cornflake dreams.: September 2011


{guest post} - long distance loving.

Feliz Viernes! {In other words, happy Friday!} Since my bff, Jillian, is galavanting around Spain, I'm here with a perfect outfit for a touristy day in Barcelona. I am thrilled she's getting some quality time with H before their big move next month! I just wish I could have fit in one of their suitcases ;) 

1) This easy, breezy Diane von Furstenberg Emsley Dress would be an ideal piece for sightseeing--with the long sleeves and the modest length, it is appropriate for any destination.
2) House of Harlow 1960 always has fabulous bold pieces and these Antler Button Stud Earrings stay true to form. They are also versatile enough for Jillian to wear with other outfits on their trip!
3) + 4) You can never have enough travel guides, so I included Rick Steves Spain 2012 and Fodor's Spain 2011 to help Jillian and H find hidden gems across Barcelona :)
5) The crossbody bag is a fantastic way to stay stylish on the go. Though I love wearing backpacks {so dorky, forgive me!}, I think Jillian could rock this Marc by Marc Jacobs Petal to the Metal Flap Pouchette while roaming Barcelona.
6) These Vera Wang Lavender Label Bailey Penny Elastic Topline Flats would certainly make a long day of sightseeing less painful! 
7) Accessories go a long way in making an outfit come together--and this Annie Hammer Brown Bubble Cuff does just that! I just adore the deep brown leather paired with the bright gold of the "bubbles".

What are your fashion must-haves while you're on the go?

Be sure to stop by my blog, {long distance loving}, to see a slew of other dreamy looks :)
Many thanks to Jillian for having little ol' me fill in while she's gone--it's such an honor to be here!

Enjoy your weekend! xoxo {av}

ps don't miss your chance to enter TWO fantastic blog birthday giveaways! winners will be announced on October 3rd.


{guest post} - the daily dish.

Hello Cornflake Dreams readers, my name is Shari and I blog over at The Daily Dish where you will find me rambling about food, fitness, fashion, city living, and my every day life. I have been lucky enough to live in the same city as Jillian and become not only blogger friends, but also IRL (in real life) friends. I have to say she is just as sweet, adorable, and down to earth in person as she is on this blog. We hit it off right from the start. Two of the things that Jillian and I both love to talk about are traveling and food, so when she asked me to guest post for her while she is out on vacation (so jealous by the way!), I thought what better than to combine our two loves into one post. What I have for you today is my guide to eating your way through Chicago. I've tried to incorporate a few different neighborhoods and cuisines as I feel like that is the best part of living in this amazing city, the ability to try any and everything your heart may desire. Enjoy!

One of the first restaurants that came to my mind was Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard's restaurant - Girl and the Goat. While this restaurant may be a bit on the pricey side, it was well worth it in my opinion. The food was great, and I have heard that on a normal night you can usually catch a glimpse of the famous chef (unfortunately she wasn't there the night I went). Pretty cool, right?

image via

Restaurant: Girl & The Goat
Cuisine: New American
Neighborhood: West Loop
My review (photos included) can be found here.

While we are over on the west side of town, might as well suggest checking out Greek Town, one of my favorite little neighborhoods. I love Greek food, and the feel of this neighborhood is great. (Even the Walgreens has Greek letters on the side.) I have tried a couple of places, but so far my favorite is Greek Islands. This place is SO good, and reasonably priced. I believe it was even featured on the Travel Channel. 

image via

Restaurant: Greek Islands
Cuisine: Greek
Neighborhood: Greek Town

Italian is one of my favorite cuisines, so of course this wouldn't be a review without including one of the restaurants in Chicago's Little Italy. Small plates + a wine bar, I was sold from the minute I first heard about the restaurant Davanti Enoteca, and it did not disappoint.

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Restaurant: Davanti Enoteca
Cuisine: Italian
Neighborhood: Little Italy/University Village
My review can be found here.

I have had the pleasure of taking Jillian to one of my favorite Cuban places in the city (which is also BYOB, gotta love that), Habana Libre. From a girl who grew up in South Florida, take my word for it, this place is awesome, and totally affordable.

image via

Restaurant: Habana Libre
Cuisine: Cuban
Neighborhood: Noble Square
My review can be found here.

Sticking with the Spanish type cuisine, let's get to my Mexican pick. Another BYOB, affordable spot. The only catch, you may have to drive/take a cab to this one.

image via

Restaurant: DeColores
Cuisine: Mexican
Neighborhood: Pilsen
My review can be found here.

French food is another one of my favorite cuisines, and this place I found is a hidden gem. Inside of a Streeterville apartment building, you seriously would never know it's there, but you should. The food is fantastic. 

image via

Restaurant: Le Petit Paris
Cuisine: French
Neighborhood: Streeterville
My full review can be found here.

And of course, I couldn't leave you without giving you one of my favorite Chicago deep dish spots. I have tried quite a few sine moving here, and I have to say my favorite hands down is Lou Malnati's. It's fantastic!

image via

Cuisine: Pizza, pizza, & more pizza.
Neighborhood: Multiple locations around Chicago.
My review can be found here.

That about wraps up my list for you. I hope you enjoyed it (and that you're still reading). I also hope I have convinced you to come and explore this fabulous city that Jillian and I call home. Fore more of my very own Chicago restaurant reviews, feel free to check out my restaurant page. A special thanks to Jillian for asking me to guest post today, I hope you are having an amazing time on your trip! 

shari from the daily dish

ps there is still time to enter TWO fantastic blog birthday giveaways! winners will be announced on October 3rd.


{guest post} - coral cafe.

Hi it's Drew from Coral Cafe! When asked to guest post for the lovely and talented Jillian (while she's off enjoying the sights, beauty and relaxation of the breathtaking Barcelona and Madrid), I decided I would dedicate this post to Jillian's wedding taking place next July. Thankfully, I've gotten hints here and there from her blog of what she wants to be incorporated on her special day to the love of her life. So, I'm hoping this lends to more inspiration and excitement for the continued planning process, Jill ;)

I was ecstatic to find rose gold earrings, a sparkly clutch and heels to match Jillian's breathtaking rose gold engagement ring. I knew right from the moment she was as infatuated with rose gold as I was, I wanted to contribute in the search of finding key accessories and decor that would express this magnificent shade and metal to its absolute best! 

I know Jillian is looking to make pinks and blushes her signature color for her big day, which radiates  glamour, classiness and stunning qualities. I also know Jillian wants to incorporate succulents into her wedding, whether it be through a bouquet, centerpieces or party favors. I think this is a fabulous idea that I might have to steal for my own wedding one day ;)

Lighting is very important in the scheme of reception details. The more low lighted, the more romantic. String lights, chandeliers and lanterns can all add to that certain fairytale ambiance. 
As far as invitations and place settings go, they can include elements I have mentioned to bring the whole look together to feel complete and uniform. Pinks, rose gold, succulents, dim lighting and a romantic setting is surely in order for the wedding of the lovely and soon-to-be MRS. Jillian!

drew from coral cafe

ps don't miss your chance to enter TWO fantastic blog birthday giveaways! winners will be announced on October 3rd.


{guest post} - chartreuse and a twist.

Hello! I am Brynn from chartreuse & a twist. I couldn’t be more excited to share my own personal Madrid guide with you all…and especially you, Jillian…you lucky, lucky Spanish traveling girl! I have been a bit lucky myself…I have been fortunate enough to travel to Madrid twice in my lifetime so far ~ once when I was 12 and again 16 years later. I definitely don’t know it all, but I am happy to share some of my favorite things {as well as some things I have not been able to see but really wanted to!} about this completely amazing city…there is definitely a piece of my heart that remains in Madrid!

 Calle de Alcalá via

Parque de Retiro ~ personal photos, Museo del Prado via, Palacio de Cristal via

Chalkboard, wine & olives, tortilla & paella ~ personal photos, tapas via, mahou via

All images  via

B & W ~ personal photo, flamenco dancer via, salsa club via

Turtles at Estación de Atocha ~ personal photo

The Breakdown:
1> You must visit all of the goods that Atocha {Center} has to offer…yes, it is touristy and yes, you will see all of this in your guidebooks, but I just wanted to emphasize this as a key area to explore because it is just too gorgeous to miss! :)
ROW the lake or take a siesta under a tree at El Parque de Retiro…
SEE the gorgeous Palacio de Cristal and
STROLL through the Museo del Prado {ranked as one of the best and largest collections of European art in the world}

2> I don’t know about all of you, but for me eating is a BIG part of traveling. I love to just dive right into the culture and experience it to the fullest. In Madrid, some of my favorite food & drink are as simple as…
A glass of RIOJA and some mighty fine Spanish OLIVES…
Or a MAHOU {you will typically find only one beer on tap in Spain, and in Madrid Mahou is it…and it is served ice cold!} and a TORTILLA {not what you think – a Spanish tortilla is considered as the “best of all omelets”…it is a pretty simple recipe of eggs potatoes and onions seasoned with salt and pepper and cooked in olive oil in a pan…the tortilla is standard bar food in Madrid, often served complimentary with your drink}.
On the less simple side is the gorgeous Spanish dish, PAELLA…this is a must in Madrid! {so long as you are not vegetarian, vegan or allergic to shellfish!}
Last, but certainly not least on the favorites is proper Spanish TAPAS…and when I say proper, I mean going out to tapas for dinner at 11:00 at night…when in e-spain, I find it most fun to pretend to be-spanish! {and late night tapas is what those lovely Spanish people do!}

3> Shopping…Madrid is a major shopping mecca…and I can not, can not, can NOT say enough about Spanish shoes!!! The styles are fantastic and {usually} so are the prices! Depending on your style, Madrid has plenty of different shopping areas…
For INDIE boutiques, Chueca is where it is at
If lucky enough to be in the city on a Sunday, hit up El Rastro in the historic center – Madrid’s and Europe’s largest OUTDOOR MARKET {just beware of pickpockets!}
If feeling a little SWANKY, shop the boutiques in Salamanca…apparently the Centro Comercial ABC Serrano, “an elegant shopping center with high quality stores” is the happening spot…there is even a rooftop terrace restaurant with a gorgeous city view! {hmmm…something to check out next time}

4> When in Madrid…you DANCE! Not only is this city a mecca for shopping, I think it is even more so for nightlife. Madrid is known as one of the liveliest night cities…so, put your party pants on, head out for those late night tapas and then strut out to the nearest dance floor and get your groove on…and don’t plan on stopping until the sun is rising!!!

5> Something kind of random, but one of my favorite memories of my last trip to Madrid is when my friend took me a little off the beaten path to show me one of her favorite spots in the city – the turtles at the rail station…the inside of the station has a very large pond and loads of greenery…and 1000s {literally} of turtles! 



{guest post} - the inspired house of wright + {a giveaway!}

Veracruz, Rachel Wright, 8 x 10 Acrylic on Canvas

Rachel Wright did not immediately jump into the modern art scene. Before her colorful paintings were landing on walls she was a graphic designer with a dream to someday step out into a career with her true passion.

When did you start painting?

I honestly can't remember..I think I was around 4. My teachers used to enter my artwork into all of these local art contests in my hometown ( Asheville, NC) and pushed me to create more, more, more. I remember my teacher sitting my parents down and telling them that I had a unique 'gift', I just thought I was weird and needed special attention. I never wanted to play with dolls, all I ever wanted to do was draw, paint and create. I think it honestly used to get on my family's nerves. I used to get detention a lot for drawing all over everything, including the walls and desks of my school.

Where do you start when creating a painting?

I usually begin with nothing more than mixing up the palette of colors I want to use. Sometimes I end up adding more colors but that's the only thing I am sure about in the beginning. I always think I know what I'm going to create or a direction I want to go in and never get there, it's always a surprise to me as well! I sort of go into this mad frenzy, sometimes I don't even remember how I got to the finishing point of a painting. All I know is I'm usually exhausted and covered in paint. I guess that's what you call action painting at its finest.

Some of your paintings don't look like they were painted with a brush, what's your secret?

To be honest brushes are one of hundreds of things I use to apply paint to my canvases. I'll grab anything from spoons to sponges, all kinds of things, during the creation of a piece. I love experimenting with different ways of applying paint.

What would you like to say about the painting you're giving away? 
Veracruz was such a fun painting to do. I knew that I wanted it to be only a few colors. I love navy and coral together and thought it would be fun. I painted it on a scorching summer day in my bathing suit because the room where I was painting was so hot..I wanted the painting to come across as hot too! It was one of the ones I mentioned earlier that wasn't created using a paintbrush. The entire thing was created with nothing more than a fork.

as you can see rachel is a talented painter, designer, blogger and writer. she's also a total sweetheart and i am jealous of whoever wins her gorgeous painting! 

here's how to win Veracruz: {leave a comment below}
mandatory- follow cornflake dreams via GFC or blog lovin
visit Rachel's website and pick out another piece you like.

additional ways to enter: {leave a separate comment for each}
tweet about the giveaway! (please include @cornflakedreams & @RachelTWright in your tweet) 

good luck!! this giveaway is open to domestic and international readers and a winner will be announced on Monday, October 3rd.

update: #98 Aubrey from all things bright and beautiful is our lucky winner.


{guest post} - across the pond.

Hey cornflake dreamers!
Megan from Across The Pond here.

I have been an avid reader of Jillian's blog for a very long time..
and now frequently e mail her to tell me about her upcoming wedding
and at times force her to send me pictures..
She likes it.
I'm sure.

Jillian asked me to come over here since she is going to be traveling
 to MY side of the world.
And being that I am an American living in Europe,
she thought i might know a few things about international travel.

It just so happens..
that i do.
All by making mistakes.

So here is my short little guide to international travel..
or how I like to travel.

a. i don't trust airlines to not lose my luggage. Call it wise, or paranoia, whatever. I pack all my "what i would grab in a fire situation" belongings in a small carry-on. aka my makeup, computer, and camera.
You know, the essentials. Then I cross my fingers and pray they don't weigh my carry on. 

b. If im going to be gone a long time (which in one of my cases turned into over a year) then i pack the rest of my "i would cry if you got lost, but could live without you" luggage in a large suit-case that I trust the airline to put on the right plane.

c. If im going to be gone a long time, I layer my body up with the ish that wont fit in either of my suitcases..then de-layer once i get on the plane. I kinda like this because then my layers make for great extra pillows..But can be a pain when going through security.

d. Although its a pain, i wear my shoes that would take up the most room in my suitcase on my feet at the airport. So usually these are boots. However, when doing the whole backpacking thing, flats like Toms are essential to the walking traveler.

e. i am not the above type of traveler. 

f. pack light, dress comfortably, and if staying a short time, bring the basic clothes that can be mixed and matched. jeans, t-shirts, leggings, one "night out" outfit, flats, boots in case of cold, one coat, sweater, etc.

g. know where you are going. research the weather during that time of year, and bring one thing in case the weather freaks out and changes. (this is usually/always the case if coming to the UK)

h. i love airplane food. i don't know why. but once through security, load up on some snacks and magazines to help you through long flights. I find eating can distract from the stir crazy feelings. 

i. if you are bringing your computer/cell phone/camera/bring an adapter for your chargers. It will only cost you like 10 bucks. Don't forget. because the last thing you want to do is try and find one in a foreign country, especially if you don't speak the language.

j. lastly, for international flights (aka flights longer then 5 hours) bring some sleeping meds. or drink some wine (its free on international flights) or do both. trust me.

Safe travels!

megan from across the pond


adéu + a preview.

so long chickadees... after months of waiting h and i are finally off to spain today! we will be running around barcelona + madrid for the next 9 days!!! if you have any last minute trip recommendations or tips do tell. i have lined up a fantastic list of bloggers for next week here's a little sneak peak::


ps thank you all SO much for your sweet tweets last week when i shared the news about our first place!! i promise to share more about our new condo after our trip!

and be sure to check out my guest posts:: schue love & my fall 5 picks AND ten june for my three wishes :) 


wedding wednesday - engagement photos sneak peak.

h and i really lucked out with our wedding photographer. not only did dawn include an engagement session in our photo package but she was patient with us while i changed clothes, climbed on train tracks in heels and rode our bikes in the mural filled alleys. i adore these photographs and i am certain that they will always remind me of chicago, our west town neighborhood and the summer that we were engaged... 

 a HUGE thank you to the talented dawn roscoe for taking these gorgeous photographs. if you are getting married in chicago or need a photographer for any reason i would highly recommend dawn! 


rendez-vous: new england recap.

as promised... here are a few more Rendez-Vous New England photos :) - enjoy!
all photos c/o: Sarah from Hemenway Street

all photos c/o: Casey from Hello Love

i have posted even more rendez-vous photos on the cornflake dreams facebook page

if you're interested in attending future Rendez-Vous Events, pretty please fill out this super quick {and painless} survey to help us decide where we're headed next!


ps be sure to enter the ayofemi giveaway!

and stop by breakfast at toast today to see my (and lots of other fantastic bloggers) fall picks!


ayofemi giveaway!

i am a bit obsessed with the ayofemi jewelry etsy shop... i adore the delicate gold bracelets, modern friendship bracelets, and gold dipped bracelet in coral! bracelets aside, my hands-down favorite piece is the turquoise sunburst necklace. it screams summer but can easily transition into fall :) and now you can win one!

here's how to win: {leave a comment below}
mandatory- follow cornflake dreams via GFC or blog lovin
visit ayofemi jewelry and comment on your favorite piece

additional ways to enter: {leave a separate comment for each}
tweet about the giveaway! (please include @cornflakedreams & @ayofemijewelry in your tweet) 

good luck chickadees! this giveaway is open to domestic and international readers. a winner will be announced on Monday, October 3rd. 

update: #123 Tamra from walks with bella is our lucky winner.


ps congratulations to #47 - angela @ diary of a chair! you won the Very LovelyLeigh Cowl Giveaway!


friday's fancies #35.

happy friday!!! i am sooo excited to celebrate my brother andy's birthday and finally meet my younger brother's girlfriend this weekend! i will also be celebrating my new job!!! starting in october, i will be returning to the corporate world as a marketing coordinator and event planner at a large law firm. and i am ecstatic... i have loved working on blog redesigns and as a part-time marketing consultant but i MISSED the bustle of downtown, multiple deadlines, color-coding my calendar, o..and a sizable paycheck (call me crazy). i also hope some professional event planning experience will help make future rendez-vous events even more successful. SO no worries chickadees i love cornflake dreams + all of you so i will do my best to keep up with everything and i will still be taking design requests in my spare time.

whew! now that the big announcement is over...back to fashion! the weather in chicago is suppose to warm up a bit so i am excited to be wear my new eShakti dress. if you never checked out eShakti do it. you can order standard sizes OR customize your size to ensure the perfect fit (at a reasonable price-under $10!).

eShakti dress $54, leopard flats $250, bag $265, earrings $75

what are your weekend plans?

ps you have a few more days left to enter the Very LoveLeigh Cowl giveaway!


Rendez-Vous: New England sneak peek.

i will have full recap posts up next week- promise! until then check out these sweet shots + highlights from the weekend... 

rendez-vous weekend highlights::
-i arrived in boston on friday and had dinner with av + marissa from the boot
she is the.sweetest.person.evaaah. and i am totally jealous of her adventures in italy. 
-that night we assembled the goodie bags + finished the name tags...
i learned av is crazy organized and creative and the perfect event planning partner! 
-saturday started with the boston chocolate tour. it didn't take too long for a sugar high to set in. the weather was perfect for walking around and the i got a chance to talk to so many wonderful new england bloggers. btw it's no secret that i run on sugar but dang... after a few shops i was thankful i brought some tupperware.
-saturday night= mixer at The Charlesmark Lounge! they gave us our own private section and it was the perfect space to mix and mingle with attendees. 
-Sunday was the SoWa Open Market. we met at Grey's Fabric and Notions (adorable!) next to the market for some snacks and giveaways. afterwards we wandered around the market. oh..and i defiantly freaked (like a 14-yr girl who just saw justin beiber) when i saw the Roxy's Gourmet Grilled Cheese food truck (featured on food network show the great american food truck race). i shared a bacon + avocado grilled cheese and yes, it was worth wait.

more details next week - and a HUGE thank you to the amazing bloggers who attended the events! i had a blast meeting all of you and i cannot wait to plan another Rendez-Vous with {AV}! If you would like to be updated on the next Rendez-Vous Event Location/Dates please email me.


ps there's still time to enter to win a hand-knit cowl from Very LoveLeigh

pps a HUGE happy birthday to my brother andy who is turning the big 3-0 today!! 


wedding wednesday-name change.

last week at dinner with friends we started talking about weddings (one of the other girls is engaged too) she asked me if i was going to change my name. i immediately said yes, and no i wasn't going to hyphenate my maiden name or use it as my middle name (i like my middle name!) she was going to do the same. the conversation got me thinking about the whole name change game... i think there are perfectly good reasons for keeping your last name. elizabeth taylor was married eight times (that would be a LOT of new last names to keep up with!) also i have heard the paperwork is a bit tedious but i find something romantic about becoming mrs. m :)
hanger, glasses, e-card

what do you think? did you change your take your fiance's name when you got married? single ladies: do you want to keep your maiden name in the future? 


foodie fave - {closet cooking}.

recipes from closet cooking seem to always end up in my foodie board on it seemed like the perfect pick for my September foodie fave. please take note of all the tasty sandwiches and dips! perfect for those fall football parties...

What is your favorite meal of the day? 
This one is a difficult call as I do not really like sweet breakfasts so my breakfasts tend to be a lot like my lunches or dinners. Lunches are probably out as I normally bring leftovers for lunch at work, though I always enjoy getting to make lunch on the weekend. I am going to have to say dinner then, as I normally have more time to make it and that means that I can do pretty much anything that I want with it. 

Favorite Dish you have featured on your blog?
The questions go from hard to impossible! I will have to just go with a recent one that I have been completely addicted to, the Avocado BLT with Fried Egg And Chipotle Mayo

Favorite ingredient to bake or cook with: 
For a while I was totally obsessed with using homemade kimchi in everything that I could think of. I guess that my favourite ingredient would have to be spicy heat in any form whether from fresh chili peppers to powdered chili peppers to chili sauces, etc. 

New dish you want to try: 
There are so many on my list. I have bookmarked several thousand recipes that I want to try on the web! Recently I have been wanting to get into Indian cuisine a bit more and to conquer those long lists of spices that are so often present in the recipes. 

Are there any dishes that have surprised you with their popularity on your blog? 
The okonomiyaki --sometimes called the as you Japanese "as you like" savoury pancake or pizza. This is one of my favourites and I was a bit surprised at how popular it turned out to be. 

What is the most challenging thing about cooking in a small space? 
Making large multipart meals. If you are making a one dish meal then everything is good, and I like it that way, but if you need to make a big meal with a main, several sides and a dessert then the small kitchen starts to get challenging. Because it is a small place I do not have all that many dishes, pots, pans, etc as there is no place to store them and I quickly run out of surface area to work with while trying to make several things at the same time. 

What do you like most about cooking? 
I simply enjoy cooking. Time just seems to fly by when I am cooking, well as long as I am not standing there stirring a risotto for a half an hour, and it is just plain old fun! :)

see more::
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ps be sure to check out the Very LoveLeigh hand-knit cowl giveaway!