Coffee Conversations

I'm drinking my coffee in a to-go mug in the car on our drive to South Carolina this morning. I'm much more of a morning person than Mike is, so I always take the first shift in a long drive like this. I like the peace of the morning and getting to ease into the day while he gets in a little cat nap before he takes over. I'm looking forward to some warm weather and relaxation this weekend!

I gave myself a bright, summer-y manicure last night with this pretty color.

I love this style of decor. Don't you just want to sit there and read a book all afternoon?

If you love pajama sets as much as I do, this is a great one! There's a few other colorways/patterns, but my neutral-loving heart had to go with the one that had grey ;)

I organized my makeup drawer the other day, which was well overdue! I'm really good at keeping my products pared down to just the ones that I use regularly or that I love and only use occasionally, which is the first step. After that, it was a matter of separating out the everyday makeup from the "sometimes" makeup and organizing them separately. I picked up this organizer and this organizer to fit in the drawer and separate out all of my regular makeup in a way that makes sense. Previously, I had everything in one big makeup bag and the overflow just thrown in the drawer. It's much better with it organized!

Seeing this news story this week made me so happy! I love her and loved the podcast, so I'm anxiously awaiting the premiere.

Hope you have a great weekend!

Spring Getaway

Bright and early tomorrow morning, Mike and I will be hopping in the car to make the drive down to my parents' home in South Carolina. My sister and her family are meeting us there, too! I'm looking forward to spending some time with family and celebrating Easter. I'm also looking forward to being able to wear some spring clothes because it's supposed to be in the 60's and 70's, which gives my frozen heart a flutter.

Here's a peek at some of the things I'm taking with me:

I'm looking forward to spending a couple of days relaxing in one of my favorite places to visit!


Five Things I Always Travel With

Looking ahead at my calendar for the next few months, I have quite a bit of traveling to do. Thankfully, they're all fun trips that I'm looking forward to! By May, I'm going to be an expert in packing a bag, too, so that's a bonus. While different trips and occasions require me to pack different things, there are a few items that will always make it into my suitcase. Whether I'm packing for a week in Europe or a quick weekend at my sister's house, these things are the first on my list. 

I do my best to get any work done before I set up my, "out of office". That way, I can fully enjoy wherever I am and not feel like I'm going to be far behind when I get back home. Running two online businesses though, means just about anything can happen, so I like to be prepared. Whether links aren't working in a blog post or there's an issue with a product description, I want to have something other than my phone to do work on, if necessary. I always travel with my iPad for that reason. Plus, I read my books through the Kindle App, so I need those handy! Extra charging cords, a backup power bank, a notebook for jotting down ideas when I'm inspired, and some business cards usually come along, too. I love how I can organize them all perfectly in this tech portfolio.

Have you ever been on a beach vacation and lost your one pair of sunglasses? It's not a great time. Although usually very easy to solve by buying an overpriced replacement pair at a tourist shop, I've learned it's better to just pack a back-up pair in my bag. I wear sunglasses all the time outside, even if it's cloudy but still kind of bright, so I don't like to ever be without them. Packing an extra pair means I don't have to worry about losing one and I have a couple style options on hand - oversized retro and winged square frames.

If I could only travel with two beauty products, it would be this dry shampoo and my favorite overnight concentrate. Especially if I'm going to be somewhere warm and humid, dry shampoo always comes to the rescue with my hair. If I'm packing just a carry-on suitcase, I have to limit the amount of liquids that I can bring, so I bring my concentrate and use it as an all-in-one while traveling!

I'm a very light sleeper and can sometimes have a hard time sleeping in a new-to-me bed while traveling, so I've found that packing a sleep mask can help. I seem to sleep a bit deeper when wearing one because it blocks out any light. It's nice to have one on-hand for road trips, too, so that I can make it dark even in the middle of the day!


Coffee Conversations

Happy Friday! I've been looking forward to today all week because we have a couple friends staying with us for the night and I can't wait for them to get here! I've been busy prepping the guest bathroom for them and will be making some room in one of my offices for a bed later this afternoon! I always love hosting friends and family - I get it straight from my mom, the best hostess I know. Plus, it's a really good excuse for a good cleaning of the house! 

Did you catch yesterday's post where I shared some books I've read and loved? If you have any spring travel coming up, you may want to check out the list for vacation reading!

I just made these earrings available yesterday and they're already selling quick! I've been wearing them the last couple days and love them. I don't usually wear a drop earring, but these are worthy of 
an exception.

I shared two new lipsticks I picked up and love on InstaStories yesterday. This is a great nude that has just enough color to it. This one is a great rosy pink. They look so pretty mixed together, too!

My holy grail nightly concentrate is on sale, which rarely happens! You can read a little about how I use it and why in this post.

Mike and I just bought flights for a really exciting trip we're taking in June...we're going to London and Amsterdam! We still have to book the rest of the trip - hotels, transportation, plans, etc but we're so excited to go to some new places! This looks pretty nice right about now.

We're heading to warmer weather next weekend, so I can't wait to finally get to wear this dress (which is almost 50% off right now!) and my spring bag

Hope you have a great weekend!

Books I've Read and Loved

One of my favorite things to do is to get totally lost in a great book. I love podcasts and good TV shows, but if I could only have one of those things for the rest of time, I would choose a good book, no question. Based on my TV/podcast preferences, it should be no surprise that I usually opt for thriller/suspense novels. I typically read a few chapters before I go to sleep (reading puts me to sleep!), and if the book is really good, I'll pick it up on a Saturday afternoon. I've recently read some great ones, so I thought I would share, in case you're in the market!

Into The Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes 
I read this on our honeymoon and it was so good. A total page-turner! One of my favorites out of this list, for sure.

The Woman In Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
This was the first one that I read when I got back into reading a lot several months ago. It was so intriguing with its twists and turns - I didn't want it to end!

In A Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
Clearly, I'm a fan of this author! Another good one that kept me on my toes the entire time.

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena
This one took a little while for me to get into, but ended up being a good one!

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
Admittedly, this one was a little outside my normal style with the sci-fi angle, but it was thrilling. Plus, it was set in Chicago (part of the time), which was fun to read about!

A Stranger In The House by Shari Lapena
Another twisty, a little bit dark, thriller, where you're not quite sure what is going to happen.

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware
Admittedly, the first half of this was pretty slow to me. I fought my way through it, wanting to give up a few times, because it had good reviews. I'm glad I stuck with it because it ended up being interesting and entertaining.

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris
I read this in three days while we were in Mexico in January. It was incredibly good and easy to read. It's the only book that, when I got to the last few pages, I got physical chills and teared up with how it ended!

The Woman In The Window by A.J. Finn
I just finished this one and, oh my goodness. It was the first of these books that actually spooked me a little bit, but in a good way. There's a twist that comes that caused me to want to skip over a couple of pages because I was creeped out!

I Am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll
I'm currently reading this one and am enjoying it! Similar to the others, it has its twists and turns and is told from the perspective of several different people.

Saturday Style

A little weekend outfit inspiration for you, which includes some of my favorite items! The tee is one of those closet staple items - it can be worn so many ways and comes in a variety of colors. I picked up this sweater a couple months ago and have already gotten great use out of it. It lends itself towards a more effortless, pulled together style, which I love. Add a couple of fun accessories and you're ready for a Saturday afternoon with girlfriends or Sunday brunch.

Madewell Rivington Cardigan (Runs a bit oversized - I have it in an XXS) | Madewell Whisper Cotton Pocket Tee (I wear an XS, but could also wear a S) | Madewell 9" High-Rise Skinny Jeans in Ontario Wash (True to size) | Sole Society Jules Crossbody Bag | Target Velma Mules | EA Alina Stud Set | Cluse Watch | Dior Addict Lip Glow in Lilac


Coffee Conversations

Happy Friday! I let myself sleep in a bit today (which was delightful), but now I feel like I'm already behind on the day. I guess I'd rather feel a little bit behind than tired all day, right?!

In case you missed it on Instagram yesterday, I shared that I just got these glasses and am giving them a try. Like many people, I spend a lot of hours a day looking at tech screens, both for work and for fun. I'm not at the point where I need a prescription, but I do experience a lot of eye fatigue and some trouble sleeping, so I want to give blue-light blocking a try! The glasses were inexpensive, so I figured that even in they didn't end up making much of a difference, it was a good first option. I'll share more in a week or two as to whether or not I think they make a difference. A lot of you reached out to my via DM to share your success stories, so I'm hopeful!

These sneakers are just so dang pretty! I love this style from the brand, too. I currently have two other colors in my closet, but these are tempting me.

I put together all of my purchases and picks for Spring from Old Navy in one place, here!

Can I wake up here tomorrow, please?

If you're looking for a show to watch this weekend, Mike and I are cruising through Manhunt on Netflix. It's about the search and capture of the Unabomber and is really well done!

I love March Madness, so I'm looking forward to watching more games today while I work! I'm in a couple bracket competitions, but not doing so hot 😅 I just like doing it for fun to test my prediction skills. Do you fill out a bracket?

I've been using this new (to me) mascara for the last week or so and really like it! I'm going to do a "new beauty buys" either here or on Instagram soon, which will include my thoughts on the mascara.

I'm pretty much planning on staying in this robe all day!

Hope you have a great weekend!

Inside Lauren Loves HQ

When we first moved into our rental home here in Virginia, we had our master bedroom, a guest bedroom, and then an office for me. I loved that office setup! It was the first time that I ever had an entire room that was just an office; not also a bedroom or joint living space. It worked well for the first couple of months, but I quickly realized that I could use some more space to work in.

After thinking through some options and getting Mike's opinion on things, we decided that I would take over our rarely-used guest bedroom and split my offices. Mike had a little workspace in that room that we moved into an open corner in our master, although he almost exclusively works in our living room. We just had to move the queen size bed into storage and I had an entirely separate room to work in! I was able to move all of my shipping supplies, furniture and storage for Elisabeth Ashlie into the other room and turn the original office into a creative haven.

It's wild how much of a difference I feel "going to work" in the morning walking into this space. It inspires me, which is what a workspace should do, and allows for me to focus entirely on things for the blog without getting distracted by my other work.

IKEA Soderhamn Corner Section Chair | IKEA Vittsjo Shelf Unit | Target Gold Lamp | Faux Plant | IKEA Raskog Utility Cart (similar option) | Grey Felt Basket | World Market "City Spree" Art | Target Shag Rug | Nordstrom at Home Velvet Pouf | Nordstrom at Home Heart Pillow | IKEA Pendant Light

Grey Velvet Club Chairs | Target Floor Mirror | IKEA Gurli Pillow Cover | Russell + Hazel Desktop Calendar | Acrylic Lipstick Riser | EA Makeup Art Print | Poppin Mini Medley Notebook Set | Marquee Light Box | IKEA Docksta Table

EA 16 oz. Vanilla Bourbon Soy Candle | EA #Goals Notepad | Rifle Paper Co. 2018 Planner | Marble Slab | EA Makeup Mug | Le Pen Set

So much of my creative work gets done in the space, you can probably see why! I love to keep a calendar of upcoming blog posts, important dates, and blog post ideas. I do a lot of answering questions on Instagram or editing photos on that cute little corner chair. And, of course, all of my blog posts are written at that table!

I'm grateful for a job that allows me to work in a place like this and a husband that encourages me to take over 2/3 of the bedrooms in our home 😉

My Favorite Travel Bags

While I don't enjoy unpacking from a trip (although I do it almost immediately upon stepping foot back inside my home), I love the processing of packing for one. Thinking through what to bring, putting together outfits, and getting to use all of my travel bags is strangely satisfying to me. #TypeA

I'm an organized packer. I'm also a bag inside a bag inside a bag kind of packer, meaning aside from clothes and shoes, everything else goes inside some sort of bag. It keeps my suitcase organized and helps me not explode all of my things all over the hotel room. I thought I'd share some of my favorite travel bags, since they're functional and pretty! And, yes, I have spent the last several Christmases and Birthday's requesting only leather pouches/bags/etc.

Cuyana Le Sud Overnight 
I bought this bag before our honeymoon last year and am so glad that I did! Not only is it easy on the eyes, but it's a great option as a weekend bag or a carry-on. I like using it for things I want easy access to, like my purse contents, reading material, and snacks. It also works great for packing up toiletries or cosmetics for a road trip. Aside from shoes, I've been able to easily pack everything I need for a night away in this bag.
(Shown with Le Sud Tassel)

Other options: Mason Weekender Bag, Kelis Duffel Bag

Cuyana Leather Travel Case Set
I use the larger case as my daily makeup bag, but love the option of the smaller one for random odds and ends. My sleep mask, extra hair ties, first-aid items, you name it.

Mark and Graham Leather Tech Envelope
This is one of my favorite birthday gifts from the past. It's unlike anything else that I have, which is why I loved it so much! I like traveling with my iPad, a notebook, pens, chargers, headphones and the like, so having a designated carrier to keep all of those things together has helped me. Plus, it makes it really easy when I get on the plane; I just pull this out of my carry-on bag and have everything I need. No more rifling through separate pockets in my carry-on bag or purse looking for everything I want to have out during the flight.

Other option: Tech Travel Case, Travel Cord Roll

BAGGU 3D Zip Set
I have a set of these nylon zip pouches and love them. I like using the smaller sizes to pack hair products or liquid cosmetics and the larger size for shoes (that I don't want dirtying my clothes) or winter accessories. I use them as laundry bags, too! There's nothing worse than rifling through a suitcase looking for clean socks and realizing you're putting on a pair a used pair instead. They're easy to clean out and fold up flat, so they don't take up any space in storage.

Other option: Wash and Wear Travel Pouch

Mark and Graham Daily Leather Travel Pouch
I like this zip pouch for toiletries; skincare, hair products, q-tips and cotton swabs (in the front pocket)! It has a couple of interior pockets that work really well for makeup storage, too.

Other option: All Purpose Travel Pouch

Mark and Graham Daily Leather Mini Roll
This mini case usually houses my hair accessories - ties, bobby pins, clips - but I also like using it in my daily purse to hold my lipsticks and balms. It's small enough that it doesn't take up a lot of space in a bag, but still keeps me organized!

Other option: Small Cosmetic Case

Cuyana Mini Jewelry Case
While I don't typically travel with a ton of jewelry, I didn't have any functional way of storing what I did travel with. Previously, I'd just throw it in a ziploc bag and zip it inside one of the interior pockets of my travel bags. While that method worked just fine, I love having a designated carrier for my earrings, rings and necklaces that keeps them safe and organized.

Other options: Small Jewelry Case, Jewelry Case Roll


Coffee Conversations

Happy Friday! Admittedly, this week has gotten the better of me. I haven't been a very good steward of my time and have let some things fall by the wayside that I had hoped to accomplish. Today's plan is to make a list of my "must do" things by 5pm and knock them out!

Mike has been on "spring break" this week, so we spent Wednesday in D.C. It was fun to play hooky from work and do something we don't typically do. We ate lunch at our favorite spot and then walked around to a couple museums. There was an event at our church that evening that we wanted to attend, so we were pretty intentional with our time while we were in the city. I'm looking forward to making our way there when it warms up; I love walking around and finding new places and things!

One of my favorite cozy brands is having 40% off this weekend, so I ordered a couple of things to try: this dressthis sweatshirt, and this tee!

Mike and I aren't in a place where we feel ready to buy a home (we don't know where we would like to end up yet!), but I've been dreaming about what I'd love for it to be like. Outdoor space is a must for us. How fun would something like this be?! (although, I'd do it in a screened in porch, under a roof so it doesn't get ruined by weather)

There's two new amazing candle scents at EA! Eucalyptus Mint and Coconut Sea; both so perfect for spring/summer!

I love this fun twist on a closet basic.

I'm almost all caught up on the podcast I've been listening to for the last two months or so, which means I'll need another to start. I was going to pick one from this list, but after a recommendation, I'm going to finally finish Up and Vanished. I listened to the first 10 episodes or so when it first came out and never finished.

I love the idea of using these to help more easily pick out which lipstick I want to wear!

Have a great weekend! 

Image via

All About My Haircut

If you've read my blog or followed me on Instagram for a long time, you know that I used to change my hair very frequently. As in, every 6-8 weeks at my hair appointment frequently. I had a huge advantage having my sister as my hairstylist and living in the same city, that's for sure! I had a lot of fun playing with the color - going really dark, trying red, ombré, balayage, full blonde highlights, the works! While I'm particular about my hair and want a cut and color that I love, I also wasn't afraid to take the risk on something new and fun.

Once I moved back to Chicago and didn't have the benefit of living near my sister, I started letting my hair grow out and slowly went back to my natural color, with some sun-kissed highlights. It was the easiest thing to maintain and I liked it!

Flash forward a couple years and I went and chopped off about 7 inches of my hair, sort of on a whim! It wasn't that I didn't love my long hair, I just got so bored of it. It was too long and heavy to wear in a ponytail without a headache and it was fairly damaged from all the heat styling. It felt so good to get rid of all of that and start new.

Details on the Cut:
We went with a slightly angled (from back to front), lob cut. My clavicle bone was where I indicated I'd like the longest part in front, so she determined the back length from that. She added in some long layers and cleaned up my grown out bangs in the front.

Details on the Color:
The color you see at my roots (you can really see it in the last photo) is my natural color. My hair is mostly my natural color at this point. I had some old "sun-kissed" highlights from before our wedding last summer that she touched up. She brightened up some face framing pieces, as well!

How I'm Styling It:
I'm using the same exact curling method as this tutorial, except two things. (1) I'm using a the largest wand that comes in my set, which is 32 mm, and (2) I curl it in four, thinner sections than the three that are shown in the video. Otherwise, everything is the exact same!

I've found that using this styling powder works really well on my shorter style. Once I've finished curling it, I'll dust my roots with the powder before I start teasing. It creates a great texture to hold the teasing that I do, which allows me to maintain volume all day long! I'm still using all the same products as show in this post.

It's been such a fun change for me! I like being able to throw my hair into a low bun with ease, which is probably how I'll be styling it all summer when it's hot!

Outfit Details:
EA Bar Necklace | Layering Cami | Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Morning After

Coffee Conversations

Happy Friday! I've tried to structure my work week so that I can take it a little bit easier on Fridays, which is always a nice treat. I like to do some prep work for the following week, so that I'm not too overwhelmed come Monday morning, and tie up any loose ends from the last few days so that I can fully relax and enjoy the weekend.

Mike has spring break this week with school, so we're considering a quick little getaway somewhere next week! It just came up as an idea a couple days ago, so we'll see if it actually happens 😉 We may end up just taking advantage of being so close to Washington, D.C. and explore some new things there!

If you're looking for great layering camis that have a slight v-neck, I've found some great ones for you! I ordered it in four colors in size small.

I made these for dinner last night after Mike raved about the Taco Bell version. I'm not a big fast food person, so I thought I'd try a homemade version and they were delicious! Super easy to customize to your taste, too.

The cuteness level is over the top.

I've been wearing these a lot this week. Love how simple they are!

Next week, I'm finally sharing my new office/workspace layout, since it has changed from this. I'm also sharing some details on my new haircut, which has been highly requested!

Also, still basically living in this, in case you wondered. It's just so soft.

Header Image Source

Styled • A Classic Shirt

Is there anything more classic than a white button-down shirt? It's one of those closet pieces that will never go out of style and can be worn in so many different ways. Since I don't work in a formal office setting, my only version is a more relaxed, short sleeve shirt. I like wearing it with a pair of destructed denim and minimal makeup as a way to refine a casual style. It also works for an evening out!

Madewell Central Shirt in Pure White | Leith Step Hem Skinny Jeans | Blanknyc Suede Moto Jacket (similar jacket) | Suede Shoulder Bag | dv Emerson Booties | EA Luxe Bar Stud Earrings | Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Morning After

Madewell Central Shirt in Pure White | Madewell Rivington Cardigan | Madewell High-Rise Skinny Jeans | Sole Society Peace Mules | Madewell Transport Tote | EA Alina Stud Set | MAC Nude Lipstick in Creme D'Nude