July 30th, 2010

Friday, July 30, 2010

Today I am twenty-nine. Seriously?
I don't feel old enough to be this old! To celebrate, I'm co-hosting an 80's punk trolley party with a friend who shares a close birthday.  We'll costume up and ride all over town, acting like heathens and living up the last year of our twenties. Might as well go out with a bang...a teased bang perhaps. Since this birthday is in real time, I'll have to let you know how it turns out. Maybe even share some of the more appropriate pictures ;)

For now, I can tell you that I'm treating myself either yoga or a massage today, (I took the day off!) lunch with the hubby and an appointment to have my makeup done. (If you're gonna be Cyndi Lauper, you need the graphic eyeshadow!)

Happy Weekend!

P.S. That concludes the birthday month series - thanks for following along!

July 30th, 2005

Thursday, July 29, 2010

 Image via The Lion King

Happy Birthday from Chicago! I am twenty-five and I'm celebrating alone. Sort of. We just moved in and I finished my first week of work at my new dream job. To be honest I could care less about my birthday this year, I'm just excited to be here! I'm waiting for my husband to arrive from Tennessee. He worked all day on Friday and couldn't leave until the evening. When he gets here I'll take him to see The Lion King on Broadway, the best show ever! We have to celebrate the birthday and our 2 year anniversary at the same time since he'll head back to TN on Sunday morning. Oh, here he is...off to dinner and the show!

I should have known he would fall asleep. Wouldn't you after working 12 hours, driving 12 hours through the night and staying up all day?? I'm so thankful he was here with me though. The show was fabulous. I can't believe this is our life!

Twenty-five and so alive!!

Starfish Studs

Thursday, July 29, 2010

 I'm on a sea life kick this summer and these starfish studs from Kate Spade are so pretty!

Cakes in Cups

Thursday, July 29, 2010

When I was younger my birthday cake of choice was a mint chocolate chip ice cream cake from Baskin-Robbins. While I could never grow tired of it, this Mango cupcake by Ming is looking like a pretty darn good replacement! Who thought of this idea, cakes in a cup? Genius!

What's your birthday favorite birthday treat?

July 30th, 2004

Thursday, July 29, 2010

 Image via Fabulous & Frugal

I am twenty-three today.

It's my first birthday with a real job. It's a weekday and I take the day off - partly to celebrate, partly to get things done. With my new schedule I had to fit in a dentist appointment. After the wedding and moving and graduation I'm a few months behind. Unfortunately I'm told I have a cavity. My first one ever. I cry the whole way home. I'm so disappointed and mad.  I think something like this was running through my mind  "This is what happens when you get old? You have to deal with dentist appointments and cavities on your birthday?!" The news completely ruined my morning.  Luckily I arrived home to a birthday package from home that included a book, "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" that I'll take to the YMCA pool and read in it's entirety. It will become one of my favorites. The next day we will leave for Las Vegas to celebrate our one year anniversary. This will become the 1st time of many in which birthday/anniversary celebrations are combined together. I'll fight it for a while but eventually I'll be grateful for two happy occasions at once :) At least we're celebrating, right?

July 30th, 2003

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

 Photo source: unknown
I am twenty-two today.

And I am three days away from becoming a Mrs. It's Thursday night and almost everyone I love and cherish is in town for our Saturday wedding. I spent the day visiting with family and friends and thinking how wonderful it was to have everyone together at the same time. I am happy. Elated. After so much excitement and final wedding preparation we return to my Mom's house where I suffer my first and only anxiety attack. A few of us were sitting around talking when I lost my breath. The world was closing in. I felt like my sundress was smothering me. Complete and total panic, arms flailing, pulling at my chest. Luckily I've never experienced that again. Pre-wedding jitters??

At almost 29, it's hard to believe I was a bride at twenty-two. At the time I felt old enough, grown. When I say it now, I realize how young twenty-two really is. But when you know....you know. Seven years later, still mad for him :)

Wedding Wednesday

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

This picture is just the sweetest. The boots are perfect for a Nashville wedding! (The flood ruined the original location in the backyard so it moved to the front. Based on the beautiful photo's I'd say it was meant to be!)

Aren't the Southern Gentlemen looking dapper in suits and purple socks?

Photos by Michael Howard via Style Me Pretty


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

On Sunday we celebrated our 5 year Chicago anniversary - 5 years!! I still can't believe it! The time has flown by since we sold half and packed the rest of our 3 bedroom house in Tennessee and turned this truck:

into this:

Looking back at a post I had written about the move, it said:

We're about to begin a wonderful adventure. It's just that leaving familiar is so hard...

So true! Fast forward five years and I feel so grateful to have lived in this beautiful, exciting city. I'll always be a Tennessee girl at heart but Chi-town is my town. I've learned so much here, the experiences have been amazing and I still love playing a tourist on the weekends!  I hope you all have the chance to visit someday!

(Do you celebrate little holidays like this? We also like: cat birthday's, dating anniversary, and engagement day) :)

July 30th, 1999

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Today I am eighteen.

I should be excited about becoming an 'adult' but all I feel is sadness. Fifteen days ago my grandmother passed away - my first experience with losing a loved one. When I grow up I will realize how well I handled it but now all I can think is how sad I am that things will change. Holiday's will feel a bit emptier, a little less laughter in the room.

My entire family has spent the past month with her at the hospital. She was sick but we didn't know how bad it was. Still feisty enough to correct me while I did her hair and makeup, maybe I was in denial. At the very end we gathered with her in ICU. Despite being unconscious and on a ventilator, I believe she waited for my Mom to 'take a break' before beginning her descent. I stood there holding her right hand as machines beeped and nurses buzzed in and out, watching the little squiggly line on the heart rate monitor get smaller and smaller until it was no more.  And I held my breath as she took her last. I looked at her through my tears and then down to my feet. I realized what I was wearing - a boyfriend's college sweatpants, an American Eagle t-shirt - and wasn't sure if it was appropriate attire for such a huge moment in life. Little do I know that eleven years later I still won't bring myself to part with those items.

Eight months later, my grandfather will die of a broken heart. I will repeat the same routine and hold his left hand while he greets her again in Heaven. I like to think I'm between the two of them sometimes. When I struggle, I think of them guiding me, gently leading me to a calmer path. When I'm excited, I think of the 3 of us holding hands, jumping up and down like children. When I hear a series of beeps like a fast food fryer or a truck in reverse I'm transported back to those two moments but I smile through a tinge of sadness. I wouldn't trade that experience for anything.

It was an honor.

Fashionable Family

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Photo via The Cut

Oh my goodness, how cute is this family?? Do you think the kids have their own fabulous style or a fabulous stylist? Either way, the fact that they're willing to participate is good enough for me!

The Real Martin + Osa

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Behind most great concepts is a great story. Before Martin + Osa stores, there were the real Martin and Osa Johnson, an American couple from Kansas who ventured in then unknown lands. The Johnson's shared their experiences with the world through photos, lectures and films. From 1917-1936 they captured African life offering many Americans their first understanding of these distant lands.  Their contributions were so magnificent that a museum was built to honor them in their hometown of Chanute, Kansas.

Oh how wonderful to experience such exciting travels and adventures!

Martin, Martin's father, unidentified man and Osa
Africa, 1921

Zebra along the Ol Gueri River 
Africa, 1921

Osa with ostrich eggs
Africa, 1928

To learn more about Martin and Osa, visit the Safari Museum website.
You can view more of their incredible photos here.

One of the things I love most about blogging is that you never know what's next.  After posting my sadness about M + O stores closing I received a comment from the Safari Musuem which I'm embarrassed to say,  didn't know existed. I was aware of the concept of the stores but had no idea of impact this couple truly had in real life. I spent time searching through the museum website among others and am completely fascinated with their story. While searching I came across this...

 In 1940, Osa also wrote a book about their lives. Appropriately named I Married Adventure, it details some of the explorations they encountered. Adding it to my birthday wishlist :) How fabulous is the cover??

Photos courtesy of the Safari Museum.

Pretty Pillows

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Is this not just the cutest thing? I'm sucker for city buildings and minature clothes - aaaaaahhh!
Olive is the shop and Diana is hosting a giveaway! Hurry, go enter!

Floating Ballerina's

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

In love with this photographic art by Brooke Shaden.
See more on Flickr.

July 30th, 1997

Monday, July 19, 2010

Today I am sixteen. I want a car but I'm not expecting one. I know money is tight and I've never been the type to ask for things. I never even picked a dream car in my mind.

I'm getting ready for a birthday date. My hair is in curlers and my boyfriend is coming to pick me up. I live just down hill from my grandparents and I get a call to come there right away. Growing up constantly monitoring their health, not a minute is spared. I race up the hill in my cutoff sweat pants and pink tank top, curlers to match. Breathless, I notice a strange car in the driveway. A 1987 Chrysler LeBaron. The family is standing around clapping. It takes a minute for me to realize that this car is mine. After moments of disbelief, I sit down and notice everything. As I close the door a voice says, "Please fasten your safety belt."   What was that?? This car talks to me?!  From that day forward, the voice became Francois and he alerted me when my fuel was low, a door was ajar, or maintenance was needed. He wasn't new, he wasn't perfect. But he was my Francois.

See more of the birthday month series here.

Weekend Jam

Friday, July 16, 2010

If you're following my tweets (I mean, you are right?) you saw my lovefest for K'naan this morning.

This song is on constant repeat for my looong commute. Besides the beat that makes me break it down as much as you can behind a steering wheel, the lyrics really grab me.

You need the album.

Wishing you all a happy, hot summer weekend!!

Vacation Dress

Friday, July 16, 2010

 I might not need a vacation if I could live in this dress.
You must check out the full Sunday Brunch dress shop - truly fabulous!

Martin + Osa Tribute

Friday, July 16, 2010

So we had our last Martin + Osa fashion show in our bedroom Monday night. (Thank you additional 50% off clearance!)  M+O stores are closing any day now and I couldn't be more sad! It might sound silly but for some reason I get emotionally attached to things like this. And since retail is near and dear to my heart I obviously grieve for the employees affected.  Here's our last batch of goodies!

Thanks for the beautiful, quality body coverings M+O, you'll be missed!

How to Pose in Pictures

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Daily Candy to the rescue! Watch this vid and become a photo pro.

What is it about taking pictures that makes having hands feel so awkward??  It's like they hang at the end of your arms all day but when someone decides to snap a photo you're suddenly aware and they feel so....strange.

Chicago Fashion Foundation's 'Little Black Dress Party'

Monday, July 12, 2010

What happens when Chicago fashionista's gather for a Little Black Dress Party? Fashionable Fun is had by all!!

Stylish ladies (and a few gents) enjoyed the wonderful rooftop at Wrigleyville's Casey Moran's, sipping on special cocktails like "Girls Night Out Martini's" and gabbing the night away. Who knew the LBD could be accessorized so many different ways? No two were alike! Giving back is always in style and proceeds benefited the Chicago Fashion Foundation. Stay tuned to future CFF events by becoming a member - details here.

These photos are filled with fabulous ladies and two I know you'll just love are Kristen (center) of K.Amato jewelry and Johanna (far right) - fellow blogger at 101 Things I Love. Check them out, you'll be as hooked as I am! Then please advise if I should go blonde? Feeling a little left out in the picture below... :)

What should I wear today?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Photo via we heart it

Have you ever needed a quick second opinion while shopping or getting dressed in the morning? (Surely you said yes... if not, please share your secret!) How genius is a website that lets you upload a quick photo and get on the spot opinions? Fashism and Go Try It On do just that. Instant friends reply with thumbs up or constructive criticism. Said to be largely snark and judgmental free too!

Read the NY Times story here.

Calling all Chicago Ladies!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Benefiting the Chicago Fashion Foundation, it's a great excuse to pull out that black beauty in your closet and enjoy the Chicago summer in style!
View details here.

Straw Clutch

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Welcome back cupcakes! Hope your long weekend was fabulous! Summer is in full swing now and I'm craving a lightweight clutch. I love that this one looks like something I might pull from my Grandmother's closet. Aaand it's on clearance...

Happy 4th Weekend!!

Friday, July 2, 2010

A holiday weekend is upon us and I hope you have something fabulous planned!  Extra days off are my favorite. I've got a list a mile long of things to do including: visit a U-pick farm in Michigan, fireworks (of course) and my first Hot Yoga experience!  Be safe, stay cool and wear sunscreen :) 

Hubby snapped this picture of the Wrigley Building on the 4th of July last year. I love that buildings in the city color coordinate with holidays. Details!

July 30th, 1994

Friday, July 2, 2010

 Photo: source unknown

I am thirteen.

I have a family party and a sleepover with girlfriends. My must have birthday treat is a mint chocolate chip ice cream cake from Baskin-Robbins. We'll laugh about this the rest of my life because this particular one will remain half eaten in the freezer for 2 months prompting the comment, "That's been in there since Ashleigh's 13th birthday", a phrase we still use to this day when inquiring about the freshness status of food, whether it's a freezer item or not. This remark always promotes laughter and once again makes me so so grateful for my family.

This is also the first birthday I receive my first real teenager outfit. In the days before 13 year olds were fashionista's, Forever21's were on every corner and little girls partied at Club Libby Lu we lived off of Rave, Merry Go Round and 5-7-9. My 'teenager' outfit was nothing more than a tank tube dress. It wasn't revealing or super short, but it was form fitting and fabulous. Black and white striped. I felt like a grown up. I think I wore it once. Sometimes you just aren't ready to be an adult yet...

July is my Birthday Month {New Series}

Thursday, July 1, 2010

July is my birthday month. The actual day isn't until the 30th but I start getting all reflective on the 1st, sort of counting down the whole way, reviewing and evaluating the past year while preparing for a new one. It's my own personal mid year resolution time. This birthday is significant to me because I'm entering the last year of my 20's (eeek!) and to commemorate I'd like to start a new series for this month. I've noticed lots of '30 before 30' lists floating around out there and while I think that's a wonderful idea I already have more lists than I know what to do with!  So I'm opting to do a sort of recap of my years instead. You see - it's a wonderful life I've had. Sure, sometimes daily life is frustrating, sad or overwhelming. But overall, it's been a good run. So... in similar form to my Grateful Series I'm going to spend a little time posting moments from my life that mattered. Happy or sad, big or small. The moments that make me...me. I can't promise entertainment - it's more of a personal recap - but maybe you'll learn something or think of your special moments. If so, I hope you'll share!

P.S. A new month means a new calendar. This adorable one is from Red Stamp, the blue makes me think of a pool - perfect for summer :)  Get it here.

Angie's Kettle Corn

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Confession: I'm a snacker.

I love crunchy, salty, sweet. Texture is important, taste is essential. Little bites of goodness to enjoy mid afternoon at work, picnicking at the beach or chilling on the balcony. I'm always searching for healthy snacks because realistically, I'm not the type to plan ahead and have fresh snacks prepared. Naturally, I was thrilled when I received samples of Angie's Kettle Corn in the mail. But I have to admit, I'm not usually a fan of bagged popcorn. I usually find it too chewy, lacking that just popped crunch. However, my taste buds were delighted - this stuff is absolutely delicious and the real deal. And by real deal I mean actually real. No artificial flavors, no words you can't prouncounce. Only four natural ingredients: Popcorn, Corn Oil, Cane Sugar, and Sea Salt.

I'm not a nutrition label freak but I've read enough to know that is a good label!  Angie's Kettle Corn has no cholesterol, trans-fats, or preservatives and only 150 calories per serving. Those on special or restricted diets will appreciate that it's Kosher certified and gluten-free. And it's YUMMY!! I've been a kettle corn eater for years now.  Since I was introduced to it I've never returned to plain or buttered. Something about the salty/sweet combination was the heaven for my taste buds. And the fact that Angie's is natural and delicious - I love it!

You know what else I love? The story. Angie is an actual person, a nurse practitioner, and she started making kettle corn with her husband back in 2001 as a small outdoor vendor operation. Today, Angie’s is the official kettle corn of the Minnesota Vikings, Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Twins, can be found in 35 states and you can buy it online!

I'm so excited about this product - it's yummy, it's easy to transport (no popping required), and it's a much healthier alternative to my current salty/sweet solution (I won't name names but it rhymes with Kickers....:)

Chicagoan's - check out Angie's Facebook page for the scoop on where you can score a sample around town this weekend! The rest of you, run out and buy some. Your taste buds will thank you! Be sure to come back and tell me what you think!

Until you get your hands on this kettle corn awesomeness - what's your current favorite snack??