Nasty Gal Maxi

Remember when Nasty Gal had that huge closing sale? Well I bought quite a few things, one being this “Chiffon Your Shoulder” Maxi Dress.

Unfortunately the dress is a tad too big, but that didn’t stop me from romping around outside for a photo shoot. Though the icy blue looks great against the snow, I could imagine this being a perfect summer dress because it’s so light and airy. I would pair it with a strappy heel or wedge to highlight the killer thigh slit.

 

Fun Fact: This dress is so long on me that I face planted as I tried to run back inside to escape the cold.

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Restaurant Review: Nana

Today I have another Chicago spot for you: Nana!

I’ve been to this little place twice now, both times for breakfast. I like this spot because it’s a bit off the beaten path, located in Bridgeport. If you’re unfamiliar with Bridgeport, it’s on the city’s South side where the White Sox play. Don’t be fooled, I’m not actually super familiar with the neighborhoods of Chicago, just this one.

Nana is a family-owned restaurant that serves only organic, ethically-sourced food. All of their ingredients come from local farms and vendors, which is pretty awesome.

“The products we use are free of synthetic preservatives, growth hormones, genetically modified ingredients, antibiotics, artificial colors and flavors and other additives and chemicals, including pesticides. We support the ethical treatment of animals, promote sustainability and buy local whenever possible.”

The great thing about this place is that it’s a healthy place without being one of those healthy places. (If you know what I mean then you’re great.) I’m all for eating healthy food, but I’m also a relatively picky eater, so the trendy hot spot health places usually don’t appeal to me. This place has totally normal food- it’s just free of a bunch of junk that’s usually in it. I’ve eaten their pancakes and their standard American breakfast (like I said, picky eater) – both were great. You can check their menu here.

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If you ever find yourself down in Bridgeport, go check it out and let me know what you think!

 

 

Copper Colored

On Monday I teased a “before” picture of my hair and hinted at a big change.

Well, surprise – I’ve gone red again!

I’ve had dark red tinted hair before, but this time I went for a lighter, coppery red.

Here’s an unofficial before photo:

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Here was my inspiration photo…

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And here’s the final result!

 

Shout out to Emma Roberts for showing me that a red lip pairs amazingly with red hair.

I have a mild obsession with redheads and I’ve always wanted to try this color. It took me a few minutes to get used to at first, but so far I love it. My hairstylist did a great job blending with my natural color, as you can see in the picture to the right.

I love dying my hair and have tried a multitude of colors over the years. My only hesitation with lighter colors is that I feel like it doesn’t look as good worn natural due to frizz. However, in this case I’d say the color is worth the effort of styling it more often.

My hairstylist is Stacey at Glitz of Rochester. She’s one of the only stylists I’ve ever tried that has never sent me home in tears (seriously). I’m super picky and she’s awesome – she listens to what you want and is totally honest about what will or will not work or look good.

If you’re looking for a change or have always wanted to try a certain color – go for it! You’ll be glad you did.

Oh Curly Day

On a rare occasion, I have a great curly hair day.

My hair is naturally curly, a state that I fought desperately during my early/mid teen years. I’ve tried to embrace it more in my 20’s and now wear it natural most days of the week. I always air dry my hair when wearing it curly, and it’s pretty much hit or miss on the frizz factor. But, every now and then (usually when I’m starting to consider cutting it all off), the curls come through for a great hair day and I decide I love them again.

Here are some of my personal favorite curly hair products and tools. I’ve tried a million sprays, gels, crèmes- you name it. The Aquage curl crème and sea salt spray are the only two that have stuck around in my cabinet.

Right out of the shower, I wrap my hair in a microfiber towel. You can find these cheap little turbies in any drugstore. They’re super convenient and help prevent frizz versus wrapping your hair in a bath towel. I always use a wide tooth comb once I take it out of the wrap. Brushes are a huge no-no for curly hair unless you want to look like Mia Thermopolis pre-makeover. Then I just scrunch it up with some of the curl crème and let it do its thing!

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International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day! Today is a day to celebrate all that women have achieved as well as push for continued gender equality.

A global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. – Source

Today I’m going to take an extra moment to be thankful for all of the women who are or have been a part of my life. To my teachers, coaches, friends, family, coworkers – you have all helped shape me in some way; thank you for any and everything you’ve done for me. To my friends and my sorority sisters – I’m so proud of all that you are doing and achieving; it’s awesome to see where we’ve all gone after college and to see the KD house carrying on our sisterhood and inclusiveness. To any woman reading this – I’m so grateful that you’re taking time out of your day to read what I have to say. (Men reading this – I appreciate you too!) 

Here are some other women I admire…

  • Susan Cain – for speaking on behalf of quiet voices everywhere
  • Joanna Coles – for pushing the boundaries of women’s content and bringing taboo topics to light
  • Emma Watson – for advocating on behalf of women’s rights and using her fame to shed awareness on important issues
  • My Mother – for raising four children, managing a household, and in many ways living as an example of the kind of person I’d like to become
  • My Best Friend – for her resilience, ever-positive attitude, friendship and loyalty over the years

Despite how far we have come in the push for gender equality, there is still change to be seen. I am hopeful for a future with less objectification of women, both in the media and in real life. I am hopeful for a future where women can be less fearful of attack, of sexual assault, of rape. I am hopeful for a future where a woman can always make her own choices regarding her health and body.

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To help raise awareness and spread the message, you can share your own thoughts or stories using the hashtags #BeBoldForChange and #InternationalWomensDay. You can also pledge to take action on the International Women’s Day website.

Getting Happy

I’m reading a book right now centered around introversion (surprise surprise; book review to come later) and the chapter I just wrapped up really got me thinking. It brought up some interesting points about happiness, particularly happiness in Western culture. The main point of the chapter is the paradox of “getting happy”: basically, we (Westerners) are so focused on being happy and getting happy, that it ultimately takes away from our happiness.

The chapter explores the pressure many feel to be happy; We feel that we should be happy all the time. Particularly as introverts, we may feel that certain things that make others (usually extroverts) happy, should make us happy as well. For example, if everyone else is having fun at a crowded, noisy, sweaty club – but we’re miserable – we feel like we’re wrong and should be having fun too.

Too often we feel bad about the times when we’re NOT happy, when in reality (and in other cultures), an unhappy state is totally acceptable. Going through periods of unhappiness, no matter how long or brief, is a totally normal part of life. In some cultures, it’s even seen as a sign of strength.

One of the ways that the author suggests combating this “getting happy” problem is the practice of mindfulness. This is a hot topic right now, so you have probably seen or heard of it. For example, mindfulness coloring books are super popular right now. Mindfulness in a nutshell is allowing yourself to be aware of and accept your thoughts and feelings of the present moment without passing judgement. Relating back to the chapter I read – those thoughts and feeling may not always be pleasant. It’s important to accept the less-than-happy feelings too.

One mindfulness exercise that I’ve somewhat tried to pick up on is meditation.  I’ve read countless articles citing how beneficial meditation can be for your health and mood. It’s particularly helpful for those who suffer from anxiety or depression, so try meditating next time you’re feeling anxious. I have a meditation app on my phone, Buddhify, that I use when I’m going to sleep. I really like it because I have a hard time meditating on my own- I need something to focus on, and the app walks me through it. The app has a slew of guided meditations for different situations (can’t sleep, traveling, stressed, etc.). It’s no surprise that one of the categories is “Difficult Emotions”. While I haven’t tried any of these guided meditations yet, I’ll definitely use one next time I’m struggling with getting happy.

Restaurant Review: The Kitchen

A couple of weeks ago I was able to spend a three-day weekend in Chicago visiting friends. My boyfriend and I got a hotel room downtown in a great spot overlooking the river (and some political protests..).

This was our chance to celebrate a belated Valentine’s Day, so we planned an evening out. We decided on dinner at The Kitchen upon recommendation from a friend who works there. The restaurant was a 10 minute along the water from where we stayed, which was perfect given the unseasonably warm weather that weekend.

John and I arrived just an hour before closing time. As a result, there were only a few other occupied tables and we got an isolated high-rise table for two overlooking the water. Obviously my inner introvert was thrilled with the quiet ambiance.

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We started with the Hummus & Crudité plate, which had the freshest cucumbers I’ve ever tasted. For the main course, I went with The Kitchen Bolognese (major pasta lover here) and John ordered the Pan Seared Slagel Farms Sirloin. You can check their menu online here. Both of our meals were fabulous and the service was great as well.

Apologies for the low light iPhone pics.

We ended the night by splitting the Affogato – two scoops of vanilla gelato doused with a shot of espresso. This was my ideal dessert (because COFFEE). Overall this was a wonderful date night spot and I would recommend the restaurant to anyone in the area.

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Cheers!

Poppy Graduates Puppy School

Last week Poppy had her last day of Beginner training school at PetSmart. All of the dogs in the class had to take a final test on the last day, and….

she passed!!

She did really well throughout the course and picked up on most of the commands, but I was nervous for her final test because she had a rough day. That morning Poppy went into heat for the first time, so the poor girl had to wear a diaper to class. I did buy the “fashion” pack of cute little patterned ones, but a diaper is a diaper and no girl wants to show up to class wearing one.

For the very last part of the test, I had to walk to the opposite end of the store while the trainer kept Poppy on a long leash near him. Then I had to yell Poppy’s name and use the “come” command and she had to find her way across the entire store to me. It took her a minute or two but she made it!

Here is Poppy waiting nervously for class to start:

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And here we are after she passed! If you look closely you can see that she is wearing a little graduation cap, which was adorable.

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Things Poppy learned:

  • Sit
  • Watch Me
  • Stay
  • Walking nicely on a leash
  • Leave It
  • Come
  • Down (she didn’t quite pick up on this one)

Things I learned:

  • How to use my strong commanding voice
  • How to put on a doggy diaper
  • Patience (I didn’t quite pick up on this one)

I enjoyed the class (and the results) so much that I signed her up for Intermediate session starting this week. She will receive a letter grade at the completion of this class, so I’ll keep you posted on her final report card in six weeks!