jewelry storage


one | two | three | four | five | six | seven

I’ve recently gone through my jewelry stash and edited it down to the pieces I truly love and, more importantly, wear all the time. I’m itching to get some pretty storage to showcase my most-loved pieces, and these caught my eye. urban outfitters has been so on point lately with their home pieces…I’m especially loving anything geometric in design.

happy tuesday!

the capsule wardrobe | f/w update


trousers | sweater dress | jeans | ankle boots | l/s tee

I know, I know. how can I be talking about my fall/winter wardrobe update when I haven’t even talked about the summer version? a round-up of my summer capsule wardrobe should actually be up sometime this week (cross fingers), but I’m being real here in saying that I’m looking forward to some fall clothing, mostly because there really wasn’t a big difference between my spring capsule and my summer capsule (which I’m ok with it) and I pretty much wore dresses every day. between work and classes and everything else, I just kept reaching for dresses over & over because, like I said, they’re easy. I’ve realized the past 2 months that while I do care about fashion & style, the ease of dressing might be the #1 thing for me. so as I’m gearing towards preparing for the fall, I’m looking to fill gaps in my wardrobe with easy pieces. I’m going back to basics and picking up pieces that I know I’ll wear nonstop. to stand up to the constant wear, I’m eyeing good quality pieces with a budget of $300. between sales & birthday money, I think that that’s doable, even with more expensive pieces.

have you been thinking about fall?

monday memo

ican'twas there ever a shirt more appropriate for a monday than this one? oh, and yeah…who’s with me?! :)

hope your monday is as good as mondays can ever be. ;)

p.s. this week is my last week of classes!


summer dressing

dresses&sandalsdresses: fit & flare | shirtdress | maxi

sandals: wedges | lace-ups | embellished

a dress & a pair of sandals is my summer uniform. there is nothing easier than a dress when it comes to putting together an outfit – no need to worry about a top & bottom; it’s one and done! this has come in handy this summer where I’ve needed to get dressed & out the door in as little time as possible. the funny thing is, dresses and I have a love-hate relationship. it takes me a whole lot of trial & error to find a dress for my body, but once I do, it becomes a classic in my closet. all three of the dresses above are in constant rotation. I wore the fit & flare dress (in a different print that’s now sold out) to a friend’s wedding with a cardigan, the shirtdress to a staff meeting, and the maxi for all the days this summer where it’s been too darn hot to wear much else. I love all three, but I have to rave a little about the maxi – it has a slit on the side, which makes walking & climbing stairs so much easier, as well as adding a little sexy detail. the petite length is spot on for me without needing alterations. when j. crew factory had a massive sale a couple of weeks back, I ordered the black, tried it on, fell in love, and then ordered it in the dusky blue and a turquoise. you know the dress is a winner when you have it in 3 colors & they all get used at least once a week.

I’m of the opinion that the more classic/basic the dress, the more liberty you have to amp it up with the shoes. I tell myself it’s ok I’ve worn all of these dresses to death this summer because 1) capsule wardrobe – go me! and 2) I change up the shoes. the wedges are so comfy (and now madly on sale!), the lace-ups are a good edgier option, and who doesn’t want a pair of embellished sandals to liven up the most basic of outfits?

what’s your summer uniform?

loving in…june

lovingjunehello, friends! the blackhawks championship parade is today, so as you can imagine, everyone & their mother are in the city. my metra express train this morning was packed. it’s supposed to be a wet one again today, but a little rain isn’t going to stop this party. aside from the hawks, here’s a roundup of some of the other things I’m loving this month.

one | florence & the machine’s new album is the soundtrack of my life right now. great album cover, great album.

two | I’m a fan of the original bumble and bumble surf spray, but I may love this (very similar) new version even more. it still gives my hair that windswept, beachy look but is a little less drying. the scent is the same, which is good because nothing says summer quite like the smell of salty ocean air.

three | humidity is a full face of makeup’s kryptonite. I don’t even bother with liquid bases this time of year if I can help it. I prep with some sunscreen & a little moisturizer, some concealer as needed, and top it all off with this. done & done.

four | I’m going to come right out and say it: this is the perfect nude lipgloss (in petal). not sticky, not gloopy, just the right amount of my-lips-but-better color that you can actually see (even on my pigmented lips).

five | and of course, da hawks! after decades of drought, we’ve been spoiled lately. I, like the rest of the city, am absolutely thrilled.

let’s talk | life lately

Under the Elwhy, hello there. life around these parts has been going at about 100 miles per hour, and I’m still trying to figure out how to keep up. let’s play catch-up together:

1. I am finishing up my last round of prerequisites, and my current schedule has me in class monday-thursday in sugar grove (60 miles west of Chicago) when I work full-time monday-friday in the city. getting to class in the evening requires an intricate juggle of bus, train, & car, with minutes to spare. I’ve been praying to the traffic gods frequently, trying not to stress out about things that I can’t control…

2. …speaking of which, stress management has been something I’ve been working on lately. a lot. I make it to class in the evenings with about 4 minutes to spare if everything goes to plan. which, if you’re as anal about time & schedules as I am, means that I’m constantly checking my watch and worrying about being late. which I was, last thursday, by 10 minutes. and as I sat in class, sweaty & grouchy & grumpy & out of breath from the 2.5 hour commute I had just gone through, I realized it wasn’t worth it. the worrying, the stress, any of it. my life is much easier if I just let things go and do my best to show up without obsessing about every little second ticking away. it’s still something I’m working on. I am stressing about the Stanley Cup finals, though…

3. …since the hawks are in it again. they’re about the only tv during the week I bother watching making time for these days. so, less stress about things not hockey + more stress about hockey = my stress level these days. man, I hope they win because consciously going with less sleep to cheer them on is getting harder by the day…

4. …as I’m getting on average about 5 hours of sleep a night. it could be worse, but it could be much, much better. so I’m working on getting my self to bed on non-hockey,  non-school nights as early as possible to get my sleep numbers up…

5. …especially since my workout schedule has been shot to hell. I haven’t been able to work out at all the past 3 weeks, and it’s not doing my waist or my mind any favors. I miss the feeling of having a good sweat session, and I’m thinking up of creative ways to get a workout in. it’s necessary, both physically and mentally, so I’m just going to have to make time…

6. …but really, how do I go about that? there are only 24 hours in a day after all. I’m still figuring it out, along with this blog…

7. …which has obviously been neglected in the past few weeks. still working on it, I promise.

and that’s where I’m at. I want to pick y’all’s minds…how do you keep all the balls in the air? is there a secret I’m not in on? for those of you who have children, how do you that on top of everything else? mad props, by the way! give a girl some tips!


brands I love | banago

banagobear with me while I proudly wave the Philippine flag…today’s post features a new-to-me brand that happens to hail from my home country: banago. you can read more about banago‘s story here, but they offer bags, totes, & accessories handmade in the Philippines by local artisan communities. this specific portion of their narrative really caught my eye:

“here at BANAGO we aim to support sustainable livelihoods and preserve ailing arts and crafts with various products that span a work force from the farmer of the natural materials the products are made from to the artisans. we teach them the importance of quality work and entrepreneurship in hopes of empowering these women. so far we have been successful because we have stayed true to our beliefs that true luxury is having the ability to help.”

true luxury is having the ability to help. that’s going to rattle around in my brain for quite some time.

I’m a lover of beautiful things. all of their products are beautiful, but what makes them even more lovely is the good they do in helping those who are responsible for creating such beauty. if you’re on the market for a summer tote or clutch, may I point you in banago‘s direction? I for one have a couple of pieces on my summer wishlist (this one & this one).

*this is not a sponsored post. I just love sharing the love, especially for a good cause.

what’s in a name?

hesI was listening to npr on the way to work the other day, and I happened to catch an interview about a young man who felt that his name had led others to make assumptions about him in general and about his race specifically (his name is Jamal, and he is white). it got me thinking about my own name, and as I thought about it more & more, I realized I wanted to let you all in on my thoughts on it.

most people call me Hes, but my full first name is Hesed. it’s a Hebrew name that means “loving kindness” or “God’s covenant love for humankind”. my parents were in seminary school when I was born, and they were inspired by their studies of the Bible in Hebrew when it came time to name me.

like a lot of kids who had unusual first names, I wasn’t very fond of my name as a child. no one in my family aside from my parents were familiar with it. in fact, a lot of my dad’s family found the name difficult to pronounce because in our language, the letter ‘h’ is not a part of the alphabet, so all members of that side of the family call me “Esed” (pronounced as in blessed) or, even shorter, “Sed” (rhymes with Ted). at least these nicknames were at least related to my real name. sometimes I would just get called Hazel or Heather or some other H-name that was more familiar to other people.

when I came to the US, my situation didn’t improve very much. no one knew how to pronounce Hesed either. no one, except my Jewish friends, of course, who all pronounced it with its original guttural H at the beginning (my name can also be transliterated to English as “Chesed”). though my name wasn’t foreign to them at all, they were a little bit amused to find that a short, Filipino girl had such a Hebrew name. once, a package for my office was mistakenly delivered to the Jewish student center down the street from us. The rabbi emailed me to ask that I come pick it up. when I did and I introduced myself, he said with a chuckle, “I didn’t expect you to be Hesed”.

now that I’m older, I’ve become really proud of my name. it’s aspirational, and I try to live up to it every day, although I inevitably fall short. I used to be mortified when people would mispronounce my name; I would be so self-conscious and embarrassed. but now, I love that it’s unique. if I ever get a tattoo, I’d want it to be a very small one of my name in Hebrew script.

do you have a unique name? do you love it/hate it? have you always felt that way?

words for the week

wftwI ran across this quote and was completely arrested by it. it’s made me think about what & whom I value, and why. it’s always good to ask oneself these questions every now and then, like a recalibration of sorts.

I hope your week is off to a lovely start.

things I love | may

maytilhow is it may?! not that I’m complaining. the trees are blooming, the weather is warmer…I’m going to tempt fate and say that winter is truly over. today’s post is a round-up of things I’ve been loving lately. as I’ve transitioned in the past couple months to a more pared back lifestyle, I haven’t felt the need to compile wishlists. that’s not to say I’ve suddenly found myself beyond wanting things (I’m not that good), but I just haven’t felt the urge to compile all of it together into something I could share. so, this isn’t a wishlist per se (although I may want to buy some of these things), but more of a collage of the things I love, find beautiful, and make me happy right now. what’s been really lovely to experience with this capsule wardrobe thing is really being able to appreciate the things I have and admire that which I find beautiful & would love to have without actually owning it. sometimes, the pleasure I get from seeing it or being inspired by it is enough.

ok…enough schmaltz. thanks for stopping by & hanging around, even with the infrequent posting. I’m working on getting my ish together…promise!

happy wednesday!


earrings (on sale through 5/7 with the code fiesta 30) | towel | book | flats | dress