Question of the Day: Accessorizing with Jewelry

I've never been great with accessories, but I've branched out a bit over the past year or two. I'm definitely a bracelet girl–the more gold the better. I don't have too many necklaces but can almost always be found wearing both my gorjana pristine bar and dana rebecca silvie rose necklaces. Simple, understated, and chic.
sylvie rose necklace, dana rebecca designs |  key charm, tiffany | aimee necklace, Kendra Scott | pave ring, made her think | cross earrings, house of harlow | somerset domed ring, tiffany | renegade bracelet, stella and dot | dabney bib necklace, loren hope | earrings, elva fields | leather wrap bracelet, gorjana bright spot necklace, kate spade

What kind of jewelry do you wear? Bright baubles? Gold or silver rings? Charms? 
What are some of your favorite brands? 

Have a great weekend! x


Did you see who was on The Everygirl today?

Kimberly Genevieve photographed one of everyone's favorite girls for The Everygirl. Here's a little hint:
Cupcake | Cashmere

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized it’s not always necessary to get down on myself if I haven’t done something exactly as I’d hoped. The other day I had meant to finish something and simply ran out of time – my 23-year-old self would have pushed through, making sure I got it taken care of. My 29-year-old self realized that it wasn’t that important and instead poured myself a glass of wine and took a bubble bath. - Emily Schuman

Amen, sister.


Work it

Since I've been going to and from the gym at least 4-5 days a week the past 4.5 months, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite workout essentials with you.

The bag: I use my Lo & Sons OG bag when I'm going to the gym, a photo shoot, or traveling. There's a separate compartment inside for gym shoes, a laptop, and anything + everything you may want to bring with you. I can't tell you how much I love this thing. Functional and chic!

Water bottle: I've been using a bobble but just lost it and plan on getting a vapur bottle unless you have any suggestions for me.

Sports bra: I almost always wear the Lululemon engage bra but on days with less impact I'll wear my energy bra. And then there's the ta ta tamer which is perfect for high intensity workouts.

Wrist wraps: These are essential for weight lifting!

Tops: I recently bought the Lulu run swiftly shirt and love it! I'll throw it on after a workout when it's a bit cooler out and am waiting to wear it when we run outside in colder weather. I love my new swiftly tech racerback (bday gift from Alaina). The scoop me up tank and no limits tank are great for weight lifting days, but not supportive enough for running or box jumps if you are larger than a B. And finally, the cool racerback has always been my go-to shirt.

Shoes: These Nikes are my favorite shoes, but they don't work for weight lifting. I bought these Innov-8s (in black) and within a week or two, these pink Reeboks came out. #thiswouldonlyhappentome. They are on my wish list because a. they look a lot more comfortable than the ones I currently have and b. they're pink.

Coconut Water: I occasionally bring coconut water to help me recover after a tough WOD.

iPhone: I am usually on gchat/answering emails while traveling to and from CrossFit and will record my PRs/workouts on my phone when I'm done. As you all know, I really like tracking my progress!

Lip Balm: I usually apply Burts before and after a workout. My lip balm addiction is ridiculous.

And yes–I got my 4th PR in 5 days yesterday! 70 lb 3 rep push press. I did two reps with 75 on the bar but just couldn't get it up a 3rd time. I'll get there! I am so ridiculously sore but it feels good!

What are your workout essentials?


Checking in

My week has been off to a very busy start. I finished the design and installation of this blog yesterday. And this one, this one, and this one, too. I have about a million photos to edit for a feature that's going up on The Everygirl next week, a meeting this morning, and we're hosting events both Wed and Thurs night. Then I have blogs and logos to design, and of course–CrossFit. There are days I literally feel like a hamster running in one of those stupid wheels. Or this cat.


I went to Whole Foods with my friend Maxine after CrossFit last night and picked up the remaining ingredients for Gina's pumpkin chili recipe. I bought a crock pot this weekend and am a little obsessed with it. I couldn't wait until Sunday to make my enchilada chicken stew, a chicken, and today I'll be making G's chili. I plan on starting it this morning and will try to take some photos because in case you haven't heard, I have a camera and like taking pictures. I'm practically a chef now.Who wants to come over for dinner tonight?

New Girl returns tonight. I love Fall TV but have no idea when I'll have time to watch it. I haven't really watched anything except the first season of Homeland since moving into my apartment 3 months ago. Still–I can't wait for Sunday. Homeland, Dexter, Once Upon a Time, and Revenge. What shows are you looking forward to this fall?

Today on The Everygirl we're sharing a NYFW recap! Where we stayed, what we did, who we met, and what we wore.

I've been on a PR streak. On Friday I dead lifted 150 lbs (previous PR–103). Sunday my max back squat was 115 (previous PR–103). And yesterday, a 75 lb clean and jerk (previous–65). And I finally did all of the wall balls in a wod (75 of them, to be exact) with a 14 lb ball. Only dropped the ball on my face once. Go me. I realize these CrossFit updates may bore some of you but a. I like keeping track of my progress and b. It's my blog and I love CrossFit.

Booking another newborn shoot in a few weeks (baby has yet to arrive) and will be shooting this family's holiday cards again in October. Such a change from the kind of photography that I do for The Everygirl, but I really enjoy it. It's nice being able to do a little bit of everything.

This city takes seasons so seriously. First day of fall this weekend and it was in the 40s Sun morning. SLOW DOWN, Chicago. It's fall–not winter.

Alaina couldn't find me last night (computer + phone were on silent) so she posted on my wall. And people wonder why I check in/update my status so frequently. Status updates are important, people. Had I said I was taking a long shower and hot bath, she wouldn't have wondered where I was.

Assuming you've seen this video, but in case you haven't, enjoy. Heyyyy Sexy lady.

Happy Tuesday.


Fall is in the air

Clutch, Clare Vivier $156 |  Latte, Starbucks | Tippi Sweater, J. Crew $79.50  | Madewell Boots, Shopbop $298 | Football Studded bracelet, Linea Pelle $35  | Lisa B Socks, Madewell $23  | Herringbone Blanket, Serena and Lily $255+ Cashmere Hoodie, J. Crew $248 | Plaid shirt, Madewell $80  | Spice chestnut hand soap, Williams Sonoma $12.95+

It's the first weekend of fall and we're definitely feeling the crisp fall air here in Chicago. It's actually been pretty chilly and was in the 40s this weekend (too cold for Sept!). I had two new PRs at Crossfit – 150 lb dead lift and 115 lb back squat! Enjoyed a post workout brunch at Cru with a few of my CrossFit girls, a very long nap, and dinner with a friend. I finally bought a crock pot this weekend and made a delicious enchilada chicken stew. And yes, that is a football on my blog. While I am not really a sports fan, I had fun ending my weekend watching football at Benchmark with friends.

What are you looking forward to this season?


Why I CrossFit

I was the girl who tried it all. Running, rowing, yoga, spinning, bar method, boxing, and every other class under the sun. It was always something I had to do along with dieting – all because I wanted to be skinny. And then came CrossFit.

After hearing Gina's story, I knew I had to give it a try and I will never forget how overwhelmed I was the first time I walked in to River North Crossfit. I was so weak and couldn't even do a push-up but it's all about starting out with what you can do and working your way up from there. The improvements will come, and they'll come fast. My back squat went from 78 lbs to 103 lbs in two weeks and nothing feels as good as hitting a new PR.

I've finished a round behind some of my friends and everyone cheers me on until I'm done. The only person you're competing with is yourself. Certain movements were modified at the beginning, and I still have to modify a few things. And since the workouts are varied, you just don't get bored like you would doing the same thing week after week. In fact – I've never been bored during a WOD. Ever.

I know CrossFit isn't for everyone, but months ago I would have said it wasn't for me. I never would have thought I'd be lifting 80 lbs over my head, doing push-ups, kettlebell swings, back squats, and box jumps, but it's been almost 4.5 months and I'm loving it. Walking into a workout that you know will challenge you and completing it gives you a sense of strength and confidence. It's the most incredible adrenaline rush. CrossFit isn't for everyone, but if you're even a little interested, I have to urge you to give it a try. It is hands down the hardest workout I've ever done – so hard that I'd say everything I did up until this point was a complete waste of time. Find something that works for you and when you do, make it work.

My friend Maxine posted this on Facebook last week. I really love it.

The most important message I can share with you is that is not about being skinny. I am working toward becoming the strongest and healthiest version of myself that I can and feel so good knowing that I'm doing what I need to do to get there. Every year I vow to figure out a fitness routine and now I've finally done it. I was able to start my 30s feeling better than ever and I look forward to getting stronger and healthier in the months and years to come. I've seen what's possible and am working my ass off to get there. It feels so good.

And THAT is why I CrossFit.

I looked for a pre-CrossFit photo of myself for the first time last night and definitely see how my body has changed. Aside from feeling better and my clothes fitting better than they ever have before, I am seeing noticeable changes in my body. These "before" photos were taken the week before I started CrossFit and the "after" photo was taken 4 months later in NYC. I can't wait to see where I am in another 4 months!

Awkward photo but you can see how much smaller my arms have gotten.

Thank you to my amazing friend Gina for inspiring me to start CrossFit, my coaches at RNCF who continue to push me to work harder, and to all the friends I've made along the way.

Have you found something that you love? If so, I'd love to hear more about your workout routine! And if you have any questions about CrossFit please leave a comment or email me! Have a great weekend!


Currently Loving...

Lucite Tray, Parker and Rain $75 | Candleholders, Crate & Barrel $12.95+ | Tray, Nicole Porter Design $100
Ring, Gorjana $30 | Magnifier, Jayson Home and Garden $55 | Sweater, J. Crew $95 | Loafers, Sam Edelman $90
Bracelet, J. Crew $125 | Rug, West Elm $169+ | Pillow, Serena and Lily $64

A magic fairy just told you that she'll give you two items featured in this post. What would you choose?


They Work Out

Jessica Biel, 30. She does CrossFit.

Gwyneth Paltrow, 39.

Gwen Stefani, 42. Get it, girl.

And my personal favorite, Jenn Aniston. 43.

Speaking of working out – got another PR yesterday. 80 lb jerk (1st time lifting 80 lbs over my head)! So excited for the 60 day paleo challenge next month! I love a challenge.

Which celebrity do you think has the best (healthy/in shape) body?

via w, bazaar, marie claire


Birthday Recap

Another year has come and gone, but this time, my 20s are officially behind me. It's a strange feeling. My 30th was the best birthday I've had so far. I felt so loved and am very grateful for all the birthday wishes. I have to take a moment to thank Alaina for putting so much love and thought into my birthday. She arranged Saturday night at Old Town Social, made last night's reservations at Paris Club, and gave me three of the most thought out gifts I've ever received. Each gift was wrapped in pink paper with bakers twine and little tags that read:

1. For your home, your haven (the Jayson vase)
2. For your health and peace of mind (the lulu top)
3. For your creativity and wanderlust (Paris versus New York)

Seriously – she gets me. I suppose that's what happens when you talk to someone every day for a year and love all the same things. She put so much love into each gift and made my birthday so special. I love that girl so much.

Cards and candle, Gina | iPhone case and book, my sis | Measuring cups, Shari | Candle and nail polish, Sarah
Massage, Sheila | Ticket to Paris + London and flowers, Mom | Lulu top, book, and vase, Alaina | Top and bracelet, me

And yes, you read that correctly. My mom is giving me a round trip ticket to PARIS + LONDON! Nothing is booked, but it's going to happen. Who wants to join me?

And now for a recap of my weekend. It all began on Saturday morning. I went to CrossFit, out to lunch, and did some shopping with a friend. That evening I met a group of friends at Old Town Social to celebrate my birthday. Gina was at a wedding 1.5 hours away and still managed to make it out on Saturday night. Aside from completely changing my life by introducing me to CrossFit, she has become one of my closest friends. I love her.

 With Caitlin, Alaina, and Gina

On Sunday I went to lunch at Ralph Lauren with Gina. We walked around for a little while and I finally used my Jonathan Adler credit to buy this iPhone dock. I went home and ended up styling my mantle with Caitlin (isn't that what everyone does when they're feeling a little hung over?), and met a few friends for dinner and a drink at Benchmark. Came home and ended the last hour of my 20s on the phone with one of my best friends.

Then came the big day. I went to CrossFit where I somehow escaped doing 30 birthday burpees, got a 90 minute massage at Allyu (thank you, Sheila!), did a little work, treated myself to a manicure/pedicure, and then went to dinner at Paris Club with Alaina, Sarah, Shari, and Gina. So far, 30 (holy crap, I'm 30) is off to a great start!

Every time I say it or type it it's as if I'm hearing/processing this info for the first time. I'm 30.

Thank you again for all the birthday love!


It's my birthday! Hello, 30s.

On her 13th birthday, Jenna Rink wished to be "30, flirty, and thriving" and here I am on my 30th birthday, determined to make the next ten years the best years of my life. Every challenge, mistake, and lesson learned in my 20s has made me the person that I am today. This is not to say that I have it all figured out, but I feel like I am getting there. I am thriving.

So much happened during my 20s, and entering this new chapter feels a little bittersweet. I graduated from college. I got my first real job. I became a blogger. I started my own business. I rescued a dog. I cut off all my hair and then grew it out again. I moved to Chicago. I started another business. I am now surrounded by truly wonderful friends – some of the best people I've ever met, in a city that I love. My home was featured in a magazine. I am stronger than I've ever been thanks to CrossFit. I made it to Forbes. My relationships with my mom and sisters are better than they've ever been. And most important – I know who I am and what I want. I've learned that there's no point in mapping out your life. Things will happen when and where they should. Be open, work hard, and enjoy the ride.

So this is it. I'm thirty now.

Happy Birthday to me.


It's Friday

Alaina and I were in NYC Thurs - late Sunday night and then it was back to work Monday morning!

Treated myself to a new handbag for my birthday.  It was 25% off. Couldn't resist.

We finally met Taylor Sterling (loved her) for FNO, and then the three of us met Erin Hiemstra for dinner. I met the Brad Goreski and Blair of Atlantic Pacific (one of my favorite fashion bloggers – also so sweet) at Kate Spade.

Dinner with Sally and Molly of A Piece of Toast, Liz of Sequins and Stripes, Bradley of Luella and June, and Mackenzie of Design Darling followed by the rewardStyle event. 

New napkins and placemats from Stone Textile! Thank you Elizabeth! Dana of Dana Rebecca Designs sent us each a little thank you gift for running her feature on The Everygirl. I cannot thank her enough. It's so beautiful! And a big thank you to Blair Ritchey for sending our clutches out in time for our trip to NYC!

Loving my new studded flats and new pristine bar necklace c/o gorjana! 

The Everygirl partnered with 7 of Chicago's finest + Coach to bring you this feature. We were also in the latest issue of Rue.

Last night, The Everygirl hosted a cooking class with Chef Katie at Whole Foods in Lincoln Park. A great group of girls showed up! So fun. Stay tuned for a recap on The Everygirl!

Looking forward to celebrating my bday with friends tomorrow night. Thank you to Alaina for planning everything!

Oh yes I did

While shopping in NYC with my friend Liz, I came across this gorgeous handbag at Henri Bendel. I did not have an everyday black bag and had been talking about buying one for a while, but I had a set amount I wanted to spend and wasn't seeing anything within my budget. So when I found this one (on sale – 25% off) I was sold. No one will ever know who makes it because it has no label (which I love) and it's gorgeous.

Sale + birthday one week out = new handbag for me. Sometimes, a girl just needs to treat herself.

Happy almost birthday to me.

And happy Friday to you.  So excited to celebrate with friends this weekend! The last weekend in my 20s. Crazy...


The Everygirl for Gap Styld.by + Rue / Banana Republic + Career Builder

The Everygirl has partnered with a few brands recently, and it just so happens that our Rue + Gap styld.by and our Banana Republic + Career Builder campaigns released on the same day.

When Crystal asked The Everygirl to be a part of Gap's styld.by campaign for the latest issue of Rue, I was a little nervous. I am clearly not a model and I'm very, very uncomfortable in front of the camera. But since you just can't say no to an opportunity like this, we went for it. And even though I'm not smiling, I had lots of fun shooting with my co-founder, photographer Kirsten Miccoli and stylists Brandon + Arlene of Kit This.

Me – Top: Gap Bleecker T  Blazer: c/o 2 Penny Blue  Flats: Jeffrey Campbell Necklace: c/o Gorjana  Ring c/o Madison Elizabeth Designs Jeans: AG (my favorites!) Watch: Michael Kors Bracelets: c/o Oia Jules,  Stella and Dot, J. Crew

Alaina – Top: Gap Bleecker T  Blazer: c/o 2 Penny Blue Trousers: J.Crew Heels and necklace provided by stylists

We were also contacted by Banana Republic and Career Builder to shoot a series of videos, and as luck would have it, one of my videos (Alaina shot 3 and I shot 2) released first. And yes, I am well aware of the fact that I was looking at the wrong camera so no need to point that out. I am just not cut out for taping at 3:00 am. Or in life.

So excited and honored to team up with these incredible brands, but seeing myself on video is quite possibly the most uncomfortable thing ever. And yes, I got to keep the fierce leather dress. The remaining videos will be released over the next few weeks. Get excited.

...annnnnd I think we've all seen enough of me for one lifetime.


29 --> 30

My 20s will come to an end exactly one week from today and I have to be honest – it's a strange feeling. I look forward to see what my 30s will bring, but one chapter of my life is coming to an end and it feels a little bittersweet. So much has happened in the past 10 years. I went to college. I started a business. I moved from the west coast to the Midwest. I got my first apartment. I said goodbye to my grandmother. I rescued a dog. I started another business. I made new friends, said goodbye to old ones, and grew in ways I never thought I would (or could). I learned who I am and what I want.

So – I want to know. If you're 30 (or older) what do/don't you miss about your 20s and what do/don't you love about your 30s? What have you learned in your 30s?

If you're in your 20s, what do you want to do before you hit the big 3-0? What do you love about being in your 20s?

Birthday cake shots. I might need one of these. via


I'm in a New York State of Mind

I'll post a recap of our trip to NYC when we return to Chicago but thought I'd share a few photos from yesterday. We had a great first day in New York and are ready to kick day 2 off with Kate Spade and a trip to the offices of West Elm. We went to FNO with Taylor Sterling and then the three of us met up with Erin of Apt 34 (LOVED her) for dinner at Fig and Olive. Delicious food, great wine, and lots of girl talk.

Grabbed a salad before heading out to FNO with Taylor and Alaina.
Turns out our room has a balcony, so that's where we had our very late lunch. Amazing.

 We finally met the lovely Taylor Sterling of Glitter Guide. One of the sweetest girls I've ever met!

I love this city.


Heading to New York Fashion Week

Alaina and I woke up at 3:30 am this morning to head to New York for Fashion Week. This is my third trip to NYC and I can't wait to see the city during the (end of) summer! So excited for my first, second, and third fashion shows, a shoot with one of my favorite designers this afternoon, and dinner with Taylor, Erin, and Dallas tonight. And I'm really looking forward to spending a few days with Alaina because we just don't see enough of each other. If you're attending the rewardStyle event, we'll see you on Saturday!

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for updates! 

Thank you Caitlin for staying with my sweet little Buddy! You're the best! xo


Weekend Recap / Rue + Gap / NYC

I am so glad I stayed in Chicago for the long weekend. Buddy was supposed to stay with my friend Gina and her pup/his girlfriend Minnie. Poor Minnie was sick which would have been awful for everyone involved. Avoiding the stress of traveling was exactly what I needed. Went to dinner, out with friends, to a jazz festival, worked out, and finished the long weekend at a rooftop party with my CrossFit people. Great view, good friends, and amazing food.

I decided within the past few months that I'll try almost anything and tried (and loved) scallops this weekend. I did give up most non-paleo foods but am much more open than I used to be.

We have a shoot with Rue and Gap this afternoon. Kind of nervous because I really belong behind the camera and not in front of it, but you can look for us in the next issue of Rue Magazine! Think good thoughts for me.

Getting in one last workout at CrossFit this morning before we head to NYC for NYFW tomorrow. I dreamed of going to just one fashion show and we're going to four. I didn't make it to Paris before turning 30 (although I'm determined to make it happen in '12) but a trip to NYFW the week before my birthday isn't so bad. We booked a few shoots for The Everygirl and will get to meet a few favorite bloggers. We'll be sharing lots of photos so I hope you'll follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

  Here's a little recap from our trip last November. (My hair is so much longer now!)

A few things that I'll be bringing on our trip.

I know I've done a terrible job keeping up with the blog lately and I'm determined to get better. Things have just been so busy with my graphic design projects, The Everygirl, working out, and of course, spending time with friends on the weekends (and after work, too). Thanks for hanging in there!

How was your long weekend? Did you do anything fun/exciting? And who will be in NYC this weekend?