Wednesday, July 1, 2015

the everygirl + kendall jackson wines

A few weeks back, I had the amazing privilege of joining some of my favorite Chicago bloggers for a night with The Everygirl and Kendall-Jackson wines. It was one of those nights that was truly magical, from the company {a few of my favorite bloggers from the city!}, the gorgeous rooftop table, the delicious wine and the fanciest dinner I've had in a very long time. Needless to say, it was one of my favorite nights in Chicago to date!

The evening started with cocktails on the rooftop and catching up with a few of my favorite ladies over glasses of Vinter's Reserve Pinot Gris, with was amazing paired with a fresh mozzarella, sun-dried pineapple and basil appetizer. We then sat down at our gorgeous place settings {decorated with a gorgeous Rifle Paper notepad!} complete with 5 glasses of wine - a pretty clear hint that the night was going to be an epic one :)

We sampled an amazing collection of wines, from Vinter's Reserve {my favorite}, Grand Reserve and Avant collections. I love a good glass of white wine and rosé, so I was obsessed with their amazing Sauvignon Blanc - which I promptly bought a few bottles of {especially since they're only $13!} 

Each wine paired amazingly well with each of our courses, and the fabulous ladies at Kendall Jackson picked out a truly amazing menu for the evening. My favorites included the roasted carrot and avocado salad, the grilled organic chicken with brussels sprouts and the home cut fries {always a favorite among bloggers, lets be real} 

The best part of all was definitely the company - and I loved catching up with a few of my favorite ladies after a long day at work. Living in Chicago is a lot of things - crazy most of the time, busy, and sometimes overwhelming, but epic nights like these make the so happy to live here. Thanks so much to the lovely Alaina and Danielle of the Everygirl for the invite, and Kendal Jackson and The Public Hotel for an amazing night! xx

{special thanks to Blair  of The Fox and She and The Everygirl for the photos! xx} 
Blogger Tricks

Monday, June 29, 2015

summer picnic in the park.

Although it's easy to forget sometimes, there's lots of things in life to cheers about. 

For one, summer is actually here {fingers crossed it stops raining!}, which means it's officially outdoor patio, beach sipping, picnic season - the best season of all. It's the time where you get to grab your best friends, find a picturesque view and cook up a little something to kick off summer right, which is exactly what a few of my favorite bloggers and I did last week!

Jess of The Golden Girl, Blair of The Fox and She, Lauren of Lake Shore Lady, Kit of The Kittchen, ,and Erin of Color Me Styled all got together at North Avenue beach to celebrate the first few weeks of summer in style. With a few goodies from Jewel Osco, and monogram amazingness from White Elephant Designs, we had the most gorgeous {and delicious!} picnic in the park. 

I got to exercise my rarely used cooking muscles and whipped up a tasty modified trifle for desert. It's basically the easiest recipe on the planet, and you only need a few tasty ingredients to make it - a win-win in my book :)

Modified Trifle:
 - the juice of 3 fresh oranges
 - 1 angel food cake
 - 1 cup mascarpone 
- 2 heaping tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 teaspsoon vanilla 
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 bar dark chocolate
- 1 box of raspberries of strawberries

1) Squeeze the juice from three oranges into your serving dish (or dishes if you prefer).  
2) Cut angel food into 1-2" cubes and spread out in serving dish as well (I've also done this with individual cakes which works too).  
3) Mix 1 cup mascarpone, 2 heaping table spoons powder sugar, 1 tsp vanilla and around 2 table spoons milk (needs to be spreadable but not too thin).  
4) Layer the mixture on top of the cake and add a container of raspberries or strawberries and chocolate shavings.

{Looking for more recipes? Check out what everyone cooked on their blogs!}

How cute are these napkins and cups from White Elephant Designs?! They're perfect for a summer soiree or a cute photo shoot too!

And can we talk about these ladies for a sec? I feel so lucky to have all these inspiring friends in my life. They're spunky, smart, and insanely talented to boot - and I am constantly inspired by their creativity and kindness. Thank goodness for girls like these to cheer a gal up after a long week - they're truly the best :) 

If you're looking for the perfect way to celebrate summer, I'd definitely suggest a picnic in the park with your favorite girlfriends for a perfect afternoon. 

In other news, I hope you're all having a wonderful 4th of July week! Lets GSD, and then celebrate this weekend accordingly :) xx

Special thanks to Jess  of The Golden Girl and Mary M Cinema 

Friday, June 26, 2015

quick weekend breakfast: dutch babies.

I will be the first to admit, I am not a fabulous cook. 

Sure, I want to be able to whip up a delicious breakfast any day of the week, but I seem to lack a natural gift for effortlessly making my cooking dreams a reality. Luckily for me, my boyfriend has enough cooking skills for the both of us, and made this delicious Dutch baby pancake when I was feeling under the weather a few weekends ago {basically he's the winner of the #1 boyfriend award, right?} Here's his recipe, which I can take absolutely no credit for - but I can take credit for eating a lot of it :)

What you'll need for the pancake:
• 2 eggs
• 1/2 cup milk
• 1/2 cup flour
• 1 pinch cinnamon
• 1 pinch salt
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 2 tablespoons (or more!) powdered sugar

What you'll need for the toppings:
4 fresh peaches
• 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen will do)
• 2 tablespoons honey
• 1 tablespoon butter

Directions for the toppings:
1. Heat a skillet on medium and melt 1 tablespoon of butter
2. Chop 4 ripe nectarines with the skins on, and add them to the heated pan, mixing in blueberries as well. 
3. Add honey to the fruit mix and cook on the stovetop for 8-10 minutes until mushy. Remove from heat for a few minutes before adding to your final dutch pancake. 

Directions for the pancake:
1. Place a 10 inch case iron skillet inside the oven and preheat to 475 degrees
2. In a medium bowl, beat eggs and whisk until light and fluffy. Gently add milk, flour, cinnamon and salt. 
3. Remove skillet from the oven and reduce to 425 degrees. Melt the butter in the skillet so that the inside is completely coated with butter. Pour the batter in the skillet and return the skillet to the oven. 
4. Bake for 12 minutes until lightly browned, remove from the oven promptly and place on a bread board.  Load your pancake with blueberry and peach toppings as well as powdered sugar. 

And viola! You've got the best dutch baby you've ever had {that is, if it turns out as good as the one Jimmy whipped up!} It's the perfect, easy treat when you have company over for brunch, or for a fun dessert while entertaining. As a pancake or a slice, it totally looks photo-worthy, and tastes just as good - pinky promise. 

The perfect slice - which I ate many of....

Thursday, June 25, 2015

the best cutout dresses.

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood, and to celebrate the season I've been falling in love with dresses this summer. Whether they're striped, polka dotted, solid or patterned, I've been seriously loving them all. 

New to the love list are a few pretty cutout dresses that I've been online stalking like your ex-boyfriends new girlfriend. They're perfectly flowy and comfy on a summer days, and the cut outs add a hint of sexy {meow!} too. While creeping on Shopbop this week, I found a few new pretty cut-out dresses that I need to add to my shopping cart stat!
1. Helmut Lang Dress // 2. Rachel Palley Striped Cutout Dress // 3. Whistles Dress // 4.  Black Cutout Dress {See option here} // 5. Cobalt Blue Dress {See options here} // 6. Nicholas Dress 

Have any other favorite dress trends of the season? Please share with the class! xx

Monday, June 22, 2015

#1 blue jeans fan.

Flares // Shirt {see similar} // Tote bag {exact} // Peep toe mules // Necklace {similar} // Jacket {similar}

I've said it once {and I'll say it again, many annoying times over}, I've always been a jeans girl at heart. I used to joke that I should change my blog name to the "blue jeans blogger" since I spent a good few months only rocking my favorite pair of skinnies. But what can I say? Jeans are my spirit animal, or spirit clothing I suppose. They're comfy, easy to wear in any season, and look good with 3/4 of my closet. 

Lately, I've been revolutionizing my style with {gasp!} flare jeans. I know, it's pretty crazy to mix things up - but the trendy 70's vibe is back in action {and my blue jeans loving self has never been happier.} They make my legs look long for days {extra bonus points!} and the stretchy material make for the comfiest weekend wear ever. Paired with a striped tee or basic top, I'm ready to cease the day, 70's hippie chic style. 
A big thanks to the ladies at Odalisque in Geneva for making my makeup look so fly, and to Kelly for her fabulous photos {as usual!}
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