Giveaway // Crave Jewels

today's giveaway comes from the lovely Erin of Crave Jewels. if you've been a long time reader, you know how much i love Erin's beautiful necklaces. they add a great pop to an outfit and are so unique. the pink and gold one i'm wearing below is no exception!


one lucky winner will get a $50 gift card to Erin's shop, just in time for the holidays!

also, use code HOLIDAY15 for 15% off your entire order!
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High Five for Friday

happy post-thanksgiving and very black friday, people. for those of you that are crazy like me and decided to hit up the stores at midnight, i hope you found some good stuff! for you smart people that decided to sleep, i'm jealous.

here's five of my favorite things from this week:
1. i interviewed for and was offered a position at an interior design company earlier this week! i'm so excited to start and share more with you guys. i also really liked getting dressed up for the interview.
2. thanksgiving was wonderful and relaxing. we had some family friends over to share all of our food with, which was a fun little change. hope yours was great, too! 

3. after a long hunt, i've finally found a good book i can totally get lost in, Divergent. it's been awhile. 
4. it's almost December, which means that it's almost the month that my nephew will be born!

5. the dessert was right on par for thanksgiving yesterday. i made fudge, mom made lemon meringue pie and chocolate cake, and a friend brought two pumpkin pies. needless to say, we've got quite a few leftovers. which i'm not mad about. 
how has your week been? link up below and tell me about it! 

Happy Thanksgiving

wishing you all a safe, relaxing, and very happy holiday weekend! i'll be spending it in the burbs, hanging out with my family and Mike's. i'm looking forward to "unplugging" a bit and reading more from my Divergent book (if you don't follow me in instagram, i started reading it and it's amazing. you should too.).

for you loyal High Five for Friday-ers, i will still be hosting the link-up tomorrow! i'd love to have you recap your holiday and share it with everyone.

see you tomorrow!

Q+A, Part Four


here's what questions were asked and when they were answered:
(1:03) do you ever feel unsafe when you go out and take photos by yourself in the city?
(3:30) what features do you look for in shoes to make sure you're comfortable walking the city?
(5:00) how much time do you devote to blogging in a week? how do you balance it with everything else in your life?
(11:08) what led you to be passionate about fashion/style?
(13:31) how often, if ever, do you and Kate fight?
(15:56) what devotions can you recommend?
(17:10) what has been your game plan to transition out of your ombré hair?
(19:13) who's the youngest and the oldest out of the kids in your family?

wearing:
Nordstrom Rack sweater
Revlon Colorburst in Sizzle

check out Part One, Part Two, and Part Three!

email me or comment with any questions!

Beauty Wish List

here's just a few things i'm hoping to get my hands on before too long (aka Christmas. aka read closely, family.). i borrowed my sister's Naked2 Palette while i was in North Carolina last week and fell in love with it. the warm browns are perfect for my skin and i love the variety it offers. also, if you haven't tried Sonia's new body line at Target, you must. the scents are to die for.
one - Philosophy Bubble Bath in Melon Daiquiri
two - Tocca Candle in Cleopatra
three - Julep Extraordinary Color Kit
four - Urban Decay Naked2 Palette
five - Sephora Prestige Luxe Brush Set
six - Tarte Blush in Dollface
seven - Sonia Kashuk Pink Innocencia Body Butter and Purple Seductia Shower Gel

what's on your beauty wish list?

Holiday Gifts from Mariano's

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client.

the holidays are officially nipping at our heels, folks! they're here. how that's even possible, i do not know. i feel like it was just August and i was preparing for the big move.

in theory, i'm a really organized and on-top-of-it kind of gal. in theory. for some reason, when it comes to holiday shopping, i'm just not. i think it's partly because i'm not always great at generating creative holiday gift ideas, especially for people that i don't spend time with regularly or are male (am i the only one that is the worst at buying gifts for the men in my life? i never know what they want or need). i knew that i wanted to put together a gift for my boyfriend's dad and girlfriend, but i didn't know where to even start. and then Mariano's came into my life. for those that aren't familiar with the store, Mariano's is all that is right with grocery shopping. from an abundant cheese selection (seen below), to fresh meat and seafood, plenty of chocolate, and some of the best smelling and looking prepared foods you've ever seen, it's the place to be. my first time there was one of those "i'm so overwhelmed by how amazing this is that i'm just going to walk around and look at everything before i even start to shop" kind of things. you know what i'm talking about.

i decided to put together a "wintry night in" gift basket for Mike's dad and girlfriend. if they're anything like me, going out to eat on a cold winter night is just about the last thing i want to do. i'd rather stay warm and cozy inside. Mariano's had everything i needed (and more!) to prepare the basket for them. with the help of my boyfriend, i picked out some fancy cheeses and a nice bottle of wine to begin.

then we made our way over to the chocolate/sweets area, where i grabbed some chocolate covered almonds for a bit of sweet in the basket. we continued through the market, and i added some crackers, fresh fruit, salami, mixed nuts, and fresh focaccia bread "muffins". i wanted a variety of flavors and a good balance of salty and sweet.

to keep it simple, i gathered all of my items and arranged them in a basket. with a simple holiday tag attached to the basket, i had the perfect holiday gift put together. i'm hoping that they'll enjoy it on a cold night in, watching a movie and snacking on some delicious treats.


my favorite part about this basket is that it doesn't require the recipients to do anything but enjoy it. it was quick and easy (and less than $50!) for me to put together, which i love. i always enjoyed when my parents received baskets from people for the holidays because it was a surprise to see what would be inside. i hope they'll enjoy it!

if you haven't been to Mariano's before, you really should check one out! while you're there, be sure to grab a Mariano's reward card to take advantage of all the great deals they have to offer. bonus: if you have a man in your life that doesn't like grocery shopping as much as mine, he'll actually enjoy walking around Mariano's. there's so much to look at! so drag him along with you when you go.

be sure to like Mariano's facebook page and follow them on twitter. for recipes, store openings, and all things Mariano's, check out their community page. #MyMarianos #cbias

Giveaway // Happy or Else

today's giveaway comes from Christina of Happy or Else. Christina is my kind of girl. she doesn't take life too seriously and she writes like she talks (at least, that's what i think. i've never actually heard her speak, but you know what i'm saying). not to mention, her blog is beautiful. she's a regular High Five for Friday linker upper (although those are both words separately, i'm pretty sure they're not when put together...just roll with it).

did i mention that she's beautiful? here's proof:
so, she divulged to me that she's only been shopping at Target for about a year now. I KNOW. what on earth she was doing with her time before then is beyond me. now that she understands all the glory that is Target, she's giving one lucky reader a $50 gift card! just in time for the holidays, right? although, if i'm being honest, i would totally spend it on myself. i know i'm not alone in that. right? RIGHT?

be sure to like her page on facebook, follow her on twitter and pinterest!
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Giveaway // Evie & Ann

today's giveaway comes from a special somebody i like to call my cousin, Kelley! our families grew up pretty close to each other, so most of my childhood pictures from Christmas or summers at the lake have Kelley and her siblings in them. she lives in Colorado with her husband and two cute kids. you can read more about their life here.

in the mean time, you can enter to win a beautiful crocheted cowl that she made! you can check out her shop here. (hint hint: holiday shopping). i've been wearing mine around the city since it's getting cold around these parts. it's the perfect weight and size, and really well made.
shirt from Target

use the giveaway tool below to enter to win a purple one for yourself! AND use code LAUREN15 for 15% off your order through December 1st.
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High Five for Friday

happy friday, kitty cats! truth be told, this is the first blog post i've written all week (thank you, post scheduling). it feels good to be back, to blogging and to reality. i spent the last several days in North Carolina with my sister, which we realized was the last time it would be just the two of us! Baby Small Things will be here before we know it and then we'll have a dude doing girly things with us. hopefully he won't protest too much ;)

let's recap the week:
1. kate and i were able to attend a Duke basketball game while i was in town, which was so fun!
2. tomorrow is Mike's and my one year anniversary! i can't believe it's already been a year for us -- time flies when you're in love, right? we don't have any big plans, but i'm sure i'll instagram a thing or two.

3. so, i don't know what happened, but i had a crazy amount of jewelry sales while i was gone and spent two hours wrapping them all upon returning to my apartment yesterday. not that i'm complaining, at all. hello, Christmas gift fund! 
4. so, we all know that the weather in NC (and the entire southeast) is generally just the best, right? well, this past week was no exception, so i was especially dreading returning to the cold midwest. alas! it was not as cold as i thought it would be. Mike attributes this to me "getting used to it"(as if i didn't spend the first 21 years of my life suffering in the midwestern winters). anyway, it really made my day yesterday that i didn't have to return to below freezing temperatures. although, i think they're coming for me this weekend.

5. the caaaaats. it brings me such pure and unadulterated joy to return home to my cats. it's almost sick. i also love that they're always really loving the first 36 hours after our reunion.
how has your week been? link up below and use #H54F in social media posts!

Q+A, Part Three


here's the questions that were answered:
(1:15) how do you make your coffee at home?
(2:51) do you wear makeup every day?
(4:11) how often will you go back to see Kate and the baby?
(5:27) do you want kids someday?
(7:17) any talks of marriage?
(9:23) do you see yourself staying in Chicago?
(11:05) what are your favorite places to shop?
(13:57) what inspired you to start the jewelry business? was it difficult to get started?
(19:03) do you make any money blogging? if so, how?

also, i say "um" a whole lot. sorry.

Favorites List

color - to wear: black or grey / to look at: most shades of pink and purple

ice cream flavor - it's a tie between mint chocolate chip and coffee

hair product - Kenra 25 hairspray

beauty product - CoverGirl Professional Super Thick Lash mascara

nail polish - currently: CND Vinylux in Cake Pop

mode of transportation - car

tv show - all time: Friends, comedy: Arrested Development, drama: Chicago Fire, dramedy: Parenthood

material possession (non-electronic) -  i would have a reaaaal hard time getting rid of my bed. anyone that knows me well enough, knows this.

vacation spot - warm: Marco Island, FL / cold: Park City, UT

month - September. i love the beginning of the cooler weather, the leaves turning, apple picking, and the fact that i can usually pull off wearing a sweater without people thinking i'm crazy

day of the week - these days, it's Tuesday. it's my day off, so i love having the day to myself to work on blog stuff, make jewelry, grocery shop, workout, and just lounge around

time of day - morning, which will probably surprise my close people because i'm not exactly a morning person, but i love drinking my coffee and getting ready for the day

year of life, so far - probably this one. there have been a lot of changes in this year, but i feel like they all are leading me to where i want to be, personally, spiritually, and professionally. and i'm pretty over the moon excited to become an aunt during this one.

physical activity - i really enjoy running, but only on days that i actually feel motivated to do so. i wish that i lived by some sort of nature park, because i also enjoy hiking. and snow skiing. so there's a few for you.

lazy day activity - lounging in bed in cozies with my cats watching shows

store* - this is a quiz. if you don't know the immediate answer to this question, we aren't as good of friends as i thought.

type of animal** - the quiz continues. i will be horrified if you don't know. it will be a disappointment to my very nature as a human.

holiday - probably Christmas. i really do enjoy everything about the Christmas season, except maybe the cold weather. but i do like snow on Christmas.'

sport - i'm not much of a sportsman, but i do very much enjoy watching college and professional basketball. i've come around to football a bit, too.

*Target
**Cats

Blazers are always a good idea

i'm a firm believer in the power of a really great blazer. whenever anyone asks me "what are some items that i should definitely have in my closet?", my first answer is almost always "a blazer". why? blazers are some of the most versatile pieces that you can have in your closet. you can use them to dress up a more casual outfit (think jeans and a graphic tee), you can use them in place of a cardigan when you want to dress up an outfit a bit (think with a silk blouse or peplum top) and they transition easily between outerwear and an actual piece of your outfit.


they also provide great shape and structure, which is key if you're wearing a dress or loosely fitting top. from behind, you'll still have a waistline because most blazers nip in at that point.

i almost always feel like a real grown up when i wear a blazer, which is another thing that i love about them.

are you a blazer wearer?

outfit details:
blazer: H&M (similar)
jeans: Target
lace top: J.Crew Factory (similar)
scarf: Hot Mama (similar)
boots: Charlotte Russe (similar)
necklace: Elisabeth Ashlie

Q+A Answers, Round Two

back for round two of answering some of your questions today!
questions that were answered:
(0:30) why does Kate call you "Stu"?
(2:26) how tall are you and Kate?
(3:05) can I wear cognac boots with black leggings or a black dress?
(4:24) how are you controlling your Psoriasis?
(5:31) how do you keep up with all the cat hair?
(6:45) do you have any recommendations for anti-aging products?
(7:50) what's your financial situation? how do you afford life?
(15:32) what are your tips for selling clothes on Instagram?

video shout-outs:
Carrie of Caroline G, Kacia of Coconut Robot, Kate of The Small Things Blog

this is the Psoriasis shampoo i mentioned

have more questions? leave them in the comments or email me!

for the first round of answers, go here!

High Five for Friday

is it just me or did this week totally fly by? i can't believe it's already Friday. not that i'm complaining or anything, especially since that means that i'm flying to North Carolina tomorrow! whew, i better get packin'. let's review the week:
1. although i'm not happy about it AT ALL, it's finally been cold enough for me to bust out my real winter coat a couple times. it goes from neck to ankles, people. the only part of me that is cold is my face, which is pretty great.
2. Sam and i attended the State Farm Champions Classic earlier this week to see Duke play. i mean, they were in Chicago, we couldn't very well not go to see them. it was such a fun night full of great basketball.
3. i found these two treasures on J.Crew Factory's website and they were on extra sale, so it was a pretty exciting moment for me. (hat)
4. the mistas, as i so lovingly refer to them.
5. i was browsing Michael's yesterday and found this adorable miniature Christmas tree that was perfect for my desk. it's a little early for Christmas, i know, but i couldn't pass that thing up.

how has your week been? link up below!

Winter Essentials

the cold weather has arrived with a vengeance in Chicahhhhgo. i'll tell ya, my Northern roots have all but completely disappeared. i am such a baby with this weather, and i haven't even seen close to the worst of it yet. Lord, help me. i thought i'd share a short (and probably not extensive) list of must-haves for your purse or work bag this winter.

(clockwise, from left)
>> portable phone charger - this one isn't exclusive to winter, but it sure is a life-saver. my sister bought one for me and it's come in handy on a few occasions when i needed a quick charge for my phone and wasn't near an outlet. also, how cute is that pattern?!
>> glittens -- i live for glittens. they keep my fingers warm but also allow me to easily access my hands without having to take the whole glove off.
>> static guard -- with winter comes the driest air of all time. therefore, my hair is almost always statically charged and sticking to everything. i keep a can of static guard handy for a quick spray once i take my winter jacket off.
>> hand cream -- my skin dries out so quickly in the cold weather, so i make sure to have a really good moisturizer on hand for after i wash my hands or if they're feeling especially in need of moisture.
>> tinted lip balm -- it adds some color to my already pale skin, while also replenishing my lips
>> hair spray -- another one that isn't exclusive to winter, but always comes in handy.
>> hair ties -- i like to have a couple on hand in case i need to throw my hair back after it's been whipped around by the Chicago wind or if i want to tuck it in my coat or under a hat neatly. it doesn't hurt that they're pretty, too!
>> an extra pair of warm socks -- there's nothing worse than having to wear wet socks in the winter. if you find yourself stuck in a snowstorm without snow-proof shoes, extra socks can go a long way in keeping you warm and cozy.
>> Starbucks gift card -- or a card to wherever you like to get your favorite hot drink. there's nothing better than the warmth of coffee, tea, or cocoa filling up your body on a cold winter day.

what are some things that you make sure to have on hand during the winter months, no matter where you are?

Q+A Answers, Round One

it's here! it's here! the first round of answers to your questions can be found below:



you can also view the video directly on youtube here.

here's what questions i answered and where they start:
(0:30) how are Milo and Otis adjusting to their new home in Chicago?
(1:53) you've lost weight. what's the deal?!
(5:56) how long have you been blogging and how did you get such a large following?
(7:55) what does your tattoo say?
(9:22) where do you attend church in Chicago?
(10:35) does Mike have any red-headed male relatives?
(11:45) what did you study in school?
(14:34) does your tripod take your photos or does someone?

have a question you want to ask me? feel free to leave it in the comments, tweet me @the_laureneliza, or shoot me an email (click on the "contact" tab above!). keep 'em com in'!

--------------------------
top: Francesca's
necklace: c/o Prima Donna
lipstick: ModelCo Lipstick Lip Couture in Emily

Pink Jewels, oh my!

you guys know i'm a sucker for pretty jewels, right? i haven't always been that way, but now that i am, i just can't resist. i've been especially into all shades of pink lately, too. without further adieu, check out those pink beauties below:

as soon as i opened the box from Pradman Jewelry, i knew these earrings were going to quickly become a new staple in my jewelry collection. i've already worn them several times and i've only had them for about a week. they're lightweight, gorgeous, and can go with just about anything. i love that they can polish off a dressier look or add a little glam to a more casual outfit. no matter which way you slice it, they're perfection. 


guess what? one lucky, lucky winner will get to pick out their very own pair of these Gold Chipolle Earrings! good luck picking out which color, by the way. i think it took me about 20 minutes to finally settle on the pink.

for those that don't win or just can't wait to find out if they've won or not, you can use coupon code LAUREN for 20% off any piece in their store.  with the holidays just around the corner, this is the perfect opportunity to buy something beautiful for a friend or family member. or to give your man a swift jab in the ribs to let him know that he should probably use it to buy you something.

**must be at least 18 years old to enter**

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Q&A with Lauren Elizabeth

i've received a lot of emails asking me random questions, with quite a few of them being recurring questions. SO, i've decided to do a little question and answer series where i answer your questions. i'm an open book (mostly) so ask whatever you'd like and i'd be happy to answer! it can be personal, business-related, style-related, cat-related, or whatever else you've been curious about.
leave your questions in the comments, tweet me, or email me (you can find my email under the "contact" tab above!). i'll compile them and start answering!

High Five for Friday

Friday, we meet again! i'm particularly excited about today because the first official Duke game of the season is tonight!

a little back story, for those that don't know: my brother-in-law is a massive Duke fan and quickly turned me into one shortly after i moved to North Carolina. i never really cared about sports before, so my family was pretty shocked when i took such a liking to watching Duke play. i've been to a handful of games (if you've ever wanted to go to a really fun sporting event, try to get tickets to a home gam. there's nothing else like it!) and watched pretty much every one since becoming a fan. i also converted my friend Sam to being a fan, so we're planning on watching the game together! 

back to regular programming

here's five of my favorite things from this week: 
1. i made these stuffed peppers and they were so good. you should make 'em.
2. i have some exciting things in store for Elisabeth Ashlie, hopefully starting with the new year! be sure to stay tuned! 
3. i spent Wednesday with my mom and it was great! i love that she can just come hang out for the day and we can enjoy everything Chicago has to offer. we visited the World's Fair exhibit at the Field Museum. it was mostly underwhelming (we expected more), but really interesting to learn some of the history.
4. i'm heading back to North Carolina to hang out with my sister for a few days a week from tomorrow!
5. the obligatory cat photo in my H54F post, in which Otis looks like he's really mad at me. i don't remember doing anything to offend him, though. 
how has your week been? link up below and tell me about it! be sure to use #H54F when sharing your post on social media!

Giveaway // Emily Maynard

i'm so excited to be teaming up with these lovely ladies to bring you a fabulous Emily Maynard giveaway!
krisi
style elixir
lauren elizabeth
GBO - Fashion
birdalamode
but first coffee
But First, Coffee

for those that like to indulge in reality television as much as i do, you probably know Emily from The Bachelor/Bachelorette. she's taken advantage of her newfound fame and has her own jewelry collection, among other things. one lucky winner will receive this necklace, this bracelet, and these earrings!

use the Rafflecopter below to enter!
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Camera Bag Dreams

if you've spent anytime hanging around these parts, you know by now that i'm a sucker (and i mean sucker) for a great bag. my collection is mostly out of control, but i try to put all of them on heavy rotation so that they don't collect too much dust in my closet. i have a vast collection of handbags, totes, clutches, and tiny bags that don't really have a purpose but continue to be purchased because they're cute and tiny. i love tiny things! (i now understand why Mike rolls his eye when i tell him i bought a new purse. it's all making sense).

the one thing that i have always - well since i've owned my DSLR - wanted is a camera bag that's easy to travel with and is cute. call me crazy, but there aren't many of them out there, at least not that i've come across. especially since i live in the city now, i always go to grab my camera before heading out but then realize that i don't exactly want to chuck it in my purse with all of my other junk, so i relent to letting my iPhone be my camera for the day and am always a little disappointed.

and then i was introduced to Jo Totes and all of my functional and stylish camera bag needs were met.

there are a variety of things that i love about this bag. first, it's stinkin' cute.  it's nicely padded to protect my camera and accessories and i don't have to worry about any scratches to anything. it may not look like it, but it is roomy inside. i was able to fit my camera and my fold up tripod easily into the bag, which is amazing. it comes with separators, so that the bag can be well organized and hold other lenses, accessories without too much trouble. it's really well made AND it has enough room to throw in the essentials, like a wallet, phone, keys, and a lipstick or two. not to mention, it could double as a laptop carrier when i'm not toting my camera around with me. are you convinced about how awesome it is yet?



you can shop for your very own adorable  bag here. aside from mine, this one, this one, and this one are my favorites.

be sure to follow Jo Totes on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest for all the latest products and news!

outfit details:
jeans: Target
sweater: Target
plaid: Old Navy (similar)
necklace: Caroline G
bracelet: J.Crew Factory
booties: Nine West (similar)

Beauty Box 5 {Video Review}


if you're interested in trying any of the items in my box, here they are:
Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion 
Model Co Lipstick Lip Couture in Emily
Swissco Glitter Toe Separators
La Fresh Travel Lite Facial Cleansing Wipes
Nubar Alter Ego Nail Laquer 

if you want to try Beauty Box 5, you can sign up here! it's also a great option to give as a gift for the upcoming holidays!

(outfit details will be in tomorrow's post!)

Poncho Love

my neutral wardrobe is in full force in these Midwestern parts. i was at Target yesterday, trying on some clothes, when i realized that every single thing that i brought into the fitting room with me was void of color. that's ten things. i'm beginning to think i had some sort of bad experience with color in my past and that's why i avoid it like the plague.

my general avoidance of wearing color (although i've been told that i should wear more because it makes my features "pop") was highly satisfied when this poncho arrived on my doorstep. and by doorstep, i mean mail room. excuse me for wishing i lived in a beautiful brick walkup with a Fall wreath hanging on the door and a pretty welcome mat.

when Tamarynn of The Chic Orchid wanted to send me this poncho, i couldn't very well decline. it has three qualities that i love: neutral colors, aztec pattern, and it's oversized (also, it's one size fits all!).

in the future, i plan to attempt to wear this beauty with some color, but for it's first trip around the neighborhood, i wanted it to be as comfortable as possible in the company of like colors ;)

like what you see from The Chic Orchid? be sure to follow them on Facebook and Instagram so that you don't miss a fabulous deal like this!

outfit details:
leggings: J.Crew Factory
long sleeve tee: Old Navy
booties: DSW
necklace: J.Crew Factory

Jewelry Talk + A Giveaway

it wasn't until about 9 months ago that i really started wearing statement necklaces on the regular. i've never been one to accessorize much and always felt so overdressed with a big, chunky necklace. however, i came to my senses one day and haven't looked back.

my necklace collection grows on just about a weekly basis, and being friends with Carrie of Caroline G doesn't exactly help. she always sends me photos of new product that i just cannot resist.
wearing Round Bead Statement Necklace in Mint

wearing Flower Gem Necklace in Green

i like pairing mine with graphic tees, patterned blouses, or an otherwise neutral outfit.

are you a statement necklace wearer? if so, you're in luck! Carrie is giving TWO lucky winners a $50 store credit!

all you need to do to enter the giveaway is follow Carrie on facebook, twitter, instagram, and pinterest. be sure to use the giveaway tool below to enter!

use code LE50 for 50% off your purchase!
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