Inspiration for Entertaining on New Year's Eve

posted on: Tuesday, December 31, 2013


champagne cocktails
new years eve garnishes
pomegranate cocktail
flowers
champagne cocktails
One of my favorite nights of the year is New Year's Eve, as it marks a time to reflect on the past year, and also to toast to new beginnings in the year ahead. (And truthfully, I love any occasion beaming with gold, glitter, florals, and champagne!)

While tonight's celebration will be hosted by my lovely friend, Maryna, I'm bookmarking inspiration for entertaining at home in 2014. A few of my favorite Christmas gifts this year included a bar cart, this beautiful crystal decanter and a new set of my favorite champagne flutes - all of which I'm excited to put to use with friends and family in the new year.

How are you celebrating the new year? I hope you have a wonderful night, wherever you may be celebrating!



8 Stylish Calendars and Planners for 2014

posted on: Monday, December 30, 2013

2014 calendars agendas planners
One of the best ways to keep organized is to, quite simply: write it down. In today's digital age, it can be easy to rely on your iPhone or try to commit things to memory when you're on the go. For me, there's something nice about keeping documentation of important dates, birthdays, appointments, notes and goals in an agenda or calendar. A little old-school, but it works for me! 

Here are a few of my favorite calendars, agendas and planners to keep organized and on track in 2014:

|| 2014 Soho Diary (Smythson, $260) || 2014 White Gold Notebook (Graphic Image, $70) || 2014 Pink Stripe Wall Calendar (Sugar Paper for Target, $12.99) ||  2014 Centennial Stripe Journal (Henri Bendel, $48) || 2014 Desk Calendar (Tory Burch, $75 now $52) || || Confetti Wall Calendar (Sugar Paper, $12.99) || 2014 Leopard momAgenda (Container Store, $45) ||  2014 Kate Raspberry Desk Calendar (Sugar Paper, $52) ||

Which item is your favorite? How do you keep organized with dates/birthdays/appointments/etc.?
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Merry Christmas

posted on: Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Wishing you a very Merry Christmas! Thank you for reading and for all your sweetness this season.

I hope your holiday is filled with lots of joy and love, wherever you may be celebrating!

xo,
Laura

A Rustic Holiday

posted on: Saturday, December 21, 2013


aerin lauder ski aspen
Good morning and happy weekend to you! The final countdown until Christmas is here... can you believe it? I'm thankful for time off this week to relax, spend time with family, and fully get in the holiday spirit. 

Lately, I'm loving these photos of Aerin Lauder's Aspen home, which have me dreaming of a mountain getaway this season. There's something that just feels right about a rustic holiday, filled with lots of cozy sweaters, days spent outdoors in the snow, and nights by fireside. Here are a few items I'm loving for a traditional, rustic holiday...

|| 1. Lanterns (Pottery Barn, $34-$249) || 2. Faux-fur blanket (Restoration Hardware, $79) || 3. Cashmere candle (Linnea's Lights, $28) || 4. Wool hat (Old Navy, $12) || 5. Stripe tunic sweater (J. Crew, $378) || 6. Sunglasses (Michael Kors, $99) || 7. Lodge parka (Eddie Bauer, on sale!) || 8. Mug (West Elm, $6) || 9. Sugar lip treatment (Fresh, $22.50) || 10. Vintage ski poster (Pottery Barn, $279) || 11. Copper fire pit (CobraCo, $252) || 12. Welly socks (Hunter, $30-$50) ||

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Happy Weekend

posted on: Friday, December 13, 2013


Happy weekend to you! I hope you have a relaxing weekend ahead. I'm planning to catch up on a little reading, sip hot coffee by the fireplace, and watch a few Christmas movies. 'Tis the season ;)

Thank you for reading this week! In case you may have missed, here's a round-up of recent posts:

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(Image via)

Gift Guide for the Beauty-Obsessed

posted on: Thursday, December 12, 2013


Beauty products are always one of my favorite gifts to give (and receive!) for Christmas. While I shared a few of my fave budget beauty buys with you in an earlier post, the holidays can be a time of year to treat someone (or yourself!) with a fun, splurge-worthy item or two.

Here are my selections for "best in beauty" gifts this season. Do you have any similar items on your wishlist?

|| Rose Shimmer Compact by Bobbi Brown || Sheer Lip Color by Bobbi Brown || Brush by MAC || Viva la Juicy Noir perfume by Juicy Couture || Blush by Estee Lauder || Cosmetics Case by Tory Burch || Gold Polka Dot Brush by Forever 21 || Cosmetics Pouch by Forever 21 || Lip Gloss by Marc Jacobs || Corrector by Bobbi Brown || Mascara by Dior || Candy Perfume by Prada ||




Christmas To-Do List

posted on: Tuesday, December 10, 2013


christmas bucket list
One of my favorite things about Christmas is taking part in traditions - and creating new ones! This year, I decided to put together a little list of fun things to do during the holiday season. I have a good start on the list, like decorating the Christmas tree, finding a perfect holiday dress, and watching classic Christmas movies (hello, 'Home Alone' marathon!).

What holiday traditions are your favorite? Is there anything you would add to the list?

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Green Smoothie

posted on: Saturday, December 7, 2013


breakfast green smoothie
green smoothie ingredients
green smoothie recipe
Good morning! I hope you have a relaxing and enjoyable weekend ahead. I'm looking forward to getting our Christmas tree today and dressing it up with lights and ornaments. I can't believe Christmas is only a few weeks away!

Also this weekend, I'm planning to try a new recipe for a green smoothie. I absolutely love smoothies for breakfast (or anytime really), and especially this time of year, when our diets can lack fresh fruits and veggies. This recipe from Rachel looks so refreshing and easy, I think it'll stay in my morning routine.

INGREDIENTS
• 1 cup ice
• 1/2 cup blueberries
• 1 banana
• 2 cups fresh spinach
• 1/3 cup greek yogurt
• 1/2 cup orange juice

Combine ice, blueberries, banana, spinach, yogurt and orange juice in a high-speed blender and mix until completely blended. Pour into a glass and enjoy!

(P.S. How fun is this dinnerware?)

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Gift Guide for the Girly-Girl

posted on: Friday, December 6, 2013


Since Monday's gift guide was dedicated to the guys, today's post is for the girls! And in particular, the girly-girl. She's the type who appreciates classic feminine designs, fresh flowers, delicate jewelry, and of course — the color pink. (I'd say, on most days, I'd consider myself a part of this category.) 

Whether she's your sister or best gal pal, here are a few gift ideas I'm sure would make any girly-girl swoon...

|| lipstick || Bonjour print || perfume set || mini macaron cases || peonies || heels || love poems || champagne flutes || jewelry box || pearl bracelet || candle || pink champagne truffles || bath salts ||

Do you have any similar items on your wishlist this year?

Gifts for the Guys

posted on: Monday, December 2, 2013



Whether it's for your Dad, your brother, best guy friends or special someones, selecting the perfect holiday gift for the guys in your life is no easy task. This holiday season, I've decided to kickoff a little series of gift guides with my favorite picks for the guys — and hopefully a couple of them will work for the guys in your life, as well. Enjoy!

|| Boat Shoes || Old-Fashioned Glasses || Leather Billfold || Travel Kit ||
|| Monogrammed Flask || Wool Socks || Flannel Shirt || Watch ||
|| Sweater Jacket || Ballparks: Then & Now || Aviator Sunglasses || Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with Literary Twist ||

Which items are your favorite? Are you planning any fun or special gift ideas for the guys in your life this year?

Holiday Sales

posted on: Thursday, November 28, 2013


I hope you're having a wonderful Thanksgiving today! In case you're planning to do a little holiday shopping tomorrow or this weekend, I've rounded up a few of this season's best sales below. Enjoy!

Kate Spade is offering up to 75% off brand items.

J.Crew is offering 30% off with code HOLIDAY.

West Elm is offering 25% off everything with code STOCKUP. 

C.Wonder is offering 30% off 3+ items with code GIFTS30.

Nordstrom is offering 25% off select brands.

Bloomingdales is offering 50% off select brands.

Ann Taylor is offering 50% off with code ANNTHANKS.

Pottery Barn is offering free shipping and monogramming on holiday decor.

ASOS is offering 20% off with code GIMME20.

Serena & Lily is offering 20% off with code THANKS20.

Macy's is offering special savings sitewide.

Shopbop is offering 15% off orders of $250+, 20% off of $500+, and 25% off of $1000+ with code BIGEVENT13.

Tory Burch is offering 20% off orders of $300+, 25% off orders of $500+, 30% off orders of $750+ with code HOLIDAY.


Giving Thanks

posted on: Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Good morning to you! I hope you're getting in the holiday spirit and are feeling excited for Thanksgiving tomorrow, wherever you may be celebrating. This year, I'll be celebrating near Grand Beach, Michigan. I always look forward to spending time with my big, fun-loving family!

For me, Thanksgiving is a time to gather with friends and family, kick back, indulge a little, laugh, and reflect on the past year. So far, 2013 has brought many people, experiences, and things to be thankful for, including my family, amazing boyfriend and friends. And finally, I feel grateful for this space -- and for you! -- for reading. I hope you have a safe and happy Thanksgiving! Cheers! xo

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5 Festive Cocktails for Thanksgiving

posted on: Tuesday, November 26, 2013


While turkey may take center stage on Thanksgiving, a good festive cocktail can spruce up your meal and gatherings. Kick off your Thanksgiving feast with a toast to the friends and family who’ve gathered for the occasion. These cocktails are inspired by the best of the season’s ingredients, infused with fresh herbs and fruit. Recipes are courtesy of Williams-Sonoma. Cheers!

HARVESTED APPLE COCKTAIL
• 1/4 fl. oz. St. Germain
• 3/4 fl. oz. Calvados (apple brandy)
• Sparkling wine
• Apple slice for garnish

Pour the St. Germain into a coupe glass and fill halfway with sparkling wine. Top off with Calvados and garnish with an apple slice. Serves 1.

CRANBERRY MARTINI
• Ice cubes
• 1 cup vodka
• 1/4 cup dry vermouth
• 1/2 cup cranberry juice
• 8 cranberries, frozen
• 4 lemon zest twists

Fill a cocktail shaker half full with ice. Pour in the vodka, vermouth and cranberry juice. Cover with the lid and shake vigorously up and down for about 10 seconds. Strain into the chilled glasses, dividing evenly. Garnish each glass with 2 frozen cranberries and a lemon twist. Serves 4.

MINT GINGER ALE
• 2 T. packed fresh mint leaves
• 1 tsp. sugar
• Ice cubes as needed
• 2 bottles ginger ale
• Bourbon, to taste (optional)

In a small bowl, using the back of a spoon, crush the mint with the sugar and let stand for 10 minutes. In each individual glass, place a generous 1/2 tsp. of the crushed sugared mint. Add several ice cubes and pour in the ginger ale. Add a splash of bourbon to each glass. Serves 8 to 10.

POMEGRANATE CHAMPAGNE COCKTAIL
• 1 fl. oz. pomegranate juice
• 1/2 fl. oz. Grand Marnier
• Sparkling wine
• Pomegranate seeds for garnish

Pour the pomegranate juice and Grand Marnier into a Champagne glass or flute. Top with sparkling wine and add a few pomegranate seeds. Serves 1.

APPLE-CRANBERRY HOT CIDER
• 32 ounces apple juice
• 3 cups of cranberry juice
• 2 cups of sugar
• 2 cinnamon sticks
• 1 cup rum

Pour all ingredients into saucepan except for rum. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in rum and serve. Serves 12 to 15.


Holiday Jewelry Under $25

posted on: Monday, November 25, 2013





The holiday season is a great excuse to add a little extra sparkle to your look. This time of year is all about statement jewelry, filled with bold color, stunning gemstones, crystals and luxurious pearls. Whether it’s a fun statement necklace, pretty dangle earrings, or a stack of layered bracelets, jewelry can make an everyday outfit feel festive and party perfect.

And the good thing is, I’ve found jewelry doesn’t always need to be ultra expensive to achieve a polished look. Here are a few selections that have caught my eye lately – and they’re all under $25!


Which pieces are your favorites? Where do you have luck finding holiday jewelry?

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J.Crew Winter Sale

posted on: Saturday, November 23, 2013



Ah, Saturday. It feels good to have the weekend finally here! Before a holiday party tonight, I'm planning to do a little window (and online!) shopping for Christmas gifts. There happens to be a great J.Crew sale happening now, which is 25% off all winter favorites. That means sweaters, coats, boots, cold weather accessories... all on sale this weekend. Just use the code WINTER. Which items are your favorites? Have you started your holiday shopping yet?

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Snapshots from My Week

posted on: Friday, November 22, 2013


Happy Friday! I hope you had a wonderful week and are looking forward to Thanksgiving right around the corner. Here are a few highlights and snapshots from my week...

• I'm loving the sights and sounds of the holiday season around the city. These little trees are placed all along the Chicago River near my office, and give the most magical and illuminating view of the water and Chicago architecture.
• Happy hour at Pump Room is quickly becoming one of my favorites. Stunning décor, fabulous drinks, and some pretty iconic history - count me in.
• I saved a few pretty pennies and purchased my first DSRL camera! I'm incredibly excited to capture more moments and really take my photos to the next level. I've also started journaling and scribbling notes in this journal to organize my thoughts and inspiration for future posts. :)
• Shopping with my Mom this week was so fun! We admired these colorful fresh flowers at Crate & Barrel. How pretty!

How was your week? Do you have any fun plans this weekend?
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Thursday Thought

posted on: Thursday, November 21, 2013



"Elegance is the only beauty that never fades." - Audrey Hepburn

{{ Image: Vogue, January 1961 via }} 

Winter White

posted on: Monday, November 18, 2013


j crew winter white
Good morning! I'm excited to enjoy a day off of work today and spend a little girl time with my mom, who is visiting me in Chicago. We'll explore downtown, enjoy lunch together, and do a little shopping, of course! I'm on the lookout for a new winter coat (so essential in this chilly city!) and a few pieces for the holiday season. I'm loving these selections from J.Crew -- there's something just so chic and timeless about winter white, don't you think? I hope you have a great Monday!


Champagne and Cupcakes at Magnificent Milestones Chicago

posted on: Saturday, November 16, 2013


jennifer shea trophy cupcakes
magnificent milestones chicago event
magnificent milestones chicago gifts
Last Thursday, Magnificent Milestones opened its doors to host an evening of champagne and sweet treats to celebrate the debut book from Jennifer Shea, the life-long baker and party-maker behind Trophy Cupcakes. You may have seen her featured by The Martha Stewart Show, Vanity Fair and Glitter Guide. Jennifer (and her cupcakes!) are sweet and darling as can be. Magnificent Milestones was the perfect backdrop for the event, as the Chicago shop is beaming with colorful greeting cards, custom stationery and fun little gifts for your home and desktop. I loved browsing the collection, which includes some of my favorite candles, this 2014 desk calendar and plenty of Kate Spade goodies. (I picked up this polka dot journal for myself.) Thank you, Jennifer and Kara, for hosting a wonderful event!

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Currently Coveting

posted on: Thursday, November 14, 2013


fashion accessories
Gold Lips Mug || A kiss of gold dresses up this classic white mug. Mwah!
Starburst Mirror || Basically like jewelry for your wall, right? I'm loving this mirror's shape and color.
Crystal Earrings || Add shimmer and a touch of glitz to your holiday look.
Lip Gloss || A pretty pick-me-up. Bright 'Cassis' is my favorite shade.
Cableknit Socks || Perfect for cozying up during a chilly winter weekend.
Flats || Loving this statement medallion on these ladylike flats.
Foldover Clutch || Large enough to hold your essentials, fitting for everyday use.

Pretty little things...


Good morning :) This week has been rather chilly, but the colder temps and bundling in cozy layers have gotten me in the mood for the holidays. I've even seen a few Christmas lights being strung along Michigan Avenue...! Tonight, I'll be visiting a special event at Magnificent Milestones, the cutest paperie shop specializing in custom invitations and stationery. Looking forward to sharing photos with you soon!

Also, I recently updated my About page. Personally speaking, I always enjoy getting to know the person behind a blog, so I thought I'd share more of myself with you! Feel free to take a peek here.

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Society for Contemporary Art at Marc Jacobs

posted on: Monday, November 11, 2013


marc jacobs eyeshadow 
Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of joining the Society for Contemporary Art at Marc Jacobs. The event was held as a kickoff to the Society's formal fundraiser in 2014. Through its 70+ year history, the Society has helped acquire works fundamental to today's collection at The Art Institute in Chicago. If you find yourself in the Windy City, a visit to the Art Institute is a must!

Marc Jacobs opened its doors to host the event, where it was so fun to browse the latest collection. My friend Sara and I especially loved trying items from Marc Jacobs Beauty, like this pretty eyeshadow palette and these fun lip glosses. Thank you to the Society, Marc Jacobs and my friend, Anastasia, for hosting such a wonderful event!

favorite cleaning supplies

posted on: Saturday, November 9, 2013



Having moved into a new home recently, I've stocked up on a new collection of cleaning supplies. Similar to office and school supplies, cleaning products can actually be - dare I say - kind of fun! (Anyone else here with me?) Some of my favorites are from Method, Mrs. Meyer's, Crate & Barrel, J.R. Watkins and Earth-Kind. I also love finding natural solutions, like lemon, to use around the home.


Do you have any go-to favorites for your home or apartment?

Links I Love

posted on: Friday, November 8, 2013



• I'm loving these exotic, bright and colorful photos from Morocco. What an adventure!
• Good advice on health & wellness, friendships, setting goals, and staying youthful.
• Spend 5 minutes with Kate Spade's Deborah Lloyd and Brad Goreski, in this fun interview from  Glossed & Found.
• Did you know the Dalai Lama is on Twitter? Follow along for daily inspiration and insights.
• If you're feeling crafty, check out this pretty DIY garland, using bay leaf, persimmons, eucalyptus, and amaranth.
• This puppy is just too cute for words. Theodore Fitzpatrick, you've gained a new follower this week.
• Nordstrom is currently hosting its half-yearly sale. Any items on your wish list? I just picked up these sparkly Givenchy earrings as a treat for myself :)

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!
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pretty little things

posted on: Wednesday, November 6, 2013


I hope you're having a lovely week, wherever it may find you. :) I'm excited to attend two fun events this week, one tonight with H2O Plus, and tomorrow, with Marc Jacobs and the Society for Contemporary Art. Looking forward to sharing more details with you soon! 

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Images via

Holiday Table Décor

posted on: Monday, November 4, 2013


When it comes to holiday home décor, I love finding pieces that can transition from fall into winter. Like these beautiful mercury glass candles and natural pinecones. Both items are inexpensive (especially if you gather the pinecones yourself!) and look positively chic as table décor or on a fireplace mantel. Plus, they can easily transition from Thanksgiving into Christmastime. Below, I've shared a few options to get the look. Or if you're the thrifty type, check out this fun DIY tutorial on how to create a pretty gold pinecone garland.

How do you decorate for the holidays? What items are your favorites?


New Feature: Shop!

posted on: Saturday, November 2, 2013




I'd like to introduce you to a new feature on the blog: my shop page! Here you'll find a collection of my favorite items in fashion, beauty, and home décor. I'll continue to add new selections to keep the collection fresh, according to season. So, follow along here if you'd like :)

Also, in case you're interested in a little weekend shopping, there are several good sales lately... including:

• J.CREW: Extra 30% off fall sale items with code LOVEFALL.
• J.CREW FACTORY: Get 30% off new arrivals.
• TORY BURCH: New items just added to the sale. I'm loving these booties and this sweater.
• NORDSTROM: New styles added for incredible savings on designer brands.
• BANANA REPUBLIC: Save up to 35% off your purchase with code BR48HOUR. Ends today!

What items are you loving lately? 

happy weekend!

posted on: Friday, November 1, 2013



Can you believe it's November already? October passed rather quickly for me, but it was a month filled with a few exciting milestones. I finally revealed this space to friends and family, so - welcome new readers! Your support and kind words meant the world to me this week. Thanks so much for all the love.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend planned ahead. Here are a few links that've caught my eye lately...

• Excellent advice for entrepreneurs à la Tory Burch. (Follow your passion, be authentic, and buckle up.)
• A collection of rare photos of Lower Manhattan dating from the 1920s.
• This recipe for Brown Sugar Cookies looks simply ah-maz-ing.
• Newly released book from Aerin Lauder capturing what it means to live beautifully, and how world travel and family have formed her sense of style.
• My favorite slippers happen to be on sale... what about these scarves and this blanket, too? So cozy for winter!
• A go-to guide filled with entertaining ideas, tips and tricks for the holiday season.

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wanderlust: greek islands

posted on: Wednesday, October 30, 2013


If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? For me, I've been feeling serious wanderlust for Greece. While I've trekked through Europe before, the Greek Islands are still on my travel wish list. Aren't these photos just so beautiful?

Tell me your dream vacation! What locations would you love visit?

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DIY beauty with Refinery29

posted on: Tuesday, October 29, 2013



Let's face it: The changing seasons can take a toll on skin, hair, and nails. As temps fall and winds increase, it can be difficult to retain a glowing complexion and healthy locks. What's a girl to do? Some of the best remedies to combat the effects of fall are found not at the department store, but ahem -- in your pantry!

I'm so thrilled to be featured on Refinery29 today for my DIY Vanilla Sugar Scrub. A homemade sugar scrub is an easy way to exfoliate and repair dry skin. It leaves your skin absolutely glowing. Plus, the combination of sugar and vanilla smells heavenly! You can find my recipe, along with other great DIY beauty tips, in the feature. Hope you enjoy!

Do you have any favorite DIY beauty tips? Would love to hear your homemade recipes and thoughts!

Image via


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