Friday, February 27, 2015

February Budget

All month, I thought I hadn't bought very much. Ummm, 9 pieces? Seems like kind of a lot to me, and that doesn't even count my wedding shoes!

Apparently there was a theme for February - neutrals. While I got a lot, they seem to be pieces I'll wear for a while - with the exception, of course, being those Target espadrilles, I just couldn't resist! I've been searching for a pair of black pumps that actually fit (I wear a 10.5 which isn't a real size for the majority of shoes) and are comfortable literally for years, so I was very excited to find this pair. I also replaced my navy striped top that had gotten weirdly stretched out, found a new swimsuit (because, really, you always need a new suit), and got a springy white purse with some of my Christmas dollars. 

Here's the damage for February: 

Michael Kors Pumps - originally $98.95, on sale $79.90
BaubleBar Necklace - originally $48, on sale $36
Target Dress - originally $39.99, on sale $19.98
BaubleBar Earrings - originally $32, on sale and used points $18.40
Target Espadrilles - $24.99
JCrew Tee - originally $49.50, on sale $24.50
BaubleBar Bracelet - originally $36, on sale $27
Kate Spade Bag (similar) - originally $348, on sale $112, "gifted" $0
Target Bikini - originally $32.98, on sale $25.48

Total Spent - $256.22
Total Saved - $106.19

For next month, I'll be on the hunt for dresses to wear to showers/weddings/etc, as well as some springier clothing as the weather (hopefully) heats up.

How did you do on your budget for February?

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015


Sweatshirt - Lou & Grey (gifted) / Shirt (similar) - Loft / Denim - Gap / Booties (similar) - Sam Edelman / Glasses (similar) - ℅ Firmoo / Necklace - gifted

Oh hey y'all, today I turn 28! I was going to go all out and get dressed up in a fancy dress and maybe hold balloons or something, but instead I decided to show a much more realistic outfit for what I'll actually probably be wearing today - jeans and some comfy loungewear. The universe declared a two week birthday for me this year (went to a surprise birthday dinner last Monday and there's another party coming up this weekend) so tonight Jeff and I are keeping things pretty low key and just going out to RM Champagne for dinner tonight.

While 27 was a great year, it felt like a huge build up - we were planning our wedding and not going on big trips to save for our honeymoon and getting excited about my sister having a baby, and 28 is the year when those things will finally happen. Probably all within a two week period. 28 feels like an age where I finally will really feel like a grown-up (because "it's like, almost 30"). 


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Monday, February 23, 2015

This Weekend...

This weekend I…

…had a big lady day where a bunch of us met up for brunch at Bub City (holy green chili scrambler!) and then to see 50 Shades of Grey. If you can't tell from the photo, Sunday afternoon was not a very popular showing haha. Oh, and P.S., I was expecting the movie to be bad, and it somehow managed to exceed my expectations for terribleness (and made the little feminist lion within me quite agitated).
…went to another training date for Destination Imagination at my sister's place, which doubled as ogling time for her new little nursery because SOMEONE is expecting ;)
…went to my parents' house for a little pre-birthday dinner for me, since it's my bday this week. Bring on all of the cake ;)
…watched all of the Oscar pre-shows and then none of the Oscars, because that's how I roll.
…took the coldest walks of all of the walks around my neighby, when is spring coming again?

I hope you had a good one!

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

#TBT with boohoo

Sweater, Tee, and Clutch - c/o boohoo / Denim (similar) - Old Navy / Heels - Sole Society

When boohoo asked me to create a Throwback Thursday look based on a style icon of the past, I knew I had to choose '90s it girl Winona Ryder. Before she shoplifted all of the clothes, she was known for her great street style - baggy tees and jeans, lots of leather and black, and bright lipstick. I decided to reimagine her look as a little more polished with heels and a clutch, and while I wanted to trade her baggy jeans for cuffed boyfriends, the -13 degree windchill forced me into black skinnies instead.

Who is your favorite style icon?

I received compensation for this post, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Review: InstaNatural

With my wedding on the horizon (somehow it's only four months away!) I've been doing everything I can to make sure my skin looks great for the big day. This summer my face started breaking out worse than it ever had when I was a teenager, so I've been trying new products (and even hit the dermatologist for a script!) and have been making sure to really take care of my skin.

One of those products I tried was InstaNatural's Dead Sea Mud Mask, an all natural mask meant to detox and purify skin. I've used a lot of masks in my day, and I'm still not sure how other people manage to put them on and look pretty while they're drying - I always end up looking like a monster (see photographic evidence below).

This particular mask was a lot thinner than other masks I've used, but I think that helped it try faster and come off easier. It did get really itchy right before I rinsed it off (the instructions note that if you have sensitive skin, you can rinse it off before it's fully dry), but the results were phenomenal. I've used a lot of products that claim to visibly reduce pores but don't actually do anything, but this mask actually worked. My pores were much less noticeable for my Valentine's date, and my skin looked healthy and radiant.

I also tried InstaNatural's Youth Express Night Creme and Advanced Action Retinol Moisturizer. I'm a bit of a face lotion junkie, I've been using facial moisturizers since middle school and have tried just about every kind. I loved how thick these moisturizers are, perfect for dry winter skin. I woke up still looking like I had moisturizer on my face, not dried out like can sometimes happen in the winter. The night cream also helps to reduce redness and irritation, and while my acne didn't go anywhere overnight I did wake up with it a lot less noticeable.

Have you tried InstaNatural? What are some of your favorite facial products?

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Monday, February 16, 2015

This Weekend...

This weekend I...

...went out for a fantastic pre-Valentine's dinner at Mercat a la Planxa, which included a few of my favorite things - jamon iberico and padron peppers.
...discovered that our grocery store is now selling Crumbs cupcakes - we are so gaining 500 pounds.
...realized that The Last Five Years isn't playing in any theaters anywhere near us, and so watched it on ondemand instead, and oh my gee did I cry at the end. According to the internets, it should be opening in more cities next weekend. some pretty pretty flowers delivered to my work from home desk from my valentine ;)
...worked on some more wedding crafting - June 20th is looking a whole lot closer these days!
...had a romantic home-cooked steak dinner thanks to Jeffrey, complete with spinach and gruyere scalloped potatoes.
...discovered that Titanic was playing on repeat all day on Saturday and got a whole lot of Rose and Jack quality time in. 

I hope you had a good one!

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Friday, February 13, 2015

(Almost) Valentine's

Happy (almost) Valentine's Day! What are your plans to celebrate? Jeff and I waited too long to make reservations (when I say too long, I mean still a month ahead of time, stupid Chicago) so we're going out to one of our favorite celebration restaurants tonight instead.

Valentine's Day dressing is always a little tricky in Chicago, I always have grand plans and then it snows or the temperatures are below zero and I'm stuck making a decision at the last minute. Here are a couple of Valentine's Day outfit ideas for inspiration, no matter what your plans may be (click the pictures to go back to the original posts):


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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Winter Blues

Shirt (similar) - Loft / Jeans - Madewell / Booties (similar) - Kelly & Katie / Watch - Kate Spade / Glasses - c/o Firmoo

I feel like my style has gotten simpler and simpler lately. What I'm really craving is no longer colors or patterns or trends, but really just basics with a little flair, like the jeweled collar on this oxford. I wore this over the weekend for running errands and grabbing lunch with my sister and mom, and felt perfectly casual but still put together.

Oh, and don't worry your pretty little head about me being too cold - these pictures were taken about  a week after our big blizzard, so while snow was still everywhere it was actually a balmy 40 degrees.  I still did put on my giant puffer coat though, because I decided I prefer being comfortable without a hat or gloves in my giant coat to having to wear all of my winter accessories with my fancier wool coats. Ugh, winter, what are you doing to me?

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Monday, February 9, 2015

This Weekend...

This weekend I...

...Spent a whole lot of time relaxing and laying in bed and doing a little pampering. I did some traveling for work this week and am busy every weekend for the foreseeable future so it was nice to get in some me time.
...Went up to my parent's house with my sister to help my mom pick a dress for my wedding, which meant we also got to hit our favorite local Mexican restaurant for lunch and do a little wedding crafting.
...Tried to go out for a casual dinner date with Jeff, only to discover that everywhere had an hour wait thanks to some hockey thing going on at Soldier Field. The one place that had openings was Gioco, which was a whole lot fancier than we were planning, but it ended up being the perfect evening.
...Went to Target and managed to only spend six dollars, which I didn't think was possible, and then ended up going back the next day and dropping a benjamin. All is right with the world.
...Went back to Burger Bar, and decided it's my new favorite neighborhood spot.  
...Finally managed to catch our first Best Picture nominated movie and watched Grand Budapest Hotel (which, if you have HBO, is available free on demand right now). I actually really liked it, more than other Wes Anderson films I've seen. Hopefully we can catch a few more of the Oscar nominated films before the big day.

I hope you had a good one!

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Thursday, February 5, 2015

How to Fake a Blowout with a Hot Air Brush

I don't know about you, but I can never quite get the results I want with a blow drier. I've read a bunch of "how to get a blowout at home" articles and always study my hairdresser but I've still never quite gotten it. It's hard to hold the dryer in one hand and a brush in the other while getting the right angle, my arm always gets tired and I end up hot and sweaty, and some of my ends end up curling while others stay straight. God only knows what's going on in the back. 

I ordered a hot air brush (I'm using a 1.5" brush by John Frieda) before Christmas because I thought it would curl my hair (wrong-o) but I'm loving the results I get with it for straight hair. It's funny, hot air brushes and hot combs sound like something my mom would have used back in the '70s, so I was a little hesitant to try it, but it works surprisingly well. It gets me the volume I crave while also keeping my hair looking polished and shiny.

To use the hot air brush, you're going to want to start with hair that's mostly dry, either because it's dried naturally or through a rough dry with your blow drier. In a lot of tutorials people say "80% dry" which is a little confusing to me, so I thought I'd show you what my hair looks like when I go at it, starting to actually look dry but still feels damp. I added a volumizing spray throughout my hair (I like Ojon volume advance) and volumizing foam to my roots (I like Aquage Uplifting Spray).

First, start by sectioning off all of your hair off below your ears, and clipping the rest on top of your head with duckbill clips. Grab about a fourth of the hair you left down (or less if you have really thick hair), lift it up, and put the brush underneath it, pushing up hair at the root, and hold with the brush on hot for 5-10 seconds.

Then I slowly pull the brush through to the ends, and roll it up to the root. I keep the brush on hot for about 5 seconds, and then switch it to cool to set the hair and leave it for about 10 seconds before pulling it out. The cool switch on this brush works so much better than any hair dryer I've ever used, and actually does set my hair. You can see how curled that first piece got: 

I repeat this process all over my head, letting down small sections from the hair I have clipped up at a time.

Once I get to the top of my head, I overlap the sections I'm drying with previously dried sections to avoid having any weird separation and help the style blend together. 

And voila, an at home blowout! The beauty of this is it really only takes one hand and not a lot of concentration, so I can watch Netflix, text, or even put on makeup at the same time.

Have you ever tried using a hot air brush?

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