Friday, December 11, 2015

Friday Five: Allergy Safe Holiday Cookies

To be honest I used to be a bit uncomfortable with the idea of a cookie exchange. Swapping baked goods without a lot of detail on them (or the people made them) doesn't create the best picture in my head. Then I went to one. As a busy adult with work, shopping, holiday parties and general life errands  finding a weekend to bake dozens of cookies all of different varieties with quite difficult. Being able to combine cooking and socializing in one event is fantastic AND you can walk away with as many bake good varieties as you like!

With my own {and lots of others} food allergies I've been searching for a crowd pleaser for my upcoming Junior League cookie exchange. Here are 5 of the most delicious looking gluten and dairy free options!

Caramel Glazed Donuts from Against All Grain

Gingerbread Men from Deliciously Ella

Coconut Meringue Nests by Simply Gluten Free 

Gluten-Free Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies from Gluten Free on a Shoe String
The frosting has butter in it, but I found this Dairy-Free Recipe

Peppermint Chocolate Macaroons from Against All Grain

Monday, December 7, 2015

Beautiful Boxwood

Christmas decorating is in full swing in my apartment and I'm loving the chicness of boxwood. From wreaths to garland to present wrapping, the round leaves adds a classic but modern look to Christmas. I'm hoping the wreath will last me through spring (just changing out the ribbon to be seasonally appropriate).

Friday, December 4, 2015

Pantone's Pastels

Pantone just announced their 2016 color{s} of the year to be the dusty pink, Rose Quartz and soothing blue, Serenity.

I love pastels...especially in winter. I have been rocking my white jeans with cozy ivory and blue spring sweaters well past Labor Day. Add a little sparkle and they make the understated tones perfect for popping Holiday Parties. I'm obsessed with these 2 Miu Miu numbers. Top them off with a long, classic camel {or, even better, ivory} wool coat and you're ready to celebrate the end of 2015.

Metallic Jacquard Mini Skirt

Cotton Jacquard Mini Dress

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Keeping up with the Joneses (or Jones')?

How cute is this stationery!?

If you're planning on spending your weekend signing and addressing  a {seemingly} endless pile of Christmas cards, be sure to check out this recent Town & Country article on the 5 Most Common Grammar Mistakes....and watch where you put your apostrophes!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Jewel Toned Holidays

I'm definitely a self-proclaimed neutral girl. When I wanted to "add color" to my bedroom in my old apartment I added Black. In my new apartment I went with a deep navy blue. I was able to acquire a gorgeous navy blue, velvet sofa and arm chair. I've been adding color with deep red and purple accenting floral arrangements. I've learned to love the elegance that jewel tones bring to the neutral palate and I've been dreaming of these jewel toned table settings for the upcoming holiday's. Now to acquire an apartment with a dining room....

Monday, November 23, 2015

Winter Skin Care

2 years ago at Christmas I came back to the midwest for about 5 days. By the end of my visit my skin felt like and was peeling off my face. There was nothing I could do to keep the moisture in. Last year, I purchased the Kiehl's holiday 'moisture rescue' pack just for my trip. It contained all of their intense moisturizing products in travel size. Perfect for my quick trip!
Needless to say, I'm spending a little more than a week in the depth of midwest winter this year. I started scrambling for every cream, serum and mask I could find about a month ago. I've finally widdle my collection down to the select few below!

Olay Total Effects Moisturizer Plus - Mature Therapy 
This is my everyday, every season moisturizer. Why "Mature"? Apparently during menopause your skin dries out so you need a better formatted moisturizer. I did try the regular version and I just didn't feel like it penetrated deep enough. It did a great job on the surface, but I find the "Mature Therapy" to be more cream like and moisturize thoroughly.
Kiehl's Ultra Facial Overnight Hydrating Mask
So easy, convenient and DEEPLY moisturizing. When my skin gets really dry it starts to feel "crispy" underneath my skin. This gets rid of this feeling almost instantly. I also have really dry skin on my arms that this works great on. I imagine it would have divine effects on the feet, but I haven't tried it yet.

Aveda Hand Relief
It is a little greasy, but I like the smell much better than Keihl's hand cream and you can get it in purse size!

Kiel's Creme De Corps
I normally use Aveeno, but in the winter I've switched to this. It gets moisturizes deeply and gets rid of the "crispy" feeling on your body.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Baby its cold!

In honor of the first snow in Chicago this weekend, I can't help but post this adorable Barnes and Noble spot. I was delighted to find out bookstores actually exist in Chicago! In San Francisco I could count everyone I knew of on 1 hand.

 If anyone asks, its not Christmas-y its just discussing the weather.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Friday Five: Holiday Candles

My heart is 100% in Christmas/Holiday mode. I'm definitely on team "Thanksgiving can be Christmas-y!" Unfortunately, there is much debate in society on what is appropriate so I'm holding off decorating (really because the BF isn't around until this weekend to help carry the tree in). I have allowed myself to sneak in a little holiday scents via candle. It's so refreshing coming home to an apartment filled with a little winter-y, holiday spirit. These are my absolute favorites!

{instantly reminds me of childhood Christmases... although I think my mom had the potpourri #80skid}

{Whole Foods sells them in cute, gold jars but I can't find them anywhere else!)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Wedding Wednesday

I've been feeling a bit nostalgic for San Francisco lately. When I saw this beautiful wedding at the James Flood Mansion (on my short list!), it took be right back. I love the traditional architecture contrasted with the sleek black accents. Also, there is just something perfect about her dress!

San Francisco Wedding Film {Nicole & Jake} Flood Mansion from LoveSpun Handmade Wedding Films on Vimeo.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Lots of Life News {not mine}

This last week was full of lots of exciting news for my favorite people!

Last weekend one of my favorite ladies, Allison Williams, tied the knot with her long-time {and equally hilarious} beau, Ricky Van Veen. She chose an absolutely stunning Oscar De La Renta dress complete with the ever elegant illusion neckline, deep v back and bow. The couple added a little whimsy to their classic affair by having Tom Hanks officiate!

The other very exciting news was for power-woman Ivanka Trump, who announced just yesterday they're adding a third child to their family come February. She had the cutest facebook video!

This weekend I'm off to Milwaukee to a dear college friend's Baby Shower. She's the first one of the crew to be reproducing. Its so special to be able to share the shower with everyone and be back in the midwest!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Tory Sport

Tory Burch launches her Performance Activewear site today for pre-orders and you can start making purchases on 9/22! Her look book definitely makes me want to take up tennis, but while Equinox is my only outlet these favorites will have to do:

Friday, September 11, 2015

Friday Five: Moving Tips!

Trying to facilitate a move is quite an intimidating venture. I spent 3 days organizing and re-organizing piles of things just because the thought of packing everything up was overwhelming. How do I organize? How to I track? How do I pack? Finally I just told myself to start putting the piles into boxes and it would all work itself out. Fortunately that did the trick for me and I was able to get my act together. Here are a few tips that helped me stay motivated and organize.

1) Start with a To-Do list
As simple as it sounds write down everything you need to do. I chose to do it by room in my apartment and wrote down things as simple as 'pack up Kitchen Aid mixer'.  It was a bit redundant but to see all the tasks in front of me was super helpful. In the moments I was so overwhelmed with everything I just made myself pick one of the things on my list  and that got me started.

2) Schedule out your time
This was a technique I used in college when I had a lot going on. In addition to dealing with the task of packing, cleaning and shipping my entire life. I had people I needed to see and things on bucket list to do. My last week was jam packed. I took my to-do list and scheduled out hourly blocks to get the items done {literally everything from getting coffee to painting the walls}. It took thinking out of the picture and really allowed me to just enjoy the moment.

3) Think about how you want to unpack
In San Francisco I lived in a 2 bedroom apartment with a roommate. Things weren't always kept where they 'should' be. I kept my Kitchen Aid Mixer and Ninja Blender in my closet for example. I knew that ideally those would go in my next kitchen so as I packed up my kitchen stuff I pulled those out. Also worked with some bathroom supplies. I keep lotion and hair tools in my room, but pulled them out when I packed up my bathroom things.

4) Create an Inventory
As I sorted through the last 7 years of my life in the typical keep, sell, goodwill piles I recorded everything I put in a box and which box I put it in. This helped me determine insurance for each package as well as serve as a helpful key to finding things when you just too exhausted to unpack a whole box. I used towels and sheets to help pad various breakables too, so they found themselves in several different boxes. I used GoogleSheets, so I could access it from my phone and computer. It was also easily shareable with my parents whom I sent some boxes for storage too.

5) Pick out Necessities
One of the lists that I made was all the items I would 'need' when after everything is packed up and shipped. Including clothes, toiletries,  tools and cleaning supplies. I pulled them all aside before I started packing boxes so I didn't have to make that decision as I was going.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

FOUND: Wish List Item {aka that one time I bought size 0 jeans from Abercrombie & Fitch}

Last Friday I posted my end of summer wishlist, which included a pair of destroyed, boyfriend style jeans. I love that they're so versatile, you can dress them up with some pointy toed-pumps, keep it middle of the road with some jacks or go casual with some converse. The last time I bought 'destroyed' jeans was back in high school, and where was the cool place to get them? Abercrombie & Fitch.

I have to admit I haven't been back in that store since High School. I walked by yesterday as I was leaving the gym and I flash-backed to purchasing my last pair of destroyed jeans and decided to give it a shot {there was also a giant, 40% off entire store sign out front}. I asked the first {fully clothed} sale associate if they had what I was looking for and she lead me right to their denim wall. It looked like the Boyfriend jean was just what I was looking for and it was on sale for $40!!! I tried on a size smaller than I normally am, because {as a lady with hips} the wider legs aren't always flattering. They're a little tighter than appear in the website picture, but absolutely perfect..

High School me was super proud of my find, but 28 year old me isn't sure how to feel. I got a great deal though and they were exactly what I was looking for! They're still on sale so get 'em quick.

Monday, September 7, 2015

SF Bucket List: Baker Beach and Huntington Square

A few of the first places I ever visited in San Francisco as an adult were Baker Beach and Huntington Square park. Their elegance and peacefulness have always held a special place in my heart.

One late night as interns we decided to take an 'adventure' out to Baker Beach. I remember climbing over the dunes as we followed the sound of the ocean because it was all pitch black. Since then I've been back numerous times with almost every friend. I knew I needed 1 more trip to see the pacific and then Golden Gate Bridge. Luckily we had 1 scorcher of a Sunday and after spending the morning being lazy in bed we decided to take the trip out to, hopefully, catch the sun set. It was absolutely perfect.

My very first weekend in the city my friends made us climb up Nob Hill to this delicious italian restaurant. Unfortunately, we were a little too early for dinner and we had to kill some time in the nearby park. I fell in love with Huntington Square Park, when I began to look for apartments Nob Hill was on the top of the list. I did end up finding a space just a few blocks away. In my 4 years there I spent many a weekend drinking wine, reading or just laying in the sun in Huntington Square. 
After our trip to Sonoma, my friends and I took our purchases over to Huntington Square Park to enjoy them one last time. 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Friday Five: End of Summer Wishlist

Moving to Chicago means the return of Seasons!! I'm super excited for fall, but as summer wraps up I'm still looking for some fun transitional pieces. Here's what is currently on my list:

I'm usually late to the 'trend game'. The idea of jorts repulsed me for a long time, but I think a cute pair like this would be fun and casual for the last few warm days of Summer.

I've been all about the black, but some colorful ones sound really fun and energizing! 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

SF Bucket List: Wine Country

I'd be lying if I was going to say my move to Chicago had been as sudden as it appeared.  I had been thinking about it for a few years and seriously looking for the last 6 months or so. That being said, the final 'Lets Do This!' did happen fairly quickly. I had 4 days after the lay-off to decide if I was going to give my 30 days notice for August, then had to hit the ground running coordinating a move, job searching and saying goodbye to SF. I tried to make a list of all the things I wanted to do before I left then went about squeezing in the activities with seeing people. I honestly didn't have that much I felt I wanted to do and most of it was just revisiting some of my favorite things.
  • Wine Country
  • Baker Beach
  • Foreign Cinema
  • Taqueria Cancun
  • Huntington Square Park
  • Craftsman and Wolves
  • Paragon
Is it sad that having the beautiful Sonoma and Napa Valley's a short drive a way might be what I missed most? I was able to squeeze in 2 visits and they were perfect. I headed up for a bit of wine and sparkling wine tasting for a dear friend's birthday. The weather was absolutely perfect and couldn't have made some sparkling rose more refreshing.

A couple of friends and I had booked at cabana at Silverado Resort in Napa earlier this summer. Coincidently our reservation day turned out to be my last full day in California. I couldn't think of a better way to spend my last moments that laying by a gorgeous pool, soaking up the California sunshine with good friends and good wine.

Friday, August 28, 2015


The last 3 weeks have been quite a whirlwind. In the end of July, my company decided to start moving operations to Canada and my role was one of those eliminated in move. After a week of some soul searching and math, I realized that the only jobs I was looking at were in Chicago and my severance would go twice as far there too. I made the decision on August 1st that after 6.5 years in San Francisco it was time to make the transition.

Then I was thrown into the chaos of arranging, facilitating and prepping for a cross country move! On top of it it was equally as rough wrapping up not only a huge chapter of my life, but the first one that I created entirely on my own. There were long days, minimal sleeping and a lot of life purging (I threw away 50 nail polishes....that 50x$8 = $450 worth of nail polish where did I even get that!?), but I'm finally in Chicago and getting my life (back?) in order. I'm pretty excited for this new adventure!!

Monday, August 10, 2015

JLSF Welcome Bags

I've chosen a different Junior League placement this year, switching from Chairing our annual fundraiser's PR committee to a Provisional Advisor. I had met so many friends who had joined the Junior League and had gotten overwhelmed with navigating this 1,000+ member, volunteer run organization that they ended up deactivating. I'm definitely not saying it's for everyone, but I really believe in then power meeting driven Women and working together to give back to the community. You just have to find the best place for JL to fit in your life and align with your goals. I was so excited to be assigned a group of new members this year to guide them through the process of understanding the League! I hope they all find it as empowering as I do. 

For our first small group meeting I put together these cute Welcome Bags  I saw the bag idea on Pinterest and googled furiously for a calligraphy guide and Pom-Pom making guide. It was so easy, and luckily we had a few goodies left over from Fashion Show gift bags to include. 
For the tumblers I actually ordered just the decals off etsy and then mass ordered the clear tumblers off Amazon. My friend was making some for her sister's bachelorette party so we split the order. 

The finished bag looked so cute along the wall at the wine bar we met at!

The Goodies!
All my 'failed' attempts at monogrammed gift tags. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Gluten... and Dairy, AND Meat !?! {aka the Migraine Diet}

About a year and a half ago I started experimenting with the Paleo diet. To be honest I've gone on and off it, but still keeping focus on eating whole foods over processed. All the while, my weight has been yo-yoing (dramatically ~15-20lbs), my migraines have gotten worse, I've become severely intolerant of dairy and developed dyshidrotic ezcema.  All of which have been super sexy and made life a blast.

I also switched General Practitioners within that time period. The first time I sat down with her, she looked at all my 'illnesses' and flagged them all as textbook autoimmune responses. She suggested a gluten free diet which seemed incredibly overwhelming. She also referred me to a neurologist, but really pushed G-free and said I would need to try it for at least 3 months. I started trying it in April, but after 3 weeks it just became too overwhelming. The more I was reading about it the more 'trying it out' seemed pointless, because if you don't know your degree of sensitivity how do you know if you are feeling the results. Apparently some people can't even tolerate non-gluten foods that merely touched gluten containing food. How am I supposed to know where I am on the scale and control my food that closely!?

After my 8 day migraine I visited the neurologist. The first line of action was looking at my diet to identify triggers and, possibly, trying this 'Low-Tyramine' diet. Recording my food I can do. Low-Tyramine was another beast. There were so many odd restrictions. Not just foods to avoid, but no meat that has been at room temperature longer than 20 minutes. No meat that was cooked over 48hrs ago. I sat there with my cook books in my lap, exasperated, wondering how the heck I could keep protein in my diet without cooking a full lunch at work! Then I reminded myself that I was vegetarian all of high school and college. If I could do it then I could definitely do it again. I've been switching my proteins to fish, but that is only on the approved food list because of 'lack of research'. Still somewhat confused I made an appointment with a nutritionist, hoping to find some clarity and direction.

I had an amazing 2 hour introductory meeting and came out of it with tons of great tips an ideas! However, one of the first things that came out of her mouth was that I should try eliminating gluten as "all (my) symptoms are reflective of autoimmune reactions." I told her I was open to it, but had the concerns about length and sensitivity I talked about above. She told me that my GP had been wrong about the time it would take to notice the affects and said if I was truly intolerant I would notice effects a few days in. I mentioned my 3 week experiment in April and as soon as I said I had stopped in the beginning of May she interrupted me. "And when did your 8-day migraine start relative to eating gluten?" she asked.  I thought back and realized that my lead-in, tension headaches started the day after and the full blow migraine 3 days after reintroducing gluten to my diet. I hadn't realized that at all and she told me that is a classic reaction to re-introducing trigger foods after an elimination diet.

So here I am, beginning the diary-free, gluten free, low-tyramine excursion. I'm already dreading the extra cooking, but we'll see where it takes me. So far I've lost 4lbs and have noticed quite a difference with 'brain fog'. Lucky for me a lot of blogger's have already started this journey and I'm finding tons of inspiration and recipes from these lovely ladies!

Against All Grain {remember that berry tart from the 4th?}

Deliciously Ella {MEAT FREE!!}

Friday, July 17, 2015

Splash of Pink in Napa!

Napa isn't just great for spectacular wine! It's pretty temperate in downtown San Francisco and its so nice to be able to escape up to the warm, summer weather in Napa. A few weekends ago a girlfriend and I took a relaxing day trip up to lay by the pool and drink some delicious Sauv Blanc. I just scheduled another trip up in a month or so and I cannot wait!  These are some pool finds that would look just lovely next to the pool or on the beach this summer!

Cathy's Concept Turkish Towel {currently on the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale}

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A little late...Monday Inspiration

I had to step back from #6Weeks2Burn last week after tweaking my shoulder. Since a lot of my headaches come along with neck tension I've been working with a chiropractor on proper form during ecrsizing and over did it a bit. To be honest, I was getting a little frustrated as well, since I was focusing more on Burn & Weights and the scale was going up!? I threw in some cardio and have been feeling my body balance out a little more. Hopefully I'll be able to get back to Burn soon!

I've been LOVING Soul Cycle's new July playlist on the treadmill. This song is so fun and summery!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Friday Five {Momma-to-Be Edition}

April and May must have been pretty 'busy' months for people because everyone {well almost everyone} I know is preggers!  I'm so happy for these new little ones to spoil, but for now my friends are the ones that need some extra attention. Since the shower's aren't for a bit and, mostly, about baby gifts I love these ideas for Congratulation's gifts!

How fun is this Card? I love JulieAnnArt!

A jar a pickles is a very cute {and low cost} way to say congrats.

You CANNOT go wrong with a good Spa Treatment!

A coffee club subscription is great for prepping your soon-to-be daddies for night duty!

This luxurious cashmere robe for those 'sweatpants are all the fits me right now' moments

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Dairy & Grain Free Berry Tart {speed version}!

This year I was FINALLY able to make it to Life As Griki's 4th of July BBQ. With my new dairy intolerance and Kingsley's food allergies I knew this was the perfect opportunity to try Against All Grain's Dairy-Free - Grain Free Berry Tart!

I woke up Saturday morning excited to head out to the farmers market to pick up some fresh berries and swing by Whole Foods for the extra supplies. I pulled open the recipe page and freaked out that not only did the custard need to 'set' for 5 hours, but the room-temperature, canned coconut milk needed to be refrigerated for the cream to separate. I had already made plans to go to the gym and there was only 4 hours until I had to leave for the party. 

I figured/hoped that if I went shopping now, mixed up the custard and let it sit in the freezer with the coconut milk while I went to the gym and showered. I should have SOMETHING to work with. If the custard was a little liquid-y...well, thats whats plates are for. I do have to say it turned out beautiful and absolutely delicious. I won't lie, I may have eaten some left over coconut cream with some cinnamon sprinkled on it as a snack. 

Only tweak I made to the recipe was instead of adding water to the gelatin I just stirred it into the boiling custard mixture. 



Monday, July 6, 2015

Monday Inspiration & Week 2: #6weeks2Burn

Last week was a rough week. I was just physically exhausted and combined with the holiday I was sad to only make it to 3 out of 4 Burn classes.  I did really push myself through 2 out of those 3 classes, my body was just not into it.

Saturday morning I hit a Soul Cycle class at their new location near my house. It was Party in the USA themed (because duh!) and it FINALLY got me pumped! Thus this week's power song is 'Party in the USA'!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Friday Five {July 4th Edition}

The 4th of July is my second favorite holiday! The weather is usually nice, there is lots of delicious summer produce for healthy treats, you can dress up festively and not look completely rediculous annd, on top of it, there are lots of beautiful, glittery, explosions!! I cannot wait to spend the weekend poolside and catching up with friends. Here are some things I'm incorporating into my celebration this year....okay maybe not the DIY sparklers, but I plan on at least purchasing some.

1. This Paleo Friendly, Berry Tart!

2. These Classic Jack's in Red and White {And also on sale!}

4. Beaded Fringe Earrings! I wish my neck was long enough to pull them off!

5. With the beautiful weather I can't wait to spend today by this pool!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Monday Inspiration {Power Song}

Whether it is powering through a hill set at Soul Cycle or Arm Springs at Burn, this Flume remix of Disclosure's You & Me has been super energizing this week.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Week 1: #6Weeks2Burn

Way back in November 2012 I mentioned my love of BurnSF.  I've been going for 3 years now. It's an awesome full body workout including cardio, resistance and weight training, and pilates! The routines are always different so you never get bored.

stolen from the Burn Pilates website :)

Every spring and fall they run the 6 weeks to Burn challenge and this year I've finally decided to do it as motivation for bikini season. I'm also hoping that getting my blood flowing more frequently will help with the migraines I've been dealing with. The commitment is attending 4 classes a week for 6 weeks. They're giving away fun prizes at the end of each week to keep us going.

Week 1 started last Sunday. I just finished my 2nd class this week and I'm feeling great. I'm planning to hit one tomorrow and then Saturday morning.  Can't wait to see the results!!

Check out my cute little deltoid!