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

Week 21: Year 25!

Sorry for the late post! I’ve been a slug lately, to say the least 😛

Two Saturdays ago I officially became a quarter-century old.

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I love a good balloon

I love a good balloon

To celebrate, my parents joined Christopher and I at The Kitchen in River North on my birthday eve. I’m told the food was delicious (solid food is still a bit of a hurdle for me, unfortunately) and the ambiance and service was really great. I’d love to go back with an appetite! I was showered with tiny presents for Baby Girl and myself, then headed home where I got straight into bed.

Papa and I :)

Papa and I 🙂

When I woke up, Chris had prepared breakfast in bed with a side of presents. We went and saw It Follows at the Music Box; if you’re a fan of low-fi indie horror films, then this one is right up your alley. I loved it (even if Chris thought it was weird.) We ended the night with slices of my favorite pizza and a split cupcake before heading to bed (if you can’t tell, sleeping is my favorite thing to do currently.)

A day of my favorite things!

A day of my favorite things!

25 will surely be my most memorable year yet. Next year we’ll be able to celebrate with the best present of all; our little girl 🙂

Stay Gold,

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Grace

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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Halloween in the Office!

The company I work for, Brad’s Deals, is having their annual Halloween party today and I am fully prepared. Not that it’s much of a stretch, but I am dressed as a Pin Up Doll 🙂

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It’s all about the glasses.

My partner in crime dressed up as Salad Fingers; one of the creepiest web-based characters of all time and I’m so impressed. He wins the costume contest in my book.

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Hope you’re enjoying Halloweek 🙂

Late Night Craft Scavenging

Endless Crafting Opportunities

Endless Crafting Opportunities

As it is my last night home, and having had far too much coffee today, I decided to go on a search for crafting materials to bring back to Forest Park for this Moleskine project I’m working on. It took some digging, but man, did I find some good stuff.

So much awesome paper

So much awesome paper

I’ve found a bunch of awesome old cards, great paper, vintage patches, photographs, old ticket stubs/mementos and drawings. Not to mention all the great beads and charms I found! I couldn’t help but make a couple bracelets before I forgot about the beads once again.

Cool Beads for October.

Cool Beads for October.

I also found this Grace ring which I totally forgot I had. Then I found these great turquoise beads I’d gotten for my birthday (my family knows me so well) which I used as a closure for the black skull bracelet.

Cross Closure

Cross Closure

So I’m all packed and ready to head back home after a decompressing few days at my parents’ house. I found the perfect use for this awesome Tiffany’s box; it is the new home for my craft supplies and my beautiful new camera 🙂

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With all the trying situations I’ve been faced with this past week it feels so good to create and organize. I feel like taking some time for yourself to create something beautiful is sometimes just what you need to get your mind off hard times, but it has certainly helped me. I only hope this creativity keeps coming!

By the way, I set up a Graceisgold Facebook page for my blog so feel free to “like” and check out more updates!

Alright. Time to try and sleep.

Stay Gold,

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Top 5 Scary Movie Picks

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October is my favorite month for many reasons, as I stated before. But one thing towers above all else when it comes to Fall Essentials: A good scary movie.

I was one of those kids who watched movies that were WAY too scary WAY too soon. I remember my twin brother and I crying out every time we saw a clown after watching Stephen King’s “It” when we were five years old. Having had been terrorized enough as a kid, I have since gained a huge appreciation (some might say obsession) for all things horror. So turn off the lights, hold someone close, and try not to scream; here are my top 5 scary movie picks to get you into the Halloween spirit.

5. Sinister (2012)

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Sinister is an awesome new horror movie (which are becoming harder and harder to come by) starring Ethan Hawke as a True Crime writer investigating a terrible crime. He goes so far as to move into the home where the crime was committed, without telling his family. This movie is full of those stomach-dropping-audible-gasp moments. When my brother and I saw it in theaters we were screaming and practically in each other’s laps by the end. This is one of the few newer horror movies that has a GREAT twist ending that I, personally, never saw coming.

4. House of 1,000 Corpses (2003)

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I am a huge Rob Zombie film fan. His style sets hardcore gore and cringeworthy characters to an awesome rock and roll soundtrack. House of 1,000 Corpses is not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach. It will have you covering your eyes and yelling at the idiots who, without fail, go into the dark basement alone (it doesn’t matter how many times you yell “DON’T GO IN THERE!) This one will definitely leave you feeling weird for a few days after watching it…

3. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

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Roman Polanski’s adaptation of the novel, “Rosemary’s Baby” is a classic. The Occult, devil worship, the birth of Satan, naked old people chanting, and Mia Farrow being adorably dainty and helpless make this one of my all-time favorites. Set in New York City in the 60’s, Rosemary and her husband move into an old apartment building to start their lives together. But upon meeting their eccentric neighbors, the Castevets, the couple gets involved with matters far darker than they had anticipated. If you haven’t seen this one yet, you HAVE to.

2. Rob Zombie’s Halloween (2007)

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Rob Zombie makes my list for a second time purely because of his ability to remake a classic and, in my opinion, make it better than the original. Zombie brings us back to Michael Meyers’ childhood and shows us the progression of a murderous psycho. In the opening scene, Meyers escapes from prison after taking out several guards and lumbers down the middle of a highway, backlit by truck headlights, with Rush’s “Tom Sawyer” blaring as he makes his way back to his hometown to hunt down his only remaining family member. God, I love Rob Zombie.

1. The Shining (1980)

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“Come play with us Danny”

Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining” takes my number one spot on creepy must-watch movies. An adaptation of Stephen King’s novel, though not completely true to the literature, has some of the most iconic moments in horror movie history. Jack Torrence (Jack Nicholson), a wanna-be writer, takes a job as the winter caretaker at The Overlook Hotel in Colorado; a hotel FULL of all sorts of crazy ghosts and half ghosts and ghost parties…You watch Torrence slowly descend into madness as his son, Danny (REDRUM) and wife, Wendy, run for their lives through terribly carpeted hallways, endless shrub mazes, and forbidden hotel suites. If you haven’t already seen this one, I’m afraid we will never be friends.

So there you have it folks, my top picks to keep you scared this October. So pour some cider and lock your doors; you may want to sleep with the lights on for a while. 

Stay (Scared) Gold,

My costume this year: Tattoo Barbie

My costume this year: Tattoo Barbie

Long Time No See!

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It has been quite some time since my last post and quite a lot has changed in the past few months! I moved from the burbs closer to the city, got an awesome “big girl” full-time job, and am genuinely excited about most things! Oh man, and the music that has come out since I last posted…

Most notably, the new Arctic Monkeys album, “AM”, The long-awaited Franz Ferdinand album, “Right Thought, Right Plan, Right Action”, and my new life soundtrack, Lorde’s first full-length, “Pure Heroine”. Considering her EP was the sound of my summer, I’m not surprised, nor am I disappointed with what she’s put out.

I have these three albums on repeat most of the day, along with Bruno Mars’ “Unorthodox Jukebox.” …I literally cannot get enough of this tiny Hawaiian.

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The past few months I’ve been a lot busier, a lot more fulfilled, and a lot happier in general. And maybe a little more tattooed… 😉

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I only hope things stay on pace, time has been flying by that I’ve hardly had time to process everything that is happening. A vacation would be nice, but at this point I would be happy just working and staying busy! I hope all has been well in the world of the blog readers, I will keep this baby updated on the regular now that I’ve finally settled into a bit of a routine.

Stay Gold,

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Milwaukee: Way Cooler in Person.

So this following weekend J and I kicked off my LAST EVER spring break by heading to Milwaukee. My life-long best friend, Getz, and her boyfriend, Thomas, were going to be in town for a printmaking conference so we decided to take the short drive from Chicago and pop over for a night.

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We met Getz and Thomas at the hotel, did a little sprucing up, and then hit the town to check out the scene. We weren’t really sure what to expect from this little city to our North (about 90 miles) as none of us have spent much time in the area. After making a very brief appearance at The Milwaukee Art Museum (i.e. not wanting to pay the cover fee) we hopped in the car to scout for watering holes.milwaukee-art-museum

Our first stop was spotted by J from the car. Aptly named Y Not (2), we asked ourselves “why not?”, quickly found parking, and made our way inside. This is the kind of bar I love; cracked vinyl booths, surly regulars, and walls papered with beer posters from over the years. I am a huge fan of the dive. We shot a couple games of pool and the boys had a couple beers until we all agreed it was time to find dinner.Ynot

Getz nailed it when choosing the restaurant for dinner. AJ Bombers is loud, delicious, and coated in discarded peanut shells. We were immediately seated in a booth where we were promptly delivered our own peanuts by way of a zeppelin-like vessel that was attached to a track on the ceiling. The bartender would fill the vessel, launch it over to our table, and the peanuts would drop down a funnel and into a bucket in our booth…amazing. There were table games and chalkboards in the booth. You can also draw on just about every surface available so, needless to say, these four art-students were ecstatic. Bonus points for Getz as she has always carried around a bag of Sharpies in her purse.IMG_7874

We all ordered one of AJ Bombers’ acclaimed burgers and, believe me, they did not disappoint. They make a no-frills-no-fluff burger at AJ’s which is what I like to see; too many bells and whistles and you can hardly eat the thing. Getz also got some soft pretzels that were delicious.

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CHOMP

ajAJ Bombers is a great place to grab a great burger, a cold drink, and hang out and laugh with friends. As you can see, I had a great time.image

Sorry Milwaukee, I had to.

Sorry Milwaukee, I had to.

After a nightcap and a few games of pinball and pool at a neighborhood joint, The Roman Coin, we headed back to the hotel and called it a night.

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Thomas waiting his turn.

The next morning Getz and Thomas had a demonstration to attend, so J and I said our goodbyes and got back in the car to hunt for a breakfast spot. The way to find a great breakfast place, in my opinion, is to look for the most crowded joint you can find any time before noon. We definitely found this in The packed Comet Café.comet 2

Milwaukee takes their beer very seriously.

Milwaukee takes their beer very seriously.

After enduring the 30 minute wait we were finally seated at the packed bar. I went with your standard eggs on toast with sausage, but it was J’s drink that really took the cake. Yeah, a bloody mary WITH bacon. AND the most adorable little beer I’ve ever seen.

Look at that baby High Life!

Look at that baby High Life!

While filling up and chatting about the rest of the day we both noted how many tattoo parlors we were coming across in the city. All the employees at most of the spots we went to were sporting ink of some fashion and it just seemed, at least to J, that it would only be appropriate that we got tattooed at one of the native shops. When you’ve been tattooed as many times as I have, you come to understand that once someone gets the idea in their head that they want to be tattooed that day, they WILL make that happen. So we agreed to shop around the city until noon (when most shops open) and see if we could score any walk-in appointments. In the meantime, I scored these awesome boots at Goodwill…

Poppin tags.

Poppin tags.

When the clock struck midday we went in search of a traditional tattoo shop. J had a quote he wanted done in script and I had an idea for the back of my right elbow. Cutthroat Tattoo is a cool shop; small and clean with friendly artists. It just so happened that two of the artists had cancellations at 1:00pm so we filled out our paperwork and hopped onto the tables for some good old fashioned body modification.

Cutthroat!

Cutthroat!

J's second tattoo

J’s second tattoo

J’s script, a Lewis Carol quote, reads “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” I went with, as my artist called it, “a pretty little bow” above my right elbow. Get it? El-BOW? Yeah, I can be clever at times 😉

My bazillionth tattoo.

My bazillionth tattoo.

With our fresh tats and a new view on our neighboring city, we said our goodbyes to Milwaukee and got back on the road to Chicago. I would definitely recommend taking a quick trip to Milwaukee; especially to Chicagoans as it is so close. The nightlife is fun and unpretentious, the food is hearty and delicious, and the people seem relaxed and friendly. Check out the links below to check out the spots we visited, then go visit them yourself! This was a great little break from our great big city and a perfect start to what will hopefully be a very relaxing but productive spring break.

AJ Bombers

Y Not II Yelp Review

Regano’s Roman Coin

The Comet Cafe

Cutthroat Tattoo

Stay Gold,

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Left my mark!