cornflake dreams.: August 2013


friday's fancies #126 - bon voyage!

we're off to italy tomorrow! AHHH i can't wait!!! we're traveling for two weeks (thank you again for all of your great trip tips!) i will be sure to take lots of instagram pics while we are there (follow along @cornflakedreams) and h will have the big paparazzi camera, so i am sure i'll have LOTS to share when i return! while i am out please stop by and give my guest bloggers some love :) 
GapFit breathe hoodie $50 (i just got this and i LOVE it! the fabric is lightweight and super soft, perfect for a long plane ride) - cabernet jcrew factory tissue tee $13 (on sale! THIS is my fall color!) - skinny jeans in midnight $40 - sexi flip $30 (would you believe me if i told you these are crocs?! they are! and they are unbelievably comfortable and light. i think i found my new favorite traveling shoes - second only to my kadee ballet flats). - lo & sons the OMG bag $275 (this is my favorite carry-on travel bag!) - metallic gold passport holder $60 - leather colorblock luggage tag $30 

ciao bella!


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wednesday good things!

disclaimer: thank you to Ice Mountain® Brand Sparkling Natural Spring Water for sponsoring this post. all thoughts are my own :)

sometimes the work week can drag on - especially when you have a big trip right around the corner! to to break up the week, i like to stop and try something new: 

1. start the day off with a little exercise - i love to do pilates or yoga in the morning and lately i also have been trying new routines from my 'work it out' pinterest board
2. while you're at the office, put pandora on your guilty pleasure music station (i LOVE oldies from the 50's and 60's and i have been caught dancing in my chair quite a few times).
3. snack smart - i like to snack on a mix of strawberries and red grapes.  
4. break out the bubbly... swap your mid-day drink with sparkling water! i can't get enough of Ice Mountain® Brand Sparkling Natural Spring Water (try the lemon essence flavor!). 

if you want even more feel good ideas to perk up your hump days, check out Ice Mountain® Brand Sparkling Natural Spring Water's Facebook Page. like the page and you'll see feel good moments every Wednesday in your Facebook feed! 

how do you mix up your midweek routine? 



date night: chicago architectural boat tour.

This weekend h and I played tourist in our city and we went on an architectural boat tour. It's the best way to see Chicago and learn something new about the city. This was the second tour we've gone on but this time h brought the big camera and got some beautiful shots on the river:
One of my favorite things about the tour, was pointing out buildings that the
architecture firm I used to work for designed (the first image below):

What is your favorite toursity thing to do in your city?


friday's fancies #125.

happy friday! the summer is winding down so i'd like to run around downtown and do some touristy things in chicago like an architectural boat tour and a bike ride around a new (to us) neighborhood! 
kiss kiss tee $45 (it's been a while since i've bought a "graphic" tee but i really love this one!) - jcrew factory straight and narrow jeans $60 - jack rogers sandals $110 - watch $125  - crystal spring bib necklace $42

have a great weekend! 

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ps be sure to check out the NatureBox giveaway!


pizza toast.

mid-week dinners can be tough. after a long day of work it can be a challenge to find something healthy-ish and tasty to make for dinner. after struggling with messy, sticky pizza dough, h suggested that we try making pizza on leftover sour dough bread. i thought it sounded more like an appetizer, but now it's our favorite (QUICK) way to prepare pizza after a long day at work. it's also a great way to use leftover bread and veggies at the end of the week! 
what's your favorite quick dinner?

ps don't forget to enter the naturebox giveaway for a chance to win lots of healthy goodies.


southern good things: a weekend in charleston, sc.

This weekend h and I took a quick trip to Charleston, South Carolina. We spent two days exploring the cobblestone streets and picking out our favorite southern mansions. I fell in love all over again with the southern double-decker porches and intricate iron gates that led into secret gardens. The city was even more charming than I remembered! The people were friendly, the food was comforting, and it incredibly relaxing to wander around at a slow pace. Charleston is hands-down my favorite (Southern) city.

What is your favorite city in the US?


NatureBox: a review & giveaway!

Disclaimer: this is a review post - i was provided a complimentary NatureBox to review but all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

if you know me, you know that i snack ALL of the time but with my recent health issues i have to pay more attention to what i eat. i am trying to stay away from processed and fatty foods, so i was thrilled to get the opportunity to review (and give away) a NatureBox Discovery Box. 

NatureBox is a monthly all-natural healthy snacks subscription. you sign up online, pay $20/month and get five different pouches of nutritionist approved healthy snacks delivered to your door. i like the concept of this subscription, because unlike beauty boxes, you usually can't go wrong with food! if you don't like a snack someone in your house might -- or you can always bring into work and share, (i know my co-workers always appreciate free snacks). NatureBox is also a good idea if you are regularly entertaining guests (book club!) and you want to have something healthy in the house to serve. 
my NatureBox discovery box contained: 
-santa fe corn stix (salsa flavored corn sticks) - 5.5 oz bag, these were my favorite, i couldn't stop eating them!
-cherry berry bonanza (dried cranberries, cherries and blueberries) - 4 oz bag 
-sweet blueberry almonds (roasted almonds dusted with natural blueberry flavors) - 4 oz bag...the dried berries and almonds are a great snack choice, i am going to take these to work for my mid-day slump.
-teriyaki twists (teriyaki flavored rice crackers) - 5 oz, i wasn't a big fan of these but luckily h loved them! 
-coco waffle wafters - 2 oz bag - i am going to smash these up and put them in vanilla ice cream.

all of the products contained NO high fructose corn syrup, NO partially hydrogenated oils, NO artificial sweeteners, flavors or colors and 0 trans fat. this makes my stomach happy.

finally, i LOVE that for every box they sell, NatureBox feeds a hungry child in need. NatureBox donates funds and healthy snacks to WhyHunger partners, including community-based organizations, emergency food providers and summer meal programs for low-income children. talk about a WIN-WIN.

enter to win a NatureBox Discovery Box below! ALSO a SPECIAL discount for readers, sign up for a NatureBox subscription and get 50% off your first box! Just use the promo code SNACKTIME at checkout.

please note, as NatureBox is a monthly service that switches up it's items, you'll receive different snacks than the ones i reviewed (but i'm sure they will be tasty).

good luck!



friday's fancies #124.

this weekend we're going to charleston, south carolina for a mini-trip! i can't wait!! i moved to charleston for a few months after college before i moved back to chicago (that was 6 years ago!) i so am excited to run around the city and visit some of my favorite spots (the battery, rainbow row, waterfront park and cupcake). if you have any recommendations on what to do and see -- or more importantly where to eat, please share below! 

psst: there are still a few items from my closet up for sale on instagram and facebook!
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closet clean-up.

fall is right around the corner!! to get ready for a new season and colder weather, i am trying a new way of organizing and cleaning out my closet. 

wear an item, wash it, put it at the end of your closet and don't wear it again until you wear EVERYTHING else in your closet. this forces you to wear everything in your closet (or at least consider wearing it!) i don't know about you, but i tend to gravitate towards the same things all of the time. this is an easy (and free) way to assess your closet and discover "new" clothes. whatever i decide i don't want to keep, i plan to sell. check my instagram pics and facebook page for "new" items and rest assured, i don't plan on selling outdated or faded items. i will only sell things that i feel guilty about getting rid of (aka those "hide it on the bottom of the donation bag" so the husband doesn't see that i am getting rid of it.) all sales final.

do you have any closet cleaning or organization tips?

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craving: pesto.

when i lived at home with my parents we usually had a small container of pesto sauce in the fridge. no one, aside from my mom, touched the stuff. she always ate it with cheese tortellini and told my it was reallly good but i was afraid to try it. i thought it would taste the way it looked -icky green. thankfully, i got a little more adventurous with food and it turns out, mom knew what-was-what all along. now i'm kinda obsessed with the stuff and always trying new ways of incorporating it into my meals. here's a roundup of great pesto recipes:

pesto penne pasta - caprese quinoa salad with spinach pesto - caprese crostini with pesto - pesto rollspesto chicken pizza  - pesto avocado melt - - grilled pesto chicken and tomato kebabs 

are you a pesto fan? what's your favorite way to use pesto? 
(i love to pair pesto with goat cheese on a crostini aka the easiest appetizer you'll ever make).


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august houzz board - inspired by the pacific northwest.

after a amazing trip to seattle and portland, i couldn't get the pacific northwest out of my head. i kept seeing things online or in stores that reminded me of the area. my august houzz ideabook is a roundup of eco-friendly, modern and cozy finds fit for a pacific-northwest condo:
see the rest of my august houzz ideabook and other houzz ideabooks


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book club.

do you do the book club thing? i do and i love it. my friends and i have a book/dinner/drinks club where we rotate hosting dinner at our place and discuss the selected book of the month (among other things!) the host offers up three book suggestions, we vote and then the top book is "assigned." i've only finished 2 since the start of summer...i blame that pesky 9-5 job but they were good ones...

book club picks: beautiful ruins by jess walter and let's explore diabetes with owls by david sedaris. i also recommend sharp objects by gillian flynn (she's the author of gone girl) and i am currently reading (and loving) glass castle by jeanette walls. next up: dark places by gillian flynn (can you tell i'm a fan?!) and lean in by sheryl sandberg (a co-worker gave me this book and i can't wait to start it).

have you read any good books this summer?

ps thank you for all of your italy trip tips!! i am even more excited about our vacation now :)

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italy trip tips!

We have had some great adventures this year: Greece, Portland/Seattle and Charleston next weekend... but I am ecstatic about our upcoming trip to ITALY. It has been on my wanderlust wish list for a few years and I have a few ideas of what I'd like to do (pesto, pasta, gelato - repeat!) but, I would love your advice, where should we do? see? eat?! we're visiting Rome, Cinque Terre, Florence and Venice and we'll be traveling for two weeks!
images via, via, via, via 

Do you have any Italy trip tips? Things to do (or avoid?!) grazie!


portland: the rose city.

We took a Seattle amtrack train to Portland, it was a really fun way to see the Pugent Sound along the way (and avoid another plane ride). While we were in Portland we spent the majority of our time with h's family (his brother and wife live in Portland). We got together for a cookout and visited Portland's famous Rose and Japanese Gardens. July is the perfect time to visit - all of the flowers were in bloom and the weather was perfect! I still can't get over how GREEN the city was:
(h's brother eloped in the rose garden a few months ago, so it was fun to take photos of the happy couple at such a sentimental spot.)
Want to see more?! 
Seattle sights, Chihuly garden and glass exhibit and Pacific Northwest eats.



good things.

happy monday! we had a great weekend...
- friday night we had another breaking bad mini-marathon (we're almost all caught up!)
-on saturday, we went on a bike ride to target and the market to pick up picnic supplies. the weather was AMAZING, so i am happy we spent a lot of time outside. biking to target was really smart, because i could only buy what would fit into my basket (i went home with two cute workout tanks). 
-later that night we went on a date to Ravinia - we brought along a little picnic and indulged in some cookies and cream ice cream. it's one one of my favorite places near that city and it's a treat to relax outdoors, listen to music (aida an opera) and be surrounded by trees and the stars. 
-i ended the weekend with a cupcake date at magnolia bakery with the girls and sunday dinner at our favorite mexican restaurant, DeColores

ps: all of you lolla fans! listen to THIS (my childhood neighbor, bobby is all grown-up and he is a singer.. and he is really good!) also - congratulations to  Meghan S. you won the minted giveaway. i will contact you via email.

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friday's fancies #122.

happy friday! this weekend we don't have a ton of plans (which is great) - i've been a little over-booked lately! if the weather cooperates, i'd love to go for a bike ride. i'll be avoiding all of the lollapalloza craziness in chicago (i'm not a big fan of crowds) but we have tickets to Aida in Concert at Ravinia on Saturday, so i'll get to see a smaller concert! ravinia is one of my favorite places to visit just outside of the city, and i can't wait to relax, have a picnic, and dress up a little...(i found the perfect maxi dress to wear).
green maxi dress $25 - jcrew factory layered circle necklace $35 - joie menton sandals $88 - jcrew stretch denim jacket $60 (when you use the code STYLE40 at checkout) - plaid blanket $35 - picnic basket $43

don't forget to enter the minted giveaway, a winner will be announced on monday!

have a great weekend! 


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loving lately: shopping victories.

this summer i've done a little bit of shopping and found some great picks. here are a few of my favorites (and a new addition to my wishlist!) 
- i have been searching for the perfect trench coat for months. i thought i found a winner when i ordered the collection icon trench from jcrew, 40% off the original price. when i got the coat i fell in love with the gorgeous fabric and lining but when i tried it on at home, i was disappointed. it felt long and frumpy for my short 5'4" frame (lesson: i can't do double-breasted coats). BUMMER. so, i've decided that if i am not in LOVE with something i NEED to return it and stop justifying why i should keep it. And i remembered to shop your closet! i already have another coat (the downtown field jacket), that i appreciate even more now for it's fit (i bought the xs) and it's wear-with-anything olive green color (win!).
- i am loving my nameplate necklace c/o of ONecklace - it's perfect when i want to channel my inner carrie bradshaw :) the site is great for affordable custom nameplate and monogram necklaces and quick delivery. 
- my feet are SUPER happy in flats, so i am reluctant to buy heels (even 1" inch heels). i've had my eye on Marais USA espadrille wedges sandals this summer, so when i saw that they were 40% off at shopbop, i couldn't resist trying them out.... and i am glad i did! they are even prettier in person!! i love the retro design and the grosgrain ribbons and i can totally handle the itty-bitty "heels".
-and finally, i've got my eye on BaubleBar's mini or midi pave links bracelets. i had the original pave bracelet on my wishlist but the smaller sizes would be a much better fit.  

have you had any shopping victories or lessons lately?


p.s. don't forget to enter the $75 gift card minted giveaway

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