Wednesday, July 31, 2013

recent purchases

recent purchases


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




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


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




 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


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


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!

Monday, July 1, 2013


mackinac bridge

These past two weeks of being sick has been a much needed wake-up call. I've always been one of those people who don't stop until they're forced to. After a week of chugging along at less than 100%, my body decided enough was enough and amped up the misery. I went from having an annoying cold to a nasty cold with a hacking cough to a full-on sinus headache, with a fever, a biting cold and a relentless, painful cough. I finally gave in and left my work at noon on Monday (the 24th). As soon as I unlocked the door to our apartment, I headed straight for the couch and crashed. I slept the rest of the day. 

I felt much better the next day - the pounding pain behind my temples was gone - so I went into work, only to have my boss ask me if I was okay. She said I sounded horrible. I said I felt much better than the day before, but maybe I could take a day off sometime when it wasn't so busy. Then she said something that surprised me: she asked if I would consider taking the first week of July off. I said "the entire week?". She said sure, why not? The office had the Fourth off anyway, I was already scheduled to take the 28th off for a quick family getaway to Mackinac Island, why not just extend the vacation? I said I'd think about it. 

I went back and forth about whether or not I could afford to take it for the next couple of days, until I finally sat down and faced the facts. I hadn't taken more than a random day off since December. I had gone six months without taking time off for myself. The 2 single days off I had taken since December hadn't really been days off. I took a day off in February to catch up on laundry/groceries. I took a day off in April to accompany my sister to her college visit day. It was now the end of June. Suddenly, I realized that I had been feverishly attached to my job at the expense of everything else. I think I was compensating for the fact that my guy is still searching for permanent work, and I tried to double my efforts, so to speak, at my job to gain back a sense of security for both of us. But that extra stress and effort came at the cost of self-care, and I willingly allowed it until my body pushed back. I got back to my boss and told her I'd take her up on that week off.

It's now July 1, and I'm back from our weekend trip to Mackinac Island. The island was just as lovely as I remembered it to be when we visited 5 years ago. I've always felt incredibly peaceful around the water, and I spend a long time reflecting on the island. I'm now back in Chicago, at the start of my weeklong staycation. Our internet and tv are actually on the fritz right now, and the earliest service appointment we could get was for this Friday, July 5. At first, I was annoyed at the inconvenience, but now, after sitting down in a cafe and nursing an iced coffee while I type this post, I feel as though the service disruption is actually a good thing. I can walk away and get out and enjoy our neighborhood. I can read all those books I've been putting off. I can make what internet time I can get (inside a Starbucks) more meaningful and purposeful. I've been given this chance to disconnect and recharge. I'm going to try to make the most of it.

My plans for this week are to get back to basics, to get "caught up", yes, but to do that slowly and meaningfully. It's nice to step off the treadmill for a little bit. I'm working on posts that make me happy, and hopefully, that's reflected in the blog. I can't wait to go through our pictures from this weekend and leisurely relive the memories as I edit and work on a post that will do justice to the beauty of Mackinac. I'm working on getting back into my workout routine that has sadly fallen by the wayside for a month now. I'm working on not working on anything that can't wait. I'm working on me.

I'm off to enjoy the beautiful Chicago weather and sunshine. I hope you're having a wonderful Monday, and thanks for checking in.