Winter Favorites from Instagram

Hello sunshines!

Hope you are all having a great week! It’s been a couple months since I’ve updated the “Shop the Look” category from my outfits from Instagram….life has been so busy busy! Mr. P and I have been non-stop traveling!!! I’m sharing below some winter favorites from our trip to Austin, colorful & fun at work, and my current obsession with fun sleeves.

Dressing in layers!

Top: Free People – Last Dance Cuff in Ivory ($68.00) // Dress: Forever 21 – Accordion Pleated Slip Dress ($15.99) // Heels: Aldo – sold out but similar from Aldo “Barefoot” in Nude (on sale for $40.00) and Zappos Kristin Cavallari “Larox” Wedges (on sale $133.99)

Makin’ a fashion statement at work!

Top: Banana Republic Factory – Ruffle Front Cable Crew Sweater in Ruby Wine (on sale for $37.99) // Skirt: Banana Republic Factory – sold out but some colorful favorites that I am currently eyeing from Nordstrom by J.Crew “Pop Stripe Skirt” (98.00), Emerson Rose “Print Mix Pleated Skirt” ($129.00), Vince Camuto “Multi stripe Flare Skirt” ($69.00), and Banana Republic “Animal Pattern Full Skirt” ($54.98)

Bell-Sleeves are cute to look at, but not fun during brunch!

Top: Shein* – Bell sleeves top in Burgundy ($10.00), and a few other favorites that I am eye from Nordstrom Karen Kane “Diamond Print Off the Shoulder Bell Sleeve Top” ($79.00) and Anthropologie “Toastworthy bell sleeve top” ($68.00) // Jeans: American Apparel – Pencil Jean in black ($94.00) but similar favorites from Urban Outfitters  – BDG ($58.00)and H&M – Skinny High-Waisted Ankle Jeans ($9.99) // Boots: Asos – sold out but I have similar styles linked on my previous Shop the Look post, check it out here!

*I just wanted to include a quick note on Shein; their merchandise is very cute and also not expensive, but quality may not be the best and sizing is sometimes off. Shipping is from China, so unless you expedite it or if they give you free expedited delivery it could take some time for the package to reach you.

Ruffle sleeve dress that I can’t wait to wear without leggings!

Dress: Shein – Ruffle Sleeve Tee Dress in Grey ($15.00), some more dresses with fun sleeves from Asos by Missguided (Pleated Ruffle Sleeve Shift Dress $53.00), New Look (Ruffle Sleeve T-Shirt Dress $31.00), and Zacro (T-Shirt Dress With Layered Ruffle Sleeves In Breton Stripe $44.00 – on sale!)

Thanks for stopping by!! Leave me a comment and let me know which outfit is your favorite!!

Xoxo,

M

Exploring NYC in 36 hours!

Hello Sunshines!

On today’s post I’m sharing with you all how we explored NYC in a short 36 hours a couple weekend’s ago! (Actually probably less than that if you include the necessary 8 hours of sleep :))

Prior to our trip, we researched and planned out the places we wanted to visit on this trip to the T, meaning I knew exactly how long it took from Murray Hill to get to the Brooklyn Bridge and which route we should take on the Subway. Disclosure, I am a crazy planning nut! I know many people would prefer to not make plans and go with the flow, but for me, I need my checklist and would go crazy if I left everything up in the air :X. That being said, I know things don’t always go according to plan, and that I can accept…you reshuffle your to-do-list and go from there!

Mr. P and I had a 5 PM flight Friday night and landed around 8:30 PM at Laguardia. From there, we ordered an Uber to our friend’s house in Murray Hill, which was app 30 mins with minimal traffic at night (other than driving on the sidewalk because of a truck being stuck in the middle of the road!). That night was spent catching up with friends and drinking lots of vino! The next morning, with a little over 24 hours left in NYC, we started our day bright and early at 8:30 AM! We obviously had to grab a NYC bagel so went to the shop down the street, Bagel Boss. There was a 6 subway stop that’s headed downtown to 33rd & 3rd Ave, just a couple of blocks away from where we were staying. Normally I think we could have taken the 4 or 5 train, but due to the Chinatown parade it may not have been running. (SEE, I told you I accept it when things are out of my control!)

Brooklyn Bridge
The 6 train took us directly there, it was so convenient. Let me tell ya, it was a super cold day and it was even colder on the bridge. I brought my peacoat instead of my puffy down coat and I sincerely regretted my decision. Even though it was cold, the bridge was already filled with runner, bikers, and tourists. I did manage a few shots on the bridge with no one around me, just pure luck I guess! We made it about halfway across the bridge before deciding it was too cold and turned around. Next time we’re there, when it’s warmer, we’re definitely walking the whole way across.

 Brooklyn Bridge! So cold that day :(
Brooklyn Bridge! So cold that day 😦

 

The 9/11 Memorial & Museum
All of our family and friends who had previously visited the memorial &museum strongly suggested that we visit, so we knew this destination was a must-see on our list. We did not buy tickets online ahead of time, which worked out just fine. The ticket line was short and we waited maybe 5 mins before getting our tickets and walking into the museum. The museum was very well put together, lots of artifact, and it brought back a lot of memories. We both felt very emotional while walking through the museum. I highly recommend going if anyone is visiting NYC in the coming months. They have a guided tour available that takes app 3 hours, we didn’t end up doing that due to time restrictions.

We originally had the Charging Bull on the list as well but unfortunately we did not have time to walk over there. Next time!

Brunch @ Hotel Chantelle (92 Ludlow St) —
The day we were there, Hotel Chantelle had a live jazz band playing, so we all enjoyed that. The food was decent (I ordered Scrambled Egg Crostini, and everyone else at my table ordered the Chicken & Waffles – that’s the brunch fav apparently) and the brunch drinks were super cheap, as in 92 cents for their special brunch cocktail; overall, I’d say I liked the ambience (cool patio too) more than the actual food, but that’s ok! You go for the experience, right?!

Dessert @ 10 Below Ice Cream (10 Mott St) —
No meal is complete without dessert! We decided to walk towards Chinatown for dessert since we were already super close (maybe a 10-15 min walk). We happened to walk by just as the Chinese New Year parade was passing by! There were so many people out for the parade, loved that we could be part of it! Anyway, 10 Below is not an ordinary ice cream spot! They make Thai-style “ice cream rolls” and it was super cool watching them make it on a cool plate and blending all the ingredients (cream, fruit, etc) into it. It was SUPER delish as well. Highly recommend trying this Thai-style “ice cream rolls”! We roamed a little further so that we could walk through Little Italy since it’s right next door to Chinatown. Definitely getting a meal in Little Italy next time we are there—all the pictures and menus of pastas and pizzas looked soooo good!

 Ice cream from 10 Below!
Ice cream from 10 Below!
 Had to participate in Chinese New Year festivities :)
Had to participate in Chinese New Year festivities 🙂

New York Public Library & Times Square
I know you’re thinking, WOW, you guys must be tired. Tired is not in the dictionary when you’re only in NYC for a short period of time!! I still had the New York Public Library and Times Square on my list! Yes…I have been to NYC before…but Mr.P and I have never gone to NYC together! As some of you know, I’ve been wanting to check out the NYPL since the Sex and the City movie came out in 2008 and Carrie smacked Big right outside of the library with her bouquet of flowers, so I was very happy to finally be able to see it!

 New York Public Library
New York Public Library

 Times Square
Times Square

Dinner @ Rosie’s (29 E 2nd St) —
Rosie’s is a delicious Mexican restaurant and they have extremely potent (but yummy) margaritas. I ordered the Esquites de Calabaza and veggie tacos. EVERYTHING looked delicious on that menu, but I had to stop myself from ordering more from the menu because Mr.P and I were planning on getting a slice of NYC style pizza as our last stop of the night before heading back to the hotel. We walked around East Village/Lower East Side some more, went to grab drinks at a few bars/speak-easys and called it a night (after grabbing a slice of pizza, duh). Our flight back to Chicago was bright and early in the morning!

Thanks for stopping by and reading about our short 36 hours in the Big Apple! Leave me a comment and let me know what your favorite spots are in NYC! 🙂

Xoxo,

M

 

 

Austin (Part 2) – Places to see, eat & drink

Hello sunshines!

SO excited to share part 2 of my LONG Austin post, which is all about where and what Mr. P and I ate & drank and places we knew we had to see.

A bit about the logistics, because Austin doesn’t have Uber or Lyft, we hopped in a cab from the airport it was a quick ~15 mins ride before we arrived at our hotel in the center of the city, the Omni Austin Downtown (on San Jacinto Blvd). We did not rent a car because there were sufficient rideshare apps (we downloaded Fasten, Ride Austin, and Fare) to get us around town if walking was not feasible. That being said, we tried to walk as much as possible.

We did a significant amount of research on all the best food spots from Eater, The Thrillist, Austin food blogs, and recommendations from friends. The restaurants that need reservations are noted below with an asterisk*. Since it was storming & bad weather in Austin the weekend we were there, we knew our agenda would revolve around food.

Saturday:

Our first stop after dropping off our luggage was of course Tex-Mex! Having lived in Dallas a couple of years, Mr. P was super excited about Tex-Mex.

Juan in a Million – 2300 E Cesar Chavez St. Juan in a Million is open from 7 AM till 3 PM in the afternoon and serves breakfast all day during open hours. I got the Huevos a la Mexicana (scrambled eggs with jalapenos and chili sauce, house potatoes, and refried beans), it was perfectly spicy, and Mr. P tried the Don Juan El Taco Grande (he said it was the BEST breakfast ever). Our stomachs were so happy and we were already talking about going back to Juan in a Million for a second meal at some point during our trip.

Capital grounds – 5 min walk on Congress Ave from our hotel. The Capital grounds contain a lot of history and we enjoyed viewing and reading about the history of Texas etc. The Capital building is free to visitors, how awesome is that? The architecture is stunning; the inside was 3 stories tall and all made from marble (or some sort of marble-like material!). We saw the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the Texas Supreme Court. It was a history filled afternoon!

Lenoir* – 1807 S 1st St. We came here for dinner and had high expectations because this place was highly recommended from all of our sources! I made reservations about a month in advance, and there were plenty of open spots available when I booked our table. Lenoir was a cozy romantic little spot with a few 4 person tables, a long-shared table in the middle, and some bar seating. Lenoir offers a three-course prix-fixe menu in the categories of Field, Sea, Land, and Dream (dessert). My favorite would have to be the butternut squash chawanmushi; I’ve never had anything like it before. Below are pictures of what Mr. P and I tried! Great spot for date night or girls’ night!

Péché on 4th street for a night cap post dinner. My first thought was this is a super mad-men-esque spot. The drink menu was separated by liquor type. I will say though, cocktails at Péché are a bit more expensive ($15 for an old fashioned, which is what I’m used to for Chicago prices, didn’t think Austin would charge the same).

Sunday:

Hillside Farmacy – 1209 E 11th St. First stop on the agenda for Sunday was brunch! Hillside Farmacy doesn’t take reservations so we had to wait 20 mins for a table. It was unfortunately gloomy and rainy on Sunday so we couldn’t sit outside; on a nice sunny day, though, the patio would have been perfect! Once seated, we got a carafe of grapefruit Mimosas (that came out in a beaker), and I ordered the Sunny Coast (w/o cheese, w/ avocado and scrambled eggs added), and Mr. P ordered the Blueberry Pancakes (they were soooo fluffy). Mr. P has a huge sweet tooth and he kept saying how he had been craving pancakes for the past TWO months (I swear I haven’t been telling him he can’t eat pancakes!!!!!).

Looking back, maybe the carafe of mimosas wasn’t the best idea….oops! I may or may not have taken a 2 hour nap and woken up at 4 pm. The good news was that it stopped raining and the forecast said it wasn’t supposed to storm until 9 pm now! No rain in sight, we headed to the Hope Outdoor Gallery (high on my to-see list) at 11th & Baylor, which was a 25 min walk from our hotel. The Hope Outdoor Gallery is a paint park consisted of street art and graffiti from many contributors.

 Hope Outdoor Gallery - 11th & Baylor Hope Outdoor Gallery – 11th & Baylor

Daruma Ramen – 612 E 6th St B. We both were craving ramen after walking past Daruma earlier in the day and it was nice and close to the hotel! Daruma Ramen doesn’t take reservations either and when we got there around 7 pm (right after the Packers vs. Cowboys game), there was already a line. The inside was pretty small, maybe a large studio sized apartment. There were 2 communal tables of 8 seats in the middle, and some more individual seating alongside the walls and bar area. Mr. P loved that they were playing Seinfield on TV while we were waiting for our food…it’s one of his favorite shows! Daruma Ramen offered chicken broth and veggie broth, which was perfect for me since I’m a vegetarian :). My suggestion is to pay the extra 50 cents for the spicy chili sauce. While the ramen was delicious, it could have used more flavor that the spicy chili sauce would have added.

Dessert took us to Voodoo Donut – 212 E 6th St, open 24 hours!!! A must try. They have so many creative varieties of cake and yeast donuts. I got an oreo yeast donut that was probably 3,000 calories but worth every bit of it. Mr. P got a fritter, but mine was 100% better :). I’m craving a Voodoo Donut right now as we speak.

Monday:

What’s a vacation without a good workout…am I right?! I do barre two days a week, so obviously had to find a studio that was within walking distance from our hotel. Barre3 ended up only being a 25 min walk (and we got to check out another area of Austin) so I made a reservation for 11 AM Monday morning! I’m usually a Pure Barre girl, but the closet Pure Barre was a 25 min drive. After barre and very hungry, we met up with some family friends that I haven’t seen in 10 years at the County Line BBQ! It was a very scenic drive (NOT walking distance) from downtown to the County Line BBQ—I didn’t realize Austin had so many hills! County Line BBQ was a quick 5 min drive from another must-see on our list, Mount Bonnell, so our family friends drove us there for a quick hike and a few pictures at the peak. Mount Bonnell isn’t exactly a tall mountain, it’s more of a hill, but regardless still a gorgeous view at the peak and we enjoyed it very much!

The weather was still holding up after Mount Bonnell so we walked to the historic district of Rainey Street. Many bars and restaurants, from beer gardens to Indian food, and the atmosphere was great! If we had more time we definitely would have gone back to Rainey Street at night. It was pretty quiet during the day when we went in the afternoon around 4 pm on a Monday afternoon.

Uchi*- 801 South Lamar Boulevard. Dinner at this place was also highly anticipated because it was another highly recommended spot on our list. We did have to make reservations for the spot but ended up going an hour early because were were hungry and were seated within 5 mins; this was a Monday night though so not sure if we would have been seated so early w/o the earlier reservation on the weekend. Uchi is a trendy Asian fusion restaurant. The menu consisted of cold tasting, hot tastings, greens, fried, and then sashimi, rolls, and special chef’s tastings. The brussels sprout was my favorite dish and I could have gotten 3 more orders of it just for myself. It was crispy and caramelized to perfection! Pictures below!

Lick Ice Cream – 100 S Lamar Blvd #1135.  We came here for dessert post Uchi since it was a 5 min walk and I’m so glad we did! They have so many unique flavors! Mr. P and I got one to share, and I totally wish I got my own ;). The flavors we choose were Honey & Vanilla Bean, PB Chocolate Chip Brownie, and Salted Caramel.

Mr. P and I are sleepy people so we really didn’t make it past midnight any of the nights. We like to explore the city during the day and get a nice dinner at night. Can’t stay awake for the parties late at night anymore! We wanted to explore Rainey Street and 4th street some more after dinner but again, too sleepy. There was awesome live music next door to Péché, so it was cool listening to that when we were there for a night cap. Austin, we had an amazing time, thank you for offering all that amazing food & drinks! We can’t wait to come back for more!

Other restaurants and places to check out that were on our list but we didn’t end up going:

Café No Sé*- 1603 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704 (takes reservations via Opentable)

Franklin Barbeque (do not take reservations…the line to this place was insane!) – 900 E 11th St, Austin, TX 78702

The Alamo Drafthouse – Ritz (they have a special viewing some nights; one specialty show they do is to have a comedian give commentary during a silly movie) – 320 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78701

Esther’s Follies (comedy club) – 525 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78701

Thanks for reading! Sorry for making ya a little hungry! All this reminiscing about the food we ate definitely made me hungry :). Hope you get some good suggestions for you next trip to Austin!!!

xoxo,

M

Austin (Part 1) – Street Art & Murals

Hello sunshines!

I am so excited to share with you all our most recent trip to Austin, Texas! I decided to split this LONG blog post into two parts because I had way too much to write and way too many pictures to show. Part 1, this post, will be all about the awesome street art & murals that Mr. Photographer (aka Mr. P) and I found while walking around the city! Part 2, which will post this weekend, will be about where and what we ate & drank and places we knew we had to see.

Many of you know that I get super excited about finding cool street art & murals. I could not believe my luck as we stumbled across a total of 11 pieces of art; well, 10 to be exact, since the Hope Outdoor Gallery was already on my list :).

Living the Goodlife in Austin, TX – E. Cesar Chavez & Waller

Fast Folks Cyclery and Café – 1201 E Cesar Chavez St (E. Cesar Chavez & Waller)

Welcome to Fast Sixth IBIZ District – 1201 E 6th St (E. 6th & Waller)

‘Til Death Do Us Apart – E. 7th & Waller

Austin, Texas – E. 6th & I-35

One Cool Cat – E. 6th & I-35

Capital Building – E. 8th & Congress

Cool Car – E. 8th & Congress

Mosaic Jazz Mural – E. 11th & Waller

HOPE Outdoor Gallery – 1101 Baylor St

Blue Glass Wall – E. 5th & Sabine

Which one is your favorite?!? If you have an upcoming trip to Austin or thinking about visiting, I hope you find some of the street art & murals that I’ve shared with you, and I hope that you stumble upon cool ones of your own! 🙂

Xoxo,

M

Loungin’ in the Jamaican Sun

Hello sunshines!

As many of you saw from insta, Mr. Photographer and I went to Jamaica for a week! We celebrated Thanksgiving early with both of our families since we were leaving on Thanksgiving day for Montego Bay. We stayed at Secrets St. James, and let me tell ya, it was amazing. Breathtaking views, luxurious suites, and delicious food & drinks. We loved it there and will definitely be checking out other Secrets locations in the future! 

The day we arrived at the resort, the bell boy takes one look at our luggage and goes “that’s it?!?!!” Mr. Photographer and I are awesome packers, we fit all our things into one carry-one luggage and a backpack! I had all the essentials (7 different bikinis, hehe), enough thin dresses for dinner, a few cover-ups, a pair of wedges, and a couple pairs of sandals! What more do ya need when you’re on the beach loungin’ away in the sun?!

The second day at our resort, we’re waiting in line at the Caribbean jerk chicken stand and guess who I see? Frankie Muniz from Malcolm in the Middle! I did a few double takes, and was convinced it wasn’t him at first. THEN later in the day, we sat a few chairs down from Anthony Anderson, the main guy from the show Blackish! IT DOESN’T STOP THERE. As we were walking back to our room, we walked right past Kevin Dillon, aka Drama from Entourage….and he says “hello” to me and Mr. Photographer . I’ve never seen a celebrity before in my life, and on this trip alone, we saw three!!!

I did manage to take a few pictures in between all the Jamaican punch and the sugary drinks, and the many cat naps at the beach ! All suits are from Victoria’s Secret, so so so sad that they are discontinuing their swimwear line….not sure what I’m going to do . Besides the bikini photos, the one dress I brought that I knew I wanted a photo shoot in was this gorgeous goddess dress from Free People that I bought a year and a half ago. I was supposed to wear it during my Italy trip last August BUT I forgot to pack it . So I knew I absolutely had to wear it in Jamaica!! 

Xoxo,

M

Blending in with Nature

Hello sunshines!

Holiday season is upon us! Can’t believe Thanksgiving is in two days and 2016 will be over in a little over a month…time is flying by so fast! We went back to West Bloomfield, Michigan a few weekend’s ago for an early Thanksgiving celebration with Mr. Photographer’s family; we had lots and lots and lots and lots of delicious food and wine and by 8 pm that Saturday, all of us were on the couch and no one could move!! It just so happened that college football was on too. Wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without a little football (according to Mr. Photographer, LOL). The weather was perfect that weekend too, so we all went for a little walk the next morning at a nearby nature reserve. I have a cozy sleeveless turtleneck tunic on and it’s seriously the best thing ever for fall/winter when temperatures start to drop! I actually wore a pair of rainboots to walk through the nature reserve and changed to my booties only when we had to take pictures…I was warned that it may be muddy!!!

Sleeveless Turtleneck Tunic: Banana Republic (last season’s but similar styles here and here from The Limited, and how CUTE is this fringed version?!) // Top: J.Crew Perfect-fit scoopneck shirt shirt // Jeans: 7 for All Mankind (old but currently eyeing this pair by Joe’s Jeans –Jerlyn) // Bootie: Nordstrom Rack (similar version by Lucky Brand and BP, peep-toe version by Chinese Laundry) // Bag: Kate Spade (old but loving these colorblock bags by Charles Jourdan from Neiman Last Call – on sale $153! and from Modcloth)

AND last but not least, Mr. Photographer’s dad asked me if I wanted to take a picture by his convertible, so I’m like OF COURSE! 🙂

Thanks for stopping by!  Happy Thanksgiving, sunshines!

Xoxo,

M

Corduroy & Over the Knee Boots

Hello sunshines!

It has been a while since my last post, 3 weeks to be exact. Life has been crazy hectic lately! Mr. Photographer and I have been on the road every single weekend the past few weeks and this trend is going to continue until the first week of December. Also, I wanted to share some exciting news with all of you – I’m getting my MBA part-time at Northwestern! It’s my first quarter of classes, so balancing work, life, and school has kept me quite busy…which is also contributing to why my blog posts have been so infrequent. Adulting is hard, am I right?!

Anyway, this past weekend, Mr. Photographer and I went back to my hometown in Columbus, IN to celebrate my little brother’s 14th birthday. I can’t believe that he’s already a freshman in high school and is growing up so fast! I always enjoy going home to spend time with my family and wish that home was closer…how about 20 mins instead of the 4 hour drive! So my little brother was the one that suggested that I take pictures next to the iconic bridge in Columbus. Many of you may not know that Columbus is actually an architectural gem and named “a Midwestern Mecca of Architecture!” I will have to stop by more hot architectural spots for pictures the next I visit home :). Columbus is further south so I was super lucky to have enjoyed beautiful almost 70’s weather this past weekend! I’ve been wanting to wear my blog outfit for quite some time now, so I was happy to finally be able to take pictures in it! The blush colored corduroy skirt from Forever 21 I actually bought back in September and have just been hoarding it until now….I’m notorious for doing this with new clothes!!!

Outfit 1 – Sweater: Urban Outfitters // Skirt: Forever 21 // Knee High Boots: DSW (Charles David boots are old and no longer available, but DSW has so many other great options…similar here and here) // Crossbody bag: Kate Spade (sold out in the Mulled Wine color, but similar wine/burgundy/purple colored bags from Kate Spade and Rebecca Minkoff) // Necklace: Baublebar (sold out but currently eyeing this one here from Baublebar!)

Outfit 2 – Top: J Crew // Jacket: Calvin Klein (old but cute black coats from Nordstrom: T-Tahari, Ralph Lauren, Guess)

Thanks for reading! Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts on the outfits 🙂

Xoxo,

M