Thursday, November 27, 2014

happy thanksgiving!

Get out the stretchy pants! Thanksgiving is here! I'm thankful for many things this year, and YOU definitely made the list. Thanks for coming to casse-croute, reading what I have to say and sharing your comments with me. I enjoy writing/styling/curating here so, so much. I still have lots (lots!) to learn about blogging, and through the process, I truly appreciate that you find some value in my posts. For the first time, I'm celebrating the holiday today with just my immediate family. My sisters and I are each in charge of a dish (or two), which I think will make a fun little competition—it always is with siblings. Wish me luck on my stuffing—I'm not the most skilled chef, and my adversaries could take down Rachael Ray. Follow along with some snaps from the weekend here, and for when you're full and sleepy later, I've rounded up some Black Friday sales below for your browsing pleasure. I walked into my parents' house last night to find my sister had the cutest and softest colorblock citron-colored scarf from Gap. I jumped on my computer to snag it for myself, but it's already sold out. So—no more snoozing and losing. I've never joined the late-night (early morning?) crowds for bargains at brick and mortar stores (and don't have much desire to), but surfing the online sales in my slippers sounds really quite nice. Enjoy (and hurry)!


Shopbop: Up to 25% off with code GOBIG14
J.CREW: 30% off with code HOLIDAY
Banana Republic: 50% off with code BRFIFTY
Anthropologie: 25% off with code HOLIDAY25
Piperlime: 25% off with code THANKFUL25
Nordstrom: 40% off Designer Collections through Jan. 6
C. Wonder: 40% off sitewide through Dec. 1
Asos: 25% off PARTYWEAR for a limited time (hello NYE outfit! I have my eye on this)
Kate Spade Saturday: 30% off full-price merchandise through Dec. 1 with code DEALME
GAP: 50% off everything through Nov. 28 with code BLKFRIDAY (these sweater leggings make a great gift)
Sole Society: 30% off + free shipping through Dec. 1
Arie: 40% off through Nov. 30 with code GOBBLEUP (I need to restock on bras!)
J.Crew Factory: 50% off sitewide + free shipping with code THANKS (Haven't bought a new sweater yet this season! Love this classic windowpane crew.)
Kate Spade New York: Save up to 75% + $5 ground shipping through Nov. 29 (time to pull the trigger on some MULES)
Express: 50% off everything through Nov. 28
Intermix: Extra 30% off sale items
Madewell: 25% off through Nov. 30 with code GIFTON
Theory: 40% off select merchandise included in the Holiday Kickstart Sale
Tibi: 20% off sale items through Nov. 28 with code BLACKFRIDAY14

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

look of the week 6

Houndstooth has a distinctly cold-weather feel to me—maybe it's the similarity to holiday tartan or its roots in Scottish wool suiting. Either way, 'tis the season to jump on the patterned-pants bandwagon. In slim trousers, the classic checks lend a preppy flavor that leaves a badass, borrowed-from-the-boys aftertaste. I love that this look is tidy enough for the office and trendy enough for happy hour, without any adjustment. Even though the t-shirt is super cute, I'd wear the jean jacket fully buttoned (or at least fasten the top two) and drape the chunky necklace over the collar, a la Jenna Lyons. These lace-up booties vaguely remind me of work boots, which is a nice complement to the menswear-inspired houndstooth, while the four-inch heel and sleek toe shape clearly keep them feminine. Tuck this leopard clutch under your arm (there's no better investment; you'll find it goes with everything!) and swipe on some Christmas-red gloss for a festive finish (I'm definitely getting in the spirit!). Safe travels to everyone flying and driving today! Hope you make it to your destination without incident or delay.

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5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9

*Bobbi Brown lip gloss in Hollywood Red
*Marc Jacobs nail lacquer in Daisy

inspiration via: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Shop more houndstooth and printed pants: 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

holiday gift guide 2

When shopping for my mom and sisters, I search for practical luxuries—useful things that make every day feel a little more special, but aren't so basic that they buy them on weekly Walgreens runs. After a long day of work, most of us don't bust out fancy glassware, but for those nights she's hosting friends, it's nice to pour Pinot from an elegant carafe (or serve snacks from fun appetizer plates). And last year, jumbo bottles of shampoo and conditioner were two favorites I found under the tree—I was stocked up for months, and it was a better brand than I might have bought for myself, making every shower more enjoyable. Great gifts don't have to be unusually unique; some of the best simply elevate her regular routine.

1, 2 | Made for all hair types, the weightless formula of Living Proof Shampoo and Conditioner delivers smoothness, volume, conditioning, strength and polish (what more could you want?!) for the perfect hair day, every day. Tack on some thickening mousse and a travel kit to take it to the next level. I ALWAYS wish I had travel sizes of my favorite products, but never think about it until the night before a flight. Save her from the procrastinator's plight. 
3 | A fresh, hand-rolled New York baker's dozen via a Bagel of the Month package is something any carb lover will lust over, and presents an excuse to host an easy at-home brunch.
4 | Clutches are like shoes: you can never have enough. I love the boxy structure of this minaudiere, and the sparkly stones make it the perfect party accessory.
5 | Many women I know take care of their skin—SPF, moisturizer—but not all indulge in fancy creams and serums. This Shiseido night cream reduces the appearance of fine lines and helps prevent deeper signs of age (YES, please), and smoothing it on before she goes to sleep will make her feel so pampered.
6 | A case for her passport makes the standard navy exterior feel more personal (to match the stamps inside!). Even if she doesn't travel internationally every week, the calf hair leopard print will offer chic relief when she does, like having a cushy neck pillow or mineral face spray in your carry-on.
7 | While a large-and-in-charge bouquet makes a statement, three or four of these bud vases in the kitchen or bedroom is a delicate and tidy accent that diffuses the pleasant scent of fresh flowers like tiny votives scattered across the mantel. 
8 | Two of my best friends (with enviable taste and Martha Stewart-like skills) swear by Real Simple. It's got it all: recipes, beauty & fashion, entertaining, weddings, health, family and work. Give a subscription to the well-rounded friend with lots of interests. 
9 | I'm always throwing loads in the wash just to get fresh sports bras and socks back into rotation. Give her a few new tops (like this seamless Athleta Fast Track Top) and help push laundry day out a little further.
10 | A modern and classic pure-cotton throw adds style and comfort to her couch. The Houston Throw is breathable with a substantial weight that makes it a great yearround option.
11, 12 | Whether she's tracking her on-the-clock to-do list or jotting down musings throughout the day (even Matthew McConaughey has a diary!), the sunny sheepskin cover on this notepad makes it a treat. Toss in a fresh set of ballpoint pens to complete the package. Like bobby pins and Chapstick, I never seem to have enough, and these neon ones will be easy to find in her purse.
13, 14, 15 | JEWELS! These three bands all have great texture and a gorgeous mix of rose and gold tones.
16 | This cheese board is three feet long, offering plenty of serving space for everything from Brie to Swiss, plus olives, prosciutto and nuts at the next book club. 
17 | Order a size up and give this cashmere V-neck as a luxuriously cozy sleep sweater. Pajamas become a real outfit in the winter (I'm in mine by six o'clock many nights!), and having a wrap to snuggle up in makes the cold, dark nights bearable. 
18 | A hefty coffee table book is always a win, especially when the subject matter combines fashion and journalism (or, you know, something your recipient is passionate about). 
 19, 20, 21 | It's hard to pick a scent for someone else, so give a couple of rollerballs (less of a commitment than a full size) she can stash in her purse. These save my life when I'm running from work to happy hour, or when I need to freshen up on the fly after the gym. 
22, 25 | Cheeky cocktail napkins are a fun complement to a sophisticated carafe, something any savvy hostess should always have on hand. 
23 | A classic hand-crocheted tote she can take everywhere from the corner co-op to weekend body pump. It folds flat, making it convenient to pack for a trip to Cabo, too.
24 | The whimsical phrase that adorns this protective iPad case makes a great life motto. It'll make her smile every time she checks her Facebook newsfeed. 

Shop GIFT GUIDE for him here

Monday, November 24, 2014

weekend recap

Good morning! I didn't take enough pictures over the weekend for a robust recap montage, but I DID snap the Marco's Grilled Cheese stand and that's what counts, right? If you have tasted the buttery and crispy sandwiches sold at this famous food cart, you know I'm only kind of kidding. Make sure to put it on your to-do list if you visit. Greasy snacks or not, any weekend in Iowa City is amazing, and this one didn't disappoint. Friday night involved margaritas and Mexican at Saloon followed by an epic reunion at Brother's. Saturday was surprisingly balmy for the end of November, but we skipped the tailgating this year and went straight to Pint's to watch Herky battle Bucky over pokey stix, Bloodies and brews. Unfortunately we fell to Wisconsin, but the final score on the field wasn't the most important thing. I love that so many of us still go back to campus every fall—such a fun tradition and testament to how much we loved life at Iowa. Hope you had a rager of a weekend as well and have Thanksgiving plans with your nearest and dearest carved out this week. I'm looking forward to seeing my parents and sisters in Minnesota—Wednesday night can't come soon enough! While I know you'll be busy packing and making final preparations for your big feast, make sure to stop back here tomorrow—hoping to have Gift Guide number two up and running!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

look of the week 5

Do you guys watch Parks & Rec? I just started a week or so ago after a friend suggested it, and I'm passing that rec right on to you. It literally makes me laugh out loud. And watching it in my little apartment with just the Christmas lights on and a candle burning is the best way to end the day. And the best way to start the day? This outfit (and a blueberry smoothie). I've been stalking these drapey sweats since early fall, resisted for a few months, and now the need has reached a fever pitch (Santa?!). My work and weekend wardrobes are begging for some variety beyond jeans, and the Turner pants offer that plus chic comfort (in nine colors!). It's freezing out, so I paired them with a warm sweater, but they look just as good with a silky cami or super-soft tee (love these from Illinois artist Megan Lee). Gray is big right now, and somehow I don't have a plush, classic pullover in the smoky shade—this one's colorblocked sleeves and side zips make it even cooler. Beige pumps will take you everywhere, and a chunky chain necklace adds texture to this otherwise soft ensemble (plus, great turquoise jewelry is timeless). A light toffee nail lacquer and tortoise accents (stack on something slim and something wider for depth) complement all the colors happening here without being too busy. Now I just need to know: what color Turners are you getting, and what's your favorite quote from the Pawnee crew?

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*Marc Jacobs nail lacquer (yes, again!) in Louise
inspiration images via: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

More ways to get the look:

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

holiday gift guide 1

It's time to get your Santa on! I've put together a few gift guides this year, and the first is for the guys. Dads, brothers and boyfriends can be hard to buy for—they don't need nearly as many David Yurman bangles and Lululemon bras as the gals. But at the same time, many men don't shop much at all, which means they're lacking many of the "basics" and leaving the door wide open for a savvy elf. Christmas is the perfect opportunity to shower them with everything they didn't know they needed.

1 | the most timeless sweater: a half-zip pullover looks great on men aged 24 to 94
2 | a French press for the perfect brew (or this for a quick cup)
3 | tumblers personalized with his city's coordinates, streets and sights
4 | a manly tobacco and leather scent in an easy-to-pocket package
5 | the new, GQ-approved wallet: boring brown is out, color is in
6 | a moisture-wicking tee for early mornings at the gym—you can never have enough
7 | a pizza stone for CPK-caliber pies (garnish with ribbon, red pepper flakes and fancy Parmesan)
8 | classic Clubmasters add vintage style to his sunglasses stockpile
9 | touchscreen-compatible gloves so he can swipe and scroll in sub-zero temps
10 | gone are his frat days and the unwelcome smells that went with them; a guy's place has got to smell good
11 | the modern weekend shoe, updated with cozy faux fur lining
12 | moonshine makes for a fun + adventurous cocktail post-present opening
13 | a new kind of history book: Glenn Beck's follow-up to Miracles and Massacres tells the story of the "unsung heroes and obscured villains" who helped make America
14 | patterned socks let him have a little fun, even when he's wearing a suit
15 | a silk knit tie that's as versatile as a Chambray shirt
16 | fragrance-free moisturizer with SPF helps keep his money maker forever young

Monday, November 17, 2014

hot now 2

It's amazing how quickly the seasons change. It snowed lightly all day Saturday, and Sunday I hung some Christmas lights: instant winter. Though it's a hassle to scrape the windshield and takes more time to lace up Sorels than slip on slingbacks, I actually think the shift in seasons is therapeutic; it's good to feel change, the progression of time. The newly frosty scenery makes the impending holidays seem closer than ever—some company parties are already in the books. But if it still feels just a little too soon to bust out the glittery cocktail dresses, get festive with flashy shoes. Pumps are louder and prouder than ever. The best thing about the trend is not just the stand-out color, eye-catching texture and pattern, sculptural details and scallops (awesome in themselves), but the fact that you can pair these heels with just a cami and silk trousers and be ready to rub elbows with the best of them. That's not to say these scene stealers are just for special events—I actually like them more with casual clothes. Wear them with distressed jeans and a cozy sweater for dinner downtown and I guarantee you'll get the best seats and service in the house.

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A few more statement-making pumps:

Friday, November 14, 2014

bill cunningham documentary

I know the Bill Cunningham documentary is old news for people who like fashion. But even if you're not a sartorial savant, I recommend checking it out over the weekend. I watched it Wednesday night on Netflix and was so touched by the original street style photographer's humble nature, simple lifestyle (a marvel given the subject of his snaps and the bragging rights he could capitalize on) and all-consuming passion for his craft. Capturing colorful New Yorkers on film is literally his life. His lack of romantic relationships and perceived solitude was sad in one sense, but also made me reconsider unconventional life paths. Getting married and having kids isn't a universal formula for the kind of smile Cunningham bikes through Soho wearing. He's undeniably happy every day, and if he has that, what's there to be sad about? Hope you have a great weekend!

via 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Thursday, November 13, 2014

look of the week 4

I love the tip in Bon Appetit's November issue to try several new dishes alongside family favorites each Thanksgiving as a way to keep the meal interesting and establish new traditions. Every year my mom slathers herbed butter all over a bird from Hy-Vee's highest weight class before stuffing it in the oven, and my sister mashes potatoes to velvety perfection with a time-tested, finger-licking formula. We wait 365 days for these familiar foods, and I wouldn't want to spoil anyone's holiday by subbing turkey for tofu. As Rapoport and co. advise however, most crowds are open to new tastes in vegetables, stuffing and dessert. In two weeks, I plan to introduce this Brussels sprouts side (chorizo adds kick!), a sourdough and Italian sausage stuffing (more crunchy than mushy is my style), and salted-butter apple galette (pumpkin pie is overrated) and see if they stick. Getting some time at the stove makes the day so much more fun, don't you think? I used the same method for mixing the familiar with the foreign when planning my look for the big feast. A new lipstick (NARS' Chestnut adds instant Upper East Side sophistication and reminds me of the beautiful-but-approachable Rachel Green) and a new way to wear fur (the stole is a glam twist on the ubiquitous vest) are fresh complements to old favorites: a cozy crew and soft denim. An icy steel nail lacquer ties together the gray and blues, and a chunky gold cuff on each wrist is the latest and greatest way to accessorize—bold, modern and committed like a wishy-washy, afterthought, lone bangle is not. If you're traveling for the long weekend and rolling up your sleeves in the kitchen like me, don't forget THIS and THIS!

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5 | 6 | 7 |

*Dior nail lacquer in Anise

Don't forget!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

his style 5

This time of year, guys in vests are as important to me as peppermint mochas and an apartment lit up with pine-scented candles. Something about looking like you're ready to chop down a tree and haul it inside for a fire is just RIGHT. In all seriousness, vests have three-season staying power and high versatility: they offer that extra warmth you need from late fall to early spring, and look as smokin' layered over a shawl collar sweater as the compression tee you spent five miles sweating in. My preferences aside (wink), they're easy, comfortable and casual—three qualities I'd think are high on a guy's list as he gets dressed in the morning. And when you oversleep or have to run out the door with barely time to brush your teeth, throwing on a vest makes you look a bit more pulled together, even if it's the wrinkled shirt you rolled out of bed in hiding underneath. If you're late to the party or need to restock on fresh colors and patterns, here are six key styles to light the way. Colorblock for general weekend shenanigans—errand running, tailgating. Quilted for huevos rancheros at your Sunday morning spot. Rich wool with textured details for your work commute or a nice dinner. A pop color for nights out and a flash of fashion cred. A lightweight, slim running vest (this one's also packable) to keep workouts going through winter, and fleece for easy hikes and your touch football league. All work great for wood chopping.

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4 | 5 | 6

A few favorite sweaters and tees to layer underneath: 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

color crush 2

I think Madison is going to miss most of the snow dumping on the Upper Midwest this week, but there's no denying winter's coming here. I finally started wearing a coat to work (little overdue there), and alternate-side street parking starts this weekend—I'm guessing I'll get at least two tickets for being in the wrong place at the wrong time before March. Boo. If hot chocolate, steaming soup and a light therapy box aren't enough, here's some color inspiration to keep you warm and happy for the next few months. Pale pink is really pretty in frosty weather—it has an icy tone that mirrors frozen lakes and early sunsets. And it complements olive in a fresh and muted way I really like. I'm so over neons and brights, but NEED a colorful closet to keep my mood up when everything is so dull outside. This combination is a toned-down way to inject some life into the typical black-and-gray winter wardrobe. Clinique eye shadow in Ballet Flats is a great natural shade for every day, this quartz pendant literally makes me drool, and Dior's Incognito lacquer is going to be my standby til spring—it won't show chips as quickly as darker colors, but still has some body. And because clothes and jewelry can't do it all, Narciso Rodriguez perfume will have you literally smelling the roses. I gave it to my mom for Christmas last year, and she loved the mix of rose petals and musk—a modern update for Calvin Klein Obsession fans. Hope you see some things you like. Stay warm and remember: even numbered side on even days, odd numbered side on odd days!

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6*
7 | 8* | 9* | 10 | 11 | 12

*Clinique eye shadow in Ballet Flats
*Dior nail lacquer in Incognito
*Laura Mercier lip glace in Bare Pink

Friday, November 7, 2014

look of the week 3

Hey guys, happy Friday! Hope you had a good week. The highlight of mine was a junk food and wine pairing Wednesday night. The corned beef egg rolls and au gratin potatoes were amazing! This weekend I'm looking forward to swinging by the last farmers market of the season and restocking on some Clinique essentials before hunkering down for the Iowa-Minnesota game, catching up on my November issues and mixing up an excessive amount of homemade chex mix (my mouth is already watering!). A sleeveless turtleneck is the perfect cozy-meets-chic style for my casual plans. You may already know about my love for the turtle (catch up here!), but to reiterate, it has my heart because it's—well—everything: youthful and modern (in its minimalism and unexpectedness), relatively conservative (higher neckline) and COZY (this one's wool and cashmere). Listen to The Cut: turtlenecks are everywhere this season. And adding a sleeveless one to your repertoire will keep you a step ahead of the crowds and your wardrobe fresh and fun. If you're into blanket scarves (who isn't?!), this is like having one built in. At the same time, it lets a little skin show, so you're not too prim-'n-proper or just a giant sweater blob. Wear it with high-waist jeans on weekends or silk trousers for holiday parties to be trendy at every turn. This moody teal nail polish goes perfectly with the kicked-back vibe happening here (you have to check out the entire Marc Jacobs collection—the colors are perfection!), and layering a chunky cuff and slim bangle adds some edge. Finish it off with a bouncy topknot—because it's cute, better for scoping out the best Brussels sprouts, seeing every TD (go Hawks!) and baking your tastiest batch. See ya next week!

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5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9

*nail lacquer shade is Warm Blue. 
Also love Cora! 

Shop similar items:
(that Pendleton bag!)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

shopping list 2

Did you stay up late last night watching Election Day results roll in? I did—it's always exciting to see how people's opinions and priorities manifest in candidates across the country. Whether you identify with the Republican or Democrat party (and are celebrating or sobbing this morning), holiday parties are something everyone can enjoy without debate this time of year. Jumpsuits are my favorite thing to wear for all of the season's festive events, from coworker cocktail parties to Christmas Eve itself. They're modern and trendy, so easy (just add jewelry), and more laid-back and versatile than dresses. Despite looking sleek and modestly sexy (depending on the neckline), they have this effortless vibe that I am all about, and you can recycle them for dates and dinners throughout the year more readily than a sparkly shift. I wore a black jumpsuit for New Year's Eve last year (and got a kiss) and plan to pick up a couple more to cap off 2014—most likely THIS ONE (love the dropped armholes and crossed back) and THIS ONE (the simple cami straps are perfect!). Which ones get your vote? Happy party planning!

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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

november short list

I can't believe it's already time for another short list (read last month's here). October flew by. But the holidays are on the horizon and I'm not unhappy about that! With Thanksgiving in just a few weeks, I wanted to share a poignant message about gratitude from John Foley, former Lead Solo Pilot of the Blue Angels, who spoke at my company meeting last week. He was an eloquent and captivating orator, punctuating lessons about trust, preparation and precision with video clips of daring aircraft stunts (that actually made my stomach flip) and squadron debriefings. All that is certainly relevant to a retail company on the cusp of the make-or-break sales season, but on a personal level, I really identified with his motto: "glad to be here." It's how the Blue Angels finish nearly every sentence, and seems to serve as a centering force. Foley charged everyone in the auditorium with internalizing the catchphrase, and reserving a few moments every morning for an attitude check and mental tally of what's good. No matter what stress and obstacles we face, happiness is a choice. And while I am super eager for certain things come spring and it's easy right now to focus on the downside, I'm making every attempt to appreciate my present situation (if you've ever moved to a new city and had a "what am I doing here?" moment, read this). Hopefully, you can find some meaning in his message, too. The November short list may not give my life meaning, but owning everything on it would help me see the world through Foley's rose-colored lenses (wink). As it gets colder, skincare that defends against dryness & dullness and re-energizing & elevating my apartment for cozy nights in are priorities. The moisturizing Lotus cream and Turkish spa towels are indulgent and effective means to those ends—and two of my favorites on the list. Enjoy all of this month's must-haves!

ONE | I love the convertible functionality of this wool-blend coat. A quilted hooded vest zips out of the refined shell, giving you three ways to wear it. And all together, it has great textural interest and nails the athleisure look.

TWO | I've been using dull hand-me-down silverware since my first apartment and am so ready to upgrade with a sleek new set. This one's delicate and angular lines make even cutting into a Lean Cuisine feel elegant.

THREE | I'll never forget being denied a promotion for showing my portfolio in print rather than on an iPad—and the insinuated importance of presentation has stuck with me. Put an impressive foot forward when meeting clients and potential employers with this pretty pave card case.

FOUR | Shower. Work. Sleep. Repeat. The cycle can become monotonous, but nice bed sheets and luxurious bath towels can make you look forward to the routine. This Turkish spa set is dense, highly absorbent, and even when you're just rinsing off after a workout, you'll get a luxurious payoff when you dry off. (Disclosure: I am a Lands' End employee, but am including this product objectively.)

FIVE | Skincare is my new favorite hobby—and even if it isn't an obsession for you, many complexions need extra attention in the winter. I started using this Fresh face cream a few weeks ago and love the intense hydration, fresh eucalyptus scent and anti-aging benefits.

SIX | Super obsessed with the combination of baby-soft fabric and sporty styling in this sweater. I want to live in it til March.

SEVEN | I bought a colorful blown glass jewelry dish when I traveled to Venice, and it holds special sentimentality as a souvenir. But my taste is now more in line with this simple ceramic catchall. I could use the additional storage space, and—attention Christmas shoppers—at just $12.50, it makes a great gift.

EIGHT | A friend of mine is having her bachelorette party in Napa this weekend, and I'm so sad that I couldn't make it work with my budget. This California Chardonnay will have to mentally transport me to wine country instead. If you're also in the market for some Golden State vino, here's a helpful buyer's guide.

NINE | Remember in college when taking thirty pictures at one bar was a slow night? I haven't had an actual camera since those days, and I'm so excited to snap high-quality photos again. Plus, this one has a super-snazzy social media upload feature. Promise I have plans to document more than my Saturday night cocktail.

TEN | Restoration Hardware's lighted trees are my favorite way to decorate for the holidays, and I love this new birchwood variety. The skinny branches are cleaner and more modern than a mini Frasier Fir, and it's attractive enough to keep as permanent decor. (Read my original review.)

Monday, November 3, 2014

weekend recap

Good morning and happy Monday! Just a few snaps from the weekend in Chicago today. I'm so lucky to still be close with my college friends, and I love that most of them are just a quick two-hour drive from Madison, in Lincoln Park and Bucktown. On Friday night, Becca whipped up a quick dinner of pesto quinoa with Parmesan (a delicious little combo I am going to recreate this week!) before we snagged Halloween costumes at a very-picked-over seasonal pop-up shop. Later, it was so fun to catch up over a couple glasses of Pinot Grigio (and complimentary Halloween candy) at The Map Room while it snowed and howled outside. Stop in to the "traveler's tavern" for the insane selection of brews, but also because there's a little man who walks through the bar peddling fresh and authentic chicken, cheese and pork tamales from a mini Coleman—$6 for six. We couldn't help but take some home for a late-night snack. So, so good! Saturday we watched Iowa pummel Northwestern (yes!) over Piece pizza, then caught a couple movies on Netflix before Uber-ing over to Becca's brother's place in Lakeview for a Halloween party. Sunday morning, my sister (who's been in Chicago since college) picked up eggs, bacon and granola and mixed fizzy grapefruit-juice cocktails for a cozy brunch at her apartment before I headed home. Feeling ready for a new week!