Class of 2012

Me & Kerry – 1993(ish)

This weekend, my not so little sister will be graduating from college. Next weekend, she will be turning 22. I’m so incredibly proud of her. And I’m so excited for her to embark on her own adventure into the “real world.” I wouldn’t be an older sister if I didn’t dole out some advice to her. So, Kerry, a few things to remember now that you’re a grown-up:

  1. Take a break! Enjoy the time you have before you start working or go back to school. It could be the last big break you get. (I know, it’s depressing)
  2. Be honest. Whether you screw up at work or in life, own up to your mistakes and just do better next time.
  3. Be nice. To your boss, your coworkers, the bartender, your neighbors, the cab driver who drops you off right in front of your door at 2 a.m., to everyone even if they don’t always deserve it.
  4. Be careful. It’s pretty awesome to be on your own but remember that in some cases you really are on your own and not in the comfort of your college campus. Look out for yourself.
  5. Work hard. But don’t forget to have a life. It’s easy to get caught up in your work and career and let it take over.
  6. You don’t have to figure it all out right now. I can promise you that you’ll have a quarter-life crisis at least a dozen times in the next five years. It’s totally normal.
  7. Save a little money. Even if it’s just $20 a month into your savings account. And keep a “secret $50” in your wallet for emergencies.
  8. It’s OK to spend an entire weekend in your house, apartment, bedroom or wherever catching up on your DVR.
  9. Sometimes it will feel like college really was the best time of your life (and don’t get me wrong, it’s great) but being a grown-up, as overwhelming and scary as it can be, it pretty freaking awesome.
  10. Just because you’re poor doesn’t mean you can steal my clothes.

Love you, Kerry!

All grown up.


Gilt Bar, Chicago (Part Deux)

I shared my experience at Gilt Bar a few weeks ago (in a word: amazing!) but if you just couldn’t get enough, you should head over to my friend Alex’s blog, Sassy Confetti, and read her review.

And if you happen to be a Chicagoan who loves restaurants, I suggest you check her out on the regular. This girl LOVES to go out to eat!


Punch Today In The Face

Work and life have been crazy busy lately that I feel like I’m punching every day in the face. Sometimes in a good way, sometimes in a bad way but hey, that’s life.

I promise to be back with regularly scheduled posting soon!



(Image via my Instagram, download “Punch Today in the Face” here)

Quick Dry Nails

I have an obsession. A nail polish obsession.

It all started when I was unemployed and looking for a job. My nails needed to look good and groomed but my unemployment check didn’t allow for a weekly manicure. Once terrible at doing my own nails, I quickly improved and as soon as I nailed a full-time job, my polish collection grew.

These days, I’m giving myself a manicure about twice a week and the only time I have to do it is close to bedtime. After weeks of waking up with sheet creases on what I thought were fully dry nails, it was time to invest in a more effective drying method.

Sally Hansen Dry Kwik was the perfect solution. When you are done with your manicure, top coat and all, let it dry on it’s own for one to two minutes. Then apply Dry Kwik. I wouldn’t recommend doing something that might smudge your nails RIGHT away but you certainly can a few minutes faster with this stuff. And no more sheet creases for me!

Gilt Bar, Chicago

Are you sick of hearing about my trip to Chicago yet? This is the last post, I’m promise!

For Alex‘s birthday dinner (a day early, we had some serious day drinking to do on her actual birthday), I treated her to a fantastic meal at Gilt Bar. I can’t take any credit for picking the restaurant, that was all Alex. Girlfriend knows her Chi-Town hot-spots.

Gilt Bar has a very dark and sexy ambiance. At first it felt almost too dark and sexy but I was pleasantly surprised to find each table had a soft spotlight shining down from the ceiling. A very clever way to keep the venue dark but allow diners to see one another while really showcasing the food.

The best thing about dining with my dear friend Alex is that we have very similar palates. Because of that, we can always order items to share.

After settling on a bottle of Pinot Noir, we dove into the menu. We decided to order a starter, two entrees, and two sides, all to share.

To start we ordered from the “On Toast” section of the menu. There were a lot of delicious sounding options but we decided to go with the most basic, sweet balsamic, roasted garlic and olive oil.

sweet balsamic roasted garlic & olive oil

This dish was just beyond. I wanted to bathe in the sauce, sweet but not too tarte and just enough roasted garlic. Simple and amazing. I may have to make an attempt this dish at home.

Since we are both serious meat and potatoes kind of gals, we ordered the beef pot roast and a side of smashed potatoes. We are also suckers for anything with truffles so the truffle pasta was a no-brainer. To round out the meal with some veggies, we ordered the brussels sprouts as a side.

spoon tender beef pot roast with red wine & glazed root vegetables

smashed potatoes with roasted garlic & chicken jus

caramelized brussels sprouts, pork belly, maple & parmesan

(truffle pasta not pictured, sorry!)

Each dish was so rich and decadent, between the two of us we were only able to eat about half of each dish. Perhaps we over-indulged a bit on the bread. This wasn’t a bad thing though. It meant we had the perfect amount of leftovers to munch on after Alex’s birthday festivities the next day. Everything was just as delicious the second time around.

Spring Things

I hate to admit it but today, March 20th, is the first day of Spring!

A little background. Tomorrow, March 21st, is my birthday and growing up I thought it was the first day of spring. Technically it is the first full day of spring, but, depending on where you live, spring starts sometime on the 20th.

Either way, I’m ready for my spring wardrobe. The weather on the East Coast lately has been warmer than usual and I’m hoping to make the big wardrobe transition soon. In the meantime, I’m putting together some outfits for inspiration.

I’m ready for chambray and skirts…

Spring Chambray

1 – Old Navy Chambray Shirt, 2 – Vanessa Mooney Necklace, 3 – Vintage Mini Saddle Bag, 4 – J. Crew Skirt, 5 – Banana Republic Shoes

And navy dresses…

Spring Oxfords

1 – Dorothy Perkins Dress, 2 – Kate Spade Bag, 3 – Top Shop Oxfords, 4 – Zara Belt 

Ann Sather, Chicago

When I’m spending the day gallivanting around Chicago with Alex, a big, hearty breakfast is very necessary. Before tackling our to-do and to-see lists last Friday, we stopped by Belmont location of Ann Sather for brunch.

At this charming, Swedish cafe slash diner, you can get a generous breakfast with amazing sides and a coffee, for less than $10. It could be that I’m jaded by prices on the East Coast, but this is a steal.

I ordered bacon & eggs, while Alex ordered a breakfast wrap. Between the two of us we spilt a total of four (yes, four!) sides; we each received two with our order. Ann Sather is known for their cinnamon rolls, we couldn’t not order them! We also also ordered toast, hash browns and fruit.

Service was fast and friendly. Definitely a delicious stop to make on a trip to Chicago. Be sure to order the cinnamon rolls, just look at how delectable they are!

BHLDN, Chicago

If you are engaged, a bridesmaid or just wedding and event obsessed, Anthropologie’s bridal store BHLDN is just simply heaven.

"chandelier" at BHLDN

I spent last weekend visiting my amazing friend Alex for her birthday and she was kind enough to let me sneak in some wedding dress shopping at the newest BHLDN store in Chicago. Ok, she wasn’t “kind enough,” she was absolutely elated to be going wedding dress shopping with me, she is a bridesmaid after all.

BHLDN is exactly what you’d expect from an Anthropologie owned bridal store. Two levels of unique dresses (for both brides and bridesmaids), highly curated decor and a-mah-zing dressing rooms.

BHLDN - Dresses

This was my first wedding dress shopping trip and it really could not have been better. I was very nervous. I didn’t know what to expect or what I was supposed to do but my bridal stylist, Mindi, was amazing. She made both Alex and I feel at ease right away. Probably had something to do with the sparkling wine and macaroons.

Bubbly & Macaroons

The wedding dresses at BHLDN are definitely very unique and most of them fit a very certain bride, theme or venue. I did find one that I loved and will possibly revisit at some point.

And one last thing to know: BHLDN stylists do not work on commission but if you do visit either of their stores (Houston or Chicago) and later want to order a dress, call the store to order. As Mindi pointed out, if everyone ordered online they wouldn’t need stores. And if there weren’t stores like this, well I’d just be sad.

Will You Be My Bridesmaid?

I’m so excited that I can finally share how I “proposed” to my bridesmaids with you.

Ben and I got engaged in December, set a date in January but I hadn’t asked my bridesmaid to be a part of my wedding until last week. I didn’t mean to put it off for so long, it just took me a while to pull it all together.

My plan was to give each girl a pretty frame with a photo of the two of us and a cute card, a love note almost, asking them to be a bridesmaid.

I scoured Home Goods for simple silver frames. While there were many cute ones of different shapes, sizes and colors, I wanted to give them something simple enough that they’d actually use them and be able to display almost anywhere.

Then I spent a lot of time on Etsy, looking for a great card. I debated between a few but finally settled on one from Wiley Valentine’s shop. This was second ever Etsy purchase and it was a breeze. They created a custom order for me and the cards were in my hands in three days.

Photos were ordered, wrapping paper purchased (from Target) and my little gifts were ready to go. The final product(s):

the cards

the wrapping

the frames

Some were shipped out, some were “proposed” to in person. A few phone calls and hugs later, my bridal party was ready to go. Now, onto absolutely everything else on my the wedding to do list…

Yellow Desk DIY

For months, my mom’s childhood desk had been sitting in my Grandma’s house waiting for me to pick it up and give it a new home…and a new look.

A couple of weeks ago, I finally picked it up prepared myself for my first furniture DIY. Unless you count building IKEA furniture as DIY, because I have done a whole lot of that. I’m practically the queen of that.

Before my trip to Home Depot, I read through Young House Love’s How To Paint Furniture post approximately 100 times. I did not want to eff this up. If you are doing any type of DIY, I highly recommend checking out Young House Love for inspiration and straight-forward How-Tos. I followed their directions (almost) to a T (tee?).

As a renter with little DIY experience, Home Depot is quiet an adventure. But after spending about 20 minutes picking out the perfect yellow, I picked up the other supplies and was ready to go. I won’t waste your time with how I did, just click the link to Young House Love.

So, without further ado, the desk…

All of the painting supplies were less than $30. I splurged on the knobs from Anthropologie for a total of $48. Not too bad for a “new to me” desk, right?