cheap thrills | target striped d’orsay flats

 you may have heard me say this before, but I’ll say it again: I love shoes. sneakers, flats, heels, sandals…you name it, I love it. I often stick with the tried & true neutrals for my clothing, but with shoes, I’m more open to colors & styles. of course, all that shoe love can get expensive, so it’s always a thrill when you find some cute & comfortable shoes at a reasonable price, like these flats from target.

these d’orsay flats from target are lovely. in the short amount of time I’ve had them, they’ve become one of my favorite pieces in my spring capsule wardrobe.the stripe pattern is perfect for spring, as is the d’orsay cut. I find them to be really flattering on my flat, wide feet, and the cut of the toe portion is generous – even in the afternoon when my feet swell up, they don’t cut into sides of my foot. as for comfort, they do have some padding, and I find that they’re way more comfortable than another pair that cost over twice as much. I don’t know if I’d wear this for a day of consistent, non-stop walking, but for a day of running errands & grocery shopping, they held up for me. as other reviewers mentioned online, they did rub on my ankle a little when they were new, but that’s true for me with any flat.

it also comes in a brown/black color option, and is currently 20% off. if you’re on the hunt for a cute, affordable d’orsay flat, I’d recommend this one.

p.s. if regular ballet flats are more your thing, check these out. I tried the striped pair on in store, and they fit well, with plenty of room in the toe box & a snug but comfortable elastic ankle grip.

words for the week

oscarliving in luxury = living in gratitude.

there are so many things to be grateful for…including mondays. wink.

here’s to a great week!


in stores now | lilly pulitzer for target

lillypulitzerokay, I lied. this collection isn’t actually in stores now. it won’t be in stores & online until april 19, but if you haven’t already discovered it for yourself, the lookbook is live, & there are so many good things. I have to preview this collection now because I have a feeling it will be quite popular.

it’s perfect vacation beach wear for women & kids, plus some really adorable housewares to boot. I wasn’t sure how well I was going to like this collection since a lot of lilly pulitzer’s line is just a little too out there for me (girl who loves grey, remember?), but I was happily surprised to see really great options that are just the right amount of summer cheer without being overly matronly or kitschy. these are my top picks, but it was hard to whittle it down to a reasonable number. I’m really into pineapples, so those sandals & that juicer are calling my name, that bikini set is sweet & would look great under that blue cover-up, and how adorable are those swizzle sticks?

anything catch your fancy?

best of the web | 3.28.15

carolinehappy weekend, everybody! it’s not quite warm weather season in chicago, which has made getting dressed very tricky. so many pretty pieces in my spring capsule wardrobe that I want to wear badly but have been too chicken to brave the cold. we’re looking at a pretty relaxed, uneventful weekend, which is just what the doctor ordered now that I’m finally over my cold. enjoy your weekend!

some of the best of the web


things that made my week

thingshappy friday, friends! I’m bummed by the chilly weather we’ve been having lately…especially since one day not too long ago, the temperature was 72 degrees. 72.degrees. spring has to come, right?! I hope you have a lovely weekend!

the things that made my week

  1. the new under armour store just opened up on michigan avenue, and I’m excited. I’ve been really liking all the colorful designs they’ve been coming out with. I just bought this as my new gym bag.
  2. I was able to grab a real “sit-down & talk” breakfast with my guy earlier this week, which is something that doesn’t happen very often. it’s the little things.
  3. I’ve been eyeing all the pretty bags that are coming out. I’m eyeing this one for summer. the color made me smile.
  4. I finally finished reading Bossypants, and it.was.glorious. review coming soon, but let’s just say I’ve never enjoyed myself while waiting 3 hours for my car to get fixed like I did while reading this book.
  5. the sun’s been coming out more & more now, and this sunset from downstate was really beautiful.

reviews & swatches | essie spring 2015

essiespring15from my instagram

essie152sorry I’m running a little behind schedule today, but it’s worth the wait because today’s post is a pretty one!

if I were to determine my favorite nail polish brand by the number of shades I own, essie would be far & away the winner. I love the colors, the formula (for the most part), & the design of the bottles (so easy to store). lately, though, it seems like every new essie collection is reminiscent of a previous one, (which is understandable to a degree because there are only so many shades of a given color you can do) which left me feeling a little underwhelmed by the offerings. this collection though was love at first sight. maybe it’s been the seemingly never-ending winter that’s made me a little crazy over anything resembling spring, but come on, those colors are just so happy & bright & just so, so good. I bought the mini 4-pack that included blossom dandy, petal pushers, flowerista, perennial chic, & the full-size bottle of garden variety. I chose to forgo the sixth shade in the collection, picked perfect, because I didn’t think it would go well with my skin tone.

essie15swatches4two medium coats, no top coat

the formula was really good for flowerista, petal pushers, & garden variety – if you played your cards right, you could do a one-coat-wonder, but I just did my usual two. as with a lot of lighter colors, perennial chic & blossom dandy weren’t quite as easy – the first coat was a little streaky, the second still had some uneven spots that I had to touch up – but nothing truly horrible. as far as finicky, lighter colors from essie go, these were pretty good to work with. my favorites are flowerista, garden variety, & blossom dandy, which is very similar to mint candy apple but somehow different. don’t ask me how; it just is, & I love it. I don’t have a comparison shot because I’m just not cool like that, but here’s one. see? I told you it was different, wink.

bottom line, this collection is lovely. have you tried it?


wedding planning

weddingjames & I have been engaged since december 2012, and ever since, people have wondered when we’re getting married. don’t tell anyone…but we’re planning for next year, in may or june. but can I let you in on a little secret? I’m not too keen on the idea of a big wedding. I’ve been to many weddings, both in the bridal party & as a general guest, and the brides are always stressed & just want it to be over. I know that that’s not true for everybody, but I know that being stressed is not what I’m going for.

my dream wedding would be in an intimate setting with our nearest & dearest, with good food, good music, & everybody having a good time. I’d like it to be outside in the early summer. I see myself wearing a very simple dress with a kick*ss pair of shoes & flowers in my hair, slow dancing with my guy, laughing & having a good time.

simple. easy.

we’ve begun checking out places in earnest, and I think we may have found the spot, fingers crossed. we’re taking it one thing at a time and keeping the decisions & looking just between the two of us for now.

for those of you who have gotten married and/or are planning a wedding now, how did it go/how is it going? any advice you’d care to share? am I naive to think I could have an easy, stress-free wedding? I’m all ears!


the capsule wardrobe | spring 2015

spring2015capsulewardrobethe moment you’ve all been waiting for (ha!): my capsule wardrobe for spring. I’m so happy with what I ended up picking. I’m loving the lighter, airier feel of this edit. even though I didn’t go completely away from my beloved neutrals, there are pops of soft colors sprinkled throughout. it’s a softer & brighter version of me, which is exactly how I feel in real life.

going into spring, I knew that I would have to pick up a decent number of new pieces. a lot of my warmer weather pieces were looking old and needed replacing. after taking stock of my closet and my bank account, I made a budget of $350. when I really committed to doing a capsule wardrobe at the beginning of janury, I started a little fund in anticipation of these purchases (I just held on to spending money I would normally spend over the course of a month (~$85), plus stockpiled some gift cards from over the holidays).

the rundown on all the pieces is below. items marked with an * are newly purchased; items whose name are in color are items that are similar to the one I own (I did this when I couldn’t find the picture of the exact item in my closet). you can click on the images to enlarge them.

if I had to choose my top 5 favorite pieces, it would be the trench coat (three words: polka dot lining), the white long-sleeve tee (the longer hem in the back is genius), the grey vest (for endless layering possibilities, plus I feel like a bad-ass when I wear it), the floral midi skirt (it makes me smile just by looking at it), & the white dress (I love it so much I kind of want to get married in it!). oh, and that marled sweater from lou & grey (sadly from last season)…it’s pretty much my favorite warm weather sweater of all time.

if you guys have any questions or comments, drop me a note below. I’m so smitten with my closet right now & would welcome any excuse to talk about it.

who’s ready for spring?

spring15topslou & grey marled sweater (old; similar) | j.crew factory navy striped sweater | banana republic graphic tee (sold out; other options) | old navy pink gingham button-down | old navy blue oxford | old navy white oxford | old navy grey vintage tee  | old navy white vintage tee | loft printed navy blouse | athleta asana white long sleeve tee | ann taylor grey striped tee (old; similar) | loft ikat blouse

spring15bottomsbanana republic distressed jeans | gap white jeans | gap light blue jeans (old; similar) | loft grey ponté pencil skirt (old; similar) | old navy pleated mini skirt | old navy floral midi skirt (old; similar)dressesspring2015loft white jacquard fit & flare dress | old navy striped long sleeve jersey dress (old; similar)

layersspring2015topshop long grey vest | lou & grey white waterfall cardigan (old; similar) | old navy striped jersey blazer (old; similar) | old navy blush jersey blazer (old; similar) | old navy trench coat (sold out; similar) | lands’ end rain jacket (old; similar) | old navy green utility jacket (old; similar)

spring15shoesj. crew grey suede booties | dv by dolce vita black slip-on sneaksvince camuto cage heels | target d’orsay flatsold navy oxfords | j. crew smoking loafers | zara black low-heel sandals | chooka ankle rain boots |  j. crew factory leopard flats

by the numbers:

disclaimer: I wanted to be very up front & honest about how all of this came together, including talking about how much everything cost. I think it’s helpful to know, but please know that this is my experience/budget/lifestyle & that it won’t necessarily look like your experience/ budget/lifestyle…but that’s the fun part! everyone’s different, and we can all share & learn from each other and tweak as necessary.

  • 37* total pieces: 12 tops, 7 bottoms, 2 dresses, 7 layering pieces, & 9 pairs of shoes

*one more than I thought…but 37 is a good starting number, don’t you think?

  • 14 new pieces, 23 recycled pieces
  • number of shopping trips: 4*, spread out over 3 weeks

*more specifically, 2  big trips, 1 small trip, and a couple of online purchases that I’m lumping together to equal one trip. I did all my old navy & loft purchases when they had their respective 40% off sales, and I picked up two items from j. crew factory on a third trip. the online purchases were the sandals from zara, some old navyloft items I couldn’t find in the store in my size, & the j. crew boots (I tried both pairs of shoes in-store but purchased online because of convenience/price). I hope to streamline this process in the future, but not too bad considering I’m a noob at this (wink).

  • money spent: $356 including taxes*

*I thought I was going to go over budget as I really loved those suede booties from j. crew (see next section), but with the help of a major sale, I got them for a steal and stayed on-budget (give or take $6). as I build up a collection of capsule wardrobes, I hope to eventually just purchase a handful of items each season to mostly replace well-worn pieces that look a little worse for wear. while these new pieces might be more expensive individually, I’m fully expecting to spend & acquire a lot less over the course of a whole year than I have in past years.

*these new babies replaced a pair of similar nine west booties I had had for 6 years. they were so dirty & gross (I really should have replaced them at least 2 years ago) but oh-so-comfortable. I wanted this pair badly as soon as I saw them in the catalog…but at $228, they were a bit steep. I ended up purchasing the the first time around for $172 with a coupon code & a rewards card, but ended up returning since I had bought them a half size too large and because even at $172, they were still too expensive. but sometimes things work out for the best. I found a pair in the right size last week. they were marked down to $170 plus an additional 40% off of sale in store and I had a $25 rewards card…bringing them to $85 with tax. I may have done a little happy dance.

  • most inexpensive item: the old navy vintage tee, $3 (with a sale & coupon)
  • oldest item: the pair of gap light blue jeans (similar), 4 years old

in stores now | banana republic


all the new spring arrivals are always so pretty! just before a new season starts, I always check out my go-to stores and go through their new collections. I edit it down to my top 12 choices or so and keep them in my virtual cart so that they’re all in one place, making it easy for me to check back now & again to see if anything has gone on sale. it’s a great way to stay on task & budget – I don’t bother looking at anything other than my top picks. I figured it would be a fun little series on the blog that could also be helpful to some of you. first up: banana republic. they’ve really stepped up their game in the last couple of seasons, and I’m loving their clean, modern offerings.

I’m all set for spring, but I’m eyeing these shorts, these jeans, & this crossbody for the summer.

one | two | three | four | five | six | seven | eight | nine | ten | eleven | twelve