Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Blogging Perks

Disclaimer: I am not a fashion blogger.  So take these pictures with a grain of salt... ie. ignore my 5 day old hair, volleyball bruised shins and serious lack of a tan considering it's the end of July.  However, when contacted by a company that is willing to offer me a free dress in exchange for a review, why yes, I will attempt to become a fashion blogger for the day ;)

Dress c/o eShakti HERE // Earrings (in Slate Catesye) HERE // Watch (on sale!) HERE //
Purse (similar) HERE // Heels (in Dijon) HERE

eShakti is an online women's apparel store that offers everything from dresses to tops to skirts to jackets.  So literally, everything.  But the best part of all?  eShakti will customize your order to fit your specific body type.  Being on the short side at 5'3", the problem I most often run into is that things are too long on me.  I was ecstatic when I realized that I could customize this dress to the exact length I wanted it -- for no extra charge!

I decided to go with the "mini" length and it's perfect for my short frame.  For this specific dress, I also had the option to remove the detailing on the bust -- but why would I do that?!  It's my favorite part of the dress!  However, options are nice to have and in a world where we all shop at the same stores for similar products, it's nice to be able to have a dress that is 100% you!

I'm a sucker for a pretty white dress and this is another perfect addition to my collection.  Thank you eShakti!  Make sure to stop by and check out their website -- also, sign up today and receive $25 off your first order!  Happy shopping :)

Linking up with Shanna and Liz

Monday, July 21, 2014


Hellloooo friends!  I hope you all had a great weekend and are ready to tackle the lameness that is another Monday.  We had a good one that (as usual) went by way too fast.

Our weekend started out a bit early on Friday morning when we packed up and headed back to Michigan.  Nick had a work golf outing... and I had to spend the day at Panera.  Speaking of Panera, did you know they have a 30 minute limit on their wi-fi?  Talk about a rude awakening when I was kicked off the internet at 11:35 am and had to wait until after 2 pm to log back on.  I planned on hauling myself over to Starbucks in protest but Nick had taken the car so I would have had to walk... with a huge purse and seriously heavy computer bag.  So I sat at Panera and waited it out.  It was a really great Friday. (Not.)

Anyways, Friday was all up hill after that.  Nick picked me back up at 5:30pm and we made the trek to my hometown of Holland, Michigan.  We went out to dinner with my family and then Nick and I headed out to the beach to watch the sunset over Lake Michigan.

Let me just say that I l.o.v.e. Holland in the summer.  I would live on the beach in a tent if I could.  Holland State Park is definitely my happy place and Friday was a picture perfect night -- very literally with the pictures considering I took about 40 of them.

Saturday morning = house hunting.  We saw a few places and really like two of them so it was a good day.  Afterwards, it was right back home to Chicago.  Not before stopping to pick up a Papa Johns pizza and bottle of vino, all the makings of a fabulous Saturday night at home.

Busted eating from their blackberry bush!

Sunday was the usual.  Church, cleaning, errands, dinner and some TV watching.  We did manage to squeeze in a trip to Nordstrom to do some shopping -- I'll be sharing all of my finds later this week!

Enjoy your day and remember, only 5 days until the next weekend :)
Linking up with LeeannCarly and Biana

Friday, July 18, 2014

Five on Friday 7/18

How is it Friday again?  And HOW is it almost the end of July?  I'm so confused where the time is going, I don't even know what I've been doing.  While I sit here and try and figure out how to slow down the summer, check out my five favorite things from this week!

+ Bridesmaids
One of my best friends, Erica, asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding and I'm beyond excited. She's getting married next August and I can't wait for all things wedding to begin!

RIP my long hair...

+ Nordstrom Anniversary Sale
It's live for everyone!!!!  Get your credit cards ready, prepare your excuses to make to your husband and get shopping!  Last week I highlighted some of my favorite sale items so make sure to check that out here.  I've already been doing quite a bit of shopping that I'm going to share next week -- these have actually been my favorite purchase so far!

+ La Croix Grapefruit Sparkling Water
Pretty much the best thing I've ever tasted.  Not to mention, it's calorie free and in the summer I take that very seriously!  (Not really, it just means I can eat more dessert.)

+ Jessica Simpson Blue Aviators
Marshall's does it again! I've been on the hunt for a pair of blue aviators and was just about to shell out the cash for the Ray Bans when I found these. I did want a mirrored pair but hey, a $10 price tag definitely beats a $150 one.

+ Benihana Birthday's
For the last three years, Nick and I have celebrated our birthday's at Benihana.  We do it there mainly because they have an awesome "birthday club" -- you get a $30 gift certificate to spend in the month of your birthday!  We finally made it over on Wednesday night and pretty much stuffed our faces.

Cheers to the weekend!  We've got lots of fun plans (that don't include work) and the weather is going to be nice so good times ahead.  See you next week!

Linking up with Karli, Amanda, Lauren, Jennie and Rebecca

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Thoughts About Chicago


One of my friends asked me this week if I'm sad about moving and leaving Chicago.  I said no without pause because overall, I'm not.  I'm excited for a new adventure and a new city and the thought of living in a real house with a YARD and a GARAGE.  But later I got to thinking and there will be some things I really miss about the city we've spent the last four years in.  Besides the obvious (friends and our home), here a few things about the Windy City that will be hard to leave behind.

There is a Starbucks on almost every corner.
You mean that once we move I might actually have to DRIVE my car to get to Starbucks?

Being able to see the Sears Tower (always the Sears) no matter where you are in the city.
Not many people pull into their parking space at home and have a perfect, clear view of the tallest building in America.  It's always made me appreciate living here.

The shopping... oh, the shopping.
4 Forever 21's, 3 Ulta's, 2 H&M's, Nordstrom, Macy's and soooo much more within 2 miles of my apartment.  On the other hand, I'm going to be saving a whole lot of money once we move.

My go to hair salon and eyebrow bar.
I'll really miss Solo Salon and Arch Apothecary -- they've treated me well over the last few years and will be hard to replace!

Our most favorite restaurant ever, Greek Islands.
Yes, Chicago may be known for its deep dish pizza and Chicago style hot dogs, but come visit us and we'll take you to get the best gyro's in the world ;)

Beach Volleyball -- and the beach in general.
It's pretty amazing to have a huge coastline right in the middle of the city like we do.  We've had lots of fun at the beach, especially the past 4 years of playing beach volleyball.

Strolling down State Street at Christmas time when my family visits.
Dinner at the Walnut Room, window displays at Macy's, twinkle lights in the trees and Christmas carols being pumped out of the loud speakers on the streets -- is there anything more magical?

An abundance of festivals and concerts every single weekend.
Burger Fest, Rib Fest, Taste of Chicago, Lollapalooza, Jazz Fest, Taste of Randolph, World's Largest Block Party, Old Town Art Festival.. I could go on and on.

All of these things we will really, truly miss.  On the other hand -- we're leaving for a reason and there are quite a few things we won't be bummed to leave behind.  But, I'll save those for another day ;)

Make sure to link up with the lovely Annie Natalie, Lindsay and I for Thoughts for Thursday today!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Makeup Made For Traveling

Happy Wednesday!  If you hadn't noticed -- the blog got a little face lift! A few things are still under construction so bare with me.. but overall, I'm totally in love!  I cannot say enough good things about 17th Avenue Designs -- Kate is reasonably priced, was super fast in responding to my questions and her detailed installation instructions couldn't have made my life any easier.  If you're looking to do some sprucing up, make sure to check her out!

Summer = travel.  Not necessarily huge extravagant trips (although those are awesome -- I wish I could do Hawaii every year) but we all take plenty of little weekend trips to lake houses or the beach or the mountains over the summer.  And who wants to cart their entire makeup collection around with them each weekend?  Not me.  I've been focusing on putting together a little travel sized makeup collection over the last year -- here's what I've got so far!

I've talked about this before and I'll probably keep talking about it... this is the perfect travel product because it's a three in one.  You've got your bronzer, highlighter and blush all in one one little container -- with a mirror!  Everything you need for on the go.

I despise taking liquids while traveling by plane because there's nothing worse than opening your luggage to find everything soaked.  Doing laundry while on vacation does not sound like fun to me.  These wipes eliminate the need to bring eye makeup remover -- they will remove even the most waterproof of eye products (yep, even this stuff.)

I'm notorious for carrying about a minimum of 15 lip products in my bag at.all.times.  The only exception is on vacation because I don't want to be weighed down and I'm usually carrying a crossbody bag which limits my options.  These lipstick duo's by Bite are the best because they are super small and provide you with a day and a night color -- for a really reasonable price.  Not to mention they're the creamiest lip product I've ever tried!

I love this stuff and use it every single day but it's also great for traveling -- leave all of those messy liquid foundations back at home!  It provides sheer coverage and SPF 15 so it's perfect for beach vacations when you don't want to look too done up.

RT brushes are awesome.  They are high quality but with a low price tag and hold up forever.  This set includes a powder, foundation and eyeshadow brush.  I just grab these and my Bare Minerals brush and I'm all set for a trip away.  

I also make sure to stock up on my favorite products in travel size -- almost any product you can think of is offered in a mini version (usually found near the check out at Sephora or Ulta.)  When I try out a new product for the first time, I typically buy the travel size since it's cheaper.  If I fall in love with the product, I'll go back and get the full size and toss the small one right into my travel makeup bag!

Ps. tomorrow I will be co-hosting Thoughts for Thursday with the lovely Annie and Natalie!  Hope you'll join us :)

Linking up with JordonShanna and Liz

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

5 Shows To (Binge) Watch On Netflix

There is nothing on TV in the summer, it's a well known fact.  Besides The Bachelorette but that only provides one night of entertainment... out of seven.  While Nick and I don't watch near as much TV in the summer as we do while hibernating through the winter, we still like to watch an hour or so before bed every night to wind down.  Our options are pretty limited from Memorial Day through Labor Day -- we had to resort to watching Wipeout on Sunday night.  Surprisingly funny but not usually the type of show we go for.  I'm well aware this is a first world problem but still, there is only so much HGTV a person can watch over 3 months.

All this to say that there is a solution to the summertime TV problem.  And it's Netflix.  Last fall, we stole my dad's Netflix password and it was the best thing we ever did for ourselves.  We've been binge watching TV series like it's our job over the last few months and life has been good.  Here are our top 5 favorite shows ranked in order... I promise you will become addicted love them.

5) House of Cards/Orange Is The New Black
I know, a tie is so lame but I just couldn't pick between the two.  Both are Netflix original series meaning you can only watch them via Netflix.  If you like Scandal, you'll like HOC.  It's a little more politically hard core but still has enough character soap opera drama.  Kevin Spacey is amazing as Frank Underwood and as bad as he is, you can't stop watching.

Orange Is The New Black is another train wreck of a show -- why do the characters make such PLD's?!  You really feel for all of them as they attempt to survive day by day in a women's prison.  I didn't think I was going to like this but after a couple of episodes, I was hooked.

4) Mad Men
This is a show worth watching just for Jon Hamm alone.  Is he not the perfect man?  Set in the 1960's, this show will take you back in time to what we might think is a simpler world -- not so much for these characters.  Mad Men is starting it's final season next year so this is the best time to get caught up.

3) Parenthood
Another show about to start its final season.  You don't need to be a parent to enjoy this show -- it's more of a family dramedy in my opinion.  I love how this show portrays real life and the characters face real issues like cancer, divorce, sexuality, Asperberger's and adoption.  But they manage through it all with the love and support of their family -- you'll wish you were a Braverman yourself!  It's one of the most heartwarming shows ever.

2) Friday Night Lights
Another show I completely fell in love with -- it was really hard to not make this my top pick!  The cast is amazing and by the end of the series, you will have left a part of your heart in the (fake) town of Dillon, TX.  A show that is technically about football but really about how we go through life with the support of our family -- and not necessarily the "family" we were born into.  Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose.

1) Breaking Bad 
Best show of all time -- not just on Netflix but period.  Hands down.  A high school chemistry teacher finds out he has cancer and in a desperate attempt to make enough money to his family to survive on once he's gone, decides to start cooking crystal meth.  I'm not going to say much more because you just need to watch this for yourself.  And do it now before it's spin off show, Better Call Saul, premiers this fall!  It's not going to the be same but any dose of our favorite BB characters will do.

Honorable Mentions: The Good Wife, Army Wives and Desperate Housewives (I love any and all "wives" series apparently!)

We're in between shows right now and are considering starting The Wire or Dexter next.  Any thoughts on these or other recommendations?