Guess where I'm going?!

via rifle paper co 

Last night, Alaina + I booked a trip to NYC + we leave in 2 weeks!
I could not be more excited!

What are your favorite things to do + see in NYC?


4 days with my best girl

One of my very best friends was in Chicago last week & we had a fantastic few days together. She flew in Tues night and we spent Wed - Saturday running around Chicago. We ate, shopped, talked, watched movies and enjoyed some girl time. The little one got her first faux fur vest and some adorable outfits. Almost makes me wish I had a baby, but for now I'm good with the pup. He has snow boots, sweaters + multiple coats. He also pees on things from time to time.

Jess and I met up with Taylor, Shari, Lara, Sarah & Audrey for dinner on Friday night. Cannot believe we didn't get a group photo! Dinner + Margaritas followed by dessert prepared by Shari & Lara + a game or two of apples to apples.

My hair grown way too much+ is a mess. Having it cut again on Tuesday!

1. Brunch at bongo room
2. New clutch from Taylor [Jess + I did our nails with Sally Hansen strips. See the skulls?]
3. Jess [+ baby girl] at the top of the navy pier ferris wheel
4. Us at the top of the ferris wheel
5. Shopping in Lincoln Park [Christmas cards at paper source]
6. Brunch at the original pancake house
7. Cupcake at Crumbs
8. Apples to Apples with Taylor, Lesley, Shari + Lara
9. Another shot at Navy Pier

Wednesday - lunch at bandera, shopping on michigan avenue, dinner at scoozi
Thursday - breakfast at bongo room, shopping in lincoln park, dinner at rockit
Friday - brunch at the original pancake house, a little more shopping on michigan ave, dinner at zocalo & game night
Saturday - lunch at protein bar [love the vegan quinoa chili!], navy pier, dinner at my place

I am so glad that Jess was able to take time away from her 2 little guys [and husband -- thanks Chris!] to visit before baby girl arrives. She has 2 little ones and we live 2,000 miles apart but we have never had a problem staying in touch. I don't think a week has gone by where we have not spoken. We seem to grow closer as the years go by. I love that girl like crazy and can't imagine my life without her.

Does your closest friend live nearby? How often do you see each other?

the cape

I love when my favorite fashion bloggers pos something that isn't sold out & doesn't cost a million dollars. This zara cape made the list and was ordered from my iPad in bed this morning. I am not Blair so let's hope I can pull this off. I also ordered some bright dresses from asos a few days ago. Pink + mustard! My friends will be so proud.


Halloween Week // Dress it up!

Linking up with AV from Long Distance Loving for Friday's Fancies. This week she asked us to share our dream costumes [dream = no budget] so you can imagine that this would be the perfect excuse to dress like one of my fashion icons. Last year I went as RZ. This year, I'd go as one of these lovelies.

I'll go as Serena for this Valentino bag and Rag & Bone skirt

Any excuse to buy this Vince sweater or a Chanel bag!

I have a crazy girl crush on Kelly Framel. She's kind of perfect.

And Blair. Love her.

Budget aside, who would you dress up as for Halloween?
Have a safe and happy Halloween weekend!

some good stuff:
My best friend is in Chicago!
Looking forward to a girls night with some of my favorite girls tonight!
Worked on a little something with Lara this week!
Photo shoot with Alaina last Sunday + another project with her this Sunday.


Halloween Week // Entertaining [+ link up!]

Here are some favorites for the Halloween party I will not be having this year. I am having a little get together on Friday night so I'll try to do something festive. You know how I enjoy a celebration. I will not be dressing up [I mean really -- it's not like I could top last year's costume] but will be linking up with AV + sharing some lovely Halloween costumes!
1. pumpkin punch bowl & mugs, Pottery Barn $26-$49
3. halloween appetizer plates, Williams-Sonoma $29.95
5. Bone bottle opener [West Elm - no longer available]
5. staub pumpkin casserole, Crate and Barrel $149.95
6. gourd bowl, West Elm $7.99
7. halloween skull wine topper, Grandin Road $79
8. pumpkin whoopie pie pan, Crate and Barrel $12.95

  images via my pinterest

 Cornflake Dreams
The Daily Dish
Simply Irresistible
A Lovely Escape
Fashion Truffles 
Darling Notes
It's the Little Things 
Schue Love
The So Cal Crush 
The Rest is still Unwritten 
The Urban Slant
Julip Made

What's your favorite thing about Halloween?
I'm all about the sparkly pumpkins. I love a little sparkle.

*If I missed anyone, I'm sorry! Need to make this process less confusing next time.



get excited

Interrupting Halloween week with a little reminder.

Are you ready?

Halloween Week // Fashion

Don't feel like dressing up this year? Consider something chic in black and orange. Not sure I'm going to dress up because I just don't know how I'd ever top this costume. My sis is going as a spice girl.

I have some favorites [in black] but had some trouble with orange, so I did what any girl would do. I asked my favorite personal stylist [and friend], Liz of Sequins and Stripes to find the orange picks for me. She did an amazing job. #4 has to be my favorite. I'm a sucker for Vince.

2. Corona fedora $29.95
17. YSL Roady $1495

You can pick 1 black + 1 orange item. What would you choose?

A few things:
Stop by Sequins & Stripes to stay up to date with Liz's trip to Europe. She leaves today!
A BIG thank you to my friend Lara for help with a project last night! She is the BEST.
Best friend arrives tonight!
Some info on the Halloween link up. It's this Thursday!


Halloween Week // I want candy!

Halloween Week is here! I would like to invite you to link up with some Halloween inspiration [treats, recipes, decor, costumes, party ideas etc.] on Thurs Oct 27th! Just leave a comment with a link to your blog by Wednesday at 8:00 PM & I will add your link to Thursday's post. Grab this graphic, place it at the top of your post and set it to publish Thursday morning 6:00 am central time.

I always love starting these week long celebrations with something sweet.

What's your favorite Halloween candy?
I love twizzlers + almost every gummy candy.

via 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11


J. Crew Invitation Clutch

The J. Crew invitation clutch is one of my favorite clutches this season. With prices starting at $118, it is not only chic -- but attainable as well. Available in calf hair, leopard, suede & leather.
Which one would you choose?


Calendar Girl

1 . 2 . 3 . 4 . 5 . 6

October is already over so it's time to grab your 2012 calendar before they're all gone.
I buy Kate Spade's calendar every year. It's pretty, fun & very chic.

How do you keep track of your schedule?



Let's start with the winner. Natasha of Schue Love won my pre-made giveaway! If you entered & did not win, I will take $15 off the Buddy template through Monday evening. Email me for details! Congrats Natasha!!

I would love to invite you to link up with your favorite Halloween decor + treats -- in hopes of inspiring some Halloween parties this weekend! I will keep Friday free for Fridays Fancies with AV + weekly wrap up posts. The link up will take place on Thursday the 27th or Monday the 31st? Do you have a preference? I'll announce this Monday.

My best friend booked her second trip to Chicago & arrives in 4 days! So excited!

Yesterday's FB status update: This wind is insane. If I lived in the country I would expect to see a cow fly by. Expecting 60 MPH winds. Oh, Chicago. You love to test me...

 Not ready for winter. But -- we are prepared. The pup in his new coat. A pre-Christmas gift from the boyfriend.

I photographed Alex's beautiful home a few weeks ago. My girl Alaina [ who was also featured on Refinery29 yesterday] styled the shoot and as always, I loved working with her. Here is a little peek. Obsessed.

I took a much needed day off on Wednesday. Went shopping with Liz [my friend/stylist] & Lesley [my friend/neighbor]. I never want to shop without Liz again and plan on scheduling an extensive closet consult when she returns from Europe. If you need help with personal styling, do not hesitate to contact her! I'll share the pieces we picked up soon.

Two consults for upcoming photo shoots yesterday. Work has been crazy busy. So thankful + so exhausted.

Sephora by OPI keep me on my mistletoes. So cheery. I love Christmas. Can you believe it's 2 months away?

Girls night with Anne tonight! Blogging, girl talk + all that good stuff.

New mouse pad from rouge & co. Isn't she lovely?

Hoping I'll make it to a pumpkin patch this weekend. Midwest pumpkin patches are the best. No celebs & paparazzi! 
What's going on in your world this week?
Hope you have a wonderful weekend!


Question of the day // gifts

Birthday gifts. I love picking out the perfect card & doing something sweet for a friend. It's the thought that counts.

I have a few Qs for you.
Do you exchange birthday gifts with your friends?
Do you discuss whether or not you will exchange gifts in advance? 
Favorite way[s] to do something thoughtful without spending a lot of money?

What are your thoughts on this one? Would love to know what you think!


Girls who inspire / Lesley of Six Twelve Place

I am so excited to feature my friend Lesley of Six Twelve Place! I have loved having Lesley right upstairs [we live just one floor apart!] and look forward to having her so close by this winter when we are forced to hibernate. I have loved following her blog, but more than anything I've loved getting to know her. She is sweet, is a wonderful friend, has great taste and always posts something that makes me smile.

Lesley recently started this amazing series on her blog because she believes it is important to stay positive. Don't you just love that? So, here is a little bit about my friend Lesley.

name & age: Lesley, 30

hometown: Dallas, Texas

current home: Chicago, Illinois
meaning behind my blog name: 6/12 is my birthday and my blog is my place to share the things I love.

current job: My title is Educational Program Consultant- basically I travel throughout the Midwest helping schools find and implement programs that will meet their students' current instructional needs. I worked as a teacher before pursuing my masters degree in integrated marketing so this position allows me to utilize both of my degrees.

dream job: I'm always dreaming about what I want my career to be and jotting down business ideas. All of these businesses have a few things in common- I want to be my own boss, work with creative and inspiring people and I want my work to be centered around something I am passionate about. Recently, one of my best friends quit her long-time job at a Hedge Fund to start her own barre studio in London. She has been completely fearless and a huge inspiration to me to stop jotting down business ideas and to start pursuing them!

if i could travel anywhere...: ALL over Europe {I've never been!}, but Paris, London and the Greek Isles are definitely at the very top of my list.
something unique about me: I am a quarter Korean and I love this unique part of my heritage! My grandmother was a small but mighty Korean woman and I am thankful that I inherited some of her best qualities!

i like to: cook and play hostess, have wine nights with my girlfriends, indulge in life...especially when it comes to food and I love a good theme party!

i watch: Let's just say my DVR gets a lot of use... I watch way too many shows: Parenthood, Hart of Dixie, Shameless, Modern Family, 30 Rock, Friday Night Lights {we just started from the very beginning!} and I am definitely not immune to reality TV...

listening to: My taste in music is so varied but currently the most played on my iTunes are Adele, James Morrison, Jack Johnson, Sara Bareilles, Ingrid Michaelson, Michael Buble and Stoney LaRue

crushing on: Adam Levine {he can sing!} and Jimmy Fallon {this is random, I know, but I cannot resist a funny man}

5 things that inspire me:
1) People who live fearlessly and go after what they want in life
2) Entrepreneurs
3) Pinterest
4) My Friends
5) Strong, gracious women who balance careers, family, friends and faith

favorite nail polish: Usually Essie Ballet Slippers is my go to, but right now I am loving Essie's Carry On for fall

favorite perfume: Bvlgari Amethyst

biggest advantage to working from home: There are so many advantages to working from home. I love not having to commute daily and it is especially nice to be able to take care of things at home like laundry or prepping for dinner, while you are working.

what do you miss about texas? The people {!!}, the convenience of my gym back home and just knowing the city- I could tell you how to get anywhere, I knew what restaurants to go to and after years of trial and error I found the perfect nail salon, tailor, dry cleaner, hair dresser, etc... Now the search begins all over again!

who or what inspires your style? My style is inspired by looks that are classic, comfortable and girly but balanced with current trends. For example, I love a simple black sweater dress, but throwing a faux fur vest over it makes it so now; I can't resist a pair of preppy, girly flats with a contrasting, rougher snakeskin print; A polka dot blouse is both girly and trendy- add a tailored blazer and pile on the accessories and now it's even better!

favorite candy: It is tough for me to narrow down to one favorite candy because I am a sugar addict, but Twizzlers and Hot Tamales are definitely at the top of my favorites list.

what do you love about chicago? I LOVE Chicago- this city has so much to offer! I love the history and that all of the neighborhoods are so unique and different from one another. I love that on any given day, I can experience some of the best shopping in the country, eat at one of hundreds of amazing restaurants, have rooftop drinks with an incredible city view or just walk around and get lost exploring a new neighborhood {one of my very favorite things to do!} Plus, I know I am in for a difficult winter, but Chicago weather during the summer and early fall is absolute perfection.
what don't you love? State sales tax + high city sales tax, having to shop at several different grocery stores to get everything I need and my absolute least favorite thing is driving in the city!! The roads are terrible, traffic is awful, parking is the biggest pain and then add buses, cabs, pedestrians and bikers to the mix and it is enough to drive a girl to drink {but not while driving, of course!}

Thanks for having me Danielle, I'm honored to join so many other wonderful bloggers in your Girls Who Inspire series!

images via 1 2 3 4


It's official. I'm THAT girl. [+ a little giveaway]

If you don't know the story of how I got my sweet little pup, let me fill you in. I walked by one of those pet adoption fairs. There was a tiny pup with a filthy cast on his leg. He looked at me. End of story.

I recently crossed over from dog owner to crazy dog lady. Was it last week when I picked up fancy dog treats and a new winter coat for the pup? No. When I went out of town and left two pages of notes for my friends who watched him? When I ordered new checks with this photo on them? Maybe...

In my defense, he is a very handsome pup [made his modeling debut last week] and I take a decent photograph.

If that isn't enough, Buddy has a pre-made template named after him. Since I love my boy, I am giving away the "Buddy" template [the one column version] & the banner of your choice [$35 value]. I love this template because it has 10 banner options! So versatile! This does not include a custom color scheme or any a la carte extras.

To enter, become a follower & leave a comment.

For extra entries:
1. Follow me on Twitter
2. Tell me which banner you will choose

You have until Thursday at 8:00 PM Central time to enter!


Boo! Get ready...

First came wedding week [the week of the royal wedding], summer week, birthday week, & fall week! And one week from today -- a week of Halloween fun! I love holidays! Can't wait for Christmas! I would love to have everyone link up one day. Any great ideas for a Halloween blog crawl? Decor? Treats?

1 2 3 4 5
skull image via paper source

What's your favorite thing about Halloween? Are you dressing up this year?


top 10

10. I got my first glimpse at some Christmas decor at Crate & Barrel last weekend and could not be more excited. Now that I live in Chicago, Christmas is what gets me through the cold. I'm like Buddy the elf at Christmas time. Get ready.!

1. The peppermint hot chocolate is my favorite!
2. I would love to see Santa at my door every day.
3. Chic little feather wreath from West Elm.
4. 50% of the proceeds for this candle go to St. Jude's. The best way to give!

9. I am late with this one, but fellow Chicago blogger Jillian won my Aurelia giveaway! Congrats!!
Enter BREAKFASTATTOAST20 at checkout for 20% off your next order!

8. Started watching Revenge and love it! Have you been watching? 

7. I am going to the pumpkin patch with my friend Michelle this weekend! I. Love. Fall. 

6. I shared this inspiration board on Cornflake Dreams & was featured on vmac & cheese. Thanks for having me, girls!
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14

5. The new iPhone comes out today. Did you order one? I have decided to wait this time around. I just updated to iOS 5 and really like it. I'll see what "the people" say. Did you order a new iPhone? If so, tell me why I have to have it. Do you love siri?

4. My little guy made his modeling debut for Jess LC. Is it just me or is the most handsome pup ever?

3. Just booked a trip for next weekend and it looks like I'll be leaving town again in November.

2. In case you missed it, I had my hair cut this week. Thank you for all the sweet comments! The boyfriend is obsessed & I am still coming to terms with the fact that long hair is just not in the cards for me. I do think this is the best short cut I have had so far.

1. Can't wait for a little down time this weekend. I would like to be lazy and do nothing on Sunday. Haven't had a day like that in forever. My one goal is to work out. That is all.

I have a few Qs for you!
What is your idea of the perfect lazy Sunday?
Are you excited for the holidays?
Are you dressing up for Halloween? I dressed up last year but have no motivation this year.


the best public spectacle ever

Mr. Love decides to propose to his lady at Disney with a flash mob to the song "marry you." I am a pretty private person but really love a flash mob so this public proposal works for me. (Minus the photographers because I hate having a camera in my face). If this doesn't put a smile on your face then I'm afraid there may be something wrong with you.

1:35 - they start dancing
3:04 - he jumps in & she figures out what's going on.
4:10 - he pulls out the ring

I love flash mobs. I really do. I cannot dance so the chances of my being in a flash mob are slim to none. If someone would arrange a flash mob for me I would really love that. I turn 30 next Sept, friends. Make it happen.

If you are engaged, I would love to hear your engagement story!
A walk on the beach, romantic dinner, airplane, flash mob?


the new do

After spending 30 min discussing my options with my new hair stylist, we decided to go for it. Lesley took ~ 70 photos of me & here I am posting an iPhone photo. I was clearly meant to be behind the camera & not in front of it.  Remember the episode of friends when Chandler and Monica take their engagement photos? Yeah. I'm Chandler.

Girls who inspire // Victoria of Vmac and Cheese

I am so excited to feature Victoria of vmac + cheese on my blog today. We have recently gotten to know each other through our blogs and I have to say -- I just love her. Today's feature is extra special because Victoria featured me on her blog today, too! So once you have finished reading all about Victoria on my blog, stop by to read my Behind the Scenes feature on vmac + cheese!

name & age: Victoria, 27

hometown: I grew up in Austin, TX and lived there for 18 years before moving to Los Angeles for school. I loved California so much, I decided to stick around. That's why my current home is San Francisco.

  artwork: one, two, three   

meaning behind my blog name: Not well known fact: after I finished undergrad, I decided to go to culinary school. I started my blog after I graduated as a way to share recipes and food related essays and stories. My blog name is a combination of a nickname given to me in high school (vmac) and one of my fave comfort foods, mac and cheese. Probably not the smartest blog name since I eventually branched out and decided to talk about lots of other things that interest me beyond food, but meh, I'm keeping it!

current job: I work as an assistant to one of the deans at a local university, specifically in academic affairs.

dream job: Oh my, SO many things I think would be endlessly challenging, fascinating and fun! Ideas that have been written down at one point or another: wine shop owner, stationer, magazine editor, event stylist, full time blogger.

if i could travel anywhere...: I'm dying to go to the Amalfi Coast and the south of France. I'd also love to do a trip through the English countryside. And I'd never say no to more time in Paris.

something unique about me: I'm adopted! Hence, the Irish last name and the distinctly NOT Irish features.

i like to: blog (obvi), write, take photos, cook, read, and be lazy with the boy

i watch: TV: Mad Men, 30 Rock, Community, Dexter, How I Met Your Mother. And the obvious trashy reality shows. As of two weekends ago, I also got into Friday Night Lights. Movies? I'm always behind. Though I do watch Pride & Prejudice every year on my birthday.

listening to: I'm a total Top 40 kind of girl, but my all time favorite bands include Third Eye Blind, Dave Matthews Band, Gotan Project and pretty much any album Putumayo puts out. I'm a sucker for fun global music.  

crushing on: Is it cheesy to say my gentleman friend? We've been dating 9 years next month, and I still think I have a crush on him. Lame? Okay... I'd scream like a little girl if put in a room with Jon Hamm or Jake Gyllenhaal.

5 things that inspire me: Women who go for it, people who are both extremely bright and extremely stylish, art work, bloggers and traveling.

favorite nail polish: I'm that weird, unkempt girl who doesn't really do manis or pedis too often. However, I'm dying to try Scotch Naturals. Great package design and formaldehyde free, what what.

favorite perfume: Chanel Gardenia and Strange Invisible Perfumes Prima Ballerina. 

San Fran, Austin & LA? What are your favorite things about each city? SF -- the weather (I overheat easily and it's rarely hot here), the diversity, and the food. So easy to get a good meal in this city. Austin -- the fact that it reminds me of my childhood. But if I'm honest, I don't really miss living in Texas. LA -- It was 4 years filled with good times and great friends. Even with the traffic, the pollution, and the weird culture, LA will always have a place in my heart!

one, two 

If you had to relocate to another city, where would you go? New York or London.

Best mac and cheese you've ever had: I think my own is pretty good, because I can customize it to whatever I'm feeling that day! In college, one of my favorite mac and cheeses was the version with ham and broccoli (so old school) at Luna Park on La Brea. I also love the mac at Bouchon in Yountville, CA. That one's a classic.

Have any fun nicknames or special talents you want to share with us? The obvious Vmac. Other than that, everyone calls me Victoria. I can't stand the nickname Vicky. Special talents? Hmm. I grew up a semi-serious dancer, and though I stopped a long time ago, I can still tap dance pretty well!

You can buy 3 pieces at J.Crew. What would you choose? J.Crew does many things well, but I find I love them best for the classics. So, I'd pick a blazer in a timeless pattern like tweed or herringbone (though this tipped version makes my heart beat fast), a great coat like this trench or this gorgeous blue number, and a simple everyday bag (I love this satchel!). [Pause] Okay, I can't lie: I'd also beg to make this bracelet my fourth item. Or maybe these shoes. Or this blouse. Aaaaand now you know why I have to avoid the Crew whenever possible. It's always a slippery slope! Thanks for having me today, Danielle! This was an absolute blast to put together.

Thank you for taking the time to answer all these Qs, V! And thank you for featuring me on your blog


good stuff

I am guest posting at Cornflake Dreams today! Jillian and her fiance recently purchased their first home together and I was honored when she asked me to share some bedroom inspiration on her blog.

Having my hair cut this afternoon. Think good thoughts for me! I will share a photo unless I leave the salon completely devastated. Then I'll be the girl hiding under some leaves. Or next month, in the snow. I will update on Twitter.

I am so excited to share Jess LC's latest collection -- photographed by me!

Jewelry, iPad cases, coin purses, bags & stationery. That girl is on it. I am honored to be the first person to get my hands on these. Stop by Jess LC to see the lookbook & pick up a few of these beauties.

And in case you missed it, we worked with a very handsome and well behaved model.

Have something special planned for tomorrow! Until then... xo