The Best Champagne on a Budget

New Year’s Eve is fast approaching, and for most of us over 21, that means a champagne toast is on the way as well! But bottles of bubbly can be expensive- and if you’re the host of your New Year’s Eve soirée, even just a couple of bottles for your guests can easily take a toll on your wallet.

Luckily, they don’t have to! Between myself and my (very cooperative) family members, we taste-tested and judged 3 budget-friendly bottles: all from Walmart, and all under $10. (Did you hear that? I think it was your credit card breathing a huge sigh of relief.) I also made sure they were all of the extra dry variety, just for consistency.

All 3 champagnes were judged appearance, their “bubbly factor”, their taste, and the overall rating (in case you have one category you’re partial to). Each champagne got very high and very low scores in each categories, but I have averaged all the votes so it’s easy to tell the results. If you’re interested in the voting breakdown, you can find the individual ratings here.

So, without any further ado, let’s get right into the reviews!

BOTTLE #1: Cook’s

Photo via Walmart.com

Price: $7.98/bottle
Appearance: 7.75/10
Bubbly Factor: 8.5/10
Taste: 5.125/10
Overall Rating: 6.625/10

A good portion of the room preferred Cook’s over the other brands. However, it tended to be the parents in the room compared to the Gen-Zs. It received the second highest average score overall. It scored the highest in terms of appearance and how bubbly it was, but scored the lowest for taste.

BOTTLE #2: Barefoot

Photo via Walmart.com

Price: $8.73/bottle
Appearance: 6.625/10
Bubbly Factor: 5.625/10
Taste: 5.25/10
Overall Rating: 5.75/10

No one preferred Barefoot over the other brands, which surprised me because the bottle said it was “most awarded,” and it was also the most expensive (if only by $1.) For being such an iconic brand in terms of cheap wine, I thought it would do better. It scored the lowest in almost every category, but it’s average score never dipped below 5, so it’s still decent.

Bottle #3: André

Photo via Walmart.com

Price: $4.98/bottle
Appearance: 7.375/10
Bubbly Factor: 7.125/10
Taste: 5.875/10
Overall Rating: 7.125/10

André was very polarizing. It had a lot of very high votes and very low votes, but still managed to come out on top for taste and overall. This was also the brand preferred by the Gen-Zs in the room.

OVERALL

While all the bottles were tasty, my personal favorite was André! At $4.98, you just can’t beat the price. If you need affordable champagne for your NYE party (or really any other occasion that calls for it), this is certainly my recommendation!

If you ever want to have your own champagne taste-test, this is the card I handed out to everyone!

Do you have any favorite bottles of affordable champagne? Please don’t hesitate to let me know- I’m always open to trying a new brand!

Happy (early) new year & stay warm-

-K

Christmas OOTD and Recap

Merry Christmas, everyone! Due to my scheduling with Peach Bowl rehearsals, I had an unconventional Christmas experience and celebrated a day early this year. As of yesterday evening, I had completely unwrapped my gifts and mentally started preparing for the bowl trip. Christmas had already come and gone and it wasn’t even December 25!

Opening all your presents on Christmas Eve wasn’t nearly as weird as it sounds. It only vaguely feels like two days were combined into one, and now I’m ready to start getting ready for the bowl trip! I’ll spare you an entire haul, but some of my favorite gifts I got yesterday were:

  • A leopard-print fuzzy jacket
  • A custom calendar with my dog’s faces on it for every month
  • Icelandic chocolate (may or may not have eaten half the bar already)
  • Kate Spade socks
  • A liquid lipstick/liner set
  • An iPhone 11!

I won’t be setting up my iPhone 11 until after I get back from Atlanta, so when I was initially listing my favorite gifts I completely forgot about it. But I’m super excited to get it set up once I have more than a few hours to transfer all my stuff over and make sure it’s all working!

Beyond just opening gifts in the morning, we also went to church in the evening and then proceeded on to our tradition of celebrating Christmas Eve with my dad’s side of the family. They even helped me collect data for an upcoming blog post… stay tuned!

SHOP THE LOOK:

Earrings: Star Bar Earrings – Altar’d State
Dress: Black Velvet Skater Dress – Forever 21
Shoes: Carrson Sandal – Steve Madden

Merry Christmas again, and I’ll talk to you all again before the new year. Here comes 2020!

-K

P.S. I actually had my sister take my #OOTD pics last night. It was very refreshing not to have to use a tripod- especially because I knew my neighbors across the street would be able to see us. Thanks, Macy!

Group Pose Inspiration and Ideas

Have you ever had pose-block? It’s when you need a cute pose for a photo, but your mind is suddenly drawing a blank. Every cute idea you’ve ever had is suddenly escaping you, and so you resort to something completely and utterly basic.

Been there? Me too.

There’s so many cute poses for group shots out there, and I hope today’s post will help you be prepared when the time comes for your next group photoshoot. My friends and I love taking pics together (and clearly I love taking solo ones as well), so I feel qualified to show some of my favorite poses to do as a group. Hopefully these ideas will help during your next case of paralyzing pose-block!

1. group hug

This is a classic one. While sitting (or standing), wrap your arms around the center people like you love each other. This pose makes for a really wholesome shot every time!

2. Staggered step sitting

If you’re blessed with a cute set of steps to take pictures on… utilize them! Place different members of your group at different heights for visual variation and interest.

3. LEan against a rail

I like railings in pictures because it easily gives people something to do with their hands. This particular railing allowed for full-body and close-up shots, so this pose is super versatile!

4. Candid laughter

We took our candid laughing shot sitting staggered on the steps, but this pose works no matter where you are sitting or standing! Candid laughter (real or faked) is super cute and will make it look like you’re having the absolute best time. Definitely Instagram-worthy moments!

5. Lap lay

This is a fun pose for groups of four or more. Nominate your most attention-hungry friend (or yourself!) to lay across the laps of the rest of the group. Getting into position can lead to some fun candids, too.

6. crazy limbs

Wanting a silly one? This pose came to be by me yelling “everyone do something crazy with your limbs!” This gets everyone laughing and completing the challenge to various degrees of commitment. Megan won this round, for sure.

7. family photo

Similar to the staggered step sitting, a bench can provide varying degrees of visual interest. We felt like this one looked like a family Christmas card photo (or for me, a sorority big-little reveal photo.)

8. College Hand Signs

If your college has hand signs, this is an easy one! My high school friends and I are split between 3 different colleges, so this is one of our go-tos whenever we are short on pose ideas. It’s always super cute and spirited.

9. unnecessarily dramatic

This is one of our favs just because it’s such a different vibe than all the other ones we’ve taken. For maximum dramatic effect, everyone spread out and look in a different direction. Are you intimidated yet?

Overall

I hope these 9 ideas help you next time you’re in a group photo-taking rut! I love taking pics with my friends whenever we’re all in town together, which doesn’t happen much anymore.

Do you have a favorite pose that your friend group always goes to? Let me know- I’m always looking for new ideas as well!

-K

Bringing Velour Back

If you knew me circa 2009, then you probably remember my Juicy Couture tracksuit phase. While I wouldn’t be completely opposed to welcoming those glorious velvety sets back into my life (they are the epitome of comfort IMO), it’s been 10 years and I felt like it was time to usher velour back into my wardrobe. Enter: this peachy velour top!

Besides being velour, I’m also obsessed with this top’s color. It’s peachy nude hue is perfect for the fall and winter months. And while I’m not in peak-summer-tan mode, I feel like the velour does a good job of catching the light and bouncing some of it’s warm tones back onto my face. Lord knows my skin could use some Vitamin D!

SHOP THE LOOK:

Hat: Newsboy Cap (similar)
Top: Peach Velour Button-Up – Comfy
Belt: Loop Belt – Target
Jeans: High-Waisted Rockstar Jeans – Old Navy
Shoes: Presto Waterproof Knee-High Boot – BLONDO

I loved exploring a new part of Frisco and shooting at The Star today! It was early so not much was open, but I would love to go back one evening, eat at one of their fun restaurants and walk around. I’m discovering new things about my hometown every day!

-K

Made A List, Checked It Twice

And just like that, all my Christmas shopping for 2019 is complete! Considering it’s still a full week before Christmas Eve, I’m feeling pretty proud of myself. Now, that’s not to say I don’t still have errands to run- specifically, today I’m picking up some bubbly necessities for my family’s Christmas Eve celebration (if you voted in one of my Instagram polls lately, you might know what I’m talking about. If you don’t… stay tuned!)

I love my heels, but never found them to be very practical for my college #OOTDs, no matter how dressy the outfit is. Luckily, being home means a lot less time on my feet, making heels the perfect addition to my errand-running ensemble!

I was also super excited to break out my new winter coat. I have a long brown coat from last year that I just adore, but I knew I needed a black one to add to my collection as well. For its blog debut, I paired it with all-black everything, minus the heels, of course.

SHOP THE LOOK:

Purse: Black Geometric Crossbody (similar)
Coat: Black Coat – Hearts & Roses
Sweater: Black Sweater – Old Navy
Belt: Loop Belt – Target
Jeans: High-Waisted Rockstar Jeans – Old Navy
Heels: Nude Heels – DSW

While my feet may have been a little cold, overall I was obsessed with this look! I haven’t posted a look with jeans on here in a while, but I hope to start incorporating them more. It’s getting too cold to wear skirts all the time!

-K

Somewhere Between Cyan and Cerulean

After a few weeks of excruciating final papers, projects, presentations, and exams, I’m finally home for the holidays! (Or at least, until Christmas Day.) I’m so glad to finally be back in Frisco: I’ve missed my family, friends, and dogs a whole bunch this semester. Another perk to being back in Frisco? Fresh #OOTD locations! I headed out early this morning to document today’s look before Frisco Square is hit by crowds of people out doing their Christmas shopping.

If you’ve been following me since my launch back in February, this look may seem slightly familiar. I styled this divine cashmere sweater similarly, but wanted to mix it up. This time, I opted out of the paperboy cap and went for a more flirty/romantic look, with my hair pulled back to make sure I revealed my “HELLO” earrings. I love taking different closet staples, like sweaters, and giving them a fresh new vibe just by mixing up the style of accessories!

SHOP THE LOOK:

Earrings: Hello Drop Earrings – Forever 21
Sweater: Cashmere Sweater – Valerie
Skirt: Leather Skirt (similar)
Boots: Presto Waterproof Knee-High Boot – BLONDO

I’m glad I got out and about early this morning- Christmas shopping in Frisco is crazy, and I still have a lot of people left on my list! I hope to take some more pictures around Frisco soon, so make sure you check back for more!

-K

Merci Beaucoup

With finals week just around the corner, I’m feeling super thankful that the end of the semester is rapidly approaching. This one has been a whirlwind, but I survived and that’s what matters!

Since my time on campus before I go home for break is limited, I wanted to get in at least one more #OOTD shoot before I head back to Frisco for the holidays. The weather cooperated this morning, meaning I got to break out one of my favorite all-seasons skirt and and a wintry flair with my beret! It always makes me feel très Parisienne and I thought it really complimented the rest of my outfit. (I also didn’t wash my hair this morning. Oops.)

SHOP THE LOOK:

Hat: Black Beret (similar)
Turleneck: Leopard Turtleneck (similar)
Skirt: Black Pleated Skirt (similar)
Shoes: Grand Court Sneaker – Adidas

I like hats, I just don’t know how to wear very many of them. Let’s mark this down early as one of my resolutions for 2020: experiment with different types of hats and other headgear in the coming year! (If you have a hat recommendation for me, I will accept it wholeheartedly.)

-K