cornflake dreams.: September 2013


loving lately.

happy monday! i had a great time this weekend at my friend's wedding -- there was a lot of dancing, drinks, mini-cupcakes and CHEESE. i really love milwaukee! here's a few other things i am loving lately (and my shopping list!): 
LOVING: my tinley road stripped ponte fit and flare dress $69 (i can't wait to pair this with boots and a comfy cardigan this fall). 
-in the land of leather (florence) i somehow managed to come home with a coated canvas louise wallet. #treatyoself ah well, i love it. (especially the two separate credit card storage and snap closure (i'm not a huge fan of zipper wallets bc they take so long to open).
-breaking bad. we binge-watched six episodes on friday night to catch up in time for the finale. i was SO nervous during the entire episode but i am really happy with how they wrapped everything up. 
and i can't get enough of my new go-to "healthy-ish" snacks: dried cherry craisins, cinnamon graham crackers and deep-chocolate chocolate vitatops.

on my SHOPPING LIST: a cozy plaid infinity scarf, classic pieces: a navy peacoat and a rose gold and black cooper watch.

what are you loving lately?!


ps: congratulations to Jamie H, you are the winner of the Minted $100 giveaway!

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friday's fancies #128.

happy friday!! this weekend traveling north to Milwaukee for one of my sorority sister's wedding. it's going to be a mini-college reunion in Marquette (MU) territory - i can't wait! i plan on wearing one of my favorite dresses (the one i wore for my brother's wedding). this time i get to style it for fall - i think it'll look great with a deep burgundy sweater but i am not sure what shoes to wear with it...
have a great weekend! 

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fall wishlist: a great leather bag.

a great leather bag is at the top of my wishlist this fall. luckily, i was recenlty introduced to Rabeanco, an online boutique sells great luxury and trendy leather handbags. they offer a wide variety of styles and colors - my favorites are the tote and crossbody styles in wear-with-anything brown and black::
valentia II cross-body/clutch $238 - arielle crossbody $198 - lucianna II tote $378

disclaimer: thank you to rabeanco for sponsoring this post. as always, all product picks and opinions are my own.

what's on your fall wishlist?



minted $100 giveaway and holiday card preview!

fall starts later this week, which means the holiday season will be here before we know it! to celebrate i am collaborating with minted for a $100 gift card giveaway (which give you plenty of time to design custom holiday cards). i'd like to send out minted holiday cards this year and i've narrowed down a few of my favorite designs below. but i need your help, which design is your favorite?! 
which minted card is your favorite?!

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cinque terre: the five lands.

Cinque Terre was postcard pretty. I still can't get over how colorful the five italian villages were. It's a unique place to visit and must see, especially if you want to take a break from the fast pace of larger Italian cities. 

The villages are filled with 3 and 4-story rainbow colored buildings, perched on top of rocky mountains with bright blue ocean swirling below... it was like a dream. We stayed in Vernazza, one of the smaller villages with a tiny "downtown" filled with shops, restaurants and a rocky beach with sun-tanning tourists. There is a train that connects each village together (I recommend taking the train if you don't want to hike between the villages). If you are staying in vernazza, keep in mind that the train goes right downtown (we made the mistake of staying in a hotel right by the station and we had a hard time falling asleep with the train barreling through the mountainside!) 

The next time we visit Cinque Terre, I want to stay in one of the larger villages -- Monterosso al Mare is right by the beach (no tricky steps to walk down) and the beach is lined with gorgeous stripped umbrellas and comfy lounge chairs. I'd also remember to pack things like a bathing suit and light sun dresses :) (I was so concerned about wearing appropriate clothes in italian churches I completely forgot that we were going to visit a beach town!! #fail). If you plan to hike on the trails in the mountains that connect the villages bring proper shoes. sandals won't cut it. AND most importantly, don't forget to get some fresh, hot focaccia bread with a side of salty pesto and RELAX :)
all photos c/o: my husband :) 
Have you visited Cinque Terre?!


friday's fancies #127 - book club.

happy friday!! i am meeting up with the girls this weekend for book club to discuss Zealot: the life and times of Jesus of Nazareth. we usually don't read religious or historical books, so this one should spark some interesting conversation. all that aside, i'll be honest - i only got about half way through. i got distracted by another book on our plane ride home from italy... americanah. the book is about love, race and the story of a nigerian women's time in america and nigeria. i couldn't put it down. 
have you read any good books lately? 


also: an update from my last book club post: add the glass castle to your reading list (if you haven't already read it). the memoir is heartbreaking and almost unbelievable at times, but a must read. i finished dark places by gillian flynn. it was a little more gruesome than her other books. i preferred gone girl and sharp objects (in that order!)

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september houzz board: labor day whites.

i can't believe it's almost fall... where did the summer go?! i missed labor day this year (we were en route to italy) but i have dedicated my september houzz ideabook to labor day whites! i don't really agree with the old rule, "don't wear white after labor day" and i certainly don't think it applies to decorating. bright whites are stylish year-round and i love mixing white and neutral pieces with rich wood and vibrant patterns. here are a few of my favorite bright white picks:
land of nod "M" frame - dumbo elephant - perlee white tall vase - octagon marble plates - audrey lamp in beigemarble top coffee table
see the rest of my september houzz ideabook here
or browse all of my houzz ideabooks.

do you like to decorate with bright whites and neutrals 
or do you switch things up with lots of color?


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ps: don't forget to enter the iconemesis iphone case giveaway!


roma - part one.

We started our Italian adventure in Rome. 

I've wanted to visit the eternal city ever since i watched Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday with my grandma when I was younger. I have always associated Rome with winding streets, speedy vespas, the Trevi fountain, gelato and the grand Colosseum.  rome did not disappoint -  it was everything I imagined and more! 

On the first two days in the city we visited a lot of major sites: the spanish steps, trevi fountain, pantheon, forum romanum, arch of constantine, monument to vittorio emanuele II and a number of churches. We returned at the end of our trip to visit vatican city and the villa borghese gardens. I couldn't get over how CLEAN and walkable everything was for such a large city. The people were friendly and we didn't have any trouble finding good food (more on that later!) If you visit Italy, you should absolutely make Rome apart of your trip!

all photos were taken by my husband :)

Trip tip: if you are visiting the colosseum pre-order your tickets online, you can print them at home and skip the CRAZY amusement park lines :) 
Have you visited Rome? What were your favorite spots?


international packing tips.

Before I get into Italy recap posts, I thought it would make sense to start from the beginning - packing! I've rounded up all of my travel essentials for an international trip: 

-Start with a great carry-on bag with room for storage. I love my Lo & Son's OMG bag - it has a lot of pockets and zippers to keep valuable safe. I store all of my important papers, jewelry and snacks in this when we travel (in case something happens to my luggage).

-Comfy shoes. seriously. Walking around a city is the BEST way to discover new areas. So don't pack heels and sandals without support if you plan on walking all day, every day. I alternated my croc sexi flip sandals and kandee ballet flats. They are great for traveling because they are lightweight, easy to clean and they don't take up too much room in your suitcase (save the space for souvenirs!)

Bring tennis shoes if you're visiting Cinque Terre and you plan on hiking on the trails that connect the villages. I made the mistake of wearing sandals and it was NOT fun.

-Cardigans or a scarf. Bring them along even in the hot summer months so you can be sure to be respectful to other cultures and religions. Cover your shoulders in churches and cover your hair with a scarf in mosques.

-A slim, lightweight, cross-body bag. Leave your big bag behind and pack something that is lightweight and easy to clean. I love my Ellington Mia crossbody purse, it has enough room to hold a water bottle (or two) and a small umbrella. It also has a LOT of zippers and pockets- including an inside pocket (perfect for your passport and cash) and an outside pocket (for Euro coins or maps). The bag is made out of Ellington's signature nylon twill fabric which is easy to clean with water (great for coffee spills).

-Neutrogena makeup remover cleansing towelettes. This is the easiest way to cut down on extra bottles of moisturizer, face wash and makeup remover.

-Gatorade or propel drink mix packets. These are a lifesaver if you're walking in the sun all day or drinking at night. I like to have one before i go to bed and i feel great the next morning.

-International power adapter. You can find really affordable ones online, pack two just in case one breaks. You'll want to be able to charge your phone (instagram pics!) and camera battery.

-Plastic grocery bags. I bring a few every time we travel - use one or two to store dirty clothes, save another for groceries (European grocery stores charge you for plastic bags) and it's also helpful to carry one or two in your purse if there is a chance of rain and you want to protect your paparazzi camera. h doesn't like to carry around the camera bag (he claims it looks like a man purse).

-Blister band-aids. These things are the BEST, they are waterproof and usually last a few days.

-Luggage or bag lock. If you are traveling by train, lock up your stuff!

-Hand sanitizer! This comes in handy on dirty trains or after an outdoor picnic in the park.

What are your packing essentials? 
Is there anything you ALWAYS pack on an international trip?

pssst: Check out more travel tip posts: traveling on a budget part 1 and part 2


iconemesis iphone case giveaway!

happy monday chickadees! it feels great to be back in the states, although i am a little sleepy. what better way to get over jet-lag than to host a giveaway!? :) iconemesis is a lifestyle brand that specializes in quirky iphone cases. i love the imaginative designs and now you can enter to win any iphone case on the site!

one winner will be announced on monday, september 23 - good luck! 



guest friday's fancies: long distance loving.

Hello there! It's {av} from {long distance loving}, filling in for {jm} while she rounds out her Italian adventure. With her travels in mind, I pulled together a comfy ensemble for this round of Friday's Fancies!

J.Crew Lightweight Merino V-Neck Sweater in Neon Flamingo {on sale for $59!}
Beats by Dre Earbuds {$49}  //  Labello Classic Care Lip Balm {available in Europe}
Transatlantic by Colum McCann {$18}  //  BKR Silicone + Glass Water Bottle in True {$29}

What do you like to wear for long days of plane travel? I always need easy layers and comfy shoes!
Many thanks to {jm} for having me today--I'm so happy the blogging world brought us together :) 
xoxo {av} | {long distance loving}

P.S. Link up your fashion post this week for Friday's Fancies! Click over to {long distance loving} and add your link :) easy peasy!


guest post: little miss holls.

HI! I'm Holly from Little Miss Holls & in honor of Jillian traveling over to Italy, I'm going to talk about that very place that she is going to, right here on her blog today :) Italy is basically my ultimate dream vacation. Dining al fresco at an adorable Italian restaurant, eating freshly made pasta, sipping a glass of red wine, listening to the romantic Italian language being spoken all around you... sounds kind of perfect to me! It sounds so perfect in fact, that we went ahead and planned our own Italian dream vacation since we were thinking about it :)

My husband & I are planning on traveling to Italy for our 1-year wedding anniversary. If you don't already know, we just got married (like 2.5 months ago) & we've already planned the majority of trip next year (excited much?). Check out where we plan on going below...

This is probably the place that I can't wait to visit the most! I can't wait to hike between the towns, swim along the Italian coastline & take in all the gorgeous & colorful hillside views.

We're skipping Rome & doing Florence instead. A) because of time & B) I think I'd rather explore a smaller city & see everything I want to see than a larger city & only see a portion of it. Plus, when I came across this castle I just knew we had to go here & taste some delicious Chianti wines.

So many people have told me to make Venice a MUST on our trip, largely because it's just so unique compared to the rest of the country. And I think it's absolutely crazy that there are no cars in Venice! The thought of not having my car in my everyday life makes me panic - but I can't wait to see what it's like to wander all around town, up & down canals without vehicles getting the the way.

-----      -----      -----

I can't wait for Jillian to go visit everything wonderful in Italy & then come back & tell us all about it! Have the best time & let us know all the places you recommend, so I can add them to my list!

image 1 | image 2 | image 3

xo, holly of little miss holls


guest post: a home away from home.

Hello Cornflake Dreams readers!  While Jillian and her love are off galavanting across Italy, I thought I'd take a few moments to share some of my tried and trusted tips for surviving long distance flights.  As a born and bred southern California girl turned South African expat, I've somehow become {somewhat} accustomed to the frequent 24-hour transatlantic trips home.

1) Comfort is king. I know this one is somewhat controversial, but on any flight longer than ten hours you aren't going to be at your best when you disembark, regardless of what you're wearing. Rather wear a comfy pair of boots {like these} and a poncho {like this} and get in some well needed zzzz's.

2) A toiletries bag. Especially when you're meeting friends or family on the other side.  Since my flight home requires 24 hours of constant travel, I usually resemble something of a zombie when I finally land at LAX. I've learned to board my flight sans make-up and then freshen up about an hour before landing. I typically carry a washcloth, face soap, face lotion, a toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant and a few make-up basics. It works wonders!

3) Tylenol PM. Really though. This one perhaps ranks as my most essential item. Getting a few decent hours of rest could mean the difference between arriving at your destination feeling upbeat and excited versus battling fatigue and jet-lag throughout the first several days of your trip. For someone who's extremely weary of taking sleep medication, I find that Tylenol PM is a nice and effective compromise.

4) An iPod. Aside from the obvious, my iPod is a lifesaver whenever there's a cranky baby nearby or I want to drown out the in-flight announcements while I'm trying to sleep.

5) Skymiles. If you're a semi-frequent long distance flyer, I can't say enough about joining a good skymiles program. I partner with Delta because they have a nice Johannesburg -> Atlanta -> Los Angeles flight route, but there's also plenty of other options. Aside from the actual miles I've accrued, over the years I've built up a pretty decent status. This means that I always get to use the first class check-in line, my luggage is always checked under 'priority', I get to board flights along with business class passengers and I get preference on emergency exit seating. Oh, and I get free domestic upgrades on connections in the US. I cannot tell you how much easier this makes the whole flying process and you'd be surprised how quickly your miles start to translate into tangible benefits!

What are your most essential travel items... anything I missed?

xo, jenna of a home away from home


guest post: elle sees.

Hi! I'm Elle, from ElleSees, a beauty blog that features tips, tricks, and tutorials on hair, makeup, and DIY. Since fall will be here before we know it, I thought I'd share some of my favorite beauty products for the season. The best part? Everything can be purchased at the drugstore, making a seasonal upgrade budget-friendly. Enjoy.

  1. Maybelline Color Show Polish--Burgundy is a classic fall color, but this polish is a little darker, keeping with the still-popular oxblood trend.
  2. Jordana Best Lash Extreme--If you're looking for big lashes, give this mascara a try. It's only $2.99!
  3. Revlon Lip Butters in Raspberry Pie--Sometimes a red lip can be a little daunting, but this color is darker, giving that "just bitten" look. It looks great on everyone.
  4. Wet N Wild Blush in Mellow Wine--I love a product that I can wear year-round, and this blush fits the bill. The color works so well in fall and winter.
  5. Maybelline Eye Shadow Quad in Natural Smokes--If you're looking for a great smokey eye palette, try this one. And it's completely fool-proof! Each color tells you exactly where to place it on your lid. It works for day (try the shimmery taupe shade on the lid) or night.
What are your fall fave beauty products?
xo, elle of elle sees


guest post: the short and sweet of it.

Hello there! I'm Kirby, and I write the lifestyle blog Short & Sweet with Alexa Evans. I'm honored to be guest posting while Jillian's in Italy. Since I'll be in Italy in a few weeks for my honeymoon, I thought I'd share some packing inspiration for a day in Venice.

I took this photo during a visit to Venice in college. I can't wait to go back with my fiancĂ©, who will be my husband by then!
Image / Clutch / Dress / Sandals

This dress is perfect for strolling the Venetian streets all day before grabbing drinks and dinner. I love the idea of pairing the red dress with a mint clutch for an unexpected combination.


guest post: la vie j'aime.

Scarf Season

Summer winding down is always bittersweet for me. The end of beach days and flip flops is upon us, but fall in New England is a beautiful time! I always look forward to dusting off my favorite Frye boots and wrapping a scarf around my neck for a cozy, layered look. Scarves are a go-to and easy accessory of mine, and I have a ton of different styles, colors, and fabrics. How about you? Here are some cute options for adding to your scarf collection or starting one this fall.
Jamie of La Vie J'aime