10.31.2013

halloween movie marathon.

happy halloween!! this is the first time in a few years that i haven't dressed up and gone out for halloween...i can't say that i hate it! so instead, i plan to watch a few of my favorite halloween movies tonight. i love the witches (the book is even better), hocus pocus and anything by tim burton - beetlejuice, sleepy hallow (i usually wait until december to watch the nightmare before christmas and edward scissorhands). and yes, i realize most all of these movies are for kids... but i can't really handle seriously scary movies! :)

how do you celebrate halloween?! 
what are you favorite halloween movies?

xo, 
jillian

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10.30.2013

never stop learning.

there are times i realllly wish i knew how to use our paparazzi camera or edit photos with photoshop...or style a bookshelf! have you guys heard of skillshare?! it's an online community marketplace of (affordable) classes. they offer a great list of workshop videos - complete with customer reviews and recommendations - in a number of areas: advertising, business, design, fashion & style, film & video, food & drink, music, photography, technology and writing & publishing. the classes i looked at ranged in price from $15 - $25 -- which is way cheaper than signing up for a class at a local college or attending a technology workshop or conference.

i spotted this door in santorini, greece - quote by John C. Maxwell

have you ever taken an online skillshare course? 
did you like it? is it worth the money?!
xo, 
jillian


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disclaimer: i was not compensated for this post -- i just thought it was a fun thing to share and a great opportunity to learn:) 
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10.29.2013

vatican city.

We ended our Italian adventure back in Rome. We spent the first day back at Vatican City, visiting St. Peters Basilica and the Vatican museum. We climbed to the top of the dome - after two weeks of walking, we decided it would be smart to skip half of the climb by taking the elevator. Despite the shorter climb, - I STILL freaked out about the narrow space, curved walls and shrinking steps. Once we finally got to the top of the dome it was crowed with tourists and hard to get around - but the view was beautiful. That was my first and last visit up the dome! The rest of our visit was less dramatic -- St. Peters Basilica was HUGE and extremely ornate with beautiful details at every corner. The Vatican museum housed massive tapestries and almost every wall and ceiling was covered with Renaissance art (and yes, ThSistine Chapel is a MUST-see). 



Have you visited Vatican City? Did you climb to the top of the Basilica? 
xo, 
Jillian
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10.28.2013

budget booties under $50 and $100!

happy monday chickadees! fall is in full force and i want to update my closet with a pair of brown or black booties! here's a roundup of my favorites - from nordstrom, old navy and target:
under $100: bp trolley ankle boot $99 - julianne hough for sole society giuliana $90 (in tan and black) - DV by dolce vita gila $80  ---  under $50: old navy women's suede bootie $45 (in tan and black) - mossimo kodi ankle bootie $35 (in tan and black) 


do you like booties? which pair is your favorite?!

xo, 
jillian 

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10.25.2013

friday's fancies #132.

happy friday! thank you for all of your comments on yesterday's book post! i can't wait to fill my kindle with all of your suggestions :) 
tonight we're going to a bulls game with some of my co-workers (in the fancy skybox!!) i'll admit i am looking forward to the carrot cake more than the actual game (full disclosure: i am not really a sports fan). saturday i'm getting my hair cut (not sure how that'll go yet...) and sunday i have a brunch date with the girls. 
3/4 sleeve v-neck ultrasoft sweater $15 (i wasn't kidding when i said i loved these sweaters!) - jcrew factory straight and narrow jean $52 (with the code SALE30 at checkout) - jcrew factory belted wool-cashmere funnel coat $146 (with the code SALE30 at checkout)- lucky brand teddye brown booties $139 (i've been searching for the perfect pair of tan booties and i really like this pair). michael kors taylor mini watch $180 (i bought this during the shopbop sale and i LOVE it!)

have a great weekend!

xo, 
jillian 

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10.24.2013

fall reading list.

after our tv went out the other week i realized i need to read more. so it's time to update my summer reading list with a new roundup for fall. i recently finished reading AmericanahReconstructing Amelia and Divergent - i liked it even more than Hunger Games (probably because of all of the chicago references). here are a few other books i'd like to read:


Less than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis - set in Los Angeles in the early 1980s, the novel follows a cast of upper-class, good-looking, oversexed, drug-addled, thrill-seeking, college-age characters on the road to perdition.

Everything Is Wrong With Me: A Memoir of An American Childhood, Gone, Well, Wrong by Jason Mulgrew - the blog-turned-memoir piles the author's dysfunctional family, deranged friends, working-class roots, sexual experiences and mental illnesses mostly for laughs, spinning out a raunchy and irreverent bar-room book. 

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - books, war, love and mind-blowing sadness spin together in this compelling and complex young-adult novel set during WWII in germany. (am i too old to be reading all these young adult books!?)

Looking For Alaska
 by John Green - i'm on the fence with this one... i read The Fault in Our Stars and it was depresssssing and a little too sappy for my taste. has anyone read Looking? would you recommend it?



do you have any other suggestions? i'd love to read something funny (think david sedaris or sloane crosley...)

xo, 
jillian

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10.23.2013

vanishing venice.

Venice is unlike any other place I have visited before. It's been on my to-visit list for years... I remember staring at photos of the city in National Geographic when I was little. I couldn't believe this city was built on top of water. How did people get around? (lots of boats + bridges). Did they swim in the water?! (no!) What happens when it floods? (they make the most of it). I was also concerned to hear that the city was sinking - I HAD to see it before it was gone. Thankfully, h agreed that venice was a no-brainer stop on our Italy trip. with it's winding streets, bridges and canals filled with gondolas it was even more beautiful than I imagined:
We avoided the pigeons in Piazza San Marco, but loved exploring the Doge's Palace and nearby Saint Mark's Basilica (with stunning gold mosaics inside it was my favorite church in Italy!) h was happy to find LOTS of great street art and I might have shopped less in Florence if i knew how great the shopping in Venice was.
Have you visited Venice? 
Did you like it?
xo, 
Jillian 

pssst - see more Italy recaps here
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10.22.2013

budget favorite: ultrasoft crew neck sweater.

i loveee my target mossimo ultrasoft crew neck sweaters...(illustrated here last year). i have the sweater in seven colors (pink, teal, black, tan, orange, gray and cobalt blue) and i always receive compliments when i wear them. the ultrasoft crew neck sweaters are super comfy and true to their name (soft!) -- AND they are under $20! yep, that's right... stock up now! 
(the sweater also comes in v-neckcowl, boatneck, 3/4 sleeve (green above!) and cardigan styles!)

do you have any favorite budget finds?

xo, 
jillian 

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10.21.2013

craving: soft food + smoothies.

sooo i might not be "craving" soft foods or smoothies, but right now my mouth is full of stitches and it's all i can handle. thankfully my friend lent me her blender, so it has been easy to try new smoothie (and milkshake!) recipes. here are my favorites so far::


and i've been craving some "soft" comfort foods (hello, peanut butter + banana and lemon + blueberry...my favorite flavor combinations!)::

do you have any smoothie recipes you love? what about any other favorite soft foods?

xo, 
jillian 

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10.18.2013

friday's fancies #131.

happppy friday! later today i am going in for dental surgery- a lower gum graft... FUN right?! that means this weekend i'll be in pj's in bed or on the couch.. drinking lots of smoothies and eating all the soft food i can get my hands on. i have some sappy movies waiting on my netflix queue and a new book on my kindle (yes, i realize i am probably the last person to read divergent)

have a comfy weekend! 
xo, 
jillian

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PS: Kate Spade is having a big sale...30% off everything (except the Beau Bag) - with the cod FALL13FF at checkout. i'm really tempted to buy this watch.
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10.17.2013

october houzz board: inspired by italy.

after our two-week trip to italy in september i couldn't stop thinking about all things italian...so i thought ITALY would be the perfect inspiration for my October Houzz Ideabook:: 


xo, 
jillian

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10.16.2013

"love to love" in florence.

Florence was magical. The city is walkable, safe, clean and full of beautiful architecture. It also didn't hurt that our hotel was right around the corner from Via de' Tornabuonia street lined with designer stores (o hello, prada, gucci, pucci, dolce & gabbana, roberto cavalli...so nice to see you!) I did the majority of my shopping in Florence and came home with a pair of leather sandals, florentine paper (which I used to update our "white board" in the kitchen) and a LV wallet (I know, I know...in the land of leather I probably shouldn't have bought a coated canvas wallet but I couldn't help myself). 

Shopping aside, the highlight of our trip was our hotelier monty. He was the sweetest old italian man and every time we returned to the hotel, he greeted us with the most over-the-top animated phrases -- "BONJOURNO! bonjourno! cheek to cheek... LOVE to looove!" it left us smiling the rest of the day. 


We stayed in florence for four days, which was plenty of time to wander around the city and see the major sites. My favorite spots included: the view of the city from the  Giotto’s Campanile tower, the Santa Maria del Fiore (The Duomo) and nearby Florence Baptistery, inside you will see walls filled with stunning gold murals. Walking around the Piazza della Signoria and visiting the Palazzo Vecchio - it was so fun to imagine living in one of the extravagant apartments. I also loved walking along the Ponte Vecchio (the main bridge that crosses the arno river), it's a great spot to stop and take everything in. 

all photos by my husband :) 

As monty would say, "love to love, kiss to kiss...prego!"
xo, 
Jillian

[psst: see more Italy recaps: Rome (part one), Cinque Terre, EAT like an Italian and unexpected art in Florence... Venice and Rome part two are on the way!]
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10.15.2013

building a bigger (and better) nail polish collection.

this weekend i realized i don't have any nail polish that i love. i rarely paint my (finger) nails, because it takes me less than a day to chip them (thank you, desk job and endless typing). and although, i love how no-chip manicures look, they rip my nails apart and it's just not worth it. so that leaves the toes. i feel really weird when they aren't painted (which is probably strange) but i'd like to build a bigger (and better) nail polish collection, starting with darker hues (and a few sparkly picks for the holidays)::

ESSIE: essie smoking hot $8 -essie bold beautiful $8 - essie power clutch silver $8
BUTTER LONDON: butter london tart with a heart glitter $15 - butter london chancer $15 - butter london all hail the queen $15
OPI: OPI Incognito in sausalito $9 - OPI nein! nein! nein! OK fine! $9 - OPI lincoln park after dark $9 

what's your favorite fall or holiday nail polish?
xo, 
jillian

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10.14.2013

weekend good things.

happy monday chickadees - this weekend was full of lots of good things (and i can't believe it's already over!) 


-friday's highlight was portillo's chocolate cake (for my boss' birthday). if you haven't tried it before, do it. you won't believe that it's from fast-food italian beef restaurant. the cake is HUGE and it has the best chocolate frosting. portillo's does chocolate cake right.

-saturday we took advantage of the unusually warm weather and went on a bike ride around the neigborhood. it was so fun to be on our bikes and i am not ready to store them away for winter. 

-later that afternoon we listened to a few episodes of NPR (i surprised h last christmas with a USB drive of 35 hours of This American Life stories). i also spent a few hours reading reconstructing amelia (i'm almost done and i can't wait to see how it ends).  

-that night, we went to a diner with h's family in Old Town. breakfast for dinner is the best, i got a huge omelet with tons of cheese, zucchini and tomatoes. 

-on sunday we watched thousands running the chicago marathon (including my best friend), it was exciting to see so many runners and supporters. luckily the weather was gorgeous too! cool and sunny - perfect for running. 

-i took advantage of some great online sales (40% off everything at GAP and 50% off everything at JCREW factory) and scooped up a few things for me and for the holidays (yes, that's right i have officially started christmas shopping). 

-we finished the weekend with a few episodes of season one of mad men, (we missed the first few seasons of the show). unfortunately, we had to watch the episodes on our tiny computer because our TV isn't working (our bulb burnt out last tuesday and we're still waiting on a replacement). 

how was your weekend?! 
xo, 
jillian

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ps congratulations to Shelby, you won the Xperience Days giveaway - i'll email you shortly with the details!
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10.11.2013

friday's fancies #130.

happy friday chickadees - this weekend is the chicago marathon! i remember visiting chicago with my best friend when we were in sophomores in college to cheer on our sorority sisters, who were running the marathon. it was SO inspiring and after the race we both started running. i didn't stick with it...i'm more of a pilates/yoga kind of girl, but jenny did and she's running the marathon this weekend! i couldn't be prouder. the race is on sunday and it is supposed to cool down a little bit (hello fall!) perfect for running. i plan on staying cozy in a comfy sweater::
jcrew factory funnelneck sweater $70 - (psst...jcrew factory is having a HUGE sale, 50% off everything online) - jcrew factory quilted jacket $69 (i just snatched this up! i think it'll be a great fall into winter jacket) - skinny black jeans $40 - classic suede burgundy ballet flats $40 - 'lacy not racy' essie nail polish $8 - crystal zodiac bracelet $36 (bauble bar is having a sale too: 10% off $50 purchase, 15% off $100, 20% $150+) - jcrew goodwinn hobo bag $108 (with the code EXTRA40 at checkout)

have a great weekend!
xo, 
jillian 

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10.10.2013

craving: something different.

i tend to crave something sweet, cheesy or wrapped up in pastry... so it might be hard to believe but i am craving brussels sprouts! i tried brussels sprout salad over the weekend at a friend's house and wowzah, what a game-changer! apparently i DO like raw brussels sprouts...especially when they are chopped up and mixed with blu cheese, cherry tomatoes and turkey bacon and topped with avocado lemon dressing. drool.

so i guess that means i finally have an "adult" palate...so why not round up a few more chopped brussels sprout recipes:: 


do you like to eat brussels sprouts? do you prefer them raw or cooked?
xo, 
jillian 

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ps don't forget to enter the Xperience Days giveaway - you could win $100 for a city adventure...(i'd choose a food tour!)
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10.09.2013

shop crush: etsy round-up.

etsy is my favorite place to find unique gifts, so with the holidays approaching i thought it'd be fun to round-up some of my recent favorites shops: 

do you shop on etsy? what are your favorite shops/items?

xo, 
jillian
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10.08.2013

discover: unexpected art in florence.

h and I love discovering street art when we travel. So we were thrilled when we saw something fun going on with the street signs in Florence:
At first we didn't know if it was something the city implemented (perhaps a ploy to catch drivers' attention or get tourists talking) or a brave artist. After a little research we learned that it was Clet Abraham, a French artist who is responsible for altering TONS of Florence street signs with clever stickers. 
My favorite is the sign with the little sardine men :) 

Have you visited Florence? 

Did you notice the street signs or any other unexpected art?
xo, 
Jillian
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10.04.2013

friday's fancies #129.

happy friday! i'm soooo ready for the weekend :) tonight we're going to take it easy and stay in for a movie date (do you have any recommendations?!) we have dinner plans at our friend's new house on saturday and sunday dinner. after a v busy september it'll be nice to have a break and enjoy a low-key weekend.

have a great weekend!

xo,
jillian

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