Thursday, May 31, 2012

Insta-Memorial Day

I realize Memorial Day weekend has come and gone, yet I couldn't let it pass without posting a few highlights from the weekend.  Our dear friend Miguel was in town from Texas, so we made a point to get out a do a few "Chicago-y" things, mixed in with some everyday stuff.  I managed to pull out Cameron a few times, and I promise to post those pictures at some point, but until then, here's an insta-peek into our long weekend...

May 30 2012*Weekend outfit: chambray + mint...yes please!  Thrifted chambray button up, Loft mint denim {here}.
*Loved all the neon throws at Design Within Reach

May 30 20121*We stumbled upon the sweetest church on Michigan Avenue...big windows, stone walls, and a sunshine filled courtyard.  They had a fantastic artist's work on display, so we snuck in to take a peek.  Such a sweet spot amidst the hustle and bustle of the Magnificant Mile.
*You can't have visitors and not take them to Portillos!  It was Miguel's first stop after landing at O'Hare, and if you're ever in Chicago, it's a must eat! 

IMG 0633*Soaking up Friday's perfect weather with an iced carmel macchiato in Millennium Park.

May 30 20122*Loving my new bright pink lipstick, MAC "Impassioned," a perfect update for summer.
*I am loving the return of denim jackets!  I snagged mine last year from the Levi's store, but I spotted this one at Topshop and texted my brother that he needed to get one.  He didn't quite see eye to eye on the denim jacket trend, but I know once he gets back from his trip to Europe, he'll see that his sister knows her style stuff :) 

May 30 20123*We took advantage of the beautiful weather and walked down by the water.  It was so pretty and peaceful, proof that water never fails to soothe my soul.
*Kisses for Matt :) 

IMG 0638*This might be the most incredible instagram picture I've ever snapped.  It's no secret I'm obsessed with Buckingham Fountain, and this picture captures everything magical about my favorite Chicago treasure.

May 30 20124*Jalapeno-cucumber margarita at Barrio, one of our favorite spots for casual dinner and drinks.
*We rode the Tropicana train!  Quite festive and very yellow. 

IMG 0645*We spent Saturday at the zoo, enjoying the weather and time with friends.  The sunshine also gave me an excuse to break out my favorite hat, hooray :)

I couldn't post about Memorial Day without acknowledging all the men and women who have given so much, so that we may lead the full and blessed lives we do.  One day doesn't suffice to show our gratitude.  Hopefully I'll have some time to blog over the weekend, but until then, have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Crosstown Classic

This past weekend, we were lucky enough to score tickets to the famous Crosstown Classic, the baseball showdown between Chicago's beloved teams, the Cubs and the White Sox.  My friend Kathy called Saturday afternoon while we were at the grocery store and told us she had four last minute tickets to the game.  She could barely get the words out before I said, "Of course we'll take them!"  Matt and I quickly stopped our heated debate over peanut butter and headed home to change :)  PS: Kathy and her husband are the same fabulous people who gave us Blackhawks tickets shortly after we moved to Chicago (see that post here).  Do I have super awesome friends or what?

5190784The weather was absolutely perfect.  Literally, we could not have asked for a more beautiful evening.  Our seats were amazing, and thankfully we got there just before the first pitch was thrown.

5190789I'm so grateful Matt and I get to have so many cool Chicago adventures together.  We've only been in this city for two years, and it really does feel like home already.

5190787It's not a baseball game without beer, right?  Unfortunately, I am not a beer drinker, though on occasions like this, I always wish I was, so I could get in the game day spirit a bit more!

5190788Even though I'm not a beer drinker, I'm pretty sure the guys made up for it ;)

5190790Wrigley Field, a totally unique baseball experience.  No jumbo tron, no fifth deck, no dot races.  Just baseball.

5190785Our friends Benge and Gisele were able to come along, and since they'll be leaving the Windy City soon, it was fun to share such an iconic Chicago experience with them.

5190800I cannot go to a baseball game without getting a soft pretzal!  I have a similar rule with cotton candy, though clearly the people at Wrigley didn't get the message, as there was no cotton candy in sight!  I'm gonna have to talk to "my people" about that :)

5190802Go Cubbies!

5190805Looking at this picture makes me realize I definitely should have sized down in this gingham button up.  Ick.  Too much fabric.

P5190811At this point the score was 7-0 White Sox, so we turned our attention away from the game and began our lookout for Hillary Clinton, who was rumored to be at the game.  Shortly after, she leaned over the railing of one of the boxes above us, giving the crowd a nice big wave.  Near the end of the game, her boss flew over the field in Marine One, and I may or may not have waived and yelled, "Obama, I love you!"  (If you're wondering why so many big wigs were in town this weekend, NATO was happening in Chicago, so the city was a bit crazy.)

5190810Hooray for a night at the stadium!  Though our team didn't come out on top, we still had an absolute blast!  A huge thanks to Kathy and Mike for the tickets; we are forever grateful for all the fun you gave us!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Embracing Ombre

If you follow me on Facebook, you've already seen a few of these photos, but for those of you who haven't seen my new 'do, I thought I'd post a few pictures.  My hair color has been in constant flux for most of my life.  I started adding blonde highlights to my hair when I was a sophomore in high school and just kept adding until my second year in graduate school, at which point I was almost completely blonde.  Then I went for a drastic change and went super dark.  I liked it for a little bit, but once Matt and I got engaged, I migrated back towards blonde, as I always saw myself being a blonde bride.  I kept up with that color until this past year when I decided to tone down the blonde a bit, in favor of a more honey/caramel tone.  Then when internship started, I got crazy busy and didn't want to spend my precious weekends with Matt sitting in the salon chair.  So my roots grew out a bit.  And while it took some getting used to in the beginning, the more they grew out, the less they bothered me.  The ombre trend was big anyway, so I embraced it.  Prior to this year, the longest I'd gone between colors was three months, and I remember that being a major stretch for me.  But this time, I went eight months between color.  Eight months!  

So when I plopped down in my stylist's chair a few weekends ago, she couldn't believe that I had gone so long without color.  She assumed I'd gotten a touch up or two in my internship city, and she was shocked at how well the ombre worked for me.   So we decided to  keep the ombre, with a just a bit of warming up at my roots.  And I have to say, I really like the overall look.  Trend or no trend, I think the ombre is here to stay for me!

IMG 0569My lovely before picture.  PS: I should also note that I hadn't had a trim in over a year!  I know that's terrible, but once I stopped straightening my hair everyday, in favor of loose curls, the ends weren't nearly as noticeable.  Even my stylist was surprised it had been so long!

IMG 0575The midway point...always a glamourous look :)  As you can see in this photo, my stylist left most of my ends alone, to preserve the lighter, blonder highlights, working mostly on the roots.

IMG 0576The finished product!  I love that we kept the ombre, warming up my roots a bit and leaving the ends alone.  And of course, a good trim didn't hurt either :)

IMG 0578One of my favorite things about embracing ombre is the lower maintainance.  It's certainly not the main reason I'm embracing the multi-tone, but it's not a bad perk.  I spend less time and a lot less money at the salon, and overall, I think it's a much healthier look for me.  What do you think?  Are you loving the ombre?

PS: While we're on the subject of hair, don't forget to enter my Misikko giveaway!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Cinco de Mayo

Last weekend, we spent Cinco de Mayo with two of our good friends, Benge and Gisele.  We opted to spend the evening grilling out rather than packed into a popular Mexican restaurant, and the choice couldn't have been better.  I wish I would've had my camera out a bit more, but I managed to snap a few pictures here and there...

5050757When it comes to sunnies, we clearly believe that bigger is better :)

5050753We managed to snag prime grilling real estate, right along the water.

5050754Aww, these two love each long as they're not playing Settlers of Cattan :)
PS: Has anyone else ever played that game?  Benge and Gisele introduced us a few months ago, and we've been hooked ever since! 

P5050751It's not Cinco de Mayo without guacamole.

5050759Sans sunnies.  Unfortunatley about ten minutes after this picture, we were forced to bundle up in hoodies and sweatshirts, proof Midwest weather can't ever make up its mind!

How did you celebrate Cinco de Mayo?  If you posted about it, link below, so I can pop over and check it out!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Misikko Review and GIVEAWAY


Several months ago, the beauty experts at Misikko, sent over a Hanaair Professional Hair Dryer, one of the top selling products from their Hana Salon.  The people at Misikko sell all things beauty, from hair dryers to curling irons, and I've been lucky to test (and love) several of their products.  I've had my eye on a fancypants hair dryer for a while, but couldn't quite fit the cost into my "why in the world did I ever decide to get a Ph.D" budget.  So I considered it quite serendipitous when they contacted me to review their premiere hair dryer.

I filmed an upboxing video several months ago when I first received the product (see that video here), but rather than review it right away, I decided to use it for a while before I gave it a full review.  Three months have passed, and my final verdict is in.  It is simply amazing.  No joke.  Amazing.  And rather than write a rambling review about it, (cause yall know I can ramble), I decided to list what I love most.


1. It signicantly reduces drying time.  You probably expected this one, and in reality, it's one of the things I love most about the dryer.  I have insanely thick hair, and if I want to go from shower to completely dry hair, I usually spend about 45 minutes with a hair dryer.  But not now.  My drying time has been cut in half, which gives me more time for morning snoozing.  A win win for me.

2. The hair dryer doesn't get that hot.  I've tried several fancypants hair dryers before, and everytime, I felt the need to keep a fire extinguisher neaby.  The air and the hair dryer itself would get so hot, I could literally feel my hair burning.  But not the Hanaair.  The hot setting in totally manageable, which makes for more pleasant primp sessions and much healthier hair!

3. The settings are simple.  Easy to read switches give me options without feeling overwhelmed.  2 fan speeds, 3 heat settings, and a cold shot.  Sweet and simple, just how I like it.

4. My hair stays straighter for longer between washes.  It's no secret, I've shared before that I only wash my hair twice a week (with the help of dry shampoo.)  It used to be that after I slept on my "day 1 hair," I would wake up with a frizzy mess.  But not anymore.  It's as if the hair dryer completely dries my hair, rather than just drying the outer layers.  It's amazing.

Those things said, I think Matt reviewed the hair dryer best when he said, "You don't know how awesome it is until you use it and then go back to your old dryer."  You see, Matt didn't really see the point in a fancy hair dryer, so he kind of thought I will silly for getting all excited.  So when I packed the hair dryer with me to take on internship, he quickly noted  the difference.  And I have to agree; the difference is impressive.

So if you're in the market for a new hair dryer, wanting something to help cut down your morning dry time, or looking for a way to boost the health of your hair, I'd definitely look into the Hanaair Hair Dryer.  The difference is definitely noticable!  PS: the dryer is super on sale right now, so if you're thinking about buying it, now is an awesome time to scoop it up!

And because the beauty team at Misikko is so incredible, they're offering to give away another Hana miracle product...the Shine Shield.  I've raved about this product before, and I still swear by it.   To be entered to win a 6 oz. bottle of the Shine Shield (an almost $50 value!), click on this link and sign up for the Misikko newsletter.  That's it.  No tweeting, no Facebook following, no extra entries.  Just sign up for the newsletter and leave a comment telling me you did so.  Please include your email address in the comment, so that I can verify you're on the newsletter email list.  The giveaway will close on Tuesday, May 22 at 11:59 pm and is open to US residents only.

A special thanks for Misikko for my fabulous new hair dryer and for offering the Shine Shield to one lucky Smart and Sassy with Sprinkles reader!

PS: Curious about my hair routine?  You can read more about in this post.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


As promised earlier in the week, here are a few more birthday weekend snaps...

Apr 11 20121. I started my birthday off right with a trip to the gym.  (Are you impressed I'm semi-sticking to my refocus?  Me too lol!)  When I checked in at the desk, it must have alerted the guy that it was my birthday.  After he said "Happy birthday," he asked, "How old are you?"  When I answered, he looked horrified, saying "No offense, but I don't think you look that old!"  I chose to take that as a compliment :)
2. Birthday manicure: pink on pink!
3. Birthday cake Oreos (aka the best invention on the planet!)
4. Oreo birthday cake, made by my sweet husband.  That cake was the epitome of so good, yet so bad.  I could literally feel my bloodstream freaking out from all the sugar lol. 

Apr 19 20125. Navy Pier Ferris wheel.  (See the rest of the trip here.)
6. An unexpected drop in temperatures had me cringing at the thought of pulling my coat back out.  Naturally, I reached for my favorite vest instead :)
7. Mr. Cool himself.
8. Now or never, here we go... 

Apr 19 201219. It was worth it; we got a fabulous view of Chicago.
10. Cute parents + sunnies.
11. I totally thought I lost these sunglasses, but my sweet dad found them in the trunk of my car.  Birthday karma!
12. Lunch in Chinatown.  PS: I highly recommend Lao Sze Chuan!  Though if you're not one for spicy foods, beware of what you order :)  

Apr 19 20122 00113. Birthday cheers at one of my favorite tapas restaurants, Meson Sabika.
14. Sibling love.
15. Birthdays always make me smile, as Matt and I's dating sparks started over a birthday :)
16. This year my wish felt extra special, though my lips are definitely sealed! 

Apr 29 2012 00117. Sunday was nice and sunny, making the Chicago springtime tulips look their very best.
18. With the sun, came a lot of patio time.  It was so peaceful to float between the patio and the living room just laughing and chatting with my family.
19. My dad is literally obsessed with popcorn, especially the Chicago mix (carmel+cheese).  Every time he comes to Chicago or I go to Texas, it's expected that Chicago mix popcorn will be exchanged :)
20. Though I was sad to see my family leave, the celebrations continued into the next week with my intern friends.  My friend Christa cooked up a fabulous meal, complete with a longtime nickname shout out!  I answer to "Neebs," a childhood-college nickname, almost as easily as I answer to "Allison."

So there you have celebrations welcoming year 28.  And if this birthday was any indication, it's going to be a really fabulous year!  Thanks to all of you who sent birthday wishes my way; I really appreciate it!  Happy weekend!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Spirit{via pinterest}

It's May 1st, and for some reason, I am overcome by a feeling of total rejuvenation.  May has brought a renewed sense of commitment and dedication to getting things done and doing them right.  I suddenly feel inspired to clean out my closet, cook at home, drink more water, and call old friends.  I feel excited to stop collecting stuff that I don't need, spending money I don't have, and then feeling guilty when it's all said and done.  I'm ready to plan for the summer, organize picnics with friends, and be intentional about how I am going to spend my month off.  I'm looking forward to wrapping up internship, walking across the stage as "Doctor Allison," and living back with Matt during the week.  I'm suddenly bursting with energy and inspiration, ready to face some of things I've been avoiding for some time.  I'm not sure what it is about May 1st, but there's definitely something different.  And I'm ready as hell to run with it, take chances, get moving, and embrace all that life has to offer.

So cheers to you, May 1st.  I think you're just what I needed.