Friday, August 25, 2017

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, all!
I'm very much looking into sleeping in this weekend. That's for sure going to be a "favorite" ;) but let's get into some other ones first.

-I got this bag from Costco last week and I'm in love with it. It's enormous and fully insulated so it will keep things hot and cold. When I'm trying to eat well, I take a lot of prepped food to work so having a bag that will keep my haul cold while I'm on the train is awesome. 

I brought it with to the family picnic on Sunday and it held all my stuff with so much extra room. I love the design and I know we'll get a ton of use out of it on future picnics, beach trips, running errands, etc. Best part? It was $8. OKAY, Costco. I see you.

-Another Costco favorite: new sweats. Literally been waiting to buy clothes at Costco. It's become a very weird thing of mine. These are amazing. They're lightweight, which is how I like my sweats, super soft, and I live in them the second I get home from work. The sweatshirt has a semi-quilted detail on the sleeve which makes it appear more expensive than it is.

I sized up like several sizes because they seemed to run small and the last thing I need are fitted sweat pants... sounds like my personal nightmare.
Also best part: the were like $10 and $12. I'll be buying every color, ok, bye.

-Speaking of eating better, here's my haul from last week. I wouldn't necessarily say eating better is a "favorite" of mine because I generally enjoy food that is honestly just bad for you ;) but having my body feel better from eating cleaner food is a favorite for sure. 

-Goodreads has become a favorite this week despite my initial strong dislike for it. I should be the last person to dislike a site like Goodreads since I love books so much, but there was something about the format that was off putting to me so I never really utilized it. But then this week I saw someone pledge to do their reading challenge and was like, YEP, need to do that too even though we're already more than halfway through the year... and I went and pledged to read 75 books. Have only read 11 so far. So pissed about it. But I'm determined to get real close to that number by the end of the year considering I have about 20 books already started. I've been adding every book ever to my profile which has forced me to go through all the stacks in my room and it's brought me so much joy this week. Add me if you're on there! 

-My Dad and I are going to see John Mellencamp this weekend at Ravinia and I'm so excited. I got him tickets for Father's Day and have been looking forward to it since. Last year around this time we saw John Fogerty and we loved him. So I'm thinking this might be a new tradition for us. 

-Scandal. I forgot how much I love Scandal. I binged the shit out of that show the last few days in order to finish season five and six so I'm ready for season seven in October and now I can't wait. I have no idea where they're going to go with season seven now that there's a new president in town, but that makes me even more pumped for it, especially since it's the final season.

-I'm starting to see Halloween and other holiday pins infiltrate my Pinterest feed and I couldn't be more excited for it. I'm SO pumped for the holidays, it's crazy. Definitely need to write up my Fall Bucket List and post it on here.

-I saw on Cup of Jo that CVS started carrying several Korean beauty products and they were talking about the JJ Young Pore Steaming and Cooling mask. Apparently, it gives your skin this steaming sensation which opens up all your pores to release all the junk and then it finishes with a cooling sensation. I rarely need to be convinced to try any kind of mask and this was certainly no exception. It sounds awesome, so I ordered it ASAP. Can't wait to try it out.

I hope everyone has a fun weekend!

Monday, August 21, 2017


This was a hard Monday to face for some reason. Last night I had a major case of Sunday "scaries." I think having Friday off made the weekend feel extra long and luxurious and the thought of waking up for work today seemed to take extra energy. I guess that's the mark of a good weekend though, right?

Friday I slept until 10 am which was beyond glorious, changed into my new longing clothes courtesy of Costco that cost me $9.99, curled up on the couch with the dog and proceeded to watch Bachelor in Paradise against my better judgement. I told people at work I absolutely refuse to watch either The Bachelorette or The Bachelor (unless they make Wells the bachelor this year), but I would watch Bachelor in Paradise so I would actually know what the hell they're talking about at lunch. 
After watching last week's episodes, I proceeded to binge watch Scandal for the next like fourteen hours (like seriously from noon until 6 am the next morning because Shonda Rhimes runs my life) in an attempt to catch up to the current season. Can't even stand how dramatic and unnecessary but also how much I love, love, love it.


Sammy night Sammy and I went down to Taylor Street for the Italian fest. We haven't been before because the festival always falls on a weekend when something else is going on, but this year we were able to sneak over there. We thought it was a tad overrated--the Taste of Melrose is way better, better food and more authentic--but enjoyed the food we did try. It was incredibly crowded which really affects the whole experience too.

On Sunday we got up early and met Sammy's whole family for their annual picnic at Lake Geneva. 

The weather was in the low 80s and the sun stayed behind the clouds which made for a cool and comfortable day. 

Fell right off the wagon obviously^^

For some reason, they waited until the end of the day to take a family picture so some people had already left. This is like half of the people who were here.

Oh my heart.

We got home early and spent the rest of the night watching The Flash (Sammy got me a tad bit hooked now too) before I headed home to get ready for the week (which really just involved me showering since I insist on doing the bare minimum on Sunday nights). 

It was a fun weekend to spend with family and get some quality time in with Sammy. He works every weekend throughout the end of September and all of October and November, so we're savoring these last few weekends he's off. 

Hope everyone had a fun-filled weekend!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, friends! I'm off from work today and couldn't be more excited about it. It's my team's last "Summer Friday" off, so we're a little bummed, but I've SO been looking forward to today since it seems to be the only Friday I've had off this summer that I haven't had any plans. 

Today you can find me in bed after sleeping wayyy in ;) and vegging out in front of the tv with my pup and some queso under 7 blankets with the air conditioning on full blast. 


And also, be forewarned, this is probably the most random Friday Favorites I've ever done. There is no order and no reason for anything except they're all things I'm kind of totally digging right now.

This is what my desk looks like when advanced copies of our books get delivered. And it's definitely a favorite because there's nothing like seeing a book you helped produce come to life and become something you can hold in your hands. 
I can't imagine how our authors and illustrators feel. They are the true artists.

Another huuuge favorite is seeing my name in a book's acknowledgements. (I'm the extra, extra long name there right in the middle.) When an author uses such valuable real estate in their book to thank me for my efforts...ugh, it never gets old. So grateful I get to do what I do.

And moving right along to something totally unrelated, except it's related in the sense that we're moving from my career to Sammy's...a police scanner app! How exciting, I know. BUT it is pretty cool. You can download Scanner Radio and search any area you'd like and follow along with the police scanner. If you have a family member or partner who works the second or third shift (especially if you don't yet live together because you're trying to milk it at your parents' house forever and you don't see each other a ton), it's nice to hear their voice over the speaker and know that they're safe.
Because cauliflower is such a natural shift in topic... I've been trying to get back on the wagon lately and cutting carbs is UNFORTUNATELY usually where I have to go in order to see any kind of progress on the scale, so I've been on the hunt for some good alternatives to comfort, carb-y foods. This mashed cauliflower side is actually really good. I was impressed with how much flavor was there. It's quick, it's already done for me, and it tastes pretty good, so it's a win for me. 
I don't love, love vegetables. Like I like them, and I really like the ones that aren't that great for you (potatoes in all forms, corn, etc.), but after day three I'm like, okay, where's the deep dried version of this? Seriously, you people that loooooove vegetables... how? and in what world? Because in mine, they all get old pretty quick. Unless someone is cooking them for me, in which case, I tend to like them a lot. 
So maybe the issue here is me ;)

I saw this in the grocery store the other day and grabbed one just to try it. I love, love, love pumpkin pie, but I was still hesitant about whether or not this was going to be good, but I really liked it! It tastes more like pumpkin cheesecake filling to me, but that's something I can get behind. It would be great as a dessert "alternative" especially since it only has like 8g of sugar or something. If you happen upon it, I would recommend trying it. 

This mascara is a game changer people, a game. changer. It's no wonder people are talking about it all over social media. After Carli Bybel mentioned her obsession with the L'Oreal Telescopic mascara, I went out and bought it immediately and haven't used anything else. Until now. People have said this is the drugstore dupe for Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara, but I think this is way better. It makes my lashes look full without being clumpy and it lengthens insanely with only one swipe (I obviously swipe about 17 more times, but still). L'Oreal just knows what they're doing when it comes to mascara. If you're into makeup, please do yourself a favor and buy this if you haven't already. 
shop here
I knowwwww, I know. People don't want to hear about fall, let alone Halloween, but I can't help myself. I follow Bucket List Narratives because I think they're adorable and they're super into Disney, which obviously makes me like them even more, so when I saw they started selling the cutest Disney stuff in their shop, I immediately added this mug to my cart. "I need it for work," I told myself. My coworkers will think I'm adorable and festive. 
They literally won't care. Or they'll chalk it up to me being my normal, holiday-crazed self.
But isn't it so cute?! I can't wait to see what they come out with for Christmas. 
I may or may not have purchased the pink castle hoodie as well... #WhatCreditCardDebt?

Speaking of holidays and spending...! It's officially "that time" as my coworker and I have declared it. The time to start looking for ugly holiday attire to embarrass ourselves with by wearing to work. 
I am nothing if not professional.
I found the Croft and Barrow holiday mother load on ThredUp today and grabbed that lovely wintery vest and a brand-new snowflake long sleeve t, each $6.99. A snowflake top, two sizes too big, with the tags still on it? A snowman applique?! Sign me up. 
You'd probably never guess it, but I'm very much in love with fashion. I always have been. However, no one can appreciate the insanity and fun festive knit vests and holiday sweaters bring more than me. I'm growing quite the collection much to everyone's dismay. 
I read about Function of Beauty on Cupcakes and Cashmere a few weeks ago and decided to place an order before Sammy and I left for Cabo. The package was waiting for me when I got back and I have been loving it ever since. It's a company that creates customized shampoo and conditioner sets and while I'll admit it's a little frivolous and a tad bit pricey (I think I paid $30 for the set), it's the best shampoo and conditioner for my curly hair. You start by doing a hair personality quiz and you get to pick five things you'd like your products to do for you. Some of mine were growth, nourish roots, define curls, tame frizz, etc. You give a preference on scent (I chose something in the essential oil family) and strength of scent. Mine smells so good, like peppermint and eucalyptus which happen to be two of my favorites. Above all, I can't believe how well it tames my frizz and leaves my hair feeling so soft and healthy. The products are made in the USA and the packaging is so sweet--my bottles have my name on them! If you're in the market, I would recommend trying it out, even once. 


I could add a few more randos here, but I thought I would spare anyone who is possibly still reading ;) bless you if you are.

Unfortunately, we have a funeral to go to on Saturday, but it will be nice to be around family I don't get to see too often, and hoping for a low-key night after that. And on Sunday, we have Sammy's family's annual picnic which is always such a fun day. 
Enjoying the last of these summer days. 

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017


I'm trying to make consistent posting a thing again over here, so I'm here with a little weekend recap. 

We spent a lot of time with Sammy's family which was really nice. All of us cousins were together for two family get-togethers and it was so good to hang out and catch up since we're all scattered across Chicago and IL. I got a lot of much needed time with my niece as well ;)

I spent Saturday afternoon with some of my favorite women in Sammy's family celebrating one his cousin's 65th birthday. It was a surprise which made it all the more fun.

She's really into board games, so another one of our cousins made her a Scrabble cake! 
So cute, right?

And since her face isn't in this I can technically post it ;) look at those leg rolls! 
Our little chicken struggled in the beginning to gain weight, but now she's in the clear and is gaining consistently, so anytime we see rolls we lose our minds.

After the birthday lunch, I went home to change and freshen up a bit (aka take a 45-minute nap) before heading over to Sammy's nonno's 80th birthday dinner at Trezero's in Mt. Prospect. It was so nice to spend time with the other side of his family (the side where all the cousins are around the same age. It's so fun doing life with them.) and the dinner was really lovely. 

All those guys up there are so good.

On Sunday we ventured over to Stone Park for the San Francesco di Paola festival. Stone Park feels so old school Italian to me and I love being in those kinds of neighborhoods. They remind me a lot of my grandparents (especially my grandpa since he's no longer with us) and how they would get together all the time with their cousins and cook dinner together, play cards, and go to fests like this. 

That's a huge reason why I love spending time with Sammy's cousins so much because it feels like we're bringing back some of the "old" Italian traditions my family has slipped away from since so many of our relatives from that generation have passed away. 

The festival is held on the grounds at Casa Italia which is the Chicago Italian Cultural Society. There's a mass in the morning outside in the pavilion which Sammy's grandparents always attend. We meet them after for the food ;)

Families can come with their own food and picnic (which many, many people do) or you can wait in line for the free plate they offer anyone who wants one. We always make a donation, but it's really amazing the amount of cooking they do considering how many people attend this festival every year.

The line leading up to this little house (which is where my grandparent's Italian social club used to meet when I was little) ends up taking a pretty long time to get through, but we just chat and catch up so it doesn't really bother us. 

The tables are always full by the time we get our food, so we found a shady spot in the grass to eat.
And also this plate. I mean. OK.

And since her face isn't technically facing us... I think this is OK to post as well because look at how sweet this guy is with his niece/goddaughter :) 
Damn, a man with a baby, I swear to god. Gets ya every time.

Also a man and a golden retriever. UGH. 

After the mass is over, the pavilion empties and the Sicilian band plays music for the rest of the day until other vocalists come on in the evening. Sammy's grandparents always stay until almost midnight so they can hear all the performers. It's so sweet, especially since they're not stay-out-till-midnight kind of people ;)

Love these people. 

Sammy and I spent the rest of Sunday night relaxing by starting The Sinner with Jessica Biel. We both really like it, and I wish it was one of those shows they released all at once so we could binge it. 

The rest of this week will be filled with getting back on the healthy eating horse, two kickboxing classes, getting more dog walks in, and having Friday off (!). 

Hope everyone had a fun weekend!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Friday Favorites

I guess it wouldn't be a "Friday Favorites" without including some of my favorite snapshots of our trip to Cabo last week! 

This was the view from our room and I literally jumped up and down when I saw the ocean.

Lobby views 

Views from the buffet.

I was promised tea in bed one morning and I got it ;)

Pool volleyball every. damn. day.

My grandma's birthday was one of the days we were on our trip so after I got off the phone with her, Sammy and I ordered her favorite drink--gin & tonic--and toasted to her 

$25 Amazon dress for the win because I'm really couture.

Frizz-ball hair because Mexico

Hibachi on a Friday night.

Fav spot 

We did breakfast well every day.

Always repping my cubbies.

Back for more...

Because I couldn't stop taking pictures of our views.

We have about 100 more worse than this.

plane ride home

As I mentioned in my previous post, we really enjoyed getting away and spending some quality time together, but that sun is brutal, man. If we ever go back, we'd have to go in the winter months when the temps are a little more tame. 

Another fav--my cousin asked me to be a bridesmaid! Her wedding is next July and she gifted us our bridesmaid's dresses as our gift!

I think they're going to be perfect for a hot July wedding. They're incredibly flattering and stretchy (!!) which is a first for any bridesmaid dress I've had to wear. 

Another fav was getting to see a sneak peek of these two's wedding photos. I mean, come on. How gorgeous are they?

Loving on "dawn rising" from Lipsense.

Such a pretty neutral, especially with the matte gloss over it

Sammy and I tried a Sicilian restaurant in Crystal Lake a few weeks ago when we went to see Guys and Dolls and we were floored with how much we liked it. 

Really great photo of him eating their pasta fagioli that we were obsessed with. da Baffone is already a favorite for us. I'm so excited there is a good Italian place to go to once we move over there ;)

Some product favorites for ya (and my thigh, but don't worry about it)
this soft light blurring powder from Becca is incredible. Incredible. It leaves the skin looking so flawless I can't stand it. I won't go back to my translucent powder.

And as usual, Jaclyn Hill is correct. She's recommended this foundation in several videos and raaaaved about it, so I knew I had to check it out the last time I was in Sephora. Bought in on the spot. I'm a longtime lover of Estee Lauder's DoubleWear foundation (and still love it, it's the best full coverage foundation out there), but this Dior foundation is out of control. OUT of control. It's absolutely stunning on the skin and dries so perfectly which is amazing for my oily skin. It's a medium coverage and buildable which is nice for summer. Highly, highly recommend. There's a reason it's the only foundation JHill currently wears. Worth every penny.

Two favorites here from a trip to Target--gotta keep it real--this pretty lingerie from Gilligan & O'Malley and I didn't have to use the anti-diarrheal on our trip. Huge wins. 

Pup snuggles, always a favorite.

Every year, my dad and I work at the Lake County Fair in the culinary division. I always really enjoy doing it with him and my aunts run the textiles division, so it's fun to spend time with them as well. 

We decorate our area with baking supplies and my vintage cookbooks and basically sit around while retirees come and take a look at what ribbons they won on their breads and chocolate chip cookies. It's very nerdy and we're the youngest people there by like 30+ years, but I know they're memories I'm going to look back on. 

Isn't that cake above of the drive-in so cool though?! that was done by a teenager!


I always love looking at the quilts too because I've always wanted to be able to quilt but doubt I'll ever have the patience for it. These were done by the same woman and I love her color/pattern combos, especially that Christmas one! I gushed to her about how much I love her work and that she should sell them and I think I freaked her out a little bit. But actually, I want that Christmas one though...

A few weekends ago, my girlfriend from DePaul got married, so Sammy and I spent the day downtown. Sammy wasn't able to attend the ceremony, so I went and then we met for lunch afterward during the gap between the ceremony and reception. 

We met at Homeslice which has some awesome pizza. I got there early so I was able to sip my high life and read Sherman Alexie's new memoir (also a HUGE favorite right now--it is absolutely stunning) and I was living for the quiet, alone time.

Kate's dress was so beautiful, she looked absolutely lovely. 

How cool is this?!

As always, DePaul looked stunning as well.

They had this gorgeous mirror as their seating chart when you walked in.

And a table to take polaroids, so cute.

The champagne cocktail was delicious...

as pictured here ;) with my handsome date.

The reception was at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Lincoln Park and it was such a fun venue to be at. Cocktail hour was outside in their courtyard among all these pretty blooms and a beautiful white bridge that overlooked a water feature (where we took some sneak peeks of the bride and groom getting their picture taken). 

So simple, so pretty

The centerpieces alternated between this set up of votives, candles, and flowers directly on the table, and larger bouquets. It was so romantic.

One of their bridesmaid's made the cake and it looked so beautiful.

The mushroom raviolis were awesome.

We ate out on the rooftop of the museum and when the sun started to go down, the string lights went on. They had their first dance on the rooftop and then everyone moved into the room right off the roof for more dancing. Sammy had to work at 5 am the next morning, so we left pretty soon after dessert and coffee, but we had such a lovely time celebrating this couple who happen to be some of the nicest people around.


It's a family weekend this weekend as we have two family birthdays on Saturday--a women's-only surprise lunch for Sammy's great aunt and his nonno's 80th birthday in the evening--and we're going to an Italian fest on Sunday afternoon. Hoping to squeeze in a little relaxation time tonight and maybe a Costco trip somewhere in there. 

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!