Friday Five ::: Vacation Edition

Tomorrow morning I'll be flying to Punta Mita, Mexico for 6 days of fun in the sun with my cousin Amanda!

::: 1 :::
I have to have a well stocked purse on the plane or I get a little crazy. I like lots of options to distract myself and make the flight as easy and enjoyable as possible.

::: 2 :::
My nails are ready, which means - I'm ready! It's just not vacation until oranges and pinks make their way onto my nails.

::: 3 :::
I also always carry on....I do not have the patience to wait for my bag to come down the carousel. Once we land, I want to get out of the airport as quick as possible. And, I pack like 4 days early just so that I have time in case I forget anything.

::: 4 :::

We are spending two nights at my parents house, and then four nights at The Four Season's for a company vacation that Amanda earned and graciously invited me to! We will be eating, drinking, lounging, spa-ing, and playing and we couldn't be more excited. I'm not sure what we will talk about once this trip is over.

::: 5 :::

Even though this trip is bound to be one of the best yet, it's always hard to leave my boys. 


Don't worry, I'll get over it 

Beach bum.


Must Have's


I have always been obsessed with jean jackets, but I have never found a more versatile and comfortable jacket than this goody. It's light weight, stretchy, and hits right above your hips, so it's the perfect addition to every outfit because it doesn't look too much like an official jacket. I bought it last Friday and have pretty much worn it every day since. And it'll be perfect for Mexican nights too!

Ok, I'm not normally big on makeup, but you HAVE to try this. I've used Erase Paste for the last two years and thought it was the best overall under eye concealer I could find. My only problem with the paste was that it caked up easily and showed make-up wear at the end of the day. 

Well, Benefit fixed all of those problems with this Fake Up. It goes on smoother and lights than Erase Paste and has an all around better feel as well. This is my #1 make-up product that I use.

I've heard a lot about this book and am considering bringing it to Mexico as a beach read. Cameron clearly is a beauty in her own right, and I'm curious of her tips and tricks of the trade. I know she is a big advocate of drinking as much water as humanly possible, and since I've read that I've been trying to up my intake as much as I can. 

:::Detox Baths:::
I need this bathtub and tray to put wine on : )
Joel has been using Epsom salt after long runs, and last week I decided to give it a try. You mix add two cups of salt to your bath and soak for at least 15 minutes. Epsom salts have been used for decades and have a number of different health benefits but I found the most overwhelming benefit to be stress relief. I felt like it was a glass of wine for the body. I felt so relaxed and calm and slept amazing.

:::Laundry buddies:::

No one loves fresh laundry like Roscoe. 

:::Ben & Jerry's Core Ice Cream:::
Seriously? I need to try this.

:::Airport Outfit:::

I always have a hard time finding a perfect airport outfit for Mexico. The flights pretty quick, 2.5 hours, but I feel silly going to tropical and wearing my hat on the flight. I worry that I look a little too toursity, but I'm not sure how to not wear it and not have it smush in my carry on. 
Miranda Kerr Casual Street StyleLove Love LoveBasics
I'm hoping with a jean jacket and black pants will reduce the overly-amped-up toursit factor. 


Weekend Weight

Pretty much since Thanksgiving - our calendar has been packed and we've been on an indulgent binge fest. We've been to tons of restaurants in the last few months, and I can feel an extra layer on my body that I do not want to stick. I'm getting so annoyed that during the week we eat clean and act smart, all to blow it Friday though Sunday.

Since I only have a few days before I leave for Mexico, I'm trying to do a quick and effective 4 days cleanse just to feel better.

Since I only have a short amount of time - I am...

:::cutting carbs:::
 This is the first thing I have to eliminate to start to feel good again. Before Thanksgiving I was on a maintenance program with just reduced carbs, I would have them sparingly, but it's time to go hardcore.

:::exercise everyday:::
I'm pretty good about getting in a workout 5x/week, but I need to up the intensity and maybe even considering adding in a few two-a-days. Exercise makes me feel good, it's just finding the time and getting out and doing it.

::: lots water & tea/little wine:::
I have at least 2 or 3 Camelbacks of water (64-96oz) and a few glasses of tea at night too.  
Never Never Give Up

 I need at least 8 hours of sleep but my body these last few days has been craving even more. I'm trying to get into bed even earlier than normal, read a book - keep the TV off, and sleep as soundly as I can. 

Let Her Sleep Vintage Wooden Sign - 6" x 9"

Whenever I get sick, it's normally because I've been burning the candle at both ends. With too much food, booze, and not enough sleep or exercise - my body reacts. I'm taking Emergen-C every morning to rid the toxins and bio-tin to keep my energy levels up during the day.

I wish there was some sort of magic pill, but I sure as hell don't have it. All I know is that I feel better and look better when I'm taking care of myself, and I can't keep ruining it on the weekends!!
When I get back from vacation next week, we will be settling into a stricter routine and keeping these habits going in order to shed the winter skin.


A Weekend with my Mom

Last Wednesday my mom, Grandma (Kuka), and my Aunt Betty flew in to Los Angeles for a mini-vacation. I have two cousins out here in California, one in LA and one down in San Diego, so it was a perfect chance to visit with everyone as a group  and get out of freezing Chicago.

On Wednesday night - everyone was exhausted from traveling so we had everyone over for pizza and wine, caught up and just enjoyed being together.

On Thursday I finally got my shopping partner - my mom- back in action and we did some major damage at J.Crew. I picked up this work outfit - shoes and all - and then this skirt and jacket for Mexico next week.

For dinner on Thursday we took everyone to James Beach in Venice. It's a fun spot to take visitors because it's very California-y, easy, and good.

This was at Big Foot West before dinner
On Friday, we had a fantastic brunch at The Huntley in Santa Monica. I had never been but the restaurant is on the 18th floor and has sweeping views of the entire coast. I will definitely be going back soon.


For the afternoon we sat on the beach in Malibu and did some more shopping at the Malibu Country Mart.

Thursday night we did dinner at Little Dom's, an Italian spot in Los Feliz. The food was really good and the restaurant itself was very Chicago....which was perfect for our crew.

On Saturday morning we drove down to San Diego to meet up with my cousins Max and Kathleen who just moved down from Seattle. Unfortunately the weather was a little wonky this weekend, so our beach trips were pretty windy and gray.


My mom, aunt Betty, and I stay at The Solamar hotel in the Gaslamp District while we were there. The rooms were perfect and they had an awesome pool and happy hour, so we just sat at the pool - under heat lamps - for the entire afternoon.

Since we were on a true food and drinking fest, we decided to continue the momentum and head to dinner at a Spanish tapas restaurant in the Gaslamp called Sevilla. The place was awesome - so if you are ever in San Diego I highly recommend it. The food was authentic and delicious and at 9pm they had a Spanish band perform.

On Sunday we reunited with my Grandma who had stayed in Palm Springs with her cousin and I hosted a big, Italian "Sunday Night Dinner".


Growing up, all of us lived in the same neighborhood in Chicago. We were all just blocks from each other, so every Sunday we would have these huge dinners, play games, and get to spend time with our cousins. We literally did it every single Sunday - and my parents still do it back at home.


I knew that having everyone in one spot, I had to host my very first Sunday night dinner. We had pasta, bread, salad, Italian sausage, stuffed chicken meatballs, an apple crisp, and lots and lots of wine.
It was just so much fun to have everyone together at my dining room table in LA. I really didn't think I'd ever have a chance to have my Grandma here, so it was such a special thing.


Everyone had to leave us on Monday and it's never easy to say goodbye. I already miss them so much that it hurts. We really had such a fantastic weekend.

And, now, it's back to the grind for the next 4 days before I Jet Set to Mexico for a week. 

I promise I'm not complaining!


Must Have's

::: Tall Soy Latte's :::

I'm way late on having a 'Bux addiction. I used to pride myself on only getting starbucks at the airport, but things have started to change around here. For the last few months I've become obsessed with a tall soy latte, specifically from Starbucks. Do they lace their drinks with something that keep you coming back for more?

There is no better shopping partner in the world than my mom. She knows what looks good on me, pushes me to try on things I wouldn't normally, and sometimes even foots the bill. I have been working from home for the last two years, so my work wardrobe needs to be majorly updated.  I don't even know where to start, but I think J.Crew, Gap, and DVF make good starting points.

Most of my make-up is Benefit. It's easy, fun to use, and it works. When I went to their opening in Santa Monica, I picked up their new blush tint and I'm officially obsessed. At first, I was a little nervous that the color was too purple, but when you mix it on your skin you realize you've been doing blush all wrong.

 Editors' Essentials with Sarah Yates | Camille Styles
Besides needing new work shoes...and sandals for the summer...I also need to snag some white converse. I think they'll be the perfect shoe for trekking in Paris in May - and transition to the summer in LA perfectly. 

 Blurb wedding book
Confession - I don't have my album done yet. Or even started. I NEED to get this done, and since my photographer doesn't to do it for me, I have to take this task on myself. I've heard wedding blurb books are a really beautiful and affordable way to go - and I have no desire to have a $2,500 wedding album.

I really, really want to pull the trigger on this gold bar cart but haven't found the courage to just. do. it. I think it's the perfect size - and such a fun piece that could be used for years. 

I had an iPad through my old company, and next Friday I have to return it. I'm pretty sure I can't last a a day - let a along a trip to Mexico - without one, so I think I'm going to have to make a trip to Apple. Do you think the mini is too small? Is the air too thin?


Dinner Time: Greek Quinoa Salad

With these "weekends on roids" that I have all through February, it's is crucial that I keep every off-day as clean and light as possible. Weekends are my biggest downfall, and when guests come in, it's even worse.

I only have two days to recover before my mom gets here so on Monday I made a huge batch of quinoa and grabbed as many veggies as I could.

Last night's dinner was so easy, so fresh, and so healthy that it might become a permanent Monday night meal.

 The Goods: 

2 cups of uncooked Quinoa 
1 beef tomato
1 pkg herbed goat cheese
1 chopped red pepper
1 chopped zucchini
1 can of black beans
lemon juice
olive oil
oregano, parsley, salt & pepper to taste


1. Cook quinoa and chill in the fridge for 1 hour
2. Chop veggies and combine with chilled quinoa - crumble cheese
3. Toss with lemon juice and olive oil and add herbs
4. Enjoy!

Tonight I used extra quinoa for a kale ceaser salad with avocado, crispy garbanzo beans and chopped almonds.

Tomorrow? Pizza.


Weekends on Roids

Our February is really one for the record books. We've had a lot of visitors, and more coming, and then I'll cap it off with a week in Mexico before starting my new job. 

One visitor leaves, and then I spend a few days cleaning up, changing out the sheets, and I find myself back at LAX to pick up the next set.

This weekend we had my girlfriend Lauren come visit from Boston. 

Lauren and I went to college - University of Iowa- together and lived together for 3 years while we were there. Since college though we've never lived in the same state so our time has always been super limited. It was so fun to have a whole weekend of her to myself!


Lauren didn't meet us until 9:30, so Joel and I were able to sneak in a little Valentine's Day date. 


Quick Story - I hate getting ready. I hate putting on makeup, I hate doing my hair, the whole thing. It's time sucking and boring and I just don't have fun doing it. I always try and get it done as early as possible so that I can just have it out of the way, but then - I'm always like an hour early for anything that we do.

I texted Joel at 5pm that I was ready and that he should leave work early because I was bored. He said that he had anticipated that happening so that I should follow a list of instructions. 

A list of instructions that included hidden champagne and an ice bucket ready to go in the freezer.
How stinking cute is that? 

On Saturday morning we went for a hike and tried to get as much sun as possible. It's been so brutal on the East coast, so Lauren wanted to soak up as much outside time as possible. Afterwards, I had my first DryBar experience.

Holy. Amazing. My mom is coming this week and we are going back for round two. What a genius place. Full disclosure: I didn't love my hair. It wasn't anything special, but you get your head massaged, drink champagne, watch girly movies, and talk Real Housewives with your hair dresser, so my hair was the last thing I cared about.

Saturday night we celebrated Sean's 30th birthday with a pig roast at Laura and Sean's new home.

On Sunday Joel, Lauren, and I drove up to Malibu Wines to spend the afternoon. The weather was perfect and we just camped out, listened to music, and drank yummy Rose. 
 Malibu Wines is an adult playground, and I want to go play everyday. 
And, afterwards, when you are nice and buzzed, you can visit their safari with appearances from Zebras and friendly camels. 


My Mom, Grandma, and Aunt Betty are coming on Wednesday so it may be hard to check in here. Rest assured we will be enjoying ourselves!