I Love Chicago: The Randolph Street Market.

On Saturday morning, I headed to The Randolph Street Market. It was really hot so I took very few photos. I could tell that the pup was really hot so I ended up carrying him a good portion of our time there.

Anne bought these.

I should have bought a few of these.

I did buy these {for just $8}.

...and 3 more mason jars.

My new vintage camera which sits piled on some books on a shelf.

After the Randolph Street Market, we headed to Orange for lunch. Loved it.


My first mention in a magazine.

I have gotten to work on some fun projects over the past few years. I designed a menu for a caterer, a book cover, many logos, t-shirts, and even got to work on a video game for a motion picture while I worked at a graphic design company.

I recently experienced another first. I was mentioned in Flea Market Style for designing a blog for the magazine.

The address doesn't link to my home page (thedesigngirlstudio.com) but does link to one of my blogs.


4 weeks.

I moved to Chicago exactly four weeks ago. Sometimes it feels like I just got here but most of the time it feels like I've always been here. I am not the same girl I was back in LA, so I guess the girl I am today has always been in Chicago. I have been here just 4 weeks and have a new life, new friends, and I am happier than I have ever been.

I had my mom here with me the first week. The afternoon that we flew in we walked over to an outdoor cafe for dinner. I looked around and felt at peace. I was home. I could not have done this without my mom. If you're reading this, thanks mom!
Shopping in Andersonville with my mom.

I have done lots of cooking, and even made veggie burgers from scratch. So good.

I watched the premiers of Rachel Zoe, Flipping Out, and Weeds on my new flat screen in my new apartment in Chicago.

I spotted the President walking down the street.

I signed up for a 5k & started running. I love running through Chicago. I am definitely not very good at it, but running through my new home town feels amazing. I love this city.

I became a vegetarian again.

I had a girls night out with some of my favorite blog girls!
from left to right - jess, cathy, crystal, a lovely being, and yours truly
My hair looks kind of funny & I can assure you that I do have legs (dark skinny jeans)

I walked from my place to the market with my little pull cart last week. I picked up an orchid, some hydrangeas & groceries, and pulled everything home while eating an organic coconut popsicle. One of those perfect Chicago moments. I did the same thing again today. Nothing like a coconut popsicle on a hot summer day.

Lunch and shopping with Taylor.

Drinks with friends at my favorite rooftop bar. I want to enjoy being outside while I can.

Ran all over town with my best pal who has not had one accident inside! He also sleeps in until 11:00 most days. I love him.

Farmer's Market with Anne.

My first trip to the suburbs.

A sleepover & the Randolph Street Market followed by lunch with Anne & Jack.
Checking out the kid's treasure map at the Randolph Street Market. He wore that hat all day. Love him.

Someone my mom knows through work was going to be in Chicago, so she asked me if I would be willing to go out and meet some of his friends. When he invited me to a BBQ at his friend's house, I decided to go. I met a girl that moved from LA to Chicago one month to the day before I made my move. I ended up going out with her after the BBQ. I don't know if it's just my experience, but I feel like I make new friends wherever I go in this town. Everyone is so nice!

To celebrate 4 weeks in Chicago, I woke up and did a little workout. It was way too hot to run so I gave my Jillian Michaels DVD a try. I decided to search hair salons online because I needed the back of my hair to be shorter asap. My new friend suggested that I "own" my hair cut, so I figured it needed a change. I got my cut & color done and couldn't be happier. I officially own the cut, and even love it. I walked home and stopped by the market to pick up some food, wine, and flowers. I walked home in some crazy, humid heat with another organic coconut popsicle.

I am at the beginning of an amazing adventure, and I don't want to take any of it for granted. I want to take in every moment in this city, and feel like I'm up for anything. Unless it involves jumping out of a plane, fishing, or hunting, I feel like I should give it a try.

I hope my love affair with this city never ends. Happy 4 weeks, Chicago.


I have a problem.

I was warned that I might get in to trouble at Barker and Meowsky. It was a very close call, but I managed to dodge a $48 bullet.

The bullet.

I may be biased, but my little pup makes this already adorable jacket look good. Had I not purchased a new running outfit from Lululemon just minutes earlier, I would have caved. Then there's all the furniture and those sequined bloomers from J.Crew. And the tuxedo shorts. I needed those!

My friend Anne was on her way to pick us up to go to lunch, so when she called I tried to explain why we needed this jacket. It was the cutest thing I've ever seen, would be perfect for a cool fall day, and then there's the fact that I love Chicago so much that my dog really should have a Chicago jacket. She said that she felt like she was talking to Becky Bloomwood. I actually read that book. Ok -- I read half. But I know who she is and knew that I was going too far with this one. I took the jacket off my pup and left the store.

I would be lying if I told you that I have not thought about this jacket several times this past week. Would you have splurged? Before you say no, look at that photo! I love my little Chicago pup!


go green.

I have always cared about our environment but once I moved to Chicago I took it to a whole new level. Hopefully I won't come across as overly preachy. And if I do, maybe it means that you need to kick it up a notch. Go green.

Here we go.

I use reusable grocery bags. This bag is my favorite since is both cute & practical. I have 2 by this brand and keep them in my purse at all times. These hold tons of groceries, are very light, & fit anywhere. I use these at the grocery store, drug store, pet store etc...


When I go shopping I always ask that my clothes are not wrapped in tissue paper. It is unnecessary and wasteful.

When I am able, I give gifts in gift bags since they can be reused. As much as I love wrapping paper, I have tried to cut back. I am not saying that I will never use wrapping paper again. I just try to use gift bags when I can.

I gave up meat again. I cannot wait for my copy of The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone. While I am not vegan, I believe so much in what she practices. I do not usually buy into what celebs are doing because but in this case, I want to hear what she has to say.

I use organic cleaner. I love anything by Seventh Generation, Shaklee, or Method. I have never been disappointed by any of their products. I cannot support companies that test on animals when these brands have fantastic, chemical free, & cruelty free products that I love.

I always buy cage free & vegetarian fed eggs/egg whites. Chickens that are not cage free have less than a single sheet of paper {of space} on which to live out their entire lives. Definitely worth spending a little extra if you ask me.

St. Ives oatmeal body wash and apricot scrub are both great products & I love St. Ives because they do not test on animals! The apricot scrub is fantastic!


I use Bobbi Brown's skin care line. Her makeup and brushes are all cruelty free! I was the first in my family to start using this line. My mom and sis both use it now as well.
Here is a list of companies that do not test on animals.

I rarely use paper towels. It took 3 weeks to use one roll, and I have a feeling having my mom here for a week had something to do with that. I have some very inexpensive white cloths that I use for rags & simply wash them when they're dirty.

I have not gone this far and think it's a little gross, but here is a whole other way to go green. Makes me cringe just a little bit.

Instead of using a Swiffer sweeper I use a microfiber duster & wash the cloth once a week with my rags.

I use cloth napkins. Prettier than paper, & they're good for the planet. Win-win.

I never buy water bottles. They are a waste of money & resources. I loved my Klean Kanteen, but it somehow disappeared. It wasn't that practical to carry around since it was sort of large & heavy. I recently purchased the move collective bobble water bottle, and love it. It is half the cost of a Klean Kanteen, very lightweight, BPA free, & easy to carry.

I try to remember to unplug kitchen appliances when not in use.

When my car lease was up last January, I did not get another car. I happen to live in a city with great public transportation, which was actually one of the reasons I moved here. I understand that not everyone has this option. Had I still been in LA I would have to have a car. Nobody walks in LA! If you do have to have a car, you can always carpool or walk when you are able.

When one of my best friends declared that she would be using cloth diapers, I thought she was a little crazy. I figured she could only use them at home but after spending lots of time around baby Logan I realized that cloth diapers are pretty amazing. When you look at the pros/cons, these win. Hands down. Jess wrote a great post about cloth diapers here.
And I'm sorry, but regular diapers just don't look this cute.

So tell me. What are you doing to go green? Has anything I have written about inspired you?


Mad about Mad Men.

I started watching Mad Men last year and loved what I saw, but between traveling, working, preparing to leave LA, & the 15 other shows I already watch I made it through 3 episodes and gave up. I finally added Mad Men back to my Netflix queue and watched the first 3 episodes for the second time last night.

I cannot help but wonder how I let this show fall through the cracks. The decor, the fashion, the sexist remarks, the smoking...it's all so glamorous. I am not a smoker & think it's a filthy habit but that doesn't seem to apply to Mad Men. There is something about Don Draper smoking a cigarette that I find just a little appealing.

I need that tufted headboard.

via here, here, & here


"Now try not to get overwhelmed with all of this technology. It looks complicated but the men who designed it made is simple enough for woman to use."

Brilliant. Do you watch Mad Men? What is on your must see TV list?



fresh hydrangeas.

the pup. moccasins.

books that inspire. fresh flowers. mad men on netflix. apple products. thomaspaul mouse pad. lululemon key cuff. desk.

adventures with friends. camera. j.crew hat. mk watch. opi on collins ave.


What makes you smile?

Falling for fall.

I have always loved the idea of a real fall. Orange leaves, pumpkins, cider, & a crisp autumn breeze. Each year I anticipate the fall lines and it seems that the 2010 lines will not disappoint. Now that I will get to experience a real fall, I cannot help but want to dress for it.

It really is such a shame that I had to spend all my money on furniture. Sometimes I think I would have been better off sitting on boxes in a new pair of boots & a trench. Or maybe a cape & a wedge? Or maybe some sequins & a clog. If only I believed in credit card debt. The fun I would have...

Since I have been so impressed with J.Crew (recent posts here & here), let's start with a few favorites from the Crew.


There's that vest again.

I'll really want Malin's skirt. So sad that it sold out.

All images via J.Crew

I have really fallen for all the sequins coming out this fall. I recently picked up this little number in black and am waiting for the perfect event so It can make its debut. It is so much cuter in person. Trust me.

What is on your must have list for fall?


In the kitchen: vegan peanut butter cups.

First, she brought Cher Horowitz into our lives. Can you imagine life without Clueless? As if! Actress, activist, and vegan Alicia Silverstone has written The Kind Diet -- which shares her passion and reasoning for living a vegan lifestyle.

Making home made vegan peanut butter cups is an experience that no one should miss out on. Organic crunchy peanut butter, dairy free chocolate chips, organic sugar, organic graham crackers, and some sliced almonds. That's it. No additives. Pure, simple, and delicious.

You can see the recipe here.

Just a note that the recipe called for paper liners for the cupcake pan but I didn't have any & had no desire to make a trip to the store to pick them up. So...these probably could have been a little prettier. Still so, so good.

"I just took a look at my dog and said, 'If I'm not willing to eat you, how can I continue to eat these other creatures that have the same desire to live, are just as funny, just as cute as my dogs?'" - Alicia Silverstone

The pup and my his bench.

I was in search for additional seating, but knew that a chair was out of the question since I have so little space in my apartment. I decided on a bench that I could bring out when I have company. The bench sits in my hallway and when I have anyone over I just place it in front of the TV stand and voila! Instant conversation area.

In front of the TV stand/across from the sofa.

In the hall. I would love to lean two pillows against the wall.

The boy loves his new bench.


I love Chicago: Green City Market.

On Saturday morning, the pup and I headed to the green city market with Anne, & Jack. In typical Chicago fashion, this farmer's market was one of the best I have ever been seen. That may have something to do with the fact that everything is better in Chicago.

This past week, I treated myself to an orchid, hydrangeas, and these bright pink beauties.


This was one of our favorite vendors. The pate de fruit is beautiful & delicious!

Jack seemed to like the tomatoes. How cute is this kid?






The Chicago Honey Co-Op had the cutest little set up. Love these jars! Such a great gift.

While I cannot wait for farmer's market in the fall, I am going to enjoy going to the farmer's market in the summer while I can. Summer won't be here much longer, and I want to take in every moment.

Hope you're all having a great weekend! xoxo


Books, magazines, a bench, & Jennifer Garner.

Between work & life, I have so little time to read. When I do have down time, I am usually watching one of my many favorite TV shows, cleaning, cooking, running errands, out with friends, working out, searching for art/furniture/accessories for the apartment, playing with the pup, etc... The list goes on.

When do you people find time to sit down and read? I tried to read Eat. Pray. Love. on my iPad {because I convinced myself I'd make time to read if it was on an iPad}. I got bored.


I did a little shopping over the past few days. First, I ordered subscriptions to a few of my favorite magazines. A little housewarming gift to myself. Vogue, InStyle, and Elle Decor. The perfect way to get in some reading time.

I also ordered a few books. Because I do read. I'm just selective. It was after reading this post that I was inspired to order One Special Summer. I cannot wait until it arrives! I ordered one of Elle Decor's books as well. I wanted both but figured I should wait. I have a birthday coming up so maybe I can ask my sister for the other one.

I finally ordered a copy of 13 Going on 30 for $7.

I am most excited about the bench in the collage above. I purchased this bench {in black with a white cushion} from Ballard Designs. I also purchased my coffee table & TV stand from Ballard. I keep buying basic pieces with hopes that I'll accessorize them with a little color. That's the plan, so let's hope I make it happen. Chances are that for the most part, I'll stick to a simple palette.

Any favorite places to purchase throw pillows or fabric?

Meg Ryan's beach house via Elle Decor. One of my favorites. So clean & chic.

I need to bring some life into my home. What plants can I buy that won't die after 4 days? I have been searching for the perfect orchid, and would love something similar to what Meg Ryan has on her coffee table. Any plant connoisseurs want to help me out?


Making a statement.

I have been on the lookout for something to cover my very empty walls. I can't really justify painting or wallpapering since I am a renter. As much as I would love to wallpaper my entryway, until I own that just isn't going to happen.

I am hoping to find a fantastic mirror. Something that will make a statement, like this one below.

Courtesy of Bob & Cortney Novogratz, of course.

I don't need to make that much of a statement, but you get the picture. I actually really like the mirror below, from Ballard Designs. It can be purchased in three pieces {left} or the pieces can be purchased individually {those are two mirrors on the right}. I would even love to put the two arches together to form a round mirror.

Left: 3 piece grand palais mirror $479
Right: grand palais mirror $169 {would need 2, so $338}

I have never purchased a large mirror but based on what I've seen out there these actually seem pretty reasonable. Mirrors are expensive! Keeping my eyes open before I take the plunge. Hoping I'll find something beautiful at an even better price. And of course I'll be out with a friend who happens to have a car {I have been fortunate enough to make a few of those friends} when I see this mirror. That way I can just buy it, place it in their trunk, and take it to my apartment. Me & my impossible scenarios.

Since I have yet to find the perfect mirror, I decided to be a realist and make my own statement. I am having some of my photographs printed & plan to frame them. First up is the pup. Having a tough time deciding what to frame since he photographs so well. I could frame them all, but that might seem a bit obsessive.




Let's face it. The boy knows how to work it. 1 & 4 are my favorites.

San Antonio river walk.

A little bland...

...but not so bad with a little editing. I would keep this one pretty small {5x7}


I love my SF pics, too.

I even have a few prints from my baby sis, who is officially away at college. How did that happen? She used to be this little thing with crazy hair in a Lion King dress. They grow up so fast...



And in case you didn't believe me about the lion king dress...or should I say dresses? Love these.


That little girl was S's best friend. They gave the school fish a bubble bath. For the non-animal lovers out there, soap in the fish tank = not a good thing.