Life lately

Is now a good time to drop that super cliche Ferris Bueller line about life moving fast? Because holy crap! I feel like I blinked and then suddenly 2016 ended. It seems like Christmas decorations appeared out of nowhere, and I actually completely forgot that this week is Thanksgiving! It wasn’t until Mando started talking about holiday plans and our work schedules last Friday that I suddenly remembered.

But, I’m not going to complain. I really love staying busy and feeling productive. Work has been occupying a ton of my time lately. First, the Cubs won the World Series. Then, there was that election. And, on top of everything, I’m actually recovering from a brutal cold right now. I thought I kicked it out of my system a week ago, but then it came back in full force this weekend. Yuck. Bring on the green juice, please!

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Most worn this fall – 2016

I have always loved fall. Growing up in Michigan meant that the start of fall signaled a host of my favorite things: color tours, cider mill visits, football tailgates, pumpkin carving, birthday celebrations and — of course — sweater shopping.

Fall has always been one of my favorite seasons to dress and shop for. Cooler temps let you layer, and I feel like you can get way more use of out of your wardrobe when you can pair the same pieces in different ways.

I recently read “The Curated Closet” by Anuschka Rees, and I would definitely recommend it. Anuschka has a lot of great advice about shopping for a collective wardrobe, not just individual pieces. I already do a lot of what she suggested, but it was really nice to have affirmation that I’m forming good shopping habits.

The older I get, the more I find myself knowing exactly what I like, and choosing quality over quantity. It’s not really a secret that I like keeping track of what I wear and how often I wear it. I think it’s really useful to take a step back every so often to analyze what I wear season-to-season. This lets me see what pieces have inadvertently become outfit staples that can — and should — be upgraded to a higher quality.

So, it was cool to look at the pieces I wore the most this fall, and compare them to what I wore last fall.

Heads up: affiliate links below.

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jeans | button-up | watch | sweater (old, similar) | tote | vest
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Repurposing Halloween candy: Snickers dip

Fellow sugar addicts, it’s the best day of the year!

Discount Halloween candy day!

While I am not above shoveling an entire bag of $.49 candy corn into my face in one sitting, sometimes it’s fun to bring a little twist to the same treats that are eaten year after year.

One of my favorite fun size candy-based recipes is this super easy Snickers dip!

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Whodunit in Chicago with The Murder Mystery Company

One of my absolute favorite board games growing up was Clue. I always loved putting together pieces of the puzzle in order to solve the mystery.

So, when Michigan-based The Murder Mystery Company reached out and asked if Mando and I would like to attend a murder mystery dinner in Lincoln Park, I knew hands-down the answer was a definite “yes.” I’d never been to a murder mystery dinner before, so — even though I had no idea what to expect — my inner Nancy Drew was really excited to experience it!

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Packing for Europe: London and Paris in the fall

OK, good news! After being back in the states for just short of a week, I think I’m finally readjusted to CDT.

It was pretty brutal, though. I was falling asleep at 6 p.m., then waking up at 3:30 a.m., and then sleeping for 13 hours straight during the adjustment period.

The bad news? I’m missing Paris and London so, so badly you guys! My recent trip was almost perfect, except for that whole part where I had my passport stolen. One of the things that helped me have an almost-stress-free trip was my meticulously-planned packing list. I’m a super Type A person, and so I plan just about everything out in advance. Outfits are no exception. So, when I packed to head to Europe for several days, I figured out exactly what I wanted to wear each day prior to jetsetting, so it was one less thing to stress about while I was on vacation.

The weather was forecasted to be in the 50s and 60s for the entire trip, with a few smatterings of rain, so I knew that meant lots of layers and jackets.

Whenever I pack for a short trip, I pick a really simple color palette that’s mostly filled with neutrals. I start by picking either black or navy as a base color, and then building outfits out from there. For my recent Europe trip, I picked black.

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Europe 2016: Winning London

Hello! I’m back to speaking (and understanding) the native language of a country and ready to recap the London portion of my whirlwind trip to Europe!

I recapped my trip to Paris a few days ago. It was so hard to leave the beautiful French city, but I’m so glad I did, because as much as I loved Paris… I loved London even more!

It’s kind of crazy how that works, isn’t it? I was looking forward to the Paris portion of our trip more than anything. I’d wanted to visit ever since I was a kid and absolutely could not wait to finally catch a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower. I was really surprised when I realized that I actually preferred London to Paris. There wasn’t anything wrong with Paris. And I really did love it. I just felt a little more at home in London.

Of course, it’s really hard to come to that conclusion based on just a few short days in both countries… so all the more reason to go back, I suppose!

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I think the River Thames might actually be more disgusting than the Chicago River. What an accomplishment.

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Europe 2016: Un jour à Paris

Bonjour et au revoir Paris!

The last few days have been an absolute whirlwind. Remember how I mentioned offhandedly once a few months ago that my coworker Kasondra and I had spontaneously bought (fairly cheap) flights to London following the Brexit fall-out?

I can’t believe that trip already came and went!

When we booked tickets, we picked a five-day itinerary, knowing that it would be easiest for both of our work schedules. We started planning our trip to the United Kingdom and knew we wanted to take a day trip to Paris.

I have wanted to go to Paris for my entire life, and — since our trip happened to coincide with my birthday — turning 27 could not have been any better! I actually lost six hours of my birthday due to the time change, but I woke up on a plane in London and went to sleep in a hostel in Paris, so the day could not have been better spent.

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I had to fend off like, seven selfie stick vendors while I took this.

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Vegetarian Crock Pot recipes for fall

One of my favorite things about chilly weather is… well, chili weather!

I absolutely love my slow cooker. And while I might break it out in the summer to whip up a batch of queso or a molten chocolate lava cake, it isn’t really too uncommon to find myself wiping a layer of dust off of it come October. Fall really and truly is the season for Crock Pot recipes, and I take full advantage every year.

I don’t eat meat, and sometimes it can be hard to find a good variety of one-step vegetarian dinner recipes prepared in the slow cooker. I mean, there are only so many versions of chili one girl can eat!

But, after a few years of heavy slow cooker usage, I’ve managed to find a small diverse handful of reliable, easy and delicious vegetarian Crock Pot recipes. And the best part? Most of them are easy to portion out and freeze in advance, so you can grab-and-go for healthy and cost-efficient office lunches.

Sweet potato chickpea chili. OK, so I know this recipe from Sweet Peas and Saffron has the word “chili” in the title, but it’s far enough removed from the traditional chili that I don’t think it really counts as chili. When I make this, I use one onion instead of two and two sweet potatoes instead of one. Continue Reading

PopSugar Must Have Box review: September 2016

I absolutely love getting mail, which might be why I online shop so much. I love coming home from work to see a small pile of packages sitting outside my door.

And in addition to mail, I also love surprises! Of course, while it’s easy to send yourself mail, it isn’t quite so easy to surprise yourself. So, that’s where cute monthly subscription boxes come in handy.

One of my friends posted an Instagram photo of a Valentine’s Day themed monthly subscription box from PopSugar about a year and a half ago. It was overflowing with goodies from Essie, Tarte and Baublebar, among others. I made a mental note to sign up for a short-term subscription, but ended up completely forgetting.

So, when PopSugar reached out and asked if I’d like to try the September 2015 Must Have Box, the answer was definitely a “yes!”

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