NYE looks

Fashion Blog

It’s time to ditch the ugly Christmas sweaters and put on your classiest look- because tomorrow is New Year’s Eve!

I love dressing for NYE because of how fancy you’re able to look. Here are my top 3 fave dresses for the last night of the year:



Velvet has become super trendy recently- and I am loving it!

Urban Outfitters has lots of different velvet dresses to choose from- from long sleeves to no sleeves.



I LOVE this jumpsuit so much. It’s stylish and comfy- my favorite combo!




I think wearing major sequin outfits is best for NYE. And just like Express says here- “let your inner diva out!”


Sequins + Fringe= the ultimate & fierce NYE look!


Little Black Dress

The LBD is always a classic. And I love how the bottom of this minidress is flowy- it makes it very easy to move ‘n groove in!



Sequins AND tulle… could a dress get any cuter?? And it’s on sale for $31.18!




My Top 5 Winter Must Haves

Fashion Blog

While I hate the cold weather, it’s the most wonderful time of the year because of all of the layers I can wear. My mantra for the winter?The more layers, the cuter the outfit.

Here are some of my must haves for this upcoming winter season:

1. Beanies

I love wearing beanies because not only do they keep my head and ears warm, but they can add so much more to my outfit. Usually, I pick neutral colors so I know it’ll match my clothing. But don’t hesitate to get one that’s a different color to add a POP to any outfit you choose to wear.

American Eagle Outfitters has beanies in the prettiest colors that will keep you so cozy. Right now, some of them are only $10!


My favorite beanie at AEO is this light up beanie. So fun, and so festive!


2. Scarves

Scarves are also another great– and easy– way to spice up any outfit. My favorite scarves during the winter are big, thick ones. Hollister has some right now that are thick, and even better– cheap!




I’m obsessing over this huge, and ahh-dorable, scarf at Dottie Couture Boutique:



3. Boots

Boots are of course a MUST during this season.

I never like wearing boots with a huge heel because they can be difficult to walk in. This pair from Lily and Sparrow Boutique are the perfect height for me:


I am lovingggg these from the same boutique!



4. Sweaters

Anthropologie has a whole tab completely dedicated to cozy sweaters. How perfect is that!?

I love how this one breaks the normal standard of wearing darker and more neutral colored clothes during the winter. Be bold and buy this! *probably have to splurge if you are wanting this though 😉


Calling all cat lovers– this is the perfect sweater for you:



5. Coats

I’ve always had a hard time finding coats that are fashionable and keep me warm. But this year, I was able to get a coat that matched that criteria from Abercrombie & Fitch. Snag your fave one quick, there’s a sale going on its website right now!






~My IWU Wardrobe Essentials~

Fashion Blog

Wow, I can’t believe I’m going to be a senior in college! It really does seem like yesterday I was attending New Student Orientation and moving into Evans Hall. But this year, I’m living off campus in a house with my friends and will be focusing on my senior project and finding a job. What!?!

In honor of my last year (at least… that’s the plan) at IWU, I have put together a college of my wardrobe must haves when I am away in good ‘ole Marion, Indiana.


Walking to class in the morning, it’ll be pretty cold. But then once I leave the student center and head to my 1 p.m. class it’ll be blazing outside. *sigh* This is the struggle of Indiana weather. But this is why cardis are a must for my college wardrobe! I can wear it in the morning, and then take it off and wear it around my waist while I’m outside heading to Elder Hall. And then I’ll have to put it back on once I enter the freezing classrooms!


The shirt underneath the cardi is actually a crop top! I love that I don’t have to leave crop tops at home because I can wear them with high-waisted jeans and a cardigan for the colder days! [Cardigan- Target/Crop Top- PacSun/Jeggings- American Eagle Outfitters]


Another staple for an IWU wardrobe- crewnecks are one of my favorite things to wear at school. They are so comfy, and if they are big on me, I like to wear them with leggings. This pink one is my favorite and can be purchased in the IWU bookstore in the Barnes Student Center.


The OG Fountain!


If you’re going to attend IWU, you have to be prepared for the rain! Even if the forecast doesn’t say anything about rain that day, you never know with that Indiana weather. I always carry an umbrella with me, and I have two pairs of rain boots in my closet that are always ready to go.


This is an essential for those days when I wake up late and don’t have time to do my hair… or if I am just not feeling like primping myself that day (most days). You can show some school spirit with IWU hats like the one below– available in the bookstore.




Ladies– when purchasing hats, don’t limit yourself to just the women’s section at stores! My sister bought this in the men’s section at American Eagle, and it’s one of my favorite hats to wear 🙂


Fall weather is quickly approaching which means scarves are a must! I love wearing scarves to add extra cuteness—and warmth—to any outfit.



Another must for those days when you are not feeling like dressing up for class. You can find me wearing leggings most of the time during the school year. This IWU long-sleeved is perfect with leggings because it is comfortable … and covers my bum. 😉



Even though you’ll be matching with every other girl in the school, I always bring my combat boots with me. They are perfect for the colder days and stay strong during snow and rain!


I know, it seems pretty strange to include moccasins in a wardrobe must list. But I have found myself wearing my moccasins a lot while I’m at IWU. They are so comfy and keep my feet warm, I usually wear them with leggings and a crewneck. Just make sure it’s not raining that day!


You can probably tell that these look a bit worn, but because they are my faveee! I love wearing them around the house as slippers, and for my lazy days at school 🙂


Just like hats, headbands are perfect to add to my hair that I didn’t fix when I got ready. I love wearing headbands because they can add so much to any outfit you wear!


Jewelry is always a must to add to any wardrobe because it can always add a spice of flavor to whatever I decide to wear that day. I’m not a huge jewelry person, but I love to add some bracelets or a watch. I especially love this map watch!


Yee-haw! ~ My favorite looks for a weekend in the south

Fashion Blog

Next weekend, I’ll be slipping into some boots and throwing my cowgirl hat on as I head to some honky tonks! I can’t wait to explore Nashville, Tennessee with my family — while wearing the perfect Southern girl outfit 🙂

These last few weeks I’ve been spending time looking for different pieces so I can have that perfect Nashville look. I plan on wearing this adorable lace romper from Dottie Couture Boutique. I love how flowy and open the sleeves are so I don’t get too hot while line dancing.

This is also perfect for a fancy date night with your S.O.! The lower neckline and flowy sleeves (and no pants ;)) make it more tolerable to wear even on hotter evenings.


{Sunnies from PacSun}

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The waistband can help you look slimmer too! 🙂

And these SHOES! How cute are these?! I didn’t want to get full-out cowgirl boots because I wasn’t sure when I would wear them again, so these Dottie Couture shoes are perfect for me. I love how I can wear these for a night out in Nashville, but almost any other occasion as well!


If you’re tall like me, you’ll appreciate the smaller heel!

You will hardly ever catch me wearing a hat, but in Nashville, I think it’s a must. This dark brown hat is from — you guessed it — Dottie.




Another clothing store I think is perfect to complete any country girl outfit is King Ranch Saddle Shop. Here are some of my favorites (that you can buy online!):

Settler Shirt 


I love the ruffles on this- it adds a new twist to the simple denim shirt. And you can tie the ends together for the warmer temps. I think it can look cute by itself, but I love the belt and necklace to add more to it!

I LOVE turquoise jewelry! It’s such a classic to pair with any southern outfit, and King Ranch has lots to choose from:

Turquoise 6-Strand Bracelet


2-Tier Dangle Earrings


Turquoise and Wood 3 Strand Necklace 



And you can’t blog about southern looks without featuring some boots! King Ranch has the most beautiful women’s cowgirl boots. These are perfect for a day in the stables or a night at the honky tonks.

Mulan Tobacco Boots


The simplicity of these boots can assure you that they will match whatever you decide to wear. And those heels will show off your newly sun-tanned legs!

Red Heart Studded Boots


The deep red mixed with the rhinestones will add a pop to any outfit.

And I didn’t forget about the guys! I love all of the boots King Ranch has for the men:

Santa Rosa Sunset Roper Boots


Orange Napa Square Toe Roper Boots


I love that pop of orange!


What other southern looks do you like? I’d love to see your ideas! 🙂

Women’s Swimsuit Trends: Summer ’16

Fashion Blog

It’s June, it’s summer, it’s hot, it’s…. SWIMSUIT TIME!

While this is exciting for some and frightening for others, it’s time to head to the mall with your besties and try some suits on. But before you go, here’s what’s not only trending, but what’s cheap!



On almost every clothing website I’ve gone to, the majority of the swimsuit tops are halters. I like how they have a lot of coverage so you can swim around without worrying if anything is showing that shouldn’t be showing. But I’m afraid it’s going to cause a weird tan line; I plan on wearing a top that doesn’t cover up so much at first!


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You can still show some skin while wearing a halter, like this adorable mesh top from American Eagle Outfitters!

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For a more dainty look, slip into a crochet swimsuit top; these can be found at H&M-

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This Forever 21 top is only $17.90!

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These tops are great for the days when you want to go strapless and get a better tan. I love this one from H&M, the light, delicate color will make you glow with your sun tan:

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I love how flowy this one is:

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Criss Cross/Wraparound

Okay now these are ADORABLE! I want them allllll.

I love how classic, yet bold, the black and white is together. *adds to cart immediately*

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You can get this top in multiple colors and patterns at American Eagle Outfitters:

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One Pieces


If you prefer wearing one piece swimsuits but still wanna show some skin, these cut-outs are perfect for you:

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High Neck

I saw this look several times while browsing for different one pieces. It looks a bit uncomfortable but it’s def a bold look if you wanna make a lasting impression at the pool this summer!

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What are some other swimsuit styles trending this summer? Let me know by commenting below! 🙂

Copy Cat: Selena Gomez

Fashion Blog

Is it just me, or does Selena slaayyyy every time you see her? Looks like her break up from the Biebs isn’t stopping her from dominating the fashion game!


This sleek and chic two-piece is to die for! Is this the new LBD? I would totally be okay with that!

I found similar two piece outfits at Express:

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I love this one mainly because of the choker. Chokers are super trendy this season, so this look is perfect for any fashionista. I’m a little iffy on the open shoulder top though- I have issues with these kinds of tops because it’s hard to move your arms around while wearing these. I guess beauty is pain, right?


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This one has sheer on the top AND on the bottom! Show off some skin as you go out on the town this weekend in this frisky little number. I love how the model is pairing red hot heels with this outfit- it adds a great POP!


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I love the zipper part on the top! You could still add an accent to the outfit with some vibrant and colorful heels like the previous model. My only issue with this is how tight and long the skirt is- can she even walk comfortably??

My Summer Must-Haves!

Fashion Blog

Finals are officially over, which means it’s almost that time again… summer time!

Here are my must-have items for this summer:

  1. Bralettes

One of the newest fashion trends this season is bralettes. I recently got one and love to pair it with loose V-necks and T-shirt dresses. It’s great for a little pop to any outfit. I also plan on wearing it to some concerts this summer to achieve the “Coachella” look.


I LOVE how the bralette is poking out of her dress! (From shopstyle.com)


  1. Shades

Any summer wardrobe must include some sunglasses. My favorite pair is aviators- they go with every outfit!11695798_10203396293266399_1221658062224212893_n


  1. Sandals

It’s time for a pedi because summer means sandals! Gladiators are very trendy this summer – you can find them at almost any store. But there are lots of different sandals you can add to your dresses or your shorts, such as Birkenstocks! I also have Tevas for whenever I want to go hiking, or just running some errands around town.


  1. High Waisted Shorts

I love wearing crop tops in the summer, but I always pair them with some cute high waisted shorts so I don’t have too much tummy out. A crop top with high waisted shorts is one of the cutest, easiest summer outfits to put together!


  1. Bags

Along with having a beach or pool bag, there are a few other bags I have to include for my summer wardrobe. I have a fanny pack and small backpack for parties and concerts! They’re great for that because you can dance the night away without having to worry about a purse flopping all around.



  1. Headbands

Headbands are perf for those mornings when you are just not feeling like showering and doing too much to your hair. They are also great additions to any summer outfit!


  1. Swimsuits

My favorite part about the summer: swimming! I have to make sure I have some cute suits on hand. A super trendy swimsuit right now are halter tops.


(From ShopStyle.com)

  1. Rompers

10462584_912915068722753_6727398863793686993_nRompers are literally the best because once you put it on, you already have an outfit on! No need to worry about what top or bottoms to add to it. They’re perfect for lunch dates or even a concert.


  1. Dresses

I am making sure to include lots of short and flowy dresses to my summer wardrobe because of how easy they are to wear and because I know I won’t get too hot. I still will wear maxi dresses for the cooler nights!


  1. Cardigans

Even though the summer time can get super hot, you can’t forget about the cooler evenings. Make sure to have some cardigans in your closet for those times. You can tie them around your waist while it’s hot, and then wrap it around you once the temperature drops!


*Portions of this blog post can be found in the article I wrote for SOCIETY19.com*

The Gut-Brain Connection: Is there a link for children with Autism?


Walking into the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Just getting some text messages from my mom explaining what was happening to my 2-½ year old nephew, Hunter, wasn’t enough. I didn’t fully understand why he was having a G-Tube put into his stomach, and why it had been such a hard week for his parents; my sister-in-law, Kris, and my brother, Jonathan. But still, I wanted to see them and be supportive in any way I could.

Going up to the second floor and approaching my mom and brother, I saw that they were having to push Hunter around in a stroller – calming him down from a huge meltdown. After saying hi to them, I walked into the room and found Kris, wiping away tears. I gave her a hug and she put on a brave smile for me.

“She hasn’t let herself cry all week,” my mom told me. “Tonight was the first time she cried.”

That’s when it really hit me how hard of a situation all of this was and how much my brother and sister-in-law are dealing with.

What’s a G-Tube?

A gastrostomy tube is inserted through the abdomen and delivers nutrition directly to the stomach. Doctors have this inserted in children who have trouble eating so they are getting the necessary calories and fluids in order to grow.

According to an article on kidshealth.org, common conditions that might require a child to have a G-Tube inserted into their stomach include:

  • Congenital (present from birth) abnormalities of the mouth, esophagus, stomach, or intestines
  • Sucking and swallowing disorders, which are often related to prematurity, brain injury, developmental delay, or certain neuromuscular conditions, like severe cerebral palsy
  • Failure to thrive, which is a general diagnosis that refers to a child’s inability to gain weight and grow appropriately
  • Extreme difficulty taking medicines

In most cases, this is a common procedure that only takes about 30 to 45 minutes, and complications are minor.

Unfortunately, this was not the case for Hunter.

The First Signs

Ever since Hunter was a few months old, he couldn’t handle a lot of formula. Kris remembers at one point that because Hunter was throwing up so much formula, he was drinking about 50 ounces per day – the average should be about 24-25 ounces. Hunter had to double his intake just to maintain his weight because he was having so much reflux. When he was three months old, Kris and Jonathan had to take Hunter in to get tests done.

“He was never really interested in baby food,” Kris said. “I don’t think he actually ate it until he was almost [one year old] and that point we switched him to regular food… We could never get him to eat a whole lot.”

Hunter was only eating at the most a few times a week, sometimes not eating at all. His parents had to start supplementing with Pediasure, but he started to lose one pound per week. At one point they had to take him to the hospital for IV fluids, and after a year and a half, he had only gained eight pounds. While being in the 40th-50th percentile for his weight, which was 28 pounds, it was a concern because he wasn’t growing nor was he getting enough nutrition.

Time for Surgery

About four months ago, when Hunter was a little over two years old, he stopped taking food altogether. He would only eat one meal every couple of weeks, and that would only be a little amount such as one or two bites of chicken.

“Slowly, he just stopped chewing, he wasn’t interested in any of his favorite snacks,” said Kris. “His favorite thing was M&M’s… But he would just put them in his mouth and spit them out. He refused to chew anything and wasn’t eating any solids.”

While already in the works of getting the surgery for a G-Tube insertion, his problems only got worse. Hunter stopped drinking Pediasure and developed Aspiration Pneumonia twice – anything he was eating or drinking, instead of it going to his esophagus, it was going into his lungs. His issues were becoming life threatening, and after Kris and Jonathan took him to the emergency room for dehydration, it was then when the doctors put a NG-Tube right then and there. It wasn’t until later when Hunter was given the actual G-Tube.


Jonathan and Kris with Hunter at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital.

Along with getting a NG-Tube, Hunter also had a procedure done called a Nissen, where the doctors wrapped a part of the upper intestine around the stomach and stapled it together so it makes the hole from the esophagus to the stomach half of its size. This makes it almost impossible for him to throw up. Hunter was throwing up several times a day, causing him to develop Esophagitis – the lining of his esophagus was damaged – making this procedure very necessary as well.

Why is This Happening?

Hunter was first diagnosed with autism at 12 months of age, and it was reconfirmed when he turned two last November. This has led to him to have gastrointestinal problems. According to Medical Daily’s website, a study done at Emory University School of Medicine and Marcus Autism Center revealed that “autistic children are four times more likely to suffer from gastrointestinal difficulties, compared to children unaffected by social, communication, and behavioral challenges.”

“I’m not even sure how much a regular two year old would understand,” Kris reflected on how hard this process has been for Hunter due to lack of communication. “We have not had one conversation about it. He doesn’t understand why he was in the hospital … or what this tube is.”

Researchers at the California Institute of Technology have shown for the first time that gut bacteria found in individuals with autism may contribute to the disorder, according to an article on Ozy’s website.

While this whole situation has been a difficult one for Jonathan and Kris, it is not an abnormal situation for a child diagnosed with autism.

Hunter also has a genetic duplication. Kris said that while it doesn’t mean he is the only person in the world who has this, his specific genetic duplication is the first one documented. There is no information on this, and they are figuring out more and more about it as he gets older, such as this being connected to his gastro and congenital heart issues, as well as his autism.

After the Surgery

There can be complications after a G-Tube surgery, and according to UptoDate.com, these complications are usually minor. But, sadly, Hunter’s complications were anything but minor.

When he received the surgery for the G-Tube, Hunter had to stay in the hospital for one week. Because of his dehydration, he had to receive a bolus to hydrate him. After receiving three boluses, there was no output, scaring his parents because this meant he had severe dehydration. This led to Hunter having an emergency NJ tube through the nose and into the intestines.

“Seeing him taped with this thing taped to his face [with no sedation]… Just standing there and seeing 15 nurses holding him down … it was hard,” Kris said, remembering the difficult moment in the hospital last February. “It makes you realize that things are a lot more serious than you could ever hope that they would be.”

He ended up being switched to the G-Tube, connected to his stomach for food and medicine. Sadly, things would get worse before getting better.


Hunter had an emergency NJ tube inserted in his nose that went into his intestines.

Hunter stopped tolerating his feed, because of having gastro paresis – which prohibits him from following the traditional digestive process. This means his colon doesn’t empty, meaning his stomach isn’t emptying either. This led to him retching, since he cannot throw up due to his Nissen procedure. His retching and dry heaving was so bad that he would pass out.

Now, Hunter is on a GJ Tube – meaning that the tube is going to his stomach and then into the intestines to the jejunum. Food is going into his jejunum and medicine is going into his stomach. This also means that no food is going to his stomach or mouth.

Having a button sticking out of his stomach is hard for him, it’s made him pull on it many times which created a larger hole than what was supposed to be there. Because of the bigger hole, stomach acid was leaking out and it broke down all of the tissue around his belly, not having any skin there for a while.

“That was really painful for him, but then that added on a whole new process of taking care of it,” Kris said. “Cleaning it, medicating it, bandaging it.


When Hunter had tubes inserted, he had to stay in the hospital for one week.

“Trying to hold down any child that’s two, let alone a child with autism, for that long to try to take care of … that was horrific. Initially, it took us over two hours just to get him dressed every day. So it definitely has consumed our lives.”

Another struggle Jonathan and Kris have had to deal with was getting “unofficially” kicked out of Hunter’s therapy school, because the workers don’t feel comfortable working with his tubes.

Looking Ahead…

Although the majority of Hunter’s life has been difficult with multiple hospital visits and surgeries, his parents still like to think positively.

“You’d do anything for your kids. Especially someone like Hunter,” said Kris. “If I can go to bed every night knowing that he got enough nutrients for the day, he didn’t throw up, and he didn’t aspirate, then I feel good about the day.”


Walker is almost 8 months old; Kris thinks of him as her “best friend.”

Someone who has helped Kris through this whole ordeal is her younger baby boy, my little nephew, Walker. Even though he is around eight months old, he has been able to be a light in Kris and Jonathan’s life during all of this.

“Obviously he doesn’t know, but it’s like he knows,” Kris said as she described how during Hunter’s 2-hour meltdowns Walker stays calm and doesn’t “make a peep.”

“You just look at him and he smiles … you just feel better. He’s just something to look forward to.”


“One positive thing about him being autistic is that he doesn’t process this all the same. He still can be really happy even though all of this is happening.”

While things are better now than they were three months ago, Kris believes this isn’t the end of the road for them. Since Hunter appears to have severe autism, there will most likely still be hard times in the future.

“Unfortunately I feel like this is just the beginning,” said Kris. “We were fortunate to discover a lot of this stuff with Hunter being so young but in that the older he gets, the more that happens.

“Hopefully it just gets better, but we’re ready if it doesn’t.”

*Photos provided by Kris Carpenter, Jan Carpenter.

T.V. News Archives


**I created these packages in my Television News class during the Fall 2015 semester at Indiana Wesleyan University.**

Newscast 12-10-15

Broadcasted on WIWU-TV in Grant County

Package #1: New Businesses Coming to Marion

Full Story: http://www.grantconnected.net/new-businesses-come-to-grant-county/

Package #2: Who Makes the Designs for Walkway of Lights?

Full Story: http://www.grantconnected.net/behind-the-lights/

Package #3: Gun Sales Increasing

Full Story: http://www.grantconnected.net/gun-sales-increase-in-grant-county-nationwide/

Package #4: Marion Civic Theatre and Its Legacy

Full Story: http://www.grantconnected.net/marion-civic-theatre-the-tradition-continues/

Ivory Ella: ~Cute Clothes, Cute Cause~

Fashion Blog

This past summer, I kept seeing on my Facebook feed advertisements for shirts with cute elephants on it. I finally went to its website and oh boy, I instantly loved all of their stuff!

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I always love wearing long-sleeved tops that are T-shirt material, so these looked perfect for me.  I also love the design of the elephant on the back.

I bought a shirt last month and am in love with it:


I love the adorable package it comes in 🙂


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Next time, I want to get one with a patch of the elephant and a pocket in the front (this one does not have a pocket). I love wearing it on days where I am not wanting to dress up but still want to look cute.  These shirts definitely fit the “cute but comfy” look if you are going for that.

Another benefit to buying any of their items, besides looking cute, is that a portion will go directly to savetheelephants.org.

The website also sells necklaces, phone cases and water bottles:

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They even have clothes for guys, too:

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The only downside to these items is that they are a bit pricey, so I plan on adding the next shirt I want to my birthday wish list. 😉 Also, most of the items are sold out and require pre-ordering, so you will not be able to get them too quickly. But be patient! It’ll be worth it. I love my shirt a lot and can’t wait to get more 🙂