Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Free Dresses are the Best Dresses

Two years ago I had the opportunity to review a dress from eShakti, an online boutique specializing in custom clothing for women in all sizes. I had a ton of fun choosing a dress made especially for me and of course wearing it (and writing about it here). 

Much to my delight, eShakti reached out again recently! Even though I rarely blog!

So here I am writing again because I got a free dress. Is this where I write #sponsored #ad #blogger #bloggerlife? No? I have no idea what to do anymore.

Back to the shopping.

Similar to last time, it took me a while to narrow down my options. This site is no joke: not only are the clothes adorable and in nearly every size imaginable, you can also customize them!

The size charts are helpful, and you can even adjust the sleeves and length to your liking. If you're crazy you could remove the pockets, too (but who would do that?).

Oh and by the way, these dresses are inexpensive, especially considering the customization. Yes I got this dress for free, but I will likely buy more from them because the price point is under $100, most often under $60. They also customize jeans. JEANS. I'm super curious about that. I can't imagine what a pair of jeans that properly fits looks like but I sure am willing to try.

I added my measurements to their site and received a custom dress in return! The color and neckline are sublime on this dress. The pockets are killer, too. The only thing I will say negative about the dress and experience is that it wrinkles faster than I eat cookies. So there's that.

I'm sharing a few snaps from my day yesterday, at the office and at an event for Women in Wireless wearing my new dress. Danielle Moss, co-founder of The Everygirl, spoke at our event! She was so inspiring, fun, and adorable. Love that lady!

Anyway, my dress easily worked for both day and night. I was quite flattered by the compliments I received! I plan to wear this over Christmas as well. I can't find the dress on the site now since it's a sample, but here's a similar option (under $50!).

Oh and here are a few of me trying to be a fashion blogger. And failing at it. Failing hard.

You're supposed to look off in the distance, right? Awesome. The conference room has a window.

Looking off the other way. Completely natural.

Looking off to the distance of the conference room. Trying to not crack up.

Nailed it.

If you're curious, the last time I worked with eShakti I decided on a sweet scallop dress (now out of stock, sorry!) to wear to my friend's wedding.

Please go check out eShakti! You won't regret it!
Follow eShakti on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, too!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

A Day in the Life

[On the Lake Placid Olympics Medal Stand]

Hi there!

I love when real bloggers write about their days. Why is it that pulling back the curtain to the ordinary is so freaking interesting? Even though I'm not a real blogger, I thought I'd try it out for myself.
 I am certainly ordinary. Busy, sure. But ordinary. However, in case any of you wonder what a day in my life is like as of late, I outlined my Tuesday below. This changes every day, but it's pretty typical lately.
Tuesday, September 27:
5:45 AM: Wake up, check email
6-6:45 AM: Too exhausted for my scheduled high-intensity workout, so I just did some yoga.  

6:45-7: Took a bath! My muscles were very happy.

[I will say before I move on that most days I don't go to the office until 9, so I either wake up a little later or between 7-7:30 I hop back in bed while Andrew showers. Teddy purrs next to me and I either mindlessly go through social media or even snooze a little bit. I looooove this time of morning.]

7-7:30 AM: Eat breakfast (banana and hard-boiled egg) and put on make-up while watching WGN Morning News. Best news ever! And yes, it takes me a long time to eat and put on make-up. My mug requires tons of effort before the public sees me.

7:30-7:40: Dry hair and pretend I can style it.

7:45: Give Andrew a smooch, Teddy a pet and run out the door.

8-9 AM: I'm on the hunt for a Mentor so I met a lovely lady for coffee. It was awesome and I left inspired!

9-6: All of the meetings for all of the clients. I kept my head above water juggling. Barely. I didn't have time to pack my lunch like I usually do so I ordered in (I was mad at myself. Should have woken up earlier).

6: Left the office so I wasn't the last one there. I can't be alone, even if it isn't late at night. Too creepy and I worry too much about not locking up properly. 

6:05: Hunkered down at Whole Foods since it has wifi (and beer). Did a little work. And had a little beer.

6:45: Ate a Larabar and listened to some tunes on my walk to choir

7-9: Choir rehearsal! 
Truth Time: Initially I planned to skip choir and go to book club, but then I decided that I had too much work to go to book club...but then I felt guilty for missing rehearsal and felt like I needed a brain break so I ended up going. I need the joy from rehearsal, but I was guilty the whole time. Not much joy this time.

9:15: Came home and helped Andrew finish making a delicious Blue Apron dinner! Yum!! He's the BEST, especially when he handles meals on my later nights (choir is once or twice a week...and most other nights I have other things going on...).

9:30-10: Eat and hang out with Andrew. Love him so freaking much. He's so cute!

10-11: Do more work so I don't feel like a failure.

11: Feel like a failure anyway and get ready for bed.

11:15: Hop in bed, thank the good Lord for my lovely husband next to me and sweet cat at my feet...and pass out before my head hits the pillow.
So there you have it! One of my crazy days documented!

OK I have spent too much time procrastinating by writing this post. Back to work!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Well Hello!

Hi there!

You know when you mean to call a friend, but then time passes and you know that in order for it to be a proper catch-up call it should last at least an hour...and then when you think about it you realize you don't have that hour (or more) to spend?

Yeah, that's kind of how blogging has become for me.

It's funny because while I still follow all of the blogs I've followed for years, I never post myself...and I notice many of the bloggers have similar "I haven't posted in a while" posts.

So what is it? Why don't we post more often? Has blogging become too much of a burden on our busy lives? For me, it's that I spend all day at a computer so I don't want to touch a computer at home unless I have to. I also don't have a nice camera, so my blog doesn't look as polished as everything out there. Finally, I'm embarrassed with myself most days. I throw a ton of self-hate at myself and don't want to spread that negativity with all of the real problems out there.

So here we are.

I'd love to tell you about all of our travels since I last wrote (Boston, Madrid, Toledo (Spain), Salamanca, Rome, Ohio, Napa, Raleigh, Ohio again, the failed Atlanta trip, Saugatuck, Lake Placid, Ohio again, San Francisco...) and the trips we have coming up this fall.

It would be good for me to write about saying goodbye to Ohio. It was rough when my parents left my childhood home, but I am so excited for them and Ohio will always be home.

I'd also want to chat with you about my weight loss journey. It hasn't been drastic and I've teeter-tottered (especially with all of the traveling!), but I'm healthy and strong.

Maybe we'd chat about the dreams Andrew and I have been having about our future.

Or how about the events I've done for Women in Wireless or for my job?

What about deals on some of my happiest shopping finds? Or some Pinterest hairdos I've tried? That's a thought. Then again, I'm no fashion blogger and there is absolutely nothing cool or trendy about me, so maybe it will just provide you a little boost of confidence knowing you're cooler than me. OK that topic is officially on the table.

If you follow me on social you've seen all of these things, so depending on my current readership (which I imagine is now nearing zero) this may all be redundant.

But I will definitely share some things about Teddy. Because duh.

So what do you think? Do any of you care what I'm up to? Do you want to read my posts anymore?

Hmmm, after thinking about it more (I've been writing this post for a while), I made a decision.

I like having this documentation of life to reflect, so I'll keep posting how I want, when I want. iPhone pics and all.

Have a good one!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Pinterest Boards: Three Tips to Get Organized!

Hi there!

I know I've written before about my love for Pinterest, but let me just emphasize my affection.




I friggin' love Pinterest.

My good friend Amber told me recently that her recipe boards are organized two ways: by recipes she has made and enjoyed and another with recipes she wants to try.

Brilliant, I tell you!
I wish I would have thought of this a long time ago!

So now I bring you my TWO newest boards on my Pinterest profile:

I know, I know. The names aren't too exciting or creative.

Also, I seriously can't believe that I've made 90 recipes!

As I've struggled with my weight over the years, my original "Healthy Foods!" board, as it was previously named, has been so reliable. Yes, a lot of the pins are from SkinnyTaste, but there's quite a few from other bloggers and sources. I have certainly been populating and updating my boards since January 11 of this year, when I restarted Weight Watchers. Keeping meals interesting and varied has helped me to stay on track.
(And after 3 months I've lost 17 pounds and 16.5 inches! I still have a long way to go but I'm on my way thanks to these recipes and a ton of exercise!)

Here are three tips the keep your boards in tip top shape:

1) Dig in. I like to click through to view my source and the ingredients before I commit to pin it.
2) If you are interested in a list, click through and see which recipes truly suit your fancy. Then pin those recipes from that post. This will cut down clicking and scrolling when you go to cook. Honestly, I need to go through my pins that list things such as "20 Weight Watchers Crock Pot Recipes," pick recipes from that list to pin individually and delete the list pin on my board. I know I won't make the recipes until I take this step! It's lazy but true!
3) Be realistic. If there is a difficult recipe I probably won't make it, so - going back to #1 - I like to look at the ingredients and steps involved to achieve the final product. Unless it's for a special occasion I keep my pins attainable. Also, for tougher recipes (for me this typically involves baking and/or unhealthy ingredients) I have another board called #ThisIsWhyImFat...and I haven't made a single recipe on the board.

These tips translate to areas aside from recipes, too. I need to organize in this manner for my "Motivation" board and hairstyles I've tried from my "My (Wannabe) Style" board.

Interested in my favorite healthy and/or "healthified" meals I've prepared? The best of the best, if you will? Let me know and I'll create some posts to share both recipes I make again and again as well as some new finds.

Have any good Weight Watchers pins to share? Please leave your username in the comments or go ahead and send me a pin or two!

Have a good one!

Friday, February 19, 2016

How I Optimize My Online Shopping

Hi there!

I rarely buy retail at full price. I just can't justify it, unless I need something right away, because I know it will always go on sale.

I'm not selling you on anything with this post, but I just have to share how I get the most out of my online purchases. No reason you shouldn't be optimizing, too!

First of all: ebates. 
You guys. Ebates is the best. I just got $30 transferred to my PayPal for shopping! I think you get paid twice a year or something. Basically you get a percentage of your sale in your account just by going to, searching the store, and shopping as usual. No strings attached. I'm sure you're being served ads elsewhere as a result, but since I'm in the industry it doesn't bother me. In fact, it intrigues me!

Second: retailmenot.
I seriously go there for coupon codes before every online purchase. 

So not only do I wait for sales, I scour other opportunities to save money!

OK so here's an example from my recent Sephora purchase. I needed some new mousse, a travel product and travel perfume. I went to ebates and searched for Sephora then clicked on over to the Sephora site. I already know I'm getting 4% cash back!
Here's the loot I went in to buy:
(PS - this is the BEST mousse in the world. I've done the leg work. It's worth the money. Trust the high hair.)

And of course the three free samples. (I love how Sephora allows you to pick the samples!)

And here's the fun part: my points
You get points for purchases, and I save them for stuff I wouldn't normally buy, as seen here with a lip pencil and an eye cream (#IAm30). Sephora sells a different eye cream by the same brand for $62. I don't even care that what I'm getting is small. I got it for free! Cha-ching!

The last item, a bronzer sample I'm curious about from Benefit, was found via coupon from retailmenot. Otherwise wouldn't have happened and since the full product is $28 and I definitely wouldn't have bought it on a whim.

So all of this stuff came to:

Oh and free shipping. Always free shipping.

Do you have any tips to share with me?

Have a good one!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Saw it, Pinned it, Did it!

Hi there!

I hate doing my hair the same way every day. However, I kind of also hate to take the time to style my hair. Such a dilemma, I tell ya.

When I saw this pin the other day I was totally game. It is similar to my current style, and doesn't require a ton of effort. It does require, however, that I dry and tease my hair, but overall it took about five minutes to complete, which is definitely my jam.

And here's the result!

Of course the model's looks better, but I still like how it turned out.
What do you think?

Please share any quick updo's! I'm always up for trying them!

Have a good one!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Game Day Garb for TickPick

Hi there and Happy Playoffs!!

If you've known me for more than a few minutes and/or if you've read my blog for a while, you know that I'm a lifelong Steelers fan. My parents are from Pittsburgh, so I grew up loving the team. Depending on who you ask you may hear that I'm a little obnoxious while watching games. I'd say I'm spirited and devoted more than obnoxious, but everyone is entitled their own opinion ;)

I'm so excited that they won their first playoff game and I hope they keep this good going!

When TickPick asked me to write a post about what I wear for game days I giggled but decided to oblige. TickPick is a site where you can find cheap NFL tickets, as well as tickets to see all of your favorite teams and concerts. Gotta love that!

Anyway, back to the fashion. It's not like I go to bars and look cute for games anymore, hence the giggling at the offer. If you remember, I met Andrew at the DC Steelers bar, so I'm definitely familiar and a fan of watching with Steelers Nation. Chicago has quite a few places to view the games with Steelers fans, too! However, usually I wear some form of Steelers clothing and sit on my couch for the games. Thanks to an awesome TV and NFL Sunday Ticket, there isn't much need to go to a bar to watch the games.

Nevertheless, when the game is later in the day, as it was this past Saturday, I generally wear Steelers gear throughout the day to support my team. I especially love to wear Steelers stuff in a Bears town! 

Here's a glimpse of my game day garb:

Andrew surprised me with this scarf the day before the game! I was so excited to sport it all day!
The hat was a gift from my in-laws for Christmas last year!

 Then for game time I switched to comfier clothing: a jersey, some sweatpants and, of course, my Terrible Towel!


Here is an outtake of Teddy photobombing!

What do you wear on game day?


Saturday, January 2, 2016

2015: A Year in Review

Hi there!

2015 has been quite a year to remember, and yet I haven't documented too much of it on this blog! Why?
Well, I don't exactly know. I used to love blogging, but this year I just didn't feel like writing too often or didn't think I was that interesting.

In an effort to remember this amazing year, here's a little review!
OK fine, it's a long review.
Like, really long.


We hibernated and did Whole30. The only fun thing was an incredible overnight trip to Milwaukee to watch Georgetown beat Marquette!


More hibernation, but also a day trip to MSU for a basketball game and a much-needed trip to Florida to get out of the cold and get our toes in the sand!


Our niece, Scarlett Susan, arrived!!!

 We also saw Bob's Burgers Live at the Chicago Theater. It was hilarious!

I rounded out the month running the Shamrock Shuffle 8k. My favorite race to date!


My parents came for Easter and it was an awesome visit! We also started Wedding Season on our First Anniversary!


One of our busiest months! We attended two weddings (our first barn weddings!), celebrated my 30th in DC over Memorial Day weekend and went to Atlanta for Scarlett's Baptism (we love being her godparents!). We also found out that my sister was pregnant! Another baby on the way! YAY!


Went to our fourth wedding of the season here in Chicago, took a weekend trip to Boston to visit friends, saw Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett at Ravinia and celebrated Andrew's 30th!


Went on our first trip to San Francisco for the 4th of July, attended a wedding in Ohio, squeezed in a girls' night, ran the B1G10k and went on a gorgeous MSU Alumni boat cruise with fireworks!


This was a quieter month but we had friends visit us and enjoyed our city!


Enjoyed our annual Labor Day Weekend trip to Saugatuck and a quick day trip to DC for a surprise engagement party! We also had fun seeing my sister and her family for a short visit as well as with Andrew's Dad and Justin for trips to MSU and Cubs games! I also photobombed a picture with the Cubs owner. #highlight


Our first vineyard wedding! We also had a blast going to our favorite Virginia vineyard and hanging out with friends in DC. We wrapped up the month with a visit from a DC friend, a Cubs playoff game and as a Strawberry for Halloween.


Celebrated the relaunch of the Women in Wireless Chicago Chapter, went to DC and back to the spot Andrew proposed at Georgetown, welcomed our gorgeous new niece Maggie (!!!), watched MSU beat Kansas, attended a cupcake decorating birthday party and enjoyed Thanksgiving in Austin!



Performed in our church's Christmas Choir, called Deck the Hall! It was seriously one of the best experiences! We also attended work holiday parties, pretended I could ice skate, baked for book club and had the most amazing Christmas in San Francisco for Maggie's Baptism and Napa for soooo much wine!



What a year!! I can't believe everything we managed to fit into the year and can't wait for all of the fun that 2016 will bring!

Cheers to 2016!