Bedroom Oasis

as previously mentioned, the end of august is bringing me another move to another apartment. moving is basically the bane of my (and everyone's, no?) existence, but i'm trying to overlook that part of it and get excited about a new place to decorate! while i'm not planning on getting rid of much of anything since i just bought a lot of my bedroom furniture and decor a year ago, i am anticipating a little bit of a change. currently, my workspace is in my bedroom, which works since i have the master in the apartment so there's plenty of space for everything. more than likely, i'll have my workspace elsewhere in the next place, so i'm looking forward to my bedroom being only a bedroom.

with that, i'm hoping to add a little more of an earthy and natural feel. i'm thinking natural wood accents, galvanized metal details, and some cool paint colors on some of my existing furniture. i want my bedroom to be my oasis, so to speak, since it's where i will go to relax and unplug from work. i have quite a bit of color in my existing room and i'm thinking i'll keep the color for the workspace and my bedroom pretty neutral (maybe a few pops in some prints). 

here's what i'm using as my inspiration board:

glass jars: H&M (big, small) | blanket: Wayfair | lamp base: Target | metal pitcher: H&M | rug: Wayfair | glass box: H&M | woven basket: World Market | metal basket: H&M | pillow covers: H&M (left, right)

really, it's pretty simple. i have quite a few accents and all of the base furniture i need to create something like this for the room, so it shouldn't be difficult. here's to hoping it turns out how i'm picturing it in my head! 

Refreshing Slept-In Curls

i used to be the kind of girl that had to wash my hair every day because slept-in hair just wouldn't cut it. it was flat, lifeless, and clearly unwashed, which meant that i rarely skipped a day of shampooing. dry shampoo, however, changed all of that for me! i love dry shampoo. i use it when styling my hair the first day, to add a little extra volume and texture, and for days when i style dirty hair. 

since i'm working with the dirty hair more often (although i can't go more than 2 days!), i've been trying several different brands of dry shampoo to see what works best for my hair. one of my favorites is Amika's Perk Up. it's great for adding a little extra body and grit just before teasing and soaks up some of the dirtiness of slept-in hair, so that i can have a fresh looking 'do without all the time and effort of styling from start to finish. 

here's what you'll need:

flat iron, curling iron, or wand 
(i use a tapered wand, about 3/4" - 1 1/4")


i start by going through with my wand and re-curling some pieces that have really loosened up through the night.

once my curls are finished, i go through and spray a healthy amount of Perk Up on my scalp, especially near my hairline. 

using my fingertips, i rub the dry shampoo in to the roots and make sure it's all blended well. 

now it's time to tease! 

i soften up the teasing and finish with some hairspray. that's all it takes! i'm able to spend a fraction of the time on my hair by being able to do this. on nights when i know i won't be washing my hair the next day, i spray some dry shampoo into my hair before going to bed to give it the night to soak in and start working. i like adding some more during the styling process for a little extra somethin'! 

dress: Anthropologie | necklaces: Elisabeth Ashlie (here and here)
not only does amika's Perk Up work well as a dry shampoo, but it smells ridiculously good. it's crazy. i've said it before about their Un.Done Texture Spray, but i would t o t a l l y buy a perfume that smelled like their products. and the packaging is just so darn cute, which adds a nice little pop to my medicine cabinet.  

thanks to amika for sending me a bottle of Perk Up Dry Shampoo! 

Snack/Sip, 01

i'm so excited to share the first installment of a summer mini-series i'm working on with my friend Lindsay of Cooking in Pearls. before i share the delicious appetizer and cocktail we crafted up together, i'll give you a little inside scoop about us. we've known each other for 10+ years and reconnected about a year and a half ago. she's a sales development rep by day and food blogger by night. she's also a busy bride-to-be and new homeowner, so she has a ton of time to just sit around and eat all of the delicious foods she makes. not. with her culinary school background and my willingness to eat everything she makes, we're the perfect duo. we're so excited to be collaborating on some fun and easy recipes for summer entertaining (or if you're looking to just treat yourself to a yummy snack)!

without further adieu, we give you volume 01:
yaaaaas, you read that right. and if you're mouth isn't watering yet, it will be soon. or maybe just ours will be. these egg rolls are full of flavor, simple to make, and total crowd pleasers. and the boozy iced tea lemonade? we could drink it by the gallon. 

let's start with the egg rolls. 

here's what you'll need:
egg roll wrappers
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery or broccoli slaw
2 cups shredded or pulled chicken (rotisserie chicken is a huge time saver!)
1/3 cup Frank's buffalo wing sauce 
1/4 cup blue cheese dressing (ranch would be delicious too)
2 tbl blue cheese crumbles (any cheese would be good, truthfully)
mix all of your ingredients together in a large bowl and preheat your oven to 400 degrees. this filling makes about 12 egg rolls, so adapt the recipe accordingly.
place about 2 1/2 Tbs of filling into the bottom corner of the egg roll wrapper. bring the bottom corner up over the filling, pull the sides up towards the filling, tuck and roll.
place them seam-side down on a baking sheet with a rack (this helps circulate the heat for more even cooking). spray them with baking spray and bake them for about 12-14 minutes, flipping the rolls halfway through.
serve with additional sauce for dipping!
these are super crispy and slightly spicy with a cooling blue cheese dunk. yum! 

the snack is done, now onto the sip side. one of my favorite summer drinks is lemonade. it's always refreshing and a sweet treat, so you really can't go wrong. what's better? adding some iced tea (and a little booze) to a homemade lemonade with a minty twist. it's just over-the-top good, i'm telling you.

here's what you'll need:
2 cups simple syrup steaped with mint 
2 cups cold water 
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice 
iced tea (or sweet tea vodka)
fresh lemon slices (optional)
fresh mint (optional)
to make the simple syrup, combine equals parts of sugar and water and bring it to a simmer until the sugar dissolves. tear in about 1/2 cup fresh mint while the syrup cools down to add a subtle fresh twist.

in a pitcher, combine 1 cup of the simple syrup (strain the mint, the heat bruises it), 2 cups cold water, 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, and ice. such a great lemonade right here! if you like your lemonade really sweet, add in more simple syrup.
to a glass with ice, add in 1/2 cup iced tea or an ounce (or two) of sweet tea vodka and top it off with the minty lemonade.

now you're ready to gather your girlfriends or favorite couple to hang out with and enjoy a warm evening outside with this delicious snack and summer drink! 

Saturday Style | 21

another weekend, come and gone. why do summer weekends go by so quickly? you'd think they would feel like they last longer since the days or longer, but it's the opposite for me. i do love a monday morning though -  a fresh start to the week, a clear mind, and a list of things i've been thinking of over the weekend that i'm excited to do. 

i can already feel that summer is going to be over in a snap, especially with some scheduled travel, a wedding, and moving in August, so i'm trying to really take advantage of the time that i have now. Mike and i talked last weekend about all the things we want to do while the weather is warm - which includes an outdoor movie and the symphony orchestra in the park - and i'm hoping we actually stick to it! we spent an hour or so at the harbor on Sunday enjoying the weather and watching the boats come and go. finding that little slice of peace in the city is one of my favorite things about this place. 

since i'm feeling like summer is basically over, i'm also trying to work through my summer wardrobe so that i wear all the things that i love to wear in warm weather. i picked up this romper at the outlet mall several weeks ago because it's super comfy and i love a good romper. paired with some simple accessories that pull out the navy blue in the waist-tie and a little pop of coral on my lips, it's a great option for busy Sundays going here and there, which is what my weekends most often are!
necklace | Elisabeth Ashlie
phone case | Society6
bag | Michael Kors via Zappo's
sandals | Target

Life Lately

it has been a crazy couple of weeks for me! between my sister being home for awhile with her boys,  a family wedding/mini-reunion weekend, an unexpected quick trip to NC, and keeping up with work, i'm just about tapped out. and my body is showing it because i'm sick with one of the worst colds i've had in awhile. by the way, it should be illegal to catch a cold in the summer. it is so dumb. however, it was a good excuse to make this homemade chicken noodle soup yesterday, which is delicious. and super easy! 

i've been wearing these customized necklaces from basically every day since i received them. the one with the coordinates are actually the coordinates to the apartment i lived in when Mike and i started fallin' for each other. how tender. and the roman numeral one has the date of our anniversary. again, i'm a tender little nugget these days. anyway, i love wearing them layered together and they go with any outfit, so that's cool. (if you follow me on instagram, there's a giveaway going on over there! also, use code LE20 for 20% off your order!)

in beauty-related news, I HAVE FOUND THE ULTIMATE UNDER EYE CONCEALER. if there were a mountain nearby, i would climb it and shout that from the top of it. but since i live in the flat midwest, consider this my mountain. you need it. yes, you. i don't care who you are, it will change your darn life. they advertise it as '8 hours of sleep in a bottle' but it's more like you slept for 3 days straight and got the most rest you've ever had and still look better. don't take my word for it, though, you should try it. okay, i'm done. 

i've also been using Julep's Oxygen Nail Treatment a lot because it gives the prettiest shade of pink to my nails and sometimes i prefer a more natural look to a color. aaaand i've been getting a whole lotta use out of my amika un.done texture spray lately since it seems like i only shower once a week. i'm secretly hoping they turn that scent into a perfume because i would buy it in bulk. for real. 

in sort of un-fun news, we found out a week or so ago that we have to move at the end of August when our lease is up at our current place. rent is going up quite a bit and one of my roommates will no longer be living in Chicago, so we're going to look for something smaller and cheaper because #ihatewastingmoneyonrent 

i'm like 60% dreading the move (because apartment hunting, purging, packing, and unpacking are the worst) and 40% excited for a change and a potentially new neighborhood to explore in the city. i'm also finding myself wanting to start packing and deconstructing the apartment now just to get a head start, but i'm going to try to hold off because i have plenty of time. and i may be selling some furniture/decor/random crap that i still own once the move gets closer, so stay tuned if you live in the Chicago area and may be interested. or not. whatever.

since it's very clear that the cold medicine has most certainly gotten to me, i'm gonna go ahead and wrap this ramblefest up now. catch ya on the flip side, aka Monday. i've got some exciting things coming next week! 

have a happy weekend!

Black + Army

this outfit has all the things i'm loving lately: light and airy fabrics, fun prints, cute shoes, and delicate statement jewelry. i picked up these shorts from the Gap Factory store a week or so ago and haven't taken them off. well, i've taken them off a couple times, but they've become my go-to. they're perfect for being dressed up because of the material, but they can also be worn with a graphic tank and simple sandals for a more casual look. 

i'm also weirdly finding myself wanting to wear a lot of black these days. actually, it's not all that weird because that's basically the only color i wear in the fall/winter, but it's summer! maybe i'm in mourning over something and i just don't know it yet. or i'm just a habitual black-clothes-wearer. it's probably definitely the latter. 

i love dressing up shorts. most shorts would be considered casual, but adding some heels, a fancier top, and some accessories with a little glam can dress them up easily and allow you to wear your favorite shorts just about anywhere. they're the perfect summer weekend outfit option, if you ask me. it also helps to have sun-kissed legs. trust me. 

top | H&M
shorts | Gap Factory
necklace | Elisabeth Ashlie
heels | Nickels via TJ Maxx (similar)
clutch | Anthropologie
watch | Coach

Saturday Style | 20

this past weekend was spent exclusively on 'aunt duty'. i stayed at my parents' house in the suburbs to help take care of my nephews while my sister was back home trying to move into her new house. it was fun and crazy and exhausting. like, on a whole different level. as in, i got about 3 hours of sleep the night before and then worked off of a 4-month old's schedule the entire next day. i will say this, with as much time as i've spent helping out with the boys, i never truly got a glimpse into what my sister (and all other mom's/dad's/baby caretakers) goes through on a daily basis until that day. it takes all your energy and strength and patience and all the other things and i only did it for one whole day. i can also see the rewards and why it's worth it, because every smile and laugh that Luke gave me during the day made me forget about my fatigue and the spit up on my clothes for just a minute and bask in the beauty of a happy baby. i would consider it a good day and truly did enjoy going through the whole day with Luke. it also helps that he's pretty darn cute. and reminds me of just how incredibly grateful i am for those two boys and the fact that i get to see them as often as i do.

anyway, while going through motherhood bootcamp/any other time i'm with my nephews, i wear something to this effect. let's be honest, every weekend, whether or not there are kids around, i wear something to this effect. because, why not?
tank | Nike
shorts | H&M
sports bra | Athleta
necklace | Elisabeth Ashlie
earrings | Elisabeth Ashlie
lip balm | Sephora
sneakers | Nike via Zappo's

Pretty Prints

one of my favorite ways to add some personality and fun to my bedroom/office decor is with different prints. like, art printed on paper. also, like animal, polka dot, striped, etc. but today we're talking about prints on paper. as an Etsy seller myself, i've come across so many talented artists that make beautiful prints that i feel the need to clip up on my wall. i have a mini gallery wall above my bed that was just asking for a little change up, so the talented lady behind blush & crew kindly obliged. Mariah's aesthetic is fun and whimsical, which i could use a bit more of in my decor to change things up a little bit. i love how this new print that reads, "It Is Well With My Soul", fits in perfectly with the other pieces in my gallery wall. it's as if it should have been there the whole time! 

XO letters: Anthropologie | gold framed print: Hobby Lobby | white frames: Hobby Lobby | floral print: Ashley Proffitt | antlers: Target | print clips: Anthropologie | "It Is Well" Print: blush & crew | fur pillow: Amazon
Mariah also worked on a custom print for me, which i really love. lately, my work motto has been, "Actually, I can." i can easily talk myself out of doing something, taking risks, pushing the limits of work-related things because it's a one-woman show and i feel like there are a million other things i could be spending my time on that are far less scary than stepping into an unknown world or space. i'll have an idea pop into my head that excites me and allows me to see long-term benefits, but when i actually think through it, it can be daunting and overwhelming so i usually talk myself right back out of it, but i'm trying to not do that as much and to live in a space of, "actually, i can." i feel like at one time or another, everyone has underestimated their skills, abilities, strength, etc. so this is the perfect reminder. it's just to the left of my desk, so whenever i turn my head that direction i'm reminded of the idea that i can do it, i just have to start. and who doesn't need a little reminder every once in awhile?
print: blush & crew | frame: ikea | candlesticks: Nicole Miller (TJ Maxx) | candles: Target | candle tin: Anthropologie | books: Design Sponge at Home + The Perfectly Imperfect Home 
so that's why i love using prints in my home decor. not only can they add personality and interest, but i find them all to be inspiring in one way or another.

if you like what you see from blush & crew, she also designs and prints custom wedding invitations, shower invites, and other pretty prints.

Beachy Waves Tutorial

my favorite way to style my hair lately is with more relaxed, beachy waves. i go through phases of the types of curls and styles that i prefer with my given hair length, so this is my current phase! it's easy to do and really easy to refresh the next day, which is always a plus. 

here are the tools that i use for this style:

this method makes a good combination of relaxed but styled curls, so it's perfect for every day or special events that you'd like to feel less "done up" for! 

Saturday Style | 19

one of my favorite things to wear in the summer is an LBD. i love the classic look of it and the fact of the endless amount of options for accessorizing. plus, i consider it a fun challenge to find new ways to wear items that i've had in my closet for awhile to refresh them and make them exciting to me again. so, of course, the LBD is a go-to for that. adding a pop of color, like a red scarf, some embellished sandals, and a fun hairstyle can make your simple LBD work double duty for day to night. swipe on a bold lip color and your favorite jewels and you have the perfect outfit for dinner or drinks on a warm summer evening. 
dress | Topshop (similar, similar)
sandals | Target
lip | Ulta
scarf | LOFT
bag | Gap

How to Prep Your Bathroom for Guests

one of my favorite things to do when i have a guest coming to visit is to personalize my space a bit for them. since i don't yet have a guest bedroom or bathroom, i try to get creative with my own space of the apartment to make my guests feel welcome and comfortable. the easiest room to do this in is the bathroom - it's also the most fun, if you ask me! here are a few ways to prepare your bathroom for guests:

- add some fresh flowers and a scented candle + matchbook (or lighter) -- the scents can go a long way in taking the bathroom smell out of the bathroom, if you know what i'm sayin'
jar: Hobby Lobby

- a fun option is to add a couple of your favorite nail polishes and some nail polish remover. i don't typically bring polish or remover with me when i travel, so i would love to find this in a guest bathroom!

- a thoughtful and useful idea is to provide some travel-size essentials of products, like toothpaste, face wash, and dry shampoo. i seem to hoard sample-sizes, so i added lots of other things like perfume, body wash, and a face mask treatment.
glass box: Anthropologie

print: Rifle Paper Co.

- laying out a clean hand towel with a fresh bar of soap gives a little bit of a luxurious feel, like your guest is staying in a hotel. who doesn't want to be treated to a little luxury every once in awhile?
hand towel, soap: Anthropologie, dish: Target

- something else i always forget or run out of when traveling is hair ties and clips, so i like to put some out in case my guest is anything like my forgetful self.
dish: Anthropologie (similar), hair ties: Elisabeth Ashlie

- fresh bath towels are probably a given, but i bet the complimentary eye mask isn't ;) that one is maybe just a personal preference thing, but i know that i sleep way better in a new place if i have an eye mask, so why not offer it?!
towels: Anthropologie + Home Goods, eye mask: West Elm

just those few, easy adjustments to your bathroom are sure to make any guest feel at-home in your home. 

Game Day

one of my favorite things to do in the summer in Chicago is take in a Cubs game at Wrigley Field. mike and i had been talking about going to one for several weeks and finally found a day that looked like it wasn't going to rain or be 50 degrees. i live within walking distance of the ballpark, so Mike and i headed over just before (insert word for the beginning of the it first pitch? i'm new to baseball knowledge and terminology, clearly.) and, before anything else, i got myself some nachos. about 90% of the reason i wanted to even go to the game was for the stadium food, 8% because i like doing things outside, 1% because Mike was excited to do it, and the other 1% because i'm that much interested in baseball.

Mike, bless his tender soul, answered every one of my incessant questions about the basics of understanding the game. you know the scene in How To Lose A Guy in Ten Days when Andi and Ben are at the movie and the guy behind them yells at Andi for talking through the whole thing? yeah, i was waiting for something like that to happen. and then i would tell him, like Andi, that "if you don't shut up, my boyfriend over here is gonna pummel your (insert expletive for dramatic effect)". by some wonder, none of the above happened. except the questions, those happened. 
we walked away victorious in the snacking department, but not so much on the actual game. i do remember thinking, "this is probably the only time i've ever enjoyed an entire baseball game". so i would consider it a win on most fronts.

i was able to borrow a friend's jersey for the game, but i would've otherwise gone for something like this. i call it "sporty cute" or "spute". whichever term you prefer.
tee | Target
jacket | J.Crew Factory
shorts | H&M
hat | Forever 21
earrings | J.Crew Factory
bag | H&M
shoes | Zappo's

Saturday Style | 18

i woke up this morning a little extra fatigued because i stayed up well past my normal bedtime to watch the final episodes of Gossip Girl. i started watching the show a few years back, but never got around to finishing it until just last night. there are very few things that i will stay up late for anymore and, apparently, watching Gossip Girl is one of them. #illprobablyregretitlater

there were two things i noticed about these photos as i was editing them yesterday - warm-weather clothes + frizzy hair...that must mean it's summer. seeing as i've already stored away all but a few of my winter clothes, i'm in full-on summer dressing mode. i truly forgot how much easier it is to get dressed for warmer climates. it takes one dress or a top and shorts and that's it. no layering, picking out a coat, deciding which scarf, searching for your warmest socks. none of it. and it is glorious. 

one of my favorite weekend wear outfits is something like this. a comfortable top, my favorite sneakers, and some fun accessories. i could do with out the extra frizz courtesy of the rain we had just minutes before stepping outside, though. 

another confession? Mike and i popped into the American Eagle Factory Store at the outlet mall while in SC because men's jeans were on major sale and he was in the market. obviously, i'll never turn down the opportunity to browse a store, even if it's one that i was pretty sure i wouldn't buy anything from. well, i was wrong. dead wrong. i walked out with several items, including this top in 3 different colors because that's what i do. who needs variety when you have the most comfortable top in the world? i wish they were available online because i would tell you all to buy at least three. alas, you may just have to pop into an outlet store if you're close by and see if you can get your hands on one. they were also like $12, so it was a no-brainer. 

top | American Eagle Factory (similar)
shorts | LOFT (similar)
sneakers | KicksUSA c/o
necklace | Elisabeth Ashlie
rings | Sole Society
bag | Rebecca Minkoff
nails | Saltwater Happy by Essie