the friday five


this week’s the friday five is coming at you solely from our dinner at hopleaf, a bar in uptown/andersonville. in all the years I’ve lived in chicago, this was my first time, and man, was I missing out! we snagged a four-course meal with beer parings on how about we last month and scheduled it for memorial day evening. it was the best meal I’ve had in a long time. the food was delicious and a little more sophisticated than you would expect from a bar. the beer was excellent, and the pairings were spot on and well thought out. it was most definitely the highlight of our week. we’re already plotting our next visit.

I hope you have a lovely weekend!

dinner highlights


| mussels in white wine with shallots and peas |


| frites & aioli, round 1 |


| one of my favorite drinks of the night: vandermill‘s ginger peach cider |


| a decadent arugula salad |


| medium rare grass-fed ribeye with ramp butter and frites & aioli, round 2 |

p.s. we had a delicious lavender infused panna cotta for dessert, but I had long hit the food wall by that point and didn’t take a quick snap. they rolled us home shortly after…

work it out


I’ve gotten back into a workout routine, and after 10 days of consistently working out, I feel that I can now share my workout attire with some credibility. ;). I don’t believe in “dressing up” for the gym – I go barefaced, no jewelry, hair pulled back for efficiency – but that doesn’t mean I believe in throwing on whatever, either. at the gym, I dress for comfort and function first and foremost, but if I can throw in cute as a third criterion without compromising the first two, I’m all in.

starting from the feet up, I wear these kicks from nike. they fit my small but wide feet like a glove, provide support for my flat-footedness, and look pretty cute. I ran a lot when I was younger, but chronic tendonitis and weak ankles have me now opting for low-impact and high-intensity cardio instead, focusing on incline more than speed. for that purpose, these shoes have served me well. since they have a pretty low profile, I wear these socks. they don’t show at all (no-show socks that do show are a pet peeve of mine), stay on my heels, and don’t add any bulk. since I’m focusing mostly on weight-training and low-impact cardio, I don’t need the most supportive sports bra. this one provides enough support to keep things under control without making me feel constricted. I stock up whenever they go on sale. now that the weather is warming up, I’m favoring shorts and racerback tanks. I like the old navy and gap shorts and these tanks. I’ve raved about them before, but the entire breathe line from gap is so comfortable, is of good quality, and washes well. lastly, hydration is key when working out. I like these bottles from bkr. I love the different colors the covers come in (mine is peach), the no-taste glass, and the tilted lid handle that makes carrying it a breeze. I also have the 1L bottle for all-day drinking.

wish list wednesday | this & that

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eyeshadow palette | water bottle | book | travel case set | bag | flower pot

if this assortment of wants seems random, it is. :). it’s a little of this and a little of that. I may have found the bucket bag, and that travel case set is so chic. I would love to bring both with me on our trip to Boston in July, so I’m counting my pennies now. I’m also itching to get a jump start on my summer reading and first on that list is Truman, who is actually my favorite President. now you know that I’m a nerd at heart. as for that neutral eyeshadow palette, I certainly don’t need it, but neutral eyeshadow palettes – along with striped shirts, asian rice, and cute stationery – are my kryptonite, and well, it’s a wishlist, right?

happy Wednesday!

back to basics | the striped shirt

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ah, the striped shirt. I know I own too many, but they’re such a hardworking part of my wardrobe that I don’t mind. I have them in all shapes and sizes – boatneck, v-neck, 3/4 sleeve, short sleeve, etc. – and I’m not even close to getting tired of them. it’s a love affair that has been long and true. the only stripe I’ve met and haven’t liked is the big, bold, rugby one. as a woman with a large chest, I stay far away from those, but every other stripe is fair game. thin to medium horizontal stripes are great; ones on the diagonal are super flattering. pick a neckline that flatters you and a stripe in a color you love and start from there. I have a soft spot for the classic boatneck with navy or grey stripes myself.

the shirt above is the newest addition to my stripe collection. I couldn’t resist the longer length, the soft fabric, or the adorably cute side slits. I was worried they’d go a little too high, but after trying it on, they hit just right. I’m going to live in this all summer. more options: this one comes in great colors (I want them all), these are classics, this I bought in both colors and love, and this can be monogrammed.

I hope you had a lovely memorial day.

back to basics is a series on short&lovely highlighting the workhorses of my wardrobe, the pieces that work day in & day out, without fail. without these babies, then I really wouldn’t know what to wear.

in memoriam


in memory of every one whose sacrifice has preserved everything we hold noble and true, including my grandfather for his service in the Second World War. 

we remember, and we salute in everlasting gratitude. 



the friday five


I’m looking forward to a great holiday weekend. we’re starting out the weekend with going out for dinner at our favorite little mexican taqueria and closing it out with a picnic by the lake on monday. if only every weekend were like that! happy  memorial day, and I hope it’s full of the many good things so many have fought to preserve.

 this week’s highlights


| couldn’t resist this cute pair |


| tuesday night dinner |


| two things I love: my tumbler & butter london‘s macbeth |

ice cream

| ice cream (bought from an ice cream truck!) |


| new revlon lippies in barcelona nights (left) & miami fever (right) |


sandals galore


every year, I buy a couple pairs of sandals to see me through the warmer months. this year, I ended up buying six because all of the more casual sandals I had were long past their expiration date (one pair was over 6 years old!). I’ve already worn some of these pairs quite a lot, with the one exception being the black pair in the top row. those are brand spanking new. I loved the brown pair so much (as you can see) that when I got my rewards card, I used it on them. and see those two tone sandals in the bottom row with the rhinestones across the top? I was inspired by this diy, bought a pair of target sandals and some teardrop rhinestones, and went to town. I had bought this bejeweled pair at 40% off, but even with the hefty discount, I didn’t want to spend that much on a pair of trendy sandals (I have a hard time spending over $100 on any pair of shoes in general, but especially on non-classics) and returned them. my diy project cost $30, and I have to say, the price difference aside, I think I like mine better. ;)

top row || nicole wedges | j.crew rio sandals in black & brown

bottom row || birkenstock gizeh birko-flor in black leather (insanely comfortable!!!) | target mossimo sandals + diy rhinestones | j. crew evie midheel sandals in copper

wish list wednesday | the great white skirt


one | two | three | four | five | six

I’m desperately in need of a white skirt. I had one from gap that I wore for years until it kicked the bucket two summers ago, and I’ve yet to replace it. even though I’m short, I’m really drawn to the tea length skirt. in a simple cotton design, it can be dressed up or dressed down because of the length. I’m really liking the cut out effect of #3 & #5, the simplicity and drape of #6, and the versatility of #1 (even though it’s a mini).

which one’s your favorite?

back to basics | the perfect t-shirt


isn’t it ironic that the simplest things are the hardest to find? it should be easy to find the perfect plain t-shirt that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. for me, the perfect t-shirt is comfortable, has that perfect slouch, is form fitting without being restrictive or skin tight, and has the ability to be as dressed up or as dressed down as you need it to be in that moment. I’ve tried several options previously – the j.crew one, the mossimo one, the old navy one – that were decent, but none of them fit me quite right. one was too sheer, another was too short, another was more than I wanted to pay for a t-shirt at regular price. then I tried this shirt from merona, and it was exactly what I had been looking for. the cotton is of a heavier weight but is still soft and comfortable for all sorts of weather, the length was long (just how I like it), it skimmed my body without being too frumpy or too tight, and the neckline was conservative enough to be work appropriate but still sexy enough to be modern. I have both the v-neck and scoop-neck versions in white, black, and grey. as someone with a larger chest, v-necks are my friend, but it’s hard to find one that elongates the neckline without veering into cleavage central for work. as for scoop necks, they often don’t show enough skin and just end up looking like crew necks on me (trust me, not a good look if you’re heavy up top). with these shirts, it hit that nice happy medium that’s been so elusive. for everyday/work wear, I take the larger of my two sizes for a more relaxed fit, but if I want to dress up or opt for a slimmer fit, I size down to the smaller of my two sizes. at $9 a pop at regular price, I can afford multiples.

what’s your holy grail t-shirt?

back to basics is a series on short&lovely highlighting the workhorses of my wardrobe, the pieces that work day in & day out, without fail. without these babies, then I really wouldn’t know what to wear.

monday memo


in whatever way you make the world a little better, a little brighter, a little more beautiful, a little bit more loving, a little bit more good, shine on.