Maternity Leave! (Photo Post)

Things at our house have been very different these past two weeks since bringing our newest family member home. There have been a lot of naps and loads of laundry, but I’m lucky enough to have 12 weeks of Maternity Leave to get settled with our new tiny human. Entries may be a bit shorter these next few weeks while my brain gets used to sleep deprivation, but I have plenty of photos to make up for it (which is much more fun anyway 😉
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Naps on Naps on Naps

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Stay Gold,

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Grace

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Week 33: Our New Home!

What a whirlwind these past few weeks have been! Moving while in your third trimester of pregnancy is NOT wise (just ask poor Chris, who has had to do 99% of the work.) Slowly but surely, we’ve been making this lovely Bucktown bungalow our own. It’s a first floor unit on a tree-lined street in a neighborhood full of young parents with puppies and babies (I’d say it’s a pretty solid fit.) It has two bedrooms, a home office, and a backyard for Scout. It’s down the street from our beloved watering hole, The Corner Bar, and blocks away from the Blue Line and Harper’s future daycare center. Chris saw the For Rent sign about an hour after it was taped to the door, and the next day it was ours ❤

It needed a little updating and style which is usually my forte, but with my dwindling energy levels, searing back pain, and ever-growing belly, my drive to design has been minimal, to say the least. Luckily, Chris loves working around the house and making a space feel like home.

Here are some before and after photos of our progress!

Before: Living Room/Dining Room

Before: Living Room/Dining Room

Before: Living Room/Dining Room

Before: Living Room/Dining Room

AFTER!

After: Living Room

After: Living Room

So this place was definitely in need of a clean slate. Chris painted the whole place a light blue/white which helped brighten things up (I mean, that red wall had to go ASAP.) Being the handyman he is, Chris also installed new drop lighting where the dirty old track and hanging fixture used to be. If there’s one thing Chris and I agree upon the most, it’s the presence of BRIGHT lighting (definitely crucial in surviving Chicago winter weather).

After: Dining Room

After: Dining Room

The kitchen was a similar story. But after a coat of paint and some brighter lighting (Chris also installed track lighting under the cabinets) our kitchen is as sunny as can be 🙂

Before: Kitchen

Before: Kitchen

AFTER

After: Kitchen

After: Kitchen

We also bought this nifty island to create more storage and seating. Target!

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Bathroom – Not much happening here. Just spiffed it up a bit!

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AFTER

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The bedrooms are super tiny, so I don’t have much in terms of before photos, but here’s what we’re working with so far! Both our bedroom and the nursery are still works in progress!

Here’s our bedroom, we’re waiting on our bed, so I got pinterest-y with a makeshift headboard 🙂

Bedroom mock headboard

Bedroom mock headboard

Here’s Miss Harper’s Room (also work in progress)

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Leetle Roooom

Leetle Roooom

I can’t wait for our little human to enjoy all her clothes and toys I keep taking out just to stare at. Her wardrobe is definitely the most extensive in the house already.

And finally the office! It’s always been important to me to have a space where I can focus and create. My creation station, if you will 😉 I will be working from home a lot in the coming weeks as we wait for Harper to arrive, so a home office was an awesome plus when we viewed this apartment. Chris built me a desk with a file cabinet and tons of space. We still have to paint the desk top, get a monitor, and add a blotter, but you get the idea.

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I’m a big fan of color (clearly) and knick knacks. An office is the ideal place to showcase do-dads that didn’t quite fit anywhere else in the apartment.

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So there you have it! Our new home. It’s so crazy to think that this is the home we’ll bring Harper home to. Where she’ll crawl/walk/talk for the first time. Now, I’ve got to sign off before I start crying. Again.

Stay Gold 🙂

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Season Change Cleaning Day

Winter Organization Spree; a mild burst of manic OCD

So. I live in a house on the near West side of Chicago. I have a gaggle of roommates (bathroom fights are a regular occurence) and to say my room is tiny would be an understatement. In order to make room for my (copious amounts) of chunky sweaters and winter boots, I had to do a little minimizing. I worked at home today as I had traffic court this morning (boooo) so I stocked up on organizational materials and my winter wardrobe to replace the summer’s.

Working for a website means 8+ hours of eye-blurring screen time; hence the nerdy glasses.

Working for a website means 8+ hours of eye-blurring screen time; hence the nerdy glasses.

work work work. code code code.

work work work. code code code.

 Armed with a rubbermade bin (thanks mom), a hat box, a scarf rack and roommates hungry for the clothes I was preparing to donate, I went home to take on the daunting task of making my little room livable. I swapped out all my summer shoes/clothes/stuff I haven’t worn in forever, and replaced them with my cozy winter garments. I hung an awesome shoe/sweater shelf in my closet which has reduced the level of clusterf-ck in the small space.

STUFFED

STUFFED

Being a Chicago Native, you tend to develop quite the winter wear collection. So in order to tackle the excessive amount of knits I found this nifty scarf hanger (hung on one of those Scotch removable hooks which, by the way, are amazing) and a cute hat box I’ve owned for as long as I can remember.

so.many.hats.

so.many.hats.

so. many. scarves.

so. many. scarves.

So after crowding my room with the second half of my wardrobe, I took a cue from Pinterest and maximized the space in my shallow dresser drawers. Needless to say, I may have a touch of OCD. I mean, look at those socks.

The most organized delicates I ever did see. I may have a problem.

The most organized delicates I ever did see.
I may have a problem.

Dresser Space: Maximized

Dresser Space: Maximized

I also was rummaging around my old closet at my parents’ house and found this sweet bed caddy; perfect for keeping bedside essentials like books, your journal, pens, and chapstick. Obsessed.

Now I never have to get out of bed!

Now I never have to get out of bed!

Feeling sufficiently productive, I decided to take advantage of this organizing inspiration to give the top of my dresser a little makeover. I love my little knick knacks and I’ve had most of them for as long as I can remember. I’m obsessed with this jewelry tree (garage sale find), my Owl Russian Nesting Dolls (a gift from my late grandfather) and this graphic framed Levi’s piece from  my lovely boyfriend 🙂

sentimental knick knacks

sentimental knick knacks

I feel super relaxed after a good organizing session. I realize that might make me weird, but I don’t really care cause it just feels so damn good after seeing everything exactly where it should be. Sigh. Order makes me happy.

Stay Gold (and organized)

Stay Warm!

Stay Warm!

Winter Wardrobe Must Haves on a Budget

So, this little lady recently got a promotion at work! (you should check out the site I work for, Brads Deals!) So in honor of my new title and in order to look top notch in my new position, I decided to treat myself to a little winter shopping spree for office attire (and presents for myself…) Here’s a summary of my must have items this winter.

Winter Footwear

studded spike bootiesI decided that, as I am working in an office and will soon be meeting with clients, I should stop dressing like a college student who can’t let go of her ancient Chuck Taylors (don’t worry, I still have them). Also, I am quite a short person so in order to be treated like an blog9associate (and not a babysitter) I figured I should start wearing heels (dun dun dun!) I’m starting out slow, however. These Rock N’ Roll block heeled booties from Forever 21 are super comfortable, appropriate for winter, and have just the right amount of edge with the gold studded details.

Find these studded booties here

For days when heels seem like too much to handle, instead of slipping on some ratty ballet flats, I went for these studded loafers from Charlotte Rousse. They’re a great way to dress up skinny jeans (thankfully my office has a casual dress code) and are more durable than your typical ballet flat. Not great for snowy Chicago days but perfect to slip in your bag and change out of your rubber boots once you get to the office.

Black Knee HighFind these rad flats HERE

Finally (footwear wise) you can’t live in Chicago without having a pair of knee-high black boots. They go with everything, you can dress them up or down, and they keep your feet nice and toasty (esp. when paired with adorable boot socks.) These are my go-to’s. Get some.

Here is a similar (more affordable) pair from Forever 21

Winter Fashion

I am quite the frugal shopper when it comes to buying trendy clothes. Forever 21, Target and H&M are my go-to retailers for pretty much everything (it doesn’t hurt that they’re all next to each other on State Street in Chicago.) With my new position I will be working with clients so I needed to stock up on long sleeve tops and dresses so as to disguise the fact that I’m a heavily-tattooed-wannabe-artist outside the office 😉 Here are some of the picks I made to up my class factor. (Click on the photos to head to the retailer’s site.)

Striped Sweater

H&M

I also got this one in Black (duh)

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Striped Long Sleeve Bodycon Dress

(Forever 21)

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Black Babydoll Dress

(Forever 21)

(with a cardigan over, naturally)

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Zipper Front Patterned Dress

(Forever 21)

Sorry for the poor image quality!

Sorry for the poor image quality!

Black Leather Studded Carryall

(Urban Outfitters)

IMG_1463I am in love with this bag. This was my big splurge for the season from Urban Outfitters. This beauty can be used as a tote, a cross-body, or as a clutch as there is a secret mini-purse inside the bag that you can attach the shoulder strap to when you’re just running out to lunch or to the ladies for a touch up. I couldn’t find the link to this one but here is a comparable (and way more affordable) option from Forever 21.

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So. Many. Hats.

Carhartt, Obey, Forever 21

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I am such a sucker for beanies. I’ve been trying to steer clear of the pom-pom hats but I’ve just ended up gravitating towards the hip alternatives of Obey and Carhartt. Whatever. Keep your head warm. 

Around the World Watch

Urban Outfitters

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Since posting my Fall Style Guide I have received a ton of requests about where I found my Around the World watch. I mean, it is pretty rad. With its genuine leather band (which comes in three colors) and the number-free map face (ooo classy), AND its affordable price tag, who wouldn’t want to rock one of these bad boys. Head to Urban Outfitters (I found mine in store but it is also available online- link in image) and wear the world on your wrist.

Note: In Chicago, one can never own too many pairs of thick cozy socks and tights. I live in wool socks from October to March (sexy, I know) but when layered over a pair of black opaque tights and a cute pair of boots, you can stay cute and cozy all day long.

Winter Beauty

Now, I don’t know about you, but my skin gets so dry in the winter that I can feel myself shriveling like a raisin as the season progresses and the temperatures drop further. I have recently discovered the miracle that is a humidifier and I highly suggest you invest in one. My blemishes have cleared up, my skin has stopped itching; even my hair feels healthier! Here are some of my favorite things to help you keeping your skin, lips, and nails beautiful and hydrated all winter long.

Rosebud Salve

A Rose Scented Miracle Worker

A Rose Scented Miracle Worker

I’ve been using Rosebud Salve since my brief time as a Colorado resident. My sister introduced it to me and I’ve been hooked ever since. Forget your egg-shaped lip care (sorry, EOS) for this salve is so much more than chapstick. Use it on dry nails, cuticles, small scrapes, elbows, and any other rough patches you come across this winter. Sometimes I even use a tiny bit to tame fly-aways from wearing so many hats! I cannot recommend it enough!

Benefit Skin Love Potions Kit

Makeup Heaven

Makeup Heaven

This little box of miracles has all my favorite Benefit skin products. With eye cream, bronzer (powder AND gel), the most badass mascara, primer, highlighter (two kinds) and pore minimizer, your purse’s makeup kit just MAJORLY stepped up its game. The best part about these products is that, even though they’re travel sizes, a little bit of each of these wonders go a long way. You will be amazed with how good your skin will look with the help of Benefit’s Beauty Potions. Ugh. Obsessed.

And, of course, I had to grab a couple awesome nail polishes.

Mmmm. Butter.

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There you have it y’all. Stay warm and stylish this winter; now you have a few ideas of what to put on your Christmas lists 😉 

Stay Gold (Not Cold)

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Social Print Studio

I love being able to hold a tangible photograph in my hands. Don’t get me wrong, I love Instagram and Facebook to share and browse photos, but there’s something comforting about having the real deal. So imagine my excitement when I found Social Print Studio, a company produces high quality matte prints of your photos from Instagram or Facebook!

Free express shipping from China? Yes please.

Free express shipping from China? Yes please.

I have ordered from them before, as you may remember, but they’ve grown and made some awesome changes. You can now order your prints in four different sizes: Squares (traditional 4×4 Instagram style), Mini Prints (2×3), Mighty Prints (4×6), and Mini Squares; adorable little 2×2 prints, which I decided to go with this time. At $15 for 48 prints AND FREE EXPRESS SHIPPING (I know. What a deal.) I couldn’t resist. Plus their App, Print Studio, free in the App Store, makes it super easy to order. The App enters your photos on your device, and you select the photos you want printed!

How adorable is this packaging?

How adorable is this packaging?

Don’t you just love getting packages in the mail? I was greeted this morning with my prints on my desk at the office. Having only ordered them Wednesday I was pleasantly surprised to see that they had already arrived! So of course I had to make a mess and spread them out to see what I picked (of course I’d already forgotten.)

Tiny Prints Everywhere!

Tiny Prints Everywhere!

Your photos are printed on high quality card stock and have a matte finish. My mind is full of ideas of how to use these little guys. Here are a few of my favorites. Some with the best friend, then some with the boyfriend 🙂

The bestie, L.

The bestie, L.

The boyfriend, also L

The boyfriend, also L

I couldn’t possibly wait until I got home to put a couple of these adorable photos to use, so I decided to personalize my computer monitor…

Yeah, it,s pretty colorful over here...

Yeah, it’s pretty colorful over here…

 

I’m all about this App. The photos are of great quality and perfect to use for crafts, gifts, or simply tiling your walls. You can also order framed prints and greeting cards from the same site. Check them out and get some tiny prints of your own 🙂

Stay Gold (and take lots of Instagram photos. Selfies, in my case.)

Friday outfit :)

Friday outfit 🙂

Grace

 

Family Tattoo

As many of you may know by now, I am fairly covered in tattoos. Love em. What I love even more than getting tattoos, is encouraging others to get some art of their own. One of my roommates, J, had asked me to draw her up a rose that she wanted to get on her wrist. This is what I came up with.

Pretty Rose

Pretty Rose

(Forgive my sloppy shading, I only had sharpies to work with!)

J really liked the design and was ready to head to the shop. So yesterday, after texting my artist, we took a day trip to my favorite shop in the city, Family Tattoo, and to my artist, the great Gilly Smash.

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Family Tattoo is an awesome shop that puts out amazing traditional work by even more amazing artists. I’ve been getting my work done there for the past three years and I have never been disappointed. The shop is clean, the artists are super talented and friendly, the atmosphere is professional, and there’s always metal playing…which is awesome.

Front of Shop

Front of Shop

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After deciding my drawing was up to his standards, Gilly went to work on drawing up a stencil and setting up his station. J was hardly nervous, more just excited to get started.

Gilly doin work.

Gilly doin work.

So after J was situated and comfortable, Gilly applied the stencil and got to work.

"Tickles, right?"

“Tickles, right?”

Jen was a champ. She never once complained from the pain (the top of the wrist is not the easiest spot to have tattooed!) and when Gilly was done working his magic, Jen was ecstatic.

Final Product

If you’re looking for an awesome tattooing experience, head to Family Tattoo. They are open 7 days a week from 2-10 pm and are located at 2125 Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL 60618.
Call (773) 281-6392 to set up a meeting time with Gilly or another one of Family’s awesome artists.

Walk-ins are also welcome!

Hope you all had a great weekend,

Stay Gold

me

Pumpkins in the Burbs

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Today was a very productive Saturday after a very rough week. It felt good to take my mind off things by spending some quality times with a good friend and losing myself in some good old Halloween activities.

After being woken up by this bedhog, I got a text to get up and moving.

Gabby Baby

Gabby Baby

After filling up on breakfast and too much coffee, one of my oldest friends, M, and I decided to make the most of the day off and carve pumpkins and watch scary movies.

Good ol' IHOP with M.

Good ol’ IHOP with M.

I got a balloon bracelet from the IHOP Clown.

I got a balloon bracelet from the IHOP Clown.

We headed over to my parents’ house, spread out some garbage bags, and got to work on gutting our gourds.

IMG_0939M may have helped me with some of the strenuous knife skills….

Muscles.

Muscles.

So once we got the pumpkins gutted and cleaned, we cheated a little bit and cut out some patterns to make our jack-o-lanterns look badass.

Whooo Whooo

Whooo Whooo

I went with a creepy owl. M went with something a little more detailed which you will see shortly…

*Chewy Noise*

*Chewy Noise*

CHEWY! I commended M on his detail and dedication to Star Wars. Mine turned out pretty awesome as well!

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With our pumpkins finished and glowing with electronic candles (it’s the future), I set to work on the OTHER best part of the pumpkins; THE SEEDS! I decided to do a sweet and spicy blend; this is what you’ll need.

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  • Preheat oven to 375
  • Two egg whites
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 3 tbsp Pumpkin Pie Spice

And of course…

IMG_0948Cleaned Pumpkin Seeds!

So you wanna whisk together all the ingredients mentioned above in a medium sized mixing bowl, and add the cleaned seeds, like so.

IMG_0950Strain out the extra egg whites and add the seeds to a greased cookie sheet. I like to salt the seeds with a little sea salt as well.

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Bake for 15 minutes or until seeds are golden brown. Then add a little more salt and enjoy! Warning: They’re addictive.

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I hope everyone is having as great a Saturday as I am. It feels really good to be home and productive. Nothing beats spending good time with friends, family, and pets after having a hard week. Coming home to such a warm environment makes me feel so grateful for all I have in my life and all I have to be happy about. Who knows, maybe I might make being domestic a repeat occurrence.

Stay Golden,

...maybe not

…maybe not

Fall Style Guide

I, like many other girls I know, enjoy Autumn immensely. Besides the crisp air, scary movies, and pumpkin patches, my favorite thing about fall is the fashion. I’ve put together a couple guides of accessories and looks that I plan to rock on the regular this fall season. Enjoy! Image

Tartan Leggings: Forever 21

Leather Leggings: Nasty Gal

Let’s Dance Black Dress (Left): Nasty Gal

Cut Out Black Dress (Right): Nasty Gal

Leather and Cotton Jacket: Forever 21

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Brown Booties: Nasty Gal

Moleskine Daily Planner 2014: Staples 

Atlas Watch: Urban Outfitters 

 Prada Leather Duffel: In my Dreams

Stay Gold,

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