Saturday, May 31, 2014

hamilton beach!

I just made the most amazing smore cookies using the Hamilton Beach hand mixer.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


during winter, i become a creature of comfort. i forego any sort of cute footwear for Uggs and rubber rain boots. the minute i come home, i immediately trade my work pants for embarrassingly large and unflattering pants with my sorority letters sown on the butt (but they are sooooo comfortable). hoodies and sweaters are in constant rotation. 

but with the spring flowers coming out recently and mother earth showing off her finery, i've been making efforts to step my game up as well. 

i've been all about making gradual changes recently. i joined a gym, am scouting out local studios, am itching to get on my bike and ride around our neighborhood, and i've got serious spring cleaning on the brain. getting back in shape and having a clean home make me a happier human. something else that makes me happy? putting effort into how i look. my work uniform for the past few months has been jeans + long sleeve shirt + birkenstock clogs. no make-up or my trademark chunky michael kors watch. comfy? sure. did i feel great about how i was presenting myself? no. 

instead of doing a huge wardrobe overhaul, i'm making gradual changes. as in any habit, i believe the changes that stick are the ones you make gradually and give yourself and your body time to get used to. after all, you don't go from lethargy to running a marathon, do you?

i've taken a page out of emily of cupcakes and cashmere's book and i've decided to follow her tagline: elevate everyday life. not everyday has to be a party, but it should be special. and little things like smoking slippers with bows on them and a pastel manicure are two things making me feel just a little bit better today. 

springtime essie manicure i got for a friend's wedding 

how do you elevate your everyday life? 


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

motivated & accountable.

i feel like a big part of my personal blogging and the blogs i follow is motivation. motivation to work out more, eat healthier, dress more stylishly, keep an organized home, spend less money, take more beautiful photographs. i talk a big game on my blog, but i will be honest, a long day takes it out of me. usually all i want is take-out, a glass of wine, and a netflix marathon when i get home from work. i don't feel like hanging up a gallery wall, cleaning out my bathroom cabinet, folding laundry, running a few miles, or cooking tilapia and spring greens for dinner.

my question is: how do you stay motivated? how do you get yourself to the gym after work instead of parking it on the couch? any insight would be much appreciated. you're talking to a girl with a brand new gym membership who needs inspiration to kick all aspects of her life into gear!

this is what i love about blogging: a built-in community of support. let's help each other out.
-praying that this becomes your mantra whenever you have doubt and that you believe it. praying for a thorough day of preparation. praying for a restful night of sleep. praying for complete understanding of the questions that result in the best answers possible. praying that your confidence gains momentum to catch up with the confidence others have in you. YOU CAN DO IT!! <3

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Thursday, April 24, 2014

couch to 5k.

so after a long winter of hibernation (and nights in with craft beer and heavy food), i've decided to make exercising a real priority. a year ago, my roommate and her boyfriend and i did insanity most nights after work and i was in pretty good shape. when i'm exercising a lot, i'm way more conscious about what i put into my body, since i'm more in touch with the work it takes to burn it off. that went on hold, however, when we all moved out and i moved away from my old gym. trying on cocktail dresses for a wedding i'm going to this weekend really brought things back home...

inspired by my friend lauren over at the windy cardigan, i've downloaded the couch to 5k app and went on my first run tonight. i am admittedly not a runner. i get bored easily. i always need a magazine on the elliptical and really specific, fast-paced music. 

this is where i'm looking for assistance. i don't see myself becoming a marathon runner but i would like to make running part of my routine (and to reincorporate yoga back into my weeks). and i am a novice. i'm not sure what the right shoes are (the ones above are ones i thought were cute from tj maxx), when to stretch, how to stretch, what foods to eat before and after, etc. any advice would be greatly appreciated as i continue on my journey to win back my old body and to get healthy!

how do you stay healthy? 

Monday, April 14, 2014

weekend update (4/11-4/13)

trader joe's poutine for dinner on friday.

i had a captive audience for my dinner. the cats also insisted on watching sisterhood of the traveling pants two. i couldn't say no to those faces... although they really just look like eyes on bodies.

i attended the media brunch at davanti enoteca's river north location on behalf of chicago food bloggers with my friend kate and had the food coma to end all food comas after it was over. i can't wait to share a post about the event with you all. everything i ate was literally out of this world and was a refreshing take on italian food. the bloody mary bar set up was unbelievable (see my rendition of the classic brunch cocktail above). i also got to meet and network with other local foodies. a great saturday afternoon.

savoring the 70+ degree weather on saturday.

sunday morning breakfast: red velvet doughnut from glazed & infused in river north

a dreary sunday called for a long walk past my favorite house and lush crocuses in my parents' neighborhood.

this past weekend in chicago was beautiful. people were wearing shorts and sandals! i was even hot in my long sleeve tee, jeans, and flats i wore to the media brunch. i came home, rolled myself to our back patio (food coma, oof), and camped out on a blanket for a few hours, reading and sipping a blue moon. it was just the respite i needed, and it came just in time, because it is supposed to snow today. chicago, i don't get you. saturday's weather had me dreaming of summer and the music festivals i'll be attending. my pinterest is currently a mass of jean shorts, scuffed up boots, sun-bleached hair, flower crowns, and breezy stops. sun, i miss you! please come back!

this week, i'll continue working on my 40 bags in 40 days challenge and will hopefully be able to make it out for some post-work walks and bike rides. temperatures are supposed to creep up into the high 50's on wednesday. fingers crossed they keep going up! 

what is on your plate this week?


Thursday, April 10, 2014

40 bags in 40 days.

ever since finding out my local goodwill gets clearance cast-offs from target, i had been going once a week to see what i could score. like a lion hunting some poor gazelle, i would stalk through the racks of crystal serving platters and chipped cookie jars for the new-in-box target goods that i couldn't wait to get my hands on. 

well, the seas parted and the skies cleared when i found MULTIPLE BOXES of these babies:

brand new, undamaged sets of 4 geometric gold and white appetizer plates. be still my beating heart. how cute are they? i asked myself. i must have them. they must be mine. 

like a crazy person, i threw carefully placed 5 boxes in my cart and hovered over my cart like that character gollum in lord of the rings for the duration of my shopping trip. these plates were MINE. i decided i needed them, and a quick ebay search led me to this auction, where the plates were listed for $69.99 for a box! and i had 5! and i only paid $3 for each! score! i am a goodwill champion! i can sell them! i can use them! i can give them to a friend as a last-minute gift! they are so cute! everybody needs plates, right?

i got home, so excited to show matt my find. he gave me the look he always does when he sees i come home, foaming at the mouth, overflowing bag from goodwill in tow.

"what did you get?" 




"we already have plates."

"yea but these ones are white and gold and are from target and are so cute." 

he amused me and helped me stack the boxes on the shelf in the closet in the second bedroom. where i promptly forgot about them, until we used them to barricade the edges of the bed from the cats. 

it then hit me. i might be on the fringes of becoming a hoarder. i get enchanted by a deal on something cute that is a steal or a bargain. i might not be totally in love with it and might not need it in my life, but it was only $3. or it was free! 

however, looking around my apartment when i get home from a day of work, i frequently get overwhelmed. i'm surrounded by stuff. stuff people i love gave me that i feel an obligation to keep and incorporate into my life. stuff i keep meaning to spray paint or stain or hang up. stuff that i got for a steal that i might sell in my non-existent etsy store or on craigslist. stuff i have because i think i'll find a way to make it work or that i might make work someday. are you seeing my keyword here? stuff. it's overwhelming. and our house is supposed to be an oasis, not a place where your dining room table is piled high with stuff that belongs in the bathroom or christmas decorations that belong in the rafters of our garage. 

my pinterest home decor boards are full of light, airy, minimalistic spaces with thoughtful decorations. it's time to attempt to make this a reality. 

i've decided to start with a challenge i came across on the white house black shutters blog: get rid of 1 bag of things every day for 40 days. i believe her challenge is supposed to coincide with the 40 days of lent. i am late to the party and not religious, so today will be the day i begin. starting at 5:00 pm, i will violently attack my first area: the dining room table. 

my motto: if i don't love it, why let it take up room in my home?

to keep myself accountable, i plan on taking before and after pictures, as well as detailing my process, how and what i decided to keep and get rid of, how i am going to go about getting rid of things (donate, sell, recycle, throw away, re-gift?), and what i learn in each area. i plan on taking a lot of advice from ann marie's blog. she's been doing this challenge each spring for a few years, so i think she has a good process down. hopefully this will teach me good habits about shopping and keeping organize for the future. i'm excited! 

well that was word heavy. here is some inspiration about what i hope our place will look like after 40 days:

via pinterest

minimal, colorful, thoughtful, tropical

via pinterest

organized, streamlined, happy yet not-overwhelming colors

via pinterest

complementary colors, multifunctional furniture, well-curated art

via pinterest

modern, architectural, patterns that don't overwhelm, cozy

via pinterest

warm wood, nubby carpet, unconventional lines, lots of white

via pinterest

patterned rug, vintage lounging chairs, tall coffee table 

via pinterest

quirky art, bright couch, white walls, low seatng

are you embarking on any spring cleaning? i would love to hear your tips and tricks for purging clutter!


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

life lately.

hello there! here's what i've been up to lately. let's start off with my good friend/former roommate's/sorority sister's birthday/engagement party. i never say no to craft beer, bagel bites, and an evening full of catching up with my college friends/KD sisters.

summit beer + bagel bites

local eats from Fuji Sushi Thai - and i was so disappointed. i love trying new sushi places but the rice was sticky, congealed, and came off in one piece. it clearly came in a roll or something and was not fresh. the texture and consistency was just gross. i only moderately enjoyed the rolls in the bottom row because they were covered in avocado, salmon, and sauce... and even then the  quality of the crab and shrimp on the inside of the rolls i ordered was extremely sub-par. they definitely were defrosted and not fresh. where they said crab was used, it was was actually crabstick. using crabstick is fine but only okay when it is specified it is being used in a roll. the smelt roe on the rolls on the bottom left was congealed and seemed stuck to the rice, like it came on it in a mat. i ended up throwing majority of the top tray away... even wine couldn't help me wash it down. unfortunately, i will not be back. i'm happy to stick to my favorite Hakuya Sushi

in happier food news, grilling season has begun! we have a brand new forest green weber grill on our patio that is already getting plenty of use. above is grilled salmon with old bay seasoning. please excuse me and my watering mouth...

full post coming on this soon, but i was invited to the opening of TÊTE Charcuterie last weekend and wow... i was in heaven. i am a huge fan of cured meats and curated cheeses and wine. this was practically all i ate when i lived in barcelona. i cannot wait to share a full post about the opening. in the meantime, here is a sneak peek:

caroline and i in her river north apartment before we headed out

spuds mackenzie tattoo - my boyfriend's family has the same dog!

jackson blues cocktail

my favorite - the enhhhhhh - i love egg-based cocktails

on sunday, my family had a cozy birthday celebration for my mom:

so naturally i got in some cuddle time with my cat, bill.

spring is popping up around our front yard:

purple crocuses, one of my favorites.


and we adopted 2 river-otter-like cats. they are former barn cats and best friends for life. they chirp at each other and it is pretty adorable. they're still warming up to us. i can't wait till they're lap cats.

recently, i was approached by one of my long-time favorite brands to review two of their products, and i'll be hosting my first giveaway next month! and i've just scored an invite to a restaurant downtown that i've been wanting to try for a long time for brunch! exciting things are happening over here at apartment pants!

what have you been up to lately?