Lifestyle

Monday Mindfulness

Monday Mindfulness

The worst part of going on vacation is always the aftermath…coming back to reality. I tend to reflect on all of the beautiful places I visited, and am saddened that I don’t have the flexibility to spend more time seeing other parts of the world. To my surprise, coming home from this last trip I found the transition to be slightly less difficult.

I thought about why my vacation blues didn’t linger as long as usual. It could just be that I’m getting older and am becoming more of a homebody, but I don’t think that’s the case. I think that I’m finally in a place where I’m able to recreate the things I love about vacation at home (outside of exploring the world, of course). It’s more about that excitement and ability to decompress. I’m excited about our new home and spending time enjoying it. I’m excited about summer in Chicago and exploring new restaurants, bars, and summer events. I’m excited about hosting friends and sharing our home & city with them. I’ve learned to plan better (aka learning to say “no”) so I’m not overcommitting – definitely a source of stress for me in the past. Bottom line is, I don’t feel like I’m only happy on vacation, which is a good thing!

I realized I didn’t do a mindfulness post in June, so it was hard to pick just five articles this month! So many good reads out there! Below are a few links across the web that have inspired and motivated me the last couple of months –

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How To Reinvent Your Closet in 3 Steps

How To Reinvent Your Closet in 3 Steps

Those mornings you spend staring hopelessly at your closet, feeling like you have NOTHING to wear…we’ve all been there. A closet full of clothes with nothing to wear – how do you get around this? Considering most of us are on a budget, buying a whole new wardrobe is just not an option. I used to face this conundrum often, until I recently revamped my closet. It took me a weekend to do, but now I wake up excited to wear what I have and I no longer have the urge to buy more (which is rarity for me!). Don’t get me wrong, I have still been getting little things here and there, but more accessories than anything. Have I convinced you that you need to do this yet?!

Now, put some time aside and prepare to fall in love with your wardrobe all over again. The steps I followed are fairly simple, they just take time and energy. Grab a glass of rosé, put on a good playlist and GO!

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Home Spotlight: Outdoor Lighting Ideas

Home Spotlight: Outdoor Lighting Ideas

We’ve finally wrapped up construction in the house! YAY! It’s SOOOO nice to not have contractors in and out constantly…and after hours and hours of cleaning, I’ve managed to get out the dust. We’re starting to feel settled, which is an unfamiliar yet very welcomed feeling. There’s so much open space now that we don’t have boxes, equipment, paint and other random stuff laying around. I can’t handle clutter – I was losing my mind towards the end there! Anyway, I’m ready to move on from this stage to more fun, exciting things like home accessories.

Our next project is furnishing our deck. One recent discovery (& a warning for those of you who are as clueless as I was) – outdoor furniture is EXPENSIVE. Like, way more than you’d want to pay for furniture that is going to be sitting outside taking on the elements. Another thing I’ve never spent too much time dwelling on is outdoor lighting. I always thought it was just…THERE. Yeah, not the case. We realized we needed more lighting ASAP after having our first BBQ a few weeks back – we all had our iPhone lights on to avoid face planting down the steps and/or dropping the delicious food/cocktails we had just carefully crafted.

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Father’s Day Gift Ideas: 2017

Father’s Day Gift Ideas: 2017

I was going through old photos at my mom’s this weekend, and I think it’s safe to say that it’s officially one of my favorite pastimes. My dad’s a photographer, so we have boxes & boxes of photographs…from my parents engagement photos, baptisms, family vacations, birthday parties to simple moments like my brother playing on our swing set. I love seeing photos of us as kids, but I particularly love seeing photos my parents & grandparents. It’s such a strange thing to see pics of my parents when they were my age – I wonder what they were thinking, what challenges they were facing, what dreams they were aspiring towards. Life is a crazy thing.

Father’s Day tends to be a more emotional holiday for me. I’ve always been close with my mom, but my dad and I have had our ups and downs over the years. Maybe it’s because we’re weirdly alike, or that we’re both stubborn and refuse to see things from the other’s perspective. Either way, we’ve always had a different type of relationship, and I don’t get to see him as often as I’d like for various reasons. I also lost my grandfather a couple of years ago – the first time I ever lost a family member that close. I feel very lucky to have grown up with a grandfather, as I know many people aren’t able to experience that, and I have some guilt about not appreciating the time I had with him as much as I could have.

With all that said, I try to make the most out of every Father’s Day and spend some quality time with Dad. I’ve realized the importance of telling loved ones how much I care and spending time with them because you just never know how much time you have.

On a lighter note – quality time is the best gift you can give, but an actual gift is a always a nice little bonus. I put together a quick list of the Father’s Day gifts that are top of mind, and will put a smile on Dad’s face (no guarantees, but I think you’ll get something out of him!).

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Is Sous Vide Cooking Worth it?

Is Sous Vide Cooking Worth it?

No, I am not a professional chef…but I that doesn’t mean I don’t want to be one. I mean, that’d be a nice little bonus right? Hi, I work in advertising, I have a life & style blog..AND oh yeah, I am a professional chef.

I always wondered how restaurants manage to cook steak perfectly EVERY TIME. It has to be chaos in those kitchens (my kitchen is chaos cooking for two – I still can’t get stuff to cook properly!), how do they keep track of how much time each steak requires?! Well, I hate to break it to you, but most restaurants don’t keep track. They have this magical device called the sous vide.

There are different variations of sous vides – ones used by large restaurants vary from those made for us wannabe chefs. I purchased a home-friendly sous vide, the Joule by ChefSteps, to see what all this hype was about (& because I wanted to make progress against my #chefgoals). The device came with a hefty price tag at $199, but curiosity inspired me to pull the trigger.

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Where to Shop Affordable Modern Couches

Where to Shop Affordable Modern Couches

I’m back!!! I feel like I’ve been gone forever. I took a little hiatus as I was in San Francisco last week. I extended what was meant to be a work trip and crashed with my cousin (who lives there) for the weekend. We lucked out with beautiful weather, so I spent a lot of time walking around, exploring new neighborhoods, eating tasty food. It was really nice to take some time to unplug – much needed. Now I’m refreshed and ready to get back in the swing of things!

I know I sound like a broken record, but seriously…the house has been our lives as of late. We’re finally wrapping up the renovations (will have a new room to share in the coming weeks!) and are starting to focus more on furniture & decor. The most stressful furniture purchases were the couches…and luckily, we ordered these first knowing we’d need them the most. Couches are BIG purchases, and given so much shopping is now done online, it’s makes it even more stressful! It’s scary to pull the trigger on something you haven’t seen in real life.

We, naturally, did a ton of research before deciding on which couches to get. My definition of “affordable” in this case is couches under $2K – if you’re looking to spend under $1K, Ikea is your best friend (we actually purchased this Ikea couch in light grey for the office – it’s great!). Urban Outfitters is another go-to if you’re looking to buy a couch on the real cheap! We got this Urban Outfitters couch for our den upstairs (you can see it here). For the living room, we wanted something nicer, knowing we would be using it the most & would have it forever – or however long couches last nowadays (better be a long time given the investment!). I wanted to share with you where we were shopping & what we ended up with – aka all of the below places are vetted!

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Why Sprouted Grains Are Healthier

Why Sprouted Grains Are Healthier

I’ve adjusted my diet the last few weeks, mainly to get a hold of my sugar problem, but also to lose a couple of pounds I put on over the holidays in preparation for summer! One of they key adjustments I made was cutting out all sugar, aside from fruit, and also eating foods that have a low glycemic index (i.e. foods that have minimal impact on your blood sugar – better for your metabolism & ultimately your health). The no sugar thing has been SO tough…that can literally be a blog post all on it’s own! Good news is, it gets better after the first week.

The other major change I made was the types of grains I’m eating. I am still eating grains – for one thing, I can’t live without SOME carbs in my diet, but I also strongly believe in the notion of moderation. I don’t think cutting anything completely out of your diet (outside of sweets & bad fats) is a good thing. However, I’ve been focusing on eating more sprouted grains. I know, you have questions…keep reading!

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Monday Mindfulness

Monday Mindfulness

Life has been a whirlwind lately (when is it not?!). The last week Leo was out of town, so I had plenty of alone time to reconnect with myself and get my life in order. That means lots of gym time, attempting to cook (as I’m trying to eat better – I’ll share more on that later this week!) – hanging with friends and curling up in bed at 9pm on a Friday to watch Harry Potter…yes, that actually happened. I will say there were many cocktails had the night before that resulted in this Harry Potter marathon. It was just what I needed.

Outside of the usual craziness, I’ve been experiencing something lately that I think comes with the late twenties…re-evaluating friendships. I’ve recently talked about how many of my friends are in different life stages, which is to be expected at age 29. However, one thing I did not expect was for some friendships to fizzle out. It’s a weird phenomenon – I realized that there were select people in my life that simply weren’t being good friends. I’m still not sure if these people recently changed, or if I’m just realizing something that’s been there all along. Either way, it’s been a challenging but enlightening experience. As I closed doors, new ones opened. The moment I made it a priority to branch out & meet new people, I did, and in the most hilarious ways (i.e. Lyft line- ha!). It’s been a long time since I’ve opened myself up to someone new. I struggled with it at first, but I found I’m learning more about myself throughout this process in addition to learning more about what I value & expect out of a friendship. It’s funny how life works sometimes.

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Our Modern Minimalist Bathroom

Our Modern Minimalist Bathroom

My life has been so consumed with home renovations – between picking out paint colors & tile, to dealing with various stuff that comes with owning a house (roof leaks, broken porch lights – it never ends!!). That said, it makes me all the more excited to share when we actually FINISH something! This time around, it’s our master bath…potentially my favorite makeover thus far.

Our master bath is the room that got the biggest facelift in our house. Previously, it was small, crammed, dark, and even worse…had a single vanity! That wasn’t going to fly. We wanted to open it up and make it a brighter space – this involved some serious construction like moving the door, knocking down storage areas that were embedded in the ceiling, building a completely new shower. The things that come up while your remodeling you can sometimes NEVER expect. Lots of improvising and flexibility is needed…along with the million decisions you have to make (which is what makes it all so stressful). Regardless, it’s so worth it in the end. You quickly forget about those late nights you spent debating between paint colors (the winner was Calm by Benjamin Moore)!

Now…let’s start with a quick snapshot of the before & after, so you know what kind of changes I’m talking!

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Eyebrow Threading in Chicago: Where to Go

Eyebrow Threading in Chicago: Where to Go

Since I can remember, my brows have been out of control. There was a point where I had an eyebrow…that’s right, eyebrow singular. Let’s just say ages 11-14 were my rough years. The photos I have from this period are frightening…to put things into perspective, my eyebrows were the least of my worries. I didn’t know how to manage my curly hair, I had a mustache (this was pre-waxing days), there was a lot going on.

I didn’t attempt cleaning up my eyebrows until 7th grade, and it was LONG overdue. They still were insanely thick, but at least I split them into two caterpillars vs. one. Baby steps. By freshman year of high school, I had discovered the miracle of eyebrow threading. I don’t know why I didn’t consider waxing initially, perhaps because waxing would not have done the job? I can’t recall, but either way, threading was the best discovery I ever made. In fact, I still do it to this day.

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