Friday, June 27, 2014

Have a Perfect Summer Weekend!

Weekend Brunch

Happy weekend! Isn't it amazing that we get foggy/rainy/cool weekdays, but gorgeous weekends? If the forecast of 80 and sunny holds true, I'm hoping to finally grab brunch at The Dawson on their awesome patio (above) ... I just can't decide between the incredible salmon breakfast or decadent french toast ... 

Also this weekend ...
• The 45th Annual Pride Parade kicks off in Uptown this Sunday. This day long event is always a fantastic time, full of fun loving people, definitely not to be missed!

• I'm a huge (huge) Beatles fan, so since I'll never fulfill my dream of seeing them live, I "settle" for the solo shows by Paul and Ringo. Ringo Starr and His All Star Band will take the stage at the Chicago Theater this Saturday – a perfect venue for this old Beatle.

• Another summer weekend, another fun summer festival! Lincoln Park Summerfest, to be specific, and this one has all the bells and whistles – BBQ, live music, beers in the park, and shopping. 80 and sunny out? Perfect. 

Have a great weekend!

Photo courtesy of TWO restaurant

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Summer Shoe


I am still loving my Kaanas espadrilles that I picked up a few months ago – they're comfortable and stylish and pretty much the perfect summer shoe. Well this summer staple isn't only for us gals, I'm definitely digging the espadrilles for dudes. I like the slip ons, but the lace up versions are the perfect warm weather wear for your man friend. They look awesome with casual cuffed trousers, tailored shorts, or my fave, the summer short suit. Below are a few good pairs to send his way ...

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Out of Juice

juicy tracksuit

Well folks, it's the end of an era – Juicy Couture will close all of it's U.S stores this month. Sure we all had (or wanted) one of those covetable velour tracksuits ... but really, this wasn't the best look. Yeah it was comfortable for class back in the early 2000's, but sweats in public? No. Just, no. 

While we're talking fashion regret, let's remember some of the other fashion faux pas many of us (myself included) were guilty of ...

90s fashion
These skirts! Everyone owned at least one of these gems. The shorter the better was our motto – seriously, sometimes those cutoff denim skirts could be confused for belts on the hanger. And those ruffles – tiers of regret from 2000. 

90s fashion
The handkerchief tops. Somehow these stuck around for a few years – because nothing says sexy like showing your love handles and pointing straight to your crotch (?).

90s hair
The hair – oh god the hair. I definitely sported both of these looks at one point (I even had the butterfly clips and "cornrow" look done at a salon for a dance!).

... of course, there will come a day when I look back at something (some things?) I'm wearing now and I'll shake my head. Here's to sticking to timeless classics!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Blossoming Bridesmaids


A little over 2 weeks ago, my younger sister got married! It was a fabulous day, full of fun, friends and family ... and flowers. My youngest sister and I were the only bridesmaids, so we went simple and romantic with long cream gowns (by the same designer that my sisters wore in my wedding), and donned traditional babysbreath floral wreaths. It was elegant but whimsical ... and likely the only excuse we'll ever have to wear a flower crown! I will share more photos later, but wanted to share a peek at our summer wedding ensembles ...

the merry maids

the lovely couple

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It's one of my fave events of the year – the Zara sale. It's no secret that it's pretty much my fave spot to shop, so when the decent prices are slashed to amazing prices, I'm there in a flash. Below are my top pics from the sale, currently on now ...   

layered printed dress – $59.99

combination blouse – $35.99

high waisted skinny jeans – $35.99

patent leather court shoe – $39.99

Triangle bikini top – $15.99

contrast dress – $39.99

cut work skirt – $59.99

dress with bow – $25.99

court shoe with bow – $59.99

coat with zips – $119.99

Friday, June 20, 2014

Have a Culture-Filled Weekend!

Art in the Village

Here's hoping the rain holds off this weekend so we can get out and do fun things! This is the first weekend in a while that we don't have any major plans so I'm looking forward to chilling and seeing where the days take me. 

Also this weekend ...
• If you feel like taking a break from the bustling city summer festivals, head north to Winnetka for Art in the Village. This juried art show takes over part of Lincoln avenue Saturday and Sunday and includes amazing artists from all over (like Armando Pedroso, above). After you've absorbed all the art you can, pop in the cute shops or grab a bite at my fave little european cafe

• Head up to Winnetka Saturday, then check out the Green Music Fest Sunday. This 2-day eco-friendly focused fest has crafts, drinks and snacks – but most importantly, tunes. Check out my personal faves, The Features, Sunday night.

• Perhaps the most festive of festivals this weekend is Chicago Pridefest. The pride parade is still a week away, but the revelry starts this weekend with a huge celebration including food, drinks, and crafts – plus pop and dance performances. Talk about a serious summer kick off party!

Have a super weekend!

Photo courtesy of Armando Pedroso

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Ultimate Pencil Skirt

You guys – I just discovered the best pencil skirt. I thought I'd do a simple sweep through Zara, no big deal – however – turns out this skirt caught my eye, and is amaze. I'm a curvy girl, right, and this skirt has a way of smoothing everything out, like spanx for real life. I'll definitely do this bad gal with crop tops or tuck a lightweight shirt in for a polished look. 


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Summer Dessert: Strawberry Rhubarb Chiffon Pie

strawberry rhubarb

My mother in law recently gave me a big bunch of fresh rhubarb. I was thrilled, but also a little nervous – I've always loved the flavor, but never cooked or baked anything with it myself. After storing it in the fridge for a week while I mustered up the courage, I figured Father's Day was the perfect opportunity to take the plunge (plus rhubarb is one of my dad's faves, so there was no excuse). A traditional pie sounded too heavy (and incredibly daunting) so I opted for a light, no-bake strawberry rhubarb chiffon pie. Pie isn't really one of those things you can taste to make sure it's good, so I brought a backup dessert just in case, but it was a hit (and all gone in about 15 minutes)!

Strawberry Rhubarb Chiffon Pie

1 premade graham cracker crust
1 package gelatin (I used strawberry, but may opt for plain next time so the flavor doesn't takeover)
1 C boiling water
2 tsp finely grated lemon peel
3 T lemon juice
1 C whipping cream (next time I'd like to swap this for plain or vanilla greek yogurt for a healthier take)
2 C strawberry rhubarb sauce (directions below)
whipped topping (I like Tru Whip, it's all natural and tastes great)

strawberry rhubarb sauce
3 C diced rhubarb (about 1/2 inch pieces)
3 C shopped strawberries
1 T lemon juice
1/3 C water
1/3 C sugar

directions - strawberry rhubarb sauce
in a sauce pan, heat sugar and water until sugar is dissolved. Add rhubarb, simmer for 15 min until pieces soften. Add strawberries and lemon juice and simmer for an additional 10 minutes until all combined. Allow to cool, then pulse mixture in blender until smooth. Set aside for now.

• In a large bowl, combine gelatin with boiling water. Stir in lemon peel and lemon juice. Place bowl in a large bowl of ice water, stirring frequently until mix is partially set (kinda like the consistency of unbeaten egg whites) - about 10-15 min. Mine started to set a little more, but this was okay.

• In a medium bowl beat whipping cream with mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form (mine never got very thick, but this was alright. I think greek yogurt next time would work well, eliminating this step). Add cream and rhubarb sauce to gelatin mixture and mix together using a spatula. Cover and chill for 30-45 min until mixture thickens and mounds when spooned.

• Transfer mix to pie crust, cover and chill for at least 8 hours or until firm. Just before serving, spread whipped topping over top of pie if desired (slicing the pie is kind of fun, pieces are like whipped jello jigglers!) 


strawberry rhubarb

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Petite Pretties

We cheer (and jeer) all of the gowns that go down the red carpets, but rarely stop to think about the incredibly intricate work that goes into each inch of a custom couture dress. I'm a sucker for behind the scenes and how it's made videos, so I was mesmerized by these shorts showing the making of (totally adorable) miniature Dior gowns. The detail that makes up these dresses – and these are doll-sized! – makes you really appreciate the full-sized beaut.    

... I can't decide which is more impressive ...

Monday, June 16, 2014

Going Green

Chicago Stylist

Personal Style

Personal Style

Personal Style

The goods:
• dress from Zara

• wedges from Boutique 9 (I also love these)
• vintage silver necklace
Nothing says spring like a bright, bold hue (and this is coming from a girl who sticks to mostly black and white basics). I love Zara for it's clean classic silhouettes, I just tend to gravitate toward the neutrals and dark colors, but this kelly green number with it's cut in top and flirty skirt was perfect for my sister's rehearsal dinner last week. I dressed it up with my fave nude wedges and bright silver necklace, but I definitely plan to wear this frock with flat sandals to one of the fun fests this summer.  

Friday, June 13, 2014

Have a Fantastic Father's Day Weekend!

chicago tacos

My how time flies! I jet off for a few days and it's already the weekend (missed you!). We're looking at a lovely weekend ahead – maybe slightly cooler – but sun and fun for sure. Don't forget it's Father's Day so grab dad and head to any of the fun fests around town ...

Also this weekend ...
• My personal fave, Taste of Randolph, is Friday through Sunday. Some of the cities best restaurants set up shop along the rue (like De Cero – I say the best taco in town – pictured above). Plus there are always great bands at this fest. 

• Another gem is the Old Town Art Fair. More great food and music, plus the lovely cultural addition of artists galleries for your viewing (and buying) pleasure.

• After a full day of music and food, chill and catch a movie at one of the cities dozens of Movies in the Park options. Catch Gravity in Pulaski park, Rookie of the Year at Oz park, or Goonies at Revere park (or one of the many more). 

Have a great weekend!

Photo courtesy of TWO restaurant

Monday, June 9, 2014

Mini Vaca

gone boating

After a wonderful whirlwind wedding weekend for my sister, some family members have decided to stick around for a reunion of sorts ... so we're off to the lake for a couple days to soak up some sun, catch up, and kick off the summer. Be back soon!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Have a Festive Weekend!

white wedding flowers

It's going to be another beautiful weekend in Chicago! I'm especially happy because my little sister gets married Saturday, so the more sun the better. I will be busy with celebrations, but there is lots to do around the city ...

Also this weekend ...
• Another weekend of summer festivals starts with Ribfest up at Lincoln and Damen. I love me some finger lickin' good ribs – mix that with good tunes and cold beers and you've got a fantastic fest.

• Head to U.S. Cellular Field for another fun fest – the Chicago Food Truck Fest. For one day, the parking lot fills with fab food on wheels (including one of my faves, Tamale Spaceship).

• Last but not least, Andersonville's Midsommarfest will take place this weekend. I love the neighborhood on any given day, but even better when the streets fill with music and munchies.  

Have a great weekend!

Photo courtesy of TWO restaurant

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Short Story

Lately I've been set on finding the perfect outfit for summer events. I wanted something casual yet chic, crisp but still comfortable – enter, the short suit. I love the idea that these tailored separates can dress up easily with a pair of heels, go casual with some espadrilles or wedges, and be worn separately for a stylish daytime look. Below are just a few of my faves to choose from ...
short suit
Rag & Bone jacket and shorts

short suit
Zara jacket and shorts

summer suit
Forever21 jacket and shorts

summer suit
Paul Smith jacket and shorts

short suit
Dolce Vita jacket and shorts

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Pretty Papers


This week has been a whirlwind (and it's only Wednesday!) My sister's wedding is this weekend and my graphic design half has been in overdrive, creating everything from ceremony programs to menus – and, of course, the entire invitation suit leading up to now. I was in custom publishing for about 10 years, and while I love laying out magazines and related materials, my true design passion is creating invitations.    


I love chatting with couples, getting and understanding of their hopes for their big day, and then creating a pretty piece of paper to encompass that vision. 

wedding invitations

While it's not up to date, you can see a small sampling of my work here. (and hey, if you know someone looking for some seriously custom design work, send em my way!).

Monday, June 2, 2014

Ornamental Things

ornamental things

Parts and Labour in Austin is an adorable shop showcasing local crafters. The back wall is all jewelry made by local artists – and it sucked me right in. I was fawning over the baubles and metalwork like a kid in a candy store. 

One brand that I couldn't get enough was Ornamental Things. The bohemian pieces had a vintage quality (I love that Eiffel Tower silhouette necklace) and I adored the whimsical touches (that Ladder necklace!). What's more, is many of these came in 30" chains, which I find hard to come by, but love the long length with breezy blouses in the summer. Below are a few of my favorite pieces, but check out their site for all of the fun jewels ... 

feather earrings

ladder necklace

ornamental things

images courtesy of Ornamental Things