Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I Did It!

Mountain{via pinterest}

Hello dear friends, sorry for the blog silence the past two weeks.  It's been a little crazy around here, but crazy in a good way...as I finally completed my Ph.D!  Yes, you read that right; I finally completed my Ph. freaking D.  Last Friday, I turned in my keys, gave a thorough round of hugs, and said goodbye to my year-long internship, completing the very last step in the six year process that has been this insane degree.  It's been a crazy whirlwind of emotions, and to be honest, I've had a hard time wrapping my brain around it.  I'm overwhelmed, I'm relieved, and I'm insanely grateful.  I'm nostalgic, I'm proud, but more than anything, I'm in shock.  Shock that after so long, and after so much energy, sweat, and tears (yes, lots of tears!), I finally did it.  It feels like I should have all these grand reflections and words of wisdom.  But at the moment, my thoughts and emotions still feel pretty jumbled.  I imagine that as graduation nears closer, I'll be able to better organize my thoughts, so until then, I'll just give a resounding, "I did it!"

I'll be back later in the week with some celebration pictures, as well as a few pictures of what I've been up to lately.  PS: A big thanks to all of you who commented and shared happy wishes when I shared the news last week on Facebook.  Yall sure know how to make a new doctor feel special :)  Cheers to a happy week!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Have a Garage Sale, Get an iPad

IMG 0771

If you follow me on Facebook, you've probably already heard the news, but I can't contain my excitement over this weekend's purchase...an iPad, eeek!  Matt and I have been thinking about getting one, but I didn't quite see the point or need for either of us at the time.  (Ok, let me reframe that...an iPad is never a need; it's a luxury.  I work hard not to use "need" and "want" interchangeably; it gets me trouble.)  Anyway, after some discussions and some star aligning (a successful garage sale + an early graduation gift from Matt), this little dude was mine.  I'm pretty excited about it, particularly given my legit Chicago commute next year.  I'm really pushing myself to learn how to really use it, rather than just poke around on a few apps.  So I need some help from all you iPad users...what are you favorite apps, tips, and tricks for the iPad?  So far, my favorite apps include Pulse, FeeddlerRSS, Instagram (duh), the Kindle app (which allows Matt and I to share books), iJewels, Lose It, and the AT&T U-verse app (which lets me tap into most of our cable plan from almost anywhere).  

IMG 0772

Also, for those that are curious about our garage sale, I am finishing up internship this week and moving back to Chicago.  Which means I had a ton of stuff to sell.  So rather than take the simple route and donate it all, I put in a bit of extra work and had a garage sale.  And I covered 3/4 of my iPad purchase with the profits.  Not bad, right? Proof that a little junk can go a long way!

Ok, so spill your iPad secrets and then go plan a garage sale :)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Homemade Happy Hour

Last week, I was off work for most of the week (trying to use up the rest of my vacation/sick time before I finish internship), and I texted my friend Kathy to see if she and her husband wanted to get together with Matt and me at some point.  I was excited when she suggested happy hour, but when she suggested happy hour on their back deck, I was extra excited!  They have a gorgeous backyard, and with a sudden dip in the temperature, it was the perfect way to spend a Saturday evening.  Here are a few pictures from the night, including my outfit, which I must admit, I was pretty in love with :)

IMG 0751I snagged this floral caftan from Gap Body last week during their 40% off sale items.  On the hanger, the caftan was oversized, shapeless, and a bit see through (hence being a caftan).  But something about it spoke to me!  So I grabbed it and tried it on in the fitting room.  Once I got it on, I realized it wasn't see through when you put it close to your body, and I also realized that belted, it had a super cute and unique shape.  And the floral print...hello summer!  Perfect proof that you never know how things will wear.  If you like something but aren't sure how it will work, try it on!

Caftan: Gap Body {on sale here}
Leopard scarf, worn as a belt: thrifted
Fedora: Target (old)
Earrings: a honeymoon gift from my mom
Nails: Orly "Gumdrop" 

IMG 0754Kathy's husband, Chuck, made the most incredible margaritas.  Fresh, light, and perfectly cool for our happy hour on the deck!

IMG 0755We also snacked on a super fresh shrimp and crab appetizer.  I had to keep myself from hoarding the shrimp, because they were so good!  I have literally thought about this appetizer two or three times since Saturday.  Perhaps I need to get out more :)

IMG 0756Love me some sassy Kathy!

IMG 0759After we said our goodbyes, Matt and I headed to the park near our house to spread out our picnic blanket and relax.  And we may have taken a red cup or two with us to continue the homemade happy hour :)  As I looked up, this was the pretty view I got.  Much appreciated after the crazy heatwave Chicago had last week!

IMG 0758A better shot of Orly's "Gumdrop," a great summer color.  Not too minty, not too bright, I really like it.  And I must say, I have been crazy impressed with how long Orly polish lasts.  I've been wearing an Orly neon pink on my toes, and they are looking pretty good after a decent amount of time.

IMG 0752And because I am so proud of my creative shopping/styling, I'm finishing this post with another outfit shot.  Do you ever have outfits that you just feel great in and look forward to wearing over and over again?  This is just one of those outfits for me!

Thanks Kathy and Chuck for hosting us; I've decided homemade happy hours should be an official summer tradition!

Saturday, July 7, 2012


Moments{via pinterest}

Sometimes there are moments where I find myself overwhelmed by warmth and love, wrapped in gratefulness for the blessings around me.  This morning, is one of those mornings, one of those moments.  As I sit in our living room, sipping coffee, readings blogs, and vaguely listening to the documentary Matt is watching, I can't help but think how blessed I am.  So many people go without, and yet I need for nothing.  So often I get caught up in what I don't have, what I want to buy, and what I think would make me happier.  But sometimes, I love remembering that I have everything I need, right here, right now, right around me.

Cheers to a fabulous weekend of small moments and bursting gratitude.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Allerton Park

A few weeks ago, we had a work retreat at Allerton Park.  Prior to the retreat, I hadn't heard of Allerton, and the description of "beautiful and woodsy" by my boss didn't exactly sell me.  But as we drove through Midwest backroads for a few hours, I became more hopeful.  And when drove up, the four of us let out a collective, "Oh my goodness, this place is gorgeous!"  Located in Monticello, Illinois, Allerton offers more than 1,500 acres of formal gardens, hiking trails, outdoor sculptures, and a breathtaking century old Georgian-style mansion.  Though I chuckled a bit when I read it was on the "Seven Wonders of Illinois" list, (honestly, who knew there was such a thing?), I can't argue with how beautiful it was!

Thankfully, the tone of the retreat was super-laid back, as it was intended for the interns to have a chance to relax and reflect on our crazy year together.  We spent a few hours in seminars/meetings, and the rest of our time exploring Allerton's beautiful, laughing with each other, and noting how grateful we are to have had each other this year.  I forgot to bring my camera, but thankfully I had my iPhone to capture most of the moments...

IMG 0664Driving up to Allerton, we were greeted by this gorgeous entrance.  Tall trees, stone pillars, and a tucked away gazebo.  Suddenly, my boss' descsription of "beautiful and woodsy" didn't seem so bad :)

Jun 23 20124The main house boasted grand staircases, hardwood floors, originals rugs and furniture, and tons of natural light.  Rooms were scattered throughout the mansion, and as we went exploring to find our rooms, we couldn't help but compare the long hallways to the hotel from the Shining.  Thankfully, we didn't see any tricycles or big wheels laying around :)

IMG 0674We spent most of our meeting time in the library, which was floor to ceiling old books.  Something about floor to ceiling books is super delightful to me.  I guess it appeals to my inner nerd :)

Jun 23 20125All smiles and ready to explore.  First stop, Allerton's amazing koi pond.  I have literally never seen such huge koi!

IMG 0668Remember my summer bucket list item about embracing shorts?  Here is living proof that I am checking that item off big time!  (I have had multiple friends comment on how they've ever seen me in shorts till this summer, and I must admit, I'm quickly getting over my shorts phobia!)

Button up: LOFT
Shorts: Gap {available here}
Sequin tank: Talbots
Sandals: Target
Sunnies: Nordstrom BP
Earrings, Necklace: M2 Boutique
Cuff: Ann Taylor
Ring: David Yurman 

Jun 23 20126We spent most of our time after dinner exploring the grounds and seeing all of the beautiful sculptures.  There was a ton to see!

IMG 0682We went back to explore the gazebo we saw when we drove in.  We climbed to the top and were in awe of this incredible view!  Who knew these things existed in the middle of nowhere Illinois?

Jun 23 20127More gazebo view photos and some Spiceworld photo action :)

IMG 0676The organizers of the retreat said to dress "comfy and casual."  Coral, mint, and gold sequins is as casual and comfy as I get :)

Jun 23 20128More gardens, sunlight, and hidden nooks.

Jun 23 20129We snuck in a few drinks to the retreat and enjoyed a "cheers" while walking around after the day's meetings.  Such rebels :)

IMG 0692Day 2 "comfy and casual" outfit, which caused another girl at the retreat to ask me why I was "so dressed up."  I'm always curious why people don't realize that it takes just as much effort to pull on a maxi skirt and a button up as it does denim shorts and a t-shirt.

Jersey maxi skirt: Forever 21
Chambray shirt: Target boys section
Turquoise earrings: a birthday present from my parents
Sandals: Rampage, Macys
Sunnies: Nordstrom BP 

Jun 23 201210Christine and Alex posing at Allerton's famous wedding backdrop.  With cooler temperatures, Allerton would be a gorgeous place to tie the knot!

Jun 23 201211The dang centaur statue that we walked 30 minutes to see, because someone in our group had to see it :)  Also posing with my wonderful training director/boss!

IMG 0693Our time at Allerton ended up being a ton of fun!  I wasn't thrilled about going, but once we got there, I was so grateful for the break in our crazy work schedule and a chance to reflect on this past year of internship.  It's hard to believe its almost over (two more weeks to go!), but I'm thankful for all I've learned and the relationships I've developed this year.

If you're in the Chicago area and want a little weekend adventure/outdoor getaway, I definitely recommend Allerton.  They have several bed and breakfast weekends throughout the year, and Matt and I are thinking about heading up there at some point in the near future.  Hope everyone's Fourth was wonderful; happy weekend!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Thrifted Green

Thrifting season is in full swing, and I can't get enough of neighborhood garage sales and overflowing thrift stores.  We have gotten lots of goodies lately, and I'm trying to piece together a post of some of my favorite thrift finds.  But until then, I thought I'd show you a few recent thrift finds that have one little thing in common...green!  Green hasn't been a major staple in my closet, but lately the thrift stars have aligned to introduce more of the bright and classic color into my life.  Here are a few of my recent thrifted green lovelies...

IMG 0659Green blazer with gold buttons...garage sale find from a sweet white haired lady who didn't mind when I talked her down a bit on price :)

IMG 0660From top to bottom: passed down from my great aunt Bunny, recent estate sale find, old garage sale find (though I have one similar from my grandma), gifted from my Namaw

IMG 0706Green and white striped blazer...garage sale find from a woman who had an incredible stash of vintage clothes!  Most of them were a little over the top 60's gogo girl for me, but this blazer wasn't quite as old and still had the original 1980's department store tags!  I also snagged my brother an awesome vintage Lacoste jacket for his birthday.  (I'm pretty sure he doesn't read my blog regularly, so shhh, don't tell him!)

IMG 0724Green pencil skirt (which I clearly needed to steam lol)...thrifted at Savers' recent 50% sale.  This skirt still had the original Lord and Taylor tags attached!  Did I mention I got it for less than $5?  Score!

IMG 0725Green and gold brooch...thrifted at Savers.  It's kind of hard to see the detail on this brooch, so I'll try to snap a better picture at some point, but I'd never seen a brooch like, and I couldn't pass it up!

I'm not sure what's been in the thrifting waters lately, but whatever it is, its got me finding (and loving) green!  I'm curious how many of my readers thrift and if so, what's been your favorite thrift find as of late?  PS: I have been posting more frequent outfit snaps and detail shots on my Facebook page, so if you want more frequent updates/posts, head over and follow me there!