cornflake dreams.: February 2014


link love.

This weekend h and I are hosting a game night with friends! I am excited to play cards against humanity, taboo, apples to apples and maybe even monopoly (my favorite!) I am also excited to watch the Oscars on Sunday - who do you want to win?! I still haven't seen all of the nominated films so I am curious to see who will pick up the top awards (and what everyone will wear!)

Joanna posted a list of games couples can play when it's just the two of you!

This video beyond cutest (whoa, baby fever!) I still can't believe it's not an Apple ad.

Just added this sweater in navy and gray to my closet (perfect for our never-ending winter). Jcrew Card members can take 20% off all orders with the code CARDSONLY at checkout. OR shop Jcrew Factory and take 30% off everything with code TAKE30 (no Jcrew credit card required). 

I love everything about this pretty makeup palate.

This coat is a steal. I bought a very similar style last year (for 3x the price! ugg.)

A shoe dream come true: Sarah Jessica Parker's new SJP shoe line is now available at Nordstrom.

Have a great weekend!


influenster J'Adore & Dove VoxBox reviews.

Influenster is a free-to-join community of trendsetters, social media mavens, and consumers who live to give opinions of products and experiences. I am a member and this month I received a complimentary J’Adore VoxBox full of goodies from Hershey’s, Vaseline, Boots Beauty USA, Kiss Nails, John Frieda US and Red Rose Tea AND a special Dove VoxBox. I was able to use most of the products and I’d love to share my reviews!

First up- Hershey's Kisses Milk Chocolate are winners in my book. They remind me of holidays - at my grandmas she always has a bowl of them out waiting for the kids and my mom uses them in h’s favorite cookie – the peanut butter blossom. I love that Hershey’s wraps the kisses up in different color foil for the holidays, I received a bag of pink, red and silver kisses (one of my favorite color combinations!) While I am a huge fan of Hershey’s Hugs (hello, white chocolate!), the milk chocolate version are a closer runner-up. 

Vaseline Men Spray Lotion – h couldn't have received this at a better time. This has been the longest  winter ever in Chicago and the air is very dry. I was a little jealous that I had to hand over the Spray Lotion to my husband…. I am in desperate need of something similar (thankfully Vaseline makes a version for women without the “man” scent). H liked the product and said it was easy to use. 

Red Rose Simply Indulgent Teas – This is another product that I had my husband try (I don’t drink tea, but he likes it). He tried the Crème Carmel flavor and said it was like a dessert. And it's worth mentioning the "simply indulgent" tea flavors don't have a ton of calories (not that H cared about that... lucky man metabolism!)   

Boots Botanics Shine Away Ionic Clay Mask – The mask goop was liquid when I put it on (I generally prefer mask goop to be thicker so it's easier to apply). Next time I'll shake the bottle before I use it. The mask didn't smell like anything (positive!) and it dried within ten minutes (perfect for busy mornings). My skin felt tight with the mask and I removed it in the shower (mostly because I am kind of a spaz when I try to wash my face in the sink). I have very sensitive skin so I was a little worried to use the mask but overall it made my skin a little softer.

Kiss Looks So Natural Lashes – These lashes look real and they include glue in the package. The only time I have worn fake eyelashes was at our wedding. I loved them for the big day but it’s outside of my comfort zone to sport them every day. I’m willing to send my (unopened) package to the first taker!  

John Frieda Frizz Ease 3-Day Straight Flat Iron Spray – I’ll be honest I haven’t tried this product. I have pin straight hair so I don’t think I would see any results. I am going to give this to a curly-hair friend and I’ll keep you posted on what she thinks about it.  

Dove Advanced Care Deodorant with NutriumMoisture – I am a huge fan of Dove, so I was really excited to try a new product from their line. The Advance Care Deodorant has specially formulated NutriumMoisture that acts like lotion for your underarms. I never thought about how much shaving can dry out your skin but that paired with the dry winter, I needed this deodorant! I have been using it for two weeks and it has made a huge difference, I won't go back to my old brand. 

Have you tried any of these products? 
Which ones are your favorite?


craving pistachios.

When my father-in-law visits Iran he always brings back a few bags of persian pistachios  for us. Lately I cannot get enough of them! Thankfully according to Dr.Weil (Dr. Oz's buddy), "pistachios are great for digestion - they are low-calorie and full of nutrients and fiber." um okay...  I won't stop snacking :)  I'd also like to find a few sweet and savory recipes that incorporate the nuts:
sweet// cran pistachio cookies (perfect for St. Patricks Day!) - baklava cups - pistachio wedding cookies - pistachio cake  - Persian pistachios - and savory// pistachio-basil pesto - shaved brussels sprouts with avocados and pistachios (so many good things all together in one dish!) - easy goat cheese appetizer

Do you have any favorite pistachio recipes?


12 classic wrap dresses.

This weekend we saw American Hustle, I really liked the story and all of the actors were fantastic. Jennifer Lawrence was hilarious, Bradley Cooper wore those crazy curls and I could barely recognize Christian Bale as the guy with the potbelly and combover (holy Batman!) Amy Adams was very likable (British accent aside) and it might have been because I loved her wrap dresses (something that has been on the fashion world's mind lately with the 40th anniversary of DVF wrap dress!) When she wasn't wearing super low-cut dresses, Amy's character was lady-like in the wrap dresses, which makes me think it's about time that I add one or two to my closet. Here are my favorites: 

Do you own any wrap dresses? 

ps happy birthday to my mom!! 


weekend good things.

My weekend started off with a surprise date! h called me at work on Friday and asked if I wanted to meet him downtown at Eataly (ummmm yes! I have been dying to go!) At first I was a little overwhelmed by all the people and Italian groceries but everything was so pretty --- h said it looked like "Crate and Barrel had a grocery store." Yes! And much like Crate and Barrel - I wanted to buy everything!  We went upstairs and wandered around, weaving through restaurants and aisles of pasta and wine and then I wanted to EAT everything! We decided on two huge pieces of focaccia bread (which reminded us of pizza in Venice!) The bread was surprisingly filling so we went back downstairs for gelato (for me) and coffee (for h). While Eataly didn't remind me of the markets we visited in Florence or Rome (it was too clean) and like a "pinterest" version of an European market, I still want to go back! After our adventure in Eataly we went to the movies and saw American Hustle (more on that tomorrow!)

Saturday we got down to business and spent most of the afternoon doing work around the house - our baseboards now look beaaautiful! :) later that night we went to h's dads house to eat a Persian feast (ghormeh sabzi - a stew with herbs, beans and meat; and gheimeh- a stew with meat, potatoes, split peas, onions and lemon - both served over rice).

Sunday was a lazy day - I blogged, h read and I made lemon chicken artichoke, zucchini pasta for dinner :) 



from cornflakes to cocktails.

Happy Friday!! When I saw this Boden ad in my email it made me smile:

Cornflakes* to Cocktails...sounds like the perfect weekend, right?! 

*okay, fine. it doesn't have any connection to this blog - but it's still cute :) 
and now I want a pair of those cute bistro crops!

This weekend we are going to my father-in-law's house on Saturday for dinner (it was his birthday yesterday!) I'm excited to celebrate and eat lots of cake. And I'll probably be spending lots of quality time with my kindle. After my post last week, I decided to read Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes and I finished it yesterday (during my lunch break! I couldn't put it down). You have to read this book! Now I want to reading another Jojo Moyes book - has anyone read The Girl You Left Behind or The Last Letter from Your Lover? I'm curious to see which one is better.

Have a great weekend!


february houzz board: the perfect gallery wall.

My February houzz ideabook is all about creating the perfect gallery wall. We have a few gallery walls in our house and I love them - but eventually I want to make them even bigger (and better!) here are some pieces that might help:

 wire script sculpture $48 - crown point 5x7 frame $50 - harris wall clock $30 - mirrored frame $19 - brushed silver 11x14" frame $50 (I have a few of these in our bedroom) - Budapest zoo print $60 - brushed silver 8x10" wall frame $40 - maison gray cefalu blue and white umbrellas 2 $300 - silver mughal mirror $549  - gallery 4x6 frame $20 - bliss down-filled sofa $999-$1,749 (depending on fabric choice) // browse all of my other houzz ideabooks

Do you have any gallery walls in your house?


cornflake dreams on instagram.

I used to upload photos to Facebook but now I post everything on Instagram - it's my favorite app on my phone. I love seeing what my friends, family and other bloggers are up to. It's also fun to follow my favorite companies - national geographic (for beautiful travel photos), tieks (ballet flats!), baublebar (jewelry), gigi new york (leather handbags), eberjey (comfy pj's and pretty intimates). Here is what you will see on my Instagram @cornflakedreams :)

Are you on instagram?! 
Comment with your instagram handle - i'd love to follow some new people :) 


loving lately.

Happy Monday, I had a super relaxing weekend with a Netflix date on Valentines Day (we watched World War Z and I made bbq chicken!) on Saturday I lounged around and browsed through InStyle. Later we went out to dinner at a near-by cafe and we spent the rest of the night listening to a few episodes of This American Life. I ended the weekend with a movie date with a friend. We saw Philomena, it was a tear-jerker and I really liked the story. Here are some other things I am loving lately:

We swapped out our sour dough bread for ciabatta bread to make pizza last week and whoa. so. so. good. It's a super easy recipe, great for a weeknight dinner.

I have my eye on new pants for work from LOFT. I tried them the other week and they fit perfectly... now I am just waiting for them to go on sale! And waiting for a swimsuit and summery dress (more stripes!) I love to be restocked in my size. #shoppingproblems

I can't help dreaming of spring - I love this L.A. made cape cod mini striped dress (25% off with the code HAPPY at checkout) paired with splendid cantina flat sandals

Last week when we went to my parents house for dinner I spotted some cute wedges in my mom's room. It turns out they were too big for her -- and fit me perfectly, so she gave them to me (thanks mom!). I never wear heels (or wedges) but these shoes are SO comfortable! I wore them at work 3 days in a row (unheard of for me). They are easy to walk in and because the shoes are rounded my feet looked smaller! 

Speaking of shoes... I really want a pair of red flats, thanks to this outfit (sadly the zara flats that are featured are sold out!) Here are some cute alternatives (I especially like the tieks ruby red patent pair): 

What are you loving lately?


cheating on pilates.

Okay I know I shouldn't be talking about cheating on Valentines Day (fear not the mister and I are happier than ever), but lately I have been cheating on my other love pilates with a new workout.
Every Friday I look forward to yogaaaaaa. I'll be the first to admit that it took me a while to really get into yoga - I thought it was all breathing,  no workout. I was also frustrated that I wasn't as flexible as the other yogis in my class. But I stuck with it, and every yoga class I take, I like it more. I am constantly challenged and I can tell that I am getting stronger and more flexible. I get reallly excited that I am now able to do advanced poses (hello, bird of paradise - I'm looking at you!) now my friday 45 minute lunchtime class is my favorite. It is SO relaxing after a busy work week.

Yoga is all about concentrating on your mind and body (which I love), it requires very little "equipment." that being said, it is fun to treat yo'self to workout gear to get even more excited about a new workout routine. Here are my favorites: lululemon run times tank and gapfit heathered tank (these stay in place for all yoga positions) - i want to try the gapfit endurance tank // i love my gapfit gfast capris // and my manduka yoga mat (lasts forever with a lifetime guarantee).

Have a happy valentines day! 
Try a new workout this weekend, you never know when you'll fall in love with something new!


wedding wednesday: shower invitations.

i'm bringing back wedding wednesday today, let's think spring and showers! my sister in-law's wedding shower is coming up in a few months and i am thrilled to be included as a bridesmaid. i want to help my aunts with the shower details, they set a date but they are still trying to find the right venue. the wedding will be beachy (in the Bahamas!) and they are having a large rustic reception in Illinois a few weeks later. so i thought the bridal shower could follow the rustic theme and i found some gorgeous invitation options on minted (since they did such a great job on our holiday cards): 
1. garden whimsy 2. shower blossoms 3. love in watercolor 4. sweet floral type 5. ella-gant / browse more options on minted

Which design is your favorite? 


winter reading list.

sooo despite all of my complaining about the snow and cold, this winter has been perfect for lots of reading (because i don't want to leave the house!). I have read three books this year (which is an accomplishment, trust me) and now I need to find something new.

I started the year with my January book club pick: The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri (one of my favorite authors). Then I read, If I Stay by Gayle Forman (about a girl who is in a coma), it kinda dragged on for being a short book and no surprise it was a little bit of a downer! Last week I finished, Where'd You Go, Bernadette last week. OMG guys. I loved it!! Do you have any similar quirky recommendations?! 

I'm thinking about starting Me Before You by JoJo Moyes; Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan or The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan.

Have you read any good books lately?


friday's fancies #142.

Happy Friday! tonight we're staying in (the snow and cold has put me in hibernation/netflix movie-marathon mode) but later this weekend we're spending lots of time with the family! on saturday i am meeting up with the girls for brunch (hello, pancakes!). later that night we're going to my father-in-law's house for another Persian cooking lesson. on Sunday we're heading out to the burbs for family dinner with my parents and my brothers! i'm really excited to see everyone :) 
prima jersey drop-shoulder tee $50 (25% off with the code BRINGSPRING at checkout) - factory skinny utility pants $74.50 (yes...I'm a fan of these, see how I styled a black pair last week)- wyatt boots $288 (25% off with code BRINGSPRING) - ribbon double letter monogram necklace $140 (i LOVE the style of this necklace!) - dianne tote $250 (can you believe this is from banana republic?! it looks like a designer bag)

Have a great weekend! 

ps last call to enter a giveaway (for a good cause!) i will announce a winner Monday, 2/10/14. 


cornflake cooks: veggie chili.

It's snowing in Chicago. again. we're 20 inches OVER our normal snow totals (51" and counting). winter doesn't seem to be letting up anytime we have been making a lot of veggie chili lately. it is one of my favorite comfort foods during winter and a great way to eat lots of hearty veggies!

-chop, chop, chop all of your veggies! we use a few stalks of celery, a handful of baby carrots, 1/4 orange pepper (swap with green or red if you prefer), 5-6 cherry tomatoes and 1/2 onion. feel free to add any other veggies you want (corn, mushrooms...whatever!) 
-spray your pan with pam or lightly coat with olive oil and sauté onions, carrots and celery 
-after the hearty veggies look soft, add the cherry tomatoes and peppers
-after all the veggies cook for a few minutes together, add a drained can of black beans
-add one 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes, a packet of chili seasoning and 1/4 cup of water
-let everything cook together for 20 minutes, mix in a generous handful of chopped cilantro and enjoy! 
i like to top my chili with crushed ritz crackers, cheese and plain non-fat yogurt (a great substitute for sour cream)

What is your favorite winter comfort food?


color crush: pink and red.

In honor of Valentine's Day (and since it's one of my favorite color combinations - remember our wedding?!) I have rounded up a few pretty pieces for my February color crush: pink and red!

Are you a fan of pink or red? 
What about mixing them together?!


Giveaway: iPhone case that makes a difference.

I am excited to introduce Kidogo Kidogo, which translates to “little by little” in Swahili. Kidogo Kidogo was created with the mission of improving the lives of women in Tanzania by providing them with access to life changing mobile-technology. When you buy an iPhone case, Kidogo Kidogo buys a phone (or phone credits) for a woman who could not otherwise afford it.

You might be thinking, how is a phone life changing? A phone is a flashlight, a watch, a camera and a radio. It’s also a way to make secure banking transactions, monitor consumer markets, changing weather and receive health reminders and updates. Whoever you are and wherever you live, mobile technology makes your life better.

In Tanzania, only 36% of women have mobile phones. With a world that is more connected than ever before, Kidogo Kidogo is working to ensure that the women who are leading families, founding businesses, and building thriving communities across Tanzania are also connected. 

I thought this was a great idea (and the iPhone cases are really stylish). What better way to spread the word about the company (and it's mission) than to host a giveaway?!
By entering this giveaway you're in the running to win a new iPhone case AND promoting an inspiring company (so please spread the word!) Thank you and good luck! one winner will be announced monday, feb 10, 2014. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway