Monday, May 30, 2016

Easy Summer Outfit

Just as I have my school "uniform" (J. Crew Factory jumpers and collared shirts), I have my summer uniform. I love breezy tank tops (preferably with ruffles or peplum) paired with skinny jeans or shorts! Throwing a long necklace on with this look immediately dresses it up.

We went to Penrose Brewery the other night for their Gia Mia Local Flavor Summer Food series event. Gia Mia just opened in Geneva, and it is FANTASTIC!  We went there for lunch with our friends Laura and Dave a few weeks ago, and we loved everything we ate (try the flatbreads and the shrimp app!). Having Gia Mia's again at Penrose was awesome. They had a selection of fire-roasted pizzas to make and serve. YUM! 

My girlies!
From left: Kelly, Andrea, me, Jenny, Mandy, Mimi and sweet Kayla in front! 

I was not pleased about the rain when we were trying to take some pics. Ha!

It was SO windy that night!

me: "please don't rain- please don't rain- please don't rain"

Pure anguish. HAHA! But Mike still snaps away. LOL

Displeased by the incoming rain. Haha.

Tank top: Old Navy-- I paid $11, and it's on sale currently for $10! The below options are all on sale for under $20! 

Necklace: Stella and Dot.

Jeans: old Banana Republic, similar here

Shoes: old Toms, similar here

Purse: Old Kate Spade, similar here

What's your go-to summer look?

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Trending: 5.28.16 - Summer Closet Staples

I have had some fantastic suggestions from pals about blog post ideas-- and PLEASE keep them coming, ladies (and gents!). One of the most requested posts has been about closet staples. I am going to use this week's trending report for the 14 (ish) items you need in your closet this summer!

[1.0] A white collared shirt-- sleeveless or short sleeved for the heat.
I just bought the short-sleeved popover for $30 at the J. Crew Outlet the other day. I plan on wearing it all summer with patterned shorts and skirts. Then, come fall, I can tuck it into a pencil skirt for teaching! Come winter, it will layer brilliantly under a blazer or a cardigan. A year-round staple!

[2.0] A pair of jean shorts.
I love the roll-up jorts; mine are almost identical to these Banana Republic ones, but I bought them last year at Gap. I wear them with tee shirts and flip flops, but I also dress them up with strappy sandals or wedges for nights out.

[3.0] A pair of Sperry Topsider Boat Shoes.
These are throw-on-and-go, and they're dressy enough to wear to mass on Sundays but casual enough to wear out for errands. I have three pairs of Sperrys that I've collected over the years (Mike also has three, haha!). They last FOREVER. My mom bought my first navy pair for me when I was a in college. Those withstood years of tailgating and Backer visits (if you're an ND or SMC alum, you know this is quite the feat). Each pair I have has lasted 4 or more years.

[4.0] A nice pair of flip flops-- either Jack Rogers or Rainbows.
I have had Rainbows (in Sierra Brown) since high school, and in the eleven years (omg, I am old) since graduating from high school, I've only needed to replace my Rainbows ONCE. Isn't that incredible? They're ridiculously comfortable (and have arch support!). Jack Rogers sandals kick up the dressiness factor of a flip flop. I have three pairs, and I wear them constantly. I always buy mine on sale.  Check out these metallic Jacks in the Nordies sale going on currently!

All purpose! You can even pedal-boat in them!

[5.0] A maxi dress-- this one is currently $23!
Depending on your budget, you have a variety of options. You can go with a plain cotton maxi, extremely practical, like this Express one. Or, if you have a little more wiggle room in your budget, the Lilly Pulitzer maxi dresses are TO DIE FOR!  I have my Lilly for Target favorite (below)-- I wear it all summer long. It is just easy, but it still looks dressy because it is, well, a dress! It's also super comfy for traveling.

[6.0] A cross-body purse in a summery color.
Kate Spade is my go-to when it comes to long-lasting cross-body purses. You'll be walking around a lot more now that the days are warmer, so why not keep your hands free? Kate Spade has beautiful bags on sale now! The sizes are just right-- you can fit all the essentials in them without feeling like you're carrying a tote bag. Kate Spade has an amazing outlet in Aurora, too, that offers even steeper discounts! How great are these colors? I am loving this yellow!

[7.0] Basic v-neck tees.
I stock up on these when they go on sale at Gap, J. Crew Factory or Banana. I have basic colors like black, navy and white, but I also have a fun bright pink. I end up throwing these on in the summer with patterned shorts or skirts! They are currently $11 at J. Crew Factory!

[8.0] White jeans!
There is nothing crisper than a cute tunic with white jeans on a summer night.  You immediately look polished and refined in a nice pair of white jeans. Throw on with 7.0, and you're ready for the weekend! Dress them up with strappy sandals and a silk tank top for the night. More on the tank tops below!
With three of my beautiful bridesmaids!
My sis, Anna, Fran, and Mandy!

[9.0] A breezy romper.
I just bought this romper for $11 at the Old Navy outlet. You don't necessarily need a buffalo plaid romper; it might not be as practical as this black one from the J. Crew Outlet (I tried it on in stripes, and I absolutely loved it). Rompers are especially nice for packing-- 1 romper= 1 full outfit!

[10.0] Easy tank tops to throw on and go.
I am a sucker for these Old Navy peplum tanks. I currently have four, but they were all $11 each! Haha! You might remember this madras one. I like tank tops that require no effort. I can wear them with jean shorts or colored shorts. I also like flowy tanks, so I can eat as much as I'd like. Haha! #priorities

I was not happy about the rain-- haha!

[11.0] A dressy dress for weddings or fancier events.
Everything about this dress is beautiful. You are bound to have a wedding or three this summer, so be sure to have a lightweight dressy dress on hand. The ruffles of this Banana Republic dress will alleviate the need for a necklace. I love the mint color, too!

[12.0] A pair of wedges.
You guys know I'm all about my sensible wedges. I can't get enough of them! They'll elongate your legs in shorts or a dress this summer and add some height to a pair of cropped white jeans. Plus, they'll take you into fall for work, too! (Also, if you work during the summer, these are perfect for the office).

[13.0] A long statement necklace to pair with 5.0, 9.0 and 10.0.
While bib statement necklaces are still fabulous, the summer has longer necklaces turning up everywhere. Kendra Scott's jewelry is just gorgeous. You may remember me gushing over these earrings on my last Trending post. She has a storefront on Michigan Avenue that I MUST venture to!

[14.0] An off the shoulder top (and this how-to-keep-from-coming-up video, thanks to my girl, Krista!).
I will be embracing this adorable trend now that I know how to keep the off-the-shoulder-shirt down! :) Thanks to Krista for the perfect find on that video.

What's in your closet for summertime?
Have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Baby Blue Lilly Tank Top

I had been eyeing this beautiful baby blue tank for quite some time before my trip down to Florida to see my mom and step dad. I knew I would be going to a Lilly store where I could try things on, instead of hoping for the best and ordering online.  I find myself struggling in the summer months to find a top that I can throw on with shorts or pants and just go. I definitely need to invest in some more tank tops! I will say this tank top was a little pricier than I would have liked, BUT, it is well worth the investment. I am accustomed to buying $11 tank tops, and then I get upset when they are ruined with one washing- haha! I will certainly not run into that problem with this Lilly Pulitzer tank (PS: I love that yellow!). It's thick and structured-- it's very similar to the material of her fabulous shift dresses. The style fits so well-- go with the size you'd typically purchase in a dress Lilly, and you'll be all set. Check out this pink and orange version, too!

Me directing my patient husband around. Haha! He really is a saint.

                                                  More Lilly halter options: here and here.
Jack Rogers sandals: here.
Jeans: Loft.
Kate Spade purse: old, but similar here and here.

Me turning the camera on my better half! 

Coop loves to lick Unkie- haha!

Big yawns from Finn!

I can't get over him. He's so sweet! 
Just makes me so happy. 

Mike and I grabbed lunch down the street from my sister and bro-in-law's condo in Chicago. I highly recommend Eats and Sweets for a breakfast or lunch outdoors and a cup of coffee! It was fantastic, and the employees were so nice! I had the Albuquerque salad (amazing!), and Mike had the grilled cheese and tomato soup (also amazing!). We were super pleased with our experience!

Sunglasses: Kate Spade.
Watch: Michael Kors.
Tassel earrings: Francescas (just bought in store on Friday, but I can't find them online. They were $16!). Similar here from J. Crew. 

I wish Courtney still resided across the hall from me! We had such a great weekend together; she always cracks me up! 
Courtney's Tory Burch polo: here or check out this one with the ruffle!

And finally, the weekend had to come to an end. Coop did not want Unkie and Auntie to leave his house! 

What's your go-to summer tank top?

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Courtney's Visit to Chicago: Blazer Styles!

I had the absolute best weekend with Courtney and her husband, Mark, during their visit to Chicago for Mark's work conference. Courtney was one of my bridesmaids and has been one of my best friends since our sophomore year at Saint Mary's. We danced together on Troop ND and lived across the hall from each other for the majority of our time at Smick! She lives in the adorable area of Mount Washington in Pittsburgh. I sadly don't get to see her as often as I want to, so I really cherish the time we do have together. I was lucky enough to spend Friday and Saturday in the city with her! 

We met for brunch on Friday at Summer House in Lincoln Park. It's AMAZING! It's extremely airy and open-- I had a fabulous Cobb salad and the rest of the gals ordered the fish tacos. We were so happy with our choices! Everything was fresh and delish. Our waitress, Alison, was phenomenal and accommodating with our bundles of joy at our table! OMG-- and you have to try the Rice Krispie Treat chocolate chip cookie. Anna had a hankering for it, but I ended up eating a lot of it-- haha! It's HUGE! They warm it up and add ice cream to it. It was EPIC! 

Courtney got to meet Finn! Anna and Finn met us for brunch, too. Courtney is going to be an Auntie herself in August!

We were so happy to see Jackie, baby Milly and Jackie's youngest sister, Jenny! Milly and Finn are future husband and wife (just sayin').
Totally in love with Jackie's yellow cardigan. It's from Banana Republic during their Mad Men inspired line. Here is a similarly gorgeous option. Also, love this with these whimsical lemons! Cute! 

My sister and my nephew! 

Courtney is not only one of the smartest gals I've ever known, but she is also one of the most well-dressed! This civil engineer knows how to work a look.

Gingham blazer: J. Crew.
White jeans: Gap
Navy silk tank: similar here.
Navy flats: Tory Burch, similar here and here
Purse: Kate Spade, similar here, here and here
Watch: Kate Spade, similar here.  Additional navy options: here, here, here-- soooo cute! and here.

Green blazer: old Nordstroms, but similar here and here
Glasses shirt: old Banana Republic, similar printed tops here, here and here
Booties: Toms (the most comfortable heels ever! I walked miles in them Friday!), similar here and here.
Tote bag: Tory Burch

Walking around Michigan Ave. together! 

Okay, I'll be the first to admit this: I am a doting aunt. I just can't get enough of Finn Patrick! Doesn't he look like he's dancing a little in the above pics? He is 1 month old! 

SO happy-- I have my bestie and my nephew! All together!

Courtney and I hit up the Saks on Michigan Avenue. We drooled over the designer shoes and picked out our faves; we also stopped for some mirror selfies. I am sure the employees loved us-- haha!

The Manolo flats were calling my name. A girl can certainly dream!

But then, we saw the creme de la creme of ALL shoes: these Jimmy Choo stunners! OMG! 
A mere $3,850... hahahaha! 

Courtney is so stylish and classy with her wardrobe. I totally copied her style with the blazer in my above looks. Below are some additional blazers to peruse. They are a staple year-round. 

This blush blazer is perfectly lightweight for summer!
I am loving the mint color of this one
Seersucker is always summer-ready! 
Linen is also another lightweight option for work in the summer months. 
Try this one as a collarless option.
This yellow blazer is by far my favorite!
Another J. Crew option with several great color choices. 
This mint! I can't get over the color. Pair it with white shorts for a cooler night this summer.

Which blazer is your favorite?
PS: many thanks to Court for allowing me to photograph her! :) Best model ever!