Beauty Box 5 | April

my April box from Beauty Box 5 arrived last week. i'm always excited to open the box to see what's inside. this box was a little disappointing to me. typically, i use at least two of the products that are included in my boxes, but this one only had one that i would actually consider purchasing. 

my box included eye shadows, lipstick, lip liner, self-tanner, and cleansing wipes. can you guess which one i'd actually use? cleansing wipes! it's a nice travel container of wipes that's perfect to toss in my purse or car for on-the-go messes. the lipstick was a shimmery brownish red, which just isn't a good color for my skin. the eyeshadows, as seen in the photo, weren't colors that i'd wear on a regular basis, but they could be good for a costume party or other event that requires purple eyeshadow ;)
i'm not much of a self-tanner girl, although some people would probably advise me to be since i'm so...fair. 

overall, it wasn't my best box but i still enjoyed opening it and learning about the different brands of products that i haven't heard of before. 

do you receive Beauty Box 5? what did you think of you box?

Casual Sunday

i spent the weekend at home in the suburbs and it was pretty delightful. as much as i love the sounds, commotion, and variety that city life offers, there's something to say for having a quiet getaway in the burbs.

i had another epiphany of sorts this weekend. i finally reached the point where i don't consider my jewelry business to just be a 'for now' thing. when i first decided i was moving to chicago, i spent months looking for jobs, applying, and interviewing for a few. nothing worked out and i was stressed. i knew that i had my jewelry business to get me through, but was anticipating needing additional income to supplement my bills and expenses. now, almost nine months later, i'm proud to say that the business is still thriving and i'm supporting myself. instead of thinking of it as a 'thing that i'll do until i have to get a real job',  it is my real job and i hope to do it for a long time. does that make sense? 

it's almost like i've finally validated it as a potential career, instead of just a job to get me to my career. truthfully, it's nearly impossible for me to imagine myself doing anything differently, but i'm open to new opportunities with the business and for ways to help it grow so that i can do it for a very long time. 

in totally separate news, it's my cousin's birthday today and she's turning 16. i remember when she was born. i'm officially old. (insert surprised/embarrassed emoji here)

p.s. those bangles from are from Ashley, a Stella & Dot consultant, and i wear them everyday. if you're ever looking for a rep, contact her. she's awesome! 

top | j.crew factory (similar)
jeans | target
jacket | zara
scarf | zara (similar)
bag | olivia & joy (similar)
necklace | j.crew factory
watch | kate spade
bracelets | stella & dot c/o ashley
flats | j.crew factory (similar)

Style Profile: Boyfriend Jeans

boyfriend jeans seem to be the thing this spring. i have yet to find a pair that fit me well enough that i don't look like i'm actually wearing my boyfriend's jeans, but i'm definitely open to wearing them. they're versatile, and you guys know how i feel about versatile items in my closet. (i feel good, for those that don't). if/when i get a pair, i plan on dressing them a variety of ways. 

how would you wear boyfriend jeans?

top | j.crew factory flats | sole society bag | forever 21 earrings | h&m

top | gap shoes | converse necklace | j.crew factory bag | forever 21

top | j.crew factory earrings | j.crew factory shoes | sole society bag | forever 21

top | h&m earrings | forever 21 bracelet | h&m bag | forever 21 shoes | sole society

boyfriend jeans | h&m

High Five for Friday

happy friday, friends! this week has gone by pretty quickly for me. i spent lots of time making jewelry and working on the blog (hint: new design!), so i'm looking forward to taking a break this weekend and enjoying the warmer weather we're expecting! 

here's a look back at five of the highlights from my week:

1. i had a meeting in the Loop yesterday, which obviously required that i stop into the Nordstrom Rack that was on my way home. i was pleasantly surprised to find some great items for spring! apparently, i was looking for pattern.

2. i'm heading out to the burbs this weekend to run some errands and spend some time with Mike's family. i'm looking forward to a weekend away from the city, but am already dreading leaving the cats.

3. Milo decided he wanted to have a moment with me, so i allowed it. it was the best 10 seconds. 

4. the 10-day forecast doesn't show anymore days in the 30's. (insert all the clapping emojis)

5. SPRING IS COMING. i wore shorts one day this week and it was glorious.

how has your week been? link up below and tell me about it!

Current Favorites: Skincare

is it just me or is this the longest winter in history? i mean, seriously. it's officially outrageous. i check the weather multiple times a day in hopes that it will miraculously whisper promises of spring and i'm almost always disappointed. we've had a few days in the 50's but i'm ready for sunshine and a minimum of 60 degrees. i'm not sure if living in the south for almost three years made me appreciate warmth or absolutely despise winter. i think it did a little bit of both. 

since winter is never-ending, i'm finding it even more important to keep my skin hydrated and summer-ready. i've been using these products lately to do just that. 

this stuff smells divine. they straight up bottled the beach in this baby. at just under 6 bucks, it's definitely worth it. not only does it smell amazing, but it really is extra-rich lotion. i can basically feel my skin soaking it all up and silently thanking me for the coconut goodness.

i use this body butter on my hands every night before bed (and sometimes during the day!). now that i use public transportation and touch a lot of things that other people touch throughout my days, i'm always washing my hands. it keeps them clean but dries them out so much, so i've found the need for a thick and moisturizing body butter. this one fits the bill perfectly and smells wonderful.

i'm a lip balm addict, born and raised. well not really, but i can't remember a time in my life when i didn't have a lip balm within arms reach. i really like Burt's Bees and this grapefruit flavored one is no exception. it smells great and hydrates my lips well. 

another great lip balm that doubles as a moisturizer for other dry areas. it's super light and (surprise!) smells great.

i found this gem at TJ Maxx and knew i had to have it. as with every other item on this list, it smells amazing. something about adding bubbles to the bath just takes it to another level, especially when they smell like tiny coconuts. sign me up.

i've grown to really love a good body scrub. i like this sugar scrub because it's gentle and leaves my skin feeling soft-as-ever. not to mention, it's great for at-home pedicures, too!

i'm not able to capture the true wonder of this scent. it really is something that you just have to try for yourself. i first used it at my sister's a few months back and knew i just had to have some for myself. it's one of those body washes that the scent sticks with you even after you rinse it off. so, it's basically perfume that you put on in the shower. 

i wish i could say that this is an extensive list of the products that are currently abiding in my bathroom cabinet, but that would be a lie. i've become somewhat of a hoarder, so i'm trying to work through them one by one. these, however, are certainly my repeat purchase products. 

Easy Spring Makeup in 8 Steps

something about the warm weather inspires me to be a bit more minimal with my makeup. part of it probably has to do with the fact that i'll sweat off anything heavy, but another side is that i prefer a fresh-faced look. two of my spring makeup staples are a cat eye and bold lips. they instantly polish and can go a long way, especially when done together. the best part is that you can simply add some shadow for an evening out with friends or a work event. follow these eight easy steps for a simple and fresh look:
powder foundation | MAC studio fix in N4
lipstick | revlon colorburst matte balm in showy

for a good cat eye tutorial, visit the beauty department.

Pinterest Recipes I've Tried and Loved

if i'm being honest, most of my time spent on Pinterest is looking for new recipes and meal ideas. it mostly occurs when i'm hungry and have nothing in my pantry. ya know, just virtually eating all the perfectly plated dishes with the freshest ingredients that 'only take 10 minutes'. yeah. right. 

i would be the worst prep chef in america. it takes me about 7 minutes just to chop a pepper, so making soups, casseroles, or really anything with many ingredients is something that i don't do often because it takes me half a day. however, i've recently dedicated Mondays to be 'cooking days'. i typically run out of food over the weekend (imma go ahead and blame my boyfriend for that one. he will eat anything and everything in sight, if not closely monitored.) so i need to run to the grocery store to buy food for the week. i've been venturing out of my typical pasta, caesar salad, or frozen pizza options and have found some great recipes on the world wide web. 

if you're like me and don't want to risk a week's worth of groceries on a not-that-good new dish, try some of these. they're all delicious and relatively simple.

*this dressing recipe is my new go-to. so easy, so delicious.
**i realize that frosting is, in fact, not a meal. however, i would make an exception for this frosting. i used it on cupcakes a couple weeks ago and it is the best frosting i've ever had. i consider myself somewhat of a frosting connoisseur, so you should take that to mean whatever you'd like. 

much of my motivation for cooking new things comes from my desire to fill up my new Rifle Paper Co. recipe box that i picked up last week at Anthropologie. i've wanted it for months and finally caved. so, i figure i need to test out recipes to make sure that they're box-worthy. 
she's a beauty, right?

if you've tried recipes that you found on Pinterest and had success, feel free to share them in the comments below! i'd love to try some more!

City Floral

happy monday, folks! 

i hope you all had a restful and blessed Easter weekend. it was absolutely gorgeous in the city yesterday. in fact, i was a little toasty while walking to church with Mike. for the first time in many months, i actually felt uncomfortably warm while outside. i've made a pact with myself that i will not complain about the heat this summer, though, after the brutal winter we've had. we'll see how it goes...i'm pretty well known for my complaining, especially about the weather.

Mike and i attended the Easter service at the church we go to in the city and then had a little basket hunt in my apartment. my mom shipped him and i baskets and insisted that we hide them for each other before opening them. so, we did. but we both quickly gave up and asked for the 'hot or cold' hints within about 30 seconds. for the record, i found mine first! 

after enjoying some of our treats, we headed out to Elly's for a little brunch. we were both so hungry that we made slightly irrational choices while ordering food, which included an extra side of pancakes and a pile of fries, in addition to our entrees. Mike and i are a good eating pair because i never eat all of the food on my plate and he always wants more food. in fact, he factors my leftovers into his order but he usually regrets it later. yesterday was one of those 'one meal' days.

in totally separate news, Otis now prefers Mike's lap to mine. i tiny part of me died yesterday when we realized it. 

floral top | Anthropologie
blouse | H&M (similar)
jeans | Madewell (similar)
heels | TJ Maxx (similar)
necklace | J.Crew Factory
purse | Olivia & Joy

toe nails | Fifth Avenue by Essie

High Five for Friday

friday, friday, we meet again. this week has been less than stellar, i.e. fighting another cold and the government stealing all my money (read: taxes). however, it's almost the weekend and it's sorta warm outside so all is good in my small world. 

let's take a look back at five of my favorite moments:
1. i discovered (seems that i'm late to the game!) Revlon's Colorburst Balms and am pretty hooked. they go on so smooth and have just the right amount of color. (this one is called 'showy flamboyant')

2. i'm excited to celebrate Easter this weekend. it's one of my favorite days of the year because of what it represents and i always enjoy attending church to reflect on it.

3. Mike and i went on date night to one of our favorite spots in the city, Las Fuentes. not only is it some of the best Mexican i've had, but they finally opened their patio so we were able to sit outside and enjoy the warmth. it was pretty glorious. i officially know what we'll be doing many weekend nights this summer.

4. don't let my 24 years of life fool you, i am still very much a kid. my mom graciously shipped me an Easter basket after i not so subtly asked for you ;) what can i say?! i love a good Easter basket. it's currently torturing me in the taped shipping box, just begging to be ripped open on Sunday.

5. i can't get over this picture of Milo. he's not a snuggler at all, unless i sit or lay (lie?) on my bed during the day. suddenly, he becomes my small spoon and we share a few precious minutes together. the rest of the time, he sleeps like this.

how has your week been? link up below and tell me about it!

have a wonderful Easter weekend! 

The Dirty Bun

if i'm being honest, i've become pretty lazy when it comes to getting ready for the day. being that i work from home, i can get away with sweats and bed head every day, minus a few judgmental looks from my cats. during the winter months, i wouldn't leave my apartment unless absolutely necessary, so there was even less motivation to style my hair and put on my 'full face'. 

during those months, i started getting more creative with my hair and trying new styles that would work on second (or third) day hair. i'm typically a down and curled or half-up girl, but i've gotten in the groove of putting my hair back. that will be essential this summer seeing as i've basically turned into Rapunzel overnight. okay, my hair's not that long, but it's sometime unruly and just needs to be out of my face. 

i've always envied women with hair that they could just throw back into a bun and it would look perfect. i am not one of those women, so i had to figure out a way to create an effortless look...with a bit of effort. what i like best about this dirty bun is that it's actually easier to do with dirty hair, so ya know, less motivation to actually wash my hair every day. 

1. roll out of bed. 
2. spray dry shampoo onto roots and/or areas that need it. 
3. rub dry shampoo into scalp and work it into your hair.
4. look like slightly less of a mess. makeup helps. 
5. if you're a teaser, do it. my hair needs a little extra life in it, so i tease at the crown and the top.
6. look like more of a mess, soon to be fixed.
7. smooth out your teasing with a comb or your fingers. 
8. mess fixed. your hair should have some good lift and volume to it now.
9. grab your hairspray and lock in your volume. 
10. pick up your trusty hair tie that's been around for far too many months and is on the brink of snapping at any point. or a new one. whatever suits you best. 
11. put your hair in a low, loose ponytail. if necessary, loosen it a bit more at the crown and sides for an easy look.
12. i like to pull a few pieces out to frame my face and create that easy look. if you want, you could stop here! but keep going. 
13. time for another tiny elastic. i recommend using the clear elastics so that they don't show.
14. twist your ponytail from the hair tie to the end.
15. start to wrap the twist around the existing hair tie. since you twisted your hair first, it should start naturally wrapping around the tie.
16. go all the way around until the end if tucked into the twist.
17. wrap your clear elastic around the bun. i can get mine around twice. if you can only do it once, add another elastic and/or bobby pins for security.
18. check yourself out and rearrange any pieces that stick out or that you don't like.
19. i like to loosen it up again by gently pulling from the bun and at my crown. 
20. you're finished! 

what i really like about this hairstyle is that it can be sophisticated or casual. i've worn my hair like this with both collared blouses and casual tees. for a little extra something, add your favorite statement earrings and a bold lip to finish!

if you're like me and always struggled with getting the perfect bun, i hope this tutorial is successful for you! 

dry shampoo | tresemme fresh start
hairspray | kenra 25
tee | madewell
earrings | elisabeth ashlie
lip color | revlon colorburst balm in showy flamboyante

Spring Style

hope you all survived tax day yesterday! i was the genius that decided to leave my taxes down to just about the last minute, so yesterday was sweet relief for me. note to self: do your taxes early. always. 

depending on where you live, the weather has maybe been just as crazy as it has been in chicago. one day it's in the 70's, the next it's snowing. not exactly what i had in mind for spring, but ya know, that's cool. i find myself wanting to only shop and dress for spring and summer, but still stuck in my winter sweaters and boots. 

based on what i've already purchased/had for the coming months, i have a pretty good idea of what my preferences will be for spring and summer:

distressed and boyfriend jeans are coming back with a vengeance...and i love it. i like pairing them with heels and a dressy top for something a bit different. most days, my style is casual and easy - solid v-necks, skinny jeans, light scarves, you get the picture. this certainly isn't changing for spring and summer. however, i'm adding some more colors and prints that i wouldn't necessarily have picked last year, so i'm excited to branch out a bit.

what is your spring/summer style?
one | old navy
two | kate spade  
three | revlon 
four | forever 21 
five | sole society
seven | anthropologie
eight | fossil
nine | j.crew
eleven | zara 

Julep Maven Box - April

and just like that, it's the middle of April. how on earth is that even possible?! i've always heard people say that life goes by faster and faster the older you's totally true. i don't know if it's because i have more things going on in my life or because i'm not living in accordance to an academic calendar, but time does seem to be flying. 

i'm reminded of just how quickly it's happening each time i receive my monthly Julep Maven box. it always catches me by surprise because i can't believe another month has gone by. this month's box came just in time for some sunshine and Spring-like weather. 

i received two nail colors and blush. Caitlin is a bright pink with a shimmer, which isn't usually my favorite but i'll definitely give it a try! Mariska is a tangerine orange with a shimmer, as well. i'm not typically an orange nail polish wearer, so i'm thinking this one will go in my 'gifts to give' box for a friend's birthday or special occasion. 

i received the glow pore minimizing blush in peach bellini and it's beautiful! i tend to go for pinker blushes, but really like the peachy coral shade of this one. i think it will be a great option for spring and summer to give my cheeks just a subtle glow. 

are you a Julep Maven? what did you think of your box this month? 

New To The Family (Beauty Products)

i've been slowly adding to my 'new products' collection in my cosmetics bag and have come across a few favorites. my mom wasn't using that Laura Mercier bronzer, so she passed it along to me and i'm so glad that she did. i'd been using MAC's bronzer (in refined golden) for years and was looking for something new. i don't mind the shimmer in this one because i feel like it adds a little extra glow. lord knows, my poor fair skin needs as much help as it can get in the 'looking bronzed' department. 

i've been using the Benefit concealer for a couple months and love it. if you've never seen it before, it has an outer ring of moisturizer that goes on with the concealer, so it's extra smooth and silky. it covers up my under-eyes great and lasts all day for me without the need to touch up. also from Benefit, the illuminator has become my best friend. once i've finished applying my makeup, i rub a bit on the apples of my cheeks, my T zone, and the corners of the mouth to brighten those spots up a bit. it really does the job well.

the Smashbox palette is my most recent purchase and i've used it everyday since. i always thought that i was anti-matte eyeshadow until i started using the matte colors from my Naked2 palette and realized that i really like them. i was browsing through the store with my sister and came across this perfect trio of colors. it's great for creating a smoky eye for day, or getting a bit more dramatic for night. 

High Five for Friday

happy friday, all yous guyses (just accessing my inner Chicagoan)! hope you've all had a great week. at times it felt like the week was flying by, but then i realized it was only Tuesday, so...i was wrong. but we made it! the weather has been absolutely delightful in the city and it's supposed to stay that way for the weekend, so i'm planning to be outside as much as possible. 

here's a look back at five of my favorite things from this week:

1. mike and i went to the Bulls game with my parents last weekend and had a great time! oh, and the Bulls won, so that's always great!
we promptly went to the store to get mike a smaller undershirt because his was so large...
2. it's my roommate's birthday today so we'll be celebrating tonight! i surprised her with a decorated room and cupcakes on monday, but i'm looking forward to celebrating with her on her actual birthday. 

3. the cats held hands and my heart exploded.

4. i popped in J.Crew while i was out running errands and tried on a few of their new items that were just calling my name. unfortunately, every single top i tried on was so short i would never wear it. what's with that?! on the bright side, i picked up a pair of casual/boyfriend-ish jeans on double sale, so that was pretty awesome. 

5. since it's warming up around here, i'm much more likely to actually take advantage of all the wonderful things the city has to offer. mike and i ventured to the Shedd Aquarium last weekend and enjoyed seeing all the fish, creatures, etc. my favorites are the seahorses (a little known fact about me is that i have a birthmark on my shoulder blade that is a dead ringer for a tiny seahorse, freckle for an eye and all). 

how has your week been? link up below and tell me about it! 

Double Duty

although i tend to disbelieve it, i don't have an endless flow of cash to spend on clothes and accessories. because of that, i try to look for items that can be styled a few different ways, so that i can really get my money's worth out of them. think: a jean jacket, LBD, a pair of great wedges. i'm thrilled to announce that Athleta's new City Pants fit the bill for this, too.   

being that i work from home, i have a totally flexible schedule and no two days look the same. some days are spent entirely in front of my computer, others are spent running errands or enjoying a little retail therapy or something else. regardless of what i'm doing, it's important for me to get out of my pajamas and feel a bit more put together.

enter: City Pants.

what's great about these pants is that they're super comfortable, made for working out (i.e. moisture wicking properties, etc.), but they can also play double duty. with just a few minor changes, you can go from gym clothes to casual...all while wearing the pants. 

to easily transition from the gym or workout studio to lunch with friends or running errands, swap your workout top and messy hair for a graphic tee and low bun. to help me feel extra put together, i added a simple necklace, eye liner, and a touch of pink to my lips. 

what i like best about these pants, besides how darn comfortable they are, is that i don't feel like i have to try to make them a transitional item, they just are. because of the material and fit of the pants,  they actually resemble the harem pants or slouchy dress pants that have been popular in seasons past. 

other ways to wear the City Pants? with your favorite Athleta sweatshirt (this is mine!), a baseball tee, or a floral tank. 

a stylish pair of pants offsets the post-workout sweat. 
outfit 1
top | Athleta
sweatshirt | Marshall's
shoes | Nike

outfit 2
tee | Zara
button-up | Target
necklace | Kate Spade Saturday

in the spirit of full disclosure, Athleta provided me with the City Pants and a couple other products. i love their products so much that i've purchased a few for myself since this campaign. all opinions are my own. 

Happy Mail (+ a giveaway!)

like probably most people, i love receiving packages in the mail. between beauty box subscriptions, supplies for my business, products to review for this blog, and things i order for myself, i receive quite a bit. my roommate is usually the one to pick them up on her way home from work, so i love seeing her walk through the door with a pile of boxes in her arms.

one of my favorite recent packages i received was from Crystal of Crystal Faye. it was full of goodies that are both functional and pretty darn cute, just like everything in her shop. 

i'm excited about the blue/green phone case because they're the perfect colors for spring. it secures nicely to my phone (in fact, i had a hard time removing it) but is still sleek enough to slip into my pocket, if need be.

when i saw these prints in the shop, i knew i had to have them. the one on the right is the perfect addition to my little gallery wall above my desk. it's a great reminder for me on a daily basis. 

also, can we talk about the water bottle? i'm trying to be intentional about drinking water all day long. i spend most days sitting at my desk at home, so i want to be sure that i'm staying hydrated. also, it helps ward off the constant whispers from my pantry of all the treats begging to be devoured. i love that this bottle has a straw attached. for some reason, i drink way more water if i'm doing it with a straw. 

this notepad is going to be perfect for blog planning and brainstorming. i tend to take some time each week to plan out my blog posts, just to get an idea in my head of what this blog will look like and what i need to do for the week. i have posts scribbles on pieces of paper and in the 'notes' section of my phone, but this pad is great for keeping them all together in one place. 

this print is so cute in my kitchen. i also happen to adhere to that philosophy. 

so, are you convinced yet that this shop has the cutest stuff? if so, you're in luck! one reader will win a $50 shop credit to Crystal Faye! use the giveaway tool below to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway