playing favorites | march



another end of the month, another roundup of monthly favorites.

beauty | on the beauty front, there are five things I’ve been really loving. after my rave about it, it’s no surprise that the bobbi brown pot rouge in hibiscus makes the cut. look at that color! I loved it so much that I went out and bought the sonia kashuk synthetic flat top multipurpose brush to use with it. this brush has been on my wish list for years. I came across so many great reviews about how amazing it is for liquid foundation application and cream blush, but since I had moved away from foundation to tinted moisturizers (which I mostly apply with my fingers) and I wasn’t a cream blush fan before the pot rouge, I never bought it…until this month. it’s a fantastic brush, period, but the cherry on top is that it’s under $15. this and the cream blush are a match made in heaven. item 3 is another product with a cult-like following: bioderma crealine micellar solution. before trying this at the beginning of this year, I often thought “what’s the big deal? even if it’s a great makeup remover, it’s still just makeup remover“. yes, it is just makeup remover, but it really is amazing. everything comes off without any tugging or pulling or irritation. the best part for me is that it feels like water – refreshing, gentle, and no icky oily residue afterwards. I took advantage of these properties when I was in the Philippines. I didn’t wear very much makeup on the trip, but I still used it for a little face refresh during the long bus rides. it was light and effective – perfect for the humid conditions. this month’s favorite lip product is the fresh sugar lip treatment in rose. it gives my poor lips some much needed moisture and repair while still giving the most flattering pink tint. last but not least, the fifth beauty favorite of march is the wet brush. as its name implies, it’s meant to be safe to use on wet hair. it does an amazing job of detangling my hair without pulling out half of it in the process. I was impressed from the very first brush through.

accessories | meet the newest bag on the block. my search for a versatile cross body that could fit my iPad mini and other daily essentials ended with the rebecca minkoff hudson mini moto bag. the funny thing is, even though it’s now a hands down favorite, I had very low expectations for it and didn’t think that I would like it, much less love it. I considered about 10 or so bags and ordered 5 bags in total. this bag was the 5th and last one, and I ordered it half in resignation because the other 4 options that I was sure were going to work out all fizzled out for one reason or another. I love that it manages to carry a lot while still keeping its shape. I love its structured silhouette, and the fact that inside has two separate compartments. there is a flat pocket on the front (it’s the flap that runs across underneath the triangular flap) that is a really handy place to keep my Ventra card for the CTA. I was considering the all black version, but I think the white strap is an interesting feature and makes it spring-appropriate. I also love that it’s saffiano leather, since I use this bag running about Chicago and can’t be bothered to worry about it getting dinged up or scratched on a crowded bus or train or ruined by unexpected rain (which happens quite a lot in Chicago). it’s edgy enough for late night drinks at a pub yet classic enough for a dinner date or light days at work. it’s pretty much perfect. the other accessory currently rocking my world is the power support air jacket iPhone case in clear. I’d been wanting a clear iPhone case for awhile, but all the options seemed flimsy, with the plastic feeling brittle and quick to scratch. this case feels substantial, even though it is the thinnest case I’ve seen. it fits my phone perfectly – the edges are flush with the phone itself, so it feels like I have no case on at all. as a big fan of slim cases, the fit on this one is top notch.

home | the final favorite of the month is this tumbler from how adorable is it? from the mint straw to the heart pattern to the fact that it holds 20 oz., it’s must made me quite happy since receiving it. if you’re in need of a little spring happiness pick-me-up, check out their new collection. I’ve adopted “let’s have fun, ok?” as my personal mantra. everything is so cheery and colorful, you won’t be able to not smile. this hooray tote is sitting in my cart as I type…

here’s to a lovely weekend


a sample of the wine selection at eataly


salmon carpaccio


cacio e pepe


this guy with some fancy beer

let’s hear it for Friday and the promise of a new weekend. James and I are planning to go back to eataly this evening for some delicious grub and more wine. wine on a Friday night with my guy is a long standing appointment in my book.

I hope your weekend is delicious!


style crush | rashida jones


I have a short list of women whose style I admire, and Rashida is on that list. aside from having the freckles I’ve always wanted and a wardrobe that has a masculine influence without losing any femininity, she’s incredibly funny and smart. I loved her work on the office (even though I was always “jim & pam forever”) and parks & rec.

who’s your style crush?

image via

wish list wednesday | the james edition

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I must be rubbing off a little on my guy when it comes to fashion because the other day, he asked me for help in updating his current wardrobe. after taking a minute to make sure I actually heard him correctly, I jumped to the task. and so, today and next week’s wish list wednesday will be more male-centric than the norm.

after taking a quick assessment of what he had and what he needed, I realized that he needed updating in his daily wardrobe and his work wardrobe. right now, he’s currently trying to make his daily casual wear suitable for the office by mixing casual button-down shirts with more formal trousers and loafers, but since he works at a downtown law firm, that hasn’t been quite up to snuff. I decided to tackle his everyday, non-work wardrobe first, and next week, I’ll tackle his more formal wardrobe.

James’ natural style is very casual, so I didn’t want to do him a disservice by suddenly picking out all sorts of preppier options. instead, I just wanted to give his clothes a little update by picking out the more stream-lined and sophisticated versions of what he tends to pick out for himself for a “more put-together casual”.  so I stuck with the comfortable and casual materials he likes, like knits, chambray, and cotton, but went for a slimmer cut or a different color to add a little bit of style. he has plenty of basic t-shirts, so I went with more fun options, like a shirt that showcases his favorite font and a henley that shows off his sports allegiance. sneakers, too, get a little upgrade in the form of a classic low-top pair and a slip-on pair in sleek two-tone leather. and to top it all off, a casual blazer in comfortable cotton but in a rich indigo that happens to bring out his blue eyes. as for accessories, I went with a cognac belt with an industrial buckle since it will go with everything, and a new pair of eyeglasses in a whiskey tortoise for a nice finishing touch…and he’s due for a new prescription anyway. ;)

a little nectar




left: lip gloss in nectar, one swipe | right: pot rouge in hibiscus, one swipe

I’ve never really been a bobbi brown devotee. even though I’ve heard great things about the line (especially her concealer), I’ve never drifted too far from the usual suspects of nars, laura mercier, and the random chanel or ysl when I’m at the beauty counter. but when I got wind of the new nectar & nude collection, I was immediately drawn to the nectar half of the new offerings. doesn’t the shade just make you think of warm days and sun-kissed skin? it makes me think of a hibiscus in full bloom, and since thinking of hibiscuses immediately makes me think of my grandmother’s flower garden, I find myself smiling whenever I look at these pieces.

I picked up three pieces: the nail polish and lip gloss in nectar, and the pot rouge in hibiscus (so I was spot-on with that hibiscus reference!). I’ve tried the pot rouge as a blush (it can also be used on lips, but I wasn’t a fan of the color as a lip color on me), and the wear time on me is insane. I put it on at 11  in the morning, and it was still going strong after 11 p.m. when I went to take it off. this might have just made me a cream blush believer.  also, don’t be scared by the color in the pan. yes, it’s pigmented, but it’s also super blendable. I like to take one light swipe, apply to my cheek with my fingers, and then blend out with a brush until the color is soft but still noticeable. if you prefer your blush color bolder, this blush can pack as much punch as you’d like.

I’ve also tried out the lip gloss. I like that it’s not sticky but somehow manages to stay on my lips through light eating. I also like that the pigmentation shows up on my lips, though not quite as intense as in the tube. the only thing I wasn’t the biggest fan of was the initial smell/taste. it didn’t quite agree with me at first application, but after 10 seconds or so, the scent went away, and I was a happy clam.

I’ve only very quickly swatched the polish on my pinky finger to compare it to other polishes I own and to show you guys how it looks on, so no comments on longevity just yet, but I will say that application was smooth and easy.

have you tried this collection? bobbi brown fans, what are your favorite products from the line?

new kicks


black pumps | silver pumps | sneakers

after months and months of not buying any shoes, I’m suddenly on a new kicks-spree. good thing these three are all quite affordable.

for dress shoes like pumps and heels, I usually buy leather shoes, both for durability and for the fact that synthetic materials don’t let your feet breathe. these two pumps from asos are exceptions. they just fit my feet too well to pass up. bonus: the heel height is a perfect-for-me 3″. kudos to those of you who can manage to stand in 4″ heels for hours; you’re made of sterner stuff than I. 3.5″ without a platform is about as high as I can tolerate these days, and for situations where I know I have to stand or walk in heels for over 4 hours, I prefer to top things off at 3″.

these two pumps are actually the first heels I’ve bought in close to a year. I’ve become a complete flat/low-to-mid heel convert. maybe it’s just me getting old, but even though I may make cow eyes at the 5″ pairs, it’s their 3″ and lower cousins that come home with me 9 times out of 10 these days. these tartan slip-on sneakers are from topshop. insanely comfortable, they go with my almost daily uniform of nice top + black jeans and I’m loving that they’re so darn easy to slip on. perfect for days when I’m running out the door (aka every day). the slip-on sneaker trend is one I’m fully on board with for spring. bonus: when fashion moves on in the next season, you’ll be left with a comfortable pair of shoes. win win.

things I love

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what a refreshing, lovely shade of blue that coach calls “sea mist”. I had already fallen for the color – it’s like pure, calm water – before I even read the name, but that’s just the cherry on top.

this baby just shot up to the very top of my wishlist.

coach bleeker triple zip crossbody

wish list wednesday | let’s go to the beach

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swimsuit | tote | blush/lip cream | nail polish | sandals | lip gloss

I am a beach girl at heart. I’m happiest when I’m near the water. I can’t wait for warmer weather, pedicures, pretty sandals, and all things summer. I know, I know, it’s not even spring yet…

p.s. I’m not a die hard bobbi brown fan (you know I’m a nars girl), but this nectar shade from her nectar and nude collection is calling my name. I want it on my lips, cheeks, tips, and toes…

an ode to nars





this post didn’t start out as a full-on love declaration for nars. I was actually just going to talk about the new nars narsissist eye shadow palette becuase I’ve been loving it that much, but thinking about how much I loved the palette led me to thinking about just how many things from the brand I own and love. it’s definitely the makeup brand that is most represented in my stash, and all across the board, too – from eyeshadows to concealers to lipstick to tinted moisturizer. this is not to say that there aren’t some so-so offerings to be found in the line…but the number of products that have become much-loved parts of my makeup routine is downright impressive:

blush | nars’ infamous orgasm blush was the first thing I ever bought from the line, but if you noticed, that specific blush isn’t in my stash. that’s because I tossed it awhile back after realizing that even though it’s raved about, it was way too glittery/shiny for me to love. I moved on to other bigger and better offerings. in the summer, rotonde (from the nars x pierre hardy collection) and liberte are my go-tos – they have the perfect amount of pigmentation to stand up to my darker skin without veering into clown territory. the newest addition to the lineup is love, from this year’s spring collection. it’s a really lovely, really subtle soft pink that works perfectly on my still-going-strong winter tone.

lips | nars lipstick in cruising was the first nude lipstick I ever found that worked for me. in the tube, it actually looks pink, which on my pigmented lips is actually the perfect nude. I have other colors on my beauty wish list to try next, namely jungle fever and heat wave. I also love the velvet matte lip pencils. I’m not a matte lip lover, but these are perfect. Crazy beautiful colors that once set on your lips, last and last and last. cruella is an old favorite, but I recently bought dragon girl and have been reaching for that constantly.

base | the tinted moisturizer is amazing. I like the sheer but impactful coverage it gives – it’s like the better, more glowing version of your skin. I switch between the shades malaga and seychelles, depending on how dark I’ve gotten over the summer months. the radiant creamy concealer is what sold me on concealer. others I had tried were too thick and noticeable. this is light and creamy and blends like a dream. I use it under my eyes when I need a little brightening and at key spots around my nose and mouth that could use a little concealing. these two together are basically what I wear all summer on my face.

eyes | and now to the category that started it all. I swear by the smudge proof eyeshadow base – not too slick, not too oily, just enough tack to keep my shadows in place all day long. I also have several of the longer than life eyeliners – good formula, doesn’t budge once it sets. the singlesmekong (a lovely gold-infused espresso brown), coconut grove (my go-to matte dark brown), and cyprus (my go to high-lighter) – and the duos  – cordura (my go-to nude eye) and rajasthan (a beautiful duo of smoky peacock blue and golden taupe brown) – all get heavy use from me. 8 times out of 10, if I’m wearing eyeshadow, it’s one of these or a combination of them. as for eyeshadow palettes, I have two: the and God created the woman and the new narsissist palette. as you can see, the AGCTW gets lots of love from me. it’s been my go-to eyeshadow palette for travel because of the variety and versatility of shades in one slim compact. the new narsissist palette is dreamy. it’s like all the good shades in one semi-large but sleek, travel-friendly palette with a huge mirror. some reviews have mentioned that the shadows in this palette seem to be stiffer and harder to blend than their single/duo counterparts. the two shades I own individually – mekong and coconut grove – perform the same for me in the palette and separate from the palette. I can’t speak to the other shades as I don’t own them individually, but I don’t find them particularly hard to work with at all. I don’t usually go gaga over limited edition collections, but for these two palettes, I did.

any other nars fans out there?

disclosure: this is not a sponsored post. obviously, I just have a love affair with nars. ;)

monday memo | happy st. patrick’s day!


happy st. Patrick’s day!

the Chicago river is dyed a lovely green, the weather is fairly decent, and I’m having a sandwich & Guinness lunch date with my guy at our local bar today, so this Monday is certainly going to go down as one of the good ones.

do you have any st. Patrick’s day plans?

p.s. doesn’t Dublin look magical in the picture above? James & I have decided that for our next big international trip, we’d like to do a little tour of Western Europe, namely the UK, Ireland, France, and Spain. maybe st. Patrick’s day 2015 will be in Dublin…!

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