Baby Girl Nursery

Baby Girl Nursery
Baby Girl Nursery

Summer Bucket List

Summer Bucket List
Summer Bucket List

Drugstore Beauty

Drugstore Beauty
Drugstore Beauty

Five on Friday 5/30

Happy Friday!  It's the very last one of May - can you believe it?!  I've been looking forward to this weekend for a while now because we are heading back to Michigan to look at HOUSES!  Craziness.  We've gotten pre-approved for a mortgage, found a realtor and have at least 6 houses lined up to look at on Saturday.  I'm so excited to get the house hunting process started! Make sure to follow along with us this weekend on Instagram :)

+ Morning Yoga
I found this quick morning yoga sequence on Pinterest and I've actually been sticking with it!  It feels great to start off my day stretching out and working my core instead of just moving from my bed to the couch.  I like that it's quick and easy - this takes me about 15 minutes tops!

+ Essie Marshmallow
I've officially decided on my summer 2014 nail polish.  Oh, you don't have a nail polish designated for each season?  Haha I tend to find one I love each season, especially in the summer, and use it nonstop.  2013 was the summer of Essie's Ballet Slippers and this year the winner is Marshmallow.  I love the soft, clean white - I swear it also makes your hands look tanner!

+ Gnocchi
I attempted to make gnocchi last night and it turned out fabulously!  I bought a package of it way back in the fall but wasn't sure how to use it until Carly shared a recipe that sounded too good not to try - Crispy Gnocchi with Zucchini, Sweet Corn and Basil.  We substituted summer squash for the corn and it was oh so good AND easy.  We will definitely be having this again soon!

+ Floral Sweater
Okay, one last recent Forever 21 find.  How cute is this floral sweater?  I picked it up for dirt cheap and love that I can wear it to both work with a nice necklace and black pants or casually with jeans or denim shorts.  I'm all about clothes that are multi-purpose!

 Sweater (similar) // Necklace (similar)

+ Sex Trafficking
Nina recently reached out to us about helping to spread awareness of sex trafficking.  I had been contemplating writing a post about it as she suggested but every time I tried, the words came up short.  This is a real, serious problem and I don't think I could do it justice so I'm going to share the post Nina wrote.  Please, please, please take a moment to read this and maybe even find it in your heart to make a donation.

12 = the average age of a slave today
27,000,000 = the number of slaves around the world
1-2% = the percentage of slaves rescued

Visit Nina's post HERE to learn more.  Every little bit helps and you can make a difference!  Thank you!

Have a wonderful weekend! :)
Linking up with AprilLaurenJennie and Rebecca

Thankful Thursday: Week 22

Do you ever have those days where you wake up on the wrong side of the bed?  That was me yesterday.  I was grumpy from the second I woke up.  Poor Nick - he came into the bathroom to say good morning to me while I was getting ready and I practically threw him out of there, ha.  Sometimes a girl just needs some alone time to wake up!  Anyway, it's probably best that Thankful Thursday has come around again - I could definitely use a pick me up because really, life is good.  There's so much to be thankful for!

Make sure to link up with Mia at Make Me Up MiaCarly at Carly Blogs HereKristal at The Strong Family and I and let us know what you were thankful for this week!  Here is a little bit of what has been going on...

Thursday, May 22

Do you see that?!  This was at 9 pm as I was leaving work and it was still a little light out!  I love leaving work before it's pitch black - it doesn't make me feel as if I missed the entire day.

Friday, May 23

Friday was a good day.  Nick left for an out of town weekend trip (which was sad) but I had the day off work and enjoyed it to the fullest.  I got my entire "to do" list done during the day and then showered, made dinner and parked my butt on the couch to watch 5 episodes of Scandal.

Saturday, May 24

Saturday was a 12 hour work day which went pretty fast thankfully.  During my hour break, I had lunch outside at Potbelly and then walked over to my happy place - aka the candles section at Home Goods.

Sunday, May 25

Woohoo for new summer clothes!  I broke out my new shorts and sandals for the first time.  Both are BEYOND comfortable.

Monday, May 26

A beautiful day for tennis, bike rides and a BBQ with friends.  So thankful for everyone that serves/has served for our great nation - THANK YOU!

Tuesday, May 27

Consolation beers were about the only good thing about this day.  We had our championship volleyball game and we lost.  Our team totally self destructs which is frustrating.  We play so well all season and into the playoffs - which is why we always make it to the championship - but then we get all worked up and lose the final game.  Oh well, beach volleyball starts on Tuesday so we won't be down for long!

Wednesday, May 28

We had plans to go to the gym after Nick got home from work but we changed our minds last minute and headed to the tennis courts instead!  It was a cool evening and the Blackhawks were playing in Game 5 so no one was out and we pretty much had the place to ourselves.  It's our goal to play as much tennis as possible this summer!


Wednesday Confessions

Okay - here we go with my first ever confessions post!  I'm always laughing out loud while reading these each week so I thought it was finally time I did one of my own.  Let's get right to it!

I confess I'm down to only washing my hair once or twice a week now.  There really is something behind "training your hair" to not need to be washed everyday.  I used to have to wash it every couple of days because it would get greasy but it was just  I bought a bunch of different dry shampoos to try out until I settled on Batiste's Original and then I cut out a bunch of the styling products that weren't doing anything to my hair except making it look greasy.  Best thing I ever decided to do.  Honestly though, I barely even need the dry shampoo anymore - my hair just doesn't get oily at all.  You can do it, too - here is a great article about how to train your hair!

I confess I'm the most hypocritical driver in Chicago.  This is usually the scene - I'm merging onto the freeway on my way to work and no one will let me over.  I'm getting annoyed, I have my blinker on, traffic is moving at about 5 mph and each car just gets a little closer to the one in front of so I can't squeeze in.  Finally some poor soul from out of town finally lets me in and by the next exit, I'm the jerk that won't let anyone merge because "I've got places to be!"  This similar situation also occurs when changing lanes, driving the speed limit (that doesn't exist here), and trying to get off the highway.  I do feel bad about this, I really do.

I confess I didn't get sushi on Sunday (even though I was craving it) because of the show, Rich Kids of Beverly Hills.  This is an embarrassing one to admit just because I actually watched this show.  I'm a pretty paranoid eater to begin with - I'm looking at you chicken - so when Dorothy mentioned that "you can't eat sushi on Sunday's because the last fish delivery is typically on Friday's so the fish isn't fresh anymore by Sunday", I took that very seriously.  My husband thinks I'm crazy but never again sushi on Sunday, never again.

I confess I am super OCD about my Instagram.  Like a certified freak about it.  I've been known to post a picture and then delete it 5 minutes later because something about the pic is driving me crazy and I can't let it go.  I need all the lines to be perfectly straight, I can't post similar pictures too close to each other, the lighting has to be decent and I like my profile page to be all different pictures of different things if that makes sense.  This picture I posted on Saturday night killed me after over-analyzing it.  The entire picture is crooked, it looks weird with the top of the wall cut off in the back only showing the wainscoting and I just posted a picture of flowers 2 pictures before this one.  I KNOW.

I confess that I absolutely suck at online shopping.  It's just the unknown - I have no idea if I'm going to like it in person or if it's going to fit... so I just don't do it.  Not to mention that I hate the post office so the idea of returning a package gives me the shudders.  I don't really mind this though because I save a lot of money!

I confess that I found season 1 of Scandal to be beyond cheesy.  I started watching it this weekend because I mean, everyone and literally everyone is obsessed with this show.  I could NOT get into the first few episodes.  I found myself cringing through some of the scenes because it just seemed like the actors were trying way too hard.  I'm glad I hung on though because I've since started season 2 and I think it's so much better!

I confess that I'm not a big fan of GIF's.  I'm almost scared to share that because I think I'm going to get a lot of hate from it!  I just can't focus when I'm reading a blog with like 20 of them in one post... it hurts my head.  I definitely know I'm in the minority on this one!

That feels good to get off my chest!  Thanks to Kathy at Vodka and Soda for hosting!

Romping Around

Good morning!  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!  It was a good one over here.  While it wasn't a typical Memorial Day weekend for me, it was exactly what I needed - aka a LOT of relaxing.  Nick was in Michigan at a bachelor party/golf trip from Friday-Sunday and most of my friends were out of town so I literally had almost the entire weekend to myself.  I won't bore you with the details but it included an at home spa night, a Scandal marathon on Netflix, eating whatever the heck I wanted to eat, a few long walks around the neighborhood and catching up on little things around the house.  I had to work on Saturday but even that 12 hour work day flew by and before I knew it, I was back home on my couch starting season 2 of Scandal.  Monday was fun as Nick was back home and we played tennis, went for a bike ride and had a BBQ with friends to end the weekend.  I was sad to see it end but I feel refreshed and ready to take on a new (short!) week.  Not to mention, ready for our championship volleyball game tonight - wish us luck!

I mentioned on Friday, that I popped into Forever 21 last week for the first time in who knows how long and was surprised to find a ton of amazing stuff.  I had kind of written F21 off as the store overwhelms me but my recent trip has me wondering why I ever doubted the place. My favorite find was this romper that I practically lived in this weekend.

Rompers have to be the best clothing invention ever.  They make getting dressed so easy and are beyond comfortable.  I mean they're practically an adult onesie.  It was 85 degrees on Monday in Chicago (finally) and this lightweight rayon fabric was perfect- no overheating happening here.  I have a 10% off code to Forever 21 that I needed to use before Wednesday so I jumped online to order a couple things and came across SO many great rompers, I had to share some of my favorites!  They're the perfect summer outfit - add sandals and sunglasses and you're good to go for the day.  They also work well as beach cover ups!

What's your favorite store to shop for rompers?
By the way, a lot of you commented on my maxi dress from this post and unfortunately it's not available online but I found a REALLY similar dress from Forever 21 (of course)!  I may have to get it, too.. I mean it is a different color than mine :)

Linking up with Zelle for #TrendingTuesday and Khala & friends for Tuesday Tea

Five on Friday 5/23

Hooray for a long weekend!  And what makes this long weekend even better is that we have no plans.  Other than the fact that I have to work on Saturday, we have nothing to do and no where to be.  Zip, nadda, nothing.  After the last month of non-stop entertaining (which has been beyond fun), I'm so looking forward to a weekend of relaxing.  And the fact that the weather is supposed to be beautiful here in Chicago is just icing on the cake.  I hope you're gearing up for a wonderful long weekend, too but first let's get to my five on Friday!

+ Houzz
I may be behind the times (what's new) but I just downloaded the app Houzz this week and wooooowwww.  It's pretty much Pinterest on steroids for all things home design.  Nick and I both have it and are sharing "ideabooks" to put together inspiration for each room of our future house.  If you're moving or just looking to redecorate your place, Houzz is for you. Beware: it's addicting and a major time sucker!

+ Forever 21
You guys, Forever 21 is killing it right now.  I kind of wrote off the store about a year ago because I feel like a 40 year old shopping in there with all of the teenagers not to mention the stores themselves almost give me a panic attack they're so stuffed full of clothes.  But I was wrong.  I've been noticing lots of fellow bloggers with the cutest F21 finds lately and so I decided to stop in there this week and it was a shopping success!  I walked out with a romper, sweater and pair of shorts for $50 but I could of easily spent about $500 because I was obsessed with everything.  I'm sorry I ever doubted you Forever 21!

Romper Here // Shorts Here // Sweater Here

+ Google Analytics
Do any of you use Google Analytics?  I have it for my blog but I don't really know what to do with any of the information. (If you can provide any advice on this, let me know!) The only thing I enjoy doing with it is checking out the keyword searches that bring people to the blog.  This week I came across this delight:

"I have a sunburn on the back of my legs and I have golf size blisters and they burn and leak to where it is so hard for me to walk"

What?!  I'm assuming it is coming from my this post where I mentioned I had a pretty bad sunburn but oh my.  That one made me laugh out loud and to the poor soul with the leaking sunburn blisters- if you're reading this right now, I hope your legs are better!

+ Wedding Etiquette
Memorial Day weekend seems to signify the beginning of "wedding season".  If you're attending a wedding this summer, check out THIS post on wedding etiquette!  It's a must read for anyone on how to be the best guest you can be.

+ Babies
Since Nick and I are approaching our first wedding anniversary in July, I've started to get those questions.  You know the ones regarding little tiny bundles of joy.  Welp, not for a while folks.  When I came across this ecard on Pinterest, I pretty much spit out the water I was drinking.  So true!!

Happy Friday, friends!!
Linking up with AprilLaurenJennie and Rebecca 

Thankful Thursday: Week 21

We're back for another round of Thankful Thursday!  Lots and lots to be thankful for this week so lets get started.  Don't forget to stop and say hi to my 3 lovely cohosts - Mia at Make Me Up MiaCarly at Carly Blogs HereKristal at The Strong Family!

Thursday, May 15

I am thankful for AC!  Seriously.  Our apartment faces west and we're on a high floor so we don't have any shade.  This means that from 2 pm on everyday, the sun is literally beating down into our apartment.  And since all of our windows are on one wall, we don't get any sort of cross breeze to cool things off.  As long as it's over 65 degrees outside and the sun is out, our apartment will heat up to 90 degrees.  It's brutal!

Friday, May 16

I was just casually walking through Nordstrom when these diamond rings caught my eye.  I've been wanting another band -who doesn't right - and since that ain't happening for a while, I thought maybe I'd buy a fake one to wear for something different every once in a while!  The middle band is the Ariella Eternity Band and for the price, I think it looks great!  They didn't have my size in the store unfortunately so I'll have to order it online.  I'm thankful (as is my husband!) that Nordstrom just saved us thousands of dollars :)

Saturday, May 17

So thankful to have friends that come to visit us!  A win for the Cubs was also something to be thankful for as that happens... never.

Sunday, May 18

It was a picture perfect day in Chicago.  We spent the whole day outside at the zoo and later playing tennis with other friends!

Monday, May 19

What else would I be thankful for on a Monday?!  The Bachelorette is back!  I watched it at my friends place with a bunch of friends and some big ol' bowls of ice cream.  Loving Andi so far!

Tuesday, May 20

Nick and I took my bike up to the gas station near us to fill my tires up with air.  We barely beat the storm that was rolling in and it started pouring down on us just as we got home!  We had a volleyball game that same night and it was the start of the playoffs.  Thankfully we won but it was the most intense game we've ever played and the final point could of gone to either team.  Championships here we come for the 3rd season in a row!

Wednesday, May 21

My car sucks.  Well not really considering it's 13 years old now but its seen better days.  I only drive to work since we live in the city so it's not worth it to invest the money in a new car down here.  Basically I'm going to drive this one into the ground and that's definitely where it's headed.  The last month has been the worst and I swear something new happens every single week.  Nick and I dropped the car off yesterday and then headed to Chick fil A for a lunch date so I guess that's the positive there :)

Also - one extra thing I was thankful for this week!  Remember THE sandals I mentioned last week?  Hard work pays off because I found them in my size!!!  Thank you to whoever mentioned that they saw them at TJ Maxx because that was the lucky spot!  Only took like 8 different stores to find them haha!


Wedding Etiquette

Memorial Day weekend signifies the beginning of wedding season to me.  I'm looking forward to a much calmer one this summer as we only have two weddings to attend compared to the five weddings (and our own) we had last year!

While I had attended quite a few weddings before my own, I have a much better idea of how to be a proper guest after being on the other "side" of a wedding as the bride.  For instance, yes, you do have a month to RSVP to the event and while you technically aren't in the wrong to not reply until the very last minute, be courteous and respond AS SOON as you open the invite.  Little things like these that I wouldn't have really thought about previously have made me completely rethink my "duties" as a guest.  Here are a few other examples of proper etiquette you should follow to make everything run smoother for the most important person - the bride - on the biggest day of her life!

+ Do NOT Wear White
To the bridal shower, to the bachelorette party and especially to the wedding.  Just don't wear white to any wedding festivities unless you're the bride.  This really shouldn't even have to be stated but I had it happen to me (at the wedding) so I'm just throwing it out there that it's not okay!

+ Don't Assume Anything
Don't just assume that you can bring a guest or your kids to an event.  Typically, if you are invited to bring a guest, the envelope will be addressed to "Katie Elizabeth and Guest" and if your whole family is invited (including kids), it will say something along the lines of "Katie Elizabeth Family".  We had guests send back  RSVP's with their kids names on them when we were having an adult only wedding.  Talk about an awkward conversation to have.  If you're unsure after receiving your invitation, a quick text to the bride or someone in the bridal family to double check would be the proper thing to do!

+ RSVP On Time
As mentioned before, RSVP as soon as you open that envelope.  RSVP's are usually sent out 2-3 months before the wedding so you should already have an idea of whether or not you can attend.  Do NOT skip RSVP-ing altogether and make the bride track you down to get your response - she does not have time for that and it's just rude.  Not to mention she already put a dang stamp on your return envelope, it couldn't be any easier for you to respond.

+ Send a Gift
It's totally understandable that not everyone is going to be able to attend the wedding.  It's kind to still send a gift in lieu of attendance.  Instead of just sending back the RSVP with a "no", send a gift with a note that says "so sorry we can't be there!", etc.  I'd say $50 is a proper amount to spend.

+ Shop the Registry
In terms of buying gifts, it's this simple: shop the couple's registry.  Weddings are so great because you don't have to put any thought into getting the "perfect" gift - the work is already done for you.  Buy off the registry because that is the stuff that the bride and groom actually need.  Don't go down the homemade route for a wedding gift and don't buy something random that they didn't register for because chances are it's not going to get used and that's just a waste of your money.

+ Gifts Should Equal Plate Price (Approximately)
This "rule" is a bit controversial but I just think it's a good approximation of how much to spend.  You're never going to know how much exactly the per plate cost is but it's a safe way to make sure you're gifting appropriately!  While I don't believe in the fact that couples should be making money off their weddings or that each guest has to basically recoup their cost, I do think that as a guest you need to present an appropriate gift.

+ Update Bride on Guest Changes
A lot of my friends are single so they responded that they wanted to bring a plus one but that they didn't know exactly who yet.  A week before the wedding, I reached out to them to get guest names so I could finish up things like our seating chart, entree selection and final head count.  Turns out the majority of these people that had RSVP'd for a guest ended up deciding not to bring one.  And that's okay but PLEASE update the bride or groom if you have an RSVP change (even if it's seriously last minute) so they don't spend unnecessary money.

+ Arrive On Time
Get to the ceremony early!  You don't want to be holding up the wedding proceedings by arriving late.  And please try to not skip out on the ceremony and only attend the reception -- I've never understood this.

+ No Cell Phones
During the ceremony, get off and turn off the cell phones.  I wanted to see my friends faces while I was walking down the aisle, not the backside of their iPhones!  That's what the photographer is for.  At the reception, I think that all goes out the window because the more pictures the better.

What are some of your guidelines you follow as a wedding guest?
Linking up with Shanna and Jordon

Strawberry Obsession

Summer is just around the corner and with that brings warmer temperatures, shorter shorts, later nights and juicier fruits - can't wait.  While I know most people are loving lemons this year (seriously how cute are these Kate Spade Keds?), I have a recent obsession with all things strawberry!  It started with a strawberry scented candle that I found at Home Goods (not found online sadly) which turned into a craving for strawberry shortcake and perusing Pinterest for other things I could make with my beloved strawberries and then just blew up from there.  Candles, lotion, lip balm, nail polish - I've got it all going on right now.  Here are my recent favorites!

+ Rosebud Salve Strawberry Lip Balm
This might be the best tasting lip product I've ever tried.  It takes everything in me not to just lick all of it off my lips!  Super hydrating, soothing and provides just the right amount of peachy pink color to brighten up your face.

+ Anthropologie Boulangerie Jar Tall Candle
A strawberry shortcake candle.  Need I say more?  Anthro makes some of the best candles and this one does not disappoint.  It makes your whole house smell like the 4th of July and not to mention, is adorable.

+ Strawberries & Cream Angel Cake
This Kraft Family recipe looks incredibly easy and even more delicious.  It's perfect for the upcoming Memorial Day holiday! You could even add in some blueberries to get the full red, white and blue effect.

+ OPI Strawberry Margarita
The only thing that would make this nail color better was if it were scented!  It's a happy shade of bright pink that is perfect for summer.

+ Forever 21 I Love You Berry Much PJ Romper
How adorable is this?!  I'm in need of some new pajama's and this romper is way too cute to pass up - especially at this price.

+ Bath & Body Works Garden Strawberries Hand Soap
This wouldn't be a "favorites" list without including a B&BW product ;)  Garden Strawberries is my absolute favorite hand soap I tried out this spring!  It leaves a lingering scent on your hands after washing that smells as if you just spent the morning picking strawberries.

+ Strawberry Rose Water Fizz
I think I've saved the best for last - a strawberry, rose water and champagne drink.  Yummm.  Serve it in a mason jar on a giant front porch and you've got my idea of the perfect summer afternoon.

What's your summer obsession?
Linking up with Zelle for #TrendingTuesday and Khala & friends for Tuesday Tea
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