new year’s eve get-up

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express heels (old) | mbmj for target clutch (old) | nixon watch | baublebar necklace | j.crew shirt | sanctuary leggings | zara knit blazer (old)

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hourglass primer (the best!) | laura mercier liquid lip color and gloss (last year’s Christmas collection) | hourglass ambient lighting palette (individual palettes here) | l’oreal infallible eyeshadows in iced latte & bronzed taupe | shu uemura eyelash curler (also the best!) | ysl shocking mascara | nars eyeliner in most wanted  (from the nars x guy bourdin voyeur set) | kevyn aucoin sensual skin tinted balm in 05fresh sugar lip polish (sample size) | stila convertible color in peony (sample size) | dolce gabbana the one rollerball

happy New Year’s Eve, everybody! our plans are pretty laid back – a byob dinner of sushi & bubbly at a restaurant near our apartment, followed by more bubbly at home – so my outfit is decidedly low-key. grey & black is a color combo I love, so I started off with the j. crew shirt I specifically bought for this evening in mind and built on from there, adding in some new faux-leather trim leggings, and an old & much-loved knit blazer. while all three pieces are pretty streamlined and monochromatic, they’re all knit, which is key to accommodating the food baby I’m going to have by the end of the night. who says fashion can’t be stylish & comfortable?

to liven things up with a little bit of sparkle (it is NYE, after all), I’m throwing on my new watch that I’ve used nonstop since getting it for Christmas, my favorite baublebar necklace ever with its ornate, vintage feel, & a metallic clutch to round things out. and to top it off at the toes, a pair of silver pumps. don’t worry. I haven’t lost my mind. there is snow & ice & winter in Chicago – these babies are carrying me from the curb to the table and back again.

now on to the cherry on top: the makeup. I’m going for a glowing base, lightly flushed cheeks, defined eyes, shimmering lids, voluminous lashes, and a sparkling red lip. all the big guns came out for this one. the final touch? a spritz of the perfume I only wear on special occasions.

whether you have big plans out or cozy plans in, have a fantastic New Year’s Eve and here’s to a happy and healthy New Year!

p.s. thank you so much for reading and following along this past year. it’s been such a rewarding space to talk about the things I love, and I hope it’s been a rewarding space for you to visit. I have some big and small changes planned for the blog in the new year, so stay tuned. :).

things I love

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I’ve raved about this candle previously, and while stalking the space.nk website’s sale section, I’ve discovered that they’re now $10 a pop (down from $40)! I can’t recommend this scent enough. it smells like a kitchen that’s been producing all sorts of winter goodies all day long, without being too cloying or sweet. cinnamon, oranges, clove…all the good stuff! while it was a perfect Christmas candle, I think it’s appropriate for winter in general. since I live in Chicago where it will be winter until April, I just bought 3 more.

yeah, it’s that good.

space.nk shimmering spice candle

monday memo

discipline

Happy Monday again, everybody! Oof, this Monday’s a tough one – all Mondays after holidays are, but this one’s tough since Christmas was such a lovely respite from the hustle and bustle and New Year’s is only two days away. So I thought I’d commemorate the last Monday of the year with an appropriate Monday Memo.

I’m not going to do specific resolutions for this New Year’s – it almost seems like dooming yourself to failure when your expectations are so specific and so high. Instead, I’m going to take the saying above to heart. Eboni from The Fashionista Next Door included it in a post a little bit before Christmas, and it really struck home. Instead of listing 10 or so things I’d like to improve, I’m taking it to the crux of the matter: discipline. Ah.

Discipline can be applied to everything, whether it’s something trivial like foregoing the chocolate cupcake at lunch so you can have wine with dinner or something more serious like holding tight to your wallet on the daily so that that big purchase (house, car, trip) can come true a little sooner. I think sometimes it’s easy to say “I just need to want less” or “I just need to say no more often”, but let’s face it, wanting and saying yes are things that come naturally more often than not. The idea, I think, then is to prioritize those wants so that the most important things don’t give way to the less important things.

2013 has been a hard year on so many levels, but we’re hopeful for the next one. We have big plans, both professional and personal, and we know that with a little discipline and prioritizing, we can slowly and surely work towards them.

I hope your holidays were lovely, and here’s to a happy and healthy 2014.

 

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merry Christmas

christmas

Today is my last full day of work – tomorrow, I’m off at noon and then we’ll be driving to my parents.

I’ll be indulging in Christmas and family for the next few days, so I’ll be signing off here.

Merry Christmas
& Happy Holidays!

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have a lovely weekend

mistletoe

isn’t this picture adorable?

wishing you a lovely weekend.

p.s. it’s only 5 days until Christmas!!!

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Christmas candles

candlestocca christmas candle trio | space.nk shimmering spiceyankee candle balsam & cedardiptyque ecorce de pindiptyque feu de bois

You already know by now about my undying love for candles. The love affair not only continues into the holiday season; it intensifies. I prefer my scents in the winter to be strong, pronounced, and, especially for Christmas, festive. I scooped up all the candles currently in my apartment that I’ve been burning to make the holidays extra special.

one | this tocca Christmas candle trio is my Christmas gift from Jesse, our roommate. the three candles are chamonix (pine), marrakech (clove and spices), and venice (peach bellini). each one comes in the golden scalloped votive seen in the center of the picture. I haven’t burned these yet as they’re for Christmas, but they’re quite scented unburned, and I can tell that they’ll be great winter scents, especially the pine and Morrocan-inspired ones. the peach bellini I’m thinking will be apropos for New Year’s Eve.

two | space.nk is one of my favorite haunts, and I’m a fan of their shimmering spice candle, which literally smells like a kitchen that’s been producing Christmas baked goods all day – cinnamon, orange zest, sugar, etc. it’s not at all cloying – just a  heavily spiced potpourri of sorts in candle form. I ordered from the space.nk website and found last year’s version of a black tumbler with gold stars, squiggles, and lines for half of the cost of this year’s version, which has the exact same scent but comes in a lovely striped, red tumbler.

three | yankee candle’s balsam & cedar is the next best thing to having a live tree for Christmas. it’s heavy on the cedar and pine, as the name suggests, but it never borders on insect-repellant territory. it makes our whole apartment smell like a pine forest. it’s also a more masculine scent, which James appreciates.

four | continuing with the pine is diptyque’s ecorce de pin (pine bark)  candle from their holiday collection this year.  it comes in this beautiful green glass jar, with an intricate label. it smells of the japanese cypress, which is similar to pine, but I would say it’s sweeter and more mellow. don’t let the small size fool you – a few minutes after I light this baby, the whole room smells of it. I wish it weren’t limited edition, because it would be a great scent all through the winter.

five | and lastly, diptyque’s feu de bois. I obviously love it because I have no candle to show you – just an empty jar that I’ve upcycled into a q-tip holder. this candle smells like a burning fire, which is perfect for the cold, dark nights of the season. I don’t have a fireplace but dream of having one someday. until then, this will have to do. it’s smoky and deep and cozy. I was hesitant at first to try it because the scent is intense if you sniff it straight out of the jar – all you really get is the smoke. but once it’s burning, all the other layers come out, and the scent is lovely. James is a massive fan of this one, as am I. it’s definitely my favorite winter scent ever, and is a contender for my favorite diptyque candle in general. yeah, it’s a good one.

getting to know you, part 1

lauren

one | I don’t like celery.

two | I adore puns and cheesy jokes in print.

three | I have a sentimental fondness for green bean casserole. it was the first American dish I ever loved. the mix of mushroom soup, green beans, and crispy onions (!!!) was so exotic and cool to my recently-immigrated 6-year old self.

four | my favorite fruits are mango & watermelon.

five | I don’t like wasabi or horseradish fruit, but I love horseradish leaves. go figure.

six | I am 4 feet 11 inches tall.

seven | I’m scared of roller coasters.

eight | I was bitten twice by snakes as a child.

nine | I love mineral water.

ten | the first tape I ever bought was the spice girls album spice. I remember impatiently waiting for the tape to rewind and trying so hard to hit the play button right at the start of ‘2 Become 1’. ah, the tricky days before digital.

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things I love

bite

Speaking of sparkling a little brighter, a berry lip is a good place to start. I’ve been looking for one that’s not too dark but not too pink and not too matte but not too slick either, and after searching high and low, I’ve found it. With buildable intensity but great color payoff with just one swipe, it’s ticked all the boxes when it comes to shine, texture, pigmentation, and moisture. Love.

bite beauty lipstick in mulberry

it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

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our little tree

I love Christmas. I love the lights, I love the scents (cinnamon & sugar & clove), I love the food. Most of all, I love that the season makes us just  a little more open to joy. I know the holidays are not all fun and games – they’re tough for those who don’t have family or have recently lost someone or don’t have the resources to partake in what can be a very expensive season. I know, too, that the holiday season can seem interminable and a bit grating, with congested shops, jingle bells on every corner, and exhortations to be cheerful when you’re feeling anything but.

But if you take everything superfluous away, at the heart of it, Christmas is about finding and rediscovering love and hope and salvation in the most unexpected places, be it remembering a baby born in a cold manger or remembering the important people and things in your life. It’s the season where we’re asked to be like a child again in that we’re open to being a little less jaded, a little less cynical, a little less adult and a little more open to amazement, wonder, and awe. It doesn’t mean all our problems go away or that everything is right (I’m definitely not there), but that through the good wishes and the chill in the air and the coming of a new beginning, we might be a little more hopeful.

Sometimes late at night right before I go to bed, I sit on our couch in the silence and the light and watch the snow fall, basking in the peace.

Here’s to a Christmas filled with hope, love, peace, and joy.

monday memo

breathe

This. This is for this Monday and every Monday.

Breathe, and let’s get through this Monday. :)

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