Workspace Redo

every couple months, i get the urge for a change in my surroundings. while i have been on the track of moving to a new apartment every year, a much easier and cheaper option is to just rearrange my furniture and switch up my decor and accessories a bit. i'm lucky to have space in my bedroom to really change the look and feel by moving some pieces around, which is what happened over the weekend. i crave natural light, so i decided to move my desk in front of my windows. plus, it will be perfect when the screens are back on the windows and the spring air can come through. 

since i'm right in front of the windows, i can't hang anything above my desk, but that isn't stopping me from using my gorgeous custom painting from The Olive Plum. as soon as i looked through Alfa's shop, i knew i had to have a custom painting for my bedroom. i went back and forth between a few options and finally settled on customizing the Joy 2 with shades of blush, grey, blue, mint, and gold foil. Alfa quickly got to work and i had my artwork before i knew it! it was waiting for me when Mike and i returned home from our trip, so i quickly opened the package and was truly in awe of how beautiful it was. the colors she picked are gorgeous and the texture of the gold foil just puts it over the top. she was a pleasure to work with, beginning to end. in fact, i'm thinking about ordering 2 more in the same color way to have a set of three hanging in my room. and possibly adding these to my bathroom. 
phone case: Rifle Paper Co | watch: Kate Spade | planner: Anthropologie

flowers: TJ Maxx | zinc letter: Anthropologie

desk: Target | chair: Marshall's | drawer pulls: Anthropologie

the piece fits in perfectly, doesn't it? once i find a sturdy and reliable way to do so, i'm planning to hang the frame on the piece between the windows. but, for now, the canvas just lives on the ledge where i can stare at it all day. plus, it makes up for the less than stellar view that i have. 

meanwhile, i'll be enjoying the rays of sunshine streaming through and my most simplified desktop yet. truly, i can't believe i've never had such a clutter-less desk before. also, burning a coffee-scented candle satisfies my caffeine cravings beautifully. you should try it. 

Saturday Style | 11

happy monday! surprisingly, i woke up happy that it was monday because i have a full, normal week ahead of me. don't get me wrong, i love traveling! however, i also love my regular schedule and being able to work and take care of things at home, too. so, i have a list of to-do's for this week that i'm actually looking forward to tackling. 

now to the good stuff: the outfit. as you probably know, i don't always wear color. like ever. but, when i do, i wear color. top, bag, and shoes in the same shade of mint? sure, why not? i would also totally wear this casual weekend outfit with a slouchy grey tee or one of my chunky sweaters, since it's still not quite spring in chicago yet. my jean jacket has become such a staple of my spring wardrobe already. it's perfect paired with dresses, non-denim pants, maxi name it! keeping the accessories simple and adding a little knot to my oversized tank, this outfit is great for running errands, grabbing brunch, or just wanting to feel like a real human on the weekend (by getting out to my sweats!).

top | Cotton On
jacket | J.Crew Factory
pants | Anthropologie
sneakers | Keds x Madewell (similar)
bag | Kate Spade
necklace | Elisabeth Ashlie

Travel Diary | Charleston + Nashville

it's been a couple days since Mike and i returned back to (SNOWY) Chicago from our trip down south, so i thought i'd share a little travel diary. we enjoyed a couple days in raleigh with my sister and her family on the front-end of the trip. it's always so fun to be with my nephews, and this trip was no different. David has developed a real liking for Mike, which is so cute. at one point, David led Mike upstairs and they were up there for about 20 minutes just playing in the rooms and doing whatever it is that you do with a 15 month old with a spatula for a hand ;) (for those that don't know, David can always be found with a steel grip on a spatula...future chef?) we enjoyed time with my sister and brother-in-law, too! Mike doesn't seem them as often as i do, so it was fun for all of us to be together.

after a couple days, we headed to Charleston, SC. we got into the city early afternoon and were both pretty hungry, so we headed right downtown to grab a quick bite. thanks to everyone's suggestions, we landed on King Street Grille and each enjoyed delicious sandwiches and waffle fries. i love waffle fries. it was raining and we knew we had the whole next day to explore downtown, so we drove over to the Isle of Palms to see what it was all about. the most beautiful homes line the coast there. it's worth a drive if you're ever in the area. we were both anxious to put our feet in the sand (even in our jeans and sweatshirts), so we found the beach and did some walking. it was actually quite peaceful, since there were very few other people walking in the rain with us. after a bit more exploring of the area, we headed over to Sullivan's Island for dinner at Poe's Tavern. Mike was on a mission to have as much fish and/or seafood as possible while we were there, and we heard they had killer fish tacos. coming from a non-fish eater, the Mahi Mahi tacos were killer. although my list of seafood that i've tried is pretty short, this was definitely the best. there's a cute little strip of restaurants, which definitely lends to the little island town feel. if we had more time, we'd have gone back to another one for lunch or dinner! 

the next day was spent exploring the USS Yorktown and everything offered there. we both wanted to make sure we hit some of the historical attractions while in Charleston, and this was on the top of both of our lists. then we headed over to the Battery and drooled over all of the mansions that lined the edge of the city. i mean, unreal mansions. it looked like many had been converted to bed & breakfasts and hotels, but it was cool to imagine what life was like when people called those 'home'. we took several hours to walk around downtown and read all the plaques on the old churches and buildings. we popped in for lunch and drinks at Poogan's Porch, which i would definitely recommend! it's in an old home, which is incredible, and the food was great! Mike had shrimp & grits for the first time and cleared his plate in about 4 minutes. it was pretty impressive. 

we enjoyed some more walking around and soaked in our final hours in what was quickly becoming one of our new favorite cities! while leaving the next morning, the blue sky appeared and rain cleared, so we were able to get a glimpse of just how beautiful it would be in the sun. we're both very much intending on making our way back down in the next couple years for another getaway! 

i'm pretty sure Mike misspelled my name with that second letter, so then he tried to tell me that this was my new nickname

since we had the flexibility of time and a car, we decided to pop into Nashville for a quick 24 hours. we'd both been told how fun it is and i love seeing new cities, so it was a YOLO moment, for sure. we had a great dinner at ACME Feed & Seed right at the end of the Broadway strip. if you've never been, there is at least one live band at every bar/restaurant on this stretch of road. you can just walk down the street and peek into every place to listen to the band and see if you want to go inside. we enjoyed some live music during dinner and then went up to the rooftop of ACME for a photo op and to view the city. we walked up and down the strip and popped into a couple places to enjoy music and soak in the Nashville-ness of it all. 

we wanted to have breakfast at the Pancake Pantry (since everyone raves about it), but the line was way out the door and we were pretty hungry, so we popped over to Fido for coffee and bagel sandwiches. both were delicious and highly recommendable. it's a super cool environment with a real coffeehouse feel. after that, we drove over to Centennial Park to walk around and enjoy the sunshine and warm temps. there's a recreation of the Parthenon that seems completely out of place but has some history to so it makes a little more sense once you read up on it ;) 

we didn't have much time to plan anything to do in Nashville, so we decided to hit the road after that to get back home before too late. if i were to go back, i think i'd want to take some more time to plan some things to see/do instead of trying to just stumble upon things. 

overall, both of us enjoyed Charleston immensely! it was beautiful and full of history and good food, which was good for both of us. we're looking forward to going back together sometime! i don't know that i feel the need to go back to Nashville again. (Nashville lovers, don't hate me!) i can totally understand why the nightlife is fun, but there wasn't much else that would entice me back. as we were driving out of the city, we were talking about our time there and how everybody that talks about it loves it, which we just didn't understand. there were a lot of, 'we must be missing something' statements! which is very well possible, since we were there for such a short time. i do think it would be a fun destination for a girl's getaway, especially if you go with girls that like to dance to live music! 

it was a busy week and we were both ready to get back home to homemade food, cats (me), and the gym (mike). and i was definitely ready to get back into regular scheduling here...working on some fun projects coming up and some new outfits for next week! 


i love thinking about the details of things. i like having the candle on the coffee table just so, my pillows fluffed just like that, and every single hair on my head just in place. obviously, with life, having things 'perfect' isn't realistic, like ever. but i can strive for my idea of it, right? i like things a certain way and that usually comes down to the tiniest details. 

i take the same approach when it comes to picking out an outfit. big picture: what am i going to wear on top and bottom? small picture: which shoes, accessories, and jewelry can i add that will make this whole thing look and feel how i want it to? from a layer of black lace under my striped tee to add some texture and depth to my outfit, to my necklace and lip color complementing each other. some of you may think it's a bit...neurotic? too much? to think of the smallest details, but that's the most fun part! picking out the stud earrings that you probably won't even see and the right wallet to go with my bag? cheap thrills, i tell ya. there's something in paying attention to those details that allows me to feel put together and thought-out, even if it takes a couple minutes to throw it all together. 

an easy way to take a look to 'the next level' is to think about those small details. it allows you to use your clothes in more than one way (think: dressing something up versus dressing it down) and it helps you to create an outfit versus being just clothes on your body. it's something that helps me to take that over-worn, under-loved top out of my closet and put it on one more time because i can see it in a different light. i could throw this tee on with ripped boyfriend jeans, sneakers, and a messy bun for a casual weekend look, or switch for black jeans, wedges, a bold red lip, and a statement earring for a night out. it's still the same striped tee, but it can look totally different depending on the details around it. 

and that is what i love about details. they can change the entire look of something. even if they go unnoticed, i'm always glad when i've thought through something as small as the rings i put on my fingers or as big as the shoes i pair with my outfit. 

details. they may the world go 'round. or maybe just mine ;)

tee | H&M
lace top | H&M (old)
jeans | ZARA
flats | DSW
bag | Fossil (similar)
necklace | Kate Spade (old)

A Little Bit Edgy

the end of last week was a little crazy, so i wasn't able to wrap up grey dress week like i had hoped. which means, that you get yet another idea for how to style one of spring's easiest and most versatile items. throw on your favorite vest, a chunky necklace, sassy shoes, and a bag that ties everything together and you'll put a bit of an edgy twist on a classic piece. a lot of the accessories are things that i've had for awhile that just happen to go well together...don't you love when that happens? i think this might be my favorite way to style the dress because it's a bit more than just throwing on a jean jacket but still super comfortable. and it should be pretty easy to recreate or change. instead of the animal print, you could do a sleek nude pump, statement earrings, and your favorite clutch. or you could go a bit more casual with a messenger bag, long pendant necklace, and brown strappy sandals. the options seem endless! 

dress | Target
vest | Target (from several seasons ago)
wedges | Banana Republic Outlet
necklace | Target

The Skirt Trick

...kinda like a hat trick, but with a skirt. 

if yesterday's post totally convinced you that this grey dress is perfect for spring, i'm here to convince you that it is also perfect for fall/winter. we're still in that awkward sorta-spring-but-still-pretty-chilly phase in Chicago, so i'm having to get creative with how i wear my spring clothes without freezing my rear off. an easy way? throw your favorite knit over your favorite new dress! 

the skirt and sweater illusion is one of my favorites because i love the look of a skirt but generally hate wearing them. i find them to be incredibly uncomfortable, always having to adjust them here or pull them there. i don't like wearing things that i have to continually think about, so skirts tend to take a back-burner to just about anything else. but this little trick of turning a dress into (looking like) a skirt gives me the best of both worlds. 

separately, i had a dream last night that i forgot to pack basically all of the essentials for my trip, like toothpaste, socks, pajamas. you know, things that matter when you're away from home. so, i'm going to be making a list and checking it five times just to be sure that i don't forget anything. i'm that girl that gets in the car and starts traveling to my destination only to have it hit me what i've forgotten something that seems to essential to my everyday routine that i can't even believe i've forgotten it. oh, you do that, too? great. 

also, if you're feelin' lucky, there's a giveaway going on over on Instagram for a killer necklace from Stella & Dot. you should go enter.

dress | Target
sweater | Madewell
boots | Target
necklace | Elisabeth Ashlie
clutch | Anthropologie

The Perfect Dress

this week is all about my new favorite item for spring: the perfect grey dress. if you ask me, you can't go wrong with an easy, comfortable dress for the warmer months. dressed up or casual, layered or solo, this one is the ticket. although really any grey dress would give me heart eyes, let's be honest. 

i've styled it a few different ways that i plan to wear it, starting with probably my favorite and most-frequented option. i picked up this jean jacket at the outlet store last year when they had an extra 40% off, it was a real win. i find any and every excuse to wear it because it's just that comfortable. anyway, i threw on some of my other favorite items and had the perfect go-to look. this would also look cute with a green army jacket, which i may try next time i wear it. 

i tried packing for my trip yesterday, but the only outfit i came up with that i liked is this one, so maybe i'll just wear it for a week straight. that's a thing, right? 

stay tuned for more ideas to style this dress this week! 

dress | Target
jacket | J.Crew Factory
shoes | Converse 
bag | Kate Spade 
watch | c/o Daniel Wellington
cuff bracelet | Elisabeth Ashlie

Saturday Style | 10

happy monday! i woke up particularly excited about this monday because it means the week of Mike's and my spring vacation! we're leaving bright and early thursday morning, so i have three days to pack in as much work as possible, do laundry, clean, and pack, among several other things. i have a feeling it's going to be a busy couple days, but it will all be worth it once we make it down south. 

more than anything, i'm just excited to pack my spring clothes! i have a couple piles of spring blouses, dresses, and shoes stored away in my closet, so i'm planning to finally pull them out of hibernation and see what i can put together. i'm also really looking forward to the driving part of our trip. driving is, by far, my favorite mode of transportation. there's something relaxing about it for me, except when i'm stuck in traffic or bad weather. i get motion sickness pretty bad, so i can't read or watch anything in the car, which means that i'm free of all distractions. but i can listen, of course, so we'll be playing plenty of music and podcasts. it will be nice to have many uninterrupted hours with Mike, free of all distractions, just enjoying each others' company. unless he sleeps the whole time he's a passenger...which has been known to be a thing that he does. 

anyway, one of my favorite spring outfits is all white with pops of color. navy and yellow were my colors of choice this time around, but this isn't the last time you'll see an outfit like this during this season, that much i know.  

top | J.Crew Factory (similar)
pants | Target (similar)
bag | Kate Spade (similar, similar
earrings | Forever 21
bangle | Loren Hope

Spring Outfit Inspiration

one week from today, Mike and i will be making the road trip down south to see my sister and her family and then head farther south for a little warm-weather getaway...i cannot wait! all i really want to do is pack my bags, but that will make wearing clothes for the next week a little difficult, so i've put together some inspiration boards instead. the weather looks like it should be really pleasant, so i'm thrilled about that. i'm planning to pack some layers and stick with comfortable, simple pieces that i can mix and match. 

for a varsity inspired look, a graphic tee, the most comfortable denim jacket, and cute sneakers will do the trick:

tee | H&M
jacket | J.Crew Factory
necklace | TOPSHOP
sunglasses | TOPSHOP
bag | Forever 21
scarf | Target
sneakers | J.Crew

for a day spent exploring Charleston, an easy tee, simple tote bag, and pop of color in outerwear:
parka | H&M
tee | H&M
bag | Forever 21
sneakers | Converse 
sunglasses | Target
watch | Fossil

for a look that can go from day to night, a cotton dress, oversized boyfriend sweater, and monochromatic accessories:
cardigan | J.Crew (similar)
dress | H&M
scarf | H&M
nail color | OPI 
lip | Revlon Colorburst Balm Stain in Cherish

at this point, i'm not sure if i'm more excited about the trip itself or to pick out what items i want to pack! 

Spring Stripes

i am totally crazy for anything striped right now. i love stripes in any season, but there's something about wearing them in the Spring that just feels right. whether it's on a pointed toe flat, a tassel-adorned scarf, or swimwear, you can sign me up and i will wear it. i love that stripes can add some pattern and 'depth' to an outfit without feeling overbearing or stealing the show from any other items i'm wearing. 

if you haven't been convinced yet that you need some stripes in your life, maybe my current wish list of all the things will help ;) 

p.s. i picked those flats up a week or two ago and they are the most comfortable flats, which you maybe wouldn't expect at first glance. i highly recommend them!

scarf | LOFT
phone case | SONIX Cases
flats | BCBG via DSW
striped sweater | J.Crew Factory
striped dress | H&M
small travel pouch | J.Crew
large travel pouch | J.Crew
envelope clutch | Vera Bradley via Zappos
swimsuit | Target

Saturday Style | 09

spring showed it's beautiful, magical, glorious little self this weekend and, i think i speak for everyone when i say, i couldn't be happier. ankles were shown, light jackets were worn, and the windows were even open for a hot rather chilly second. mind you, it was only about 43º, but you'd think it was 80º. 

i took full advantage of actually enjoying being outdoors by walking some errands after church on sunday. i popped into the Urban Outfitters Surplus Store where so many things are only $5. it had a little bit of a Forever 21 feel, where you're completely overwhelmed and almost turn right around and walk out the door. oh, that's just me? but i stuck with it and am glad that i did. i found a couple of cute tops for summer that were only FIVE DOLLARS. it almost felt like i was stealing...even as i was paying for them. 

i also had the bright idea to take a class at PureBarre with a friend that i convinced would enjoy it. BAH! i clearly had repressed the memories from the last time that i took a class with my sister because 'enjoy' is not a word that i would use. i felt great once it was over, but was cursing myself for doing it pretty much the entire time. there is something about being in a group of (almost all) strangers that's incredibly motivating. because, you know, they definitely remember me today. so i'm glad i did it, but every tiny muscle i didn't even know that i had in my midsection is screaming at me with every tiny move today. 

let's talk about clothes for a second because, you know, i like clothes. if i can find a way to layer a lace top with an outfit, i will. i don't know what it is these days, but i am all about it. i like that it adds a bit of texture and interest to an otherwise simple outfit of jeans and a tee. plus, it's perfect for those tops that are just a little bit too short. so, i highly recommend you find yourself a lace layering top and wear that mess with everything. 

top | Gap (similar)
lace top | Marshall's
jeans | ZARA (similar)
flats | DSW
bag | Kate Spade
necklaces | Stella & Dot, J.Crew Factory
watch | Kate Spade

Grey + Pastels

surely, you guys know by now that pretty much everyone that lives in an even moderately cold climate is ready for Spring, right? actually, i think everyone everywhere is ready for Spring. i'm right there with them. it's just time. while the frost clings all the things outside, i play dress up inside and pretend like it's 50 degrees with fresh flowers blooming all around. 

i'm hoping that it never becomes inappropriate for me to take a spring break trip. even though i've been off of an academic calendar for a couple years, i always have this idea in the back of my head that i should take a long weekend off of life and go somewhere warm in the Spring. it's become more difficult since i don't get a week off from all responsibility anymore, but Mike is taking care of that for me this year. he has 3 weeks off from his program so we're headed south for a little getaway! i cannot wait. we're going to stop in Raleigh to hang with my sister and her family for a few days, and then the plan (right now) is to drive down to Charleston, SC for a couple days. he was looking for warm(er) weather and to be close to the ocean and i love to explore a new city, so Charleston seemed like the perfect option. 

naturally, no less than 2 weeks before we even leave, i've already started thinking about what i should pack. it's a sickness, i tell you. i'm just so excited to plan for a warmer climate! so i've been digging out all my light colored clothes and my favorite flats to put some outfits together and it's got me tricked into thinking that i can wear them all now. so...this:

top | Old Navy
cardigan | Target
pants | Gap (similar)
flats | Target (similar)
bag | Rebecca Minkoff (similar)
necklace | Elisabeth Ashlie