Monday Mindfulness

I know, I know, it’s not Monday…but since most of us had the day off yesterday, it kind of counts as a Monday, right? Regardless, I could use some mindfulness tips any day of the week. I spent the weekend taking care of things around the house (including taking down the Xmas tree – which was long overdue). Despite having to take care of the usual chores & errands, we squeezed in some much needed time with friends this weekend. It was such a relief to not talk about all the stressors in our lives and just unwind (Scofflaw on Saturday night was exactly the ambiance we needed).

I started the new year off with a handful of challenging resolutions, all of which I’m slowly trying to work through. I will admit, I need all the motivation I can get. Please tell me I’m not the only one on the struggle bus! Below are a few posts around the web that have kept me motivated & inspired me on the rough, bitterly cold, days (is the feature photo making more sense now? Warm weather, please come back).

  1. Take one of these 31 motivating mantras for January & print it out, frame it on your desk, make it your phone background. Do what you gotta do to keep it top of mind. It can be a nice little pick me up on a bad day (
  2. I’m OCD when it comes to cleaning, as I tend to get anxious when my house is cluttered. I love the organization tips provided in this post – particularly the one about blocking off time on calendar to tackle different tasks around the house (
  3. Maybe I need to take a Hawaii vacation? Or move there? (
  4. Life isn’t always fair, and it’s not meant to be. I don’t know why, but it felt so good to read this post. Bottom line is, sometimes you win, sometimes you fail, but the important thing is that you keep moving forward (
  5. When I come home from the gym on a weeknight, I ravage the kitchen immediately. Hangry, impatient, still holding on to the stress from my day. Note to self – cooking can be mindful too, even if you’re making a 30 min meal (
Ikea Hacks Made Easy

Ikea Hacks Made Easy

I have a love/hate relationship with Ikea. I absolutely love some of their stuff (we actually got our master bathroom vanity from there), but usually the lack of detail/craftsmanship gives away the fact that it’s an Ikea piece. Not that there is anything wrong with that – however, there is something to be said about having a unique piece that is either a one of a kind vintage find or customized. Customizing Ikea pieces can be done, but it usually involves a lot of time that most of us (myself included) are not willing to put in.

This leads me to a little secret I’m about to share with you all…you don’t have to put that much time into making Ikea stuff your own. There are sites out there that exist solely to help you customize Ikea furniture. Yes, this is for real. SPECIFICALLY for Ikea. I’ve rounded up my favorite three “Ikea Hack” sites below (along with an abundance of inspiring photos, of course).

PS – my favorite home decor blogs, a home collab you need to know about and how to design a room from scratch.

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Trend Shop: The Statement Sleeve

Trend Shop: The Statement Sleeve

I haven’t done a trend shop since I featured velvet booties – it’s been long overdue! Statement sleeves aren’t necessarily a “new” trend per se, as they really blew up earlier in 2016. I’m usually one to jump on trends quickly, but this one was a bit outside of my comfort zone. I’m finally at the point where I’m ready to embrace this trend. Bring on the bell sleeves!

Statement sleeves look best when paired with a simple outfit (you can potentially do eccentric accessories depending on the material/cut/print). Moral of the story, let the statement piece be the focal point of the outfit. Below are a few statement sleeve pieces I’m digging right now – click on the links below to shop!

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Weekend Travel Guide: Los Angeles

Given I have a good amount of family in LA, it was always a place I visited frequently growing up. I realized in recent years the sheer size of the city and how much I hadn’t yet explored, despite my many visits. I’ve been itching to go back to check out the hot spots…but since Leo travels to LA often for work, it’s been a tough sell to get him to go for pleasure. We finally booked a trip for post-Christmas, and brought in the New Year very LA style at a house party in Hollywood Hills. It was a much needed break from our crazy lives lately, particularly the gorg weather (we did have a few days of rain – but hey, still 40+ degrees warmer than Chicago)!

We did plenty of exploring, eating, shopping across this beautiful city. Below are my recommended places to eat/drink/shop/explore based on my recent experience!

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This New Target Home Collab is Killer

This New Target Home Collab is Killer

When you’ve been on the hunt for home products for months, a new collaboration like this will literally make your day (I’m pretty sure it made my week). Dwell magazine just officially launched a modern line at Target, and it’s everything you could imagine & more. I’m loving every single piece from this collection. Beautiful, modern furniture at Target price points. Am I dreaming? AND…wait for it…they’re refreshing the line in the Spring & Summer.

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My 2017 New Year’s Resolutions

My 2017 New Year’s Resolutions

I’m finally back after a long hiatus! December was a hectic month with the holidays, home construction, family visiting and a last minute New Years trip to LA. I’ve never been happier to be home…I’m starting to feel settled for the first time since August.

I hope you all had a great start to the New Year. We spent last week in LA, exploring the town, eating delicious food and enjoying the sunshine with friends (if you follow me in Instagram, you know all about my adventures!). I can’t wait to share the highlights with you – LA guide coming up! I’m still soaking in the fact that it’s 2017 – this year flew by. This photo was taken almost a year ago…craziness.

As with every new year, I try to reflect on how I can be a better person…whether that means taking better care of myself physically & mentally, being a better friend, daughter, sister, girlfriend. I’m not always one for resolutions, but I do think self-reflection is important and the beginning of the year feels like the appropriate time to do it (& obviously other times throughout the year as well!)

After doing some reflecting, I put together a short (but challenging) list of goals for 2017.

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Holiday Gift Guide: For Her

I’ve made some progress on my gift shopping, which is a relief! Don’t feel nearly as stressed now that I have the list down to a few people. Today is the last day (in most cases) to get standard shipping by Christmas, so let’s get on those last minute orders tonight!

For women’s gifts, I try to stick with the basics when it comes to shoes & clothing, and splurge on beauty products knowing they’d never purchase those items for themselves. I’ve curated my favorite gifts items of the moment for those of you who still have a few special women left on your shopping list! Shop the items below.

PS – Gifts under $100, and gifts for him.

1. I received this candle as a birthday gift, and it’s the BEST candle I’ve ever owned. The smell is beautiful and just strong enough to fill the room but not overwhelming.

2. This lipstick was a recent purchase and I can’t even count the number of complements that’ve come my way! It’s the perfect winter hue.

3. For the ladies with a bath tub, this milky bath bar is the formula for softer skin. We all could use hydration in the winter months.

4. It’s virtually impossible to find a pair of Levi’s that fit properly – this pair fits like a glove and the patchwork with the cropped hem couldn’t be more on trend.

5. I’ve had a love affair with Building Block bags for quite some time now. This cylinder bag is the perfect size for every day.

6. This hand treatment will keep her hands nice and soft.

7. You can never go wrong with a pair of sneakers. The blush color of these Common Projects is just gorg.

8. A high quality cutting board will never go unused.

9. This tie choker will elevate any outfit.

Holiday Gift Guide: For Him

If your week looks anything like mine, you’ve been scrambling to pull it together with nearly 75% of your Christmas shopping still pending. Why did I wait so long! All of the sales earlier this month got me caught up in my own shopping…now I have to embrace that holiday spirit and get started on the gifts. Christmas is in less than a week after all.

You’re in luck, because there’s still time to make a few last minute online purchases & get everything in time for Christmas. I’ve curated my favorite gifts for him this year below. Keep an eye out for my lady’s gift guide tomorrow!

PS – Here’s last year’s gift guide for him (figure the more ideas the better, right?)

1. Make his life a little bit easier with the new Google Home.

2.I love the unique look of these slippers, and you’re able to select the color of the lace!

3. The versatility & geometric look of this backpack makes it ultra cool (I also own it & wear it everyday).

4. I’m a sucker for a good Moscow Mule, and this is the best ginger beer I’ve tried.

5. Gift him his best cup of coffee with this pour over coffee maker.

6. These sneakers are soft yet provide just the right amount of support for everyday – did I mention how cute they are (I also have a pair, so maybe I’m biased)?

7. Improve the air quality in his home (yes, I know I’m a nerd) with this cool little contraption.

8. These phone cases pull images directly from Google Earth – stunning.

9. Help him share memories with family & friends using a digital photo album that updates in real time.

Greek Christmas Cookies (Melomakarona)

Greek Christmas Cookies (Melomakarona)

The first time I spent Christmas in Athens, I fell in love with how much Greeks embrace Christmas. Despite the economic crisis, people were out and about, shopping, grabbing coffee, going out to dinner. The energy was unbelievable. It was a totally different experience visiting Athens in the winter months – the city was alive with people who are normally vacationing in August.

One of my most memorable discoveries during this trip was the Greek Christmas cookie. Every single bakery was stocked with them, restaurants would treat you to them for dessert. They were everywhere, and I didn’t mind it one bit. When baked, the cookie is actually quite dry, but it is then soaked in honey-based syrup & topped with walnuts. The end result is a perfectly baked macaroon with a crispy outside and a center soaked in honey. I’ve never had anything like it.

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What to Wear to a Holiday Party

What to Wear to a Holiday Party

Yay! It’s snowing! We had a crazy weekend of snow in Chicago – and because it’s the holidays, I’m not against it. I’ll take the snow over below zero temperatures ANY day. Given we’re amidst the holiday season, it’s not unusual to have a least three holiday parties to attend. Maybe it’s just me – but I find these things stressful! How much do you dress up? How much can you dress down? I’m the queen of casual so the fact that I have to put any extra effort in for these events stresses me out.

I’ve finally determined the formula that works for me – I mix a few dressy pieces with casual pieces and find that I’m more comfortable physically and mentally. This obviously doesn’t work for black tie affairs, but I’ve found it works for most holiday parties/happy hours. For a holiday event last week, I paired this metallic copper skirt with an oversized v-neck knit and a fur vest. I added a pair of crew socks & pointy ankle boots and I was ready to go. I took it to the next level and added a beanie, obvs an optional touch! Given our weather conditions, it was more for functional purposes :). Shop the full look below!

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