Monday, March 31, 2014

My Leading Lady

Midnight Witch

Last week I lost my style icon, top coach of kindness, and the most eternal optimist – my nana. She was always spotting the silver lining (or a good bargain) and exemplified all of the best personality traits I hope to mirror. I'll be spending this week with family, but I'll try to catch up on here in a few days. In the meantime, I'll share this old post which shows just a few snaps of my glamorous grandmother and her killer (frugal) fashion sense.     

Friday, March 28, 2014

Have a Rosy Weekend

Happy Weekend

This week took an unexpected turn and my little blog took a back seat. Everyone have a fantastic weekend – be kind, think positive and remember that life is better viewed through rose colored glasses.

Photo courtesy of Pinterest

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Beaded Bargain

Chicago Stylist

Personal Style

Personal Style

Personal Style

The goods:
• vintage beaded jacket

• black trousers by Catherine Malandrino
• rose gold leather clutch from Gap
• pumps from Zara
• earrings from Forever21 

Like any good vintage junkie, I snap up any pretty piece that I spot even if I have no where to wear it at the time (there is a way to style pretty much any and everything). I saw this black and white beaded jacket – in perfect condition – at Salvation Army for $8 (a no brainer). I paired it with these black trousers for a friend's store opening last week, keeping accessories and hair/makeup to a minimum – I already had a whole lotta sparkle happening. I love the weight of quality pieces like this, and would love it with skinny blue jeans and black sandals for a spring night out.

On a routine scan of Etsy, I came across this similar one which I love!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Steal vs. Splurge

statement necklace

One of my favorite looks for spring is a simple top, flowy skirt and a statement necklace (here's hoping I get to actually wear this sometime soon, not such a cool look when it's still snowing). I've been seeing a lot of sparkly options around lately, luckily covering every price point.

From left: $11.80, Forever21  //  $138, JCrew  //  $400, Lulu Frost

... and to be honest? I'm actually digging the Forever21 find the most!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Road Trip!

So it may not be the Pacific Coast highway or a north eastern dream drive, but Steve and I are finally doing a fun road trip. We bought a car down in Little Rock and we're taking it home to Chicago in a couple of weeks. I was hoping we'd locate a car up in Alaska or down in Florida, so when Steve said he found the perfect one in Arkansas ... well, I was stumped (I mean, I know nothing about the state and I couldn't identify any bucket-list spots along our route off the top of my head). Turns out we're in for a pretty fun trip ...

We'll fly into Little Rock (1) and head over to Memphis to check out Graceland! From there we're cruisin' to Nashville (2) for the night and we can't wait to eat and shop our way through the music city. After that we're heading to southern Illinois to hit up the wineries (3). Finally, we'll swing through Champaign/Urbana, Illinois (our alma mater) on our way home to Chicago (4). 

Of course, we're open to fun suggestions or must-sees along our route and I can't wait to report back on what fun sites we see!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Happy Chilly Spring Weekend!

weekend weather

Happy first weekend of spring! Of course, we all know our Chicago spring doesn't really start for another month, it's still going to be a chilly weekend. I think the funny chart above pretty much sums it up. 

Also this weekend ...
• I know we're all looking forward to warmer weather, but why not indulge in the warm treats around town while we still can, like the spicy and sweet Mexican hot cocoa from Mindy's Hot Chocolate or the French onion fondue from Maude's Liquor Bar (or if you're ambitious, try your hand at this copy cat recipe 

• One of my fave shops in Chicago, Stitch, is opening their brand new space today. Head to 1927 North Damen tonight from 5-8 pm to check it out, enjoy some sips and a free gift with purchase! 

• The Rebuilder's Exchange on Webster Avenue is celebrating 5 years of helping architectural salvage junkies like myself find those fun pieces for their homes or building projects. To do so, they're holding a party and fundraiser at the new Lagunitas Brewery in Pilsen. Get all the deets on the Salvager's Ball here.

Have a great weekend!

Photo courtesy of

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Oh Hello Ban.Do

I've been a longtime fan of and their adorable accessories (my fave being my mini heart). Well now they've gone created a bunch of additional cuteness with fun, bright gifts, just in time for spring ...   






From top:  wristlet  //  phone charger  //  gem speaker  //  printed umbrella  //  whimsical drink koozie

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Transition Layers

Chicago Stylist

Personal Style

Personal Style

Personal Style

The goods:
• silk dress from Calypso (similar one available here)

• jacket and boots from Zara (also love this one)
• gifted clutch
So it's not spring yet, but I also refuse to wear my heavy coats anymore, which means it's time to layer up. This thin silk dress will be perfect come summer, with wedges and a jean jacket, or on the beach with sandals and a statement necklace ... but until then I'm throwing some thick tights underneath and my leather jacket over it for this in-between weather.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Fab at Your Fingertips

phone apps

I reserve precious space on my phone for apps that I truly use ... if I haven't used one in a few months, it's out. There are a few that have proven to be life (or at least, money) savers ... those brilliant helpers that I'd wished for at my fingertips actually exist ...

Hukkster tells you when items go on sale. So that dress you've been eyeing at Anthro or cute pair of pumps from Nordstrom are juuust out of budget? "Hukk it" and the app will alert you when the price drops!

SkinDeep is a blessing for your skincare routine. Scan or look up products and up pops a detailed report on any harmful ingredients and a scale of how good or bad it is. Just be prepared to get the dirty truth on some of your faves.

Fooducate is like SkinDeep for your grocery list - scan your items and it grades them (like an apple is A+, while those "healthy" chips are actually a D). It clarifies what harmful ingredients are in the bad stuff, and evens suggests healthier options!

Invisible Hand sounds creepy, but this price hunting tool is fantastic. Scan or look up an item you're shopping and it will tell you where to find it for cheaper, as well as any coupons available for it. (I have yet to try, but they say it works on flights and hotels too!)

Hotel Tonight is like bargain shopping for those super swanky hotels that are normally way out of budget - but only for that night. Steve and I have used it on a few weekend trips to NYC (that's right, we flew there without any reservations), but we scored deals at The Dylan Hotel one weekend, and The High Line Hotel another (both normally $250-$400/night). 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Spring Fling

It's finally here – a week where the low temps aren't in the chilling teens or even 20's – and this means tucking that monstrous puffy coat in the back of the closet and sporting some lighter layers. I must say one of my favorite items is the spring coat ...  when it's cool enough to still need an outer layer, but also a chance to get more creative than your typical black winter one. Below are some pieces I would love to don on these "warmer" days ... 

spring jackets

1: pastel faux leather jacket
2: tan twill hooded coat
3: suede fringe jacket
4: cream shearling biker jacket
5: green wool coat
6: fur and leather trim vest

Friday, March 14, 2014

Have a Great (Green) Weekend

St Patricks Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day weekend! Throw on some green and grab yourself a Guinness at an Irish pub ... or avoid the early revelers and enjoy a pint at home (and decorate with this adorable shamrock garland).

Also this weekend ...
• One of my favorite holiday treats is Irish soda bread (which I love with salted butter). This recipe worked well for me last year.

• Okay if bread sounds a little boring, these rich Guinness Stout cupcakes should do the trick!

• Instead of green beer this weekend, check out all the pretty paper at Chicago Zine Fest. This event showcases small and DIY publishers – basically a design-lover's paper paradise.

Have a fab weekend!

Photo courtesy of TWO restaurant

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Going Green

If you're an old lady like me, you're over the 8am wake-up call to drink green beer on St. Patricks Day. But that doesn't mean I don't want to partake – I wouldn't mind sporting some green and grabbing a late afternoon pint of Guinness. Below are some great green items that are perfect for the holiday, and also for the emerald trend well into spring and summer ...    


Clockwise from top:  skinny jeans  //  cropped top (great with a high waisted skirt or jeans)  //  tank dress (perfect with tights and a leather jacket)  //  quilted jacket (a great spring jacket)  //  the perfect green blouse

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

In-between and Under Foot

We're all loving the (almost) spring temps – but this in-between weather can get confusing, clothing wise. What does one wear when you no longer need to don winter boots, but it's not quite warm enough for ballet flats or fun spring heels? I've rounded up some of my favorite footwear for these in-between days ...   

end of winter shoes

Clockwise from top left: Toms embroidered desert wedge  //  Zara perforated leather sneaker  //  Jeffrey Campbell buckle bootie  //  Forever21 western bootie  //  Nike Air retro sneakers  //  Steven wedge bootie  

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Winter Weather Wear

Chicago Stylist

Personal Style

Personal Style

Personal Style

The goods:
• faux fur vest from the Target/Neimans collab

• trousers by Catherine Malandrino
• earrings from H&M
• Prada clutch
Dressing for events in winter can be tricky, you want to dress up but dodging slush puddles and slick ice can really throw a wrench in your stylish plan (not to mention the chilly weather). Last weekend I sported theses pants, which are long enough to cover my substantial ankle boots, and paired it with this cozy black fur vest – the look was winter weather friendly but still polished. Luckily, the temps are rising so weather proofing our looks may soon be over!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Le Perfect Confection

Ever since my first trip to France, I've loved everything about the macaron – the pretty pastels, tiny adorable shape, and delicious flavors – everything that makes a perfect confection. No matter how trendy the french macaron becomes, I cannot get enough. Everytime I see my fave little round cookie, be it printed on anything, in the form of a trinket box, or a cookbook, I have to have it. Of course, nothing will ever beat the original tasty treat.     


Clockwise from top: illustrated stationary  //  trinket boxes  //  macaron making kit  //  dessert plates  //  Macarons by Pierre Herme  //  delicate soaps

Friday, March 7, 2014

Have a Great Weekend!


Whoa, it's already Friday! The good news about this weekend is we spring ahead, meaning we get those nice, long sunny days (now, it'd be awesome if spring weather actually came along with it). 

Also this weekend ...
• Steve and I have been going brunch-crazy these past few weekends – meeting friends and making the most of Sunday-Fundays. One of my new fave spots – Lady Gregory's in Andersonville (those blue cheese chips did not disappoint!). 

• A bunch of the coolest spots in Wicker Park are having a giant warehouse sale this weekend. Score sweet duds from Penelope's, amazing vintage from my fave Kokorokoko, and more baubles than you can fit in your jewelry box.

• Have you seen the amazing new ad for Dove chocolate starring none other than Mrs. Audrey Hepburn?! It's pretty incredible, and just as dreamy as all of her movies.

Have a great "spring" weekend!

Photo courtesy of Etsy

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Clean Slate

No matter what pretty products come out, it's hard to ignore all of the buzz about the importance of organic and paraben-free goods. Sure I have my chemical-filled go-tos that would be pretty hard to give up, but I've adopted a few faves that are free from the harsh stuff ... 

organic products

From left: Cowshed lavender shower gel  //  Neutrogena gentle face wash  //  Arm & Hammer natural deodorant  //  EO lavender hand soap  //  Burt's Bees nourishing body oil

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Business Attire Required

Chicago Stylist

Personal Style

Personal Style

The goods:
• sweater from Gap

• jacket from French Connection
• trousers by Catherine Malandrino
• Gucci bag
It's been a while since I attended an event with a "business attire" dress code, but I wasn't about to don a boring skirt suit. I've been waiting to wear these black wide-leg trousers and this was the perfect time. I paired them with this graphic white and black jacket, which is a nice departure from the classic blazer, but still business appropriate. And for color? Well, camel is a color right? (according to my closet it is).

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Rock the Registry

I haven't written much wedding-related since Steve and I married over a year ago, but we've since then gotten some serious use out of our wedding gifts. With my sister now engaged, and I'm sure some of you are, I thought it my duty to report on a few of the things that we are so glad we put on our registry (we seriously exclaim "this thing is the best!" when using the items below) ...

Clockwise from top  
panini press: we love this contraption so much and whip up the prettiest paninis all the time (it makes even PB&J amazing). On the weekends, I love opening it flat and making pancakes. We like to have friends over and set up a panini bar (less work for us and very little clean up).

something pretty: okay, maybe you don't need a big crystal bowl, but not everything on your registry has to be a practical or functional item. I fell in love with this bowl and I would never buy it myself – I may not have fresh flowers for it all the time, or even use it often, but it sits on our shelves and I admire it every time I walk by.

really nice sheets: another item on the list of things you never want to buy yourself are thick, high thread count sheets. They make a world of difference but usually too pricey to just pick up when you need a new set.

Soda Stream: we were buying seltzer water by the bottle/can/liter ... anyway we could, so getting a Soda Stream just made sense. We use it all. the. time. I just add a lemon wedge and it's as good as Perrier.

thick bath towels: we thought our bath towels were fine – and they were – but then we bought these luxuriously thick towels for a friend's wedding gift and promptly put them on our own registry. In a word, amazing.

When it comes down to it, register for items that you need or want, but just don't foresee buying for yourself. And of course, cash is always top of the list (amiright?!) so throw Honeyfund on there as well ... you "register" for items on your honeymoon (like a fancy dinner or kayak tour) and when guests buy these, funds go into a PayPal account that you set up – voila – money in the bank!

Monday, March 3, 2014

A Girl and Her Shoes

After getting our fill of gorgeous gowns and pretty fashions during last night's Oscars, it's time for some fancy footwork. Sarah Jessica Parker's shoe line for Nordstrom debuted last week and it does not disappoint! Designed with the CEO of Manolo Blahnik, each pair has a very high-end feel, with a not (quite) so high-end price tag. All of the designs are lovely, but below are my faves ... which will hopefully make their way into my closet soon enough ...

Clockwise from top left: the red strappy "Brigitte"  //  the minty fresh "Bobbie"  //  the chic "Wallace" sandal  //  the "Billie" espadrille  //  the classic "Diana"  //  the metallic sexy "Slim" 

See the entire collection here.