cornflake dreams.: January 2014


friday's fancies #141.

Happy Friday! I am excited about the weekend but enough with the snow and cold already! It snowed again in Chicago last night and we are expecting another winter storm tomorrow. can we just skip to spring?! Tomorrow is book club with the girls (with fondue!) and I'm praying that it isn't too snowy to get together. On sunday we'll watch the big game (and commercials). I want make something fun from my 'eat' pinterest board...avocado feta dip sounds like a winner!

cowl neck tunic $50 / zip utility jean $74 / xoxo ring $20 / the lonny boot $228 / the kensington satchel $198 / this month we read The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri (she is one of my favorite authors). The book was a little long but an interesting story about "two brothers bound by tragedy, a fiercely brilliant woman haunted by her past, a country torn by revolution, and a love that lasts long past death." There was a lot of information about an Indian revolution that I could have done without but overall I liked the book.

Have a great weekend (and stay warm!)


roasted brussels sprouts + potatoes.

I posted about brussels sprouts a few months ago, and I can't stop eating them. seriously. Lately I have been trying to incorporate them into at least one meal a week (thankfully h is a fan too). I love eating them on their own or mixing them with hearty roasted potatoes (perfect with scrambled eggs!)
- chop up your brussels sprouts and potatoes into bite-size pieces
- toss potatoes in a bowl with 1 tbsp. olive oil
- bake potatoes on a foil covered baking sheet for 20 minutes at 450 degrees. 
- remove the potatoes and flip them (so they get brown on both sides)
- toss brussels sprouts in 1 tbsp. olive oil
- add brussels sprouts with potatoes and finish in the oven for 20 minutes (or until crispy)
sprinkle with salt and pepper & enjoy! 

How do you cook your brussels sprouts?


love-ly jewelry favorites.

Valentines Day is coming up in two weeks and it's the only holiday that I can get on board with dressing "festive" for. I love heart/love jewelry and I wear it year-round, alternating my claddagh ring (that has a little heart) and an itty bitty gold heart ring from Catbird. Now i just need to add a "love" necklace to the mix. Here are some pieces that I am smitten with:

love pendant necklace / kate spade be mine pendant / marc by marc jacobs stud earrings / little love midi ring / adjustable love bangle / delicate heart cuff / and psst: there are lots of "love" necklaces on etsy too!

Do you wear "love" inspired jewelry?


winter wardrobe refresh.

As much as I have been dreaming about Spring and warmer weather lately, it is STILL cold in Chicago (very cold...that polar vortex is back in full force). So what better time to stock up on some Winter essentials (especially since some of my favorites are now on sale). 

gap cable cowl scarf / quilted leather gloves / merino tippi sweater in vintage cabernet (half off!) / sorel boots (these will keep your feet warm and dry in snowy weather) // echo marled pop top gloves / ugg dakota slippers / jcrew military parka (on major sale!) 

Is it cold where you live? 
psst: only 50 days until Spring.


good things.

This weekend was lazy and full of good things. Friday night we decided to marathon season two of girls. It was hilarious - hannah drugs are no excuse to run around new york in a mesh tank! and put down the q-tips!!! If you don't have HBO, you can watch the first two episodes of season 3 on YouTube. Also- if you are a fan you'll laugh at this buzzfeed article - the cast of hbo's girls as american girl dolls

- On Saturday we got together with family for dinner at Flo in west town. I had a pork tamale and chicken taco with corn was spicy but sooo tasty. I think I found a new favorite combo! 

- I am happy to report that i have been keeping up with workouts and my weekend was full of yoga and pilates :) lately I have also been wanting to run (which is kind of a miracle, since I am not a cardio fan). I ran a little bit on the treadmill the other week (in my flimsy pumas) and my knees hurt immediately. So this weekend I ordered a new pair of nike 'free 3.0 v5' running shoes! I can't wait to start incorporating a little cardio into my routine.

- On Sunday night I made black bean and veggie chili (I'll post a recipe next week.)

I am working from home today (it is FREEZING in Chicago. again.) Stay warm friends!

How was your weekend?


cozy weekend plans.

full disclaimer: i received a complimentary pair of pajamas from eberjey, but all opinions are my own. thank you for supporting brands that support cornflake dreams!

Happy Friday! This weekend I have cozy plans - in pajamas! eberjey was sweet enough to send me a pair of giselle pajamas and I am slightly obsessed. When h saw them he asked if I stole them from Zooey Deschanel. yep, and I'll take that as a compliment! They are SUPER soft and I love the vintage design and rich navy color. So tonight I plan to snuggle in for another mad men marathon with h (we're almost caught up). Saturday night we'll brave the cold to go out to dinner with the family and sunday will be another lazy day. I can't wait for it to be warmer in Chicago....until then I will be pajamas.
eberjey giselle pajamas $118 (i knowww, it's a high price tag for pj's but these are worth it. better quality/fit/fabric/design is better and you'll have them for years). put a pair on your birthday or treat-yo-self wish list. If you want something a little more flirty (Valentines Day is coming up!) I also recommend the giselle lace and delirious lace chemises (I bought these for my honeymoon a year and a half ago and I still love them). I also have the amaya bralette on my wish list! because a girl needs options :)

Have a great weekend! 


january houzz board: get organized!

This year my new years resolution is all about gratitude...but i'd also like to get organized in 2014 too! organization gets me really excited (nerdy, i know). When things are put away, it's easier to find them later and I feel calmer (easy fix, so i'll take it!) my january houzz ideabook is filled with picks to get you organized at home (I need major help with our office/guest bedroom/storage room): 
filigree monogram hooks (these would be cute in a bathroom or a closet- to hang up jewelry) // stainless steel perfect circle bulletin board (for a grocery list or hang it in your closet with photos of your best outfits) // kvarnvik storage box with lid (I have these in navy and they fit perfectly into most ikea expedit square shelves // spontan magazine rack // kassett magazine file // round wire basket (for laundry, blankets or dog toys!) // zilli coat rack (I LOVE the modern look of this rack, it's almost too stylish to cover.)
browse all of my houzz ideabooks here

What room in your house needs a little organization?


blog love.

This is my 1000th cornflake dreams post. Can you believe it? Thank you for all of your support and sweet comments over the past 3 1/2 years. 
Here are some of my happiest blogging moments: 
-craving: mint chocolate chip (one of the first boards i was really proud of, 2010)
-our engagement story (2011)
-engagement photos (2011) 
-that time AV and i organized a blogger meet-up (rendez-vous: new england 2011)
-budget traveling tips (2011 and more in 2012)
-2011 recap
-visiting Istanbul, Turkey! (2012)
-sharing our wedding photos + first kiss (2012)
-our honeymoon in Paris and Prague (2012)
-2012 recap
-Santorini, Greece (my favorite trip, 2013) 
-our vows and one year wedding anniversary (2013)
-my most "pinned" travel post (2013)
-2013 recap
-140 friday's fancies posts
and finally, my most popular post...happy makers (2011) 
I still want one of those pups ;) 

Thank you again for all of your support. Please let me know if there is anything new you'd like to see in my next 1,000 posts! 


color crush: camel.

Lately I have been wearing a lot of camel. I love the color mixed with bold brights and basic black. It looks even better when paired with touches of leopard. If you don't believe me, even jcrew's creative director, Jenna Lyons has said, "leopard is a neutral." ok. sold!

nora calf hair flats // calf hair pouch // print iphone case // merino charley sweater (40% off with code SALE40) // skinny mini bow studs // tory burch thea foldover crossbody // BCBGeneration tilda ankle strap flats

Are you embracing the camel and leopard trend this winter?


good things.

Happy Monday and happy MLK day! I had a really wonderful weekend with friends and family. Friday night our fiesta plans got post-poned (I forgot to make reservations!) so we decided to visit a Chicago favorite - Portillos! they have the best italian roast beef, hot dogs and burgers. H and I shared a cake shake (a vanilla milkshake with chunks of Portillo's famous chocolate cake mixed in). so. so. good. 
On Saturday I chopped off my hair (I posted a photo of the cut on instagram) thank you for your sweet messages... I'm still getting used to the short length, so the positive comments were much appreciated. Later Saturday night we went to my father-in-law's house and he taught us how to make alabloo polow, a Persian dish with rice, sour cherries, slivered almonds and chicken onion meatballs. We also learned how to make tadig (everyone's favorite!) crispy potatoes or flat bread cooked under rice so one side gets crispy and the other is coated with crunchy rice. 

I spent sunday with the girls, brunch at beatrix was tasty (I recommend the lemon pancakes!) and I am still wrapping my head around the movie her. I loved the music and the story was interesting, although, as much as I love my phone and computer I hope things never evolve to the point where technology completely replaces humans in relationships. 

My the weekend continues today with some reading, jillian michaels yoga meltdown and the bulls vs. lakers game tonight! 

How was your weekend? 


weekend winter layers.

TGIF! :) I am so ready for the weekend and I have some fun plans. Tonight we're going on a double-date with friends at a Mexican restaurant downtown (hello guacamole and margaritas!) On Saturday I have a haircut appointment (chopping it again!) and later that night we're going over to my father-in-law's house for dinner and a cooking lesson. On Sunday I am celebrating my best friends birthday with brunch at beatrix and an afternoon showing of her (have you seen it?) it's still freezing in Chicago so i plan to dress in lots of comfy layers...

infinity scarf $58 // jersey top $10 // merino long cardigan $35 // leggings $35 // convertible cable knit mittens $28 // coach borough bag $548 // rag & bone booties $495 (i know crazy expensive! but they are beeeeautiful!)

Have a great weekend! 


great grandma's date nut bread.

My great grandma (on my mother's side) always made sweet date nut bread for holidays. As a child I didn't fully appreciate the bread (passing it up for frosted sugar cookies and other Christmas treats) but now it's one of my favorite things to bake! And bonus it's healthy-ish too (with no butter and only 1 tablespoon of shortening) the majority of the fat is found in the nuts (but that's good fat, right?!)

METHOD: Pour boiling water over dates and let stand while preparing other ingredients. beat egg until light (I used 1/4 cup of liquid eggs as a sub and shook the carton instead of beating). add sugar gradually and sift together flour (don't have a sifter? whisk flour in a separate bowl and measure again). add sifted (or whisked) flour with baking soda and baking powder. stir in nuts (I used macadamia nuts but this tastes great with walnuts too!) add the dates (with water) to the rest of the mixture. add the egg, stir in the shortening and vanilla. pour into a 10 x 5 x 3 loaf pan. bake at 350 for 1 1/2 hours. after baking store in the fridge - it taste great cold. 



ready to workout.

A lot of people resolve to workout in the new that we are approaching the the middle of January I thought I would share a few tips that help keep me motivated to workout throughout the year.

1. write it down. Set personal weekly goals for your workouts and you will probably be more likely to go to the gym. I try to workout at least four times a week (if I get in an extra workout in, awesome - if not, that's okay too). I put these workouts in my calendar to keep me accountable and remind me that it is possible to make the time for your health. Color-code your workout calendar, so it's easy to spot if you need to fit in another exercise day! 

2. get dressed. I get really excited about workout clothes that fit well and are cute. I recently bought a pair of GapFit gFast 21" capris (they are a great length for cold weather), they fit me perfectly and the fabric is stretchy and durable. One review on the gap website says they are see-thorough but mine are not (believe me I checked!) The capris are affordable too $55 (and gap usually offers promotions from 30-40% off so you can get these for only $33 - $38.50)

I also have the medium impact sports bra ($36) from Gap (whoohoo support!) this one helps the girls stay in place and is comfortable. I love breathable tanks like this one (bonus they are long so they don't creep up while you are doing yoga moves and it's now available in stripes). And I usually workout in pumas but I have my eye on a pair of nike free bionic training shoes

3. try something new. Mix up your routine with a new class - this will shake up your body (and metabolism) and get things burning. My weekly "new" thing is barre (I go to barre bee fit in Chicago). The classes combine isometric holds, heavy repetition, deep stretching and two cardio blasts to get my heart-rate up. I also take a "tone-up" class once a week that focuses on more traditional workout moves: push-ups, lunges, squats and some dumbbell work. When i workout at home I like to do pilates (my favorite!), jillian michaels yoga meltdown, or kettlebell exercises. Whatever you decide to do make sure you love it (or at least like it!)

4. find a workout buddy. Sign up for a weekly class with a friend! I go to barre with my best friend and if it wasn't for her I am sure i'd skip a few. It helps having someone waiting there for you and laughing with you while you're dying during a chair-sit or another set of mountain climbers. :)

Do you have any tips that help you maintain your weekly workouts?


friday's fancies #140.

Happy Friday chickadees! this weekend will be pretty low-key with a netflix movie date tonight and Saturday is family dinner. On Sunday I am going to a barre class and later that night I have a date with Amy Poehler and Tiny Fey! I'm excited to watch the golden globes in something comfy:
jcrew merino swing sweater $88 // wine legging cords $50 // radiating triangles necklace $128 // sole society idelle booties $90 (i have these and i LOVE them, they are super comfy and look great with cords, jeans and leggings) // butter london '3 free' nail lacquer in gobsmacked $15

Have a great weekend! 


don't miss this sale!

Get your gift cards out! Jcrew is offering up 40% off select outerwear, shoes and bags. this is the sale that I have been waiting for (because the peacoat that is on my wish list is on finally sale!) Here are some other great picks (ALL 40% off with the code TAKENOTE at checkout). 

stadium-cloth cocoon coat // teddie satchel // aggie ankle boots // chelsea boots // majesty peacoat // tartine mini-satchel // stationery clutch 

What are your favorites from the Jcrew sale?! 

loving lately.

orange is the new black. We watched the first few episodes on new years eve and finished binge-watching the entire first season and OMG I want to know what happens next! Does Piper really kill someone in prison? I'm guessing no, but I also want to know who she ends up with.

downton abby. So totally different from orange but I am happy to have Dame Maggie Smith (Lady Violet) back in my life. And I'll admit I cried when Lady Mary finally cried and immediately made h promise he won't die (bc that's totally normal, right?!)

And my newest guilty pleasure... cutthroat kitchen on the food network. It's similar to the network's other show, chopped (chefs prepare dishes that are judged) but cutthroat allows contestants to sabotage each other and alton brown is a super snarky host!

sooo basically I watch a lot of tv. 

AND I read. I am half way through The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri and I love it, Lahiri is one of my favorite authors so I was thrilled this is our January book club pick. 

AND I bake. I made my great-grandmother's date nut bread on my (cold) day off and it is SO tasty (h likes it too!) I'll post a recipe soon - promise!

What are you loving lately?


craving: cilantro.

There are two types of people, those who LOVE cilantro and think it makes (almost) every meal taste better and those who hate it. Luckily, h believes that "there is no such thing as too much cilantro" and we try to sneak it in lots of our meals - obvious ones like bean burritos, tacos, salsa, guacamole) but I also love it in chili and on pizza too! So now I am looking for even more ways to use my favorite herb. 

colombian chicken and potato soup // baked garlic cilantro fries (we bake fries all the time so this is an easy addition) // indian-style beef kebabs with cilantro sauce // parmesan cilantro corn (sounds like the perfect side) // cilantro pesto (pesto AND cilantro?! what the what? two of my favorites combined!) // avocado fries with cilantro lemon dip (another amazing combo!) 

Are you a cilantro fan?


let's pretend.

let's pretend that it is NOT -15 degrees and windy outside in Chicago and instead that we're traveling somewhere warm! Switch up white snow for white sand beaches and bright blue water and escape to the islands of the Bahamas....
These photos were taken by my mom from a recent trip to the elbow cay island in the Bahamas. My family is returning to the same spot in less than six months for my older brother's wedding!

Paradise packing essentials: a bright itty bitty bikini (I love this simple french top + glamour girl bikini bottom from jcrew), pair it with retro thick cat-eye ray-ban sunglasses and throw your passport in a nylon tote (great for the beach). settle in the sand with a soft flouta beach towel and kick off your tkees flip flops and get comfy (but don't forget sunscreen)! when you're ready for a cocktail (hello, bahama mama!) throw on a cute racerback cami and a pair of navy chino shorts

Summer (and this Bahamas trip) can't come soon enough, until then think happy warm thoughts.

What destination are you dreaming of this Winter?


great gifts.

Santa (aka my friends and family) were really good to me this year. I received some great gifts and I thought I'd share my favorites, just in case you need inspiration for all of those gift cards!
aveda 'give relief' gift set of hand + foot lotion: Great lotions are a MUST for dry, cold winters (i'm talking to you Chicago). I have been using this hand and foot lotion daily.
bauble bar holly necklace: J'adore this very vintage Audrey Hepburn necklace, it has just the right amount of sparkle.
voluspa santiago huckleberry candle: This candle burns for a long time and smells fruity, which is a nice break from the evergreen wreath candle I had burning for 2 months. 
 - stila eye shadow trio: I love this set, the soft neutrals are great for my eyes and to add a little blush.
pro allover shadow brush: It's so soft and spreads powder eye shadow much better than the little foam applicators that I have been using.
urban decay primer potion: I am addicted to this stuff, it helps your eye shadow last all day without creases.
 - clinque face moisturizer: I have been wearing this since i was a teenager, it's great for dry skin. 
- fresh citron de vigne rollerball: Yep, no surprise I was super excited to receive something from the fresh line
 -DNKY be delicious perfume: It's crisp and light perfume, perfect for everyday wear.
wen shampoo: I have only used this once and I am already a believer, it made my hair super soft + shiny!
 - cards against humanity game: Spice up book club with this hilarious game. 

What were your favorite gifts this year?


shop crush: fresh.

 I am smitten with fresh products. It started with the sugar lip treatment (with SPF 15), then I got hooked on the berry tinted lip treatment it's perfect for a little hint of color and totally wearable (I never wear lipstick but I love this stuff).
I also love the sugar lychee body lotion + sugar lychee bath and shower gel (it smells great and the lotion is not greasy) - hesperides grapefruit body lotion - citron de vigne rollerball perfume (perfect for your purse). 

Do you have any fresh favorites?


a resolution for 2014.

Every year I make resolutions. they usually have something to do with working out, not shopping online and watching less reality tv. and I usually have trouble following through with those resolutions... especially when it comes to shopping. 
So this year I want to do something a little different. h recently sent me an article that is all about gratitude and giving thanks year-round. I reflected on my own behavior and I have to admit that sometimes I take things for granted. I know I would appreciate the people, things and experiences in my life more if I made a point to just say thanks!
photo taken by h from our trip to the Chicago Botanical Gardens 2012

So this year i resolve to say thank you more often...
I am incredibly grateful for my husband, my family, and my friends for their love and friendship. I am also thankful for my job and the opportunity to grow in my career; my health and the doctors in my life;  all of the the adventures and trips I have taken and finally, thank you to all the people who read this blog and support cornflake dreams, it means the world to me.

What are your resolutions for the new year? 

What are you thankful for?