Monday, September 23, 2013

restart

image via


Hi, everyone! Long time, no see. 

Time spent away gave us the time to move into our new apartment and start anew. It also gave me the time to do a restart on the blog and took the jump over to wordpress. Old posts will remain up here on blogger for nostalgia's sake, and new posts will now be over on the new space.

Thank you so much for following along and reading here on blogger, and I would love to have you come visit me at my new place.


I hope to see you around. :)

Monday, August 26, 2013

a room of one's own


Hi, everyone. Apologies for the radio silence. After moving and unpacking and dealing with my grandmother's illness, it was all I could do just to go day by day. In the time that's passed, we've moved and unpacked 95% of our items. There's one box left in our bedroom that's waiting to be unpacked for when my shelving unit arrives (it was sold out at IKEA when we went). I finally got my vanity, and it's not quite set up exactly how I want yet, but it's a solid start. It sits to the left of James' dressing rack, which I think is a nice play on his & hers. Waking up in the morning and seeing this makes me incredibly happy, with everything in its place in our room.

Happy Monday!

Monday, August 12, 2013

the present state


We're in the home stretch, you guys. It may not look like it by this picture of our living room, but I swear, we are ::thisclose:: to being packed and ready to move. And I. cannot. wait. Living in boxes has led to way too many occasions where I stub my toe/bang my knee/hit my elbow simply because we're running out of room as we try to pack our lives in convenient, portable boxes. Moving is expensive, so we've been trying to watch how often we eat out and have resorted to just making quick (cheap) meals in our kitchen while simultaneously packing said kitchen. We left out two mismatched plates to serve us for the next three days, and every time we make something, we have to wash it out so it's ready to be used by the other. It kind of reminds me of college.

And to continue the theme of chaos and randomness in our lives in this blog, I wanted to mention a review of sorts on two things I recently purchased:


This tote is made of vegan leather, and while I usually prefer real leather, this bag is so soft and so light, and I have no fear of scratching the "leather" since the polyurethane can handle some beating. I've been eyeing the Pashli from 3.1 Philip Lim for awhile, and the zippers of this tote are definitely a nod to that. AT was having a friends & family sale where everything was 40% off, and in addition I had a $40 gift card, so this tote cost me $18.80 + tax. At that price, it came home with me to be my low-maintenance work tote. It retails for $98, which I think is a little high, but with a promo like 30% off, I think it's a worthy piece. The straps are long enough to fit on the shoulder, yet not too long to be ridiculous as a hand-held tote or on the crook of the elbow.



There are four functioning zippers in total - two in the front and two in the back. When they're unzipped, they reveal a tan/dark brown/white polka dot pattern, which I thought was a fun touch. The inside only has one zippered pocket in the back in the same polka dot fabric as the zipper insert. I don't mind not having more separation too much - more pockets would have been great, but not a deal breaker for me.

And the second thing: 


I purchased this wallet with a gift card I had been saving. After endlessly muttering to myself about how great it would be if I had a wallet that would hold my phone and my credit cards, I finally went out there and bought said magic wallet. There are plenty of these phone wallets out there, but I went for this one because I liked the slim profile, the button closure, and the detachable wrist strap. I also liked the fact that this was in saffiano leather, a hardier leather that would stand up to constant use (and some drops!).


The inside is also leather and comes with 5 credit card slots (1 being the ID slot with a plastic covering). I like that this limits the amount of cards I can carry, but the slots can easily store 2 or 3 cards each if you want to carry more. The left side of the wallet has a pocket for the iPhone. It's built for the iPhone 5, but my iPhone 4s fits securely in it, too, and I've heard other people tell me that their Samsung Galary can fit in it as well. The back has a zippered pocket for coins. There's no explicit "cash" pocket, but I just use the little slip pocket behind the credit card slots as the place for the random bill or receipt. I've only had this for a week or so, and I already don't know how I managed without it. It's so convenient for on the go and for those out the door runs.

Happy Monday!

Friday, August 9, 2013

there'd be days like this



Apologies all around for being MIA. I received news from home that my grandmother had suffered a stroke earlier this week, and everything's just kind of stopped as I try to process it all. She's the best person I know, bar none, and the thought of her going through this right now while I'm so far away and can't be there is heartbreaking. I feel like there are too many emotions churning inside me, and I'm just trying to keep them all contained until we get more news about future plans for therapy and recuperation. On the plus side, she's going home today, and I know my aunts and uncles and cousins will take such good care of her. 

I hope I haven't made you too sad; it is Friday after all. This weekend, hug your family members a little harder; make them feel your love a little bit more. It matters.

Have a love-filled weekend.

image via

Monday, August 5, 2013

vanity on a budget

vanity

here


While being up to my eyeballs in packing boxes this past weekend, I kept reminding myself of the fact that I would end up with a little "vanity corner" in our new place just to keep myself sane. I've made do over the years without a proper vanity, but since I'll now be living with two guys with only one bathroom to share between the three of us, I decided it was high time to invest in one. Moving expenses add up quickly, though, so I wanted to keep things as cost-effective as possible. Thank God for IKEA

I wanted a vanity that had built in storage, could double as a laptop desk when not in use as a vanity, and could fit in a small space to keep our room from feeling cluttered. This dressing table ticks all those boxes - sleek lines and a long drawer for lots of storage. All of my makeup can easily fit in the drawer, but to add some more storage options and counter space, I'm set on getting this storage unit. Just the thought of 9 streamlined drawers to hold both my jewelry and beauty supplies, as well as some office supplies at the bottom is making me smile right now. Everything will be tucked away and out of sight, yet easily at hand. I already have this chair, but I wanted to showcase it for those who are in need of budget friendly chair options (this stool is under $50 and this one is $5.99!). I intend on hanging a giant mirror above the dressing table, but for touch ups, I'm getting this mirror. Lastly, containers are a must. I have four of these stackable trays from The Container Store (1 large, 1 medium, 2 small) and love them, so I'm planning on adding 2 more medium and 2 more small ones to keep everything in the drawer organized. This candle dish would be perfect to display my perfume bottles.

For my dressing table, storage unit, some organizing trays, the mirror, the dish, and reusing my chair, I'm on track for just over $300 after tax. 

How do you organize your makeup?

Friday, August 2, 2013

this weekend


It's Friday once again, and I'm totally ready for it. This weekend will be full of cleaning, dumping, and packing. We're moving in less than two weeks, and we are nowhere near packed. We keep saying we'll do it every night after work little by little...yeah, that didn't work. We'll probably actually stick to our guns and buckle down all next week after getting a much needed jump start this weekend.

When I'm not packing, I'll also be putting on the last touches on the move of this blog to WordPress. I've been wanting a more streamlined look for awhile and finally took the plunge to see what I could find over at WordPress. I've settled on a theme that I think is perfect, and I'm working on finishing up some posts. Sometime around the new year, I hope to customize the new theme fully and make it more my own, but for now, it's quite lovely as it is. I'm so excited, and I hope you'll come over and see the new digs.

I've also gotten back into the swing of wedding planning. It was kind of overwhelming at the beginning thinking about everything that comes with planning a wedding, to the point where it stressed me out and I stopped thinking about it for awhile. But then James and I had a talk, and we decided that we wanted our wedding to be a fun affair, with great friends and family, great food, and beverages aplenty. We want it to be a party where everyone was happy along with us. So we've decided on an indoor backyard wedding of sorts. I want a simple dress and great shoes, with my hair down and flowing, like it would be at a summer backyard BBQ, just a little more elegant and romantic. Last night, we stayed up late and picked songs for the wedding, including curating a list that will make up the mixed "tape" that will be our favor for our guests. We sat there on the couch side by side and listened to our relationship in song. Definitely one of those moments I'll remember forever. 

I hope you have a fantastic weekend.


image via

Thursday, August 1, 2013

h&m home

home

here 

 You've probably heard by now that US customers can finally shop H&M online. I'm thrilled at the sheer convenience of it all, but I'm really most excited about finally being able to shop their home line. The aesthetics are right up my alley - lots of clean lines, grey, glass, and rustic touches. If you do decide to shop online, there are some good things to know: shipping is a flat rate of $5.95 (but use code 0549 for free shipping on your first order, valid until Aug. 15), there's a 30-day return policy on most things, return shipping is $5.95 unless you're returning because the item is faulty, and online returns cannot be done in stores. That last bit has me meticulously thinning out my cart to only the pieces I know I have a high chance of keeping. Happy online shopping! 

metal box || bath rug || storage baskets
  tablecloth || glass jar || candle || apron (how adorable is this?) 
stout glass vase || slim glass vase || table runner || wooden box

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

recent purchases

recent purchases

here

I was up late with James trying to whittle down the massive episodes I have on my DVR while also listlessly browsing through websites. I had these sweaters in my virtual cart from the day before since they were on sale for 50% off, but I hadn't pulled the trigger because I couldn't decide which to buy. I could see myself wearing all three colors equally, but I didn't want to spend more than $100, so I had to whittle 3 down to 2. I offhandedly typed in the new promo code J.Crew had for an extra 40% off final sale items (still going on, promo code is style40 + free shipping on anything today only), not really believing that J.Crew would let me stack coupons like that, when lo and behold, it did work and my sweaters were now $26.50 apiece. Considering that they retail for $88 and I had been ::thisclose:: to buying them at the earlier reduced price point, I quickly checked out. I was half thinking they wouldn't ship at that price, but they arrived yesterday. I had bought a fourth one, but I didn't like the color and returned it. True to its name, the sweater fits loosely and is oversized. I bought them in a size smaller than I usually wear, and it was just loose enough without being sloppy. I love that the back is slightly longer than the front for a casual look. The merino feels great, and I like that it's a lighter weight sweater since most of my other sweaters are thicker. 

While returning the unwanted fourth sweater, I did a quick breeze-through the sale section. I happened to fall upon these two striped shirts (short sleeve; three-quarter sleeve is sold out). I remember making a mental note when they were newly released but with their original price, I shoved them way back in my mind. With an extra 40% off their sale price, they came to $15 apiece. They are so soft and have a shrunken fit that's super flattering but not too tight. And so, my love for stripes continues.

 I had been meaning to check out Drew Barrymore's Flower makeup line long before now, but it's exclusively sold at Walmart and the nearest one to me in the city is about 30 minutes away.  When I went dorm shopping with my sister on Saturday and found myself at a Walmart in search of a mini ironing board for her, I took the chance to pick up some pieces. A lot of the nail polish colors were right up my alley, but I limited myself to the inky blue shade called April showers. I bought one high-shine lipstick in Petunia petals, one lipgloss in Pretty-in-Petunia, and one lip crayon in Airy orchid. I heard great things about the cream eyeshadow, so I picked up two, one in Awesome Blossom, a lovely muted brown that would be a great neutral, and one in Wild Geranium, a soft peachy pink that would work great as a highlight color. I really like the white/black/rose gold packaging. The lipgloss is not too tacky, and the lipstick felt like butter and had intense color payoff. The lip crayon was just okay - I liked the color well enough, it felt lightweight and smooth on, but I just didn't get as excited about it as the other two. The nail polish is glossy and on me, doesn't cheap easily which is always a plus. I found the eyeshadows easy to blend and the colors beautiful. The one tiny problem with it is it's definitely shimmery. It's not glittery, so no glitterbomb look to be afraid of, but a little goes a long way and might be best suited for nighttime wear. If you're looking for good to great drugstore makeup, I think it's a good line to try. 

And lastly, you've already seen this bag, but in the interest of full disclosure and because I love it, I've included it in this list. I used my proceeds from consigning a lot of things that didn't make the cut in our pre-move clean out to make the purchase, so the hit was a little easier to absorb. Still, no regrets. :).

What are your recent purchases?

Monday, July 29, 2013

uniform

uniform

here



While I try to mentally plan out what I'm wearing a day or two in advance, there are days when I fall behind and I don't have the time or the wherewithal to do anything more than to put some clothes on with the sole purpose of avoiding indecent exposure. On those days, I reach for my uniform - dark skinny jeans, a basic tee with an interesting detail (i.e. stripes!), a go-to pair of shoes (pumps if I need to dress up, ankle boots if I need to be mobile), sunglasses, and a structured, semi-large bag (it needs to be large because I carry a lot with me, but the structure is crucial if I ever want to find anything). I almost always wear a watch (I hate to be late, and I've never gotten in the habit of checking my phone for the time), and if I can eke out the time, I throw on simple studs and a delicate necklace to look a little bit more put together. 

What's your uniform?

Friday, July 26, 2013

this weekend


Happy Friday, everybody! What are you up to this weekend?

On Saturday, I'm helping my sister finish shopping for college, and then James and I will be heading out to a friend's surprise birthday party on the North Side. More packing is to be done on Sunday, but we're taking a little break on Saturday for some fun with family and friends. In addition to artwork, I'm in search of a vanity with a fold-down mirror that can double as a little laptop table in our bedroom, as well as a little bookshelf and a slipper chair. For the living room, we're also trying to find a set of four chairs for the dining room. I have some things in mind, and I'll share when I've narrowed them down to a more manageable two or three options (as opposed to the 578 options I'm currently considering). 

Have a great weekend!

P.S. The inner nerd and biologist in me cheered when I saw this doodle. Rosalind Franklin was a pioneer in her field, both for her amazing contributions and the fact that she was a woman in a field that was overwhelmingly dominated by men. She died too young, but her contributions are timeless and far-reaching. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

sweet caroline


You know that scene from 10 Things I Hate About You when Bianca's discussing the difference between like and love ('There's a difference between like and love. Because, I like my Skechers, but I love my Prada backpack.')? Well, this bag is my Prada backpack in that analogy. As for the Skechers? About 50ish items I sold to two resale shops on Sunday. The 50ish items I purged almost painlessly from my closet. The 50ish items James was so happy to see go because it meant less packing. As I watched the buyer go through my things, I kept wondering how I ended up with so much stuff. Oh, I liked them for sure, and perhaps even thought I loved some of them when I bought them, but I had no particularly big qualms about watching them go. Right then and there, I made a very big mental note to once again, recommit to only getting what I love.

Which begs the question, what do I love? Not really, really like, not that would be so cute with x and y and z, not that's the best I've seen, not it will do, not but it's such a great price!. I mean, unequivocally, undoubtedly, 100%-and-then-some love. When I saw this bag, I knew it. Everything about it made me smile inside. You know that feeling? I'm a neutrals girl at my core, and the mushroom taupe color was spot-on. I didn't want it any greyer or browner than it actually was. I adore silver hardware, and against the taupe (Coach calls it 'ash'), it made the bag so sleek and modern, yet classic all at once. I loved the longer strap for on the go and equally approved of the shorter straps for a quick grab or to perch on my elbow. The lining is a lovely teal color. The middle has a '40s-esque valise opening that I find ingenious. The only thing I didn't love was the price tag. I had never bought anything close to what the tag said (computers/iPads don't count), so I put it back, knowing it was impossible. But to my surprise, James said, "You should really get that bag. It's absolutely you, and your face lit up when you saw it. You just sold a whole bunch of stuff you didn't love. Use what you made from that to get something you do love." In the almost 5 years we've been together, James has never, not once, been so adamant about a purchase I'd been contemplating. 

I went home and slept on it, talked with James some more. He was still adamant. I went back to the store the next day and made my purchase, paying for it in full from the profit I had made from selling/consigning. I used a coupon to bring down the price considerably, even though in the end, it was still the most expensive thing I've ever bought. But you know what? There was not even an inkling of buyer's remorse, not then and not now. Now when perusing things online or in catalogs, everything's put up against the "Caroline test".  It's like seeing everything with fresh eyes. There are things I like (sometimes a lot) and now I'm content to put them down and walk away. There's no hemming or hawing, no double-guessing, just a clear cut yes or no. It feels sweet.

P.S. In a continuing process of analyzing how and what I buy, it's great to finally hone in on what I love enough to love for years to come. In today's fashion world, everything is ever-changing and replaceable. But I find that exhausting. There were times when shopping was overwhelming - too many choices, too many colors, too many different proclamations of what was "in" and what was "out". I don't follow trends blindly, but I was aware of them, and that awareness sometimes took me away from a piece that was timeless and very me to a piece that was hotter at the moment. Cue the internal debate, cue the hemming and hawing. I'm grateful for this fresh breath of clarity. Of course, just because I truly do love something doesn't mean that I have to get it or that I can get it. I'm a girl with a very real budget. My overall quality of life is the priority, and sometimes, things I would love to buy are just not in the cards. That being said, I also believe that living well means doing the things that make you happy, which sometimes means buying some things. The "Caroline" experience just has made me ever more convinced that it's worth it to wait for a really great piece. I think about mindless purchases more and avoid making purchases I can do without. My bank account is happier, and my closet is happier, too - less filled and more loved.

Tell me - what's your "sweet Caroline" moment?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Christmas in July



A sneak peek for tomorrow...the box (and its content) really makes me feel like it's Christmas in July. Any guesses as to what's inside?

We are in the height of pre-moving frenzy (read: endless packing), so it might be a little sporadic on the blog, but as soon as we're done moving and unpacking, I'd love to show you guys our new place!

Happy Tuesday!

Friday, July 19, 2013

good things


Happy Friday, everybody!

On my way into work, I made a particularly tight right turn. Just as I thought I was coming out of the turn free and clear, I hit the back fender of the pickup truck that was parked in the tow zone (which was why that right turn was so hard). As I parked a couple feet down from the truck, I started giving myself a lecture about how stupid it was to think I could make it, why didn't I just wait, why didn't I just go around to find another spot, etc., etc. The man who owned the vehicle asked for my information, so I started to open my glove compartment to find my insurance card and registration. Then suddenly, the man came up to me and said, "You know what, sweetheart? I'm not going to report it. I'm not worried about a little scratch on my back guard. You just be careful." And just like that, he got in his vehicle and drove away. 

I just sat in my passenger seat, my insurance card still in hand, and just sat there for a second. It was a small scratch, the body of the truck wasn't hurt, just the plastic guard practically designed for mishaps like mine, but that man didn't have to not report it. He didn't have to give me a pass, he didn't have to be gracious. Just when you think that everyone's out there for him/herself, people do things - like forgive you for hitting their car - that remind you to be a little less cynical and a little bit more amazed at how good things - no matter how big or small - are good things, and that they happen, if not all the time, more often than we think.

Wishing you all a weekend full of good things, big or small.


image via

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

dreaming of fall


 It's one of life's greatest ironies that when in the dead of winter, summer can't come soon enough but as soon as the first beads of sweat form in high summer, we start wishing for the cooler temperatures of fall and winter. I blame it on the always anticipatory nature of fashion. Case in point, madewell came out with its fall preview today, and now I can't wait for sweaters and leather and boots (I love boots). My favorite look from the collection is above - so easy and sporty, yet still put together. My other favorites are below. I've already mentally earmarked those cognac oxfords in look 3 and the fantastic boots in looks 4 and 10, as well as all of looks 7 and 13 (and let's not forget all of look 12). You hear that? That's the sound of me dropping coins into my wish list piggy bank right now.










all photos from madewell

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

brands I love: byrd & belle





I saw my co-worker using this felt charcoal grey case for his Macbook Air, and I immediately asked him where it was from. I'd been looking for a case for my Macbook for what seems like forever, but I never found one that satisfied both my functional and aesthetic needs. Well, I think I've found it: the cases are from byrd&belle. The cases are available for your iPod/iPhone, Macbook Air, Macbook, iPad mini, or iPad, with specific sizes (13", 15", etc.), but are also fully customizable. You can also add pockets, or go for one with a little leather patch or buckle. Aren't these great? Simple, clean, and durable. 

we're moving!


Our lease is up next month, and we decided to go ahead and move into a 2 bedroom apartment. The rent difference is negligible since our current rent was going to increase anyway, and our college friend will be occupying the second bedroom and contributing to the rent. While the extra space afforded by the second bedroom won't be a benefit to us, the common living space is lovely and makes use of the space much more efficiently than our current living room. We don't lose that much space when it comes to our own bedroom either. It's not Carrie Bradshaw's apartment by any means, but it's cozy and warm. I'll have to share pictures once we're all moved in later in August.

Now that it's 100% confirmed that we're moving, I've started to compile a list of things to get for the new apartment. I've started with getting more artwork since there's greater wall space in the new place. We stopped by IKEA over the weekend to get an idea of what's available, and here's what I've earmarked:
We're in need of an art piece to hang over our dining/all-purpose table (the table will be up against a wall). Since most of our furniture follows a white/grey/black/navy theme, I wanted something with a pop of color. James really likes the flower-esque piece on the right, while I'm leaning towards the Matisse.

One nice feature of the new place is a little foyer/entrance hall. We already have the Matisse sketch in our little hallway and when we saw the Picasso at IKEA, we figured they'd be along the same theme - clean, minimal, and a little quirky.


We were thinking of using the hallway leading from the living room to the bedrooms as the  feature wall for our diplomas. While all of our artwork is currently more along black and white with a little color here and there, our diplomas are in rich wood frames. They seemed to match the actual diplomas better than a more modern, black frame. This Da Vinci piece would be a nice way to bridge the old world feel of our diploma frames with the more modern pieces we already have. In addition, I think it has an academic touch - as biology (me) and history majors (James and our college friend), the Vitruvian man is a great image that speaks to all three of us. 

I'm completely using my executive girl power to make the decision to infuse some glamour into the bathroom. I want it to feel a little bit like an escape, if only for my morning shower. It certainly doesn't need to be sterile and boring. I love the 3-D whimsy of these butterfly prints from IKEA, and I think it's just enough of an artistic touch without going overboard or making the guys feel awkward.


And lastly, our bedroom. Since our new bedroom will be slightly smaller lengthwise, we're moving the table we currently have into the living room as our dining/multipurpose table. I'm taking advantage of the rearrangement to create a little oasis in our room. I want it to be romantic but still clean and peaceful. We already have this print in our room, and I think the flower print and the love print will work nicely. I am in love with the love print, especially the little definitions in the corner (the poster doesn't have the print twice - I just magnified it so it shows up better). I think I'll get it in a smaller size and just have it leaning  against the wall on a little table. 

Happy Tuesday!


Monday, July 15, 2013

summer essentials

summer essentials

here 


Oh, man, it is hot. The distance between my apartment and my job is about a 15-min. bike ride. By the time I arrived in my office, I looked like the heat and I had gone a few rounds. Luckily, I'm the only person in my office on Mondays so I had the chance to make myself presentable. 


Isn't that the love/hate relationship with warm hot weather? In Chicago, it takes so long for the sun to come back after winter that it seems I spend half the year wishing for its return. But man, when the sun does come back, it comes back full throttle (we don't really have a spring in Chicago). This week looks like it's going to be a scorcher (in the 90s with unbelievable humidity and did I mention my office does not have air conditioning? Yeah...).  


Here are my essentials for beating the heat:


one || water. drink lots of it and often. I recently bought this pitcher from Target, and it's so awesome. I like to cut up lemons or oranges to give some citrus flavor to my water, and this pitcher makes the whole process so easy by keeping the fruit separate. Bonus: it's awful pretty. When I'm on the go, I always have a water bottle handy to make staying hydrated a no-brainer. I currently use this one and this one.


two || a hat. pick a hat, any hat. I have a giant head, so hats are often tricky for me, but I've had the most luck with baseball caps. Choose one bearing your favorite team, or go for an ultra simple one like this one.


three || yogurt. the hotter it gets outside, the less appealing a heavy meal becomes. I eat fresher and better in the summer, availing of the abundance of produce, but sometimes I want a lighter protein alternative, so I keep a couple of yogurts around (I like pineapple Chobanis - each 6 oz. cup of this Greek yogurt has 13g of protein). 


four || sunscreen. this is a no brainer. I like Neutrogena's line of suncare products - the spray is refreshing and convenient while the lotion is never greasy.


five || when I'm not at work, my summer uniform consists of a tank/tee, shorts, and sneakers. that's about as summer as it gets. I have lived in this tee since I bought it a couple of weeks ago, and I've worn Converse for years (I'm also eyeing a pair of Supergas).


six || books. things tend to slow down a little in the summer, and I like to take advantage of that by squeezing in some books. I still love the feel of pages in my hand, but on the go, nothing beats electronic books.


seven || a backpack. a more relaxed and often roomier alternative to the crossbody. pick one with a pattern or cute details to keep it from looking too much like you're going to school.


eight || a bike. it's a great way to get around for short trips (who wants to get into a hot car when you're just going to grab some eggs from the grocery store three blocks down?), is faster than walking, and is built-in-exercise. Plus, there's just something about bikes that says "dog days of summer".


What are your summer essentials?



Friday, July 12, 2013

this weekend



It's Friday! The promise of another weekend is so close! While browsing through pinterest, I found this picture, and I just started smiling. Now I want to dress up and buy fresh flowers and go biking all weekend. I'm off to see my best friend to night for one last hurrah before she heads off to San Antonio to start her married life. I'm going to be a blubbering mess because I'll miss her so much, but that's life, right? The only constant is change. I'll drink to her tonight, then go bike riding on the lake tomorrow. I recently also started watching The Newsroom and now I'm hooked, so Sunday will be lazy and full of Aaron Sorkin...and laundry, if I'm being good.

I hope you have a good one!


image via

Thursday, July 11, 2013

dainty

dainty

here

 There's something so elegant and effortless about dainty jewelry. I love statement necklaces as much as the next girl, but thin, delicate necklaces seem so much more intimate. They're like little, subtle clues about who you are at your most basic. I find that when I want to feel the most natural, I reach for simple chains, bracelets, and rings. 

star necklace || solitaire (have it in the rose gold and love it) || heart.beat necklace || bangle 

snake ring || nail ring || bracelet || pave bar necklace (newest favorite)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

june favorites

june favorites

here


I can't believe that it's July already. Summer's in full swing here in Chicago, and the weather is appropriately steamy. I realized that I hadn't done a favorites post for June yet and decided it was high time to do one.

What I've been loving in June:

I bought the Love Lake Michigan shirt while I was on vacation on Mackinac, and it's quickly become a favorite. I love the design (Great Lakes pride!), how soft it is, and that the company, The Mitten State, supports local charities within its home state of Michigan with proceeds from every purchase. I'm all for shopping that does good and supports small businesses. Plus, seriously, it's sooo soft. This particular design comes in a tank version  and a women's sizing version. As the website notes and as I can personally attest to, sizing does run small, so opt for a size bigger than what you normally wear. I opted for the unisex sizing for a more laid-back, stole-my-boyfriend's-shirt kind of vibe.

I was so excited when I found out that FEED and Target were doing a collaboration. When the collection finally hit stores on June 30, I went to my local Target to check things out. I love the Americana feel of it all, and I walked away with a handful of items, including this tote. I've already used it nonstop since then, and it's held up nicely. It's huge - I've fit my 13" MacBook in a case, my lunch bag, several water bottles, my headphones, an umbrella, and some packages that came in for me at work, with room to spare. That being said, it's not overwhelmingly huge, just spacious. I also used it as a beach bag for the 4th of July. I use the front pocket to hold my keys and cellphone, which eliminates the annoyance of having to dig for them (a common downfall of big bags).  The cotton is soft, the straps are sturdy, the moss-green polka-dot lining is adorable, and I appreciate that there's a hook (a zipper would have been unwieldy, I think) to keep the sides closed but keeps the contents still accessible. 

A couple weeks ago, Old Navy had a sale on their active wear. The last time I had purchased any running shorts were a good three years ago, so I was in dire need of some new ones. I had never tried Old Navy's active wear before, but the price was great (I paid about $7 per pair during the sale and an additional coupon code), the reviews were encouraging, and they looked fun. I like that they come with an inner lining, in a bajillion colors, and are long enough to not ride up but smartly cut on the side for a great range of movement. The only thing I didn't like as much but could live with was the fact that they don't come with a drawstring. I fit a large perfectly (they run from xs-xl), so this wasn't an issue, but I can see some might have an issue of being in between sizes with no drawstring to help tighten/loosen as necessary. I can't speak for quality as I've only just been using them for a couple of weeks (I bought 5 and rotate them frequently), but so far, so good. They're definitely worth a try. 

When the weather's hot, I wear very little makeup. I usually just opt for moisturizer with sunscreen, mascara, and lip balm/gloss/stick. If I'm keeping my lips fairly neutral, I might put on some eyeliner and smudge it for extra color, but that's about as complicated as it gets. To save myself the extra step, I usually go for a little color on my lips. I've eschewed too dark or dramatic lipsticks for everyday during the summer - red lips are great, but it's too hot to worry about perfect lipstick. I've found that Revlon Lip Butters and Maybelline Color Whispers are the perfect middle-ground: sheer to opaque color that applies like a balm with a little bit of gloss. Easy as pie. My current favorite is the Revlon Lip Butter in sorbet, a pretty gelato pink color that's soft and hot at the same time.

I love me a great summer nail polish like a juicy coral or a hot pink, but sometimes, I get a little sick of the color overload. When I want a muted but elegant manicure, I reach for Chanel Frenzy. It's a light enough grey that it doesn't feel vampy (it's lighter than Essie Chinchilly for reference) but it has enough of a brown/taupe base to it to keep it from looking too cool-toned against my caramel-brown skin. I've had this on my fingers for over three weeks now, and I've yet to get sick of it.

I might have mentioned on the blog about how I'm picky when it comes to pens. I like fine point only, the finer the better. Muji makes these gel pens in a rainbow of colors and in 0.38 point (they come in other points as well if you're not as weird as I am. ;) ). They last fairly long, have good ink flow, are refillable, and have a slim, clean design, like the rest of Muji's offerings. I ordered mine online, and they arrived 4-5 days later.

Lastly, these Frends headphones have become a fixture in my bags. They're obviously pretty, but the sound quality is nothing to sneeze at. I've found that they also have a bit of a sound-canceling feature to them, which is a bonus for when I'm flying or in general when I don't want to hear anything but my music. Who says bigger headphones can't be pretty? ;).

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

mackinac



Hello, all. It's amazing what a little time off does. A little trip up to Mackinac Island the weekend before last got my staycation off on the right start. [A few facts about the island: it's located in the North of Michigan, just off the shore of the Upper Peninsula just to the east of where Lake Michigan feeds into Lake Huron; 80% of the island is a national park; and no automobiles (except for emergency motor vehicles) are allowed on the island, so island transport is limited to walking, horsepower, or bikes (and snowmobiles in the winter).] I've always loved being near the water so being on an island  was heaven for me. The weather was beautiful, time moved slowly, and I could not have had a better time. I'd love to share some pictures below.

my little sis on the ferry ride in

 enjoying the sun

 boats in the harbor

 one way to get around the island: horse power

 beautiful flowers on Main Street





On our second day there, we took a morning bike ride around the island. All 8.2 miles were right by the water, and the roads seemed infinite. We stopped for a minute to skip some rocks on a rocky beach (above). It was definitely my favorite part about the trip.

We had a lovely stay at a charming bed-and-breakfast: Haan's 1830 Inn. The owner, Nick, was really nice and accommodating, and I can't recommend it enough. It's not the most modern of buildings, it being from circa 1830, after all (but it does come with wi-fi and air conditioning), but the rich decor and interiors, the welcoming proprietors, and the included breakfast of great coffee, hard-boiled eggs, cereal, fresh bread and bagels, and made-from- scratch, to-die-for scones, apple cinnamon muffins, and coffee cake were more than enough. I was looking for a relaxing stay, and it was nice to not have the distraction of a tv or a swimming pool. 

Now that I'm home, my internet continues to be down, but fingers crossed, everything will be up and running tonight. 

I hope you all had a lovely Fourth of July, and happy Tuesday!