Friday, May 30, 2014

Have a Super Spring Weekend!

Chicago Summer

I love when the weekend creeps up on you after a short week! It's supposed to be a gorgeous spring weekend here in Chicago, so perfect timing for festival season to start!

Also this weekend ...
• Kick this year off with Mayfest in Lincoln Square. I loved the food in Germany when Steve and I visited, so I can't wait to get myself a schnitzel and a beer.

• Maybe you're a little more fancy than a giant mug of beer – so grab a glass of wine at the Roscoe Village Wine Stroll. Taste a number of red or whites as you hop from shop to shop around the neighborhood (sounds like my kind of shopping spree). 

Do Division is this weekend and like every good Chicago street festival, it's got sidewalk sales, live music, and all sorts of good eats and treats. 

Have a great weekend!

Photo courtesy of Pinterest

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Living Le Dream


If you don't already follow this enchanting Instagram account – drop everything and check it out! Chateau de Gudanes sat quietly in the south of France, decaying for years, until recently when an Australian family purchased this magical place and began a full restoration. Like a dream come true, they're documenting their journey (complete with amazing decor discoveries) on Instagram for all of us Francophiles to see. It's like a real life Under the Tuscan Sun ... only better ... because it's France (and it's designed by the same architect as my favorite place on Earth, Petit Trianon).

Check out a snippet of this modern day fairytale is below ...      


French Chateau


French Chateau

images courtesy of Instagram

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Currently Craving: Eyelet

I am loving all of the pretty eyelet pieces right now. The traditional girlie material is a summer staple, then there's the modern square fabric which gives a feminine silhouette a bit of edge. Below are a few of my current faves ...  


From left: I love this matching skirt and top combo  //  eyelet gives these shorts a sweet summery feel  //  this white eyelet dress is perfect with sandals or dressed up with heels  //  this eyelet top is a warm weather take on the basic tee  //  pair this white skirt with a chambray shirt for an effortless summer look.

Snag these pieces here!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Few Days in Austin ...

Steve and I spent a few fantastic days in Austin, Texas. It was my first time there and it did not disappoint! I knew about the famed barbecue spots, that Austin was known for their live music (and, of course, the heat), but I was pleasantly surprised to find an array of amazing (and adorable) restaurants and some of the seriously hippest little boutiques. Check out some of my fave spots in this hot town ...      

Austin Texas
Perlas was our first stop for some beers and oysters. This spot had a gorgeous deck with lanterns, picnic tables, and delicious food.

Allens Boots was everything I imagined a western wear shop to be – the smell of rich leather greets you as soon as you walk in, and you can't leave without trying on at least a dozen cowboy hats.

Parts & Labour sells goods and gifts from local designers – from prints to tees, bags to home goods. I could not resist the amazing jewelry selection in back, and after some serious deliberation, left with an adorable gold necklace (cause I needed another).
Blackmail was one of the coolest shops I'd been in (anywhere). The shop is filled with predominantly black apparel in the coolest, edgy designs, and a smattering of amazing home goods and accessories.

Snack Bar has an awesome retro vibe on their comfortable covered patio. We loved their tasty beverages (but ogled the amazing looking dishes).

Austin Guide
Steve and I were lucky enough to have a place to stay in Austin, but if we needed accommodations, Hotel San Jose would be it! This adorable boutique hotel has an awesome private beer garden, semi-hidden pool, and one of the coolest (and busiest) coffee shops next door.
Austin eats
Elizabeth Street Cafe is yet another adorable restaurant, with amazing design, and even better banh mi sandwiches. You can easily drink away a couple hours sitting in their outdoor space (like we did).

Austin Guide
Of course two of my fave spots in Austin deal my drug of choice – sweets. Big Top Candy Shop is like heaven ... any and every type of candy you can dream up is here in this tiny shop (needless to say I ended up with a bellyache that night).
Hey Cupcake is the most adorable spot on this planet – the retro air stream deals out decadent desserts and has the most inviting retro tables on the block.

... other faves included La Barbecue for amazing (meaty) Texas eats, and Easy Tiger Beer Garden with easily the coolest outdoor space (complete with ping pong tables and strands of lights), and there are so many more recommendations I can't wait to hit up next time!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Have a Great Loooong Weekend!

memorial day

Since Steve and I are heading out of town, I figured I'd kick off the holiday weekend early on the blog too. Since Memorial Day is the unofficial start to the summer, here's hoping we get nice enough weather to do some grilling (or at least find an patio so someone else can do the grilling while you kick back with a frosty beverage). 

Also this weekend ...
Chicago Craft Beer Week continues through this weekend with dozens of venues offering special taps and tastings. 

• Head to the Fashion Outlets of Chicago (err ... Rosemont) for their (pretty much) mall-wide sale going on this weekend. Most of the shops are still pretty pricey, but I can tell you the department stores (Bloomies outlet and Neimans) are pretty good bargain bets. 

• Now that it's finally nice out, head to The Dawson on Grand and Halsted and check out their huge patio (seriously, there are tons of tables, an outdoor bar, a fireplace with couches, all the makings of an amazing outdoor area).

Have a fantastic holiday weekend!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Lone Star Sight Seeing

Austin Tx

Steve and I are taking a little spring break this week and heading to Austin, Texas. I'm excited to check out the city for the first time (and happy to have some family there to lead us in the right direction). Below are a few recommendations I'm pretty excited for ... and I'd love more!  

Elizabeth Street Cafe - this French/Vietnamese spot is supposed to have amazing banh mi and I love the decor. 

The Oasis on Lake Travis looks like quite the dining experience! It could be cool (it could be not) but something tells me there's enough space for both parties.

Hamilton Pool - a waterfall from the Hamilton Creek spills into this grotto creating an amazing pool and nature preserve and – easily – one of the most beautiful spots.

Austin is one of the best cities for live music – luckily, one of Chicago's finest, Hey Champ, will be taking the stage Thursday night (if you're around, check them out!). 

Steve and I like our BBQ spicy and have been buying Stubb's for years. I'd love to visit the actual restaurant (and pretty much every BBQ joint we come across).

What else??

Photo courtesy of Pinterest

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Post Party Cure

hangover cure

Well it was a fun weekend (maybe a little too much fun). We celebrated my sister's bachelorette party with lots of wine and champagne ... and inevitably got everyone's favorite "party favor", the hangover. I spent Sunday morning cozy on the couch, but luckily my favorite remedies got me up and out of the house. 

clockwise from top left:
Sisley Eye Contour Mask – this pricey little tube is a serious miracle worker. Dab the tiniest amount around the entire eye area on nights when you need some extra moisture and look seriously refreshed the next morning!

Sparkling Water – I've tried pretty much every day-after drink you can – Gatorade, Pedialyte, hair of the dog – but nothing does the trick quite like sparkling water with a lemon wedge. 

Original Alka-Seltzer – It wasn't until Steve and I watched the characters of Madmen swear by Alka-Seltzer that we figured it was worth a try. Well there's good reason this effervescent cure has been around since the 30's! It. Works.

Queen Helene Mint Julep Mask – I've loved this product since high school, but after a long night out, nothing packs a minty punch like this cooling mask.

Burt's Bees Fabulously Fresh Body Wash – It's not easy to peel off the couch and shower, but this mint wash is seriously invigorating and snaps you back to normal.

Ginger Tea – Hangovers usually come with the added bonus of sour stomach. Sipping on ginger tea rids any lingering nausea and works as a nice wrap to a rough day. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Have a Fun Filled Weekend!

Spring Cleaning

Happy weekend all! It may not be the beautiful warm weekend we had last weekend here in Chicago, but why not make it a fun one anyway. You know what it's really time for? Spring cleaning. So while the weather figures itself out, let's get to figuring out what to keep in our closets ...

Also this weekend ...
• speaking of closet cleans – if you bring a gently used item into Calypso on Oak Street, you get a whopping 20% off your entire purchase ... and I'm loving this silk printed dress and this long cardigan.

• Another shopping spot to hit up is the Francis W Parker garage sale – and this is a serious sale – we're talking designer duds at rummage prices. go.

• If you're in Chicago, it's hard not to get caught up in Hawks fever ... catch them this Sunday at 2pm. Weather permitting, our fave spot to watch them is at Grandview in the beer garden (sun, TVs, good food, pretty perfect). 

Have a great weekend!

Photo courtesy of Pinterest

Thursday, May 15, 2014

My Favorite Salad

Butternut Squash Salad

Steve and I aren't chefs – in fact, we rarely cook (unless you count Tombstone Veggie pizzas). So one of our go-to restaurants is Goose Island Brewery. They have great food and – obviously – great beer. I always get their kale salad and I finally decided to mimic it at home ... adding a bit more of this and that, so may I say, just might be better than the original! 

Butternut Squash Salad

2 C washed kale
1/2 C cubed butternut squash
3 oz. crumbled goat cheese
sprinkling of pepitas

lemon vinaigrette
1 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Juice of 1 lemon (about 4 tablespoons lemon juice) 
½ C olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A Step Back

Birkenstock Sandals

Trends always come and go – I wore bell bottoms back in the late 90s, then again when I bought this pair. I wore crochet tops in middle school, and now love pairing a pretty white one with slim jeans. Even pointy heels left for a few years while the round toe pump had it's hey day. But there's one trend I'm not sure I'll be revisiting ... the Birkenstock sandal. I wore these in my hippie days while my friend and I listened to Janis and burned our glowing candles and frankly, I kinda want to keep them there. Sure they are comfortable, but there's nothing feminine about the shape, and they toe the line between clunky and therapeutic. 

So while every designer seems to be coming out with one of these designs, my throwback shoe of choice this summer will be my Dr. Scholl's ... but if you're on board, go for it! Below are just a handful of the Birkenstock-inspired sandals out there ...

Birkenstock Sandals
clockwise from top left: Givenchy, Proezna Schouler, Marni, Prada, Vince, Michael Kors, Isabel Marant, Zara

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Little White Dress

Spring – the season when I can add a very important color to my wardrobe of black, gray, and tan ... white! Skirts, tops, pants, jackets done in bright white create clean, crisp spring ensembles ... but nothing beats the LWD. From casual swing silhouettes to slim sophisticated dresses, swap out your go-to black for a spring white piece.   

spring white dresses

All of these pretty pieces are available on Keaton Row.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Pretty and Potted

In my continued effort to bring a little European flair to our home, I just bought two potted olive trees. When we were visiting France, I kept noticing the beautiful plants – lining the cafe patios, potted outside boutiques, flanking entryways to adorable hotels – so naturally I had to have them too. I love the dusty green color of the leaves, slim shape, and with enough sun, they will produce olives that you can cure yourself! Below are a few fun ways to incorporate them into the home ...      
Olive trees

potted olive tree

olive tree

indoor olive tree

potted olive trees

Photos courtesy of Pinterest

Friday, May 9, 2014

Have a Mother of a Weekend!

mothers day

Happy Mother's Day weekend! Whether it's your mother, grandmother, or friend who recently became a mom, let's celebrate theses brave, beautiful women. I'm looking forward to spending the day with mom sharing a few of these.

Also this weekend ...
• My mom taught me all the tricks of the shopping trade. If the same is true for you, do what you do best and take her over to Dose Market this Sunday and see what fun finds you can score. 

• Need a last minute gift for her? One of my fave jewelry brands, Winifred Grace, just opened their first shop at 5642 N. Clark. Snag mom a pair of cool earrings or one of these amazing personalized pieces

• If you're looking for something a little more thrilling to do with mom, you could always test your nerves at the new Hancock observatory "tilt". Have you seen this? You stand against a window – 94 floors up – and it angles outward 30 degrees. Whoa mama – ha! 

p.s. The above photo is from my wedding, when my mom and I couldn't take a serious photo, but I love the authentic moment.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Stylish Staple

Chanel Jacket

The Chanel boucle jacket is without a doubt an iconic and coveted item. While stylish ladies everywhere may agree on this, not everyone will own one (I mean, they cost upwards of $2k ... and that's preowned!). On a routine stroll through my local Zara the other day, I noticed not just one cute classic tweed jacket, but a bevy of this stylish spring staple (and at a much more wallet-friendly price) ...   

Zara Jackets

Clockwise from top: cream with black piping  //  mint green  //  navy blue with white piping  //  cream with zip details  //  navy jacket  //  teal contrast piping jacket 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Showering the Bride-to-be

bridal shower
My lovely little sister is getting married next month, and as the matron of honor, I'm "honored" to organize any and every celebratory occasion! This past weekend, I hosted a bridal shower for her, complete with a dozen bottles of bubbly, decadent sweets and her nearest and dearest friends and family. I took every opportunity to create pretty little decorations, design some funny games, and give some fizzy favors.   

bridal shower

bridal brunch

bridal brunch

bridal shower

bridal decor

bridal decor
Now, onto planning her bachelorette! (though I can't promise a post on that one :)

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Mother's Day Gift Guide

As you *should* know, Mother's Day is this Sunday. Time to honor the woman who continues to spend her time wondering what you're doing/worrying if you're okay/giving you her unsolicited opinion on that new dress you bought. And while no gift could equal your love for this lady, a fun little knickknack doesn't hurt ...  
Mothers Day

1. A reminder of how you see her - Kate Spade "Heart of Gold" bangle
2. Chevron infinity scarf - a gal can never have enough accessories
3. Relaxation meets happy hour - Diptyque Mimosa candle
4. Because every mom deserves a spa day
5. The most gorgeous peony bouquet 
6. Tom Ford Neroli body oil, a heavenly scent and perfect for the upcoming summer months
7. Whip up a round of these champagne cocktails and kick back with mom
8. Plan a picnic with mom for an upcoming Ravinia show this summer

Monday, May 5, 2014

Happy Birthday Mrs. Hepburn

audrey Hepburn

In honor of Mrs. Hepburn's birthday yesterday, I want to share some of my fave shots of my fave leading lady. She was always adorable, often glamorous, and embodied classic style. While trimming our bangs, dying it dark (and maybe loosing 30 lbs) may not be immediately possible, there are a few items that can help us capture that trademark Audrey look ...      

audrey Hepburn
Every time I swipe this liquid eyeliner on, I think of her perfectly "winged" eyes.

In almost every film, Audrey seemed to have the perfect rosy hued lips. I love this neutral satin lip pencil for all day use.

Hepburn style
Audrey was a fan, as am I, of a classic Breton striped shirt. My fave is this St. James shirt.

A signature Audrey accessory were her simple ballet flats. I love them in all colors, but you can't beat basic black.

Hepburn style
... regardless of her costume or character, Audrey always wore the best accessory a lady can, a megawatt smile.

Happy birthday Audrey!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Have a Fantastic Weekend!

mint julep margarita

Happy weekend all! It's going to be an action-packed weekend, what with the dynamic duo of the Kentucky Derby and Cinco de Mayo right around the corner. Saturday is supposed to be a lovely day in Chicago so it will no doubt be a fun day around town ...

Also this weekend ...
• It's the one weekend a year that I love going to the warehouse of a bar, Joe's on Weed, to watch the Derby and place a few dollar bets next door at the OTB. Even better, when the weather is nice you can sit outside (and still watch the race on their outdoor TVs). 

• If you're heading to a party, or just enjoying the race from the comfort of your very own couch, it's always fun to make a festive cocktail for the event – so in light of the dual "holiday", whip up a Mint Julep Margarita! Sounds like the tastiest, best of both worlds to me. 

• Or instead of drinking the day away, head to Plumbers Hall for the Modern Vintage Chicago sale. This is one seriously great event, full of fantastic finds (past scores include my vintage Chanel pleated skirt and floral maxi).

Have a great weekend!

Photo courtesy of Tablespoon

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Ladylike Length

Lately I've been on a midi length kick (as evidenced here and here). I'm loving the ladylike silhouette and being able to head out on a windy day without fear of a flying skirt. The trick to this mid-calf hemline is to slip on a pair of high heels (none of this kitten or low heel business, I mean the big girl shoes). For girls on the shorter side, stick to the pencil skirt silhouette and always go for nude heels (they really lengthen the legs). 

It's no wonder I've been drawn to them lately, ever since I started styling for Keaton Row, I'm staring at these super adorable dresses all day! I love suggesting these options below for upcoming spring or summer events, pairing with a blazer for work, or with wedge sandals and a denim jacket for a chic weekend look ...    

vintage vogue

All of these are available on Keaton Row's site (and I'd be happy to send one your way!).