Coffee Conversations

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Happy Friday-before-a-long-weekend, also known as, "the best kind"! Truth be told, I'll likely be working over the weekend, but it's still nice to be in the mindset of getting an extra day off next week! 

Speaking of the weekend, SALES. So many sales happening. I'm not going to share them here because...you can find them yourself. But, I will give you a little inside scoop and tell you to check Elisabeth Ashlie in the morning...we may be running a Memorial Day promotion. Maybe. But before then, you need this new Farmer's Market Tote. Fun fact: that's my handwriting!

I realized yesterday that I haven't done a Wedding Update yet this month, so that's coming next week, like on Tuesday since that's almost the last day of the month. 

I've been on the hunt for the perfect pair of distressed denim shorts. I had three requirements: not too short, not too distressed, not diaper-like. I FOUND THEM. These shorts are the perfect length (you can adjust the cuff to whatever length you want!), the perfect amount of distressed, and fit like actual jeans. I believe I bought my regular jeans size, if that helps. 


Ok gotta go to work to make this workday as short as possible! 

Have a great (long) weekend!

Loungin' Around


If I had to pick just one category of clothing to wear for the rest of my life, it would be loungewear. Some of you might think, "yeah, duh. WE ALL WOULD." But, this means that you would have to show up to a wedding in leggings. You so sure about your decision now? I am. I would take being the really weirdly dressed person at a really fancy event for the 364 other days of the year that I'm not at a fancy event.

6 out of 7 days, I'm in at least one of the items seen above. More than likely, my outfit is entirely made of said items. I just can't quit the comfortable, relaxed feel. What I really love is that all the tops are easy to dress up a bit. Throw on your favorite ripped jeans or add some booties and you're a little less lounge-y, but still cozy.

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Elisabeth Ashlie Hairties


Sunday Skincare


Sunday has become my official "skincare" day. I use my regular skin care products during the week, but like to do some extra things for my skin and hair about once a week, as well. Since Sunday evening is usually spent relaxing at home, I like to spend a little extra time pampering myself. Plus, I love setting my skin and hair up for success for the week! 


One of my absolute favorite things to do is a mask. I do one at least once a week, depending on what my skin is doing. I switch between Origins Clear Improvement Charcoal Mask (my absolute favorite!) and Origins Original Skin Retexturing Mask (a new discovery!). I'll choose the mask depending on what my skin is doing. If my skin is having a few breakouts or just feels extra oily, I'll use the charcoal mask to clear that all out. If I've been wearing a lot of makeup that week and feel a little grimy, I'll go for the retexturing mask to get some exfoliating. I like to use the Maskimizer spray to get the most out of those products, although it's not necessary. 


After my mask, I'll typically do some kind of lip treatment. I've been enjoying using this sugar scrub lately. It helps get some of the dead skin off, while not being to harsh or drying our my lips. I'll follow with my favorite lip balm. Tip: after a day of wearing a bold lipstick, I'll do the scrub to remove any remnants of color that may have stuck around!


After skin and lips comes hair! I've been admittedly pretty bad about caring for my hair. I heat-style 3-4 times a week and don't ever let my hair air dry. Shout out to the girls who have horrible air-dried hair - I'm one of them! My sister has been hounding me for years to use a hair mask or leave-in conditioner, so I've finally introduced it into my routine. I was always hesitant to use a leave-in or deep conditioner because I assumed it would weigh down my hair and make it hard to style, thus creating a bad hair day and who wants a bad hair day?! I'm happy to report that my assumption was wrong, at least about these two products!


I've been using the Kristin Ess Reconstructive Moisture Mask 2-3 times a week and I can tell that my ends are more moisturized and smooth after using. If I'm really in need of some moisture and TLC, I'll use the Overnight Perfector by Living Proof.

I typically give myself an at-home manicure on Sundays too, so I might add some cuticle cream or heavy hand lotion to the mix!

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Coffee Conversations

mug
Good Morning! Milo woke me up at a ripe 6:22am this morning with his incessant purring, so...yeah. I don't even need to sent an alarm on my phone because of him. That fact is sometimes appreciated but mostly irritating, if I'm being honest.

It's been a busy week for me with more errands than usual, so I'm looking forward to having a typical "day at my desk" today. Time is literally flying by - I just saw it out the window. With only about 6 weeks left of work, I'm feeling like I have a million things to do, plan, prep, and finish. It's overwhelming at times, but I know I need to just sit and make a plan for the next few weeks and it will all be a-okay. 

Speaking of errands, I popped into Madewell yesterday and picked up these ultra-comfortable jeans. They're so stretchy and without a single tear or destructed mark, which I was in the market for. All of my other jeans have holes in the knees, so I needed a pair that were whole ;) 

I'm seriously considering pre-ordering this agenda for 2018. 

I've recently gotten back into listening to podcasts and am really enjoying the recent episodes from This American Life


I've been wearing these ear jackets a lot lately!

Hope you have a great weekend!

How I Edit My Instagram Photos

I've received a number of questions about how I edit my photos for Instagram, so I thought a little step-by-step would be a fun way to show my method! I almost exclusively use the A Color Story App, which you can download here

First things first, I take about 20-30 photos. Kidding, sort of. If I'm taking photos of an outfit, I'll take a pile of them with slight changes in my expression and pose and rifle through to find the one I like



Once I've landed on the best one, I turn my brightness all the way up on my phone to see what kind of lighting I'm working with. My light source is a decent sized window to the right of me when taking photos, but the weather can really impact how much I need to edit the brightness. If the original is bright enough to work with, I open it in A Color Story to edit. 


My first editing step is to play with the brightness. I like light and bright photos, but I don't like when they're too light that they get grainy or discolored. I toggle with the brightness a bit until I find one that looks good - sometimes that's just a little to the right, other times it's nearly all the way to the right. 


When brightness is set, I go into contrast to add in a little bit of the definition and...contrast...that was lost when adjusting the brightness. I don't tend towards high-contrast photos, so just a few ticks on the scale will do the trick! Next up is adjusting the temperature. The walls on my rental apartment are an obnoxious yellow that I loathe with many parts of myself. Yellow walls paired with my warm-toned rug make for a strong yellow tint, at times. I'll adjust the temperature to add in some blues, if I'm feeling like I have a lemon filter on the photo. 


Those are the typical adjustments I make to the original - brightness, contrast and temperature. Every once in awhile, on a particularly sunny day, I'll lower the exposure just a hair, but that's not often. 

Next, I move onto the filter


I don't like overly-filtered photos. My fiancé and I couldn't disagree more on this. Let's just say he loves sepia. I bought the "Flashes of Delight" filter pack by Glitter Guide and love it. So many good filters! I almost exclusively use Carrie or Cassidy on my Instagram photos. Carrie has more blue tones, Cassidy is more yellow, so I'll choose based on the existing temperature of the photo. (I.e. if my photo is already erring towards blues, I'll go with Cassidy.) When you first select the filter, it's at 100%, which is usually a bit aggressive. You can see the difference that just one filter makes:


I tone the filter way down, rarely going past the halfway mark on the scale. I find the spot that looks right and set it in place! Once the filter is on, it's ready to be shared



You can see just how much of a difference it makes to take a couple steps to adjust some of the elements of a photo. All in all, the whole process might take me a total of 2 minutes. I've got my methods down pretty solid and know exactly how I like to edit, so it's a rather quick process. Plus, there's nothing better, in the social media world, than a well-edited, cohesive looking feed, if you ask me. It's worth taking that extra 2 minutes to make a photo look just how I'd like it to look! 

Office Inspiration

One of the things that I'm most excited about with our upcoming move to Northern Virginia is getting to set up a new office! I'm lucky enough now to have a designated room in my current apartment that serves mostly as an office, but I cannot wait to have a room that is strictly my office, i.e. doesn't hold anything else. When I say that I'm busting out of the seams of the current room, I'm not exaggerating. With the way the room is laid out with windows, a weird closet, a radiator, and french doors, there's not enough wall space for tall storage, so things are just kind of everywhere. It drives me a little bit nuts, but I know I only have another month and a half or so of working out of it, so I can just push through!

Here are my thoughts on how I'd like to set up the new space:


I'm really excited to get a proper desk. For the last two years, I've been using an old Ikea dining table as a desk. It works well and I love the desktop space it gives me, but it's pretty beat up. I just recently realized that I would love to have a 2-person desk, like you see above. One side will be just for my computer, the other will serve as my workspace for making jewelry and packaging up orders. With all of that stuff happening on just one surface right now, you can imagine how chaotic it can get! I've had an Ikea system as a desk before, so I'm looking forward to (hopefully) having one again!

One thing I'm definitely buying is that white tulip table to use as a work table. My roommate has a kitchen table that is currently stored in our office, which is perfect for my assistant when she comes to work at my place. I'll need some surface for someone to work on, as well as a place for me to take photos, so that table will be just what I need!

I'm also hoping to store my big, full-sized mirror that I take most of my outfit photos for Instagram in the office! I'd love to have a prettier place to take daily photos that doesn't have the bed in the background ;) While my job is primarily Elisabeth Ashlie, I'd like to create a little corner that helps keep me organized for Lauren Loves.

Other than those big things,  I already have a few shelving units that will just be moved right in and utilized completely. I need more actual storage versus just pretty storage, so I'm sure I'll be raiding the boxes and baskets section of Ikea and The Container Store to have a proper place for everything. I'll add in some greenery and small decorative objects, but want to keep it mostly simple and clean. One thing I'd really love to have is a wooden (or other material) cut-out sign that says, "Elisabeth Ashlie" for the wall. I'm sure that's something I could find on Etsy, but if you know anyone personally or have purchased something similar from someone, will you let me know?

I've already got my list going for what I'll need/want to buy, so I can't wait to actually get in there and make it happen!

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Desk | Tulip Table | Wall Mirror | Stool | Shelving Units

Coffee Conversations


This photo is, in no way, an accurate description of how I drank my coffee this morning...because mine was had in the 5 o'clock hour on the way to the airport for a 7am flight. Speaking of, I could use another cup or two. Alas, the early morning wake up was for a good cause because I'm officially on vacation for the next three days. And let me tell you, planning to have a little getaway two months out from our wedding was actually the best idea I've had in awhile. I could use a couple days without work, without wedding stuff, just relaxing and soaking up this time before everything gets just a little wild for a few months. I also can't remember the last time that just me, my mom and sister went away somewhere together, so I'm looking froward to making some memories! 

In other news, Mike is on his "bachelor weekend" in San Diego with some of his buddies! Sometimes I feel like he was more excited for this trip than he is for our own wedding, but it's cool, I get it. The man loves his friends. (Not to say that I don't also love my friends, but we are very different socially.)  

On to the other stuff: I'm getting really into In A Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware and it. is. good. If you're looking for a good read, I'd recommend it! If you need other book suggestions, read the comments on this photo

If you are fair-skinned like me and could use a little sun-kissed-ness before baring your arms and legs in the warm weather, I've been using this gradual tan lotion and really like it! It's natural looking and easy to apply. 

These joggers/house pants/leggings/cozies should be purchased by you and everyone you know. THEY'RE SO SOFT. You are welcome, by the way. 

We're making progress on our townhouse/condo hunt in Virginia! We're planning to go in early July to see some places, in person, but have been sent over quite a few listings to see what's available and I have a good feeling! We will just be renting since we don't know the area, don't know how often Mike will actually need to be at school, don't know if we will be staying after he finishes his program, etc etc etc. I'm looking forward to having more space to live in and to not have to walk up multiple flights of stairs with groceries ;) 

Mike and I are planning to shop for wedding bands next week! We have some family stones that we're hoping to use in my band, so I'm anxious to see what our jeweler can come up with for us. I'm hoping to share another Wedding Update soon! 

Hope you have a great weekend! 

Craving a Beach Getaway

Do you ever have those times in life where you think, "man, I really need a vacation."

Yes, yes I do. That would be everyday of my life.

Ahh, yes. Of course. I can't think of a single person that I know that would turn down a vacation. Although, I do know people who would prefer to stay home versus traveling. I would maybe put myself in that category because I'm such a homebody, but I do really enjoy a nice getaway and exploring new places. I like vacation, but I'm always anxious to get back home and back to my routine. I'm one of those.

However, at this very point in time, I would not say no to a little sunshine, relaxation, and maybe a little kiss from the sun to my skin (read: my skin is so fair). What happens to work out well is that I'm actually headed for South Carolina this weekend with my mom and sister for a little girl's weekend - the last one just the 3 of us before I get married! So, my craving for warmth and sunshine is not totally benign - it's greatly heightened due to the fact that I will have it in about 3 days. Hallelujah!

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Instagram, Lately

Hello! Welcome to the updated Lauren Loves :) 

With all the changes that have been going on around here, I wanted a more traditional blog look and feel, so that's where we're at. Plus, I can easily link to all the things up in the main menu, so you can have an easier time finding whatever you may be looking for. 

That aside, I thought I'd do an Instagram roundup, since I haven't done one in awhile. These are all of my most-worn, most-liked looks on Instagram, lately. And yes, you do see this cardigan three times in three different colors. I couldn't resist. And also, got them all on sale, so that's cool. Clearly, I wear one every single day, so I'd consider them a good investment.

 Cardigan | Top | Jeans | Flats | Purse (exact color sold out, similar option) | Nail Color
 Top
Top | Purse | Watch | Flats

We're still in cool Spring weather in Chicago, so I haven't yet been able to pull out any of my dresses or sleeveless tops from under my bed - I'm anxiously awaiting that day! Until then, you'll find me in some combination of a cozy but pulled together outfit. 

Coffee Conversations

Happy Friday and Cinco de Mayo! Now that is a dynamic duo right there. I'm looking forward to enjoy some margaritas and Mexican food later! 

This week went by pretty quickly for me and has been quite busy with work, so I'm anxiously awaiting the arrival of that 5:00pm mark when I can shut it all down for a couple days. Speaking of shutting things down, I announced my Summer Break plans for Elisabeth Ashlie this week - did you see? It's going to be pretty strange to take such a long, pre-planned break, but I truly can't imagine the alternative. I'm thankful to be in a position where I can take time off of work for everything that is going to be going on this summer! 

I've rediscovered my love for tee shirts, guys. I've always been a jeans and a tee shirt girl, but was having the hardest time finding good tees in recent months. These just arrived on my doorstep this week and I love them! I ordered three colors, but will likely only keep the black and grey. The taupe color basically matched my skin, so it wasn't good for me. BUT the others are classics that will get a ton of use in the coming months. 

Elisabeth Ashlie made it on the Crate and Barrel Blog! We did a private registry event last month at their Oakbrook location and you can see us included in the recap post here

My mom, sister, and I are headed to South Carolina at the end of next week for a little girl's trip before all the wedding festivities really get rolling. I'm so looking forward to a little getaway and some warm weather! 

This is the cutest keychain I've ever seen.

I feel like I need this for our Europe trip!


Okay, gotta go dream about tacos for the rest of the day. Have a great weekend! 

Gifts for Mom

Mother's Day is coming up quickly, so I thought I'd share some easy and good gift ideas for the mom(s) in your life! Whether she's a working mom and needs a new watch or a stay-at-home mom and could seriously use some new bubble bath to relax. I love that there's a day set aside to show mom's our appreciation for all that they do - both for our own and for those that we know.

If you're not the gift-giving type in that way, consider making her breakfast, offering to do a task or two around the house, or planning a fun day date for the two of you. I'll be with my mom and sister on Mother's Day, so I'm planning on going through this list and picking out one or two things to gift each of them that day!

Don't forget to shop Elisabeth Ashlie's Mother's Day Picks!

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Elisabeth Ashlie Sugared Fruits Candle | Kate Spade "mom" Keychain | Elisabeth Ashlie Personalized Family Necklace


Saturday Style

It was a classic Spring weekend in Chicago - rainy and cold. It rained non-stop from Friday night through this morning, so it ended up being pretty low-key...full of take-out and movies. I was looking at my calendar last night and realized that I have exactly one weekend left that doesn't have a single obligation scheduled between now and August. ONE. The good news is nearly every weekend is full of fun and exciting things, but this is not how I usually like to live my life. I can already feel myself crashing in August!

It's hard to believe that we're already this far along in the year, but this marks the beginning of the real stuff - trips, showers, fittings, final meetings - for the Wedding season, so I've been anxiously awaiting May's arrival! Also, seriously anxiously awaiting warmer temps and some sunshine. Until then, I've got my rainy day outfit on point, which is all that really matters 😉

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Coffee Conversations

I'm just going to go ahead and pretend that we're sitting right there at that table, in that gloriously morning mist-filled forest, with a cup of hot coffee and a bowl of something delicious. I'm craving a vacation...can you tell?

Happy Friday! Yesterday was a weird day for me - I was a total zombie and felt pretty useless, so I'm hoping that today is totally different! Also, I was asleep by 9pm last night, so that was cool. 

I mentioned on my Instagram Stories that we had our sample meeting with our event styling company for the wedding earlier this week. You guys, it was crazy. The head table and dining tables are going to look so good. My mom and I both cried when we saw what they put together! They captured my vision and amped it up by about a thousand, so I couldn't be more excited to see it all together on the wedding day! 

This sweet little bag for spring came in the mail this week and I love it! It's the perfect small size and the prettiest shade of pink. 

If you need a good basic layering tank (or worn alone!) for less than $20, look no further than this one.

I'm finally working on a blog post for the recipe of my go-to green olive pasta that I've shared on Instagram/Snapchat a couple times. I'm hoping to have it up next week, so if you're one of the people who has asked for it, keep an eye out! 

This looks absolutely dreamy. Literally. I feel like I could have some good dreams while taking a nap in that spot. 

Don't forget Mother's Day is May 14th! Shop our picks at Elisabeth Ashlie for something special for the mom in your life! 

Have a great weekend! 

You'll Never Find Me Without These

I don't have as vast a lipstick collection as say, my sister, but I'd definitely be in competition with the average girl, I'm sure. If there's one thing I don't return to a store, it's lipstick. I don't know why. I guess because, if it's less than $10, I just don't see the point in going through the hassle of returning, if I don't like the color. But at this point, I would have a lot of money back if I'd just returned the ones that don't work with my skin. So basically, don't do it my way. 

ANYWAY. So, I have a lot of lip products - lip sticks, tinted balms, glosses, regular balms, you name it. I'm down to try a new color, although I tend to go toward bright pinks. Through the years, I've tried enough brands and colors to find my absolute favorites - the ones that work anytime of the year and for nearly any occasion. These are the ones you can always find in my purse or on my person when I'm traveling.

If you're new to the Dior Lip Glow, go ahead and just order one for yourself. It add just the right amount of color to "wake you up" and moisturizes your lips. I have both Pink and Lilac, which you don't need both, but I would recommend Lilac. It looks good on everybody and it's the best "barely there" lip balm.

I lean towards tinted balms and moisturizing products versus classic lipsticks, save for these two. Smashbox Be Legendary "Pretty Social" lipstick is a pretty light pink that looks especially good with a little clear balm over top. 
When I'm looking for a little more color, I go for the Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Obsessed. I love this lipstick because it's a sheer, so it doesn't get cake-y or wear strangely over time. It's moisturizing, too! 

When I'm looking for a long-wear, bolder color, I reach for my NARS Velvet Lip Glide in Bound. This goes on so smooth and lasts for many hours - the first time I wore it, it lasted through lunch and drinking a coffee. Low-maintenance color? Sign me up! 

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Colors: Bound, Lilac, Pretty Social, Obsessed

Saturday Style

I had a pretty full weekend, but it was a wonderful one!

Mike and I had some time together on Friday night, which is always a warm welcome after not seeing each other much during the workweek. We picked up some takeout and watched some basketball at his apartment. Sunday was filled with brunch with my girlfriends, walking to enjoy the beautiful weather with Mike and winding down at home to prep for another week. I was able to steal a few hours to myself on Saturday afternoon to do absolutely nothing and it was the best.

I love to be able to get out and do things on the weekends, especially since I spend my entire week in my apartment for work. That being said, I'm definitely a homebody, so I can really get into a lazy Saturday afternoon at home - sipping coffee, reading magazines, or catching up on one of our shows. This particular weekend, my downtime was spent stuffing and stamping our wedding invitations (!!!).  It was the perfect amount of time to recharge and completely relax, before going to Saturday night church and spending the rest of the evening with Mike.

What kind of a weekend do you like, totally unscheduled or filled-to-the-brim with activities?

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Coffee Conversations

Hello and Happy Friday! 

First update: notice the new URL! Lauren Loves now officially lives at www.lauren-loves.com. I've been wanting to make the change for about a year now, so it feels good! Long and kind of dramatic story short, there was an issue with my old domain that didn't allow me to forward to this new one, so if you're reading from Bloglovin' or clicked over from social media, be sure to note the new URL! 

I had to run out to pick up a few makeup/beauty products that I was running low on yesterday, which also meant that I stopped into Anthropologie and LOFT. Guys, I sorta hit the jackpot. I haven't done much Spring shopping this season, so I was jonesin' for a couple new items to introduce into my closet. Plus, I just filled 2 garbage bags of old clothes to donate, so it was looking a little sparse. I picked up this heavenly short-sleeved hoodie top from LOFT (Lou & Grey) and you NEED IT. I'm serious. Do not hesitate. Do not pass Go. Just order it. Also, this beautiful halter top that I can't wait to pack for our Honeymoon! 

Speaking of our Honeymoon, I've been having the most bizarre dreams this week. In one, we were stuck in an international airport for over 12 hours and didn't have a place to sleep. In last night's, I had mere hours to pack for our 2-week trip and didn't have anything to bring, so I was freaking out. It's weird because I don't feel anxious about the trip, at all, but apparently I feel like I need more clothes for it! 

I tried this new (to me) polish last night, so I'm curious to see how it holds up. It's a beautiful color! 

Oh, also, this thermal hooded cardigan, which is currently at Anthropologie, is on sale almost 40% here. It's a really good one! 

I finally watched the Netflix show, Stranger Things, guys. I'm several months late to the party, but I made it. It's very bizarre and not my typical kind of show, but I was entertained! It confirmed that I am so not a sci-fi person, but I can get into a show if the cast is good and the story line is interesting. 

I updated the site with some new features, including a Shop By Category tab at the top. When you click on it, you'll see different categories to shop items by, including my recent purchases. I'll occasionally share new things on Instagram Stories, so I will now also add them here for you guys! Also, Spring Must-Haves. Check it. 

I've got a full workday before before watching some NBA Playoff games with my man tonight. 
Hope you have a great weekend! 

Your Questions, Answered

Last weekend, I asked for you guys to send me any questions that you'd like me to answer during a little Q&A on Instagram stories. I got a few that were similar, and others that I maybe haven't addressed on the blog before, so I thought I'd also answer them here! 

Did you go to college?
I spent my Freshman year at Indiana Wesleyan University, then transferred to Wheaton College, where I spent 3 semesters. Halfway through my Junior year, I transferred to North Carolina State University in Raleigh, where I eventually graduated with a degree in Fashion and Textile Management. It wasn't my plan to go to so many different places, but it all worked out in the end! 

Most fun thing about wedding planning? Most stressful? What advice would you give your newly-engaged self about wedding planning?
One of the most fun parts, so far, was dress shopping. I ended up buying the first dress I saw online and the first one I tried on at Bhldn. It's been the least stressful part of the whole process, so I have very fond memories! In all honesty, nearly every other part has been stressful. There are so many decisions to make, so many things to think through, so many things to consider - and that's with a wedding planner and a team of rockstar vendors. I cannot imagine what it would be like to be without either of those two things! The guest list was pretty difficult because we wanted to keep our day intimate and small. It's difficult to know where to draw that line. Finding bridesmaid dresses was also pretty stressful because I wasn't finding what I was picturing for weeks. We eventually found great dresses, but it was a process! 

Mike and I had the benefit of getting engaged at the end of November, just before the holidays, which sort of forced us to take time to enjoy being engaged and not start planning right away. If you're a newly engaged girl, or will be getting engaged sometime, try to just enjoy being engaged for some time. We picked our date and our venue within the first couple weeks, but other than that, we didn't really do any planning until the New Year. I loved being able to just ease into the whole process, especially now that I know how much goes into planning a wedding.

What's your go-to Starbucks drink?
9 times out of 10, I'll order a non-fat vanilla latte - either iced or hot, depending on the weather. If I'm looking for something more refreshing, I'll go with a sweetened passion tea lemonade. Especially in the Summer, that drink is so good! 

What tips would you give someone who is aspiring to start their own online business?
I'm thinking of doing an entirely separate post for this topic, but a quick answer I would give is two-fold. One, try your idea out as a hobby first to see if it works. I don't recommend quitting your day job and going all in on an idea without knowing if it will actually work out. Two, do something different. You can start a gift boxing company that isn't far off from others, but offer something that all the others don't - either a better price point, a unique set of boxes, a charitable feature, or something else. Separate yourself just enough that new customers will want to buy from you, instead of the other guy online.

Do you guys have a song chosen for your first dance?
We do! We will be dancing to Yours, by Russell Dickerson.

What did you start Elisabeth Ashlie? Are you doing more curated boxes?
Elisabeth Ashlie started in 2010 with my sister, Kate. I took over full-time in 2013, when I moved to Chicago. You can read a bit more of our story here. Yes, we will definitely be adding more curated boxes! Speaking of, have you ordered the Mother's Day box for your mom, yet?!

What's your workout routine?
I try to workout at least 3x a week, but that doesn't always happen. I've worked with a trainer for the last year and a half or so, so I do mostly weight-lifting. I'm not looking to lose weight, per say, so I rarely do any strict cardio, like treadmill or stair master. I usually do a 30-40 minute full-body weightlifting routine when I go! 

What foundation do you use?
Right now, I'm using Arbonne Perfecting Liquid Foundation in the shade Soft Blush. This is a tried and true foundation for me! 

What is the weather usually like in May in Chicago? What do you suggest for non-touristy things to do?
It's usually in the 60's and beautiful, but you honestly never know. I highly recommend checking the local weather within days of traveling, to see what it will actually be like. I love walking around the stores on Armitage and Halsted, the Southport Corridor, going to eat in the Lincoln Square corridor, and walking along the lakefront path. If you want to avoid other tourists, avoid State Street, the Magnificent Mile, and Navy Pier. However, if you've never been to Chicago, I'd probably tell you to check out at least one of those things as they're quintessential activities in the city. 

Do you guys like this? Would you like to see more of this in the future? If so, send in any questions you have! You can leave a comment here or send me an email at laurenelizabethblog@gmail.com!

What I Do In A Day

I'm always intrigued by how people spend their days, especially other small business owners/entrepreneurs. More often than not for entrepreneurs, every day will look a little different. I thrive in a flexible environment like that - I need the option to take a day off on a Tuesday or to work until 8pm, to spend all day on the computer or all day creating content elsewhere.

6:00 am - Wake Up
In a dream scenario, I would wake at about 5am every day. I love waking up early in the morning, when it's by my choosing. Waking up early for a 7am flight is a different story, though. The quiet and darkness of the early morning means that I have ultimate focus. I'm my most productive in the morning, by far, so I like to get an early start on my day so that I can enjoy the afternoon a bit more. I can go to the gym, run errands, or just relax. Most days, I wake in the 6 o'clock hour.

7:00 am - Morning Coffee and Blog Post/Emails
Most mornings, the first thing I do is get a cup of coffee and go straight to the computer. If I have a blog post that day, I'll either create it or check over a draft and publish. Emails are the bane of my existence. Just having one single email in my inbox gives me anxiety, yet I procrastinate replying to the last possible second, usually. It doesn't make sense. This year, however, I'm trying something new and replying to emails first thing in the morning, which has made my inbox more manageable! 

8:30 am - Get Ready for the Day
This doesn't happen every day, but if I am going to shower, do my hair, and do my makeup, it will happen around this time. I'm not one of those people that would say I work better and more productively having gotten ready. In fact, I do my best work in leggings, a messy bun, and no makeup  😏 But, if I'm going to be taking photos, doing something later in the evening, or if my assistant is coming over, I will usually take some time to pull myself together in the morning 

9:30 am - Get to Work!
I always start my day fulfilling any new or outstanding orders. This can take anywhere from 30 minutes to all day. I ran an Easter sale over the weekend, which led to quite a few orders, so I spent all day yesterday fulfilling and shipping orders - and still didn't finish! This time will include social media, adding new products to the website, brainstorming new ideas, and working on any custom orders. 
2:30pm - Break Time
By about this time in the afternoon, I'm ready for a little break or caffeine boost. If I'm working out on a particular day, I'll head to the gym as soon as I realize I'm not being productive at my desk. If I'm not working out, I usually make myself a latte or walk over to Starbucks for a drink.
4:30-6:00pm Wrap Up for the Day!
Most workdays end somewhere in this range, depending on what's going on. I like to make an effort to clean up my office, clear off my desk, put all of my outgoing shipments in a bag, etc. before shutting down. The evenings look a little different, too. I like to plan a dinner or happy hour with a girlfriend about once a week, if possible. Mike and I might do a dinner or watch a movie midweek. I've been using my evenings, lately, to catch up on wedding planning things that I forget to do during the day, as well. 
9:00 pm - In Bed
I love spending time in my bed, especially at night. I like to get in my bed well before I'm even ready to go to sleep, so that I can read or watch a show. It helps me wind down and relax before shutting it down and going to sleep. 

I love the flexibility that comes with my job and allows me to create a schedule and routine that works well for me! Do you follow a strict schedule, or have the ability to make your own?

Coffee Conversations

Hello and Happy Good Friday! Is today a work holiday for people? I can never remember. If it is, I hope you enjoy your day off! 

Mike has to work tomorrow, but we'll be heading up to Wisconsin in the evening to spend Easter with my family. I'm looking forward to a little getaway, even if it is just for one night! Plus, the weather is supposed to be beautiful in Chicago this weekend - Spring is finally here!

I tried my first bath bomb from Lush and I officially get it. Not only do they smell amazing and they're just cool, but they make your bath water so stinking soft. It was crazy. The scents are still a little strong for me, in the store, but they're not as bad when you're using just one bomb. Now that I know I like them, I'm going to try to find a DIY to see if I can make them at home! 

I picked up this perfectly casual white tee this week and can't wait to add it into the regular rotation.  I love the subtle cutout detail, too.

Also, for those curious about my journey to find comfortable flats - I found them. These Sam Edelman flats are comfortable from the first time I put them on. They fit great and don't look weird on my feet, either (aka no toe cleavage). Plus, they come in so many fun colors!

Is this not the cutest little pouch you've ever seen?!


Pssssssst! Elisabeth Ashlie is having a surprise sale this weekend! 
Take 10% off your order with code BUNNY10
HINT: Buy your mom her Mother's Day Gift!
(Curated boxes and candles are not included in the sale)

Wedding Update, No.4

Guys, it's April 13th and we're just three months away from our wedding day! When we first got engaged in November and picked July as our month, it felt far away. I'm here to tell you two things: 1) time goes by faster and faster each day you get older and 2) wedding planning, living life, working, and planning for your future with your soon-to-be spouse makes said time go by at 4x fast forward speed. Basically, I feel like I've lived one month in about 5, so it's wild to me that we're at the 3-month mark. 

We've made some really great progress in just the last couple weeks! 

My sister was in the city with me yesterday and I found my wedding shoes! I tried these on at Nordstrom and was impressed with how comfortable they are. They also look great on and you can't beat that price tag! They're easily a pair of heels that I would wear again, as well. 

I think we've decided on ties and pocket squares for Mike and his groomsmen...which has been a process. Stores don't always have a ton of great options, so we were having a hard time finding something we liked that he could try in on a store with his suit. As Kate and I were walking around yesterday, we found The Tie Bar and popped in. There were so many great options and I was able to pick out a few things for Mike to try on at home. 

We had our tasting at the beginning of April and were all so happy with the food! Having good food is definitely at the top of our priority list, especially since we get to choose who our caterer is, so we're very happy with the company we're working with. It was the first tangible thing we've done and it made the whole thing even more real.

Our honeymoon is booked!!! YES.

I mentioned on Instagram that we've been working with Heather, of Heather Christopher Travel, to book our trip. Mike and I have never planned a trip to Europe and weren't really interested in adding that to our list of to-do's, so Heather took care of everything for us. She's been an absolute dream to work with - being flexible and accommodating, but also showing her expertise in her recommendations and suggestions. If you have a honeymoon, European vacation, or family Summer vacation on your mind, I totally recommend working with her

We will be flying to Paris, spending 3 days in the city, and then heading over to Italy, where we'll spend the remaining 9 days. In Italy, we'll be staying in Florence, Tuscany (where we're doing a cooking class and I CANNOT WAIT), Rome and finishing the trip on the Amalfi Coast. Mike and I are both so excited! 

This week's goal is to order wedding invitations!