One night. 8 dresses.

Anne Hathaway arrived in a stunning Valentino. Rachel Zoe did not disappoint with her red carpet look or the s-e-v-e-n other looks throughout the Oscars.

 from left to right
Custom Lanvin tux. Love it.
Vivienne Westwood. Beautiful.

 from left to right
Gorgeous beaded Oscar de la Renta. Love this one!
Another favorite by Atelier Versace.
Armani. My least favorite.
Hello, Tom Ford! 

Which dress of Anne's was your favorite?

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Live from the red carpet.

The 2011 Academy Awards have come & gone. I was so disappointed when Colin Firth did not win for A Single Man {which is the most beautiful film I have ever seen} last year & was thrilled that he won this year.

On to what we really love. The fashion & my recap of the red carpet.

My favorites. Mila in Eli Saab, Anne in Valentino & Michelle in Chanel. Gorgeous!

Not in love with Scarlet's dress, but I do like it. I think she looked beautiful.
How long until my hair reaches that length??
There was something special about Florence's Valentino.
Loved Hilary's Gucci. So chic.

Marisa, Mandy & Nicole. What were they thinking?

I love sparkles, but Amy's dress wasn't working for me.

The next two dresses are horrible & I have a lot to say about them.

I really love Natalie Portman but the girl does not know how to choose an outfit for an awards show while pregnant. Her Golden Globes dress was a disaster and tonight was not any better. The dress wasn't working & the matching tassel earrings were awful. So sad!

Melissa Leo looked like she was wearing aluminum foil wrapped in a doily. Minus winning the Oscar for best supporting actress, it just wasn't her night. She wore that ugly dress & gave a horribly awkward acceptance speech.

Didn't love Halle's dress but she looked so beautiful.
Penelope Cruz had a baby in January. Hate the dress but she looks phenomenal!

I know that everyone thought Reese looked boring, but I think she looked very chic. She may have slightly resembled award ceremony Barbie, but she's so beautiful that she can keep it simple & still look gorgeous. Love her.

Who made your best & worst dressed list?

all images via


Girls who inspire: Ashley of Live. Laugh. Photograph.

This week's girl is Ashley of Live. Laugh. Photograph. Ashley started her own photography business which I find very inspiring. She takes great photos and is very talented!

name & age:
Hello there, my name is Ashley Swallow and I’m 23 years old!

Wylie, TX

current home:
Dallas, TX

this is ashley

meaning behind my blog name:
Live. Laugh. PHOTOGRAPH. is a name that I came up with for my business that I felt was a solid representation of who I was and my mission in life. To live, to laugh, and to photograph describes the life I want to live in just three words it also helped that the name was legally available for use! ;)

what inspired you to start blogging?
I was inspired to start blogging as a way to connect with family and friends on a new level. My old blog: www.thenavywife.com became an outlet for me to share life as a navy wife while my husband was on deployment in Afghanistan. I credit blogging for sparking my interest in photography. As I started sharing more photos, I wanted to improve on the quality and actually learn what my camera could do outside of the “auto” mode.

current job:
Work from home Mommy of two little girls and Owner/Photographer at Live Laugh PHOTOGRAPH, LLC based in Dallas, TX

dream job:
I can honestly say that being a photographer is my dream job. I feel so blessed to have found something that I am so passionate about and most of all makes me happy. I have set my goals high and I’m enjoying the climb getting there!

if i could travel anywhere...:
My top choices would be Sydney, Australia, Rome, Italy (again), and who wouldn’t want to explore the Egyptian Pyramids?

something unique about me:
No two snowflakes are alike! I believe that everyone is born with unique traits and that life is all about discovering them. Something that makes me unique is my ability to connect with people in a way that makes them feel comfortable in front of the camera, which then allows me to capture real emotions with a creative flair. 

i like to:
take lots and lots of photos to document my children growing up. Meet new people, connect with family and friends on facebook, read blogs, go shopping and love love getting my hair and nails done as a special treat. I’m obsessed with art from Z Gallerie and browsing through unique finds on etsy. I especially like spending time with my husband and family. We love to go out, hang out and are total Netflix junkies! Seriously, if you don’t have the watch instantly feature, you should check it out! I also like to challenge myself to take on new goals. For example, I trained and ran a half marathon last year in just 1 month! There’s nothing better than the feeling of accomplishment and overcoming fears.

i watch:
My favorite television shows are Ellen, Oprah, Nate, Glee (probably my fav), Grey’s Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, Weeds, Dexter, True Blood, oh and you can’t forget all of the reality goodness like American Idol and The Real Housewives. J

My favorite movies are The Social Network, Twilight, Elizabethtown, Eat Pray Love, Garden State, Knocked Up, The Proposal, and I’m not going to lie.. I still tear up at the end of Pretty Woman!
listening to:
Music inspires me each and everyday. I almost always have music playing in the background as I work. I’m currently into The Bird and the Bee, Death Cab for Cutie, Matt and Kim, Jayme Dee, Ingrid Michaelson, Kings of Leon, Jimmy Eat World, Desperation Band, The Postal Service, Taylor Swift, and I workout to music like The Black Eyed Peas. J Can you tell I like variety when it comes to music?

crushing on:
My husband of course! He’s pretty hot if you ask me.

5 things that inspire me:
1. music
2. art
3. magazines
4. blogs
5. Addison + Lillian {my children}

favorite nail polish color:
I just saw that O.P.I. is coming out with a Texas inspired nail polish line this spring. Being that I’m a Texas girl, I’m pretty excited about testing out Guy Meets Gal-veston, Y’all Come Back Ya Hear, Austin-tations Turquoise, and Houston We have a Purple!

favorite perfume:
Issey Miyake

when did you start Live. Laugh. PHOTOGRAPH?
I purchased my very first DSLR camera in July of 2009 without any knowledge of photography at all! I didn’t even know what an f stop was! From the moment I clicked the shutter button and took my first photo I fell in love. I jumped into photography and was determined to learn as much as I could. Just 9 months later, I started my business Live Laugh PHOTOGRAPH, LLC in March of last year. I’m now approaching my 1 year anniversary and am floored at how much I have learned and how much happiness photography brings me. It’s only the beginning and that excites me.

Danielle – Thank you so much for allowing me to have this opportunity to share on your blog. From the moment I found The Design Girl and worked with you on The Navy Wife blog, I have always been inspired by you and the way you share your life with others through blogging. If I’m ever in Chicago, we just might have to meet in person and have lunch! Until then, keep on being awesome…

For more inspiration, visit Live. Laugh. PHOTOGRAPH.


Put a ring on it.

Chances are that you have already seen & fallen for Anthropologie's new wedding line, BHLDN {which is pronounced beholden}. As expected, the gowns are stunning. Everything is so chic & feminine.

If you do not have a wedding in the works, there is no need to worry. BHLDN also has dresses, cover ups, lingerie, shoes, accessories & jewelry. And it is all so lovely.

Zinnia gown | Pleated fantasy gown

And you cannot stop by BHLDN without browsing through the "nuptials of yesteryear." Leave it to Anthro.

all images via

What do you think of Anthro's new line? I love it.

Have a lovely weekend!


question of the day // pets

In case you're new to the blog, let me introduce you to my pup. His name is Buddy.
Yes. Like the Christmas elf.

I may or may not have been thinking about getting a friend for the pup for the past few months. I love to pine over big decisions, so you shouldn't expect a new pup announcement any time soon. We would have to find the perfect lil' rescue and I'd like the two dogs to be close in age. She should be a girl because I wouldn't want him to feel like he was in competition with another male. She should also be a french bulldog, because I really want one of those. I even have her name picked out.

Pet owners -- I want to know...

How many pets do you have?
What are their names?
If you have more than one dog, was there a big difference going from one to two?


Find a job. THEN a husband.

Preach on, sister.

A little love for RL.

From left to right, starting at the top.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Ralph Lauren is timeless. Every collection is more chic than the one before. The boots on the bottom left are rain boots. Gorgeous! A very welcome change from my Hunters. As much as I love those rain boots, I would have to go with the suede boots & luggage canvas buckle bag.

Which pair of shoes/boots do you love & which bag would you choose?


I love Chicago: Restaurants.

I love Chicago. I also love breakfast {& brunch}.

 The namesake of my blog. Couldn't leave this one out.

746 West Webster Avenue

2046 North Damen Ave

Hub is amazing. The breakfast nachos & cinnamon crepe pancakes are phenomenal.
I was talked in to ordering the pancakes. Totally worth it.
Hub51 is also a great spot for lunch or dinner.

51 West Hubbard Street

The south beach is delicious = 1/2 pineapple packed with fruit & yogurt.
I am a little boring & usually order an egg white omelet.
But the french toast looks really good.

1120 S Michigan Ave

747 N Wells

355 E Ohio Street 

Home of frushi = fruit sushi & the famous pancake flight {shown above}. So good!
I highly recommend the cinnamon roll pancakes. Uh-mazing. 
And they serve cucumber water.

2413 North Clark Street

738 North Clark Street

 2011 West Roscoe Street

730 West Grand Avenue

What's your favorite thing to order when you go out for breakfast?

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Color POP // not so mellow yellow

1. Lucky number knob, Anthropologie - $8  2. Bungalow 5 table/stool, Inside Avenue - $287 {on sale}  3. Magnetic timer, Anthropologie - $12  4. Hatfield grellow rocker, CB2 - $199  5. Yellow garden stool, Inside Avenue - $240  6. Pride & Prejudice, Anthropologie - $20  7. Grapefruit pop candle, Jonathan Adler - $38  8. Porcelain measuring spoons, Crate & Barrel - $4.95  9. Sanding sugar, Williams Sonoma - $5.50  10. Head in the sand darla, Kate Spade - $125

Nothing like a little yellow to brighten your day.
Do you love this color like I do?

What's your favorite item on this list?

Project 365. Week 7.

I had a crazy weekend. If I never go out again, that will be fine.

Friday: RL Grill {where I spotted Oprah -- again!} , The Crossing & Boss Bar.
Boss Bar {technically} happened on Saturday morning.
Saturday: Green Door, Aja & The Wit.
Sunday: Lunch at Hub 51. One of my favorite places in Chicago. So good.  
Hours Slept: 10. That's over the course of the entire weekend.

2.20.11 | day 51 | camera: iPhone
life lesson. if your dog is really excited and you think he has to pee, do not pick him up. i should have learned my lesson when the sofa fell victim the other day, but no. i'm not that smart. in case you were wondering, the wall cleaned up very easily & my sofa has a machine washable slipcover. either way -- still gross.

2.19.11 | day 50 | camera: iPhone
drinks at the wit

2.18.11 | day 49 | camera: iPhone
temps in the 40s. heat wave! went for a run.

2.17.11 | day 48 | camera: camera: canon rebel
the pup loves sleeping in & enjoys a little lounging after he wakes up.

2.16.11 | day 47 | camera: canon rebel
making veggie chili. carmen {who just moved here from LA} came over for dinner.

2.15.11 | day 46 | camera: iPhone
had my jute rug cleaned today & this came out of it.
i swear that it didn't look dirty. so gross.

2.14.11 | day 45 | camera: iphone
valentine's flowers. i prefer peonies & hydrangeas to red roses.


Girls who inspire: Jess of Makeunder My Life

This week I am featuring Jess of Makeunder My Life. I chose Jess for a few reasons. She runs her own business, blogs about making under your life {love that!}, she is really creative, has a great sense of style and she's a great person.

Jess is a fellow Chicago blogger {and friend}. We had a really fun girls night with Alaina a few weeks ago. Can't wait for the next one.

name & age:
Jess Constable, 26


Rochester, MI

current home:
Chicago, IL

meaning behind my blog name:

MakeunderMyLife comes from the idea that our best selves are underneath much of what we have in our lives physically and emotionally. And that by removing excess layers, we will reach our fullest potential.

current job:
Jewelry designer, blogger

dream job:
Speaker, writer, blogger, jewelry designer


if i could travel anywhere...:
I'd visit Europe: Italy, France, and Ireland.

something unique about me:
I have a slight obsession with Westies (West-highland Terriers). In fact, I already have my future puppy named: Elsie.

i like to:
run, write, cook with my boyfriend, drink wine with my girlfriends, and be lazy on the weekends.

i watch:
Mad Men, Greek (please don't judge), Sarah's House, and Top Chef

listening to:
Black Keys, Ray Lemontange, and Mumford and Sons

crushing on:
Jake Gyllenhaal since 2005

5 things that inspire me:
Sarah Richardson, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Rue and Lonny, Seth Godin, and Kate Spade

favorite nail polish color:
Ballet Slippers by Essie

favorite beauty products:
Kate Spade's Twirl Perfume

what inspired you to start your own business?

My jewelry business actually started by accident when I was 15 years old. While making some (ugly) ankle bracelets, some women ordered some for themselves. I quickly realized that jewelry making was a great way to earn fun money, and I started making more jewelry and selling it. Over time, that evolved into a business which I took full-time after graduating from the University of Michigan Business School in 2007. I set up shop in Chicago and became my own boss so that I could be free to spend time fulfilling my purpose: helping people design a life with intention. Right now I help people via my blog, makeundermylife.com and hope to one day help people full-time through speaking and writing.

what is the first tip you would give to someone who wants to makeunder their life?
The first tip I'd give them is to go home and "makeunder" their closet. There is usually tons of negative emotional energy and unnecessary objects in a closet which can be cleaned out fairly quickly. You can also being applying the makeunder steps to other areas of your life like your home, relationships, and career. But hey, a closet is the quickest place to make a large impact. 

what inspires your style?
Interior design inspires my jewelry style. I find myself trolling the shelter blogs for inspiration for upcoming collections. My love of decorating started when I was eight and has never slowed. By translating home trends into jewelry I keep a fresh perspective in the jewelry world. I also love looking at brands I admire for color stories as well. For example, Kate Spade has been doing an incredible job with their marketing and merchandising which tell wonderful color stories.


Shooting my first EVENT.

My first photo shoot took place in Lincoln Park last November. I had never directed anyone before & was worried I wouldn't know what to do. When you have a gorgeous couple + cute dogs + beautiful street in Lincoln Park, it is only natural that you would end up with beautiful photographs. And it turns out that I am a natural at telling people what to do. Who knew? Here are two of my favorites from that shoot.

Last weekend, I shot my first event & wanted to share a few photos with you. This was a very different experience, and I really enjoyed it! Cute kids + cupcake & chef hat decorating. Can't beat that.


Does anyone have any fun plans this weekend?

Going to dinner with friends tonight & tomorrow.
But I want to stay in and do nothing all day on Sat or Sunday. 
And I need to do some work on my scrapbook line.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend!


The red carpet. {2010}.

It's that time again & I could not be more ready. Actually, I have not seen a few of the nominated movies that I wanted to see so I could not be less ready. But -- I cannot wait for the red carpet.

In anticipation of the 83rd annual Academy Awards, I thought I would do a little fashion recap from last year's red carpet.

Anne always looks so chic, and Cameron's dress was stunning.
Both were dressed by Rachel Zoe. I am obviously a fan. 

I love SJP. And while I do not love Miley, I thought she looked gorgeous.

While I clearly have a thing for muted colors, I loved Penelope's dress.
And Demi -- gorgeous! Another stunning number chosen by RZ.

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Who are you looking forward to seeing on the red carpet this year?