Autumn List

happy friday! 

just popping in during the moving day madness to share some things that i'm loving for autumn. it's really starting to look and feel like fall around Chicago, so i'm getting into the mindset of layers, rich tones, and animal print. those seem to be my three go-to's right when the weather starts cooling off from summer. also, those latte mugs? imma need to get myself one... 
travel set, Sole Society | pencil skirt, LOFT | necklace, Elisabeth Ashlie | lipstick, MAC Star Magnolia | white blouse, H&M | nail polish, OPI I Sao Paolo Over There | rings, H&M | sweatshirt, LOFT | latte mugs, Anthropologie | candle, H&M Home | loafers, Vince Camuto via Sole Society | bag, Michael Kors

have a great weekend! i'll be unpacking and organizing all weekend, so i know i will ;) 

Date Night with Kendra Scott

900 N Michigan Ave, Chicago
if there's one thing i feel like i can never have enough of, it's jewelry. i rarely leave the house without something, whether it's simple studs and my favorite delicate necklace, or something a bit fancier like these statement earrings. especially on weekends where minimal makeup and ponytails are standard, i like to feel a bit more put together by adding some jewels to the mix. 

Alex Earrings and Andy Bracelet 
i've always been an admirer of Kendra Scott jewelry, but that admiration was taken to a whole new level when i visited the brand new store in Chicago. bright lights, all white cabinetry, mirrors all around, and endless gorgeous jewelry placed throughout the store. basically, it's every jewelry-lovers dream. i was particularly struck by the collection of white howlite jewelry, like this necklace and these studs

when it came to picking a date night outfit last weekend, i planned the clothes around the accessories. and that's when you know the jewelry is good. a simple lace top, my favorite maxi dress (repurposed to be a skirt!), embellished sandals, and a simple clutch were the perfect match for these ear cuffs, my favorite double ring, and this bangle set

top: H&M | maxi dress: Gap | sandals: Target | earrings: Kendra Scott c/o | bangles: Kendra Scott c/o | ring: Kendra Scott c/o | wallet: Cole Haan

a huge thank you to Kendra Scott for sponsoring this post!

Black + White

haaaaaaappy friday! 

i've got a couple hours of work and a few more things to pack before i get ready to head out to the burbs for my friend's wedding! i love going to weddings and seeing every bride's vision for their big day come true. it's also fun for me to think about what my wedding will be like one day (ahem, Mike, are you reading this?) and get ideas from the different ceremonies and receptions that we attend. i'm looking forward to catching up with some old friends and enjoying the beautiful surroundings. 

also, i may have verbally committed to running a half marathon in like 10 weeks and i'm terrified. actually, i'm completely in denial that it's likely happening. which, i think, is exactly the opposite of how you should act because TRAINING. it's been a hot minute since i've done any type of distance run, or even been to the gym, so this will be a real treat. i'm the type of person that is motivated by goals, so knowing that i have a HALF MARATHON i'm expecting to run in 10 weeks will surely get my booty outside and runnin'. i'm also really going to work on getting Mike to join us because the more people to suffer run with, the better. more about that to come, i'm sure. 

i'll leave you with this, because i tend to be chatty when i'm still sleepy but loading my body with caffeine. black, white, and cognac make for a real good combination, if you ask me. 

white top, H&M | lace top, Marshall's | pants, Calvin Klein via TJ Maxx | sandals, Target (similar) | bag, J.Crew (similar) | necklaces, Elisabeth Ashlie (here and here) | ring, Kendra Scott c/o 

Beauty Review: Face Cleansers

while i tend to be pretty open-minded about clothes, nail polish colors, or changing up my hairstyle, one thing i don't like changing is anything i use on my skin. i've always had super sensitive skin and have had enough allergic reactions to face washes/moisturizers/lotions to know not to mess with it too much. truth be told, i'd been using the same face wash from Neutrogena for several years but wanted to try something new. i took a risk trying out this face cream from Fresh several months ago (at my sister's recommendation) and have loved using it, so i thought i'd give their soy face cleanser a shot. i knew i liked the brand, my skin wouldn't react to it, and it was in that part of the store where you checkout and everything is tiny and (therefore) cheap(er) than the rest of the store and i get sucked in and can't help myself and now we're here.  
i love the smell of this cleanser and can tell that it's super gentle, which is what i wanted to start out with. it doesn't dry out my skin and acts as a toner, which i like. the one thing i don't love about it is that i can't feel it cleaning my face. because it's so gentle, it doesn't have any exfoliating beads or stronger ingredients that give you that deep-clean feeling. 

so, i was on a mission to try some other cleansers, in hopes of finding a real winner. next up was Zero Oil by Origins. i've talked about my love for their active charcoal mask (it is real and it is deeeeeep), so i figured a cleanser was an obvious next step to try. my skin tends to be a little bit on the oily side, especially in the summer when i'm more prone to sweating. what i love about this cleanser is that it really does remove excess oil, without drying my skin out. in fact, i didn't feel the need to apply a moisturizer until about 10 minutes after using it, which is pretty impressive for me. i could feel it cleaning my skin and love how sudsy it gets. so far, this one is a good one! 
i'd also heard a lot about First Aid Beauty, so i picked up the face cleanser to try. this one was also super gentle, which i like. it's a rich and silky cream cleanser, so it's soft and smooth when you're washing your face. it left my skin looking bright and feeling clean without feeling aggressive or too intense. 
overall, i'd say they're all winners, it just depends on what type of skin you have and what cleanser you're looking for. if i had to pick a favorite, it would be the one from Origins because it helped with the oily skin part! and that is particularly required during the warm summer months when extra grime builds up on my skin. 

have you tried any of these? what did you think?

Blush x White

since i left you with such a cliffhanger about what i was planning to wear to the conference over the it is! (i seem to be most sarcastic in the morning. who am i kidding, i'm sarcastic at all times). anyway, i went with a neutral palette because i've been looking for any excuse or occasion to wear this blush top. we've got a reaaaaal nice thing going right now, so i didn't want to mess it up. i swapped out the shorts for pants, flats for wedges, and simple jewels for a bit more of a statement, but otherwise, it's as if you were there on saturday. 

top | TOPSHOP (more sizes), shorts | LOFT c/o, espadrilles | Madden Girl, purse | Nordstrom Rack, necklace | Elisabeth Ashliering | Kendra Scott c/o

speaking of, my sister and i were both a bit disappointed with the Create & Cultivate Conference. i was really anticipating being inspired and full of ideas for how to grow my biz and left feeling like i hadn't really heard anything that was applicable to me or what i was doing. some could argue that you can apply just about any business concepts/experiences to your own, but it's a lot harder to do it than it is to say. quite a few of the panelists had a lot of experience with venture capital funding or spending years in R&D developing their product, and that's just not something that i've ever done (or likely will do - but you never know!) so, there was much to be desired, in my opinion. 

i will say that the setting, Chicago Illuminating Company, was beautiful and really cool to see. it was fun to meet some ladies that were in a similar situation with having an online business, so i enjoyed that! it's nice to be around like-minded people that understand what you do and just sort of get it, ya know? 

Kate and i really enjoyed getting to spend time together, too. while i absolutely love the time that i get to spend with her when i'm visiting her and my nephews, it's also really nice to have some time separate from the babies so that we can have a full conversation or decide to just up and go do something without having to talk about nap schedules and when dinner is. it's also a little weird to not have the boys around when i see her because i'm so used to them being a package deal! 

and now, after a fun and full weekend, it's back to work and power-packing up my apartment to get ready for the move! 

Weekend Wear

i woke up particularly excited this morning because my sister flies into Chicago in just a few hours! she's coming so that we can attend the Create & Cultivate Conference together tomorrow and have a little sister weekend. we're both so excited for the conference. it will be my first creative conference i'll be attending, so i'm anticipating tons of learning and an explosion of creativity afterward. 

one of the fun side effects of having something like this planned is getting to pick out an outfit and accessories. i'm pretty sure i have an outfit selected, but that's sort of a game time decision for me since i tend to feel differently about clothes when it comes time to wear them. it's also forecasted to be particularly roasty, so that will certainly play a role! and the fact that i've packed/purged about half my closet, so...

it's friday and i'm excited for the weekend but have quite a few things to do before i can relax and enjoy it, but what's getting me through is the promise of endless chips and salsa and a pitcher of margaritas with my girl tonight. cannot. wait. 

dress | Target, sandals | Target, purse | J.Crew (similar), ring | Kendra Scott c/o, necklaces | Elisabeth Ashlie (here and here

pssssst! there's a sale happening over at Elisabeth Ashlie all weekend long - stock up on summer favorites before they're gone! 

Umba Box | review + giveaway

have you guys heard of Umba Box? it's a monthly handmade subscription box featuring, you guessed it, handmade goods! as a handmade biz owner, this subscription box holds a special place in my heart because i love what it does for small businesses/artists and for the recipients (who doesn't want to receive awesome goods every month?). when you subscribe to Umba Box, you receive a box with delightful goods, like this pack of cards and bud vase:
there are two different subscription box options, the discover and the delight boxes. you can read more about the different options here. not only do i love Umba for the handmade aspect, but i'm especially excited about this because one of my necklaces will be included in next month's box! i'm thrilled to be a featured artist and have been working hard behind the scenes to get the jewels ready for next month. 

alright, are you convinced yet? if not, these adorable cards should persuade you that you need to sign up because you'll get things like this in your mailbox:
since you're all ready to sign up anyway, why not enter below to win a 3-month Discover Box subscription (a $90 value)?! use the giveaway tool below to enter! winner will be chosen Sunday.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday Style | 26

graphic tee + deconstructed denim shorts + statement necklaces + wedges = my very favorite outfit (right now)

i love the mix of casual pieces with dressed up accessories, because i feel comfortable and pulled together without much effort. which is my favorite kind of outfit for the weekend. speaking of the weekend, i have officially lived my final plans-free weekend in this current apartment (!!!). (my sister comes this weekend and mike and i have a wedding and concert the next and then moving weekend!) Friday night was spent getting dinner with friends and then going to Montrose Beach to enjoy some live music at the beach bar. by the way, if you live here and have never been, i highly recommend it. for the sole reason that you feel like you're on a tropical vacation on a warm night. the trees blocked most of the skyline, so we were just surrounded by water, sand, and a tropical vibe. (that tropical vibe can mostly be attributed to humidity, but tropical sounds better, so...)

Saturday was brunch, packing and relaxing. and Sunday was a bit more of the same! i'm making some good progress on the packing front, but i'm also sort of stuck because much of the things left to pack are daily-use, like kitchenware, clothes, and work-related things. so, i'm just living amongst boxes and bare walls, for now. 

(psssst. you should come back tomorrow for a fun giveaway!)

tank | Marshall's, shorts | Levi's c/o, wedges | Target (similar), necklaces | J.Crew Factory (similar, similar), bangles | Kendra Scott c/o, wallet | Cole Haan via TJ Maxx

Putting My Weekend To Work

one of my favorite ways to utilize a Sunday afternoon (behind napping and eating Mexican food) is prepping for the week ahead. i've found that it helps me to be more productive during the week, especially on Monday morning. i'm one of those people where, if the creativity just isn't flowin', i'll distract myself with some other project until i can sit back down at my desk and get something going. i still do that, but now i work on something else work-related so that i'm still being productive, instead of just wasting time during the workday. 
one of the most distracting things to me is having laundry to do. i hate, nay, loathe having a mental to-do list of things that i don't want to do. know what the first thing is on that list? LAUNDRY. between having to pay for every single load (#citylife) to hoping i get enough machines to do it all in just a couple hours to folding's all the worst to me. this is also why i'm stupid excited to have in-unit laundry in the new place in just a few short weeks!!! my laundry basket is within eye shot of my desk, so that full basket taunts me all day long. i am not kidding you. to avoid the distraction and loathing, and the inevitable lack of clean underwear i will soon face, laundry doing it is. and there's at least 2.5 hours of the workday i don't have to lose out on.
i'm a list maker. while i usually have a pretty long mental list of things to do, it helps me a lot to visually see it all written down. and yes, i do it for the thrill of crossing things off, too. i like to take some time on sunday to make a list of everything i absolutely need to get done in the week ahead. whether it's an email i've neglected, an order that needs to be shipped out, or something else, i write it down or stick a post-it on my desktop so that i can constantly be reminded of it. then, come monday morning, i have some direction for the day and can get after it. 

food is one of the hardest things for me during the week. i eat most of my meals at home, save for the occasional dinner with a friend during the week. and while i love Ramen noodles, i just can't eat it for every meal. yes, i totally still eat Ramen noodles. i like to browse Pinterest to find a new recipe or two to try out that week. i also like to get my grocery shopping done over the weekend, although going to the grocery store, on a weekend, in the city, is a little picture of what hell must be like. but i'd rather suffer for an hour or two than have to spend time on Monday doing it, so i make a list of everything i need and move as quickly as possible through those aisles. some recipes i've tried and love are easy burrito bowls, one pan spicy lemon chicken pasta, and quinoa stuffed peppers.
since i try to prep everything else, i figure i may as well treat my skin to a mask, too! i try to do a mask as least once a week, so sunday evening has become my go-to time for that. i love this charcoal mask from Origins and just recently started using the limited edition honey blossom resurfacing mask which smells and feels amazing.  it leaves my skin feeling super soft, smooth, and glowing for the new week ahead. 

while it certainly isn't rocket science, i've found that it helps me a ton during the week to do some of these things over the weekend. i feel refreshed, prepared, and excited to take on a whole new week (without having to think about doing my laundry). instead of only working for the weekend, i also put my weekend to work for me.

Beauty Review: IT Cosmetics Finishing Powder

so, you should know by now that i'm obsessed with the under eye concealer from IT Cosmetics. for me, it's an absolute must-have beauty product. no surprise here...i love their other products, too. i used to think that finishing powder was one of those things that cosmetic companies convince you that you need to have just so they can make a buck, but after trying this one, i totally see the value in it. 
it goes on super smooth, instantly adding an airbrushed look to my makeup. i've been using this Tarte foundation (which already gives a nice glow), adding a little bronzer and a swipe of blush, and setting it all with Bye Bye Pores Silk Anti-Aging Micro Powder. (you can buy it as a set with the brush here) i just dust a little bit of powder all over my face, making sure that it's just a thin veil on top of my makeup. (if you use too much, you'll know because you can see the lightness of it). it helps to fill in the gaps where my foundation has lightened up (i.e. from sweating) and evens out my coloring. 
i love how super soft it makes my skin and it's an easy way for me to touch up during the day, especially if my makeup is starting to wear off. just a little dusting of this stuff all over revitalizes my look! if you're in the market for a finishing powder, i definitely recommend this one! 
by the way, i'm wearing this dress (yes, i have it in three colors. GUILTY.) and this lip.  

IT Cosmetics sent me this finishing powder as a gift, but i'm sharing it with you guys because i actually do use it every day and love it! 

Saturday Style | 25

happy first monday of august! 
how is that even a thing already?!

this past weekend marked the beginning of a very busy month for me, but it was quite relaxing. i headed out to the burbs on Saturday to attend a brew fest with Mike and some friends in my hometown. it was fun to change it up a bit, since we're usually in the city every weekend. the only thing i learned, though, is that i just do not like beer enough to appreciate an event like that. and when i say appreciate, i mean get my money's worth. switch out the beer with wine and i am there...with bells on. 
i would say the only real mistake i made all weekend was returning to the city right (and i mean right) when lollapalooza (huge music festival) was ending on Saturday. hoards of underdressed, over-stinky people (mostly high schoolers) were just everywhere. it's in those moments that i realize my age. or at least my internal age. because all i wanted to do was be curled up in bed and all these people looked like they were just getting the night started. we were packed like sardines on the el (subway train) and it was potentially the longest ride of my life. but i survived, clearly...i'll use it as a learning experience. 

Sunday was spent packing up some boxes, grocery shopping, and gearing up for another week.

hope you had a great weekend! 

kimono | H&M (i also love this, and this)
tank | H&M
shorts | J.Crew Factory
necklace | Elisabeth Ashlie
nail polish | OPI
clutch | Fossil
wedges | Report