7.26.2014

Date Night (with P.F. Chang's)


it's been almost a year now since Mike and i were in a long-distance relationship. although we both agree that long-distance was good for us, we're both incredibly happy that it's no longer the case. we see each other just about every weekend, so we've definitely been taking advantage of our relatively close proximity to spend time together. it's been fun to have him around to explore Chicago with me! 

since seeing each other regularly is 'old news' these days, i've found that i appreciate date night even more. and it's even better when it's a full date day, which is what happened last weekend! we decided to rent some bikes and ride along the lakefront path, both for exercise and to enjoy the beautiful weather we had. on our ride, we decided to stop at Lincoln Park Zoo - one of our favorite things to do together. after watching the monkeys and apes for quite some time (they're incredibly fascinating to us) and walking through the cat house to admire the lion and few cervals they have, we got back on our bikes to continue riding. after what felt like hours (it was pretty toasty outside, so every minute felt like 30), we finally made it back to my apartment to clean up and get ready for dinner. we took a fast-paced walk down to P.F. Chang's and were seated immediately, at which time we could  have probably eaten anything put in front of us. hungry doesn't begin to describe how we felt. 

P.F. Chang's has a new seasonal menu featuring perfect pairings with new dishes and wine pairings (and craft beers!). my family is particularly fond of P.F. Chang's and i dine there probably about every 2 months or so. i'm hooked on their crispy green beans, chicken lettuce wraps, and chang's spicy chicken, but you really can't go wrong with any dish! although i tend to stick to my ways, especially when it comes to ordering food, i was excited to try some items off the new menu to broaden my horizons a bit. i'm not a particularly adventurous person when it comes to food, but Mike is willing to try just about anything and there's almost a 100% chance that he'll eat every last bite (even if he doesn't like it much!). he tends to eat about 1 1/2 meals every time we go out to eat - his and the leftovers from mine. 


after browsing the menu for a few minutes, we settled on starting with the Heirloom Tomato Salad (we wanted the Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken Spring Rolls but they were out) and a couple entrees. his was the Chiang Mai Curry Noodles with Chicken (the man loves curry, which i do not share an affinity for) and mine was the Korean BBQ Chicken Stir-Fry. i ordered the wine pairing for the salad and Mike enjoyed a beer. 


the salad was a yummy combination of fresh tomatoes, avocado, basil, and a zesty dressing. i love a good vegetable salad (sans lettuce), so i was excited to try it! the mix of flavors and textures was refreshing and tasty, and went perfectly with my glass of white wine. when our entrees arrived, we were both pretty excited to dig in and give them a try. Mike's plate was clear within about 7 minutes and then he helped himself to some of my Korean BBQ. i'd never tried any sort of dish like that before and i was pleasantly surprised by how much i liked it. like i said, i'm not particularly adventurous with food, so i'm always hesitant to order an entire dish that i'm not 100% sure that i'll like, but i can honestly say that i'd order this entree again. the mix of veggies, chicken, and kimchi slaw was wonderful. the veggies still had a bit of crunch to them and the chicken was nice and tender.  it had a bit of a kick to it, but nothing my wine couldn't handle! 


overall, we really enjoyed our meal. it was light and refreshing, but also incredibly filling. we walked out of the restaurant happy as clams.

P.F. Chang's is currently running a Perfect Pairing Contest, where one lucky winner will win an all-inclusive food trip to Boston, including a personal tour of the Samuel Adams Brewery and a craft beer pairing dinner at P.F. Chang's! You can enter the contest here.

this post is sponsored by P.F. Chang's. all opinions and images are my own. 

7.25.2014

High Five for Friday

happy friday! if you're new to these parts, today's post is a look back at some of my highlights from this past week - you can do the same! (details below) at the end of the week, i like to reflect on the good that happened, even if it wasn't a particularly stellar few days. this week, however, was pretty good for me! here's why:

1. i was in the burbs earlier in the week to do a little apartment furniture and decor shopping with my mom. i was only planning on picking up some of my bigger furniture items, but ended up finding loads of great stuff to use for decor, as well! it was one of those days that you can't plan to happen because then you wouldn't find anything. i was pleasantly surprised by how well-stocked both Home Goods and Marshall's were, which is where i picked up the majority of my goods. i cannot wait to see it all come together soon! 
pillow: Nicole Miller | rug: Safavieh (both from Marshall's)
2. after a real scorcher earlier in the week, the 70 degree days we've had since have been glorious. they've made me quite excited for fall, mostly because fall is my favorite season to dress for! 

3. i did, however, take advantage of the warm temps over the weekend and headed to the beach for a few hours. there's this magical thing that happens in the summer in chicago where seemingly everyone is in a wonderful mood and life is just great - it's called lake michigan being warm enough to actually step into and not get frostbite. it's a beautiful thing.

4. i've rediscovered the goodness that is curling my hair with a 1 1/4" iron and i'm hooked (again).

5. i joined a friend for happy hour the other night and loved having a legitimate reason to get dressed up a bit. since it doesn't happen too often, i like to take advantage of every opportunity to use my heels and fancier pieces! 
shoes: Nickels (Marshall's) | pants: Anthro (similar) | sweater: J.Crew
how has your week been? link up below! 
if you'd like, feel free to add the button below to your own #H54F post!
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7.24.2014

Brows Matter

if you're even remotely active on social media, i'm sure you've seen one of those articles floating around that's called something along the lines of, 'celebrities without eyebrows'. if you haven't, please google it now. no, seriously. just come back when you're done. 

anyway, it really shows how important eyebrows are in shaping your face. they're essential, if you ask me. now, most of us have eyebrow hairs, but not all of us were born with beautiful, thick, dark brows that require no extra work. i fall in that first camp - the one that has to take a couple extra steps while doing my makeup. for years, i withheld filling in my brows because i didn't feel like dealing with the 'hassle' of it. oh, cute sweet naive me. it takes me 1-2 minutes to do my brows and makes an incredible difference for my face.

here's what i've been using:
Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Powder Duo in Medium Brown
Julep's Angled Liner Brush
e.l.f. Small Angled Brush

the liner brush is used for setting my outline of my brows, while the small angled brush is for filling in.




brows make a huge difference, right?  it took me a few trial runs to find the best shape, color, etc. now that i've been doing it for a few months with this brow powder, i wouldn't do it using anything else! the powder goes on beautifully and gives a really natural look, which is important. it lasts all day and doesn't require touch-ups. if you don't currently fill in your brows, i recommend trying it out and seeing if you can notice the difference in your face! these days, i don't leave the house without a little powder in my brows, even if i don't do anything else with my face. 

if you need a tutorial for how to fill them in, Keiko Lynn's tutorial is great!

shirt | old from Madewell
necklace | Kate Spade

7.22.2014

Feelin' Fancy

although my closet may say otherwise, i'm not one to dress-up much. i really wish that i was because i always feel great in a dress or cute skirt, but i just naturally opt for shorts or jeans. i'm working on branching out of my stubborn ways and reaching for those dresses and skirts in my closet that are just begging to be worn. 

when i spotted this dress by Chicwish, i knew i had to have it. the pop of blue florals, flowy material, and trapeze shape just beckoned me in. 

shoot, i'll start dressing up. but only if i can wear this outfit every time. 
dress | c/o Chicwish
shoes | Marshall's
bag | Steve Madden (similar)
earrings | Forever 21 

7.21.2014

My Summer Uniform

this summer has been all about easy, simple outfits for me. since most of my days are spent at my desk in my apartment, there isn't always a need for me to 'get ready' for the day. many days i roll out of bed, throw on some house clothes, and sit at my desk 'til about noon...when my stomach starts to growl. if i do need to run an errand or decide to go to a coffee shop, i find myself reaching for things in my closet that i can just throw on with my bed head and one swipe of mascara face. 

whether it's jean shorts and a tee, a maxi skirt and tank, or a dress: the simpler, the better. this striped tunic dress is perfect for me. i just throw it on with a pair of fun sandals and an interesting necklace and i'm good to go. 





this necklace is particularly near and dear to my heart because it was handmade by an artisan for the exclusive summer collection for BRIKA. as a handmade shop owner myself, i love to wear and share other handmade goods by artists. the necklace is super lightweight and would be a great addition to plenty of outfits. i'm thinking i'll pair it next with my destructed denim shorts and simple grey v-neck or a knit sweater and maxi skirt (for cooler days!). be sure to check out their summer collection for other beautiful handmade necklaces! 

enter to win this necklace on Instagram!

dress | c/o Gracie B.*
sandals | Franco Sarto (similar)
bag | Rebecca Minkoff (via Nordstrom Rack)
necklace | c/o BRIKA

*shop Gracie B.'s summer sale now! get up to 75% off, plus free shipping to USA and Canada!