A piece of life

My Life List is more than a bucket list. It contains ideas, dreams and maybe a few things that I will never accomplish. It is my little reminder to live life to the fullest everyday. My goal is to do something for the first time wherever I go, inspire others and leave a legacy. Take a look at my list (in no particular order). What are some of your dreams? Are you exploring and experiencing all this world has to offer?

  1. Take a spontaneous trip
  2. Run a 5K
  3. Play beach volleyball
  4. Learn to line dance
  5. Go to a pro baseball game
  6. Buy a road bike
  7. Go to Hollywood
  8. Attend a high school reunion
  9. Help design a piece of fashion
  10. Start a blog
  11. Win on a lottery ticket
  12. Host a holiday party
  13. Have brunch and mimosas with a friend
  14. Get up wake boarding
  15. Be featured on a blog
  16. Go on a retreat with my mom
  17. Attend a concert
  18. Be kissed at Times Square on New Years
  19. See a Broadway play
  20. Go see a Miss America Pageant

To see my full Life List click here.

Season of Graduation

Graduations are right around the corner! Are you prepared? Whether you are a graduate or attending a graduation – be happy and be armed with the essentials. Check out my list of must-haves for graduation season.



It is one of the most memorable moments in your life – make sure you share it with your friends and family! In order to get the gang together you need to send out super fab invitations! These should be sent out at least a few weeks in advance if not more.

Tip 1: Don’t waste too much time searching for that perfect graduation invitation. There are millions of great places to order from and they are all about the same prices. Another option is to shop locally or make your own. It’s a fun way to show your style and creativity. Check out my quick list below.

Tiny Prints

Vista Print



Shindig Paperie (Local Favorite)

Dinner party

The second step in coordinating graduation is hosting a graduation dinner party. This can be the best part of the graduation experience! …or maybe everyone is just super hungry after sitting for hours. Either way – make it memorable! Usually graduation dinners are for family and friends. But this is also where it gets tricky…and a little pricey if you let it. There are several options when planning the perfect party.

Tip 2: Invite only immediate family and closest friends to the after graduation dinner party. This will save you money and give you the control over the number of people attending. I recommend making reservations at your favorite local restaurant in advance!

You can either have a buffet style dinner or have each individual pay for their own. I also suggest choosing a venue that has some sort of party room or isolated area so that your table of 20+ does not disturb others around you. Oh! And don’t forget the cake or sweets!!

The dress

Ok, now my favorite part! Now that you have sent out your invitations and have planned the dinner party – it is time to pick out the perfect graduation dress and shoes. If you have ever attended a graduation you can remember that it is quite lengthy…so keep that in mind when making your wardrobe choices.

Tip 3: Choose a dress is going to be comfortable and not too hot in the grad gown, but also makes a statement for the dinner party. I would recommend sticking with neutral colors like black, white etc. There are endless types of dresses that would work perfect – so I am not even going to attempt to make a list!

Tip 4: Shoes. This can get tricky…choosing the shoes that look awesome with your new dress, but also prevent you from tired feet and stage trips. That’s right. There is always that one person that trips on stage. ┬áIf you can walk confidently in heels – go for it! If not, then please don’t. Flats can also be very flattering with the right dress and can make your experience less painful.


As one of your most important days of your life you should take lots of pictures! This is also a great time to take family photos as well!

Tip 5: Make sure your mom gets those cheesy graduations photos…you know the ones I am talking about! Cap and gown, holding your diploma, throwing your hat in the air…etc. etc.

Thank Yous

In my opinion, one of the most important parts of tying up that graduation experience for everyone is sending out graduation thank you letters. This is a little extra for those that attended or gave you a present.

Tip 6: When receiving gifts make a list of each gift and the person that gave it to you. It is also a good idea to hold on to that invitation address list so that you will have the addresses to send the Thank you letters to. The letter should be handwritten and make it personalized! I always thought it was better to get a “special” letter than a generic – Thanks for the gift. Love, Your friend. That’s boring! Spice it up! Be happy!


Now for those of you attending graduation. This can be an enduring process. Perk up! It’s a celebration!

The invitation

Tip 1: Make sure you hold on to the graduation invitation, especially if you are from out-of-town. The invitation will be the key to getting where you need to go and being on time! Plus it makes for cute fridge decor.

The dress

Tip 2: This is the graduates day. Don’t try to out-dress them. It is important that you look presentable, but also comfortable! I would recommend a simple dress or slacks.

The ceremony

Tip 3: We all know graduations last fooooeeevverrr! So make sure you are prepared. I would suggest stocking your purse with snacks and drinks. This will help pass the time and keep the tummy rumbles to a minimum. Here are my favs!

– Swedish Fish

– Grapes

– Hershey’s Kisses

The after party

Tip 4: Make sure you know where the venue is in advance. Don’t be late! You don’t want the graduate to get there first without a congratulations clap and hugs!

The gifts

Ok, now this is what we all struggle with. What should I get them for graduation? Well, it depends on if they are completing high school or college. For the high school grads I would recommend getting them money and anything for their dorm / apartment. Moving to college is a big expense and moms and dads appreciate all the help they can get! Here is an example of some dorm room gifts.

– Organizers

– Laundry essentials

– Blankets

– Snack baskets

– Family photos / mementos

– Dishes / Cookware

– Target gift card

If the graduate has just completed college then the gift list will be a little different. This person is transitioning into the adult world and most likely either just started a new job and is moving into their first real “place.” They need REAL essentials!! Here is a list of things they will need. Big and small!

– MONEY! – For real!

– Dishes / Silverware

– Cookware

– Laundry / Cleaning essentials

– Bedding

– Furniture

– Gift cards

– Food

– Car Care

There are a ton of other options besides that expensive pen you are thinking about!

I hope this helps you for this upcoming graduation season! Good luck and congratulations graduates!!!

Northwest Arkansas Blogger & Photographer