Sunday, January 29, 2017

Stripes and Ruffles + Sperry Salt Water Duck Boots!

I loved wearing this ruffly/striped top over the weekend! It was soooooo cold here (and still is), but something about the nautical navy and white made the temps a little more bearable! And, it's on sale!!! 40% off this top with code: GETSHOPPING. That brings it down to $35! #math (it's on sale through this link, not the Nordstrom link!).

^^ "checking" the crock pot. In reality, Mike was making slow-cooker tomato soup because he's amazing. I was just pretending. hahaha. But you need to see this back peplum detail! This is a small, but I will say the top runs a little wide. I might have exchanged for an XS if I wasn't so lazy. LOL

I layered my multistrand pearl necklace (currently on sale for $26!) with my Moon and Lola monogrammed necklace. I got the idea because of this beauty from Moon and Lola which is way out of my price range. haha!

If you guys like my "grateful" sign, my friend Jena made it! Check her out here. She is super talented, and she can make signs that say anything. Thanks so much to Val for getting the sign for us! 

My socks have apples on them! But I LOVE any critter socks.

LOVING this book! It is a modern-day version of Pride and Prejudice by the same person who wrote Prep. Bre, you'll love this! 

Totally obsessed with the Sperry Saltwater Duck Boots. They're the perfect boot for a cold day with little to no snow. 
Mine are from last fall, but here are the updated colors and styles. They're reminiscent of the LL Bean Boots, but they aren't in such high demand, so they aren't out of stock! 

These are Loft's curvy skinny jean. I got mine on sale for under $30 a couple weeks ago. These are a 4 for reference, and they are high-waisted, flattering and amazing. They do stretch, so definitely size down if you're in between sizes!

^^ SO COLD! hahaha!

Just got done with a photoshoot at Jori & June in downtown Geneva with Andrea! I can't wait to post our photos!
How has your weekend been? Are you all staying warm?

Friday, January 27, 2017

V-Day Gifts for Your Man According to My Man

Hi Trendies! Mary asked me to guest on her blog once again, and write a companion piece to go along with last week's Trending report. I am happy to oblige, as always. With no further ado, here's 5 ideas for Valentine's Day gifts for your beau.

1. Slippers / Pajamas / Bathrobe

Being in the dead of winter, Valentine's Day presents a great opportunity to stay cozy. And what better way to stay cozy, especially on a lazy Saturday/Sunday, than in new slippers, pjs, and a bathrobe. Extra credit if you get them monogrammed -- I know I love the classic terry cloth Land's End bathrobe Mary got me with my initials on it.

Also, my old slippers didn't survive our recent move. It was for the best. Let's be honest, slippers can get pretty gross. However, I've seen advertised on Facebook a new slipper company (I get the weirdest targeted ads) that has a little shoe that comes with it in order to allow you to wear the slippers outside! The site is -- $100 seems pretty steep, but the idea just might be worth it, hint hint.

2. Ever since opening our wedding gifts, I've discovered the joys of drinking from fancy barware. There are few more enjoyable comforts than pouring a delicious cocktail into a couple of glasses, and savoring the flavor with a loved one or guest... when you're of age, of course. To go along with the fancy glass, get some fancy ice cube trays. I have giant cubes as well as spheres. The spheres are supposed to have some science behind them to stay frozen longer, but I must admit they are a bit difficult to create. Either way, the giant cubes and spheres just look plain old cool.

3. Back to the cold weather gear, one of my favorite gifts ever from Mary was my scarf! I was the in the Notre Dame Marching Band back in the day, and our uniforms featured a unique plaid. Imagine my surprise when Mary presented me with a scarf in the exact same plaid pattern! It looks like that particular scarf is no longer for sale, but any classic plaid pattern will remain classy looking for years to come.

To go along with the scarf, why not some nice gloves as well? Maybe I just have dirty hands and feet, but I find that gloves don't last too long before kicking the bucket, so there will always be a need for another pair.

4. It's tough to classify this next category of gifts. Basically, it's great to receive a gift that is totally unexpected, something I didn't even realize I needed, but that I'll use all the time. Two gifts that Mary has gotten me that fit this model are a recipe/cookbook stand for the kitchen, and a monogrammed dop kit (that she got for me not long after we traveled to visit her mom for the first time... apparently mine was looking rather ragged!). But suffice to say, they are often put to use! The cookbook stand is especially nice since it has a little Plexiglas shield to hold the recipe open (if you're actually using a cookbook) and to keep your recipe free from splashes (especially handy if your recipe is on your phone or tablet!)

5. Finally, this last category is also hard to classify. I play drums, and as I was telling Mary, it's been an uphill battle all my life to convince family that random drum accessories I don't necessarily ask for make a great gift! Seriously, give me some drumsticks, or a music book, or a little gizmo I can hit with a stick and I'm a happy camper. I'm sure whatever your significant other's hobby is, he'll feel the same if you got him something related to it, whether he's into fishing, or woodworking, or whatever!

Have a happy Valentine's Day, readers!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Trending 1.23.17: Valentine's Day Gifts for your Sweetie

I know it's a little early, but now is the time to start brainstorming for the perfect something for your sweetie.  If you're ordering a gift online, it's best to get moving on it earlier rather than have to pay for expedited shipping. Besides, I am coo-coo, and I love having my Christmas gifts bought and wrapped prior to December, so you know each holiday is similarly ridiculous. bahaha! Guilty as charged.

I can tell you all what I got Mike for Valentine's Day because I surprised him with it early. So the previous owners only gave us one garage door opener when we closed. I guess it's becoming more common because people just program their cars to have openers. Well, my 2009 Corolla doesn't really have that capability LOL (but I love it, thanks, Dad!), and Mike's 2006 Matrix, with nary a hubcap, lacks that option. Therefore, we were in major need of a second opener. Mike is a saint, as always, and let me have the one. He took to backing out, closing the garage, sprinting and jumping over the sensor to get to his car each AM. Not fair to him.

I surprised him by getting our garage door reprogrammed and two new openers!! He was SO excited! Let me know if you need a garage door company in the suburbs-- the guys I went with were awesome. :)

Now, onto the top ten gifts for your Valentine!

[1.0] A Lat & Lo bracelet or necklace with an important location for the two of you.
This could be where you met, where you had your first date or where you got married! It could be your first home or your new house's latitude and longitude. This company, Lat & Lo, is so friendly and helpful. Mike bought me the rose gold cuff (below) for Valentine's Day last year. You also get to have something engraved on the inside of the bracelet or back of the necklace.

The bar necklace (c/o Lat & Lo) has our apartment latitude and longitude and then on the back it reads, "Our First Home". 

The packaging is ADORABLE! 

This cuff bracelet is the rose gold. It's the address where I met Mike-- the Geneva Ale House.

Inside, it is inscribed with "love from first kiss". 

[2.0] A perfect dress for work or your Valentine's Day date!
This bright pink is adorable for Valentine's Day, but you can also continue to wear it all year to work! Paired with black tights and knee-high boots for winter, you're professional and stylish. Paired with an open-toed wedge for spring, you are ready to tackle the warm temps.

[3.0] This bell-sleeved top-- a new release from J. Crew.
That color is such a beautiful shade of pink! The bell(e) sleeve is completely on trend right now. Your sweetie can rock this on your date and then to work with black pants. This is a nice transitional piece, too. She can wear it now with pants and booties, and then she can wear it in the spring and summer with skirts and shorts. It's pre-order only right now, but the ship date will be January 30, which leaves plenty of time for arrival before the 14th.

[4.0] This heart idiom bangle from Kate Spade.
I've never met a Kate Spade bangle I didn't adore. They can stack with her watch and other bangles. This cute gesture will constantly remind her of you with every wear. 

[5.0] A signature scent, like this Marc Jacobs perfume.
Mike bought me this perfume two years in a row, and I absolutely adore it. I hadn't smelled it before, but he went to Von Maur and did a search for a wonderful-smelling scent, and landed upon this one himself. I LOVE it! I get a ton of compliments on it, too! It lasts all day, and it is not overbearing. Any scent you give your significant other will remind her or him of you! It's a proven fact! Dr. Megan Turk told me that, and she's a professional :):):) Also, the packaging of this bottle is beautiful! So fun to have out on display on my dresser.

[6.0] Anything by Bow & Drape! Particularly these emoji tees.
Bow & Drape caught my eye with their sequined graphic sweatshirts last year, and now they are adding more pieces to their collection, including adorable makeup bags and tees. Check these out! Your Valentine would get a HOOT out of the emoji pocket-tees!

[7.0] Comfy/fun jammies.
Let's be honest: women like to sleep in comfortable pajamas! It's the truth! Don't let anyone convince you otherwise. LOL. I love all my old SMC/ND tees and a sensible flannel pajama pant! Comfort trumps all else when you're sleeping in the winter months. That being said, check out these adorable avocado and taco jammies! I lol'd when I saw them. Amazing. It just so happens that Valentine's Day falls on a Tuesday... taco Tuesday? Or these adorable Vday themed ones? Also loving the buffalo plaid navy ones!

[8.0] High-waisted moto-leggings.
These Alo Yoga leggings FLY off the shelves. Alo fits so well, too! Your Valentine will be the hit of her Pure Barre classes in her new moto leggings. Opt for the high-waisted; they're so flattering! I am loving the classic black and navy. It's harder to treat ourselves to more expensive pieces for working out, but they are SO WORTH IT! The beauty of the moto legging is that she can wear them outside the studio, too! They're perfect for running around, and they are the most flattering yoga pants EVER.

[9.0] A beanie with a pom-pom on top.
The pom-pom winter hat made a huge comeback this season! I love the cableknit version from The North Face. Just be sure the color you choose matches her winter coat :) A cozy winter hat will carry her all the way through the season. 

[10.0] This question-a-day journal for couples!
My friend Caitlin started me with this question-a-day 5 year journal as a bridesmaid's gift for her wedding in May of 2013. It was THE COOLEST gift! I loved seeing my answers change with each year, and seeing myself grow in my career and personality was very eye-opening. This year for my birthday, she surprised me with the couple's version of this journal. Each day, Mike and I write our answers in the book.  Some example entries are pictured below. Also, my friend, Fran, found me this Jane Austen line-a-day journal! LOVE it! These are so fun to do while I eat my breakfast each morning. (We mark the pages with our wedding save the date bookmark, made by our incredibly talented SIL, Molly!)

What are your Valentine's Day plans? Who is lucky enough to be celebrating with you?
Mike made us reservations at one of our favorite Geneva restaurants, Villa Verone, for the weekend before V-day! IT IS THE BEST Italian food ever! And the owner is AWESOME!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Birthday Tutu and Our New Home

Ahhhh!! It is good to be back! I am so sorry for my hiatus! We moved officially on Saturday, and for a few days at the apartment prior to the move, we didn't have internet, so blogging was nearly impossible. Also, I still needed to pack up my life's possessions, and we were *slightly* behind schedule! LOL! (Nothing a late night Meijer trip Friday before the movers came Saturday morning couldn't fix when we ran out of packing tape. And boxes). SO, I am writing this post from our HOUSE! We have a garage! And a driveway! I actually have not parked in a driveway since I was a mere 18 years old, back home in Ohio. Let me tell you something, it is glorious. (Aside from every morning when I text Mike after I get to work because I'm certain I haven't closed the garage door!!!). Shout out to my coworker, Dave, who tried to punk me about my garage door this am, but couldn't because he was laughing too hard. #failedpunk #Istillgiggled #Genevabuddies :D

Backing up to January 6, though, let's talk FASHION! I wore this tutu (yasssss, girl!) on my 30th birthday that was just so whimsical and fun! Here are some snaps from the eve-- again, my apologies for everything being fuzzy iPhone camera quality. I do have a photoshoot on the books for next weekend!  (This weekend I'm chaperoning Operation Snowball for our school-- did you ever do that retreat in HS? It's going to be so fun!). 

It was very special to have my old teaching pals out to celebrate my birthday at Penrose! We can't wait to spoil Kelly's future baby boy very soon!
Skirt: here
Tassel Necklace: here.
Glitter pumps: here. They are currently down to $100! I got mine for free! (Well, sort of haha!). My sweet MIL got me a gift card to J. Crew for Christmas, and I had another return, so my glitter pumps were FREE!
More glittery shoes in all price ranges:

FINN! Anna, Shawn and Finn (and Coop) spent the night on my birthday. It was the highlight of the birthday week to have my family out in Geneva! My darling former student, Brittany, was Finn's babysitter for the eve so Anna and Shawn could join us at the brewery. SO. Much. FUN! I just wish I had some more pictures! haha!

Tulle skirts for all budgets:

This is one of the 5 photos I have from my birthday party, and it makes me smile so big. Gotta fluff the tulle! hahaha! Candid shot of Jenny Lynn and Kel!
The beauty of this fun skirt is that I just needed a plain black shirt and black tights. Done and done. 

Add in Sarah! We missed Mandy so much! Can't wait for all six of us to be together next weekend! 

Aerial shot of the shoes!
Jenny's adorable Toms wedges shined brightly!
Jenny and I can both attest to the major comfort level of the Toms wedge. Here are more options, with a few on sale currently:

Totally excited that my barre belle, Taryn, and her husband could make it out, too! How cute is her choker shirt? 

More tassel necklaces:

Insta-worthy shoe shot hahah
The best part about these pumps is that they are both comfortable and practical (LOL). Practical in the sense that they are coated, so the glitter isn't loose. 

Two of my favorite males, ever!! In matching Patagonia puffers.
Unkie Mike's: here.
Finn's: here

Finally, one of the best days of our lives-- closing on our first home together! ^^^
We couldn't have done it without our amazing lawyer, Mary, and incredible realtor, Val. Please let me know if you're in the market to buy in the Chicagoland suburbs. I will get you in touch with our crew!

Holding a key and a garage door opener at the title place. LOL

The family room! 

Mike at the bar! haha

Our dream come true. 


Gettin' comfy at the island. 

We arrived in our new home to this surprise. Val was absolutely fabulous in every way. I couldn't believe my eyes! PS: my friend, Jena, made the sign! I can get you the scoop on those, too! 

HOW IS EVERYONE? I am so happy to be back! 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Trending 1.11.17: What you Need in your Closet Right Now

Hello!  So much excitement has transpired recently! I turned 30 on Friday (more on that soon!), and Mike and I closed on our dream home. We move in on Saturday! We are really, really, really, realllllllly excited! Pics to come!

I wanted to get some ideas up for a trending before we do the major move. There are SO MANY good deals out there right now, and I want you to jump on them! Don't let them slip out of your grasp, you guys! Let's get started.

[1.0] This shimmer ruffle cardigan.
I have been eyeing this beauty from Loft for months, and my mentor, Lauren, came in wearing it Monday morning. She looked so FAB! It's even better in person, I promise  you. It's also currently 60% off $49.99, and while I don't do math (because it's devil magic), I believe that is well under $25. hahaha!

[2.0] This fully-sequined midi dress.
The pleats and length add to the perfection of this dress. I will never stop twirling in this! It is everything gorgeous, including that bright pink color, placed into one dress.

[3.0] The Edie dress.
Remember the Edie ruffle shirt I posted about? Well, J. Crew has answered all my dreams and turned it into a dress! I am equally in love with this version! HOW CUTE IS THAT! Black tights and black boots for winter for the microgingham version. For the chambray version, wear navy tights and brown boots. Then, transition it to spring when you can say Bye, Felicia! to those tights.

[4.0] A tasteful cold-shoulder top for weekends!
Cold shoulder tops have a place, and I will be the first to say that place is not at work. They are perfect for weekend wear. My fashionista friend, Krista, and I chatted about this cold-shoulder-conundrum the other day. There's a tasteful way to wear a top like this, but it's not around your boss. (My apologies if this is in your rotation for work!).  Krista inspired me to write about cold-shoulder tops and the choker shirts-- more on those to come. There is a sensibly stylish way to wear both.

[5.0] These fun and festive pants.
The best part? Your outfit is easy as pie with these pants. Throw them on with a collared shirt (white or chambray) and a black pump, and you are ready! How adorable are they!? Obsessed.

[6.0] This yellow "party top".
So, I haven't had a "party top" since my college days at Club Fever or my downtown Chicago days of Duffy's; however, I love this for a weekend night look. It's not a Forever 21 fully sequined top or a tube top from Akira, but it will fancy up your look for a GNO! It is the 30-year-old's version of a party top. And, it's currently 60% off! ($26 for all you math-haters like myself haha!).

[7.0] This adorable peplum work shirt.
It's going to undoubtedly be a workhorse in your closet all season. Pair it with skinny black pants and a leopard heel for work. Throw on dark denim and ballet flats with it for weekends. It will get so many uses! Also, the peplum detail updates the typical collared shirt to be even trendier. Side note: Milly makes an identical version for $295! HA! SMH.

[8.0] These lacey party pants.
I. can't. stop. staring. at. these. pants. in. my. J.Crew. shopping. cart. AHHHHHHH! Seriously! Beautiful! Practical! And over the top fabulousness. Again, the ease of outfit preparation with a pant like this is phenomenal. All you need is a collared shirt and a heel, and you are ready for work or weekend. They are comfy, too, because of that pull on quality. As soon as I start my SAT prep classes that I teach, I will re-visit this beauts. Until then, I should probably focus on paying our mortgage. hahah!!

[9.0] This Kate Spade FUN clutch.
I have never gasped more loudly then when we walked into the Kate Spade section of Von Maur on Sunday after mass. BUT REALLY. THIS CLUTCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't get over it. The price is ASTRONOMICAL and totally stupe, but one day, I will own that bag. I will watch it like a hawk. I will wait for it at the outlet. Whatever it takes to buy, I will earn money for it. Perhaps a lemonade stand? Car wash? bahaha. But really. THAT BAG! AND, the magnetic part to clasp it together? IT'S A BOW!!!!!  A bow!

[10.0] This striped-ruffled-pepum top.
I bought this for myself with a gift card last week, and it's even better in person. I will wear this navy and white top for Fridays at work (spritwear!). It's currently on sale, too! Get after it!

How is your week going thus far? It is RIDICULOUSLY windy out here in Northern IL! I swear I thought the street lights were going to fall onto my Corolla today on the ride home from work. EEK!