Friday, July 30, 2010


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I’m certain that this is the simplest recipe for a happy weekend.  Have a fabulous one!

*PS: My little brother is visiting this weekend, so I will probably be pretty absent from blogland for a few days.  I want to take advantage of as much big sister time as possible :)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Hair Tales: A Misikko Review and GIVEAWAY

Today I am doing my first ever product review.  It’s a big step for me people, I mean, a seriously huge mega step.  Here’s the deal.  I love giveaways, and I’ll do them any chance I get.  If Auto Tire USA wants to give away a tire on my blog, sure I’ll do it, you never know what my readers are into.  (Ok, I lie, tires are a stretch.  But you get my point.  I love my readers and therefore, I love hosting giveaways.)  But I’ve always been terribly afraid of doing a product review.  What if I don’t like it, what if the product sucks, what will I say, I can’t lie to my readers?!  See what I mean, sticky situation for sure.  So I’ve kind of avoided the whole review thing.

Until now.  A few weeks ago, Misikko contacted me about doing a product review (and giveaway) for them.  I resisted an instant reply of “sorry I can’t, I break out in hives at the thought of reviewing something I might not like” and decided to browse around their site a bit.  They have a TON of stuff, and I was surprised to see they carry my beloved Chi and my wishlisted Chi blow dryer.  I wasn’t super happy with my current straightening balm and had been feeling in a bit of a hair rut, so I poked around for something else to use.  Then something caught my eye.  The HANA Shine Shield Thermal Protectant.  It was listed as a customer favorite, and the reviews were out of this world amazing.  One girl said she’d never again use anything else and another said it was the best money she’d ever spent in her life.  Umm, ok, apparently this product has a cult following.  I was curious; I had to try it.  The people at Misikko also sent me a Corioliss Classic Pro Flat Iron to review.

Within two days of my order my goodies arrived.  Two points for prompt service.  I opened the box to find beautifully wrapped goodies and a few sample freebies.  Two more points for attention to detail.  But the real test would be using the product.

And oh my goodness, did Misikko ace the test!  The product, specifically the Shine Shield, was unreal.  Unreal as in omg-life-changing-to-my-hair!  I have never ever felt my hair so soft.  Seriously.  My hair is naturally curly and has endured years of smashing, straightening, pulling, tugging, and coloring like nobody’s business.  One time of using the Shine Shield was like undoing all those years of damage.  No joke.  I kept running my hands through my hair, thinking, “This is insane.  It’s so soft, so straight!  Those reviewers weren’t lying.”  I was sold on its softness for sure.  And after a night of club going in downtown Chicago, followed by crashing on a friend’s couch, I woke up with…straight hair.  No way.  Upon waking up, my hair is typically somewhere between frizzy, curly, and knotted.  But after using the Shine Shield 24 hours before, it was still pretty dang straight.  I was sold.  Right there.  On my friend’s couch.  Sold.

DSCN3360Here is me and my hair this morning of using both the Shine Shield and the Corioless.

I’ve used it several times since then with the same results.  Love, love, love.  I couldn’t be happier, and I seriously have not been this happy with a hair product since I discovered dry shampoo.  I’ve been really happy with the Corioless, though I can’t lie, I’m so caught up in the Shine Shield I can’t really focus clearly.  I’ve always been a Chi fan, but the Corioless have several features that the Chi doesn’t.  See below.


The power light is on the outside of iron.  The light on my Chi is on the inside, so I forget to turn it off all the dang time.  It also turns from red to green when its hot, unlike my Chi, which goes from flashing red to red (or red to flashing red, I’ve never figured it out.)  It also has grippers along the handle which made it a lot easier to maneuver.  It didn’t slide quite as easily through my hair as my Chi, but I think that is because its brand new and doesn’t have years of product buildup on it :)  After a few days of using it, I realized the tighter grip actually helped straighten my hair better.

So the verdict is in.  The HANA Shine Shield is out of this world amazing, and I’d like to order an endless supply today.  Not kidding.  The flat iron did its thing and gave me straight, straight hair.  And Misikko is a great little site that I clearly need to be ordering from more.

But, guess what?  You don’t have to take my word for it, because Misikko is giving you a chance to WIN these beloved goodies…woo hoo!  A review and a giveaway, I’m in blogger heaven.  (Did I mention the giveaway goodies are valued at $250?)  So…here’s how to win (and there are lots of ways!)

1. You must be a follower to of Smart and Sassy with Sprinkles to win.  (If you’re not already a follower, just become one, it’s easy!)  Leave a comment to enter.  Any comment will do :)

For additional entries…

2. Follow Misikko on Twitter (@misikko)

4. Blog about the giveaway on a personal website and leave me the link in a comment so I can check it out.

5. Join Misikko’s newsletter (3 extra entries)

4. “Like” Misikko on Facebook(

5. Interact with Misikko’s Facebook – Comment on a post or picture, or write on their wall.  Ask them a hair or beauty question if you like! (

Please leave a separate comment for each form of entry.  So if you comment for the first entry, follow them on Twitter, and “like” them on Facebook, you should leave three comments in total.

The giveaway closes Thursday, August 5, 2010 at 11:59 pm.  A winner will be announced later that weekend.  Oh, and the winner must live in either the US or Canada.

Happy commenting, good luck, and a special thanks for Misikko for this giveaway (and changing my hair life!) :)

*PS Misikko didn’t pay me to say these nice things.  I said them because I believe them :)

This Weekend, Today, Tomorrow…

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Hey there, lovelies!  I was holding off doing a Monday post, in hopes that I’d be able to share my latest giveaway with you today, but the email confirmation I was waiting on did not arrive today.  Boo.  That being said, check back later this week, because I’m hosting a giveaway (a woo hoo!)

But until then, here’s what’s up in my neck of the woods.  (And yes, we Texans really say “neck of the woods…”)

This weekend I…
Enjoyed a fabulous Friday of shopping and lunching on Michigan Avenue with my friend Lesley…
Showed serious restraint at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale…
Chatted over an impromptu and delicious dinner made by my friend and super chef Christie…
Marveled in the kindness of three Chicago strangers…
Started season 1 of Glee (what have I been missing?!)…

Today I…
Enjoyed a day off from “the store”…
Decided the cute, girlie, colorful stuff I purchased from the VS Pink line this weekend makes me a better freelance writer…
(If I’m going sit around write in tees and tanks all day, they might as well be cute!)…
Saw Inception with Matt…
Had no shame that I wore Uggs and an oversized sweater to the movies…
Asked myself ten times if I really got the movie I saw four hours ago…

Tomorrow I am…
Preparing for my little brother’s big visit on Wednesday (SO excited!)…
Working a short afternoon shift at the store…
Squeezing in a mani/pedi…
Deciding whether or not I liked Inception…
(I mean, I don’t know, was it really that mindblowing?  I can’t decide.  I think I’d rather watch Mean Girls…)
Going to tackle the mound of laundry that has spilled into my closet, bathroom, and shower…
(ok, the shower part is an exaggeration, but its almost that bad…)
And hopefully,  post my new giveaway :)

So that’s what’s new here.  What about you?  What have you been up to?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Great People

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“Really great people make you feel that you, too, can become great.” Mark Twain

Isn't that the truth?  Who are the great people your life?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

How I Organize and Store My Pretties (With a Quick and Easy DIY)

A few months ago, I showed you guys this quick and easy DIY headband storage system.  Since then, I’ve been dying to show you my jewelry organization system, but with our cross country move, I sort of put it on the backburner.  But now that we’re settled and moved in, backburner be gone! 

But before I get to the good stuff, let me tell you a few of my life mantras:

  1. Pretty things should be shown off.
  2. Ordinary things should be stored in pretty things.
  3. You’ll use things more if you can see them.
  4. Home organization should not cost a fortune, unless its Container Store Elfa shelving.  Then I’ll make an exception :)
  5. Have alot of jewelry.  Some of mine is vintage, some is fancy, some is plastic, some is blingy, and some is from Target.  It doesn’t matter where its from, just as long as you love it.

So with those rules in mind, here is how I organize, store, and show off my jewelry…

DSCN3326 This is the wall opposite the mirror in my bathroom.

DSCN3327 Here is one of the three ways I store earrings.  These are for earrings that have a hook back.  I’ll show you how to make this earring frame later in the post.  It’s super simple.

DSCN3330 These hooks are for my necklaces.  There are 3 different “fixtures” here, and I’ll show you each one individually.  I should also mention that every hook, container, and peg you see was purchased secondhand at a flea market, thrift store, or garage sale.  Their are two exceptions which I’ll point out when I show them.

DSCN3333 The top part of the necklace organization is some odd accordion hook thing I found for 50 cents at Goodwill.  I think its original purpose had something to do with laundry drying, though I’m not entirely certain.  It can be stretched or squeezed to almost any length you need, and I wanted mine so I could fit short necklaces on the top row without having them drape too far over the third row of pegs.  This was originally a yucky brown wood color which I spray painted white.

DSCN3332 The second part of the necklace wall is this long row of pegs, which my mom snagged for me at a garage sale for 25 cents.  The wood color was a honey color, so I sprayed it white to match the one above it.  I had originally wanted to hang one necklace per peg, but given my insane amount of jewelry, that idea quickly went out the window, and its been fine doubling and tripling up.

DSCN3335 The third and final part of the necklace storage were these 4 bumblebee hooks, which I found for $1 at a garage sale.  They were too cute to pass up, and I’m so glad I didn’t.  I just staggered them and screwed them into the wall.  Easy peasy.  Originally, I had planned to stop there, but I thought the whole thing looked a little too scattered.  So Matt had a great idea to border the whole thing with this oversized frame I got at a flea market for $1.  It really helped tie the whole thing together, though if you don’t have as many hooks as I do, I think you could skip this step.

DSCN3334 For me, this wall is function and beauty, a rare but fabulous combination!  PS: can I tell you how much I adore that little owl necklace towards the top right corner.  I got it at a market in London with my mom, and it instantly makes me happy when I wear it :)  Another perk of this wall is that I can see it while I’m putting my makeup on and drying my hair.  Therefore, I can think about what I’m wearing that day and what accessories I want to pair with it as I get ready.

DSCN3337 Here is the right side of my bathroom counter.  Like I said above, I believe in storing ordinary things in pretty containers, so my cotton balls and q-tips are stored in glass canisters, my bobby pins and cuticle scissors in a votive holder, and my makeup brushes in a glass beaker (like at the MAC store.)  All of these glass pretties came from Goodwill for under $2.  The ceramic fleur-de-lis holds my hair ties and was purchased from the clearance shelf at Steinmart.  The fleur-de-lis is my sorority’s symbol, so I love finding ways to incorporate it into my stuff.  And of course, I have to have a picture with my fabulous little brother :)

DSCN3340 My cocktail rings are in a vintage ice cream dish found at a flea market, and my “real” jewelry (aka wedding ring, Yurman, diamond studs from Matt, etc.) sits in this crystal ring holder which I picked up for $3 at a consignment show.  My Forever 21 flower bobby pins make a fun little bouquet in a 99 cent Goodwill votive holder.

DSCN3342Here is the left side of my bathroom counter.  My most worn bracelets sit on this velvet lined bracelet holder.  My mom snagged this for me at a garage sale, and I’ve never seen another one since, though my eyes are forever peeled for one.  As you can see, this one is getting a little full :)

DSCN3344 This silver earring frame is made just like the other one I showed you, but this one is for earrings with post backs.  It doesn’t hang on the wall, because you need easy access to the back of the frame to put the earrings on and off the holder.  If you don’t have a ton of earrings, you can totally put post back and hook back earrings on one frame, you just have to deal with a couple of falling hook back earrings every now and then.  The frame is actually plastic and is from the dollar store.

DSCN3343 I got this vintage ashtray from my grandma, though I’ve seen them countless times at thrift stores.  These are for earrings with loop backs.  You know, the ones that hook in and then close shut to form a complete oval.  (Who knew earring terminology was so advanced?)  These have to lay loose because the backs won’t close in the frames I have my other earrings on.  I stuck a candle in the middle, though I don’t light it too often.  I learned my lesson about that here :)

DSCN3345 Ever wonder what to do with all those extra buttons that come with sweaters, blazers, etc?  I place mine in this pretty glass container found at Goodwill.  Easy access when I buy the article of clothing, and easy access should I need the button.  I put this little heart from my mom around the top to make me smile every morning :)  And of course a picture with my bestie is tucked away in the corner!

Sooooo…I realize I have a lot of jewelry, and I realize this whole big thing may not be for everyone, but…perhaps you want to make your own mini version.  And since you’re interested…here’s a quick and easy (I swear its both) tutorial for the earring holders.  I’ve made them several times, and assure you, even the most craft challenged person can do it.  (I know this because I am the most craft challenged person on the planet!)

DSCN2523 Ok…here is what you need.  Frames of whatever shape and size you desire.  These are super cheap at Goodwill and you may even have some laying around your house.  You do NOT need the glass or a mat, so don’t bother paying for that.  And don’t worry about color either, they make paint for that :)  I started out with this leftover can of Gripper paint, but I later switched to spray paint.  I’m inpatient like that.  The key thing you’ll need to buy is the “netting.”  I don’t know what this stuff is really called, but it can be found at your local home improvement mega store in the screen door aisle.  It looks like a giant roll of graph paper, only made out of wire/metal.  They sell it by the roll, but if you’re lucky, you can find a roll that is already open and barter with the guys at the store who wonder what the hell you’re gonna do with it.  I got my already opened and half used roll for $2.  You’ll also need a glue gun, and if you’re working at your kitchen table like me,  you’ll need a dropcloth.  (Note:  this is NOT our table cloth, it is our ugly drop cloth.  Matt paints a lot and therefore ours has a lot of use.)

DSCN2529   Step 1 (which I failed to photograph): Paint the frame.  Step 2: Trace the frame opening onto the mesh/metal screen door stuff.  If your frame doesn’t have the back to it, no worries, just trace the opening to the frame.  When unsure, go a little bigger and trim down as necessary.

DSCN2531 Step 3: Push the mesh/metal screen door stuff into the backside of the frame.  Step 4 (which I did not photograph): Hot glue the shiz out of it.  Lol, I know there are crafty bloggers out there who will hate my directions, but its the best I’ve got.  You won’t see the back so don’t bother making it pretty.  Mine have gobs of glue all over the back and not a soul can tell :)

DSCN3350 Step 5: Hang the newly finished jewelry frame on the wall or leave it free standing like my silver one.  Whichever you prefer and whichever fits with the type of earrings you have.

DSCN3328 Step 6: Hang your favorite jewels from it and enjoy your fabulous pretties!

Seeee, SUPER easy!  If you’re not up for thrift store shopping or if want the instant gratification, you can always find hooks and pegs at Target, Walmart etc.  They’ll be a little more expensive but will also come with less work.

So…I know this was a long post (sorry!) but what do you think?  Anyone going to give it a try??  If you do, PLEASE let me know; I love to hear!  Even better, I’d love to see!  Send me a picture and maybe I’ll post it on my blog! 

How do you store your pretties?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Just Me and Sarah

Hey there lovelies!  How was everyone’s weekend?  I can’t lie, though we were slammed at “the store” today, I was in a haze for most of it, because my weekend was so great I was still on cloud 9!  Here’s a “quick” recap.  (Note that I say “quick” because seriously, when do I ever say anything quickly or concisely?) :)

DSCN3303Friday night we headed into the city to celebrate my dear friend Christie’s birthday.  She was out of town for her actual birthday, so she insisted “we weren’t actually celebrating her birthday,” but we totally were.  And while writing Christie’s birthday card, I realized that she and I have been friends for seventeen years!  Startling and slightly depressing to realize that I’m even old enough to have had a friend for that long :)

DSCN3302 Our men Matt.  It gets a little confusing with two Matts around, especially since they are both annoyingly hilarious and out of control charming.  Yes, charming is what I mean :)

DSCN3304 For dinner we hit up The Bristol, a fabulous little spot in Bucktown.  The food is insanely amazing and the cocktails follow suit.  Their signature cocktail is called the Moscow Mule and is served in these quaint copper mugs.  Christie and I adore them and are the hunt to find a reasonable set for ourselves.

DSCN3305 And because yall know I love a good food picture, feast your eyes upon this scrumptiousness.  A half chicken, mustard spatzle, and a crunchy salad.  Dee-lish (and completely fat free I’m sure!)  After dinner, we headed to Danny’s for a night of dancing.  The music was all reggae, and though that’s not usually my thing, I really enjoyed it!

DSCN3312 Saturday afternoon, after a yummy breakfast at Nookie's in Lincoln Park, Christie and I headed to Lilith Fair.  I am a huge fan of girlie, indie artists, and have literally been obsessed with Sarah McLachlan since I was in junior high.  When I found out Lilith was coming to Chicago, I about broke my ankle running to my computer to order tickets.  And luckily, I have a friend who understands and indulges my lifelong obsessions :)

DSCN3310Halfway through the concert, Christie and I discovered the secret to summer concerts.  Rainier cherries.  They’re off the chain amazing and the perfect summer treat.  (And for the record, I have no idea why I just typed “off the chain.”  Perhaps I’m still in my Sarah McLachlan induced haze.)

DSCN3315Though I was at Lilith mainly for my girl, Sarah McLach (we’re on a nickname basis) there were some really incredible performers earlier in the evening.  Heart, The Courtyard Hounds (aka the 2 sisters from the Dixie Chicks), and Mary J. Blige.  And can I just say that Mary J was insanely amazing.  I mean, insanely amazing.

DSCN3314 Here we are, waiting for Sarah to come on.  Quick random fact about me…whenever I am getting to know people, I like to ask really random questions that I am certain will help me see into the depths of their soul.  (Ok, maybe not the depths, but you know, at least the wading pool of their soul.)  Anyway…one of those questions is always this, “If you could see anyone, dead or alive, on a greatest hits tour, who would it be?  And because I appreciate complexity, I’ll allow a top three answer.  My top three include, Britney, Madonna, and of course, Sarah McLach.  So the moment that was about to take place in this picture was seriously a huge freaking deal and a lifelong anticipated event.

DSCN3320 So naturally this was the picture we snapped right as she came on stage.  Hahahhaha, insane excitement is not even the word!  And can I just say, Sarah McLachlan was unreal!  She was so beautiful, so authentic, and so so so amazing.  I shed a few tears during her first song because I was so overwhelmed and grateful to be able to hear and see her live.  Not to sound overdramatic, but it was one of those moments I’d dreamed about for a really, really long time, and it was unfolding right before my eyes.  It was truly unforgettable.  As I sang along to every single one of her songs, I leaned over to Christie and said, “I realize there are other people here, but I seriously feel like its just me and Sarah right now.  Just me and Sarah.”  Christie laughed and made me swear I’d make that quote my blog post title :)  But for realz, the night was amazing, and I’m so grateful I got the chance to go.  I’m already searching for her next solo show :)

And because I had someone nearby to snap a picture of me, here is a quick OOTD from Friday night as we were heading out to dinner.  Sorry for the blurry pic and random picture location :)




Top: Joie via Shopbop

Skinny jeans: J.Crew {similar here}

Tank: Target

Heels: Ann Taylor

Earrings: Forever 21

Bow bracelet: Ann Taylor {semi similar here}

Necklace: from my trip to Spain

Ring: David Yurman

Ok, so now I have to ask yall…“If you could see anyone, dead or alive, in a greatest hits tour, who would it be?  And of course, I’ll allow your top two or three answers if needed :)

Hope your weekend was great!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday Socks

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The past few weekends haven’t felt much like weekends since I’ve been working straight through them, but this weekend, I am getting a REAL weekend!  A woo hoo!  Matt and I are heading into the city tonight to celebrate Christie’s birthday.  She is one of my oldest and dearest friends and I can’t wait to celebrate her special day with dinner, drinks, and dancing.  Then tomorrow afternoon, she and I are spending the whole day at Lilith Fair.  I have wanted to go to this concert since I was in seventh grade, and I literally am giddy just thinking about tomorrow’s girlpower-fest.  Eeek!

So what are your weekend plans?  And more importantly, do they include wearing your Friday socks? :)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Summer Fashion Funk and an OOTD

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Today it hit me.  It has been creeping up for a while, but today, it officially hit me.  Hard.  The Summer Fashion Funk is here. 

You know what I’m talking about right?  The Summer Fashion Funk?  It’s the time every summer, usually around mid to late July, where everything in my closet starts to look…blah.  You know, a sort of “been there, worn that” type deal.  All my jersey dresses seem blah, my favorite boyfriend jeans seem so so, and my once loved summer dinner dresses feel overused and unattractive.  Nothing seems to look right, fit right, or tickle my fancy.  (Yeah, I said it.)  I feel mostly uninspired by my closet and fashionably, just plain blah.

I felt the Summer Funk starting to creep late last week.  I wanted to dart to the mall and run into the stores, screaming “Help, the Funk is here, it’s got me!  Help, save me!”  But since I had to work all weekend, my “save me” mission was temporarily put on hold.  Monday brought a day off and a major case of the Funk.  I thought about heading to the mall for a please-save-me mission, but then realized Matt would see the credit card statement, and I’d soon be heading to the bank for an oops-I-didn’t-mean-to-please-just-erase-those-purchases mission.  I wrested all Monday with a spend free way to fight the Funk only to come up empty handed.

Tuesday morning, I woke up with the shakes.  Dang you Summer Funk.  But, thanks to a post from the fabulous Chloe, I was alerted to a summer sale at Shopbop.  Normally, this would intensify the Funk, but it made me remember that I had a gift card via a La Mia Vita giveaway.  (Thanks Nicole!)  So, I temporarily beat the Funk with this fabulous Marc by Marc Jacobs pouch and this Joie top.  Score.

This satisfied me for a bit, but today, I’m deep in the Funk.  I’m desperately trying to not buy another anything for summer.  Living in Texas, I usually didn’t fight the Summer Funk until mid August, but I know fall in Chicago is approaching, and I’m pretty unprepared, closetwise.  Plus I’ve seen the stuff we’re getting for fall at “the store” and I know I’ll break the bank there.  Uber-cute.

So for now, I’m just sitting here, dazed, confused, and totally in the Funk.  Am I crazy or do you guys experience the Summer Fashion Funk?  Other than going on a crazed shopping spree (or any shopping spree at all) what are your remedies to beat this shiz.  I’m all ears :)

Oh, and if you want to know what I look like during the Funk, here’s a quick outfit from Tuesday.  See what I mean, blah, blah, and…blah.



Dress: Banana Republic (also seen here)

Tissue Sweater: Banana Republic

Sandals: Nordstrom  (I actually traded between these and heels all day.  Long days at “the store” mean multiple pairs of shoes.)

Belt: Steinmart (from a bazillion years ago)

Earrings: Target

Bracelet: vintage (it was my great aunt Bunny’s)

Not that exciting, I know, but peeps, I’m in the midst of the Funk!  What’s a girl to do?

So tell me…are you feeling the Funk? 

Monday, July 12, 2010

Better Late Than Never

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Hello there.  Me here.  Just super late in blogging, because I have not quite figured out how to adapt to this new schedule of working retail, freelance writing, 4:30 am workouts, and an imaginary earlier bedtime.

This weekend consisted of…
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday shifts at “the store,”
a delicious home grilled dinner,
an intense game of Trivial Pursuit in which I eeked out a win over my movie and history buff husband,
Saturday night smores over the grill,
Sunday night smores over the grill (they were so good, we couldn’t help it!)
a bad Netflix rental,
an afternoon bout of homesickness,
a long phone chat with bff,
insane giddyness that my little brother is coming to visit in two weeks (eek!)
writing, writing, and writing,
a quick visit from our city dwelling friends,
and a lovely dinner with Matt at a tiny, local Thai restaurant.

Oh, yes, I almost forgot.
This weekend also included an hour and a half church service where the zipper on my skirt was down.
Down as in unzipped a good six inches down my backside.
I looked like a crack bearing hussy at church.
For an hour and half.
And no one told me.

How was your weekend?  Please tell me I wasn’t the only one flashing people at church? :)

*I also wanted to thank all of you for your comments on my last post.  It seems that lots of us struggle with fear.  Let’s make a pact that from we’ll kick fear in the backside.  And hopefully, fear has it’s skirt unknowingly and embarrassingly unzipped in front of hundreds of people so we can laugh out loud as we kick it goodbye :)

Thursday, July 8, 2010


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I am loving this quote so much this week, because its just so dang true.  Since the day in February when we found out we were moving to Chicago, I have been on a furious job hunt.  I was determined to find a fabulous job in our fabulous new city.  Fast forward four months, and all I’ve got is a big old pile of no’s, “you’re overqualified,” and “we’re not hiring.”  I have an even bigger pile of just never heard a word back.  Its been disheartening, frustrating, and downright confidence shaking.  Because I haven’t finished my Ph.D yet, I can’t really get the job I’ve been going to school for for the last billion years.  So I’ve paced, waited, complained, cried, and all about given up over finding a job, much less a job I actually enjoyed. 

A week before we moved, I got a call from the retail store where I’m currently working.  They loved my application and wanted to know when I could interview in person.  We pulled into Chicago with our U-Haul on Sunday, I interviewed Tuesday, and started work Thursday.  As much as I love the store, they can only take part time associates at the moment, which means I have to stay under 20 hours a week.  Boo.  A double boo because it leaves me absolutely no money to use the fabulously fat discount I get.

But through my bouts of doubt, stress, and frustration, I perused jobs online and continued to apply.  Still, I got more no’s, no thank you’s, and “we’ll call you.”  So last Monday, after a lovely trip to the zoo, I decided I was in good enough spirits to look at jobs for a bit.  I found something interesting online, and though the details were sparse, it sounded pretty cool.  A freelance writer for an editorial company who works on college textbooks, particularly ones in my area of study.  And to make the deal even sweeter, the pay was good.  I thought about it, mentioned it to Matt, then closed my computer realizing sending in my resume would mean hearing another rejection.  I couldn’t do it; I could not fail or be rejected again.  I just couldn’t.  So I sat on it for a few days, until Matt gently encouraged me to just send in my resume, stating I’d be “perfect for the job.”  (That’s what we’d said about the other 845 jobs I’d applied for.)  So, I begrudgingly sent in my resume at 10:45 that night fearing yet another rejection.  When I opened my computer at 9:00 am the next morning, I had a response.  I interviewed a few days later, and Tuesday, I found out…I got the job.

The job is great, though different than what I had in my “perfect little plan” (aka the plan that never works out, and thankfully, because God’s plan is SO much better.)  It pays well, its flexible, and it involves doing something I really love, writing.  But you know what?  I almost didn’t apply for this job.  I almost didn’t send in my resume.  Not because the job didn’t sound fantastic, not because I didn’t want it, but because I was afraid.  Afraid of failure.

So today, I am realizing how powerful the fear of failure can be.  It keeps us from pursuing our dreams, following our passions, and taking risks that may lead to great things.  Today, I am realizing that I almost let my fear of failure keep me down.  And today, I am vowing to push through my fears in the future, no matter how scary they may be.

What is the fear of failure keeping you from doing?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Taste the Taste and an OOTD

Last week in an attempt to squeeze in as many fun daytime activities before Matt started his new job, we headed to the Taste of Chicago.  The Taste is one of the world’s largest food festivals, held downtown the week before the 4th of July.  We’d heard tons of people talk about how awesome the Taste was, so we thought we’d head in to the city to see what all the hoopla was about. 

DSCN3215Our friends, Matt and Christie, still hadn’t been after living in the city for three years, so we persuaded them to join us for the fun :)

DSCN3222 We had heard enough reviews of the event to know that going on a weekend was out of the question.  So, we went on a Tuesday, and though it wasn’t unbearable, it was fairly crowded.  And the food?  Ehhh, not so impressed.  I don’t know why, but I was expecting a bit more class or culture or something at the event.  I thought it would be more of a “foodie’s delight.”  Buuut in the end, it was really just like a state fair, greasy food, overpriced, and not so great.  It actually reminded me a lot of our State Fair trip in October, though on that occasion, I went prepared and looking forward to the greasy goodness :)

DSCN3223 One food that did not disappoint?  Elote.  Yum, yum, yum.  Matt and I loved it so much we created our own version for our 4th of July bbq, only we kept ours on the cob.  Seriously, so stinking good!  We used a recipe similar to this one.  Warning though, its pretty spicy!

DSCN3226 After stuffing ourselves silly, we walked around for a bit and stopped to pose for pictures in front of Buckingham Fountain.  This is one of my favorite spots in all of Chicago, and I want to go back once the Taste is over to enjoy its beauty, sans the smell of grease and cheap beer.

DSCN3216 A few hours after we arrived, we left with full stomachs and empty wallets.  Though the Taste wasn’t quite what I expected, I’m glad we went.  We don’t know how long we’ll be living in the Windy City, so we are trying to take advantage of all the sights while we can!  (By the way, thanks to our friend Matty B for this photo idea!)

DSCN3240 I also thought I’d share this quick OOTD picture with you.  It’s actually from working a shift at “the store”  this past weekend.  (Yes, I’m still being semi-secretive about the store I work at so this blog doesn’t turn into a shameless promotional tool.)  Its a terrible and blurry pic, and I highly recommend you all email my OOTD photographer to tell him he is slacking on his job :)

Top: Ann Taylor {in other colors here}

Cardigan: Ann Taylor

Skirt: Banana Republic

Shoes: Gianni Bini

Belt: Anthropologie {similar here}

Bracelet: vintage {it was my great Aunt Bunny’s}

Earrings: my wedding day gift from Matt

Ring: David Yurman

I saw this top at Ann Taylor in April and was lucky enough to snag it during one of their 40% off sales.  Flowers, ruffles, flowy fabric…I adore it’s over the top girliness!  So imagine my delight (and my wallet’s dismay) to see that Ann Taylor brought it back in two new colors this summer.  I love love love the cream and am doing every thing I can not to buy it as well.  Willpower, don’t fail me now!

That’s all for now, hope your Tuesday is fabulous :)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Reasons I Am Loving Summer and a Giveaway Winner

tumblr_kydj6cEXit1qzyw65o1_500_large{we heart it}

Impromptu picnics with Matt…
Fresh fruit, particularly crunchy red grapes…
Great Chicago weather…
Maxi dresses and tissue cardigans…
Leaving our patio door open all hours of the day…
Late nights with friends…
Not having to take summer classes for the first time in a bazillion years…
Experimenting with fun summer recipes on our new grill…
Sno cones… 
My new summer work out routine…
Pink nails…
Evening walks around our new neighborhood pointing out dream houses…
and summertime visits from friends on vacation.

DSCN3235 Matt and I on a picnic last week at a park just across from our house.  We have a traditional picnic basket, and I always feel so delightfully old fashioned carrying it across the park :)

DSCN3248-1 We’ve only been in Chicago for six weeks and I can already tell the best part is the visitors.  Lots of people come to Chicago to see family, attend conferences, take a quick vacation, etc, and we have been so lucky to see a number of special people during our short time here.  Today, we were so blessed because Jenny, my friend and previous boss in Texas, and her husband were in the Chicago area visiting family.  We got to meet them for lunch, and it was SO good to see them.  I am already counting down till September when I’ll be back in Texas and can see her again :)

And I know I am ridiculously late in announcing the $40 CSN Stores gift card giveaway winner (the weekend completely got away from me) but the winner is…Tamara Nicole!  Congrats girl; send me an email, and I’ll pass on all the info you need to get your goodies.  Thanks to all who entered and to CSN stores for sponsoring.

So what about you…what are your reasons for loving summer?  I’d love to hear!