Okay, I’m sure you’re sick of hearing about my deck at this point..but I’m so so so happy it’s DONE. Yes, the timing is not ideal, but fingers crossed we get a few more months of solid weather. We had friends in town last weekend, and it was so nice to all lounge around and lay out in the sun (because the only sun I got this summer was in Greece). Much much needed chill time! PS – I’ve always dreamed of having one of these egg chairs in my outdoor space and I FINALLY got one last week. It’s overkill but kind of amazing.
Since we’re basically living on our deck every Saturday afternoon until the end of summer (at least that is our goal), I want to make sure the time we spend up there is stress free. After a few tweaks here and there, I’ve come up with a list of necessities for the ultimate deck experience.
Sunscreen – SPF 30+
First and foremost, you have to have the sunscreen readily available! I’ve been a skincare fanatic lately, and I refuse to sit out in the sun without applying sunscreen first…and I force it upon my guests as well! My favorite sunscreens are Neutrogena’s Beach Defense and Piz Buin (Leo introduced me to this one – it’s huge in Europe). Piz Buin’s After Sun lotion is also great!
You know those shades you get for free at random events? I always save them & stock them away in our den in case someone forgets/breaks/loses their pair. Sitting outside with no sunglasses on is borderline torture, and it’s not good to squint (it causes wrinkles!). That said, having a few extra pairs of cheap-y shades handy quickly solves this problem.
Luckily, we have a mini fridge in our den, which makes it so easy to store cold beverages near the deck! Since I’m always trying to watch my sugar intake, Spindrift sparkling water is my new favorite to have around the house – Spindrift is America’s first and only sparkling water made with real, squeezed fruit! It’s essentially like having spa water…but ready for your enjoyment in a cute little can. I mean, what’s not to like? Spindrift = sparkling water + real fruit. Yup, that’s it. My go-to flavor right now is grapefruit (there are so many to choose from), it’s so refreshing and perfect to sip on a hot day. It also pairs really nicely with a fresh piece of fruit! Here’s where you can find Spindrift near you.
A Solid Summer Playlist
Luckily, when we moved in there were already speakers connected to our deck. Being able to jam out to your fav tunes while laying out is priceless – all we do is connect our phone to our stereo system and voila…the jam sesh is on. Leo has his own mixes that he puts together, so we often listen to those (you can find his more recent ones here and here). If I’m out there alone, I’ll play my 90s hits playlist..am I aging myself?!
We hit a big milestone since my last post – our remodeling work in the house is officially complete! We spent the last few weekends finishing up our deck. Yes, we made the decision to replace planks & re-stain our deck ourselves (with the help of a few very generous friends!). Are we crazy? Potentially. If we weren’t crazy before the project, we definitely lost our sanity throughout the process. Let’s just say there were late weeknights spent painting planks using our phones as lights…#homeownerprobs.
The thing I’m most excited about is that now we have time to focus on the more fulfilling home projects (because, let’s be real, the projects never end). I’m talking selecting art, rugs, pillows & throws, indoor plants…just pure decorating. The best part of it all! The first place we’re starting? Finding the perfect coffee table. It’s LONG overdue.
As with many of our other furniture purchases, I didn’t realize all of the intricacies involved with finding the right coffee table. There are definitely guidelines to keep in mind as you shop around – so I wanted to share a few that we are considering in our hunt for our coffee table match! We haven’t found the winner yet, but I’ll be sure to let you know which one we pick. Below are four things we’re considering when shopping for our coffee table – I’ve also linked to a few tables I’m loving currently. Which one do you like the best?
Is it just me, or are the last few weeks of summer the busiest of all? Every week I find myself with more on my calendar, from events to hosting guests to impromptu trips (I’m heading to Kansas City next weekend with a few other Chicago bloggers – can’t wait to share more!). As much as I’m excited for fall, there is still so much to enjoy before then. I’m trying to take it slow and soak in every moment. I also turn 30 in November, so this is officially my last summer in my 20’s. More reason to be present and mindful!
As we’re nearing the end of the summer, I’ve been slowly introducing fall pieces back into my wardrobe. Chunky sweaters, ankle boots, and my favorite layering piece…the oversized blouse. This weekend, I paired my white blouse with a Ganni denim wrap top I purchased a couple of years on ASOS. This denim top has been worn as a beach cover, a halter with a bandeau and now as a layer over a blouse. There are just so many ways to wear it! I particularly love how the bow looks in the back.
I’m a big fan of layering over this blouse, if you haven’t noticed (I did it here and here too). An oversized white blouse is (IMO) a wardrobe necessity – it’s one of the best closet basics! If you don’t have one yet, get on it ASAP. I’ve linked to a few for you to shop below, you’ll thank me later.
Lipstick is magic. Do we all agree? You can have zero makeup on, be rocking sweatpants and a tee, throw some lipstick on and BOOM…you’re ready to face the world. I started embracing lipsticks in my early twenties, and red was my go-to in the early days. I’ve since expanded to more adventurous colors – I swap my lipsticks like I do my wardrobes every season. I typically go with brighter tones in the summer (oranges, berries, pinks), and darker, bold tones (eggplants, mochas, burgundys) in the fall & winter. This summer, I wore a lot more nudes than in the past. I think this kind of goes with the minimal makeup look I’ve been experimenting with…either way, nude lips are gorgeous and SO low maintenance!
Below are the lipsticks that have been on my rotation this summer – they range from super bright to barely there, but are all equally amazing. They’ve been there for my statement lip moments to my beach going days!
Real talk for a second…how is it already AUGUST?! This makes me so sad. Time needs to slow down, I was just getting used to summer! We spent the majority of last weekend prepping our deck (I know, who does that at the end of July), which included replacing old boards, power washing, re-staining…the works. Lots of uninteresting stuff that requires manual labor and is the last way we want to spend our precious summer weekends. Good news is, it’s done, and it looks decent. I’ll share pics in a couple weeks once we get our furniture out there. Hoping we can enjoy the deck through October at least!
I also managed to squeeze in time to grab lunch at PQM (obvi listed in my West Loop guide) and check out the Randolph Street Market. My find of the day was this killer belt (I mean…is it not amazing?). It was insanely hot so wearing these black pants was not the brightest idea, but they looked so damn cute with these shoes…I had to do it. I’ve had this Spiderman tee since college, so it’s near and dear to my heart. I bought it around the time of my superhero obsession (which, let’s be honest, is still a thing), but have been bringing it out more and more lately. Graphic tees are fun & edgy, and are now acceptable to wear with basically anything. Why not take advantage of this special time?! Below I’ve shared a few (IMO) of the best places to shop for graphic tees. Where do you buy yours?
Here’s my second and final Greece post from our trip a few weeks back! Usually we go to Greece later in the summer, so it’s been a bit sad to not have the trip to look forward to at the end of August. Luckily, we have a jam packed month with lots of fun activities & are working on finishing up things around the house (not as fun but will be nice to cross off the list!).
The second island stop of our Greece trip was Naxos. None of us had been to the island before, and it was relatively close to Astypalaia (which is the island we were heading to next for a wedding), so we decided to try something new! Part of the Cyclades, Naxos has the beautiful architecture that Greece is known for, and it’s actually quite large for island standards. We saw TONS of Americans there – in fact, a couple I went to high school with was there celebrating their honeymoon days before I arrived! Such a small world.
Naxos definitely has a big island feel – very different from Koufonissi. It was better organized, had more tourism, and catered to visitors making it very easy to navigate the island. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been to so many Greek islands at this point (I’m a bit of a snob now), but I prefer smaller islands that are off the beaten path. I find them to be more intimate and unique. Regardless, Naxos definitely had it’s own charm and there are plenty of things to do and see while you’re there! Here are five things to do in Naxos, Greece –
Is it just me or is this week DRAGGGINNNG?!! I’m still exhausted from our weekend errands – on Sunday, we replaced about 40 planks on our roof deck. Yes, on our own (with the help of friends). I’m still winded from all of that…and even spent this afternoon adding in the last few screws to the new planks. Who am I?! This weekend, we’ll be power washing & re-staining. If you don’t know what any of this means, please continue living in oblivion. I envy you.
Between recovering from vacation and our house work, I squeezed in time to head to my favorite vintage event in the city, Vintage Garage. I didn’t go too crazy there this time around, but this safari dress was one of the two things I came home with. This is not something you’d typically find me wearing, but I loved how much material this particular dress had. It just sits so nicely with a belt. Since the dress is fairly simple, I spiced it up with funky, bold accessories and an orange lip. With a few additions, the dress felt super chic…not so plain after all.
Below I’ve linked to five safari dresses to shop – some are near identical to mine, others have a little twist!
If you’ve been reading along for some time now, you know I frequently call out the unruliness and unpredictability of my brows. It’s even made it’s way to my Instagram bio – yes, it is that much a part of my life. I’ve shared my favorite places to get my brows threaded in Chicago, and around this time last year I discovered the magic of brow gel. Since then, I’ve been religiously using Benefit’s Gimme Brow and it’s changed my life in the eyebrow department!
However, after using Gimme Brow for almost a year now, I felt like it was time to challenge the champion. People have been raving about Glossier’s Boy Brow, so I caved and decided to give it a try. A brow gel face-off then ensued. Which is the best brow gel for me? Have I been wrong all along? I needed to find my brow gel soulmate…
Ahhh reflecting back on our Greece trip…it already feels like ages ago! Two weeks ago I was dancing the night away on an island in the Aegean, and now here I am nestled on my couch writing this post, looking at all my photos from a place that feels so far from reality.
The first island we stopped at on our trip was Ano Koufonissi, a small island part of the Cyclades. There are actually two islands known as “Koufonisia” but one of them is basically uninhabited. Ano Koufonissi is the smallest island of the Cycladic group (Mykonos, Santorini & Milos are also a part of this group), so we didn’t plan much time there thinking 24 hours was enough. Surprisingly, this little island turned out to be our favorite of this trip. Both Leo and I wished we had spent more time there! It truly is a hidden gem.
As a former Nordstrom employee (Nordy’s basically paid for all my bar tabs in college), I get particularly excited about the Anniversary Sale every summer. I remember back in the day the chaos that would ensue the first day of Anniversary – running “dump” (what we called tried on clothes that had to be put back – WHY did we call it “DUMP”?!!), fighting for the best Anniversary shifts (the first day of the sale mornings were always best!), making sure the floor was spic & span after hundreds of people had rummaged through. Things have changed a bit now with presale & early access, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the killer deals!
For the Nordstrom rookies out there, this sale is all brand new fall gear marked down. Once the sale is over, whatever inventory is left gets marked up to regular price, so now is the time to go cray. I will be the first to admit I’m not one who shops in stores much anymore, but this is an event I show up for.
Now we’re in the phase of “early access”, which means you can only shop if you’re a Nordstrom Credit or Debit card holder (if you’re not, find a friend who is STAT). Otherwise, everyone will be able to shop from 7/21-8/6! I’ve linked to my favorite products below – so so many good things to choose from. Shop away!