Friday, April 30, 2010

Gone with the Wind (See Jane Blow Away)

It is so windy out today.  If I didn't know better, I'd think there was some sort of hurricane coming off of Lake Michigan.  Leaves are swirling, skirts are flipping, but temperatures are rising, so I can't complain.  It was just as breezy yesterday and the dress I was wearing flipped up for all to see, so I definitely didn't want to make that mistake again.  I opted for a pencil skirt that wouldn't fly away with the weather. 

Here is a version of what I wore today:

Banana Republic Sleeveless Pintuck Top
$59 at

J Crew Tailored Linen Skirt
$88 at

Layered Chain Necklace
$34 at

Maxstudio Marais Pump
$89 at

Keep it breezy, everyone.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Barley Made It (See Jane Cook)

I had the great pleasure of cooking with my friend Maggie, from Magpies and More, the other night.  She is great friend of mine, whom I've known since college.  She loves to cook, bake, and entertain (and she's darn good at it).  Due to her blog, she often has many leftover treats that she gifts to my friends and me on a regular basis.  She often has leftover random ingredients from time to time--case in point: barley.  She made an appetizing salad a few weeks back and had mounds barley leftover.  I googled some recipes and as soon as I saw the word creamy, I knew it was the one.

Real Simple's Creamy Barley with Tomatoes and Greens

Just because it's creamy, doesn't mean it can't be healthy. 

Sprinkling a bit of Parmesan cheese.

Ok, a lot of Parmesan cheese. 

Honestly, I wouldn't hesitate to replace this creamy barley with risotto from this day forward.  

Bon Appétit!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Jacket Required (See Jane Formalize)

It's cold again.  No matter how much I see the sun shining or hear the birds chirping, but the truth is that it just isn't that warm in Chicago, yet.  We were teased last month with tastes of summer; a random 80 degree day here and there was the best thing to happen to this place since Michael Jordan.  But as I felt the cool wind shoot off of Lake Michigan and smack me in the face as I turned the corner yesterday morning, I realized, "Dammit, I live in Chicago."

Alas, it isn't quite tank top and shorts weather yet.  Even though the weather man is predicting a mild weekend (liar), I have a feeling the nights will not be as friendly.  Lucky for us, there are some fantastic cover-ups that can make this breezy weather a little more attractive:

A great alternative to a white blazer.

 Free People Ruffled Corset Jacket
$128 at

Will I look like Betty Draper if I wear this?

Sterling Shadow Jacket
$118 at Anthropologie

This would be so cute over simple mini dress.

J Crew Twill Bomber Jacket
$128 at

What do you think of these jackets?  Don't get me wrong, I love wearing my beloved, classic trench to work, but sometimes I crave a look that's not so basic black.  I can't live without my trusty blazers, but right now I'm loving jackets this season that either exude femininity or a convey a vintage-y feel.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Nailed it (See Jane Slumber)

I was chatting with a friend this weekend about new apartments and home decor.  We shared our frustrations, finds, and fantastistic deals.  When we started talking beds and headboards, we realized that we were both pining after the same aesthetic:  the nail button headboard.  I love upholstered beds.  There is something so luxurious and inviting about them.  Add a nail button trim for some edge and to me, that's the perfect place to rest

I've been doing my research (i.e. scouring the internet) and have found the bed of my dreams:

Crate & Barrel Colette Bed in Alabaster

Isn't she lovely?  Well, she's also totally out of my price range.  I really can't justify spending $1,600 ++ on a bed--and frankly, I don't want to.  I love home decor, but honestly, I'd rather spend my money on clothes/bags/food.

What's a girl to do in such a conundrum?  Throw in the towel and resort to keeping her boyfriend's IKEA low-rider bed?  Never.

Skyline Nail Button Arc Bed in Oatmeal

This bed has all the credentials:  upholstered, nail button trim, and beautiful.  I am definitely ordering this bed within the next few weeks and once my new bedroom is up to snuff, I will definitely post pictures.  The best part?  This fantastic bed is under $500 with free shipping/returns at FurnitureFind!

Are you a fan of upholstered beds or do you prefer the classic wood frames?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Not Gonna Happen (See Jane Deny)

Not all trends are treated equally.  I am a firm believer that no person can pull off all trends.  Remember the harem pant fad last year?  It continues to linger and (luckily) has more wearable versions available, but I still have a hard time swallowing the trend as a whole.  In spite of that, I am also a firm believer of the mantra 'if it works for you, go for it.'

May God strike me down if you see me wearing the following:

High-Heeled Clogs

*Chanel Clogs, photo courtesy of

God won't actually need to strike me down if you see me wearing the clog-mule hybrid shoe because I'll most likely fall and break my neck on my own.  I've never really been able to walk in high-heeled mules in the first place and considering what I'm seeing this season, I'll be avoiding these for my own safety.  Plus, I have bad memories of clogs from middle school--don't you?


*photo courtesy of

I get it.  You're a nouveau hippie/boho/roaring 20s flapper who feels naked without fringe and your foreheadband.  These headbands been pretty popular the past couple years and don't seem to be losing steam.  I'm no hater--I just know that I look completely ridiculous in them.  But seriously, I thought the boho-chic thing already came and went back in 2005?  I'm pretty sure the above picture is from then.

Denim Shoes

 *Stuart Weitzman Airforce at

I love denim but believe it should be kept below the neck and above the ankles; therefore, I don't condone denim shoes (or hats, for that matter).  This is one trend I'm definitely passing up.  Can you imagine if these shoes got wet?  Nothing's worse than damp jeans...

What trends are you passing over?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Guilty as Charged (See Jane Divulge)

Some days are longer than others.  Whenever I'm having an off day or can't get out of a rut, the first thing I do is listen to Wham!, the famed 80s duo.  True, I had yet to be born at the height of their popularity, but luckily my older sister passed her love for George Michael on to me.  I dare you to listen to a Wham! song (or better yet, watch one their videos on youtube) without cracking a smile.

I'm reluctantly listing some of my guilty (and not so guilty) pleasures for all to see:

  • Listening to Wham! or any bad 80s/90s music - Just in case you didn't think I was serious.
  • Hot dogs - Please don't tell me what's in them.  Seriously.
  • Reading my daily horoscope - Yes, I believe they somehow apply to me at that very moment.
  • Jackson 5:  The American Dream - I've honestly seen this made for TV movie about 15 times (just ask my mom/boyfriend/roommate/sister) and it gets better each time.
  • Saved by the Bell reruns - It's funny, because I feel no guilt whatsoever about this.
  • Fries - Anytime, anywhere.
  • OK! Magazine - One full year subscription was only $8!
  • Re-reading books from my childhood  - I'll be honest, whenever I visit my parents house, I love to read all the books I've left behind like the American Girl series, Sweet Valley High, and Boxcar Children
  • Taking long hot showers until my fingertips wrinkle - Maybe I shouldn't be revealing this on Earth Day?
  • Terrible television - It's not so much a guilty pleasure as it is a way of life.  Think Real Housewives, the new 90210, most reality.
  • Whipped cream - I'm definitely more of a salt person but I love a fluffy mound of whipped cream on my Americano every morning.

What are your guilty pleasures?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Couch Potato (See Jane Sit)

I've had some major apartment drama go down in the past week.  My boyfriend and I signed a place about three weeks ago and got a call last week that the lease needed to be dissolved.  Yes, it was devastating, but we've soldiered on.  Suffice to say, we've been scrambling to get another place just as nice and in the same neighborhood.  I think we have a new place lined up...but the past has taught me that I should hold the excitement until Moving Day actually arrives.  Nevertheless, I'm pretty excited and cannot wait to start furniture shopping.

Numéro un on my list is a couch.  Naturally. It's both a major purchase and definite focal point of any room.  I like white, boyfriend likes black.  I like traditional decor, he likes a modern look.  Wow - looks like we've started off on the right foot!  Oh, I'm just kidding.  We can definitely be opposites, but we've made significant strides and have both learned to compromise.  One thing we can both agree on: the couch better be uber-comfortable.  If I can't relax on this couch and watch DVR'd episodes of Glee, then that isn't a couch that I'll be buying.

Below is one of the last contenders standing in our sofa search.  Behold the Pottery Barn Buchanan in Stone:

From first glance, the color appears light, but it's actually gray-ish (which means it's a mix of black and white, we both win!).  The legs give the sofa a modern touch, while the style keeps it classic.  If this couch doesn't spell "c-o-m-p-r-o-m-i-s-e," then frankly, I don't know what does. 

Monday, April 19, 2010

It's Cardi-Time (See Jane Wear Cardigans)

A good cardigan can make for an easier life--it's the problem solver of garments.  Chilly spring night?  Wear a cardigan.  Have a top that you're dying to wear to happy hour but is a tad inappropriate for work?  Wear a cardigan.  Stain on your shirt that won't come out but not quite ready to give up it up?  Wear a cardigan and no one will ever know...

A few staples that'll get you to September (show clockwise from left):

1.  Anthropologie Stretching Days Cardigan ($78)- When you want to be sunny, but the weather is not.
2.  J Crew Cotton Cascade Ruffle Cardigan ($78) - I recently bought this and know it will be a staple for seasons to come.
3.  Juicy Couture Striped Military Cardigan ($248) - A great substitute for a jacket on a cool, April day.
4.  Old Navy Cap Sleeve Cardigan ($25) - How cute would this over a dress and belted? (A thick, brown belt)
5. Topshop Knitted Lace Shoulder Cardigan ($80) - An interpretive way to wear the current shoulder pad trend. 

Don't be tardy for the cardi-party!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Latest Loot (See Jane Buy)

If I could write a haiku for yesterday, it would be:

bought some shoes today
couldn't resist the sunshine
hope to wear them soon

Maybe it was the 80 degree weather.  Maybe it was the shiny studs that caught my eye.  Yes, I bought these Jeffrey Campbell Tier Stud sandals while walking home from work.  Am I late to the stud party?  Probably.  Do I care?  Not really.  These are seriously cute on and will go with just about anything this summer--and for $90, you can't go wrong.

Speaking of shoes...remember the Dolce Vita Pela wedges I lusted after last month?  I got them awhile ago.  It really hasn't been warm enough yet but I have a feeling I'll be debuting them soon.  Here is a sneak peek of me hiking up my jeans so you can see the glorious sandals:

I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wristy Business (See Jane Surrender)

Bracelets aren't really my thing.  It's nothing personal--in fact, I'd like them to be my thing.  Alas, I was born with freakishly small wrists that have always made me a little self-conscious.  I'm completely convinced that no matter how large I may ever get, my wrists will stay the same size as a gangly, seven year old boy's.

*photo courtesy of

Fortunately, I've done some growing up in the past few years.  Case in point: although I'm painfully aware of my wrist situation, I bought a watch and wear it nearly every day (this was, of course, after I dealt with the fact that the Saks salesperson laughed in my face after hearing that they had to remove eight links for me).  N'importe, it's time for me to move onto bracelets.

I think I'd leave this bracelet on until the first signs of fall.

Leila Nautical Wrap Bracelet
$50 at

I love big bangles.  I just wish they didn't go up to my elbow.

Gap Wood Bracelet with studs
$16.50 at

By the way, have you ever visited for jewelry?  They have silver bangles and leather wrap bracelets for unreal prices.  I started my bracelet hunt there and think I'll come away with some very cool finds.  Here are a few I'm eyeing:

Soon, I'll be wearing bracelets just like the rest of you--including the several hair ties I wear on my wrist!

J-Crewsday (See Jane Wear One Brand)

If you haven't noticed by now, I like J Crew.  Like, a lot.  It has the most perfect clothes for both work and play.  Because I spend over 45 hours a week in pencil skirts, button-downs, and cardigans (53 if you count the hours I sit on the couch post-work, still fully dressed for the office), I like them to be cute, comfortable, and corporate-friendly.

The good thing about J Crew is that many of their styles are classic silhouettes and I don't feel ashamed wearing those items years later.  J Crew Spring '09 - this post is dedicated to you!  Thanks for getting me through this terrible Tuesday.

 J Crew Crocodile Cocktail Cardigan

J Crew Eyelet Pencil Skirt
(*disclaimer:  I don't have this skirt but can't find the knubby-cotton/tweed-type navy pencil skirt I'm wearing online. I bought it last year at the J Crew San Francisco and it is my favorite summer work skirt)

J Crew Perfect-Fit Cascade Tee

I hope this gives you an idea of what I wore to work today.  I must confess that the tee I wore under the cardigan is actually not from 2009, but Spring 2010.  I couldn't resist; it looked great under the cardigan and provided for the perfect amount of ruffle underneath.  (Some ruffles are just too much--think colonial judge.)

Can clothes make or break your day?   

Monday, April 12, 2010

Pump It Up (See Jane Search)

I'm in a bit of a conundrum; I am in need of some new, cute, work pumps.  Dare say that I'd also like them to be on the practical side?  Everyone knows that practicality is generally synonymous with dowdy (or stark white tennis shoes).  I really hate forgoing the beautiful, 4.5 inch heels for some boring 2 1/4 inch-ers but I work in a pretty conservative environment.  Also, I already have a basic, round toe, black, patent leather pump, so I'm looking to think a tad outside the box.

Here is what I've come up with thus far:

1.  Cole Haan Carma Air Pump.  With Nike technology, you can't get much more comfortable than a pair of sneakers themselves. ($298 at
2.  Franco Sarto Value Pump.  "You can do anything, but lay off of my blue suede shoes."  ($94 at Nordstrom)
3.  Stuart Weitzman Greta.  The peep toe says 'warm weather,' but the suede means 'wearable through Indian Summer.'  ($228 at
4.  Via Spiga Lang Peacock.  A neutral, but fun alternative to basic black pumps.  ($131 at Nordstrom)
5.  J Crew Lilly Peep Toes.  Perfect for dressing up a sleeveless, black work shift.  ($158 at
6.  AK Anne Klein Wake.  These would look perfect with bare legs and a khaki colored pencil skirt (and also in the fall with gray tights).  ($71 at
7.  Steve Madden Ultra.  ...I guess I like suede.  No apologies--I truly feel that it can be warm weather appropriate. ($99 at

Would you wear these to the office?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

I Love Lamp (See Jane Light Up)

I've been making lists of what I'll need at my new apartment.  My progress is steady: my boyfriend and I are going couch-hunting this weekend, I've tagged a few beds I want, and I've got my eye on a few end tables.  However, I completely forgot about lamps until I realized that neither of us own one.  I need to get on the ball and scope some lamps out or else it will be a very sexy (see: dark), candlelit apartment.

Want to see some that I'm looking at (and hoping my boyfriend will agree)?

Aurora Table Lamp
$249 at Room & Board

Vera Table Lamp
$149 at Crate & Barrel

Jolie Table Lamp
$189 at Crate & Barrel

I'm still on the hunt and am hoping for a slightly better deal, but these are what's lighting my fire.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Style Maven (See Jane Find an Obscure Icon)

Find me a girl that didn't want to be Kelly Kapowski growing up, and I'll show you a girl that doesn't exist.  No matter who your favorite Saved by the Bell character was/is, chances are, deep down inside your soul, you still wanted to be Kelly.  And who wouldn't, really?  She had confidence, a great figure, and pulled off just about anything.  In fact, the more I thought about Ms. Kapowski (or is it Morris now?), the more I realized that I would still like to dig around in her wardrobe today.

*All photos courtesy of
How to cop Kelly's style:

  1. Rolling all your t-shirt sleeves.  How cool does that look?
  2. Cropped tops.  We all knew they'd be back.
  3. Anything off the shoulder.  Show off your favorite body part.
  4. Form fitting florals.  You can't get much girlier than that (and I love it!).
Whose style did you worship growing up?  Blossom?  Clarissa?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Stockholm Syndrome (See Jane Concert)

I went to the Miike Snow concert last night and it was utterly awesome. For those of you who aren't familiar, they're a pop-electronic band from Sweden.

Before a concert, I always rack my brain when choosing an outfit. Comfort or cute? Casual or edgy? Personally, I think the biggest faux-pas is looking like you tried too hard. Example: I went to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs last spring and saw one too many Karen O knock-offs.

Here are a few of rules I follow (and have probably broken, too):

  1. Don't wear your favorite shirt unless you want beer spilled all over it
  2. In fact, don't wear your favorite anything unless you want beer spilled all over it
  3. Don't wear stilettos to a standing room only show.  I have had many-a-toes crushed by inconsiderate/stumbling girls who thought it was a good idea to wear their sharpest-heeled shoes to a Death Cab for Cutie concert
  4. No turtlenecks (no, not even sleeveless, Mom)
  5. Are you in the band? Or DJ Jazzy Jeff? No? Then take your sunglasses off when you're indoors (and at nighttime, no less).
You may be asking, 'Okay... since you won't let me wear my favorite turtleneck sweater, then what do I wear to a small, indoor, standing room only, totally hip concert?'

  1. T by Alexander Wang Cowl Boat Neck Tee (42.50 at shopbop) - Yes, it's on sale and yes, I'm buying this ASAP.
  2. Gabby purse ($128 at J Crew) - This fits all your essentials; bringing anything else to a show will just make you wait longer in the "purse check" line.
  3. Fenton/Fallon for J Crew Carrington Chain Bracelet ($96 at J Crew) - A little bit Bowie, a little bit Vampire Weekend, and a whole lotta awesome.
  4. Deena & Ozzy Perf Harness Boot in Tan ($58 at Urban Outfitters) - Because you just want to dance.
  5. Current/Elliot Super Slouchy Skinny Jeans ($250 at - The perfect concert jean...just look at them!

May the rock gods be with you.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

An Egg-cellent Easter (See Jane Hunt for Easter Eggs)

No matter what you celebrate today, I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday. As for me, the weather is unseasonably gorgeous, I got to spend the weekend with my family, and it's Easter, which means a bevy of delicious eats!

Nothing says 'Happy Easter' like lilac-colored tulips. I gave these to my mom as a 'merci' for slaving over a hot stove today.

My sister and I tried to contribute to the feast by making a Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake that I found on the Good Housekeeping website. I think it will be tasty, but unfortunately, I have to head back to Chicago before I try it myself. I have high hopes though--the batter was terrific! Note to self: be sure to always thoroughly read the instructions and ensure whatever you make doesn't have to "chill overnight."

Here is what my family will be savoring tomorrow (or tonight if they can't wait):

Aerial view of the Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake. Note: we used two pre-made graham cracker pie crusts instead of using one 9" springboard pan and still have leftover batter.

...And because it's not that impressive looking, I think strategically placing it by those tulips makes it just a little more attractive.

It's the thought that counts. Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Bow Knows (See Jane Tie One Up)

Now that I'm in my mid-twenties, I need to be more mindful about experimenting with certain trends. Bows are one of them. Yes, they look adorable on the runway...

DVF Cruise Spring 2010

...but somehow I don't see that translating very well in my everyday life. Can you imagine the horrified looks I'd receive walking into my office wearing a bow headdress?

In honor of Easter tomorrow and as a homage to all the bows (and ruffle socks with patent leather Mary Janes) I wore to church growing up, here are some adult versions of the bow trend.

I have a feeling I'd wear this dress way more places than the beach.

J Crew Floral Cara beach dress
$78 at

This top makes me want to throw on white jeans and head to a BBQ

Gemma Tie Front Top
$130 at

Pair this top with the black bottoms you already own.

J Crew Solid Tie-front Bandeau in Bright Eucalyptus
$40 at

Are bows still in your fashion arsenal?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Roman Holiday (See Jane Do as the Romans Do)

I received an interesting email from a friend this morning. Oh hi, I'm actually in Rome right now. My boyfriend booked us a last minute a trip to Italy. Uh, I am insanely jealous. My 'last minute plans' usually involve a trip to Walgreens or 7-11.

What a lucky, lucky girl. It did get me thinking about my days studying abroad (a mere four years ago). I hope to make a trek back to Europe this summer and ultimately would like to live there for a few years. Until then, I will have to reminisce on the fond memories I have of my time there.

1. Gelato. There's a reason I returned from a semester in Europe 15 lbs heavier. My roommate recently found some of the best gelato I've ever had at the local grocery store (I know...qu'elle horreur!). Try the pistachio flavor of Talenti gelato.
2. Vespas. Everyone is cruising around the narrow streets of Italy on a Vespa...and let's face it, they look good doing it.
3. Pizza. The pizza is so fresh and light in Italy that it would be blasphemy to consider it "junk food," as we do in the States.
4. Aviators. What else will you wear while atop your Vespa? Buy local and get something like these Gucci ones like bought when I was abroad.

I swear that my fond memories don't only consist of Italian delicacies. Nevertheless, I hope my friend has a good time. I can just imagine her and the boyfriend now...

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