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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Palm Print Dress

Palm Print Dress

I spent Mother’s Day at my mom’s eating her homemade kebabs (amongst other delicious food). It was surprisingly pleasant to spend the entire day in the burbs – so low key. It’s a nice change of pace from the city life I’m used to! Less people, peace and quiet, little to no traffic…lots of Mom time. She liked her gift (I got her a new Cuisinart food processor per her request haha), so I consider Mother’s Day a success!

I wore this cute little palm print dress from Old Navy (they are CRUSHING it right now, perfect #summervibes) – if you know me, you know I rarely wear print. Something about the print on this dress really captured my attention – it’s bold but not obnoxious (and um…it’s on sale for $15!!!). I also loved how it was just long enough where it feels super summery but not too scandalous! Denim jackets are my go-to when the weather warms up but you still get a breeze in the evening, so I added it as an extra layer to the look. This dress would look cute with white sneaks, but I paired it with my absolute favorite white platform sandals (I LIVE in these in the summer – they instantly make any outfit cool). I topped off my tropical look with an orange lip, because I felt like it was necessary (lipstick is Nars Audacious – Juliette).

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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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Rainy Weekend

Rainy Weekend

Maybe I spoke too soon last week about the nice weather, because I feel like winter is again upon us. What is happening?! This rain needs to end. April is over, let’s move on!

Most times, I’m down when the weather is gloomy (because I’m always go-go-go), but this weekend I needed to do nothing and the weather encouraged me to be lazy. It’s been a hectic few weeks catching up with friends, traveling for work, hosting visitors…I needed a weekend off. I caught up on some house things, including touching up the cabinets in our den (tile is going in next week and I can’t wait to share the before & after pics!), and tidying up the house. Why do I feel like I’m always cleaning? Can the house just stay clean for like 4 days? Impossible. We did watch a movie on Saturday night – Colossal. It was super funny and entertaining, I highly recommend it! I’m not normally an Anne Hathaway fan, but I actually liked her in this one.

When I did venture out of the house on Sunday, it was drizzling rain, so I threw on this trench I picked up on my last thrift run. It’s from Neiman’s from god knows when – the wool is light and has this beautiful shine to it. Leo laughs when I wear it (I’ve been called an 80’s secretary), but I seriously love this thing. The buttons have been miraculously preserved somehow, and though it’s hard to tell in pics, they add so much character to the coat. The lining is also this rich burgundy – so beautiful. To give the coat a more modern twist, I belted it with a double buckle leather belt and wore a sweater dress over jeans underneath.

Let’s hope next week I’ll be sharing a more spring-y outfit! Fingers crossed that this weather takes a turn for the best!

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An Affordable Modern Barn Door

An Affordable Modern Barn Door

From the moment we moved into our house back in November, we knew that we needed to get some sort of door for our guest bedroom. Even though there’s a flight of stairs separating the bedroom from the main floor, we wanted people to at least feel like they have SOME privacy when they stay with us. At the entrance of the stairway, we have a massive opening that’s much larger than the standard doorway. That said, getting a normal door was out the window. Leo then had the brilliant idea of putting a barn door there – we had enough space on the right side to allow for a sliding door. It was the perfect solution!

We fell in love with the modern doors at Rustica, but couldn’t get ourselves to pull the trigger on a $2K+ door (we needed a custom size and that drastically increased the price). The other option was getting one at Home Depot or Lowe’s, but they didn’t have that modern look we were hoping for or the color palette we had in mind. Both Leo and I wanted a rustic look but with a modern edge, otherwise it wouldn’t mesh with the rest of the house. This one we found on Etsy couldn’t be more perfect, and they nailed the color too! We wanted a grey distressed color that would make our floor & walls pop (& goes really well with our sputnik light). You can shop the hardware & barn door we bought here – custom made barn door, Etsy | barn door hardware, Home Depot.

PS – remember the dresser in our hallway from my DIY post? It’s looking even better now with the hallway additions!

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The Beauty Benefits of Charcoal

The Beauty Benefits of Charcoal

Every so often, when I visit my mom in the north burbs, I stop by at the TJ Maxx in Evanston to scope it out. They have an “Off the Runway” department where I’ve come across killer finds in the past, but it’s very hit or miss. The last time I went, I perused the designer department and wasn’t impressed, so I ventured over to the beauty section. It’s not a section of the store I’m familiar with, but after examining the products for a minute or two, it captured my attention.

One of the products I was particularly interested in was this Charcoal facial detox cleanser. I (of course) immediately looked it up online to see if I could find reviews…and I found PLENTY on Amazon, mostly positive. I’ve tried the Boscia charcoal cleanser in the past, but felt it was too pricey for what it was so I stopped buying it. This one seemed like it was similar enough and 1/3 of the cost. I bought it with low expectations and started using it daily. After about 3 weeks of using it, I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the results. My face feels crisp and clean after cleansing, and the cleanser is able to take off most of my makeup (which is a HUGE for me, mainly because I’m lazy). I like that it doesn’t have a fragrance as I’ve been so against fragranced skincare products lately – there’s no way that stuff is good for your skin!

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Mint Green & Bell Sleeves Please

Mint Green & Bell Sleeves Please

What’s my favorite color this season? Mint green, no doubt. I don’t know when or how I became so obsessed with this color, but it’s officially a thing. Now that I think about it, I’m crushing on pastels lately in general. Maybe it’s the time of year, or maybe I’m going through a phase. Either way, I’m owning it!

I had a family luncheon for a baptism in Andersonville on Sunday, and I was SO excited to finally bring out this mint green cropped sweater. I rarely have a more formal event to dress for (yes, this is formal for me, sad), so I was looking forward to getting dolled up and putting on wedges for a change. I even straightened my hair (which, as you know, is a rarity). Before the lunch, I walked around the neighborhood, because I don’t get to go up there often. My parents used to take us there frequently when we were kids, mainly for Swedish Bakery, which recently closed (I’m still getting over this). Almost every single one of my birthday cakes was from this bakery – I was a big fan of their marzipan cake – so I was really sad to see them close after all of these years. Ahhhh…nostalgia.

Backkkk to the outfit! I’ve worn this cropped sweater over a slip dress with sneakers, but I’ve found it also looks great over an oversized white button down. With a pair of cropped grey skinny pants, chunky wedges, big sunnies and my mom’s vintage Gucci, this outfit was the perfect balance of neutrals and a touch of color for a lunch out in the city.

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