Monday, March 31, 2014

halter happy

Today's inspiration board is a lesson in Mom Knows Best. In junior high and high school, mine recommended I wear halter tops and dresses for various occasions. I hated them and refused. But since picking up a powder blue silk halter top during a j.crew sale last summer, I've been hooked (notice my mom's also wearing one!). The shoulder-baring style is slimming, interesting in the subtlest way, and delicate—great for both casual beach days and elegant nights out. Some picks: striped, crossed, polka dot, mohair, accented, keyhole, pleated, electric. Yesterday I started shedding small furniture and decor pieces in preparation for my move to a smaller apartment. While my closet continues to expand (NEED that Opening Ceremony Cross Front Top), it feels good to simplify and downsize in other areas. Hope your week's off to a similarly productive start!


images: one. two. three. four

Friday, March 28, 2014

take it to go: serving 5

March felt like a fast month, but I'm not sad to see it go. The weather these past few days was gray, cloudy, cold—and kind of depressing. On to April. I'm looking forward to my birthday, the one-year mark of moving to Madison (feels good to have that milestone under my belt—personally and professionally), and Easter in Minnesota. This week I finally nailed down a date for my little sister to visit, rediscovered the deliciousness of Cracked Pepper Triscuits, and updated with a handful of pretty home improvements. AND Wisconsin beat Baylor last night so my NCAA bracket is still going strong! Before you disconnect for Saturday-Sunday R&R, here's your weekly to-go bag. #TGIF

KETCHUP IS KING: Eating good food and trying new restaurants (ideally in combination) are the BEST—but major money-suckers. This easy aioli makes for a restaurant-style sandwich right at home.

BLUSHING BOYS: Guys: if you're on the fence, here's the go-ahead to pick up that pink Oxford. Options: one, two, three.

WILLY WONKA: The apartment is due for a deep clean and I could use some spiffing up, too. A soak in this deliciously restorative cocoa bath blend is the Rx. 

ADD IT TO THE OXFORD-ENGLISH. You know it as a descriptor for your special marinara, but now it has a new meaning. Keep up with the cool kids and learn how to use the latest lingo in conversation here.

IT'S ME, MARGARET: I was a BIG (huge) reader when I was younger—and Judy Blumes were often the paperbacks piled on my bed (this and this were faves). It's nice to know the words I was devouring still stand.

images: one. two. three. four. five.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

home sweet home

I spend a lot of time in my living room—eating, blogging, Bravo TV-watching—so when my cozy-but-bland throw started to feel stale, I didn't hesitate to replace it. A brighter, lighter style is a great mood booster. This Racked roundup introduced me to some great home decor sites and helped me find the right piece for my style and budget: a bluish-teal striped cotton throw that pops against my chestnut micro-suede sofa (I would've loved to wrap up in this, but controlled myself). A byproduct of the search was, of course, a whole new wish list. Furbish and Zara Home are favorites for a quick and punchy update; West Elm and Anthro for bigger investments. Here's what I'm targeting next: A modern pillow. Elegant flatware that's so much prettier than my hand-me-down set. Tumblers with an intricate design and touch of shine. A reflective stone for depth and color. A tray to organize remotes, coasters, matches and pens that collect on the coffee table. A textured pitcher. Pick up Rachel Zoe's new book, Living in Style, for tips on putting a personal spin on everything. I'm slightly obsessed with the designer—her style, her ambition and her conviction. And after clicking through these fun facts I'm for sure watching Almost Famous tonight. Can you believe I've never seen it? I KNOW. Have a great day! 

one (so cute with this floral and this coral!). two. three. four. five. six

Monday, March 24, 2014

easy does it

My shopping cycles go in waves. I'll be really thrifty for months, then just crack. This weekend I cracked. I cleaned out my makeup drawer and nail polish collection (and restocked with new spring glosses and pastel lacquers), picked out a replacement for my living room throw, and treated myself to a new necklace and earrings. All of the areas I updated had been torturing me for a long time (so it wasn't completely rash), my tax return supplied some extra cushion (guilt: gone), and I think living with the details you love makes a difference (sold). Let's talk about the jewelry. My earring assortment needs SO MUCH TLC. I wear only two pairs consistently. I have a decent necklace stash, but it's largely statement pieces—a style I'm not as into lately. I prefer delicate gold chains that add just a touch of shine and work with any outfit (see—versatility—that's economical). Spurred by a 20% off promo that expired Sunday, I scooped up Michael Kors pave hoops and matching pendant. And I feel pretty good about it. Here are a few more delicacies on my birthday wish list: mini pendant, plaque necklace, square leverbacks, cube studs, and a dreamworld baguette & diamond ring. As tempting as it is to cut corners with bargains, what I regret more is having to buy the same stuff year after year. Ready for some keepers. Now back to the basketball..

images: onetwothree. four

Friday, March 21, 2014

take it to go: serving 4

I've spent twenty-five winters in Minnesota, Iowa, the U.P., but for some reason this Wisconsin one was the toughest. So it's more than a little exciting that spring is here! Madison is starting to feel like a completely different place than it has for the past few months. That shift is perhaps partly to blame for my feeling conflicted about a lot of things right now—and it's scary to consider the impact one small decision could have on EVERYTHING (a crystal ball would be great, please!). But it's Friday and the tough stuff can wait. All I'll be deciding in the next few days is where to get two-dollar taps on this mild afternoon, which pair of pewter heels to buy for my friend's summer wedding, and whether to order the crab and avocado sandwich or s'mores French toast at Saturday brunch. Have a great weekend!

BUNNY TO BOARDROOM: This slideshow of Playboy Bunnies "then and now" is a heartening look at the transformative power of time—women who served men Manhattans in leotards and bouncy cottontails are now authors, producers and VPs.

GET ME A GLUE STICK: Not having a framed business card collection is causing me anxiety. It's such an artful, sentimental, personal way to immortalize the Salzburg bar where you celebrated your twenty-first, the cheapo deli that propelled you through law school, the place with the really GREAT guacamole.

FUNNY BONE: A sense of humor is key—in relationships AND digital media supremacy, apparently. The journalism major in me is a little envious (and a lot impressed) by Amy Odell's resume. Here the Editor spills tips on getting to the top.

SWEET SIP: Lemon is my favorite flavor (send the yellow Starbursts this way) and this homemade limoncello is one DIY I can actually handle. Love the idea of brewing a few bottles to have on hand for birthdays and host gifts.

PERSPECTIVE: I'm obsessed with Midwest Supply Co's tumblr. When big fluffy flakes fell Wednesday morning, these romanticized heartland images reminded me why I live here. "Great Lakes, Great Times."

images: one. two. three. four. five.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

la croix and lulu

I used to despise sparkling water (my mom drank lemon Klarbrunn when I was little), but I think it's a taste you acquire as you get older, like coffee. Lately I can't get enough. It helps that La Croix has amazing flavors. And now that it's getting warmer, it's time to start making the easiest little sangria that my friend turned me on to last summer. I've mentioned before that I'm not the craftiest or fussiest girl around. I can appreciate making something for the pleasure of the process, but sometimes you just want the cold drink. Combine wine and La Croix (and a few ice cubes) and you got it. I love the cranberry-raspberry with red and peach-pear with white. So light and refreshing when it's hot and humid. And warmer, longer days mean there's more to do than hunker down with cocktails at home: more motivation to spin at the gym down the street, more incentive to meet friends for half-price apps, more daylight. Lululemon's new &go line helps you fit everything in by blending traditional yoga wear and date night details. I think I like it. Adding the Tech Mesh Tights and open-back tanks to my cart first! Shop it here, sizes are selling out fast!


Monday, March 17, 2014

seeing red

Happy St. Patrick's Day! It's been a productive Monday so far—the best way to start the week. I'm still reeling from the jaw-dropping start to House of Cards season two (just caught up Sunday), but otherwise feeling rested and focused. There's a new bouquet of bright pink flowers on the counter, fresh sheets on the bed (the best feeling!), and some Whole Foods treats stocked in the kitchen. Cartons of jumbo corn nuts and salted caramels aside, I'm not really allowing myself to shop right now—but when I do, the footwear department is the first place I'll unleash the plastic. A show-stopping shoe elevates your entire look—even when wearing the same jeans and tee you always have. Sophia Webster agrees. I was skimming the April InStyle (I think?!) yesterday and caught her twelve-styles-strong spring collection for J.Crew (I know, everyone flipped out over this during fall fashion week ... but it isn't even available until May and wearing anything other than Bean Boots just became a practical possibility again). Inspired by the attention-grabbing aesthetic, I cut to my closet and found something disturbing: I have zero red heels, flats or sandals. There are so many Sophia Webster-esque patterns and designs also conspicuously missing, but red is an attainable kind of flashy I should already own (and a color I definitely want to wear with the chartreuse shift I bought on sale a few weeks ago). If you're in the same situation, here are a few pairs to fill the void: one, two, three, fourin my dreams. And because today toasts all things GREEN, read what is says about you if the shamrock shade's your fave (like me) here!

images: one, two, three, four

Friday, March 14, 2014

take it to go: serving 3

Another week under our belts and all I've put out is this post (shame face), but sometimes you're on, sometimes you're off. To catch you up: Phoenix was fantastic. Cerulean skies. Palm trees. Late nights and poolside bonfires. A twilight picnic in the park. A charming desert chapel. Fried artichoke hearts and coconut shrimp. Dancing. Fireball. More Fireball. I didn't walk back into my apartment until 2:15 Monday morning, but a few extra hours in the sun was worth it. And thanks to a new work schedule, I'm getting home earlier in the evenings and feel like I actually have a life outside of the eight to five again—happy. This weekend I'll be watching the Big Ten Tourney and filling out my March Madness bracket, seeing a couple apartments (yep, moving again!), and probably tossing back a Guinness or two in pre-St. Patty's Day fashion. Hope you have some fun things planned and enjoy this week's doggie bag!

SNACK SMART. The creator of the cronut is back with a new invention: the cookie shot (on sale today!). Every detail is engineered to after-school snack perfection—I'm obsessed with the scientific detail Dominique Ansel applies to something so simple.

PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS. This guide breaks down fashion's latest infatuation (#normcore) into something easily digestible. Even if you're not trying to emulate the iterations (I'm not about to buy Mom jeans, but am on board with retro windbreakers, Coke crewnecks and Patagonia pullovers), it's an entertaining and informative read.

TABLE IT. I've inherited my mom's appreciation for meals al fresco, and in celebration of this week's 55-degree Monday (so so uplifting), here are five drool-worthy wine-and-dine settings to get you pumped for patio weather. Bobby Flay's is my fave. 

ENDLESS SUMMER. This 1964 movie poster—"created at a kitchen table for quick cash"—has traveled from caves in Vietnam to selling tables at Target, Gap and Nordstrom, so much a part of the cultural landscape even fifty years later that it almost blends in. This piece illustrates why.

MAGIC CARPET RIDE. If you haven't Uber-ed yet, here's a quick catch-up on the company that's challenging the yellow cab with speed and sex appeal. And if you're a vet, enjoy the voyeuristic confessions of one temporary driver. 

 images via links above

Friday, March 7, 2014

take it to go: serving 2

Apologies for being a little MIA this week! I've been focusing on rebranding and redesign issues (still working out some kinks) and since I'm not a machine, it's sometimes tough to crank out good content in between working, commuting (an hour and a half through the snow Wednesday morning) and living. On top of the usual office-gym-bed thing, I squeezed in mid-week Mexican with work friends, sampled craft cocktails at a new bar, packed for Arizona (planning takes so much longer than actual packing) and tried to stay on top of things going on outside my world—like my sister's birthday tomorrow. Wishing her the best day. Gift's in the mail! I'm so excited to see my hometown BFFs this weekend for Julia's wedding. We live scattered across the country from LA to Omaha, so getting together doesn't happen often—and is so much better when it does. Follow along with the fun on instagram and I'll have updates for you on Monday! Until then, here's what I've been clicking through this week.

IT'S NOT TOO LATE. I had no idea people used Craigslist like this. I'm not sure if it's creepy or cool, but admire the initiative of these people and can identify with their regret.  

FASHION FIND. I've never been a fan of the shirt dress, but this sleeveless adaptation (Harper's 2/27 Style Secret) totally changes my mind.

MORE THAN A MEAL. I had brunch at Pastis the summer I interned in Manhattan (only knowing it because of placement in a Sex &the City episode—not ashamed). This is a fascinating look beyond what a casual observer could see, and study in the evolution of the city.

RIVETED. I broke a sweat trying to keep up with Frank Underwood's quips in this clip. If you're not sure what the House of Cards buzz is about, here are the cliff notes. Spacey's emotionless delivery of sarcasm and strategy will suck you in. Love that shadowy opening score.  

NAIROBI BLUE. Lupita Nyong'o was pretty universally accepted as Best Dressed at the Oscars (I give Kate Hudson the runner-up ribbon), but there's more to pay attention to than her powder blue Prada. Cheers to life after twenty-one and celebrating "delayed" success.



images: onetwo.  four.  five.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

fat tuesday

Happy March!—and Fat Tuesday. It’s been cold and snowy forever, but flipping the calendar to 03 still felt a little surprising (in the best way). Progress. And today’s Mardi Gras festivity helps kick winter misery a little further to the curb. I’m not ready to shop shorts quite yet, but am turning an eye towards spring with new sunglasses. Like lipstick or fresh highlights, new shades are a one-step way to feel shiny and new. I just bought these squared frames (Questlove looks great in them, too) and classic Clubmasters (fresh in gunmetal) are next on my list. If you want color, go red. And if we’re interpreting the “fat” in Fat Tuesday to mean self-indulgent, also help yourself to Chelsea Handler’s new book (out today) and tickets to the tour (starts tomorrow!).