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! 

SHOP THE POST
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?

SHOP THE POST

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! 

All About That Blush


I don't mess around when it comes to my love for blush things. I'm fairly certain my brain is wired to only find neutrals pleasing, but blush is one color that breaks that rule. With Spring finally showing its lovely face around these parts, I can't help but be drawn to this rosy hue...

SHOP THE POST
1. Sleepy Sundays Sweatshirt, Target | 2. Suede Wallet, Madewell | 3. Leather Tassle Keychain, Elisabeth Ashlie | 4. Dior Lip Glow in Sheer Pink, Nordstrom | 5. CND Vinylux in Cake Pop, Ulta | 6. Kate Spade Metro Grand Watch, Amazon | 7. Daily To Do List, Zazzle | 8. zeroUV Sunglasses, Amazon | 9. The Bigger Carry-On, Away  | 10. Suede Transport Crossbody, Madewell  | 11. Let's Cuddle Mug, Elisabeth Ashlie | 12. Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Paaarty, Sephora | 13. Sam Edelman Felicia Ballet Slippers, Zappos

Coffee Conversations

Helllllllllooooooooooo, Friday! HAPPY to see you, indeed. 

I shared on Instagram stories last night that I was going to use some lavender oil to help me sleep. Lavender oil also produces the most bizarre and intense dreams for me. So, while I didn't wake up a lot in the night, I woke up in the middle of a dream, which makes me feel a bit like a zombie. (Disclaimer: I know very little about oils other than lavender on the bottoms of my feet helps me sleep deeper.)

A girlfriend and I met for a coffee last Sunday at a cute place by my  apartment. I couldn't resist ordering a nutella crepe, which was delicious, and had my first chai latte ever. It was at said coffee date that I thought, "I should come here to do work more often" and it was decided. I drove past it the next day on my way to the gym and read a sign that said, "PERMANENTLY CLOSED" and everything was cleared out. I'm talking, within less than 24 hours. HOW DID THEY DO IT. Also, now all I want is a nutella crepe 😭

I'm seriously crushin' on these sneakers and just might have to order them to see if I love them as much, in person.

I'm on the semi-casual hunt for new flats and tried Tieks, after so many of you recommended them. While I like how sturdy the sole was, I just couldn't get around the teal bottom or the shape on my feet - they looked like a cross between grandma slippers and little girl ballet shoes. It was weird! I've seen them on other girls and they look so cute, I must have weird feet. Anyway, I've received other recommendations for Tory Burch flats, but I don't like the big emblem/branding on the toe. Isn't it the case that once you start looking for something specific, you can't find it? Yeah, that's happening. Also, eerily similar to my search for bridal shower dresses. 

I did order a pair of these flats, based on the reviews. So, we'll see! There's hope! 

My sister and nephews come into town this weekend for a few days! I'm excited to see them again and hopefully get some one-on-one time with Kate in the city! 

Have a great weekend! 

On My Nightstand


I go through phases of really enjoying reading and forgetting that books even exist. I'm the same with podcasts. When I get into a good one, I can't put it down or hit the "pause" button. It takes me a while to fall asleep at night - I am not one of those people who can get in bed and be asleep by the time my head hits the pillow. By the way, if you are one, BE THANKFUL. THAT IS A GIFT. So, I typically watch an episode or two of a show, or read a few chapters in a book. 

READING
I recently (as in, three days ago) finished up this book. My amazon account recommended What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan, so I promptly downloaded that sample and was instantly intrigued. I love a good page-turner and I get the sense that this book will be just that.


Mike and I completed a "marriage prep" course through our church and were strongly encouraged to read, The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller. It had been on my "want to read" list for awhile, but I finally bit the bullet and ordered a copy to my apartment. I'm only into the first chapter, but am already seeing how meaningful and important it can be. It feels more like a study book to me, one that I set aside time in the day to read so that I'm really focused and not nodding off between pages. 

LISTENING
I love podcasts. I work from home and typically do better when I have some kind of background noise. It's either a TV show, like The Office or Friends, that can play without me feeling like I need to watch every second, or a podcast. As many of you, I was so into Serial a couple years ago. Prior to that, I had only listened to sermons from the church I attended, so it sort of opened my eyes to the vast world of podcasts. 

I just finished listening to S-Town, which is put out by the same people as Serial. It was so intriguing and had a huge twist in the middle of the series. (Note: mature audiences only). Since I finished that so quickly, I also started listening to Up & Vanished, which has a similar feel to the two. I love listening to Stuff You Should Know, especially in the car because I can tune out for a minute or two and not miss anything monumental (usually). And I just downloaded How I Built This, off of the recommendation of a blog reader! It sounds really interesting and inspiring. 

I'm always looking for more things to add to my queue, so if you have a must-read or must-listen, let me know if in the comments! 

shop the post: headphones | iPad sleeve

Saturday Style

Because you can't go wrong with a cozy Saturday at home...

I just finished reading The Couple Next Door and and am about halfway through listening to the new podcast from Serial and This American Life, S-Town.

SHOP THE POST
Grey cardigan: H&M | White Tee: Nordstrom | Blush Sweats: H&M | Rosemary Mint Soy Candle: Elisabeth Ashlie | Blush Throw: H&M Home | Leather iPad Sleeve: Cuyana | Ugg Slippers: Nordstrom