Thursday, April 30, 2015

Wanderlust: USA Edition


I love traveling and am constantly planning my next vacation.  The day I get home from one trip, I'm thinking about the next.  

I've been lucky enough to visit half of the 50 states so far and one of my bucket list goals is to get to every single one.  But when it comes to overseas travel?  I haven't been anywhere.  Just Canada, Mexico and a couple Caribbean islands.  There are so many places I want to see all over the world but I always run into the same "problem".  Every time I start to think about planning an overseas trip (like possibly visiting Paris/London this fall), I tend to get distracted with another awesome idea (now I'm thinking a Pacific Coast Highway road trip) and we stay in the good ole U.S. of A.  There are just so many amazing things to see right here at home that I haven't felt a super strong desire to leave yet!  Anyone else know what I'm saying?

Here are a few places in the great 50 states I haven't been to that I can't wait to visit, in no particular order...

1.  Aspen, Colorado

2.  Dallas, Texas (really anywhere in TX!)

3.  Savannah, Georgia

4.  Cape Cod, Massachusetts

5.  Grand Canyon National Park

6.  Washington DC

7.  San Francisco, California

8.  Seattle, Washington

9.  Key West, Florida

10.  Alaska

Where have you been and where do you want to visit next within the U.S.?   Anyone want to plan a summer vaca?!

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Linking up with AnnieNatalieMeagan and Joey
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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Lately + Thank You

You guys really know how to make a girl feel better!  Thank you so much for all of your kind words yesterday.  I went through every single one of your comments last night and made a list (I'm such a nerd) of your suggestions and ways I can put myself out there and can't wait to start working on some of these - especially volunteering and fitness classes and possibly even a part time job.  

It's easy to get into a rut and sit around and feel sorry for yourself - which is totally where I was - but yesterday was an awesome eye opener so seriously, THANK YOU!  I don't know what I would do without you ladies.

Now on to some happier recent happenings...

{Brady is doing much better at sleeping out of his crate!  He curls up with a blanket on the floor (he loves blankets even more than I do) and sleeps through the night until he comes into bed with us around 6:30am.  It's perfect.}
 
{Picking up this baby for our dining room today!}

{Asian Salmon with veggies and noodles... drooling just remembering this dinner.}

{My two favorite guys.  And that is Brady's camera face, I'm convinced he hates getting his picture taken.}

{Nick's hockey team won the championship game on Sunday night!}

And the happiest thing of all?  Our ten day forecast is full of 60 and 70 degree days. YAY.
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Monday, April 27, 2015

The Blahs


Keeping things real around here today...

I've been in a rut lately with life - which then tends to spill over into a blogging rut.  It's one of those things were there is nothing even wrong so I hate to complain but sometimes you just gotta get it out, you know?

This 'rut' is a combination of a couple things, the lack of friends in our new (which isn't really new because we've been here for almost 8 months already which is crazy!) town and being confused on whether or not I should be working.

We've met a few people since moving but I wouldn't go so far as to say I have any close or good friends here.  It can be hard to meet people and to be honest, I've never really had to put myself out there to make friends before.  Growing up you automatically have friends thanks to school, once I got into college I joined a sorority and that was 80 built-in friends and then when we moved to Chicago, so did my entire group of friends.  So this has been hard, especially since I'm a pretty social person and feel happiest when I have a calendar full of fun things to do!

Being at home, not working also doesn't help the friend situation.  Don't get me wrong, I love love love being able to stay home - Brady doesn't need to be in his crate alone for 8 hours, I see Nick in the mornings, at lunch and have dinner ready for him when he gets home, I'm not stressed with work stuff, etc.  But lately I've been a bit bored.  And I feel like a terrible person for even saying that because I'm SO thankful to Nick for being able to make me not working possible but it can be lonely during the days.  I feel like I'm not doing anything productive which isn't the greatest feeling.  I want/need to do something more... but I'm just not sure what that is yet so I've been brainstorming.  I need a little something more to keep me motivated and excited to get up in the morning.

With all that being said, all of these feelings have led to a little less creativity and drive when it comes to this space.  There have been a lot more shopping posts than normal because with not much going on lately, I don't have as much to share.  I'm hoping with summer gearing up and all that we have going on, the lifestyle posts will come back.  I do really love blogging though so I'm not going anywhere, just hoping you'll all hang on with me through this little phase :)

And I apologize for an extremely heavy post on a Monday, woof.  I hope you all had a great weekend & thanks for listening!

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Friday, April 24, 2015

Friday's Five


Happy, happy Friday!  After the past two very busy weekends, I have zero plans for this one and I couldn't be more excited.  But first, here's what we were up to this week...

ONE | Snow
It snowed here on Wednesday.  Yup, April 22nd and it was snowing - only in Michigan.  And probably Alaska.

TWO | Z Gallerie Devon Mirror
You may recognize this mirror from pretty much every bloggers home tour.  I've been in love with it for quite a while and finally scooped it up on sale this week!  I'm thinking it's going to replace this mirror over our fireplace.  

THREE | The Girl on the Train
Cannot. Stop. Reading.  It is so so so good, I can't put it down.  If you need me this weekend, you can probably just find me reading this.  

FOUR | Dining Chairs
Our tufted dining chairs finally came in from Overstock this week... and they are all wrong.  They're too short, the color is too dark and they're not nearly as high quality as I thought they would be.  If you have a favorite tufted chair, let me know because we're on the hunt again!

FIVE | Face Wipes
I've been reading a lot about using face wipes to take off your makeup before you wash your face so I picked up some of these Burt's Bees wipes to try.  Anyone else do this?  I'll be sure to report back if I like them!

I'm realizing this post has basically turned into five things I bought this week... but what else is there to do when it snows in April?
Enjoy your weekends!

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Linking up with KarliJennieRebecca and April

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Disappointing Products


As much as I wish that everything I spend my money on is worth it, it's not.  But sometimes I think these disappointing products are the most important to share - so that others don't waste their money on them as well.  So here are three things that I would not recommend...

Barefoot Dreams Cozy Chic Bathrobe
I actually have loved this bathrobe.  It's soft, comfortable and very, very cozy.  BUT after four months of owning it, it already has a giant hole in the arm.  I honestly don't even wear it that much - just out of the shower and first thing in the morning.  For the hefty price tag, it should definitely not be ripping already. I had a cheapie Forever 21 bathrobe that lasted about ten times as long and was a tenth of the price that I think I'm going back to.

Chicwish Trench Coat
This is more a warning of the company than the specific trench coat.  If you remember from this post, it took almost 5 weeks for the coat to arrive.  They don't offer tracking on their shipping so I had no idea when it was coming/if it was coming.  Once the coat arrived, it was too big which isn't a big deal - that's what happens when you shop online and can't try things on.  I accidentally threw the original return form away with the packaging so I went online to request a new form... and never heard back from the company.  I emailed, filled out an online contact form, left voice mails.  Nothing.  Now I have a $70 coat sitting in my closet that is beyond the return policy date and I'll never wear because it's too big.  Such a disappointment.

No Bleeding Secret Lip Liner
After hearing a few great reviews from other bloggers, I couldn't wait to pick up this lip liner.  The first week using it all was good but once I needed to twist up the stick, it didn't work.  I figured I just got a bad one so I brought it back to Sephora and explained the problem.  The employee said I could exchange it but first we'd try opening the new one to make sure it worked fine.  Welp, that one didn't work either.  Apparently they just changed their packaging and not for the better because we couldn't find one that twisted up properly.  I ended up exchanging it out for the Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics invisible liner and have been really happy with it!

Any products you've been disappointed in lately?  

Linking up with AnnieNatalieMeagan and Joey

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Caprese Avocado Chicken Salad


I had a totally different post planned and written for today but after I made this salad for dinner last night, I knew I had to share it with you guys ASAP.  It is so delicious, healthy and easy -- my three requirements for a weeknight dinner.  Not pictured is the balsamic vinaigrette dressing which I highly recommend making yourself because it's that good.  Enjoy!

Salad Ingredients
4 cups spring mix salad
2 hard boiled eggs, diced
1 chicken breast
1 avocado, diced
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup mozzarella balls
Salt and pepper

Balsamic Vinaigrette Ingredients
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp dry basil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
1.  Mix garlic, mustard, lemon juice, basil, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper in a small bowl.  Slowly stir in olive oil, whisking until oil and vinegar are combined.  Set aside.
2.  Coat raw chicken with salt and pepper and any other additional seasonings.
3.  Grill chicken 5-6 minutes on each side until cooked through, 170 degrees.
4.  Divide spring mix, eggs, avocado, tomatoes, mozzarella and sliced grilled chicken into two bowls.
5.  Top with balsamic vinaigrette.

Linking up with KateMarySusanNatashaLisaEmily and Kristen

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Monday, April 20, 2015

Weekending - Chicago Style

And wedding season has officially begun!

This weekend we kicked off the festivities with my friend Erica's bridal shower in Chicago.  The shower was held at The Signature Room which is on the 95th floor of the John Hancock building and it couldn't have been more perfect - from the views to the food to the games.  Not to mention it's always great when our group of friends can get together since we're spread out all over the country.  

{Some of the best views of the city}

{I ended up wearing a repeat dress - I originally bought this one but the arms were so unbelievably tight that I couldn't wear it!}

{Bathroom selfies, 95 floors up}

{Love love}

The only downside of the weekend was missing out on Lilly for Target.  I was hoping to stop at my store/shop online when I got home yesterday but everything was long gone - sounds like it was insane.  Hope you were all able to get some good stuff!

Linking up with BellaCarlyBiana and Ashley
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Friday, April 17, 2015

Friday's Five 4/17

Happy Friday!  As you're reading this, I'm Chicago bound!  My girlfriends and I are headed to the city for the weekend to celebrate one of our best friends bridal shower.  Good thing I rested up after last weekend, it's going to be another fun-filled, jam packed couple of days!

ONE | Brady Boy
We finally let Brady sleep outside of his crate in our bedroom this week.  The first night was perfection - he spent half the night sleeping under our bed and the second half willingly in his crate.  The other nights?  No.  He just wanders around our bedroom, occasionally taking a little nap - any tips on how to get him to relax?!


TWO | Blogger vs. Wordpress
Thank you for all of your advice, comments, opinions, etc from Tuesday's post!  You gave me lots of good stuff to consider when it comes to making the big switch.  Still not sure what I'm going to do but I do know that there will be some changes coming to the blog soon.


THREE | Internet Purge
Speaking of blogging and the internet in general, it's been bogging me down a bit.  Sometimes I feel a slave to keeping up with my Instagram or Bloglovin' feed and that's just not fun.  After reading this really, really great article, I decided to do a purge of my social media feeds.  I'm honestly SO glad I did this - it's been such a time and sanity saver.  Now I'm just hoping I didn't accidentally un-follow any friends in the process!


FOUR | Gap Top
This is my favorite top as of recent.  I've been wearing it almost every weekend and I'm sure it'll make another appearance during this one.  Best of all, it's on sale right now with the code APRIL and comes in three different colors!


FIVE | Starbucks Stop
I had my first iced chai tea latte of the season this week!  Spring has sprung, hallelujah.


Enjoy your weekends!

Linking up with KarliJennieRebecca and April

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Favorite iPhone Apps


True life: I'm addicted to my iPhone.  And I don't think I'm the only one!  It's safe to say that we probably couldn't live without them anymore.  I depend on my phone to capture memories, to keep me organized, to connect with my friends and family and to entertain me.  It's the one thing I NEVER leave the house without and today I thought I would share my favorite apps that are almost constantly open on my phone.  

Instagram
Obviously, of course.  But I couldn't not mention it because it's by far and away my most favorite app.  Keep up with me @ka5ohare and make sure to check out my 9 favorite Instagram accounts to follow here!

VSCOcam
This is my go-to app for editing my photos (before I share them on Instagram!) because it's free, it's easy to use and it does a great job.  VSCOcam also has a built in community that you can share your photos with if you're serious about photography.

Dropbox
I used to spend a lot of time emailing myself pictures from my phone but Dropbox simplifies this by automatically transferring what's on your phone to your computer and vice versa.  I would highly recommend this one if you take most of your blog pictures with your phone!

Beautified
Find out where you can get a blowout, manicure or facial anywhere within a two or three mile radius of where you're standing.  It also shows salon reviews and prices so you don't end up getting a $300 haircut like I did once (never to be forgotten).

Errands
Another thing I am addicted to is making 'to do' lists for anything and everything.  Errands allows you to keep all of these lists in one place and also categorize and prioritize tasks and set due dates and reminders.

Goodreads
One of my goals for 2015 was to read more and I am happily accomplishing that!  Goodreads has been great to help me keep track of what I want to read next, check out a books reviews and follow along with what my friends are reading. 

Let me know which apps you are loving right now, I'm always looking for fun new ones to try out!

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Linking up with AnnieNatalieMeagan and Joey

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Spring Classics

Spring is in full swing right now (finally) which means a few pieces in my wardrobe are on heavy rotation.  I'm really getting into the idea that less is more when it comes to fashion and investing in classics that will last, rather than whatever this seasons hottest trend is.  With this in mind, I've narrowed down my favorite versatile pieces that I would consider 'spring must haves' and would make a great base for any outfit. 

Pictured above: Gap fitted boyfriend oxford shirt // J Crew striped pocket tee // Current Elliot destroyed skinny jeans //
Kate Spade Willa skimmer flats // Gorjana Taner bar necklace // Gap classic trench // Madewell Transport Tote //
Topshop skirted floral print skirt

What would you consider a spring classic?

Linking up with Shanna Morgan
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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Blogger vs. Wordpress


Amanda from Meet at the Barre introduced an awesome new blog design yesterday - go ahead and check it out here, I'll wait!  She made the switch from Blogger to Wordpress which is something I've seriously been considering myself and after seeing her new site, I'm even more intrigued.  

I've used Blogger since the beginning and while I don't have any problems with it, I love how streamlined and customizable Wordpress sites are.  But it is more complex, especially for someone that knows zero HTML coding.  And then there's the question of self hosted Wordpress or using a software like Genesis?  It's a bit overwhelming and a decision that I keep going back and forth on.

There are tons of articles out there detailing the differences and the pros and cons of each but I'd love to hear from you guys, my friends.  I trust your opinions, thoughts and advice and want to hear what you think about the topic!  

So tell me, Blogger or Wordpress?
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Monday, April 13, 2015

I'm Tired


I think I need a weekend from this weekend.  We've been going non-stop since Friday celebrating birthdays and new boats and while it's been a blast, I am tired!  

A few of our friends came into town to stay with us on Friday evening - we grabbed dinner and drinks and stayed up playing Cards Against Humanity until 2:30 am.  Despite our best efforts (not really), we can never seem to get to bed on time when we're all together.

Saturday was the big surprise birthday party for one of our college friends that lives here in town.  His girlfriend threw it at a bar near campus and she really went all out and did an amazing job.  Food, drinks, a photo booth, good music and even a roast of the birthday boy - who was totally, completely surprised.  It was a great night and a fun mini college reunion!  


Of course we stayed up way too late again but it didn't stop us on Sunday from breaking in our friends new boat.  Boating in April in Michigan is pretty much unheard of but we took advantage of the beautiful 65 degree day which made me so, so ready for this summer.  


And now I'm off to take a nap.  Hope you all had a great weekend, too!

Linking up with BellaCarlyBiana and Ashley

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Friday, April 10, 2015

Weekend + Links


This has been the most dreary, rainy week - we've been pretty cooped up inside, the pup especially.  If you missed it on Instagram a couple of days ago, Brady bolted out of our front door after the Fed Ex man, right on to the Fed Ex truck and then took off down the street.  Thankfully we have the worlds nicest delivery guy who managed to wrangle the mad man... and who is still delivering packages to our house, bless his heart.  Reason #852 that Brady started round two of obedience classes this week ;)

We have a couple of dry days ahead in our weekend forecast and friends coming into town so it's all uphill from here!  Hope you have some fun plans ahead of you, too. 

Some favorites from around the web...

+Tips on how to create a killer outdoor space -- I'm going to need all the help I can get with this in the coming months.
+The five eyeliners every woman should own and how to apply them.
+A smoothie in a bowl?  Yes please.  This green smoothie bowl looks amazing.
+I was finally able to talk Nick into getting a ghost chair!  I ordered this one and it will sit next to our bar cart.
+How to manually size your blogs photos without using a photo editor.  This entire blog is full of the best blogging advice!
+I need these Valentino inspired flats.  That is all.
+The travel bug is always present - check out the 5 coolest bars in London.

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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Wedding Season Dresses


One of my favorite times of the year is upon us... wedding season!  We have six weddings to attend along with countless bridal showers and bachelorette parties so it's going to be a busy, exciting summer.  Needless to say, I've started collecting dresses for all of the upcoming festivities and right now is the perfect time to do so with Shopbop's Friends & Family sale -- everything is 25% with the code SPRING25 until tonight.  Happy shopping!

Other wedding related posts: Wedding Etiquette, Five Things I Would Change About My Wedding

Linking up with AnnieNatalieMeagan and Joey

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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Light & Bright Home Tour


I love searching Pinterest for interior design ideas and recently I stumbled across these images of Canadian blogger Monika Hibbs home.  Decorated by Stephanie Jean Design, this is most definitely my dream home.  White, bright, airy, relaxing -- this space embodies those words and I can't wait to start implementing some of this inspiration into my own home. 

What types of homes do you tend to gravitate towards?  Light and bright or modern and eclectic?

View the full home tour here.
All photos via Tracey Ayton Photography.

Linking up with Shanna & Morgan
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