Monday, September 30, 2013

{Nordstrom YOUphoria Event Recap}

Last Thursday was the Youphoria blogger event at Nordstrom Oakbrook and I had sooo much fun- especially getting the chance to finally meet in person and hang out with some amazing Chicago-area bloggers including the other girls competing in the fashion face off, Nikkia & Jen, and our fabulous event host, Liz.  Nordstrom must have read my mind for this event because it had all my favorite things- a great DJ, a fun photobooth, mini snacks & desserts, fall-inspired cocktails and of!!  

Thanks to everyone who came out to start the weekend early with us last week- it was so fun meeting you all!  And also big thanks to the girls at the MAC counter for glamming me up before the party. Oh and the best part of the whole night (besides seeing to get my blog name in huge signs all over Nordstrom!)....I actually won the fashion face off thanks to all your votes!! You guys are the best. :)

 {swag bags for the guests}

 {a photobooth that prints from Instagram!}

 {the Mint Love Social Club mini shop including that Ted Baker dress I originally debated on choosing!}

{bows on heels get me every time} 

 {a few of the awesome pieces from the Topshop collection in Savvy}

 {adorable mini pies served to guests near the end of the night}

{Nikkia, Jen, myself & Liz right after they announced the winner!}

YOUphoria: It's more attainable than you think. Find yours at Nordstrom.

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Nordstrom via Glam Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Nordstrom.

Friday, September 27, 2013

{what i loved this week}

on pinterest:  Even though we already have barstools for our kitchen island, I would love to replace them with this simple Ikea DIY.  This image of a fall cider cocktail makes me wanna host a cider party to welcome in the new season. 

on instagram:  Nordstrom welcomed their new Glendale location with a fabulous party complete with a DIY mousse bar- I always appreciate a good idea for a DIY food bar for guests to help themselves and that is one I haven't seen before!  The team at Bliss Weddings & Events outdid themselves last weekend with this stunner- so glad I can say I was a part of it!   These "dinner is poured" coasters made me laugh out loud!

in the magazines: We have been so busy lately that the stack of unread magazines near our couch is starting to scare me, but I did find the time to read through the latest Bon Appetit because the main issue is all about make ahead dinner parties (including some batch cocktail recipes!).  This issue is definitely a must read for party planning!

in real life: Last night was the party at Nordstrom Oakbrook for the Youphoria campaign- be sure to check back next week for a full recap!

on the blogs:  Oh Happy Day is one of my go-to sources for unique party theme or decor inspiration and I am absolutely stealing this fun idea for an Old Fashioned Soda Flat party

on my wishlist:  I recently picked up two of these slinky chiffon camisole tops from Nordstrom and I am obsessed- definitely planning on scooping up at least two or three more!  Love these fun earrings from ASOS to punch up an otherwise boring outfit.   This chic duffel bag would be perfect for all the upcoming travel we have planned around the holidays. 

{friday cocktail: st germain & tonic}

I recently needed to re-stock the St. Germain bottle in our bar and was delighted to find that the purchase of my new bottle came with a "gift with purchase" of a fabulous pitcher and a recipe booklet.  Not that I need any additional ideas on ways to consume St Germain since it already goes pretty quick in our place, but the booklet was adorable so I gave it a look which is when I came across this Friday's cocktail.  The recipe is so simple that it feels like I should have made one of these years ago- it's just a classic gin & tonic with a splash of St. Germain.  Sometimes I get so wrapped up in trying to think of new and interesting ingredients for cocktails that I forget a simple twist on a tried and true recipe can be just as fun!


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

{momofuku milk bar birthday cake}

I have never been to Momofuku Milk Bar in NYC, but I have certainly dreamt about it ever since I received this book for Christmas.  Somehow I have had this book in my possession for almost a year without trying a single recipe from it and with our birthdays around the corner I decided I simply had to try one of the cake recipes.  I decided to start out with the infamous birthday cake recipe and immediately got going about ordering or locating all the ingredients and tools it requires.  The recipe doesn't require anything too crazy, but it did need some ingredients we don't normally have like citric acid or glucose as well as some tools such a cake cutter and acetate sheets.

The recipe is pretty straight forward and the most time consuming part is simply measuring out all the ingredients!  While the assembly looks difficult using acetate sheets to "build" the layers in, it is actually super easy- especially after you watch this video!  The best part of this cake is that you can make it up to two weeks ahead of time and store it in the freezer.

Oh and we haven't talked about the's amazing. I wish I had a better word to describe it, but amazing is really the most perfect word for it.  The nostalgic funfetti taste is spot on, but with an added richness and salty crunch from the "crumbs" added in to each layer plus the "milk soak" you add to each cake layer during assembly makes the texture so moist and decadent!

You can see the whole recipe here, but you should really just buy the book!

{cake crumb ready to go in the oven}

{wondering about those awesome sparkler candles?  you can buy em right here}

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

{24 hours in...Palm Springs for two}

Next up in the 24 Hours series is our favorite getaway from Los Angeles, Palm Springs.  For this 24 hour trip I geared the activities towards a weekend for two, but I promise to follow it up with a itinerary for a girl's trip!

 stay at: The Parker
This hotel is by far one of the nicest hotels I have ever stayed at- we celebrated my bachelorette party there, our one year anniversary & even spent our wedding night in one of their villas.  The property is insanely lush and gorgeous with endless areas of interest to discover.  Not to mention the entire place including the fabulous rooms was decorated by Jonathan Adler!

grab brunch at: Normas
Norma's is the restaurant on the property of The Parker, but the food is spectacular compared to normal hotel food-especially for breakfast!  They have an adorable patio that is usually pleasant to sit on in the morning before it gets too hot. 

take a ride: Aerial Tramway
Palm Springs is nestled right behind a small mountain range and there is an Aerial Tramway you can ride up to a viewing deck at the very top (sometimes there is even snow up there!).  It's a quick romantic activity to start your day. 

Palm Springs is vintage shopping heaven and one of the best kept secrets is the four-building Estate Sale Company conveniently located right across from the Parker!  While they specialize mostly in bigger pieces like furniture, there are definitely some finds to be had!

The pool at the Parker fills up quickly throughout the day and for good reason since its a great place to hang out in the hot afternoon weather.  Order drinks from the Lemonade Stand, play petanque or croquet and just generally lay around the way you are supposed to in Palm Springs. 

dinner at: Workshop
Workshop is a newly opened restaurant new the beginning of Palm Spring's downtown "strip."  The food is seriously tasty and they have an extensive cocktail list to chose from -plus the custom poured concrete booths are pretty amazing to sit in. 

Assuming you have driven into Palm Springs, you will pass the infamous Morongo Casino on your way out and right next to it is a little unassuming "fruit stand" where you can order an ostrich burger and a life-changing date shake for the ride home.

Monday, September 23, 2013

{Come party at Nordstrom with me!}

I really hope you will come out and join me for a little party this Thursday night at Nordstrom Oakbrook in the Savvy Department from 6 to 8pm - you can send in an RSVP and get all the details right here.  If you are in the Chicago area,  I would love to meet you while we enjoy some refreshments, fabulous catering from Blue Plate & of course shopping!!  

Also, don't forget to vote for my outfit as today is the last day to chose your favorite!! 

YOUphoria: It's more attainable than you think. Find yours at Nordstrom.

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Nordstrom via Glam Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Nordstrom.

Friday, September 20, 2013


This Friday I do not have the regular weekly cocktail and "what i loved" posts for you.  Instead, I have a little sneak peek at the birthday dinner we will be celebrating with tonight as today is my birthday and Chris' birthday is this coming Monday.  While we normally like to go out all out for our birthdays (like this party or this 15 person dinner), we decided to keep it low key this year with a simple dinner party for 6.  I baked a very special birthday cake for the occasion and I promise to share the results next week!

 Have a wonderful weekend and if you are in the Chicago area don't forget to RSVP to the little soiree with Nordstrom and me next week right here

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

{2013 Printable Emmy Ballots}

The Emmys really snuck up on me this year.  I can't believe they are coming up this weekend!  While we aren't planning on going all out like we did for last year's Oscars Party, I still plan on filling out my ballot, enjoying some champagne cocktails & watching the primetime Emmy awards this Sunday (and judging people's dress choices...obviously).   I really loved the booklet format we used for our Oscars ballot so I decided to repeat that idea for the Emmy ballot printable. I really hope you have a chance to print and enjoy these!! I also hope I don't embarrass myself horribly with my ballot choices like I have in the past....

Links to all the free printable pages for the ballots are at the bottom of this post!

{In addition to the friendly competition of the ballot selections, I also included this amazing drinking game that Gotham News put together in this year's ballot.  Let's face it...if you aren't turning an awards ceremony into a drinking game then you aren't doing it right.}

 {I realize not everyone has the time to put together booklets so I also created a simple 4 page pdf that you can print directly onto regular copy paper with no assembly required!}

assembly instructions:
print "page one-front" then flip page over and run it through your printer again when you print "page-back."  Repeat this process with the files "page two-front" & "page two-back."  I assembled my booklets by placing two hole punches in the middle of the book along the folded seam then I ran a piece of gold twine through them and tied it in a knot to secure.  For faster assembly you can place two staples on the outside seam as close to the folded edge as possible. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

{Nordstrom YOUphoria Contest & You're Invited!}

A week ago Nordstrom invited me to go on a little shopping trip at their Oakbrook store for their YOUphoria Campaign which is all about finding the items that make you happy (and like most girls, shopping is pretty high on my list of things that make me happy).  My Nordstrom stylist Angie (pictured with me above) and I got to run around the store picking out some pieces that struck me.  Turns out I tend to only pick up dresses, flirty skirts and silk floral prints (big surprise there!). After trying a few outfits on, I ultimately chose the one pictured above- links to all the pieces are below.

The best part about this campaign is that the fun doesn't stop with this little outfit- Nordstrom Oakbrook will be throwing me and the other two bloggers participating in the YOUphoria campaign a little party next week!!  The bash will take place on Thursday, September 26th from 6 to 8pm in the Savvy department at the Oakbrook store hosted by the fabulous Liz of Sequins & Stripes.  I would absolutely love the chance meet some of my readers in person so I hope you can make it out next week to enjoy some cocktails and snacks alongside fun beauty treatments and of course a little shopping!

Also, I would love you forever if you would
You can also use this link to RSVP to the event at Nordstrom Oakbrook if you can make it!! :)

my outfit: Wayf Top, $58 |  Topshop Skirt, $76 |  Louise et Cie Pump, $119  |  Brian Atwood Clutch $495

{I absolutely love this  floral silk Joie blazer, but couldn't quite find the perfect pieces to pair with it.}

{I tried my final outfit with a white blazer, but it looked a bit too Miami Vice for my liking}

{this Ted Baker dress was a very very close 2nd runner up.  It felt so amazing on that I may just have to buy it on my next Nordstrom trip!}

{after we settled on my final outfit choice it was off to get glammed up by the team at Nars}

{I am obsessed with these chunky gold heels- plus I wore them around the store as we shopped for a few hours and they are surprisingly comfy! The Brian Atwood clutch was the last item I chose for my outfit and I love the way the bright pop of color really brings everything together.}

YOUphoria: It's more attainable than you think. Find yours at Nordstrom.

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Nordstrom via Glam Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Nordstrom.

Monday, September 16, 2013

{vegan blackberry fig coconut ice cream}

I've never really been one of those people that opts for the "guilt-free" option when it comes to dessert- I would rather just have a smaller portion of the full-on decadent version than the watered down, fat or sugar free impostor.  This philosophy is pretty much mandatory when it comes to ice cream.  Unless of course you can find a healthy of guilt-free option that tastes so good it makes you forget that you are missing out on things like full fat heavy whipping cream, but I don't know many ice creams like that...

Enter this recipe for Blackberry Fig Coconut vegan ice cream- another fabulous pinterest find!  Using coconut milk and honey in the place of a traditional custard ice cream base.  The resulting ice cream isn't as rich in its texture as regular ice cream- I would equate it more like a creamy sorbet.  But what it lacks in custard texture it more than makes up for in flavor with a tartness from the blackberry and sweetness from the coconut.  The fig rounds out the coconut flavor from making the whole thing taste too tropical (blackberry pina colada anyone?).  It could quite possibly be the perfect summer to fall transitional ice cream if there ever was such a category?  If you don't already have an ice cream maker, I highly recommend this one.

{new touch faucet from Delta Faucet}

Today I have the third and final post in my Inspired Living series with Delta Faucet.  Over the weekend, Chris and I installed the new Touch2O faucet that Delta sent over to us- and if it was already clear... when I say "we" installed it what I mean is Chris did all the work and I "supervised."  Faucets are actually surprisingly easy to put in- especially this one since it doesn't need any plumbers caulk.

While the before and after photos might some not seem that drastic, our daily interaction with the sink is significantly improved.  I cannot even explain to you how nice it is to simply touch anywhere on the faucet and have it turn on.  When we are prepping for dinner parties at our place we always make sure the kitchen looks somewhat presentable by the time guests arrive, but in the time leading up to the party it gets pretty messy.  Having the ability to turn on the faucet by tapping the side with my arm or the back of my hand when my hands are dirty from cooking is pretty amazing.  I am also pretty in love with the dramatic profile of the new faucet in comparison to our previous one- I feel like it elevates the look of the entire kitchen!

Click here to check out the initial post where we selected our faucet design and right here is my dream kitchen inspiration.

Delta Touch2O Technology for your kitchen and bathroom is precisely in tune with your every touch. Take the quiz to learn which faucet style best describes you at

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Delta via Glam Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Delta.

Friday, September 13, 2013

{what I loved this week}

on instagram: This graphic backdrop made by Jesi Haack created with colored duct tape would be perfect for a fun photobooth.  Using a chalkboard wall to designate a drink area makes me miss our old chalkboard frame.  Chris and I spent a day wandering around (and drinking in) the Whole Foods Lincoln Park which I would compare to a food theme park.  

on pinterest: I am obsessed with the idea of re-doing our entryway to have a large mirror layered behind a clear or low profile console table.  With Fall season entertaining around the corner, I would love to use these gourmet marshmallows as inspiration for a little hot chocolate get-together.

in real life: While shopping around in Atlanta's Grant Park neighborhood last weekend, I came across this amazing concrete ping pong table which I think could be easily DIY-ed - plus it could double as an outdoor dining table.

on the blogs: These oversized flower "pinatas" would be so fun for an outdoor bridal shower or layered together as a sweets table backdrop.  Love this simple DIY by Sugar & Cloth to upgrade some Ikea shelves. 

on the internets: This guide from the unofficial @GSElevator twitter account has been making the rounds on the internet this week. While I would generally find these kinds of lists to be super cheesy this one actually has some pretty sound advice for the guys of our generation. 

on my wishlist:  Its about that time of year when sequins start popping up in every store- this little dress by Mango looks comfortable yet festive at the same time.  Finally Target jumped on the bar cart bandwagon with this industrial version.