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Category - Travel
– I spent much of the month recovering from my neck injury, which involved MRIs, doctors visits, and lots of physical therapy.
– I decided to give up the ghost and start wearing a backpack to work.
– I reformatted Lifestyle by Joules based on what I’d like my life to be like at 40.
– I made the first and likely last purchase I’ll ever make at Tiffany and Co.
– I went to Mexico with my best friend for my bachelorette party.
– I bundled up and attended the Michigan vs. Michigan State hockey game at Soldier Field.
– I watched the Superbowl, mostly to see Katy Perry’s amazing performance.
– I got married.
– I went blonde.
– I had an impromptu movie night/Cinco de Mayo celebration with my best friend that resulted in way too many margaritas being consumed. It was a blast, though.
– I played through Lego Lord of the Rings with my husband.
– I attended an interesting (and inspiring) PHP conference.
– I turned 30, and spent my birthday weekend in Las Vegas with my husband. We stayed at the Encore (loved the pool), ate at É by José Andrés, and gorged ourselves at the Wynn Buffet (among other activities).
– I spent a fabulous happy hour aboard the Chicago Elite–a cruise ship which docks at Navy Pier.
– I watched the Stanley Cup victory parade from my office in downtown Chicago. It was quite the spectacle.
– I played Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and loved it.
– I took my best friend to a cooking class at merchandise mart as a thank you for all he did at our wedding.
– I attended the opening party for the AH Hotel, which included specialty cocktails and appetizers, a fun pillow fight photo shoot, and fabulous jazz.
– I went to the Chicago Pride Parade with my best friend and had a blast celebrating the national legalization of gay marriage. #proud
– I attended Tommy Bahama’s pre-4th-of-July party and actually won their Instagram window display contest.
– I went to a family reunion in southern Indiana (it was my husband’s extended family) for the 4th of July.
– I got a raise (and celebrated appropriately).
– I finally changed my last name.
– I played host to my family for a full week, which was great, since my family all live in different corners of the US.
– We threw a wedding celebration party in Ann Arbor.
– I threw one of my good friends a baby shower (with the cutest owl cupcakes).
– I enjoyed having beers with friends at Flanders on the new Chicago riverwalk.
– We attended a good friend’s wedding in Indianapolis–to which I wore this outfit.
– I traveled to the Pacific Northwest to visit my husband’s aunt and uncle and my brother and his wife.
– My husband and I spent an amazing day watching the best golfers in the world at the BMW Championship.
– We drove back to Ann Arbor to visit with family, tailgate and attend a Michigan football game, and meet my good friend’s new son Jonathan Julius.
– We drove to Grand Rapids to attend the wedding of one of my friends from collage, at which we ran into many old friends I hadn’t seen for years. I wore this lace dress.
– We drove back to Ann Arbor for yet another tailgate as well as my husband’s birthday, which we celebrated at Salt Springs Tap.
– I played Mass Effect. Fem-Shep for life.
– We celebrated Halloween by carving pumpkins and having a bad ’90s teen movie night with my best friend, at which many drinks and Pumpkin Spice Oreos were consumed.
– I saw (and thoroughly enjoyed) The Martian.
– I saw Vanessa Carlton in concert at The City Winery and stuck around to have her sign my vinyl copy of Rabbits on the Run. #fangirl
– We had “family” hunting camp at a gorgeous lodge in northern Michigan.
– I spent Thanksgiving in Ann Arbor with my husband’s family. I made apple and bourbon pecan pie, watched the Turkey Day Marathon, and watched Michigan lose spectacularly to Ohio State.
– I attended jury duty for the first time in my life. Luckily, I was not selected to actually sit on a jury.
– I began playing Mass Effect 2.
– I had a lovely holiday party with my best friend which included frosting cookies, watching holiday movies, and drinking a bit too much egg nog.
– I watched the MST3K kickstarter telethon with my husband, and we pledged enough to attend the Chicago premier in 2017.
– I spent Christmas with my husband’s family in Ann Arbor. I also Skyped with my family to open gifts, which was fun.
– I saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens in Ann Arbor with my husband and his family and we loved it. I can’t wait to see it again.
2015 Book Reviews:
Longstanding tradition dictates that every fall, in the middle of November, we go to hunting camp. I’m a rural Midwestern girl at heart, so this doesn’t seem strange to me, but I do understand that it might seem strange to many of you out there. When I described going to hunting camp to several of my coworkers they all seemed surprised that hunting whitetail deer is even a thing people do, and they were doubly shocked to find out that it’s something I’m interested in. For this, I have to credit my father, who has been an outdoorsman his whole life and introduced it to me at an early age.
This post will both detail our adventures on this trip and explain a bit more about what hunting camp is and isn’t for the uninitiated.
The photos below are a more in-depth view of our trip. I hope you enjoy–feel free to put any comments or questions in the comment section at the bottom. And a fair warning: this is an extremely photo-heavy post, so please give everything a moment to load before diving in.
On Wednesday we had the good fortune of being invited to join the Lakeshore Beverage Company’s Beer Club–an evening of drinking and discussing beer. This was the inaugural meeting and it featured a wonderful little brewery out of Sheboygan, Wisconsin: 3 Sheeps Brewing.
SKIRT – thrifted (similar, similar)
TOP – White House Black Market
SANDALS – Kate Spade (similar)
BAG – Rebecca Minkoff
SUNGLASSES – Target
NECKLACE – The Limited
EARRINGS – Kenneth Jay Lane
WATCH – Kate Spade
Last night I attended the Aloha Fun event at the new Tommy Bahama store on Michigan Avenue. I have to admit that I’ve never shopped at Tommy Bahama before, though their aesthetic definitely appeals to me. As evidenced by my wedding, I’m a beach-bum at heart. I brought my husband my my best friend with me to sip cocktails (mai tais!) and browse their collection. As part of the event, they asked us to put together window displays featuring what we would wear for the 4th of July, take a picture of it, and Instagram it for a chance to win a Tommy Bahama Beach set.
I put some thought into my collection. I loved their tropical-print bikinis, so I put together a beach outfit with a nice coverup, sunglasses, and beach bag. My husband put together a beautiful window display as well, and took a great video for his entry. You can see my picture above, or via Instagram. As it turns out, I won! We were all super excited. My husband ended up buying a pair of shoes and sunglasses as well, so we walked out with our arms full at the end of the night. It was a fabulous evening.
It’s been a busy week in Chicago. Last Thursday the city was overrun with Blackhawks fans celebrating their team’s 3rd Stanley Cup victory in just 6 years (impressive). I got a pretty neat video of it from my office.
We spent the weekend relaxing, playing and watching golf (I caddied) and playing Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. So far, I’m thoroughly enjoying it.
On Monday we had the good fortune to be invited to the new AH Hotel in Chicago for their opening party. It was a fun evening. They had an impressive spread of appetizers and treats (I finally tried macaroons and they definitely live up to the hype), delicious specialty cocktails, live art, live jazz, and a few fun surprises. One of those was a photobooth (above) and the other was a pillow fight photo setup. You could go into one of their suites where a photographer would take a short series of photos of you doing whatever you wanted pillow-fight style. I think ours turned out pretty well.
I felt bad for the jazz group, which was stationed outside on the sweltering patio. After a short set they decided to come in and ended up having to set up right near the elevator. We found the only couch near them and enjoyed the music (both of us being big fans of jazz). We found out that they were the Green Mill’s house band, Sabertooth, which explains how great they were. They even took several requests from us, including Waltz for Debbie, which was our first dance at our wedding. All in all, it was a great evening.
1 > Le Fashion presents 31 ways to wear the super trendy off-the-shoulder look.
2 > I love box clutches/minaudieres. This black and tan resin clutch from Sondra Roberts is just perfect.
4 > This may be my new favorite Instagram account: You Did Not Eat That. Nothing bugs me more than pencil thin bloggers smiling beside donuts the size of their heads.
6 > I’m still rereading LotR, and as such, I’m still poking around the internet at various LotR memes and rambles. I particularly liked this list of the most metal deaths in the series.
8 > I was just introduced to She Thinx and I immediately want a pair (or several). In a nutshell, they’re absorptive underwear that basically replace the need for pantyliners. Genius.
9 > Some cuteness: dog and baby together.
I celebrated my 30th birthday in Las Vegas on June 1st, and my big splurge was a 23-course meal at é by José Andrés. It’s located in Andrés’ tapas restaurant Jaleo in the Cosmopolitan. It’s completely separate from the rest of the restaurant and it only serves a maximum of 16 people a night in two 8 person “shows.” You get to watch the chefs prepare your meals in front of you and explain what you’re eating (which is often quite unique). The theme is to celebrate the cuisine of Spain.
When we entered we were each sat with what you see above at our place setting. Apparently it’s an exact mold of Andrés hand with a bunch of Spanish spices. It’s perhaps a bit weird, but also strangely personal. It sort of fit in with the Wonka-esque meal that was ahead of us. It turned out that nearly nothing was as it seemed–we even found out that the table decorations (which looked like little trees) were edible. Sadly, I didn’t manage to snap any decent pictures of them.
Alright, that’s enough pre-amble. Lets get to the food.
Spending last weekend in Las Vegas celebrating my 30th birthday was a blast. My husband and I spent long hours soaking in the sun at the Wynn and Encore’s pools (where we stayed), ate amazing Thai food at Lotus of Siam, were served a decadent 27-course meal at É by Jose Andres (pics forthcoming), had the best burger and shake (donut coffee) of my life at Holsteins, and wandered around gambling and enjoying the spectacle. I lost count of how many high end shops we walked past. It was such a strange place.
We didn’t have great luck gambling. In fact, we had astoundingly terrible luck. We had one lucky streak on the craps table in the Paris casino (after which we snapped this pic) and I went up about $45 on the blackjack table before losing it all. Those were our only wins. Eventually we just started playing super low bet video poker and slot machines just to enjoy the free drinks and people watch. Oh well, as my husband said: “Lucky in love, unlucky in cards.”
1 > How can you make a budget wardrobe look expensive? It’s all about the fabrics.
2 > 17 authors tell the Guardian their favorite words. I’m a big fan of ‘gloaming.’
3 > Codrops presents their top tutorials and code examples of 2014.
4 > This mesh insert pleated mini dress from ASOS is perfect for summer.
5 > Off-the-shoulder is very in at the moment. Lucky lists a few affordable pieces featuring this trend.
6 > Dolly Singh, a former Space X employee, is leading a team of scientists and doctors to revolutionize the high heel. I’m very intrigued.
8 > A signed first edition of The Hobbit just sold for a record amount. I’m in love with the cover as well as Tolkien’s handwriting.
9 > Laughing at this article on the awful things in women’s magazines.
10 > Some cuteness to end this week: cat and owl are adorable together.
DRESS – White House Black Market (current version)
HEELS – Ivanka Trump (current version)
WEDGES – Kate Spade (similar)
NECKLACE – Anne Klein
EARRINGS – Kenneth Jay Lane
WATCH – Michael Kors
RING – House of Harlow
Last Tuesday I was invited to the christening of the Chicago Elite, a new cruise ship on Navy Pier. It was a post-work event, so my husband and I hurried over just in time to snap a few picks on the red carpet and board before takeoff. Sadly, though, due to crazy weather–storms interspersed with clear blue skies–the management decided that we’d stay docked for the entirety of the party. My disappointment, albeit great, was assuaged by several Manhattans and delicious appetizers. After the first hour or so the skies cleared for an expanse of time and we were able to head up to the top deck to soak in some sun (and wind, which had my hair in a wanton tangle much of the time).
My husband, ever the more fashion conscious than I, reminded me that navy is the traditional color for boat-related outings, so I may have been a bit off base in wearing a black dress to the occasion. Oh well, it’s important to remember both that being a working girl provides only so much time for pre-planning and putting together outfits but also that one’s fashion knowledge can always be expanded and improved. I’m trying to do both.
Overall it was a fun event and definitely has me considering Navy Pier cruises as a great way to throw a party. Thanks so much to Chicago Elite for the invite!
On March 28th I had one of the best days of my life. I got married on a beach on St. Thomas to my best friend and celebrated the day with my closest friends and family.
We didn’t actually hire a photographer. The goal of our wedding was to keep things simple and relaxed, and so we asked my sister-in-law, who is a stellar photographer, to take a few pictures for us throughout the day. Almost all of these are her work, and I’d like to thank her (and those who picked up her camera and snapped a few shots while she was busy) for these beautiful photographs. I’d also like to thank my mom’s partner who also is a photographer and took a few of the photos you see below.
Ready for some pictures? There’s about a million after the jump.
1. Set Realistic Goals
My calorie counting strategy has always been based around a weekly average. This has allowed me to go out and eat a bit more (and drink a bit more) calories on the weekends and then make up for it during the week. This strategy has generally worked well for me, but it has the tendency to get a bit out of control at times. If I have a big weekend, I’ll find myself overcompensating during the week (basically under-eating a bit too much) to reach the calorie goal I’ve set.
That happened to me this week in a big way, and on Tuesday, after eating relatively low calorie numbers on Sunday and Monday, I cracked. I was way too hungry and I binged. That delicious carrot cake cupcake you see above was part of it (side note: must find recipe for carrot cake cupcakes). After my binge subsided I found myself reflecting on my diet, my goals, and basically what I’m trying to accomplish here.
Immediately afterward, I felt terrible about myself. I felt like I had totally gotten off track and I’d never reach my ultimate goal weight of 125–certainly not before my wedding. I felt like a failure.
But then I forced myself to back up and question those thoughts. The truth is, everyone in my life tells me I look great as I am right now (about 134 lbs) and don’t need to lose weight, or at least not much weight. I’ve tried to get down to 125 for a long time and never really made it. I always get to about 127 or 128 and then just give up because it’s too hard to eat so little. What has happened when my weight got below 130? Well, people in my life generally would start telling me I looked too thin. I also have noticed that weight loss gets a lot harder, like my body wouldn’t really want to lose any more weight. And thinking about this, I started to question whether or not striving to reach 125 was a really healthy goal at all.
I’ve stepped back and realized that getting to 130 and stopping is a much better idea. At 130 I look healthy and fit, but not emaciated. It’s high time I get the idea out of my head that I need to look like a size 0 Victoria’s Secret model. I’m sure if I got that skinny everyone in my life would be concerned, not to mention the fact that I certainly wouldn’t be eating enough to be healthy and decidedly not enough to be happy.
Readjusting my goal immediately felt like the right thing to do once I had the idea, and so I have.
2. Set a Minimum
After my binge, I went through some of the data I’ve collected in the last year or so on my eating and weight. I’ve kept a few spreadsheets detailing my daily caloric intake, weight, and exercise. I was able to use that data to calculate just what my actual daily caloric needs are based on how much weight I lost over time in the past, and what I discovered is that with the amount I exercise (about 4-5 times a week for 40 minutes) and my general activity level, I need a whopping 2,500 calories per day to maintain a weight in the low 130s. That’s way more than I had been thinking!
Armed with that knowledge, it became clear to me why losing weight has been such a challenge for me. I’ve read that you should never eat less than 1,000 calories per day below your maintenance calorie needs (which would be a 2 pound per week amount of weight loss). If that’s true, all the days I spent eating 1,200 or 1,300 calories to make up for high calorie days on the weekend were basically sending my body into panic starvation mode. The huge cravings I would get were totally within reason–I just wasn’t eating enough.
Now I’m committed to never eat below 1,500 calories per day at the bare minimum.
I think the overwhelming feeling I had after I binged was that I need to find more balance with food. I need to stop eating so many calories in weekend drunken binges (at least while I’m trying to lose weight) and I need to stop under-eating so much to try to counteract those calories. I need to set more reasonable goals that actually are healthy for me and fit in with my life. And finally, I need to keep my head clear about the priority of things. Losing weight and looking and feeling great is important to me, but it’s not the most important thing in my life. What I look like at my wedding is not nearly as important as the fact that I’m marrying my best friend, partying with my friends and family, and opening a new chapter in my life. Sometimes I can blow my weight out of proportion and I need to remind myself more often to keep things in check and stay sane. I think balance is key.
4. Carrot Cake
To close the thoughts on my reevaluation this week, I’d just like to share this carrot cake recipe from Skinnytaste, one of my favorite food blogs. I will be making this soon.
It’s hard to imagine that it’s only been six days since this photo was taken. My best friend and I decided to use my long President’s Day weekend for my bachelorette party. We flew down to Puerto Vallarta and stayed with his parents at their condo on the beach. It was fabulous. For three days I did nothing but drink (a lot of) tropical drinks, swim in the pool and the ocean, and lay out in the sun (with 50 SPF on my pale skin). We had some of the best fajitas I’ve ever had, smoked cuban cigars, and even helped a few baby sea turtles make their way into the ocean.
Now the final stretch of winter is before me, as well as the final stretch of wedding preparation. This week, with its sub zero temperatures and a fierce head cold hasn’t been an easy one. I’m looking excitedly forward to what is ahead.
1 > As part of their transition into the digital realm, Lucky magazine just launched the site Lucky Shops. It essentially feels like a well-funded style blog. I want to be a hater, but I’m surprised to find that I actually like most of their content.
2 > Kate Spade just launched a charm bracelet line. I love it. It’s so girly.
3 > Do you like Gap’s whole “Dress Normal” campaign? Does anyone? They’ve really gone off the deep end with their latest set of ads.
4 > Important read: Speaking While Female.
5 > Fashion blogger Wendy of Wendy’s Lookbook just released a jewelry collection with Bauble Bar and I’m a huge fan. I think it’s unique and modern–so much better than the totally blah-zay collection from Rachel of Pink Peonies.
6 > It’s amazing how much the internet has changed since its debut. Here’s a collection of what the world’s biggest websites looked like when they launched.
7 > Cute guys really do get cuter when they read. These pictures prove it.
8 > I thought this review of the 50 Shades of Grey movie was one of the best I’ve read, and summarizes how I feel about the book and movie very nicely.
9 > Japan does everything better, including downtown bike storage. Someone in Chicago should take note.
10 > I’ve finally recovered from the fierce head cold I had earlier this week. Apparently the author of Robot Hugs and I have similar feelings about being sick.
DRESS – asos (similar, also featured here) || HAT – Papillon Boutique (similar) || BAG – Rebecca Minkoff || NECKLACE – The Limited || EARRINGS – The Limited || WATCH – Kate Spade || RING – Banana Republic
There wasn’t much time for reading this week–happily, my dad was in town. We spent the week showing him our favorite haunts in and around the city, including a day at the Arlington Park Race Track. The weather was absolutely unbelievable. It went from 50s to 90s in just one day. I felt like it was a July afternoon, which was perfect. I had a net loss of $13 on my bets, but I consider it an afternoon well spent.
Of course today the thunderstorms rolled in, but I’m still in a good mood. Here’s to family!
2 > Another one from Lucky: new takes on classic jewelry trends. I love all of their picks other than the ear cuffs–those just look tacky and 1995 to me.
3 > This week Kate Spade launched a new Rio-inspired collection that is bright, summery, and covered in toucans. I tend to go for more classic pieces, but I really love how fun this collection is. My favorites include this playful jeweled clutch, this preppy tote, this simple toucan clutch, and this adorable toucan bangle. The most unique piece, though, has to be this toucan-bill-handled purse. I can’t decide if I love it or if it’s entirely too much.
4 > This two-tone, pink blazer would like stunning with a pair of skinnies and a simple top.
5 > The smokey eye is my kryptonite when it comes to makeup. I just can’t seem to make it happen without looking like I’m wearing entirely too much makeup, smudged all the way up to my eyebrows. I’m excited to try this tutorial from The Beauty Department–it seems pretty fool-proof.
5 > For the price, this H&M dress would make a great foray into the midi trend if you’re thinking of trying it out.
5 > While I am currently wedding planning and am also very into fashion, I’m surprisingly not that excited about bridal fashion. It all seems very stuffy and traditional–not to mention extremely overpriced. That said, I do love these romantic, wedding-style photos that Olivia Palermo did for Brides magazine.
6 > I enjoyed this Buzzfeed recap of this week’s celebrity Instagrams–especially the first one. How does that much fame fit in one selfie?
7 > I’ve never heard of a feta/watermelon salad before, but now I’m dying to try it. It would be the perfect combo of salty and sweet, and very light for summer.
8 > Lets cap it off with this adorable sheep mildly head-butting a nonplussed cow.