Friday, June 23, 2017

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! Sharing some favorites from life lately...

Shopping Finds

Per usual, I should really cut back with the online shopping, but some of these summer sales lately have been too good. 

I picked up these two Free People tops because I've recently realized just how much I am obsessed with Free People. I just love the variety in their line, especially their flowy/boho style stuff. Andrea has posted about that white shirt before, so when I saw Bloomingdales had it on sale for just over $20 I knew I had to snag it. I'm excited for it to come in. 

I grabbed this dress from Nordstroms yesterday (!) per Courtney's suggestion. Seriously, everything looks lovely on her. (As an aside, I recently discovered her blog and she is DEFINITELY a new favorite. I'm completely obsessed with her fashion and decor style.) I have a very summery, nature-y wedding at the end of July and I think this will be perfect for it. And for $40? Yes, please. 

So I've been really loving Birkenstocks recently like they look so cute on everyone (in like an ugly way), but I felt like they would legitimately look ugly on me, so I've been wary of paying the price for them. So I picked up these knock offs from Target for $22.99 and figured I would just return them if I hated them. Well. I'm obsessed. Don't even care if they're ugly. Don't even care that they're knock offs. I think they look really awesome in person and they're super comfortable. I've been wearing them everywhere. 

I ran to Sephora with Chelsie last week to pick out a lipstick she'll wear on the big day (! - she picked this btw) and I grabbed a few things for myself because I have no self control. 

I finally got the "Take the Day Off" balm that Clinique makes. I love their eye makeup remover from this line, so I've been wanting to try a product that would take everything on my face off. I like it a lot so far! It really breaks down all kinds of makeup which is great. 

I grabbed the travel size version of this volumizer because I've been wanting to try a Living Proof product and because that section by the registers is literally the reason why I go to Sephora. 

I used this product this morning after I curled my hair and loooove the way it smells. I threw it in my purse and am excited to use it after work to see if it gives me some volume after a full day.

I grabbed this guy because Origins is my go-to skincare brand and this might be the best mask I've ever used. I'm typically a sheet mask kind of girl because they're easier and less messy, but this mask (and their charcoal masks) are total game changers. I can't even describe how much I love their products. 

I grabbed all of their new sheet masks (because I can't relax about anything) from their website earlier this month and have been loving them which is no surprise. I highly recommend checking them out. 

Now this isn't the most fun product, and god knows I'd rather not have to wear it, but boy am I happy they exist. 
(I'm always looking for recommendations for stuff like this, so I thought I would share in case anyone is looking!)
Guys, I may have found the shape wear to end all shape wear. I initially didn't want to wear anything this constricting to Chelsie's wedding because I really want to be comfortable and just enjoy, but when I realized I wasn't going to lose the weight I wanted to lose in time for the wedding, I knew I had to change my plans a bit. 
So I ordered this Maidenform shape wear without much positive expectation (I don't have great luck with shape wear and I actually really dislike Spanx. They've never worked well for me ever. Plus that price tag...), but it delivered this week and I'm really, really loving them. They're soft, comfortable (for shape wear which is huge), and have a thick piece of sticky material around the waistband to hold them up. I'm wearing them for the group photos and ceremony only (and then ditching them for dinner and the reception because I'm not a total masochist) and I'm hoping they hold up as well as I think they're going to. They fit true to size, in my opinion, but some reviewers were saying they could have sized down to get even more tightening power (which is why I also ordered these in a medium but chucked that idea when I couldn't get them over my knees). Did I mention they're $15? Ok. 


*I have a decent amount, so if you're a reader, I can't wait to hear what you think! But if you're not, you'll hate this, so bye*

On the children's front...

My mom and I are big, big fans of RBG (I have an illustrated button of her on my denim jacket) so when a picture book came out about her, I knew it would be a perfect addition to my mom's birthday gift. I love all these picture book bios coming out about badass women! 

I also preordered She Persisted as soon as it became available to do so. It came in the mail a few weeks ago and it's been so lovely to page through and see what amazing women came before us. 
We have so much gratitude to give. 
I started building my future children's library this year (working in the industry makes that a little too easy at times), so I grab a picture book whenever it speaks to me and I've been stockpiling them in our basement. I'm thrilled to have this one as part of my daughter and/or son's collection. 

On the young adult front... 

I've still only partially gotten into Everything, Everything and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. I know I'm not going to have any issue with an Alexie novel, but Everything, Everything  is proving to be a little more difficult for me to get into which is disappointing because Nicola Yoon has been getting so much publicity and seems really awesome. I work with an editor who worked on Everything, Everything and said her newest book is even better, so I'm more interested in that one now. 

However, I did finish Zenn Diagram which I thought was very sweet for a debut YA author. It had a cool premise where the main character could know exactly what a person was feeling or at least gauge their energy whenever she touched one of their belongings. She tutored after school, so if she touched someone's calculator or notebook, she sensed a lot of vibes from them. She discovers that she has a deeper connection to one of the boys she tutors than she could have realized. It was innocent without being corny and/or over the top. I'd recommend it! 

I also finished Once and For All by Sarah Dessen who is my QUEEN YA novelist. I absolutely love her and was so excited when her book was available for pre-order. This book felt like she was getting back to her roots, as I've felt with the last two or so books of hers that she seemed to be waning from her authentic tone a little bit (as much as I hate to admit it). I really enjoyed this one and finished it within the week. It made me want to reread all of her stuff, especially The Truth About Forever which is my favorite Dessen novel. *heart eyes forever*

Up next: 
A coworker grabbed an ARC of A Short History of the Girl Next Door at BEA in New York a few weeks ago and is letting me borrow it, so I'm excited to dive into that. 

On the adult front...

I finished It Ends with Us which was an easy read and I enjoyed it despite the serious topic of domestic abuse, although I'm glad this topic is being featured in popular contemporary fiction in an authentic way that allows people to have a safe conversation about it.

I ended up reading Confess later in the same week and finished it in a day because I wanted to watch the tv show they made of it. Finished that in a day too because, well, look at that guy (also, it's only like six episodes long). Definitely a guilty pleasure, but I actually liked the tv show more.  

I finished Forever, Interrupted this month as well. I definitely liked it, but I've heard that her others are better, so I have a new one on my nightstand now. Her books can be considered somewhat chick-lit-y (even though I hate that term), but they're easy reads that aren't over the top corny or dramatic. Dialogue is a big thing for me in YA and contemporary fiction, especially when there's a romance angle, because I tend to feel like dialogue often sounds forced or unrealistic, but I think she does dialogue well. 

Up next:

This is the new TJR novel I have on my nightstand and I've heard really good things about it, so I'm excited to get into it. I read the prologue before bed the other night and it seems to be setting up the book nicely.

This has been on my nightstand just begging to be read. It has gotten so much praise and the plot diving into the restaurant scene in New York has me hooked. A coworker named this her favorite book of 2016 (and we make books, so I like to think our opinions are somewhat valid ;)) so I'm eagerly waiting to get into this. 

Personal Favs

The only favorite that really sticks out this week is the obvious...tomorrow is Chelsie and Dan's wedding! 

I've said it 100 times, and I'm sure every bride and/or the people that have been along for the planning ride have said the same thing, but I can't believe we're here. It seems so crazy to think all that planning is coming to fruition tomorrow. 

The rehearsal dinner was last night and it was so fun to be with the whole group. Dan's dad made a lovely speech before dinner and it gave me hope for my own I'll be giving tomorrow night which I'm freeeeaking out about. 


It's kind of weird how weddings make you evaluate your friendship with the person getting married. Like what is it about our friends getting married that makes us analyze every detail of our friendships? I guess it's the growing up and the moving on and wondering if things will stay the same or how they'll change. It's reminiscing and having gratitude for your memories, and for a sentimental fool like me, I can admit to spending a lot of time thinking about our friendship and what it has meant to me over the last twenty years. 

As I mentioned, I have to give a speech, which I've been dreading for the last year and a half, but I'll do it (with the help of some whiskey, I'm sure)! I had to cut back on said sentimentality because I knew I'd be a ball of hysterics if I didn't. Her card on the other hand, that is filled with the grossest amount of nostalgia and love imaginable. 

We're off to get mani/pedis and I've surprised the bride with evening massages tonight, so we'll be enjoying a pampered day before tomorrow :) We're also having a sleepover tonight in the hotel just the two of us and I can't wait. 

I can't wait to share pictures from tomorrow. It's going to be just the best day. 

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Life Lately

A little round up what's been going on around here...


Last month, I went with my girlfriend from grad school to visit the American Writer's Museum the week it opened in Chicago. We're both such writer/book nerds that we were in total heaven. 


My company is having our cocktail party here while Chicago hosts a big library conference, but I'm missing it because it's the same night as Chelsie's wedding (damn good reason to miss it!). My girlfriend, Jen, and I have been hearing about the writer's museum opening since we were undergrads so we were so excited to finally see it completed. 


They had really cool exhibits like the "word waterfall" that had quotes running down it from different people from different walks of life describing what it means to be American. And that long scroll is the original manuscript of On the Road. So cool. 


I was entranced by the windows for some reason and the views of my beautiful city. 


Afterward we stopped for fish tacos and beer and a much needed catch up session. 


If we can please ignore the dirty mirror... my bridesmaid dress came in at the end of May for Sammy's cousin's wedding. It ended up being way too big (which I'm not at all complaining about since things are rarely too big for me...) so I'll be getting it altered tonight. Can't wait to be like "Yes, ma'am, please take it in by a foot." Usually I'm like "Yeah, I don't need you to let it out, it'll be 'motivation'" and then I eat curly fries.



Chelsie's bachelorette weekend was at the end of May and it was so much fun. I spent the morning before we left at Trader Joe's getting some last minute necessities (not pictured: three bags of baked Cheetos because I'm obsessed). We stopped at a super cute European-style bistro on the way up to Michigan for some sandwiches.

We made it!

The house was so sweet and perfect for our group. We were pleasantly surprised with way more room than we thought we were going to have. 



I didn't want to go nuts with decorations and since I wasn't 100% sure how much space we were going to have (the rental company only had so many pictures on their site), I didn't want to bring a million things and over crowd the space. So I hung a classy "Same Penis Forever" sign here and some underwear there ;)

I had a tassle garland handing from the table where I set up the favors for each guest. Chelsie wanted to get everyone a bottle of wine she picked for them, so we had those, and then I had hair ties, tattoos (that we wore the night we went out), and personalized stemless glasses for everyone. 


My best girl at work made a few signs for the party (that matched the look of the invitation) and I framed them in recycled frames I found around my house. 

I had some gold glitter confetti on many surfaces around the house and then I had a bottle of champagne set out for the girls to sign with well wishes for Chelsie. 


The highlight of the house for me was all the outdoor space. The rental company didn't have any pictures of the outdoor space on the site, so we were so surprised with how much room we had once we got there! Huge selling point. There was a screened in porch, a big deck with a grill, and a yard with a bunch of chairs and a bonfire. 

We spent a majority of our time having breakfast on the porch, snacking on the deck, and making s'mores in the evening by the bonfire. It started to rain while we had the fire going, so we all ran inside the screened in porch and stayed out there listening to the rain. It was so nice to have that space to congregate together. 


The kitchen was also super adorable and functional for our group. I hung another banner and used the chalkboard to display the hashtags Chelsie and I took way too long deliberating on ;) Please note: pink and purple penis straws on bar area. Obv.

On Saturday, we walked to the beach which was a few blocks away. It was chilly in the morning so we all walked over there in coats, but once we got there, the temps rose like crazy! which was awesome.

Our little group on the beach. 

We ate really healthy all weekend, as you can see. Please also note: I'm the only one using a penis straw. 

Later that night, we got ready to go out and headed to the only bar I could find that would have a DJ playing some kind of music we could dance to. This meant we had to travel 20 minutes into Indiana haha. It was an experience to say the least, but they played some good throwback music and we got to dance which was my only goal. There was a bachelor party there too and the groom is getting married on the same day as Chelsie!

On Sunday, we got up somewhat early so we could get ready for the wine tour! 

We stopped at four wineries throughout the six hour tour and they were all really fun to visit.

We used Fruitful Vines and I would recommend them to anyone. I went on a wine tour with them for another bachelorette party a few years ago and they were just as good for our tour this time. They offer wine-o-wagon tours where you're transported via covered wagon (which I did for the previous bachelorette party and enjoyed a lot actually) or the vino-coach option which is a shuttle bus. Our tour required the shuttle bus which I was initially a little disappointed about, but it turned out to be so nice! It was incredibly clean and comfortable and our tour guide was so sweet and knowledgeable. 

It was so fun getting closer to Chelsie's work friend who I typically only see once a year or so. She's the sweetest and I can't wait to see her at the wedding.

Chelsie's dad met us after the tour and treated our entire group to dinner at Redamak's which was so sweet of him. Definitely a must stop if you're in New Buffalo.

We spent the rest of Sunday night relaxing and catching up with one another. It was a really nice way to cap off an event filled weekend.

Aaaand we used the selfie stick one last time before we left because we're dorks. 


Perhaps the most exciting thing that has happened to me happened on June 3rd. My niece was born! 
Eliana Rose. 7 lbs 1 oz. 21 inches long.
The new parents are holding off on sharing photos of my girl on social media, so I can't post any here either (but it won't stop me from posting some of my SIL pre-delivery! ;)), but believe me when I say she's the most stunning thing EVER.

Sammy and I are over the moon in love with her. She's absolutely lovely and we soak up any time we get to spend with her. 

I had this onesie made for Sammy to give to her ;) 
She received a lot of summer clothes from my SIL's family, so Sammy and I are waiting until fall and winter to get her some more (which will be my JAM), but we had to get her a few outfits she can wear right now. 


This is what happens when your zia and zio (aunt and uncle in Italian for all you non-guidos) are feminists but also appreciate a nice ice cream graphic. Sammy was obsessed with that ice cream onesie haha and for $4, how can you pass it up?!

We grabbed these little ruffle shorts in white and chambray as well. I figure my SIL can pair both onesies with either color shorts, as well as many of the other tops she's already gotten. I can't wait to see her little legs in these ruffle shorts!


Coincidentally, my SIL went into labor the night before Sammy's cousin's bachelorette party, so I was at the hospital until 5 am the day of the party, went home to finish packing, got an hour sleep, and left the house at 7:30 to catch the train downtown. Ha! I was running on fumes, but it was for such a good reason it didn't even matter!

I beg everyone to disregard how gross I look which isn't hard to do when the bride is as STUNNING as my cousin (I've dropped the Sammy's cousin thing because she just as much my cousin ;) and it's easier to type haha) is. Who looks like that while doing arial yoga?!

So we started the morning by meeting at the Airbnb my other cousin (the bride's sister and MOH) booked for us. We went to an arial yoga class in the south loop which was really cool but further proved I have zero upper body strength which is, of course, entirely necessary for this class. 

We stopped for lunch and some extra champagne and then headed over to get mani/pedis. 

When we got back to the house, everything was decorated and was super cute. 

One of the bridesmaids monogrammed these tumblers for us which I looove. Please note: that is in fact a penis below me. Didn't realize that was there until just now, but I'm also not sorry about it. 

I was a tad tipsy from our mani/pedi champagne sipping so I apologize these pictures are a bit (and hilariously) blurry... but my cousin and MOH has such an eye for detail and picked up sweet little things like these napkins to have for the party. 

We snacked on some awesome little bites while we took turns taking showers and sipping champagne in our new tumblers (which proved to be super dangerous fun, as I can attest to).

The bride opened her gifts before we got ready together to go out downtown. She's seriously the cutest! I can't!

We met a few more ladies at STK for a two-hour steak dinner. It was pricey, but the food was really good and the environment was perfect for a swanky bachelorette dinner. 

It was all-you-can-drink, so, we did. 

These ladies were so fun to spend the weekend with! I loved getting to know them and I'm looking forward to more lemon drops and dancing together in a few weeks. 


We're trying "summer hours" at work this year which is exciting. We work a 9-hour day Monday through Thursday and then a regular 8-hour day on Friday when you're scheduled to be in the office and then every other Friday you're off completely. 

We were asked to post our schedules outside our cubes so people would know when we'll each be out of the office (each department has split up the two sets of Friday dates that they're off) and since I work with very talented graphic designers, they all have super cute signs on the walls of their cube that took them three seconds to put together. I on the other hand spent 45 minutes photoshopping sunglasses on the cast of The Sopranos. 


Sammy's nana turned 80 in May and they had a big party for her, but unfortunately, we both missed it because Sammy was on duty and I was out of town for Chelsie's bachelorette party. 

So we took her out to dinner, just the three of us, to celebrate. She's the sweetest lady and we adore her so much. (She started to cry when they brought out a piece of tiramisu for her, ha!)


We're getting crazy close to the wedding and I've been meeting up with Chelsie each week to do various wedding-related tasks. A few weeks ago it was so I could learn how to bustle her dress, and this week it was a quick run to Sephora to pick the lipstick she'll wear on the big day. 

I can't describe how much I've appreciated being included in all these seemingly small-detail decisions and events. I wanted to cry when we picked her lipstick! (Which I realize is a very "me" thing to do, but still haha.)


Last week I went downtown to met up with one of my closest friends from college (who is getting married two weeks after my cousin, Sarah, in July!) for Asian tapas, sushi, and a pitcher of sangria. It was so awesome to catch up with her and hear all about the wedding since we're only a month or so out. 



Temperatures reached the 90s a few weekends ago, and we kicked off the summer at Sammy's cousin's new house for his son's birthday party. They had a massive amount of food (classic) and we hung out by the pool all afternoon which was so nice. 


I've got some MOH hair inspiration on my phone these days. 


Sammy's been spending his days with some pup friends ;) 


Last weekend we had the nicest Father's Day ever (as my dad repeatedly told me and melted my heart every time) starting out at Schmaltz's Deli in Naperville. 

Sammy's brother had recommended it and since my dad is Sammy's brother's biggest fan (he sold them their house so they bonded a lot during that process haha), he insisted we go immediately. Such good food and excellent service. We stayed after they closed to finish eating, but before we left my dad wanted to try a piece of their cheesecake so he asked if the registers were closed down for the night, and the owner said they were, but we could just take the cheesecake anyway. So sweet and major points earned. Highly recommend stopping by if you're in the area. I had the reuben and matzo ball soup and both were awesome. 

We went mini golfing later in the evening, and then stopped by our favorite Chinese restaurant for dinner followed by frozen custard for dessert. 

My dad is the greatest man I know, so he deserves nothing less than the best. Loved spending the day with him and showing him how much he means to us through laughter and good food. 


That's all for now. It's wedding week! Chelsie gets married in four days and I can't even begin to process that. I swear to god I'm more nervous for her wedding than I will be for my own. 

Can't wait to share pictures here soon!