wish list wednesday | summer dressing

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sandals | earrings | lipgloss (in belize) | dress | bag

this is what I would wear every day in the summer: a light and floaty white dress;  small earrings;  a pretty gloss on my lips; simple, open-toed sandals on my feet; and a classic bag that could be worn crossbody. easy, light, and free – as all things should be in the summer.

good buys

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I’ve got three things for this installment of good buys.

first up is this slip-on pair of chucks. I’ve always liked the low profile of the original, but as someone with a wide foot, they weren’t always the most comfortable or the easiest to get on. these fit my feet better – I think they’re wider in the toe box – and the slip-on factor makes getting into these a breeze. they’re incredibly comfy, with minimal rubbing on my pinky toes during the first wear (which lasted half a day!), and none at all thereafter. I was worried the stretchy heel might keep slipping off, but I haven’t had that happen at all. I usually wear a 7.5 and that’s the size I got, so I’d say these run true to size. if you have narrower feet, you might want to size down 1/2 a size.

it’s still not really warm around these parts, but it has been raining frequently. at this point, I don’t even mind getting wet so long as it’s not freezing rain or snow. on rainy days, this longchamp bag has been a lifesaver. I usually just wear this on its own, but I know of friends who carry this around folded up inside a nicer bag and when it starts to pour, take it out and slip their nicer bags into it as a chic bag-poncho of sorts. I wore the red version of this bag all through college, and my sister now uses it to lug her books around at school, so I can attest to how durable they are, which is why I sprung for another one even though everyone and their mother is wearing it. sometimes, things are popular for a reason: they work, and they work well. this time around, I went for gunmetal, a dark, cool grey that has a life-friendly black inner liner (the light colors have white liners).

and lastly, these rain booties. can you believe that these are my first ever pair of rain boots? I have big calves, and I’ve never found a rain boot with a shaft to fit so I’ve never bought one. when I saw these online, I immediately ordered them, and I’m glad I did. not only have they been useful in keeping my feet dry on rainy days, they’re also sleek and comfy enough to be worn all day if, like me, you’re not too keen on lugging around an extra pair of shoes to change into. admittedly, they don’t have the best support so keep that in mind, but I wore them for a whole work day in which I was on my feet often, and my feet were fine. fyi: I think the leopard strap is a fun addition, but I also appreciate that they’re completely removable. I’ve removed mine as I tend to dress in monochrome, but I’ve kept them to have the option to change things up sometimes.

and you? any good buys lately?

monday memo | salt water

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man, I love this quote. I’ve mentioned many times how I’m at my most peaceful by the sea, I’m a big proponent of tears when they’re warranted, and I’ve always believed in good, honest, hard work.

happy monday!

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the friday five

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happy friday, everybody!

in a few short hours, James and I will be heading up to Wisconsin for a little weekend getaway. I’m beyond ready for a little r&r. the weather’s going to be a little chilly, but we’ll be right by the lake, so I’m happy.

and here’s the first friday five roundup:

one | I got my hair cut and colored yesterday, and it turned out exactly as I wanted. plus, I think I may have found my go-to hairdresser. new hair debut coming soon.

two | I wore suede loafers last week when the weather was hotter than I thought it would be (now it’s cold again, boo!). I kept them on as long as I could before dashing into the nearest old navy and walking out with these. some impulse purchases are bad; some impulse purchases are good. this was the latter. super cute, super affordable, and they got me my first sandal day of the season.

three | I am insanely obsessed with these scallion pancakes from trader joe’s. so good, so easy to make. I’ve been having two of these for dinner every other night. it hits the spot when I’m craving asian but don’t want to actually make a dish or order one in. I <3 trader joe’s.

four | it only took three years, but after getting HBO for free for a little while as a “we’re sorry” from our cable company, James and I are well and truly hooked into Game of Thrones. so much so that in the event we’re not caught up by the time the free period ends, James has been making noises about maybe keeping the darn thing. the GoT marathon is on.

five | I ordered this necklace about a month ago, and it finally came in. handmade in the USA, it became my favorite necklace the moment I put it on.

have a lovely weekend!

the friday five is a new weekly feature on short&lovely featuring the handful of things that were the highlights of my week. coming at you every friday, because friday is the highlight of every week.

midweek date night

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for James’ Easter present, I arranged for us to take a tour of koval, the first legal distillery in Chicago since prohibition. James received a bottle of their rye bourbon for Christmas, and he became an instant fan. run by a husband and wife team, koval offers a well-edited range of small-batch, single-barrel whiskeys, a vodka, and hopefully by July, some gin. the first picture is a shot of their barrels, which are handmade out of American oak in Minnesota. the second shot is their line of liqueurs. the bottles have an antique apothecary vibe to them with their shape and the label images, but the typography used for the brand’s name is so modern, and I just really like the vibe. they tasted great as well, especially the ginger. they’d make a great present for our roommate, Jesse, so I’ve made a mental note for the next gift-giving opportunity. we had a chance to sample all of their current offerings, and my favorites were the white rye and the bourbon. I’m not a whiskey girl by any means (I prefer vodka or tequila), but the bourbon was smooth and warming, and I was surprised to like it as much as I did. the white rye was naturally more up my alley as it tasted like a super smooth and mellow vodka. James’ favorite was the four grain, which tasted close to a blended Scotch. after sampling to our hearts desire, we purchased a mini variety pack of the white rye, the bourbon, and the millet to bring home.

for dinner, we went to one of our go-tos for Indian/Pakistani food: ghareeb nawaz. this was just a 5-minute drive from the distillery, so it was an obvious choice. if you’re looking for a fancy setup, this place isn’t it, but the food is simple, delicious, and priced-right. I ordered my go-to: chili chicken paratha. the chicken was moist and spicy, and the paratha was warm from the oven. James even had a few bites of the chili chicken and liked it, which was surprising since he’s not a fan of spicy food at all. maybe 5 years of exposing him to different foods and different spice levels is rubbing off! the total for our two paratha plates, a can of RC cola (it was a Chicago night, all around), and a huge chicken samosa split between the two of us? $8.40, with tax. I love little corner places like this that give delicious, filling meals at reasonable prices. Chicago has great food, at all different price points. I have a deep appreciation for small local places doing their thing and serving really, really good food. if you’re ever up north, stop in.

any other Chicago gems I’m missing out on? let me know!

this was not a sponsored post, just sharing the Chicago love.

wish list wednesday | nice & easy

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linen tank | birkenstocks | shirt | tote (can’t decide on the color – the other choices are good, too)

wallet | floral tank | sleeveless dress | striped sandals

the most loved pieces in my closet are the ones that are nice & easy. they’re the pieces I reach for over and over because they work, without fail. they’re my go-tos when I’m in a rush, and even when I have all the time in the world to pick and choose from my closet, they win yet again because they’re comfortable yet look put together. there are times when I do suffer for fashion, but for my everyday style, easy dressing is the name of the game. all these pieces are just that.

p.s. I wore birkenstocks when I was growing up in the 90s. I find it hilarious that they’re “in” again. I’m not one for jumping on fashion trends, but I remember how insanely comfy they were, so I’m thisclose to clicking the pair above home to me. they’re a little more sleek than the arizonas I wore in my teens.

getting back into the swing of things

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hey, guys. I hope you all had a lovely Easter weekend. I had a much needed day off yesterday in which I did absolutely nothing. not laundry, not groceries, not the blog, nothing. it was glorious. I’ll get back to the swing of things today, but I just wanted to do a quick drop by and wish you all a good Tuesday.

p.s. I don’t want to jinx anything, but I think spring is finally here!

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a reflection on a good friday

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hey, guys – just a quick note to say hi.

I will be delivering a message at a Good Friday worship service today, and I’ve included it below if you’d like to read.

whether you celebrate Easter or not, I wish you all a good friday and a blessed weekend.

*****

Lent has always been my favorite season in the Christian calendar. That might sound weird, but I’ve always cherished this more somber time in the year. Unlike the frenzy and anticipation of Advent or the triumphant joy of Eastertide, Lent is quiet and melancholy, beginning with a solemn memento mori on Ash Wednesday. Last year, like every year, I approached Lent with the intention of preparing myself for a time of weighty introspection and careful examination. I had picked out what I was giving up, I had chosen a book to read and contemplate for the 40 days, and I had received my ashes. As odd as it may sound, I welcomed the inward shift in church life, and I saw the coming Lent as an opportunity to be still and become better acquainted with God again. And for the first 5 days of Lent, from Ash Wednesday to that first Sunday, Lent was turning out exactly as I had hoped. Until the next day, the day when James, my fiance of two months, came to my office in the middle of the day and told me that he had been laid off.

To be honest, I wasn’t overly worried in those early days. I had confidence in James’ ability to find a new job, tough economy or not – we just had to wait it out, tighten our belts, press forward, and trust God to see us through. Each day began with tens of applications sent out, and each day ended with a prayer for speedy re-employment. Days began to bleed together, turning into weeks, then weeks into a  month. My prayers eventually turned from hopeful to desperate, my faith crumbling with every interview that led nowhere, every unanswered application an underscoring of our unanswered prayers, our dwindling savings account a ticking time bomb heralding the implosion of our post-college life.

I came to resent the same silence and introspection I had so been looking forward to just weeks before. The resentment was greatest at night when I lay awake in bed, my head filled with the thoughts I didn’t have the nerve to actually say in my prayers but were constantly on the tip of my tongue. Thoughts like, “How long is this going to last?”. Or, “When will this end?”. When I was scared and overwhelmed, my thoughts would run closer to “I don’t know what to do”, or “I don’t know how long I can keep it together”. When I was feeling more angry and hurt, they would be more along the lines of “Why don’t you care?” or “Why don’t you help us?”. And in my lowest moments, I would think over and over, “Why have you abandoned us?” until I would eventually drift off to sleep. And so it continued, day after day, all through that Lent.

Holy Week ultimately arrived. Anyone who has ever worked on the logistics of Holy Week knows that it is exhausting. By the time Friday came around, I was ready to throw in the towel and already looking forward to a long weekend. I wasn’t feeling particularly inspired to go to the Good Friday worship service, but in the end, I went, out of obligation. For most of the service, I was going through the motions, my attention drifting in and out, my heart immune to the achingly beautiful music and liturgy around me until the service arrived at the reading of the Crucifixion. And even though I had heard the story a hundred times before, even though I had read each line word for word more times than I cared to count, for the first time that evening I came to full attention. When I heard the words “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”, I started to cry. It started out as that telltale prickling behind the eyes, then my eyes started to water and fill, and by the time the antiphon started, I had a waterfall of tears flowing down my cheeks as I sang Kyrie eleison, Christe, eleison. Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. I looked over to my left to see James, who had been sitting beside me the entire time. His face was as wet as mine. And in that moment, for the first time in a long time, I didn’t feel quite so lost and alone.

In that moment, I was overwhelmed – as I am overwhelmed now, reflecting on it all – by the comfort I found in Jesus’ words uttered on the cross. I found an acknowledgement of my fears and sorrows, an acceptance of my weaknesses and wounds, and an understanding of my own pain and anguish, that though in no way approximate his own pain and anguish on the cross, are excruciating all the same to me. In his words at death, I find the words of compassion that give me the strength to face the Calvaries of my own life and hold on to the promise that no matter how deep or dark the night, I am not alone, the morning will come, and joy along with it.

May it be so with you.

 

hair care lineup

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bumble & bumble surf shampoo & conditioner | bumble & bumble sunday shampoo | dove nourishing oil care nutritive therapy daily treatment conditioner | dove nourishing oil care nutritive therapy shampoo & conditioner | head & shoulders clinical strength shampoo | redken clear moisture instant polishing prep | paul mitchell super skinny serum | oribe dry texturising spray | obliphica intensive hair serum

I’ve never really paid that much attention to my hair before, at least in terms of curating a set hair routine. but over the past few months, I’ve slowly put together a little edit of products I’ve found to work well with my hair. for reference, my hair isn’t particularly high maintenance at all, which probably explains why I’ve always been a little ambivalent about it. it does have its own set of quirks, though. it’s stubbornly straight – it doesn’t hold a curl. on the odd days when it’s being weird, the last 2 inches get a little wave, but those days are few and far between and it usually only happens when I’ve slept on it weird or when the weather is unbearably hot. my hair is also very thick and tangles really easily. it is also quite oily – the longest I can go without washing my hair is every other day, unless I work out, in which case, it gets washed every day.

I’ve found that for “normal” days, I prefer shampoos that give my hair a little “grit”, like the bumble & bumble surf set. I think it helps combat the oiliness and gives my hair a little texture so it isn’t quite so pin straight. I also like this shampoo for the fact that I took a little mini set with me when I went home to the Philippines and now, every time I smell it, I’m reminded of our time there.

for the days my hair needs a little extra TLC, I like richer shampoos. I tend to stay away from shampoos that have oil since my hair’s oily as it is, but the dove nourishing oil line is amazing. it’s super moisturizing without weighing my hair down at all or making it more oily. I don’t quite understand how it does it, but I’m sold.

I do occasionally get dandruff flare ups (gross, but we’re being real, right?), so once every two weeks or so, I use the head & shoulders clinical strength shampoo to keep my scalp nice and healthy. the regular kind does nothing for me (although I love the green apple scent!), and selsun blue is just way too intense in every way. I’ve found that this version is just right. it is drying, so I make sure to use the dove set the next day to give my hair extra moisture.

for the last bit of TLC, I love the redken instant polishing prep. I had a stylist use it once on my hair while she was cutting it, and it was just a great multi-tasker – it does a little detangling, a little smoothing, gives a little bit of shine, etc. I spray it on when I’m having a lazy hair day right out of the shower when my hair’s still wet. it makes brushing my hair that little bit less painful and just sets my hair up for a low maintenance day.

as for styling, I’m still loving the oribe dry texturizing spray and the paul mitchell super skinny serum. the former is great for second day hair to combat any oiliness and to give some no-fuss texture. the latter is great for the wonky days when my hair’s going every which way. a pump of this finger-combed through my hair gets things to lay a little more normally.

the new addition to the styling menu is the obliphica intensive hair serum. I received a sample in my birchbox and it was instant love. for one, it smells divine. secondly, it’s like a little boost of repair to my hair. like the paul mitchell, it’s a serum and helps my hair calm down, but it does a little instant nourishment and repair, too, with sea berry as one of its ingredients. it’s quite thick coming out of the bottle, but it’s weightless in the hair when rubbed in. my hair has just looked better since I’ve been using this a couple times a week.

when all is said and done, using all of these products regularly leaves some buildup behind. enter the clarifying shampoo. I use bumble and bumble‘s sunday shampoo. I love the name, I love the scent, and I love the way my hair feels afterwards when it’s light, insanely soft, and so easy. I pair it with the dove nourishing oil nutritive therapy daily treatment conditioner, which is the ultra moisturizing version of their already super moisturizing regular conditioner. this stuff is like butter.

wish list wednesday | wedge sandals

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last weekend, Chicago got up to 80 degrees. eighty! 8-0! I went bare-legged, and it felt so good. it didn’t last very long – we had snow (!!!) yesterday (just a dusting, but still) and it’s lukewarm today, but I’ve gotten my first taste of bare legs, and I’m impatiently waiting for full-on sandal weather. I bought this pair and this one when both were 40% off, and now all I’m missing is a wedge. it’s been surprisingly hard to find a simple wedge with a walkable heel that’s at a reasonable price point. I’m leaning towards trying out #1, #2, and #6. I love the look of #5, too, but I’m worried it’s a little too high (4″, but with a platform).

any recommendations for a simple wedge sandal, either in black or cognac or some combination like it, with a heel between 2.5 and 3.5 inches? I’m all ears!