Thursday, September 29, 2011

Friday's Fancies: Boot Up!

Boot It

Bootie Love

I love love love boots, which is no secret to my friends and family. It's definitely my favorite part about fall fashion and I think every girl should have a few different styles in her shoe closet! When {av} from Long Distance Loving announced this week's theme was boots, I was ecstatic! I love 'em! If I had to pick my favorite, I'd definitely go with the classic riding boot. I had this boot go two ways. It's so chic and elegant and can go from a cute dress to skinny jeans in no time! I would take those Ralph Lauren boots in a heart beat (along with everything I paired them with! I can definitely see myself in everything up there!) Layers are key for fall, and the boots tie every look together.

Ok, so I couldn't just stop at one pair of I broke the rules the added a second pair (and two more looks to go with them!) These booties are so cute, and I'm seeing pairs like them more and more in stores. I think they are a nice change of pace from the classic tall boot and have a different flair to them. Obviously I had tunics on the brain, so I'd pair these suede sweeties with a jersey LBD or this adorable tunic and leggings. It's fun, and so very very fall.

Happy Friday all! I feel like it was never going to get here this week, so I'm glad that it's here! I'm very excited to head up and spend the weekend with my grandparents and my sister and her boyfriend enjoying a Corn Festival in my grandparents' town. I love going and enjoying the fall festivities in their tiny town. I'm layering up since the cooler temperatures are here! Anyone have any fun weekend plans?

Thanks so much to {av} for making me this cute banner! I'm so so excited to have it here. Isn't she so sweet? I can't thank her enough!

Happy Weekends Everyone!


Perspective through Pinterest!

Isn't it funny that sometimes seeing things on Pinterest makes you put all things into perspective? This may sound insanely silly, but now every time I am roaming the site, I always happen to stumble upon a quote or inspiring word that actually relates to what I had been feeling that day. Maybe this is just me being bizzarre, but seeing those inspiring quotes really does help me reflect and put my life into perspective (and of course they are all insanely cute, so that helps!). But here is some advice that has definitely been relating to my life as of late, and maybe you could even relate too:

Source: None via Susan on Pinterest

Has anyone else ever felt this way when roaming around Pinterest? Any advice you want to give away today? It's been a fun tool for me and I love finding all of these awesome quotes!

Happy Thursday!


Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Ok so this is a bit silly but the first thing I think of now when I hear the word raw is from Sex and the City when Smith first says to Samantha "Welcome to Raw." Before she had told the girls that she had wanted to shoot down that waiter because of his amazing backside. Sorry, side note! But it still gets me and I still die laughing every time I see it.

Anyway, raw! Some of life's best creations are those that we don't need to cook! Hooray! It's always a little less work this way, fancy that! The other night though my friend Allison and I made some edible cookie dough balls that you can eat! Ummm yum! And they were covered in melted chocolate. Even more of a yum. They were absolutely delicious and now that I know how to make edible cookie dough, I think it is going to have to be a bi-weekly occurrence. I addicted. And thanks to Pinterest, I used this recipe. Here's a little of the process (mind you, we didn't have many fantastic tools to work with. I "beat" the butter with a potato masher...I know! Awful right? They still turned out fantastic though).

My fabulous baking partner in crime, Allison
All chilled and ready to eat!
Also, I was on a pinning spree and I found a recipe for raw brownies. Now brownies aren't my favorite dessert, but I would totally eat a raw one! Doesn't this look appealing?

Here's to more fallish treats hopefully coming soon! I love, love love fall baked goods! A few weeks ago I had my first caramel apple and nothing had ever tasted so good. And let's not forget about my love the pumpkin latte. Ahhh so dangerous, but yet so delicious. I have no regrets ever drinking one! None!

Happy Wednesday all! It really feels like fall down here, with all the damp rain and everything. But oh the colors are changing, and I'm loving every minute of it!


Monday, September 26, 2011

Weekend Highlight

This was a beautiful weekend! (although like most weekends, it went by faster than it should have!). The colors are getting gorgeous and the temperatures are pretty perfect right about now. I have to say though, my favorite highlight of my weekend (besides watching the Lion King with friends!) was being home on Saturday night.

Just me.

and some popcorn

and watching Shane West and Mandy Moore's love story in A Walk to Remember.

Yes, I still love this movie. Anything Nicholas Sparks gets me every time. And Shane West is still so so cute in my book.

So yes, all in all it was a good weekend! And by the way, the baked good that I will share tomorrow was a big hit. So get excited for finding out what that is. See, I know I have you hanging now!

What was your weekend highlight? I hope everyone had a fabulous first weekend of fall! Now off to another week. (less than 14 days till a 3 day Columbus weekend!) Have lovely Mondays everyone!


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Friday's Fancies: Cozy Chic!

Cozy Chic

When {av} of Long Distance Loving announced that this week's theme for Friday's Fancies was going to be Cozy Chic, I was thrilled! Though I will always be a summer girl through and through, I love a change of seasons, and I especially love being cozy and comfy during the fall and winter months. I'm absolutely loving this sweater dress for fall. I've always been a fan of this color (one of my favorite big sweaters I've had for almost a decade is this same shade...I love it!) and having a dress with it would be fantastic. Of course, adding this leopard belt for a little flair would always be fun. Another trend that I love is the rain boots with the knee socks. I just love it! This mid calf Hunters in forest green with the socks are just awesome! I have the full length Hunters in black (they were a steal my mom found a few years ago at a store going out of business. They didn't fit her, so I got 'em!) and wouldn't trade them for anything, but there's something about these mid length ones that I love. I love the knee socks with them, a lot! Also, how about this Mulberry bag? I love, love love it! It's definitely an investment bag, but I bet it's a timeless style in a color that goes with it all. I'd top it off with a leather jacket, and probably a pumpkin spice latte with pumpkin cake! Talk about cozy!

 And speaking of staying cozy, I thought I'd just talk about my sweater obsession for a minute. I love sweaters. My friends, family and roommates could probably all testify that I have maybe a few too many! But I always love looking! Here a few that I have my eye on that I love:

If I could pick any of those up, I'd be a happy camper! They're fantastic! But I'll take what I have for now! Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend. Tonight some friends and I are in a bake off with some guys up the road. They stand no chance! We've got some recipes up our sleeve, and I can't wait to use mine. I hope it's a good one. I'll let you all know what that is next week! Let's just say this: you don't have to bake it! Always a good thing. In the mean time, I'll just continue to catch up on my fall TV. Current love right now: The Sing Off. Yep, I love all this stuff!

 Have lovely weekends!


Fall TV: Fill me in!

Last night I was watching that new show The X Factor. Yes, I know I'm a sap, but I'm all for these audition tapes and reality shows like the X Factor. But I thought it was such a sweet show (confession: I was almost brought to tears twice!) and Paula and Simon are back as a dynamic duo. I have to admit, I missed them together like that! But the auditions were fantastic and if you're at all interested in keeping up with it, it's on again tonight at 7 Central time on Fox! I loved it.

I've been so out of the loop that I barely know what's going on in the world, let alone on TV (I know that's bad! and very unlike me) but last night I even forgot that Glee was on! I need to catch up on this. How was it for anyone who saw it? I've heard mixed things, but I'll see for myself!

I also want to try: Up All Night, The Playboy Club, Whitney, and Pan Am, in addition to keeping up with Project Runway. Yes, that's a solid list! I probably can't keep up every week, but hey it's something, right?

What's on your fall TV picks list? Anything I need to try?

Have sweet, sweet Thursdays everybody! Embrace fall! It's here!


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I need a vacation...

Yep. I said it. I need a vacation. Ok, well I don't need one, but having one would be really nice right about now! Now I'm usually not one to complain, but I wish we could just take a week off and do nothing! and if I had to jet off right now, this is where I would go:

Source: via Susan on Pinterest
Source: via Susan on Pinterest
Source: via Susan on Pinterest

I'd want to go to Michigan! I know the fall colors are a few weeks away, but I'd love to take a few days and go some bike rides through the fall colors, pick some apples and make homemade applesauce and go have a picnic in front of that gorgeous barn! And take a walk on the lakefront. It'd be a beautiful trip, while still taking in the gorgeous Midwestern fall weather (Wisconsin would work too!)

If you could take a trip right now, where would you go?

I'm enjoying the last few indian Summer days while the leaves turn but the weather is still warm. They just harvested the corn outside of our windows at school. So fun to watch, I feel like I'm in a magazine or something!

Happy Mid Week!


Monday, September 19, 2011

Weekend Highlight

My weekend highlight was definitely heading up to the city with my friends to see this man live.

The man's name is Joe Nichols. and he was fantastic!

Seriously how cute is he? I was having a difficult time capturing his beautiful smile, but we were so close! I couldn't resist. Look him up if you want some new country tunes to get hooked on. He's got lots!

And we looked fabulous as well (although this photo doesn't do us justice, taken from the lady smack dab in front of us!).

It was a great weekend, though way too fast, as usual. Here's to a great week for all of you!


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Friday's Fancies: Game Day Chic!

I love cheering on my Titans every year during football season! We may be small, but we're mighty! Always good games to be had. And though I usually sport my school pride with a sweatshirt, occasionally I wear a big green sweater and this one's perfect! Again, I'm obsessed with these riding boots. I love them and I'd wear them to anything, including a game! But once the weather gets cold, I'm usually in my Uggs. With about five blankets. Anyway, it's not that cold yet! Add a few accessories and maybe even my pom-poms and I'm set to go! I love football season!

 Happy Friday once again! Thanks for all the fun feedback I've been receiving all week! I love getting all of your comments, it means so much! Tonight is another night of hopefully some relaxation and planning. I know I say this every week. But this week it has to happen. It just has to! Saturday some friends and I are up to the city for a country concert to see Joe Nichols! (he sings that popular song Gimmie That Girl...I'm obsessed!). So it's going to be a good weekend, and I know it's going to just fly! I hope you all enjoy wherever the weekend takes you and relax as much as possible!
 Happy Weekends!



Two of my favorite bloggers, Danielle of Breakfast at Toast and Sarah of Walking Around Where the Sidewalk Begins both have birthdays this week! And they are celebrating by having a link up of bloggers to share some of their favorite gift ideas. Now, there's no one who loves to give gifts more than me! (and don't get me wrong, I love receiving, but I'm all about giving them. Who doesn't love the reactions?)

So here are some of my favorite gifts to give:

Homemade Goodies:

Who wouldn't want to receive a jar of these babies as a gift? Chocolate Cookie Dough balls? MMMM

As we know here on my blog, I'm all about making desserts! So I love to give cookies and cakes (mostly cookies because that's what I'm pretty good at!) to my friends whenever they have something to celebrate! Who doesn't love a homemade treat?

A fun piece of jewelry
I love jewelry. I can't help it, and I think most other girls enjoy it also. So when I find a piece I love, I get it and then see if it would fit someone else's style too. It's all about sharing the love right?
I've loved this Jess LC Franklin necklace for a while. What a great gift to give or receive!

Ever since my spa birthday party when I was 13, I still find myself giving my friends spa and lotion items, and they still haven't complained! Everyone loves getting new lotion and having a new soft scent on their hands, and especially now at this time of year when the weather will get colder and drier in a few months. Lotion hits the spot.

These thank you notes from Paper Source are super cute and fallish. I'm loving these colors still!

Maybe this is just a gift I still love to receive, but in my eyes, stationary will never go out of style. A handmade note means a lot and I love having new notes to spice things up a bit!

A craft you made
My cowls that I have given as gifts (among m many knitting creations I've given over the years!)

I may be going out on a limb here, but I think giving away your own crafty handywork is fantastic! I've loved the gifts people have made for me over the years, from jewelry, to scarves, to kits to be able to make hot chocolate, etc. It's so authentic and personal that I love to do the same, especially with my knitting. I think nothing says you care by making it yourself (if you are so inclined! if not, no worries!).

I hope these two lovely ladies are enjoying their birthday week, especially topping it off with some cake and other goodies as well. What are your favorite gifts to give? Receive?

Have fantastic Thursdays everybody!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

DIY: my favorite easy knit cowl

So remember how I said I was going to knit over the weekend? Well I actually did!! I did not touch my afghan, that I know will eventually get done, but I wanted a real quick project that I could do in just a few quick hours. Like what I came up with?

I made these cowls last year and gifted them to ladies in my family and my girl friends as well, and I'm thinking that this year, everyone's getting a new one! haha, just kidding. But I really do love these cowls and I could not pass up this color when I was at the yarn store. Sorry ladies, but I'm keeping this one! Also, it's about the softest wool ever. EVER. It will be perfect for cooler days, like the ones we got today  and even later winter nights (but let's not think of those right now!). So what can I say? Should I model or what?

If you're a knitter and want to recreate it, here's what you do: Using size 17 circular needles, cast on an odd number with big chunky yarn (I've done 39 sts before but this time I wanted it a little bigger so I believe I did 45 or 47) and make sure you cast on pretty loose so that it's able to stretch a little and be flexible. All you do is seed stitch until the cowl is 9 inches in length. You should use your one whole skein of your yarn. It's pretty perfect actually.

Side note: I forgot what brand of yarn this is! I'll find out and let you know because seriously I have made so much with it and I can't wait to do more. All I know is if you live in the Chicago area, head up to Close Knit in Evanston! They'll help you out a lot! And they've got insanely awesome yarn there too!

So there you go everyone. A fast and easy cowl for fall. Now if I had the time to knit one more frequently. That will be the day...


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Rule Breaker

I'm wearing white jeans today.

So sue me!

Who follows those Labor Day rules anyway? hahaha

Anyone else a rule breaker with me?

Check back in later today, to see my fun fall DIY cowl!

Monday, September 12, 2011

7 Blessings

I got my layers re-done! Sorry for the photobooth photo. Kinda awkward!
  1. Fondue with friends. Mmmmmm!!! I am rarely seeing people during the week and Friday night was great catch up time, and the fondue helped!
  2. Freshly baked cookies to enjoy with my morning coffee. Yummm!
  3. Wonderful piano lessons. Man I missed them. I always have lots to work on, but I'm finally feeling like my hard work is pulling off!
  4. Beautiful 9/11 prayer services. I was brought to tears several times. When the 10 bells went off at 9:03 I just about lost it. The music was beautiful and the readings brought me to tears. Everyone present really was able to reflect and remember.
  5. I got a new haircut! I love, love love it! I seriously haven't had bangs since age eight. Really. It's been awhile. I'm having lots of fun with it! (excuse my photobooth picture!) Also it looks completely different when it's not straight, which I still like!
  6. Finally being able to relax and watch TV. I watched more TV this weekend than I have in a month, it was fantastic! Gotta love those Cake Boss Marathons while multitasking writing up lesson plans.
  7. Final summer BBQ of the summer. This was probably going to be my last one that we had yesterday and it was delish! Great group of people and good food, there's nothing better!
Here's to a great week coming up! I pretty much have organized me week to a T, so because of this I'm thinking it's going to go by really fast! Here's hoping! Have lovely Mondays everybody!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

I'm saying a prayer

Today I'm saying a prayer for this day ten years ago. I'm remembering all the innocent lives lost and all of the families that lost big parts of their lives that day. No one deserves what those families have had to go through. I am hoping that they all stay strong on this anniversary and know that their loved ones are looking down on them.

Today I'm saying a prayer for the safety of everyone everywhere. We never know what will happen tomorrow, or even today, and I'm hoping that everyone stays safe.

Today I'm saying a prayer for all of our soldiers who have protected our country for this long. Our country would not be standing here without them and all of their help, all day everyday no matter how hard it has been for them.

Source: via Susan on Pinterest

Today I'm saying a prayer for our government leaders. Ten years of decisions and judgments have put us here. I'm hoping that they will know in their hearts what will be the best for every citizen here.

Today I'm saying a prayer for the United States of America. Ten years ago, our nation changed. That fatal day changed everything, from the way we travel to the way we communicate, to the way we approach newcomers to our country. We have become stronger, and I like to think more united. We all need to remember why we're here. We need to take pride in our country and everything we stand for. I know I will be thinking of that today.

I hope you are all reflecting today as well. God Bless America.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Friday's Fancies: In the Moment

in the moment

So {av} over at Long Distance Loving decided that this week's Friday's Fancies theme was to be Fashion Forward. I love people who are fashion forward. however I'm just not one of them! It takes me like three months to get with trends and make sure that it's still working, so usually I stay away from the trends. I'm more of a classics person when it comes to my style, but I do like to add pops of different trends in there. So, instead of being fashion Forward, I'm in the moment today. If I had to pick a look to wear right this second, this would be it! I absolutely love this dress, and it's belted so double win! Plus, adding the boots makes it feel like fall. I know I've done this style before, but I can't help it. I love the feel of the look, and it can easily go from work to play. EASILY! And since colors are so in this fall, I felt like this orange blazer and light green bangles would suffice. And who doesn't love this bag? So, right now, in the moment, this is what I wish I had! Anything you all are wanting in the moment? (I could think of a lot more, but I'll stick to just this for now!)

 Happy Friday! This weekend should be a slower, more relaxed weekend. I'm fonduing with friends tonight and tomorrow night I swear I will be staying in, being lazy. I haven't picked up my knitting in God knows how long, so I definitely am going to make a cowl! I made a few last year and gifted them, they were big hits. I can't wait to add another big chunky cowl to my collection. And it's in coral! I can't wait to show you guys next week!

I hope everyone has fabulous weekends, we all deserve them (even with a four day week. Yes, I said it! Four days is just perfect. If I had my way, I would make everyday just a tad longer but have fewer days in the week, whose with me?). My friends always have to hear how much I would love more hours in a day, so I thought I'd share with you guys too. haha. Anyway, enjoy, relax and spend a little time being thankful and reflecting this weekend, especially Sunday. I know I will be.


"Pass it on..."

So remember how yesterday I said that I read a book over the weekend? The book is called Heaven is for Real and fate must have had some weird place in this somewhere. Some teachers and I were talking about this book and how they all loved it and how I really should read it in my free time. Free time? Yes, well mine's pretty much non-existent right now, so I was like ok I will when I have time. So I kept the title in mind.

Friday night came along and my train was an hour and a half late. Yep. I was sitting at the train station for what seemed like forever, in the dry Central Illinois heat. Turns out that train tracks retain heat and when they get too hot, they move outwards. Trains can only go at about 45 mph when it's that hot because if they go any faster, they won't stay on the tracks. Anyway, when I finally boarded my train to Chicago, I found a seat next to an older gentleman. Once I sat down, he started talking about how long he'd been on the train and we exchanged pleasantries and he asked me a little bit about myself.

Granted, I'd never met this man before. He was a complete stranger. We were both excited though since we were both headed to see family. But I needed something to pass the time before getting there, so I took out a book to read trying to plan lessons for the next week. All of the sudden, the man says, "Do you read religious books?" I said that I like reading lots of different books and that I like the bible. He says, quite sincerely, "I got this book today from a friend and you look like you need it right now. I'd like you to have it." I have to say that I was shocked. A complete stranger was giving me this NY Times Best Selling Book that he hadn't even read yet. I was overwhelmed, and tired, but of course said yes. He was pretty happy to see me accept it, so I started reading it.

If you haven't read this book yet, I recommend it. It's such a quick read about a family whose son has to be hospitalized for a terrible illness. While the boy is in surgery, his father, who just happens to be a very religious pastor, is asking God why He has done this to his son. The father finds out that while his son was in surgery, he had taken a trip to heaven and back again, telling his dad that he had met Jesus while he was there. I don't want to give it away, but it is such a sweet, true story about his ordinary little boy who has had quite an extraordinary journey. So pick it up if it sounds interesting to you!

When the man's stop approached, I asked him if he wanted the book back, he said no. He instead said that I should pass it on to someone who feels like they needed it.

Ok, so I know to some this sounds like a creepy story. I assure you it's not! It was actually quite sweet. So I'm waiting with the book, seeing who I think will need it next. I mean this encounter was something straight out of a movie (which stuff like that never happens to me! trust me). Has anyone ever experienced kindness from a stranger like that? It's something I know I'll never forget.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tune Up

Like, suit up! Got it? Haha just kidding. Although we've been watching lots of How I Met Your Mother lately so I must be channelling my inner bro.

Literally, I felt like that weekend was just way too darn short. And it was three days. Wow. I want another one! But, I was able to read a book (Heaven is For Real, by Todd Burpo. It's a tear jerker for anyone who's interested. I loved it!), do some window shopping, go for late summer car rides with the music blasting and all windows down, and eat some homemade goodies! Nothing says fall like my mother's Pumpkin Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe to come!). It was really delicious.

But now I'm back and everything is in full swing.  But, last night as I was frantically writing plans and taking care of business, I decided that I needed some music to pump me up and get me motivated, as well as keep me line and able to concentrate on my work. Here's what I came up with:

  1. In honor of fall and football season, the Remember the Titans Soundtrack is so so so good. It's a great pump-up soundtrack, yet is very inspiring and I feel like I can persevere whenever I listen to it! 
  2. I will save you all my gushing of how much I love The Holiday and Love Actually until the Christmas holidays (because get prepared, I will gush!), but I will say that I love those soundtracks too. So pretty and simple. It doesn't distract me at all (except at times when I'm just dying to watch those movies. Other than that, no distraction!).
  3. Anything Michael Bublé. Yep. Love him. That's it. Oh and Josh Groban too.
  4. My sisters have really turned me onto Jack Johnson recently. I love his stuff and it's something so fun to listen to that really makes work and stressful things fun. Really, it does. So give him a listen, or revisit him if you haven't listened to him lately. I love it.
  5. Ok, I'll be sappy again and say that Glee has been working for me also, especially all of those Warbler songs. So so good! Darren Criss is just a cutie, he can't help it! Oh and I want the new season to start! I need a good dose of Glee back in my life!
What are your motivational songs? What do you listen to for a pick me up? I always love suggestions, because I love all genres.

Fall hit! When did this happen? Good thing I have all my sweaters, so I'm armed and ready if it gets any chillier. Here's to Hump Day everyone!
Have wonderful Wednesdays!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Friday's Fancies: Labor Day Love

Once again I'm linking up with {av} over at Long Distance Loving for this week's theme: Labor Day Chic. I have never wanted a Labor Day holiday so badly! (and listening to The Holiday Soundtrack at this very minute just has me itching for it! I'm not kidding, it's on right now. I love it!). I love my kiddos to death, but it is nice to just a have a weekend of rest and relaxation and maybe have a little fun too. That's what this outfit is all about! Especially since fall is just around the corner (and it's going to be in the 50s this weekend at night. Get ready Chicago! I'm definitely not ready for that). But I love this cute top with a pair of skinny jeans. Obviously, as you can see I had trouble picking a pair of shoes! But no bother, why not pick out three! I'm loving all of these trends right now and wish I had all of them in my closet. I topped it off with a clutch (I'm addicted, and this one's fantastic), gold hoops which I can't get enough of and a leather jacket. Still wishing I had one of those! So there you have it, my version of a Chicago Labor Day Chic: perfect for fall shopping, outdoor dinners or that last Ravinia concert of the year!

 My weekend will not be that fancy! I'll just be heading home, excited to hang out with my sisters and parents and gal pals for the weekend. I'm looking forward to the homemade food! Yum! Of course, lazy walks, late morning lattes and late night movies will all be included in this little weekend of mine. I can't wait. Oh and that little paper I have to write. Guess I forgot about that part! How are you all spending the long weekend? Hopefully with rest and relaxation, because we all deserve it!

 Enjoy this weekend everyone! And be safe too. Have fantastic weekends!