could very possibly be the turning point of a case involving someones terrible accidental death. SO IMPORTANT. To say that I was nervous when I entered that court room is an understatement. There was so much riding on my being the perfect expert witness! I had to be professional, unbiased, and persuasive, all while seeming like I was cool as a cucumber even though on the inside I was picturing myself in an upcoming episode of Law and Order.  Thankfully, I killed it. I walked up to that witness stand and owned the room better than a drag queen on RuPaul's Drag Race. I even used my extensive knowledge of materials to wow the judge and jury with my massive brain. Lets just say, if I'd had a mic, I'd have dropped it like it was hot. I won't know what happened with the case for a bit, but I'm 100% sure that my crazy good witness skillz will be the tipping point.

Okay, in all honesty, I was helping out a friend for her trial advocacy class. My "witness skillz" were scripted and thankfully, I just had to read my script. I did get to use my jewelry knowledge though which was fun (thanks for teaching me all about crazing Linda!). As the PIC of a law student, I spend a lot of time doing "law school" things. I often find myself introducing myself as "Kaeli, I'm not in law school" and am regularly lost in conversation, but it's pretty cool to see inside the world of law students that most people don't see.

I'm not sure that I would ever volunteer to be a witness again...think of me as a last resort law students...but at least now I'm ready just in case I'm ever called in for a case!


Coming Out & Going Back In Again

In honor of National Coming Out Day, I've decided to share my own coming out story.  If you don't care, don't want to know, or don't approve of my lifestyle, that's your own choice and you're welcome to your opinion.  I just don't care, want to know, or need your approval :)

I came out for the first time in about 5th grade. I was walking across the playground with my friend Leslie and I just kind of blurted it out. “I’m pretty sure I might be gay” is exactly what I said and then I explained that I liked girls but that I also liked boys and that I didn’t really know if that made me gay but I thought it did. It was the first time that I had ever said it out loud. I don’t think I would have done it if I hadn’t just watched an episode of the Real World in which the incredibly loud and out lesbian housemate Aneesa Ferreira went on a rampage about the importance of her rainbow necklace (which was strikingly similar to one I owned and then proceeded to wear constantly).

Fast forward 7 years and I was well on my way to being named “class flirt” with a list of boyfriends that I couldn’t fit on two hands and absolutely zero ability to even consider flirting with a girl in any space but my own imagination. What happened in those 7 years to shove me back into the closet so far that I wouldn’t be able to climb out until I turned twenty-four?

There are a million answers to that question and most of them probably require therapy but I think that there are two truly honest answers. One is that it was easier to be a straight girl who always had a boyfriend, than a lesbian in junior high, high school, and college. And the second is that the title “lesbian” never felt right. I liked boys, and girls, but also didn’t feel like “bisexual” really fit either. I simply loved who I loved…no matter what they identified as or who they were. It’s hard to come out when you don’t know what to call yourself or how to explain it. So until I was 24 and learned what “pansexual” was, I just kept my little secret to myself.

I should point out, that I grew up in a very accepting home where being gay was something that not only would have been no big deal, it would have been celebrated. The problem is that although my family and friends would have been amazing and supportive and wonderful, I didn’t (and still don't) see my sexuality as anything all that special. It’s a part of me that has always been there and I didn’t want anyone to make a big deal about it.

The second (much more public) time that I came out went a little differently. I made the choice to finally tell people because I had met a wonderful and amazing person that I couldn’t help but want everyone to meet and know was my girlfriend. I started by telling her (which was pretty important), and then my closest friends, and then my family. It is amazing how many people were shocked at first and then told me literally moments later that it “actually made a lot of sense,” or "I've been waiting 15 years for this" (thanks mom!). The thing that people couldn’t really grasp was the word that I had chosen to claim as my “identity.”

Pansexual is not something that most people have ever heard. They think that it means I’m attracted to little kids or animals or pans…all of which is completely untrue. Pansexual is defined in the dictionary as “not limited in sexual choice with regard to biological sex, gender, or gender identity;” what I define pansexual as is much more simple than that. I am attracted to a person first by their personality and the emotional connection we have and then by their physical appearance.

The person who put it best is another Leslie (apparently it’s a particularly important name for my life) who became one of my very best friends in college. The way she put it? “You’re a lover.” It is the most simplistic possible way to say something that I had struggled for years to express and the moment that I could finally express myself it was like a dam breaking. The anxiety and depression that had become an increasingly paralyzing part of my daily life started to get better. My tolerance for telling and receiving lies as a part of normal life pretty much evaporated and most importantly, for the first time in years, I felt like I was meant to be in my own skin.

Since coming out I know that I still have a lot of work ahead of me. Therapy and making choices based on keeping myself happy and healthy rather than making sure other people are happy and healthy first are two of the things that I’ve been working the hardest on but it’s helping me figure out just who I am. Plus, if I had everything figured out at age 25 what fun would there be left for me to have?

Happy Coming Out Day Joyflakes! And a special thank you to all of my amazing friends and family for being the supportive wonderful people you are.



Saturday Sounds

This is an area of my blog that I realized recently is tough to keep up to date. Im constantly listening to music at work but when I sit down to write this, I regularly find myself trying to post the same things that I already have. I know that this means I need to expand my music listening library and in order to do so, I've been listening to a lot of different playlists on Spotify.

What I've decided to do, is to start a playlist of everything I really love and just add to it as I find new songs, artists, etc. The playlist is called Saturday Sounds (original, I know) and can be found on Spotify.

I sincerely hope that you enjoy it! If you have any suggestions of songs, artists, playlists, whatever else there may be music-wise, let me know! You can contact me or simply post it to the comments. I would love to know what you're listening to!


A Letter to Myself as I Applied for College

Working where I do, and being someone as introverted and prone to day dreaming as I am, it is hard sometimes not to think of what could have been when it comes to my college career. As you know from this post I am one of those people who believes strongly that college is not for everyone. I don't mean that there are some people who can't do college, I simply mean that for some people college isn't the best option and it definitely isn't the ONLY option.

That being said, here is a letter to myself when I was looking at, applying to and choosing a college.

Hello You,

Can you believe that your a senior? This is going to be a crazy year for you. It will be full of laughs, big changes, and tough decisions. I know that you are unbelievable excited to have been accepted at the University of Alabama and that you're already dreaming of Bid Day and your first Bama Football game, but would you do me a favor? Stop and think about the type of schools you've applied to. Every singe one is HUGE with a great HUGE Greek community and a fantastic  HUGE football team. Have you even stopped to think about the fact that you're about to go to a school that will shape your future and challenge you academically? Where in your college search have you looked at the student/faculty ratio? Have you just once considered the fact that you're going to be one of at least 10,000 undergraduate students?

If you thought City was just big enough for you to not be completely noticeable but still make a splash you're in for a BIG smack in the face. You're going to walk into classrooms that seat hundreds of students and feel tiny and intimidated. You're also going to realize pretty darn quick that if you don't go to class, no one cares. Thats great until you get your midterms and feel sick to your stomach about lying to mom.

Why don't you try looking at (AND VISITING!! This only going on two visits thing is a DUMB plan) a couple of smaller schools? I know you think you won't get in, but I'll give you a hint, you won't get in to a couple of the big state schools you're obsessed with either. Cornell is close, but just far enough that you never have to come home if you don't want to and they take one class at a time, talk about focus! Or, if you're really set on going somewhere far away, how about looking at a smaller liberal arts school in Colorado? Or actually sending in your application to PLU? I know you have it almost all the way done already.

Basically what I am trying to say is keep an open mind. You're about to go through some pretty serious stuff that will leave you a different person at the end of it and a large school won't be the best place to come of out it. Try thinking of school as a place to become the you that you see yourself as, not the one you think everyone else wants to see. You may just like yourself better.

You at 25...older and wiser.

P.S. Two more things, you're in amazing shape right now. Even though you don't think so, you'll never look like this again so try to keep yourself in this shape okay? And that boy you're "falling in love" with? He's not forever...and neither are the other boys you're about to date. Maybe you should try dating someone that's not a boy ;)

I know that I never would have listened to any of that advice at that age, I was dead set in my ways. But I do wish that someone (other than my mom) had been there to make some suggestions and help me see that college is whatever you make it as long as you let yourself. And the PS? Well that would have just scared the crap out of me.

If you could go back and tell yourself what to do at that age what would you say? I'd love to hear from you.



My sophomore year in college I moved in to the AOII house and lived with my big, Lauren.  There were a few things that I will never forget about living with Lauren that semester, like eating obscene amounts of cheese balls or pretty much never wearing real pants, but the thing that has stuck with me most is my need to have a movie or tv show playing in the background constantly when I'm alone. I currently have The Holiday playing on repeat behind me.

That year I "watched" Cars more times than I can count and learned that The Blind Side has the best title page music to sleep to. But through that semester there was one show that Lauren and I binge watched like crazy. For a 5 solid seasons, we sat in our beds with the door shut, chose not to go out on weekends, ate crap and watched Bones.

Season 10 just went live on Netflix and as I've been sitting with Mish watching ep after ep, I can't help but think about my big and those wonderful days in the toaster watching Bones. Isn't it crazy how something as little as watching a show can become one of your favorite memories with someone?


Happy Oktober!

Happy Sunday evening Joyflakes!

Today I was snuggled in under a blanket enjoying a lazy day of blogging, reading, and a little work while Misha finished up her homework. It was a sweatpants and fuzzy socks kinda day.

Yesterday we went to Iowa City's annual Northside Oktoberfest and had an absolute blast. For those of you who don't know, Oktoberfest is a wonderful german tradition involving beer, pretzel necklaces, and brats. Misha and I paid for the "Brew Master" tickets so we got to go in an hour early and vote on some of the wonderful craft beers that Iowa has to offer

After an hour of tasting everything from the delicious, to the ones that tasted more like marinade, we joined the rest of the of the Oktoberfester's. We enjoyed more beers than I could count and ended up with some pretty awesome swag (I never knew I needed so many bottle openers). And it wouldn't have been Oktoberfest with out some delicious food so brats (YUM) and pretzels were wonderful addition to the afternoon.

[caption id="attachment_171" align="aligncenter" width="225"]IMG_0573 Oh Oktoberfest, the perfect time to break out the white girl fall gear![/caption]


[caption id="attachment_173" align="aligncenter" width="300"]IMG_0580 Delicious AND unflattering to eat. My favorite![/caption]

[caption id="attachment_176" align="aligncenter" width="225"]IMG_0585 The Nieves(-)Whitmore sisters love Oktoberfest! and a Hawkeye win wasn't too shabby either :)[/caption]

There is something wonderful about getting together with a friends and family in the fall that just makes me incredibly happy.

[caption id="attachment_175" align="aligncenter" width="169"]IMG_0600 Prost![/caption]


Exactly why I love blogging

I read a lot of blogs.  Their subject matter ranges from beauty to social justice to humor and covers everything in between.  What I absolutely love about blogs is that there is so much out there.  No matter what you are interested in, you can find it...and if you can't find exactly what you want, you can write it!

I was reading a post on HelloGiggles about a girl who had spent a year doing "nothing" and what she had learned during that time.  She had, like most 20-somethings, found out that getting her dream job was not as easy as expected.  The old idea that "if you go to college, you'll get a good job" has lost a lot of its truth as thousands on thousands of bright and driven college grads have flooded the job market with exactly the same qualifications. Fed up with going to interview after interview competing with carbon copies of herself for underwhelming jobs, she decided to do the thing we millennials have been taught not to do.  She gave up. Instead of trying to land the highly sought after "dream job" she waited tables, and traveled, and took a yoga class.  What she found after her year, is that her priorities had changed.  Yes, the dream job was still out there, and yes she still needed a job, but the way to get there might not be to be a carbon copy of every other 20-something college grad.

After reading a story like that, I felt empowered and ready to take on whatever came my way. The internet can be such a scary place but the blogosphere is a place that I've found like minded people who accept me for me. These amazing people share little bits of themselves and their stories and are an absolute inspiration. I've never met most of the bloggers I follow religiously but I wish that I could thank them for what they've given me. Because as you can tell from my last post, it means a lot to have a "group" even if we've never met.