Wednesday, April 9, 2014

This is how we 'que it.

A couple of weekend ago, craving warmer temp's and a little family visit, we drove down to London, Kentucky to meet up with my mom and stepdad for a barbecue competition. (Hilariously named "Grills Gone Wild.) Back when we lived in Tennessee we'd join in on these pretty frequently, but it's been a long while since we've been able to participate. Unfortunately it rained most of the weekend, which meant cold and mud, but we still took our jobs as "runners" (the people who turn in the meats to the judges) very seriously. And it felt amazing to be with the fam again, if only for a few days.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Recent Reads

In keeping with my new years resolution to read more, here are a few books I've enjoyed lately. (Some were via Audible (it totally counts!), which is a sanity saver during long commutes.) It's also helped that we've had a long, cold and snowy winter which provided the perfect setting to curl up with blankets and a good book. Here's the scoop in small sized snips!

  • What Remains - Love, heartbreak and history all rolled in one. If you love the Kennedy family like I do, you'll enjoy this one. 
  • The Husband's Secret - Twists and turns you'll never expect. An awesome audible listen. The narrator's voice gave life to the unknowingly intertwined characters that I thoroughly enjoyed. For one week, I actually wished for traffic. My favorite of the year so far.
  • Divergent - Young adult literature for young adults of all ages. Perfect for my post-Hunger Games cravings.
  • Crazy Sexy Diet - ok this isn't a diet diet. It does contain a 21 plan, but that's just a small part of this book. More like a lifestyle read, I love Kris' friendly tone and how she breaks down nutrition in a simple way that might finally convince you to make those changes you've been pondering. 
  • Waiting to be Heard - You'll hardly believe this nightmare was someone's reality. Not guilty!

Bonus round: I read these but they're not favorites for the reasons below.

  • The Dinner - Not all books are made for Audio, and this is one of them. The narrators voice made the main character sound so whiny and over-analytical that it honestly just got on my nerves. (Not to mention I couldn't stand the way he drew out the name "Serge" like "Searrrrrrge.") Each "course" just seemed to drag on and on. I really wanted to like it but it was seriously the longest dinner of my life. 

Currently reading: 

The Cuckoo's Calling on Kindle / What Alice Forgot on Audible 

Up next: 

Monday, March 17, 2014

St. Patty's Shenanigans

Chicago turned green again this weekend! My cousin came in from North Carolina to help us celebrate and can I just say, it's awesome having a family member that gets just as excited for dress up opportunities as I do. (Recognize the wig?) We donned our festive gear (plus coats - unfortunately, the weather wasn't as fabulous as this) but we did have some sunshine so the water looked extra festive and I was able to bust out my Patrick tee again so no complaints here. We started at the river and made our way north over the course of about eleven hours, with loads of green beer, dancing, and photo opps in between. All in all, a success.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Spring Beauty Faves

I recently acquired a few more "can't live without" items in my beauty repertoire that you might enjoy, too. Also wanted to mention a new favorite site... Mom turned me onto BeautySage a few months ago and so far I've been very happy with the selection and items ordered, including several of these.  Definitely worth a peek.

Now, onto the products:

Lollitint - Benefit stains are the bomb dot com.  Posietint and ChaChatint have been long time favorites and Spring 2014's new Lollitint is so Radiant Orchid inspired my inner hue guru could just squeal. For a warmer weather glow, it's absolutely lovely on cheeks and it gives lips the prettiest pop when paired with gloss.

Essie Play Date - another Radiant Orchid homage. I'm so NOT a purple gal, but something about this fresh lilac/lavender shade is right on.

Black Soap - Strange, but awesome. My face feels squeaky clean but not stripped. Use as a soap or a mask!

Rose Body Oil - I've been big on body oils since the end of last summer. After trying a few, this one definitely rose to the top (see what I did there?). Applied on damp skin, it moisturizes like a dream. The floral scent is divine; fragrant enough to please the nose, yet faint and fades quickly so it won't interfere with perfumes.

Scotch Polish Remover - This product could also be called, "the marriage saver polish remover." Technically, it's been a chiller weather beauty fave since at some point this dreadful winter I realized I couldn't torment my hubby and his sensitive smeller with traditional polish remover any longer. I took a chance on this one and holy mackerel, why'd I wait so long before trying a non-toxic version?? Spritz once or twice (trying to hit most of the fingers at once), let set a few seconds, then swipe. Fragrance free, gentle, and has saved many a mani argument. (Just be sure swipe nails with an alcohol pad before painting as it does leave an oil-like residue.)

What products are you loving lately?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Chinese New Year 2014

For the fourth year now, we've attended the Chinese New Year parade and celebration in Chicago's Chinatown. It's such a fun, festive activity and feels like a mini vacation from our typical weekend routine. (Which, this winter, has included lots of Netflix and napping.) Here are a few photo's from the "Year of the Horse" last Sunday and a some predictions for what's ahead.

Kung Hei Fat Choy! says "the year of the horse is a perfect time to “gallop” towards challenges; this will improve strength in life and help dreams come true. It’s also a good year for trusting intuition, but it’s key to plan carefully and keep a clear head when it comes to financial matters." So, gambling is out. 

The Independent says, "people will stick more to their principles and stand firm. So it is hard to negotiate or compromise as there are more tendencies for people to fight for their ideals.”

Follow along on Instagram to see our adventures in real time!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Live to the point of tears.


I tend to get anxious over the first post of the new year. Honestly, it's a post a write more for myself than for the reader because it's a great personal checks and balances from year to year. But it's always hard to know where to begin and where to end. Usually, a few days in, something will just come to me, a way to sum up one year and start a new one, and the words will start to flow. But sixteen days into 2014, nada. After a hectic fall / December, I've been a bit behind on things I would normally die at the thought of (late Christmas gifts, forgetting birthday's, etc.) but oddly wasn't that bothered this time around. I was beginning to wonder what was wrong with me. And as I reread my first post of 2013, I started to fear that maybe I'd let go a little too much.

I stumbled on this print in early January and a few days later, a pivotal small moment happened. 

We were having afternoon tea, our 2nd annual to start the new year, when my husband received an email relating to a problem with his business. He was frustrated but calm and we spent a few minutes venting before directing the conversation back to more pleasant things, little things - like how pretty the setting was and what a perfect day (rainy) for warm tea. And during this, I got teary. I wasn't sad, just literally living to the point of tears. It was the first time I realized this is something that happens to me often. It happened here. And here.

Then, listening to this audiobook a week later, a sentence grabbed me.

"With each small cry, it feels less a release and more like an irrepressible unfiltered tenderness at being fully here. The more of these moments I experience, the less a problem it seems, for isn't this what I've been after, to be this close to life, to be pricked beneath the surface of things? Isn't anything that keeps us this close to life a gift?" - Mark Nepo

2013 included some bigger goals and plans that didn't pan out. Though a little disappointed, we weren't devastated, because sometimes things simply aren't meant to be and we pretty comfortable with trusting the path. That said, last year was pretty awesome as well. We traveled. We partied. We lived. I didn't do so well with putting the phone down, and I'm still pretty impatient. But I did work my way through this book which is And regardless of any of that, I can say that I lived to the point of tears. 

I've been thinking about time a lot lately and how much faster it seems to pass with each day. I'm doing the best I can to enjoy the little moments, after all, the little things are part of the theme of this blog. But I'm also realizing that I've put some things off that simply cannot wait. So without further ado: 

In 2014 I want to:
  • Define my actionable goals. I know what you're thinking, "shouldn't that be the content of this post??". Well, yes. It should. But as I mentioned, I'm behind on stuff. 
  • Continue the internal work. Wanna read this daily, and go to that
  • More family/friend time. Being busy is really just a lame excuse.
  • Read more (Audible counts). At the very least, 13 books this year. Starting with this book club.
  • Keep traveling. Nothing renews me more.
  • Blog more. This site has gone from stationery, to fashion, to hopefully a little more personal this year. Ideally, I envision a virtual scrapbook to look back on in years to come. I'm not planning on going back to a post per day habit, but you'll be seeing a bit more of me around in 2014.
  • Keep up with the purging. I'm going to be ruthless this year, if I don't love it, it goes.
  • Live to the point of tears. 
  • And obviously, more theme parties

I hope your year is off to a wonderful start. Wishing you all the best in 2014! 

P.S. Funny story, I actually accidentally deleted the entire contents of this post and had to rewrite it all over again. Talk about living to the point of tears. Unfortunately, after rewriting, I don't think it's nearly as well said as the first draft but am posting it anyway. Look at me, checking off a goal already ;) 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013