Tuesday Tunes 2/14

By Austin

Ah, Valentine’s Day. A day that some people swoon over and others loathe. No matter your feelings about the holiday, love songs are something we can all appreciate! As the hopeless romantic I am, I couldn’t help but to make this Tuesday Tunes playlist a mixture of some of my favorite love songs to go along with the Valentine’s Day spirit.

I’m a sucker for sappy love songs, so if you have any songs you would’ve added to this list, please leave them in the comments! Have a great Valentine’s Day, whether you’ll be going on a romantic date or watching Netflix alone (which is probably what I’ll be doing).

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5 Men’s Wardrobe Essentials

By Austin

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Whether you are looking to revamp your wardrobe or build a new style from scratch, I have a few tips and essential pieces that will help to give you variety and versatility in your wardrobe. This will be mainly focused toward men’s fashion, but some pieces are unisex-based and can be applied to women’s fashion as well.

The key to building a strong wardrobe is to have a solid foundation of basic pieces, and to then add more specialized pieces that fit with a specific look or time of year. So to start, let’s look at the essential basics that every man should have in his closet.

 

Solid T-Shirts

This may seem like a boring option, but solid t-shirts are great basic pieces that can be used year-round. The advantage to having a variety of solid t-shirts is that you can pair them with jeans and sneakers or boots for a casual outfit, or layer them with a blazer or detailed jacket, and add chinos or trousers on bottom for a more upscale look.

While you can pick up a solid t-shirt at any clothing outlet you can think of, make sure to choose shirts that fit well and are made with a decent quality of fabric. I know you may be inclined to purchase the cheapest option, but low quality can take away from the classic look of a solid t-shirt.

Purchasing neutral colors, like white, black, and navy, will allow you to cover a wide variety of outfits and looks. The two main styles of solid t-shirts are crew neck and v-neck. The v-neck is designed to give the neck a longer appearance, so if you have a shorter neck, I would recommend choosing v-neck shirts over crew necks.

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A Wide Variety of Jeans

Jeans are an obvious staple in any kind of style and wardrobe, but where some people fall short is the lack of variety in terms of wash, style, and fit. When looking at wash, light washes tend to give a more casual look, while darker jeans can be used to create a more classy look. Recently, there has been a rise in popularity with black jeans, as well. I would recommend having at least one light wash, one dark wash, and one black pair of jeans. This will give you a basis to a variety of outfits. If you are a slim or regular build, slim fit jeans will most likely best suit your body. If you are of a larger build, straight fit jeans will give you a proportional fit.

Some brands that offer a good balance between price and quality are Levi’s, Uniqlo, Gap, and ASOS.

 

Leather/Denim Jackets

I put these two types of jackets in the same category because they are both classic pieces and can be utilized in similar ways to make an outfit stand out. While they have a very different look from one another, many times they can be used interchangeably. There has been an increase in popularity of leather and denim jackets recently, with a rise in more classic pieces. They are both extremely versatile, and much like a bomber jacket, they can quickly give a basic outfit an upscale look. There are a variety of stores that sell leather and denim jackets, but is important to make sure you choose one that is relatively high quality, because you will most likely be able to wear it for years. Stores that offer a higher-quality selection that still aren’t outrageous for a staple piece like a leather or denim jacket include Zara, Topman, and ASOS.

 

White Sneakers

These are a well-known wardrobe essential for both men and women, and undoubtedly deserve a spot on this list. White sneakers can be extremely versatile, and match 99% of outfits. They are easy to find and comfortable. What’s not to love? I already have white Adidas Superstars and white high-top Converse, but I am currently searching for a pair with a little more edge. You can find white sneakers at practically any shoe outlet, but the popular options are Adidas, Nike, and Converse.

 

A Statement Piece

I realize that this is a pretty broad category. However, I think that statement pieces can vary widely from man to man, so I decided to make it more open to personal preference. A statement piece is a piece of clothing that is unique and draws the eye, and is often the focal point of an outfit. My favorite statement piece that I own is undoubtedly my black Coach backpack. Some argue that a bag isn’t technically part of an outfit, but I disagree. I bought this bag when I was living in Chicago over the summer, and it is definitely my pride and joy. (Don’t worry, it was on sale, so I didn’t spend an outrageous amount on it.) I tend to wear a lot of black and neutral-colored clothing, so this bag goes with almost every outfit I wear regularly.

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Other common statement pieces are detailed jackets or patterned shirts and pants. This may seem a little hard to shop for if you are just starting to revamp your wardrobe, but trust me, you will know it when you see it.

Roommate Roast


Living with a roommate can be hard sometimes. I’m sure many of you all are aware of this by now. It has its ups, but it definitely has its downs. We thought it would be fun (and trust us it was) to let you all know what we absolutely can’t stand about each other. So, without further ado, let the Roommate Roast begin.

From Bradford’s Perspective:

I’ve been living with Austin for around 3 years now, and it’s safe to say that I’ve become well-accustomed to his flukes and flaws over these years. With that being said, I figured it’s time you all come to know the messier side of my roommate. Brace yourself.

The biggest problem with Austin is peanut butter. He’s addicted (a problem in itself), but it’s not his nutty addiction that I find a nuisance. It’s the peanut butter combined with Austin’s tendency to not do dishes. Imagine this: you come home from class to find a mound of dishes in the sink. You put on a brave face and tackle the chore, rolling your eyes in disgust the whole time. Just as you’re in the home stretch, you find it. There, at the bottom of the sink, staring you straight in the face is a knife, a plate, maybe a smoothie cup smothered in peanut butter. You cringe. You gag. You throw your hands up in defeat. After a long-winded self-pep talk, you pick it up and scrub wholeheartedly until it’s clean and ready to put in the dishwasher. You’re scrubbing for what feels like days to get this hardened, stubborn peanut butter off a knife you didn’t use and you’re trying not to throw up. This is the final straw, you tell yourself. I can only introduce Austin to the dish brush and dishwasher (not to mention the broom, the vacuum and several other cleaning-related items) so many times. You decide it’s time to move out. You go to pack your bags.

You can’t pack your bags. Why? Because scattered all over the apartment are Austin’s shoes. You can’t make it to the hallway without jumping over five pairs of sneakers. You’re stuck. There’s no way out. Is this what hell feels like? Me trapped in a room full of Austin’s peanut butter eating utensils and Chelsea boots? You clean them up. It takes forever. You set them in Austin’s room, right by the door. A subtle message: THELIVINGROOMFLOORISNOTASHOERACK THELIVINGROOMFLOORISNOTASHOERACK THELIVINGROOMFLOORISNOTASHOERACK.

Are you starting to see why Austin is actually the worst roommate ever? If not, don’t worry. There’s more. Here is a short list:

  • The snoring. Sophomore year, I used to have to throw textbooks on the ground from my bed on the top bunk to wake him up.
  • The singing. Sometimes I will be mid-sentence talking and Austin will just start singing. I will have to wait until he’s done singing before I can resume talking again. He will make direct, uncomfortable eye contact until he is done singing.
  • The fast food. Almost every night he says either “I want Taco Bell” or “I could really go for some ice cream right now.” Next thing you know, I’m in a car headed to get fast food or dessert, despite my goal to eat as healthy as possible. WHY MUST HE BE SUCH A BAD INFLUENCE?

Now that I’ve officially ranted my brains out, I’d just like to point out that at, the end of the day, despite all his flaws, there’s no one else I’d rather be my roommate. We have our differences occasionally, but we understand that’s just the way it goes sometimes.

From Austin’s Perspective:

I’ll start by saying that living with Bradford for the past three years has been great, and he is undoubtedly one of my closest friends. But since this is Roommate Roast, we’re here to highlight the things he does that make me insane. So grab your popcorn and get comfortable.

On weekdays, Bradford has to be at work at 8 in the morning, which means he wakes up at 6:30 to begin his very specific morning routine. In the process of making coffee, fixing his hair, and walking back and forth past my room countless times, he tends to be loud. Very loud. As in wakes-me-up-everyday-at-6:30 loud. Trust me, getting woken up 2 hours before you need to start getting ready can be quite infuriating.

Sometimes when I get woken up early by my lovely roommate, I decide to be productive and get some laundry done. I get all my clothes sorted out, and take the first one to put in the washer. Oh wait. I can’t. Bradford, once again, left his clothes in the washer. To sit there. And get smelly and musty. Isn’t that just great? But it’s fine, it’s fine. I’ll just wrinkle release my shirt in the dryer. No big deal. But then I open the dryer to find…take a guess….MORE OF BRADFORD’S CLOTHES. Keep in mind, it has been a couple days since Bradford did laundry, and his clothes are still in BOTH the washer and dryer. *sigh*

So as you can see, Bradford does some things that make me want to throw all his stuff out the window. Here are a couple more things you can add to the list:

  • The aftermath of Bradford frantically trying to get to work on time. In his almost everyday failing attempts to be punctual, he leaves the apartment with cabinets open, half-full coffee mugs in random places, and lights on everywhere. He even leaves the freezer open on occasion. THE FREEZER.
  • Netflix shows. We have a TV in the living room of our apartment, and Bradford and I tend to watch a couple of the same shows. This is fine, until Bradford falls six seasons behind and I have to search and search to find the episode that I was on after one of his binge watching sessions. This may not seem like a big deal, but after a few times it can become a nuisance.
  • He holds the world record for smallest bladder of any living creature. Let’s say that Bradford and I were planning to leave the apartment in 30 minutes. We start getting ready, and after brushing his teeth, Bradford has to pee. Then he changes clothes, and has to pee again. Now I’m waiting the usual 15 minutes for him to be ready (surprisingly I get ready faster than him). At last, he walks into the kitchen and says he’s ready to leave. So we open the door and as I step into the hallway, I hear those six words. “Oh wait, I have to pee.” Deep breaths, Austin, deep breaths.

Despite all of Bradford’s frustrating habits, like I said at the beginning, he’s been a great roommate and we’ve made so many memories throughout our three years living together.

Are there certain things your roommate does that drives you crazy? Let us know in the comments!

Tuesday Tunes 2/7/17

By Bradford

In stark contrast with last week’s playlist, this week’s edition of Tuesday Tunes is going to be centered around feel good songs. These songs are meant to serve as pick-me-ups to get you through the rest of this week. Some have advice-ridden, positive messages like “Anything Could Happen” and “Never Give Up,” while others simply have catchy and energizing beats. Be sure to add any of these songs that you like to your own music libraries!

Have a song that helps YOU get through the week or always puts you in a good mood? Feel free to share songs you think should have been on this playlist in the comments! Thanks for visiting and Happy Tuesday, folks!

This Trend is Exploding in 2017

By Austin

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Please excuse my cheesy title. Bomber jackets have been and will continue to be a massive trend in both men and women’s fashion. Google’s 2016 Fashion Trend Report even went as far as to say that the bomber jacket was the trend of 2016. I am definitely a participant in this trend, and I have several bomber jackets that I wear on a regular basis (as you can see in the pictures).

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Bombers have evolved since the trend came into style, and interestingly enough, many women’s bomber jackets are shifting to a more masculine style, and vice versa. Some main appeals of bombers are how easy they are to style, and how significantly they can add edge to a basic outfit. They are also sold at pretty much every major clothing store, from H&M to Topman to Sak’s Fifth Avenue.

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Men can style a bomber with a casual top, jeans, and sneakers, or with a button-down, trousers, and boots or oxfords for a more formal look. Another great aspect of the bomber trend is that they come in a wide range of colors and materials, which makes them very versatile and efficient. Many trend predictors expect that a longer version of bomber jackets will become more popular in 2017, which I am very interested to try out. If you’re looking to upgrade your wardrobe, dive into the bomber trend before it’s too hot to wear them!

February: Monthly Must-Haves

On the first of every month, we’re going to be giving you all the run-down on our latest favorites. This could be recent books we’ve read, products we’ve tried, apps we’ve grown to like, etc. Whatever the category, these lists are meant to help you make the most out of your month and to save you the work of having to test certain products for yourself.


Bradford’s Must-Haves

Shoes – Nike Tennis Classic CS Casual (White)

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The all-white sneaker has become a major staple in the modern wardrobe. I knew this for a while, but I was extremely skeptical of buying a pair for a long time. First of all, because I was worried I’d look as basic as the group of girls in the recent viral pic where they’re all standing in line wearing Adidas Stan Smith sneakers. More importantly, however, I was worried about having to embrace the full-time job you have to take on to keep them clean. I’ve owned white tennis shoes before and I know how it goes. They’re trashed within six months, no matter how hard you try to take care of them. I saw these on sale at Finish Line, however, and I thought, “Why the hell not?” They were regularly-priced at $79.99 but were discounted at $34.99. After purchasing them and feeding my online shopping addiction, however, I noticed that they were incredibly easy to clean. The premium leather wipes easily and doesn’t seem to cling to any dirt. So far, cleaning has been minimal and my satisfaction is a lot higher than I expected. They’re no longer on sale, but you can still purchase them from Finish Line at the full $79.99 price.


App – Plant Nanny

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Drinking water is one of the most important (not to mention one of the easiest) things you can do to help your body. Benefits of drinking enough water (about 2 liters or half a gallon) range from weight loss to improved mood to healthier skin…and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Plant Nanny helps you keep track of how much water you’re drinking daily. But wait…THERE’S MORE! An added bonus is that every time you log that you’ve drank some water, you’re simultaneously watering a virtual plant in the app. You can grow dandelions, cacti, and much more! Notification reminders help you to stay on target with your H20 goals and help you develop your virtual green thumb all at the same time.


Book – Then We Came to the End

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It’s rare to find a book that makes the mundane come alive. Then We Came to the End, however, does just that. Written by Joshua Ferris, this book deals with the everyday humdrum of the typical work environment. Ferris has a beautiful writing style and a spectacularly crafted, comedic tone that leaves your emotions all over the place (in a good way). The biggest takeaway from the book, at least for me, seems to be that no matter how much time you spend with someone, you never really fully know them. This idea is both extremely comforting and remarkably terrifying. You can purchase the book online at Amazon for fairly cheap, but I bought mine from Half-Priced Books for less than two dollars.

 

Austin’s Must-Haves 

Skincare – Burt’s Bees Oil Face Cleanser

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Let’s be honest, a beautiful complexion is something we all strive for. I’ve tried several different products in my search for the perfect skin care routine, and this product has quickly become one of my favorites. I’ve always been a huge fan of any Burt’s Bees product I’ve used, and the oil face cleanser is no exception.

This cleanser is made with coconut and argan oils that remove dirt, makeup, and anything else that may clog your pores and moisturize your skin at the same time. A lot of people are skeptical of using oils as a facial cleanser, because of the common misconception that this will further clog your pores. However, natural oils are necessary for skin health, and this product is specifically made to moisturize and leave no oil excess on normal to dry skin. For people with oily skin, I would recommend a product that is more clarifying.

Every time I use this product, I am amazed by how soft and glowing it leaves my skin. In all honesty, I cannot find a flaw in this cleanser. Even better, you can find the Burt’s Bees Oil Face Cleanser at Walmart, Target, and most stores that sell makeup or beauty products for about $15. Long story short, this product is a great addition to your skincare routine.

Food – Halo Top Ice Cream

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A healthier version of ice cream. Enough said. I have yet to comprehend how this low-calorie creation can taste just as good as the most popular ice cream brands that are packed with more sugar and more calories. Especially for people with an insatiable sweet tooth like me, the wide range of Halo Top ice cream flavors are a dream come true. It’s only downfall is that it is more expensive than a typical pint of ice cream. But in my opinion, it’s completely worth it.

Tuscan Garlic Tortellini

By Bradford

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I’m not skilled at cooking. In fact, just last year it was common for me to slap a slice of cheese on some microwaved ramen noodles and call it dinner. Over the past year or so, however, I’ve been trying to get better at it and, slowly but surely, I’m getting there.

Typically, in touch with my ramen noodle roots, pasta is my go-to when looking for meals to make. It’s simple, tasty, and fairly easy to keep healthy. With that being said, I recently tried this Tuscan Garlic Tortellini recipe. In short, it was one of my better decisions.

First of all, you can’t go wrong with tortellini. It’s noodles stuffed with cheese, for God’s sake. What more could you ask for in a dish? This recipe combines the deliciousness that is tortellini with a well-blended mix of healthy vegetables, rich flavors, and creamy textures. Incredibly simple and easy to make, you’ll be grubbing to a great meal in no time.

Tuesday Tunes 1/31/17

By Austin

Tuesday Tunes is going to be a segment that we post every Tuesday with a Spotify playlist of all the songs we’ve been obsessing over recently. Typically, each playlist will follow a specific theme or mood. Hopefully these posts will help you find some new artists!

My music taste tends to lean toward songs that my friends describe as “songs that make you want to cry yourself to sleep,” which is extremely melodramatic in my opinion. Yes, I tend to like more melancholy music, but for its musicality and lyrics. So this playlist will be some of my favorite “sad” songs that are great for a rainy day or when you want some chill background music. Enjoy!

 

Welcome to Maple Parlour!

Welcome to Maple Parlour, a blog run by two roommates from Bowling Green, Kentucky. Our posts will cover topics related to lifestyle, including music, style, and food & drink. We hope that you enjoy our content, and feel free to follow us or share our posts on any form of social media platform! Keep reading to find out more about the authors.

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Hello! My name is Austin Rutland, and I am a 21-year-old writer, musician, amateur photographer, and Instagram addict. I am a senior at Western Kentucky University studying Editorial Journalism and American Sign Language. I spend my time writing mediocre songs and dreaming about the day I finally move to NYC. I have a passion for style and content creation, and I wanted to create this blog to have a platform to share my ideas and outfit inspiration.

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Hi! I’m Bradford Higdon and I’m the other half of Maple Parlour. I’m a clumsy and awkward 21-year-old with a deep love for writing. I’m an avid reader, occasional piano player, and an online shopping addict. Currently a senior at Western Kentucky University as well, I’m majoring in Strategic Marketing with a minor in English. I’m looking to use this blog as both a creative outlet and as a way to share my ideas about personal development and life in general.