Midwest ---> West Coast

Off to LA where it will be 75-79 and sunny. It feels strange packing sandals since I've been in fall mode. Not that I'm complaining. I suppose that I just want to enjoy the weather in Chicago before it's so cold that I can't feel my face.

Getting my nails done with my mom when I arrive in LA.  Too bad the nail I slammed in a door well over a month ago looks just awful. I am so going to lose this nail. At least that's the first thing everyone likes to tell me. I have lincoln park after dark on all of my other nails because it blends with the bruising. It's that bad.

Shared my guilty pleasures this week. That was fun.

My sparkly pancakes were featured on Refinery29 this week!
Tomorrow is the first day of OCTOBER. Where has this year gone? How is it almost winter again? It was just the beginning of summer!

Alaina posted this on her blog. I am obsessed + in awe. Wallpaper made entirely of...stickers. Amazing.

Image via Elle Decor      Wallpaper by Flat Vernacular

Liz posted these gloves on her blog. I love plaid. Why do they have to be so expensive?

Sarah & a few other friends are taking turns watching the pup while I'm away. Thanks, S! You are the best!

Skinny cinnamon dolce lattes have saved me this week.

Video chatted with Rosie and my sis this week. The poor pup was whining throughout most of the chat and had to sit on my lap afterward. Such a sensitive little guy. Side note: I'm in workout clothes and am not wearing makeup. Don't judge.

Great Aunt Rose quote of the week {shared by my sis}:
"Ooh that's sexy. Jessica, you're sexy. It's a sexy night." ~ my 93 year old great aunt
{I know great aunt Rose, and she was trying to be funny. The lady loves to make herself laugh}

I want to thank Sarah, Jess + Lesley for the lovely birthday gifts!! It means so much that these girls thought of me. They did not have to do anything but they did. My friend Melissa also gave me a candle that I LOVE. Thanks girls! xo

Jess has been such a GOOD friend. Can't imagine anyone doing a better job at being a good friend in another city. I suppose that's how one gains "best friend" status. Right? Easy friendship. We never have to try. She is one of the few people I can safely say will be in my life forever. 

And a little TV recap.
Gossip Girl premiered on Monday. I need that prince to go away.
Loving New Girl. Zooey Deschanel is so adorable. "It's Jess!"
Weeds. Was that a season or series finale? That show isn't what it used to be. Over it.
The Big C finale was so, so sad. Laura Linney should have won that Emmy.That show is beautiful.
DEXTER premieres on SUNDAY! Can. Not. Wait. Any other Dexter fans out there?

What's going on in your world? Anything exciting?

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!


Girls who inspire: Liz of Sequins and Stripes

It's been a while since I have featured anyone for Girls Who Inspire, and today it's back with one of my absolute favorites. I had the pleasure of photographing Liz of Sequins and Stripes for Jess LC a few weeks ago. She is sweet, stylish and absolutely adorable.

There is something so authentic about Liz. Just stop by her blog and see what I mean. The girl has some fun with her fashion posts. No serious + pensive expressions. Lots of smiles. I love it. And the girl has got style. In fact -- I need her to set a date with my closet. It needs some help.

Name + Age: Liz Schneider, 25

Hometown: Hinsdale, IL, a lovely western suburb of Chicago

Current Home: Chicago, IL, Lincoln Park area

Photo by me

Meaning behind my blog name: Sequins and Stripes was sort of a no brainer for me. For one, they are two style elements that never seem to fail and hold up season after season. Secondly, they are a constant in my wardrobe and if you follow my blog, you may notice that I tend to wear them a lot!

Current Job: I recently left my day job to dedicate all of my time and energy into Sequins and Stripes.

Dream Job: I dream of transforming my lovely little blog into a place where people seek my help in achieving stylish lives – whether it be a personal shopper, closet makeover, event styling, and/or a wardrobe overhaul – I’m your gal! In my next life, I will own a bakery.

If I could travel anywhere…I think I would travel everywhere. I would love to pause life for a year and visit all of the magic this world has to offer. However, if I had to choose one place, I think I would visit Switzerland. It looks so breathtakingly beautiful!

Something unique about me: I am a HUGE perfectionist when it comes to writing. If I hate the way my to-do list looks, I’ll start over.

I like to: wake up early, be outdoors, enjoy my morning coffee, get dressed up, spend time with my family + friends, go out to dinner, sing in my car, try out new hole in the wall bars, watch a good movie, and catch up on my favorite blogs!

I watch: Friends, Modern Family, Sex and the City, Glee, The Office and Dexter. My favorite movies are Big Fish, Bridget Jones Diary, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Titanic {sadly…but Leo was in his prime and you can’t fight that}.

Listening To: Mumford & Sons, Amos Lee, The Avett Brothers, Hall & Oates, Van Morrison, Sara Bareilles, and country music.  As I’m writing this, Hold On by Wilson Philips is playing on my iTunes, so I’ll give them some love too.

Crushing On:
Emma Watson, she is so comfortable in her own skin, sophisticated, sweet, has impeccable style, and seems so lovely. If I have to be straight, then Jake Gyllenhall , he is such a rugged, handsome man. 

5 things that inspire me: browsing the internet, my amazing support system, spending time away from reality, chatting with the lovely ladies of the blog world, and music.

Favorite nail polish: Essie Lollipop

Favorite Perfume: Viva La Juicy for Fall/Winter and Jo Malone Orange Blossom for Spring/Summer

Favorite way to spend a Friday night: Drinking wine and chatting with my best friends

Thing you are most looking forward to this year: A month long trip to Europe with my sister {leaving in a month!}, and challenging myself to make Sequins and Stripes the best that it can be.

Favorite thing about living in Chicago: The lake. Not every city sits on a beautiful body of water lined in sandy beaches and miles of bike paths and parks!

Favorite clothing lines and designers:
My favorite lines to wear: J.Crew, Joie, Club Monaco, Rag & Bone, Rebecca Taylor, and DVF. My favorite designers include: Christopher Kane, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Alexander Wang, Peter Som, and Jenni Kayne.

Who or what inspires my style? These are tons of elements that go into inspiring my wardrobe, but I never stray too far from my personal sense of style. I’m inspired by current trends, stylish bloggers and socialites, the use of color, lovely textiles, feminine silhouettes and detail, and try to mix these elements into my somewhat classic style. Style is what you make of it! As long as you leave the house feeling confident, your personal style speaks for itself.

A big thank you to Liz for taking the time to answer these questions.
For more inspiration, check out Sequins and Stripes!


Guess who was featured on Refinery29?

It is not every day that one will browse Refinery29 and come across a photo from their blog. Did a double take. What's going on here? Notice anything familiar in the image below?

Yes, Refinery29 featured my sparkly gold pancakes. Truth be told, I thought these were pretty and was hoping people might pin them. I used to not so secretly dream of becoming a pastry chef, so this is very exciting. I know -- pancakes aren't pastries. But these have frosting...cake has frosting. It's my dream. Don't crush it.

No other pancake pan will ever bring me so much joy. The ebelskiver from Williams-Sonoma is officially my new favorite thing. And to think I've only used it once! Cannot wait to use it again! Who wants to come over for breakfast?

Thank you to Shani at Refinery29 for the feature!

More good news. Henning Love won my Williams-Sonoma giveaway!


In the kitchen: sparkly gold pancakes

I made these pancakes with the boyfriend on my birthday using the Williams-Sonoma ebelskiver pan {thank you, Nicole!}, ebelskiver mix, gold shimmering sugar, turning tools & Dr. Oetker organic frosting {purchased at whole foods}.

Melt a little earth balance or  butter in each pancake well of the pancake pan.
Spoon 1 tbsp pancake mix into the well.
Spoon 1/2 tbsp frosting followed by one more tbsp of pancake mix.
Wait 3-4 min, flip & wait another 3-4 min.
Top with a little frosting and maple syrup. That's it!

While these are very sparkly and pretty in person, I'm not sure they look as fancy in pictures. Next time I'd probably use something a bit more colorful. Cannot wait to make cinnamon roll + pumpkin pancakes for fall. Yum.

A few notes:
The ebelskiver was very easy to use & the turning tools are a must.
I used earth balance and almond milk in place of butter & milk.
The recipe on the ebelskiver makes a ton of pancakes. I would cut it in half for 2 people.
The boy said these are a little crispy & a "very unique pancake experience." He loved them.

Nothing like a sparkly breakfast to start your day.


can't help myself

First vmac + cheese did it. Then things that sparkle. Now it's my turn. Ladies and ladies {let's keep it real -- there aren't any men reading this}, I give you...my guilty pleasures.

1. Social media. The blog {obviously}, facebook, twitter, instagram and pinterest. Have I forgotten anything? 

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

 2. Apple products. iMac, MacBook Pro, iPad + iPhone. They feed my addiction to #1.

via apple

3.  Shopping. Did some of this with Lara yesterday. Picked up two sweaters. The striped sweater is SO cute on. Absolutely love it.

4. Being lazy. I work late pretty often {and some weekends, too} so I there are mornings when I will let myself lay in bed {which usually involves #s 1 + 2} for a little while. Like yesterday. Woke up at 10 and stayed in bed on the iPad and laptop until 11:30. I also love lazy days where I stay in sweats all day and do absolutely nothing. They are rare and wonderful.

5. French fries. The boyfriend will order them every so often & I'll steal a few.

6. Dreaming of remodeling a kitchen, wallpapering something and moving to NYC. I realize a move to NYC would likely kill any chance of owning/remodeling a home in the future unless someone wants to let me borrow a couple million $$. Yeah. Didn't think so.

 images via my pinterest

7. Cleaning/organizing/styling my apartment. I actually enjoy organizing.

8. Jayson Home & Garden. The most beautiful store in Chicago. Add this to your list of things to do and see when visiting this city. I went to the fall flea market with Alaina last weekend and bought the most beautiful poodle plant! Makes me think of Jack & Karen.

Karen: Hey Poodle.
Jack: Who's your daddy?
Karen: You are. 

Any Will & Grace fans out there?

9. Gummies. I usually avoid any + all sweets {especially when high fructose corn syrup is involved} but love gummies and will splurge every few months. Favorites include:
1 2 3

10. Christmas cheer. I play Christmas music and watch Love Actually, Elf, Home Alone and even the occasional fox family 25 days of Christmas movie {don't judge!} the entire month of December. And hello! My dog's name is Buddy. Like the elf. Coincidence? I don't think so.

11. Award shows. The red carpet & the acceptance speeches. I love them.

images via pinterest

12. French toast. I splurged a few months ago and had the best french toast ever at the Original Pancake House in Chicago. Uh. Mazing.

13. My Canon 7D + 35mm. Photography is a ridiculously expensive hobby. As you may know, it's more than a hobby for me. But I do love it.

14. Movies. Favorites include anything by Nancy Meyers or Woody Allen, any and all Christmas movies, The Single Man, The Royal Tenenbaums, While You Were Sleeping, Pulp Fiction and As Good As It Gets. I really love Jack Nicholson.

15. Making fancy ice pops with my zoku duo + new obsession...making sparkly pancakes with my ebelskiver. Posting my first ebelskiver experience tomorrow!

16. My pup + dreaming of a rescue bulldog friend for Buddy me. Don't they look cute together? Ok. My dog would look cute next to anything. Handsome little nugget, isn't he?
  frenchie photo via Buddy's board on Pinterest

And remember, when you rescue one dog you save TWO. The one you rescue and the one that the rescue organization is able to take in.

17. Reading Suri's Burn Book. I can't help myself.

18. Staying up late to watch TV, blog or pin things on pinterest.

19. Pretzel bread. Hannah's Bretzel makes this sandwich on pretzel bread. Haven't been since the week I moved to Chicago {14 months ago!}. Must go soon. So. Good.

20. Television. I love good {dexter, shameless, modern family} and bad {millionaire matchmaker, desperate housewives} television. Don't get me started on friends reruns. And in case you forgot, guess what returns tonight?! Having some of my favorite girls over for a little GG viewing party.
 image via

Writing down all of my favorites in one place has made me want them all. If only I could eat a sandwich on pretzel bread with a side of fries while making pancakes and ice pops in my newly remodeled kitchen in my wallpapered NYC apartment decorated with furniture from Jayson Home and Garden with buddy and his frenchie sister at my feet. At Christmas time. Am I asking for too much?

What are your top 3 guilty pleasures?


Go ahead and sparkle

Diamond tennis bracelets are so lovely. What kind of diamond tennis bracelet would you choose?? I love the red carpet tennis bracelet!

Before you get any ideas, I am not engaged! But -- when I am {some day, not any time soon so don't get too excited} I know that I would love something pretty and simple. Just one diamond for me. How about you?

All images via anjolee.com


falling for fall // apples & pumpkins

Happy Fall! I have some VERY exciting news! I won the Randolph Street Market Vintage Vernacular contest!!!!! Thank you to EVERYONE who voted for my photo! I cannot believe I WON!

I have decided to end fall week with something sweet. I love all the delicious treats that come with the change from summer to fall. A few years ago, my sister and I started making our pies from scratch at Thanksgiving. This year, I would love to make individual pies in mason jars. Apple and pumpkin, of course. Although truth be told, I am not really a fan of pumpkin pie. But apple? All over it.
All images via Williams-Sonoma and Pinterest

What's a fall treat that you can't wait to bake this year?
And what do you prefer? Pumpkin or apple?

It's the first weekend of Fall! Hope you enjoy it! I want to get to a pumpkin patch ASAP!

Hope you enjoyed fall week! Don't forget to enter my Williams-Sonoma giveaway!
Giving away their apple cider, pumpkin bread & pumpkin butter!


falling for fall // beauty

A quick note! My new pre-made line has launched. Expect to see some new designs in the coming weeks!
THIS WEEK ONLY I will take $10 off of any pre-made order!

I managed to talk a few of my favorite bloggers into sharing their favorite Essie colors for fall. Thank you Nicole, Lara, Shari, Alex, Liz, Alison, Audrey, Christine, Alaina, Jill & Erin! Personally, I love neutrals and darker colors for fall and winter. Not surprising. I tend to go neutral with everything.
And my favorite fragrances for fall. I have loved Hermes Merveilles and Marc Jacobs for years. I recently purchased a mini bottle of Viva La Juicy and love it!

What are your favorite polish colors & scents for fall?


falling for fall // faves & Williams-Sonoma pumpkin bread + cider GIVEAWAY

I love fall. Orange & yellow leaves, cozy sweaters, anticipation of the holidays...it's such a wonderful time of year. Midwest pumpkin patches are one of my favorite things because they are so different from the ones in LA. People wear Uggs in place of Louboutins and there are no paparazzi. And no. I'm not kidding. 
images via my pinterest

I am so excited to partner with Williams-Sonoma for a THIRD time give away a few of my favorite fall goodies. Their apple cider is phenomenal, the pumpkin bread is delicious and the pumpkin butter is like heaven in a jar. And yes. It is that good. I always buy a few packages of the pumpkin bread and keep that pumpkin butter on hand throughout the year. It is great on pumpkin bread or toast.

To enter this giveaway, just follow Breakfast at Toast via GFC + leave a comment.
For extra entries:
Follow Williams-Sonoma on Facebook
Follow Williams-Sonoma on Pinterest
Pin your favorite thing from Williams-Sonoma on Pinterest
Follow me on Twitter
Follow me on Pinterest
Follow me on Facebook

You have until September 27th to enter!
Please leave one comment per entry!

I also want to announce some very lucky winners from two giveaways last week!
Gaby won a Jessica Durrant print off my gift guide & Lesley won the Williams Sonoma Ebelskiver! I am always so excited when a friend wins one of my giveaways. Probably because it rarely happens. So excited that Lesley won!

Congrats girls!

What are your favorite things about fall?


falling for fall // blogger picks

I shared some of my favorite fall fashion yesterday + as promised, am here with the top picks from some of my favorite bloggers!  A big thank you to Audrey, Liz, Erin, Lesley, Alaina, Shari, JessNicole, Alex, Jillian, Alison + Christine for sharing their fall favorites on the blog today!
 1. pants  2. hat  3. bright lips  4. chunky heels  5. bow blouse

1. dress  2. blazer  3. boots  4. bag

1. pants  2. bag  3. dress

1. clutch  2. patchwork sandal  3. lush version of the great gatsby

1. coat  2. shoes  3. necklace  4. top  5. scarf

  1. jacket  2. belt  3. sweater  4. clutch  5. hat

 1. Scarf  2. Cardigan  3. Boots

1. pom poms  2. blazer  3. glasses  4. loafers

 1. choker  2. skirt  3. sweater  4. shoes

 1. coat  2. watch  3. flats

1. shoes  2. cuff  3. bracelet  4. handbag

 1. pillow  2. earrings  3. clutch  4. watch

A very special thank you to these lovely for taking the time to share their fall favorites!

What are your fall favorites? Do you see anything you must have in this post?

And a few more things:
Today is Sarah's birthday! Happy birthday, Sarah!!! xo
Gave my website a little mini-lift. 
Hoping to launch some new pre-mades in the next week or so!
The boyfriend ordered a crib sized duvet for the pup {for the sofa}. The pup loves a fluffy blanket.
Please vote for my photo! Voting ends TOMORROW.  I'll find out if I won this weekend!!
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