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California Dreaming

Up until recently, my grandparents had a house in Palm Springs, so we spent just about every spring break there.  It was always the perfect time to escape the brutal Chicago winters. Unfortunately, I won’t be going anywhere warm this winter (not having a job has its limits), but that doesn’t mean I can’t (window) shop for resort wear!  Similar to how I dress everyday, I try to pack things that coordinate so I can mix and match easily. Here is what would be on my wish list if I were going somewhere warm this year:Resort Dreaming1. Top // 2. Bottoms // 3. Cover-up // 4. Sunglasses // 5. Jean Jacket (I’ve been wanting a lighter one like this!) // 6. Sandals (these have been on my wish list for years…someday!) // 7. Earrings // 8. Tote (similar to my go-to carry-on) // 9. Dress (her dresses are perfect for travel because they don’t wrinkle too much) // 10. Jeans // 11. Tank (you’ll wear it all summer – trust me!) // 12. Bracelet (only $20!) // 13. Heels

J.Crew sale – 20% off your purchase with code SPECIALSALE

Changing Up New Year’s Eve

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If the old adage is true — how you spend New Year’s Eve is how you’ll spend the next year — then maybe it’s time to set the right tone.  It’s been years since I’ve bought an over-priced bar package, but every year I still seem to fight the rest of the city for cabs and spend the first day of the new year battling a hangover.

Here are ten ways to mix it up this year:

1. Intimate Dinner: Okay, having a fun dinner with a few friends is nothing new, but for some reason I’ve never done it for NYE — and this year it sounds ideal. Chicago Tribune food critic Phil Vettel did a great round-up of all of the best prix fixe deals in Chicago here. Ada Street and Balena are two of my favorite restaurants and, at $100 per person (including wine pairings), the price is right. (As of Sunday afternoon, both still have availability.)

2. Binge-Watch Girls In Your PJs: Since flights to anywhere warm were insane, a few friends and I are headed to a cabin in Galena, Illinois to drink wine, watch tv, cook — and generally avoid the craziness of the city. I think something like this is going to be my contribution.

3. Get Your Om On: Getting into yoga is one of my goals for 2015 and a 90-minute bikram yoga class (beginning at 10:30 pm) would be a great way to set the tone for the year ahead.

4. Discover Your New Favorite Band: Every time I’ve seen a show at Schubas, I leave obsessed with the artist. I’m sure Sinkane would be no different. Concert starts at 10 pm. $25 in advance / $30 at the door.

5. Put On Your Cowboy Boots: If you’ve never been to Carol’s Pub, you’re missing out. It’s been open since 1973 and, if you get there early enough, you’ll probably see some regulars who have been claiming the same table for the last 40 years. A live band plays country favorites all night long (until 4 am!!) and — since it’s a late-night bar — it’s easy to grab a cab home.* Cash only.

*Because you will be responsibly leaving around 1 am when everyone else is coming from other bars!

6. Hit the Slopes: Not everyone can get to Aspen or Park City for New Year’s, but resorts in Michigan and Wisconsin have night skiing just a few hours away. I’ll meet you for the apres-ski.

7. Booze at the Zoo: Pack a thermos of Irish coffee and check out Lincoln Park’s Zoo Lights (open from 5-9 pm / free) and then head over to Bricks for pizza. Or, if you want a full pizza bar, reserve a spot at Ranalli’s.

8. Check Out a Comedy Show: Have an early dinner at Adobo Grill and then head next door for Second City’s Holidazed and Confused Revue. Shows at 7 and 10 pm. $55. (As of Sunday afternoon, tickets were still available for both shows.)

9. Find Your Inner Child: Staying in the Midwest doesn’t mean you can’t throw on your bathing suit — you will just have to battle the pre-teens at an indoor water park in Illinois or Wisconsin.

10. Stay Home: If the crowds and cab situation are too overwhelming, just be sure to order in from somewhere good.

NYE 2014: One Shirt, Three Ways

Although I’m not quite sure what I’ll be doing for New Year’s Eve this year, I’m already thinking about what to wear. I’m leaning toward a grey Amanda Uprichard shirt I bought two years ago that’s similar to this one, so I decided to style it three different ways (for three very different occasions) using items that are similar to pieces I already own.

Like my home decor, my closet contains a mix of high and low end pieces.  I’m comfortable splurging on something if I know it’s going to be a wardrobe staple, but (after making several expensive mistakes) I hesitate when it comes to trendier pieces.  For example, although I’m kind of obsessed with the idea of faux leather leggings right now, even $100 seems like WAY too much for me right now, so I’m excited to check out these (also shown below) which are a much more palatable $28.

Here are my picks to help you ring in the New Year — I think you’ll be surprised which outfit is cheapest!

NYE 2014 One Top 3 Ways

Click to see product links . . .

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Gift Guide: Under $50

Every year around this time, panic begins to set in: there are less than two weeks until Christmas and I haven’t bought ANY presents.  Despite having a huge family, I actually only have to buy a handful of gifts because my siblings and I pick the name of one other person. This year, we’ve set a strict $50 limit. Now, I don’t know about you, but I have a much harder time finding gifts in the $25 to $50 range than anything over, so I’ve rounded up some recommendations under $50 for every member of the family. Two suggestions are slightly over $50 – you’ll never guess which ones!  Click below the image for links.

GiftGuide-Under-$50

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