cornflake dreams.: April 2014


emoji (OMG) I'm old - an iPhone tutorial.

This weekend I was texting with my cousin Shai (who is two-years younger than me) and she helped me unlocked the mystery of the emoji. I've seen the cute little characters everywhere but I had NO idea how to use them. I assumed that I would have to download something or fumble around with copy/pastes when I typed. (I'll admit I was lazy and I didn't do any research to "figure it out"). So if you're like me -- and missed the memo on how to install emoji's here is a quick tutorial to add these little guys to your iPhone: 

Sooo yah... it's super easy and I feel silly for not figuring it out sooner!

Do you have any iPhone tech tips?
What else should I know?

ps here's some more iPhone tips + tricks.
and hop over to F yeah blog for my Paris Guest Post! 


craving: sweet & savory popcorn.

This weekend I had some white cheddar popcorn and now I am craving more popcorn. I found some great sweet and savory recipes I would love to try: 
SWEET: samoas popcorn / salted caramel popcorn / s'mores popcorn / oreo popcorn (my friend made this for me once and it is SO good!) - SAVORY: sriracha popcorn (h would love this stuff) /herbed garlic popcorn / cilantro-lime popcorn (hello, summer!) / buffalo popcorn

What do you like on your popcorn?


weekend good things.

Happy Monday! My weekend flew by but it was full of some pretty good things :)

On Friday night, we went out to dinner to Mercadito (one of the places on my restaurant wishlist). It's a small plates Mexican restaurant and our table ordered the traditional guacamole (sooo good), ceviche, shrimp enchiladas and a variety of tacos (I loved the pollo tacos -- chicken with roasted sweet potatoes, shaved brussels sprouts, garlic and salsa verde). While I'm not a huge seafood fan I did try the enchiladas and they were pretty tasty. I'd defiantly come back (maybe with friends next time -- h is not a small plates fan). We spent the rest of the night watching early episodes of Raising Hope -- sooo hilarious.

On Saturday we watched The Wolf On Wall Street -- wow. What a crazy movie. Overall I think that Leo and Jonah Hill did a great job but it could have been edited down a hour or so -- it was way too long and I didn't think all of the scenes were necessary.

On Sunday I did some pilates and then we ventured out to Crate & Barrel, CB2, West Elm, and World Market to look at couches (again) and bed-frames. There are so many options out there and I like to be very informed before we make major purchase (any excuse to go shopping!) Later that night I made bbq chicken (with cilantro!), h played the guitar and I started a new book.

How was your weekend?


living with crohn's disease - 1 year later.

It's hard to believe that it has already been a year since I found out I have Crohn’s (a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract. I was diagnosed with moderate to severe Crohn's in my small and large intestines and stomach). The past 12 months have been an interesting experience and I thought I would finally update you on my health.
I feel 110% better than I did last January when I had to go to the Emergency Room for dehydration. I am so grateful that I am able to manage my condition and I know that is because I finally went to a GI doctor (after years of stomach issues), did the necessary testing, and started taking medication.

I have been taking Humera for almost a year now – h gives me a shot in the stomach every other week and it has dramatically reduced the number of flare-ups or stomach “issues” I have. During the first few months of treatment I kept a food journal to monitor what foods upset my stomach. The results were anything overly greasy, deep-fried, fatty meat like sausage, anything super spicy, milk, and lettuce (weird I know). I try very hard to cut those items out of my diet and I try to avoid overeating in general. I learned the hard way (in Santorini of all places) that I cannot eat large amount of fried feta or have cheese at every meal (bummer). So, I am adjusting. I also rarely drink – I have the occasional glass of wine or prosecco but I don’t overdo it because it freaks my stomach out and it’s just not worth it. I have to also be really careful not to overeat at holidays –which are often full of tasty (and heavy) dishes. 

Last year I went through a lot of physical changes – I lost a lot of weight when I was sick. When the medicine started working and I wasn't losing everything I ate, I gained some weight because it was still constantly snacking on “safe” food like dry cereal, even when I wasn't hungry. I had to learn to listen to my body and only eat when I was hungry instead of snacking out of fear that I was going to get sick (severe diarrhea and cramping) and lose more weight.

I eventually figured out what the "right" amount of food was for me and I have a steady diet of small meals throughout the day– breakfast (usually oatmeal), a banana before lunch, a sandwich, yogurt, more fruit in the afternoon and dinner (followed by something sweet). This works for me but everyone is different. 

Now that I figured out what food to eat and vitamins – (I take a multi-vitamin, iron and calcium pill every day), I have a LOT more energy and I can make it through the day without collapsing on the couch after work. I have increased my weekly workouts and I do 30 minute classes five times a week (a mix of pilates, weight lifting, barre, self-myofascial core workouts and yoga). I LOVE feeling strong again and I am gradually turning that extra weight I gained into muscle. I typically workout in the middle of the day and it's a great stress reliever (which is perfect since stress is another trigger for my Crohn's symptoms). 

Although I have been feeling great, I do fear that my medicine will stop working. I fear I will eat the wrong thing at the wrong place and get sick. And since Crohn’s is a chronic disease I fear that I will have another flare-up causing my intestines to inflame again and I will end up in the hospital – with surgery as my only option of recovery. All of that fear aside, I realize I am lucky that I have responded so well to my medication and I am extremely grateful for the support of my family and friends – and especially my husband who gives me humera shots, takes me to the doctor and lovingly reminds me that “No fried green tomatoes does NOT sound like it will be a good idea for you to eat.” :)

I realize this is a “longish” post but I really want to raise awareness about the disease and to offer support to anyone who has to live with Crohn’s. 

So please, if you aren't feeling well - see a doctor and take care of yourself!


spring stripes.

I'm not sick of stripes yet -- are you? good. Here are some cute stripe picks (all under $85) that can be worn now (think layers) and transition into Summer :

vintage cotton scoopneck tee $35 (25% off with code GOSHOP)  - pleated striped shorts $28 - soludos natural black lowcut espadrilles $45 - stripe market tote $55 (25% off with code GOSHOP)  - splendid stripe  navy tee $64 (20% off with code FLING) - maritime stripe tunic $80 (25% off with code GOSHOP) - factory stripe button-back sundress $34.50

Do you still like stripes or are you over the trend?


weekend good things.

HAPPY MONDAY! What a great weekend - it was beautiful in Chicago and I got to spend lots of time outdoors (no boots or heavy coats required!)
see more mini moments on instagram @cornflakedreams
On Friday night h surprised me with a trip to the outlet mall. I was determined to find some summery dresses and tops but I left with a pair of flip flops. He found polos, pants AND swim trunks! That's usually how it goes for us, it's rare that we both have a successful shopping trip. Ah well, better for the budget I suppose.
On Saturday we walked around our neighborhood -- I was ecstatic it was finally feeling like Spring and I could wear my favorite ballet flats. Since the sun was shining, I convinced H to take a few photos for my sidebar :) Later that day, H met up with a friend to watch a game and I had our place to myself. I indulged in a few of my favorite activities: Jillian Michael's yoga meltdown, a good book, a few magazines and a bright pink pedicureI made steak fajitas for dinner and we watched Twelve Years a Slave. It was such a moving story and really beautifully shot. And yes --- I cried and cringed quite at few scenes. 
On Sunday we went out to the burbs for Easter at my Aunt's house. It was really wonderful to see my family, play with my cousins and talk with my older brother and my future sister-in-law about their July wedding in the Bahamas. 

How was your weekend?


five on friday.

Happy Friday! I thought I would try something new today and link up with Christina, April, Natasha and Darci for Five on Friday. 

ONE: I am currently reading The Last Love Letter from Your Lover by JoJo Moyes and loving surprise there. 

TWO: I am really excited for season 2 of Orange is the New Black! They just released a trailer and it looks really good. (above photo via)

THREE: I recently bought a one-piece swimsuit from jcrew and I LOVE it. The wrap-front silhouette and grid navy and white polka dot print is perfect. It also comes in solid colors - I am tempted to buy another one in vibrant flame... and a summer straw hat (on sale 30% off with the code BIGSALE)

FOUR: I still love Fashion by Mayhem (you know that mom and daughter duo who make clothes out of construction paper) -- follow on instagram @2sisters_angie to see new creations.

FIVE: It's Easter weekend! That means I get to see my family on Sunday and have my last cadbury cream egg of the season ;) 

Have a great weekend! 


a bed fit for a king (and queen).

H and I have decided that we want to upgrade to king size bed (mostly because I sprawl out during the night, leaving him close to the edge -- sorry, babe!). I am excited to buy a new mattress (we're thinking memory foam) but have no idea what brand to buy -- any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. A larger mattress means we'll also have to buy a new headboard or bed-frame, comforter, duvet cover and sheets! It's a lot to consider all at once, so I thought I would start with the duvet cover. I want to keep the room simple and avoid loud bright patterns. I found seven duvet covers that I think will create a relaxing and peaceful space: 
 grand embroidered black stripe cover / JR by john robshaw cosmos gray duvet / Dwell Studio modern border admiral duvet cover  (also in smoke gray) / hudson park Italian percale double-stripe duvet / sferra connery circles duvet / natalie embroidered quilt  

Which one is your favorite?
Do you have a mattress brand you recommend?


loving eyelet details: splurge and save.

I donated my winter coat the other day and packed away all of my wool sweaters (maybe a little too soon since it's cold again in Chicago). I am ready for  Spring and Summer weather AND clothes -- bring on dresses, skirts and shorts in light fabric. Lately I love everything eyelet -- a classic fabric for Spring -- here are a few of my favorite splurge and save options: 
SPLURGE: banana republic shift dress $130 - shauna eyelet skirt $165 - shoshanna wilson lake cover up $198 (take 25% off with the code INTHEFAMILY14 at checkout)vignette top $65 - eyelet hideaway top $90 (20% off with code MOODLIFT) - liv eyelet racer back dress $152

SAVE: eyelet shift dress $25 (I have this in navy and I can't wait to wear it to my sister-in-law's wedding shower!) - strapless dress $25 - spaghetti strap dress $25 - also available in plus-size $42 and maternity $35 - (15% off with code ONSAVENOW).  

Do you like the eyelet trend?


april houzz board: poufs.

This month my houzz ideabook is dedicated to the pouf! Love them or hate them you can't deny that they are a functional piece of furniture and they don't take up a lot of space in a room. I want a pouf for our living room so I can put up my feet at night :) here are a few of my favorites: 

 white faux leather pouf / varigated aqua pouf / navy bubble knit pouf / threshold striped navy pouf / yellow braided pouf / cobalt blue knitted poufgray knitted graphic pouf / bazaar pouf - See my full April ideabook here or browse through all of my Houzz ideabooks.

Do you like poufs?
Which one is your favorite?


weekend good things.

Happy Monday! My weekend flew by but it was full of so many good things including two wonderful brunch dates!

-On Friday night we had our Netflix date and watched The Best Man Holiday -- it wasn't very good and very predictable but it still made me cry like a little baby.

-Saturday I met up with the girls for brunch at Flo in West Town. I had the tastiest Mexican breakfast tacos -- filled with eggs, veggies, black beans, cheese and a side of guacamole.

-I took advantage of the warm weather and walked to the hair salon (in sandals!!). H met me after my haircut and we soaked up the sun while we walked around the neighborhood. That night I made chicken tikka masala for dinner-- it was good but not quite like the "real" thing at Indian restaurants.

-I started Sunday morning with some yoga and then we met h's family to celebrate my sister-in-law's birthday at another West Town spot -- Bow & Stern Oyster Bar. I am not a seafood fan but they have a really wonderful brunch menu. I got the opportunity to try lots of delicious dishes (thanks to h and my father-in-law) -- I recommend the Oreo pancakes, Rolling Meadows Farms Pork Belly Hash and the side of fruit (not on the menu but I was pleasantly surprised it was full of fresh ripe blueberries, raspberries and strawberries -- no cantaloupe or "filler" fruit!) 

-The weather got cold fast and it rained for the rest of the day. I'm officially ready for summer :) 

How was your weekend?


link love.

Happy Friday!! It's going to be warm this weekend (YAHHH!). Tonight H and I have a netflix date night - we're watching The Best Man Holiday (obviously my pick but I'm making dinner so that makes it ok, right?!) On Saturday I have a brunch date with the girls and a haircut appointment (I am long overdue for a trim). And Mad Men is back this Sunday!! I'm also hoping to fit in some yoga and if it's warm enough a bike ride! 
photo from instagram - @cornflakedreams

Here's a little weekend reading: 

-I have a bad case of #babyfever -- so it was refreshing to read about The No Kids Club

I have lived in Chicago for seven years (and grew up an hour from the city) sooo I think can admit that our city has a few problems. I laughed/cringed when I saw The 99 problems with Chicago.... but these ones really hit home:

3. That one nice day in March that gives you false hope
8. The coldest four months ever on record
22. Polar vortexes/vortices
28. The city’s segregated like a TV dinner
30. Sleepy train conductors
36. “Was that gunshots or fireworks?”
42. CTA platform heaters getting turned off two months too soon
52. 9.25% sales tax
59. People standing left on the escalator
72. The war between taxis and bikers
73. Our killer crime rates
75. Unannounced express trains
87. Clothes stained from street salt

-Okay, fine. I am a little OCD

-I am in love with these sandals + swim suit + cover-up! #SUMMER

-Have you taken the buzzfeed Mad Men Quiz? What character are you? I got Roger Sterling --ha! Love him but I'm a little surprised the quiz didn't make you choose your gender.

-If Jurassic Park had a Yelp page....

Thank you for all of your comments on my budget post

I loved reading all of your tips.

What are you up to this weekend?


how we manage our money.

Lately I have been posting a lot about shopping -- things I want to buy or have bought. I really enjoy shopping but I like to have extra money left over to do "fun" stuff like brunch with the girls and movies dates AND save for the future (a bigger house + travel). So I thought we could talk about budgets today (it'll be painless, I promise!)
My husband and I have a shared account that we both deposit into every month and it pays for joint bills: groceries, satellite TV, internet, Netflix, utilities, medical expenses, and mortgage for our condo.

Then there are our individual bank accounts -- we have set monthly budgets for our personal spending and manage those budgets ourselves. As much as h doesn't understand or even agree with my shopping he is respectful of my budget and doesn't complain when I buy another pair of shoes. Having these pre-set budgets works for us and we rarely fight about money because we know where the money is going. Keep in mind: our budgets were not made overnight -- we had many discussions about money and how much we need to spend (bills) versus how much we want to spend (shopping an entertainment). Just find a budget that works for you (and your partner if you have a joint account).

I'll let you in on a little secret that helps me manage my budget-- I am a crazy spreadsheet-lady. I write down every. single. thing I buy. That way I really know what I am spending (aka all those random CVS visits really add up!) I have kept a record of what I bought for the last 4 years and it's sooo helpful to see where all of your money goes (a few years ago it was bar it's barre classes!)  

Another thing that works for me -- pay off those credit cards EVERY month! I have 3 credit cards but I make absolutely sure that I pay off any charges the SAME month. I seems so silly to pay interest on anything, aside from H's crazy medical school loans but we're working on paying those off. (His budget has "student loans" in place of "savings" up above.) Speaking of savings, set up your bank account to automatically deposit money into a savings account every month - that way you wont be tempted to spend the "extra" money in your account.

I'd love to hear how you budget your money! 
Do you have any tips that help you save or monitor your spending?


cheers to La Marca Prosecco.

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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of La Marca Prosecco. It is intended for an audience over 21 years of age. All opinions and photos are my own.

Lately I've been dreaming about our trip to Italy last September. Venice was one of the prettiest cities we visited and at the time I didn't realize that it is just south of Veneto, Italy where white glera grapes are harvested. I was recently given the opportunity to try La Marca Prosecco (Italian sparkling wine) and it is made from glera grapes! La Marca Prosecco pairs well with mild cheese and light hors d'oeuvres - perfect for entertaining or a smancy at home date night. It's sooo delicious and also affordable at $17 a bottle (SRP). I also love the classy packaging -- you can't go wrong with a beautiful blue label! 
When I drink I usually like my cocktails on the sweeter side, so the other night I decided to make La Marca Prosecco popsicle cocktails. Just add your favorite all-fruit popsicle to a glass of La Marca Prosecco and enjoy responsibly! It's a quick and easy chilled drink that makes the perfect date night dessert -- and it's my new favorite cocktail! My husband and I drank the cocktails and spent the rest of the night looking through our Italy photos and dreaming of another adventure. 

La Marca’s website to find a retailer near you.
Follow La Marca on Facebook at

Do you like Prosecco? 
Have you tried La Marca Prosecco?

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of La Marca Prosecco. It is intended for an audience over 21 years of age. Thank you for supporting brands that support Cornflake Dreams.   


spring shoes: 9 espadrilles.

Last week it was pointy flats -- but it's going to be 62 this Thursday (whoa heatwave!) so naturally I am getting ahead of myself and dreaming of even warmer weather and the ultimate Spring/Summer shoes: espadrilles! 

tory burch adonis sandals $185 (my favorite) / uggs australia delmar sandals $110 / jcrew sardina wedge espadrilles $90 / franco sarto whip midnight slip-ons $49 / soludos classic striped espadrilles $43 / franco sarto whip in white stripe canvas $49 / coach helen $168 / lucky brand kyndra blue/natural $69 / soludos espadrille wedges $95

Are you an espadrilles fan?


weekend good things.

Happy Monday! My weekend flew by but it was a fun one with sunny weather and lots of good eats!!

- I was able to ditch my heavy winter boots + coat this weekend and wear lighter shoes. HOORAY let's hope the warmer weather is here to stay. 

-On Friday night we watched Dallas Buyers Club (or DBC according to comments on Friday's post -- you guys are so cute). I was really impressed with the acting and I think Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto both deserved their Oscars. It was an interesting story but not something I see myself watching more than once. 

-Saturday H and I went out to the burbs to have lunch with our friends in downtown St. Charles. The city has the cutest little downtown full of shops and restaurants (and about 20 minutes away from where I grew up). We ate at Town House Books -- a cafe/book store combo -- SUCH a great idea especially with the disappearance of book shops. It was fun to browse through books while we waited for our table.

-On Sunday I met friends for brunch at Kingsbury Street Cafe and ordered lemon blueberry pancakes. OMG. I want another stack now! They were so fluffy and refreshing...I'll defiantly be back again. 

- After brunch we went shopping at Nordstrom Rack, Gap, Express, Jcrew, Crate & Barrel and Land of Nod (just to browse!). I found a BKR bottle and bought another GapFit breathe racerback workout tank. I love those tanks -- they are super comfortable to workout in. I also bought the stripe tank I had my eye on at Express. And picked up a salt grinder from Crate & Barrel (it matches the pepper mill that we got for the wedding). 

- I spent the rest of the afternoon doing some yoga (still loving it!) and working on my April Houzz ideabook (I'll share that later this week). I made Pasta Fagioli for dinner - it was a great light meal to end the weekend.

How was your weekend?


friday's fancies #144.

Happy Friday! Let's get the weekend begin :) Tonight h and I are staying in for a netflix date -- we're finally watching Dallas Buyers Club. On Saturday we're heading out the burbs for lunch with friends. And on Sunday I have a brunch date at Kingsbury Street Cafe (they have lemon pancakes on the menu!) Hooray for lots of food plans - I guess I'll squeeze in an hour of yoga too. I plan on keeping my wardrobe very relaxed:

linen paris muscle tee / color-tip cardigan / joe's straight leg ankle genna jeans (currently 20% off) /  packable hunter rain boots (on sale for $112) / crystal diana collar necklace

Have a great weekend! 

ps: Enter the Leigh Viner Giveaway! I'm announcing a winner on Monday, 4/7/14 


spring shoes: 8 pointy flats.

Spring is here! Pack away your snow boots and bust out some lighter shoes!! This season I love pointy flats, here a few of my favorites (all under $150!): 

dolce vita agusta gray snakeskin ankle strap d'orsay $148 / dolce vita tan alpha flats $139 (25% off with the code SPRING at checkout) / enzo angiolini christraz $99 / black and tan halogen kayla d'orsay flat $80 / dolce vita black agusta ankle strap d'orsay $120 / halogen kayla stripes d'orsay $80 / natural geo flats by dolce vita $80 / steve madden elusion leopart print flats $80

Which pair is your favorite?


smoked turkey sausage and bell pepper rice.

At home we call this dish JiHo Rice because it's an original Jill + H creation -- but for the sake of simplicity let's just call this one smoked turkey sausage and bell pepper rice :) It's one of my favorite meals and we make it at least twice a month. 

-Chop your veggies: 1/4 red bell pepper, 1/4 green bell pepper, 1/2 onion, 2 large cloves of garlic
-Cook 1 and 3/8 cups of white rice in a separate pot
-Chop a 1/2 rope of lean turkey smoked sausage (approx. 6 inches, we use eckrich brand) and saute in a skillet pan. After it is cooked remove the sausage from the pan and store in a bowl for later.
-Saute the onions in the oil from the sausage, mix in the bell peppers and garlic
-Add the sausage back into the pan and mix in with the veggies
- Add the cooked white rice on top of the veggies and top with 4 pieces of sharp cheddar cheese (you can sub with shredded cheese but the slices are easy to mix in)
-Cover the pan and allow the cheese to melt. After it's melted gently stir the rice and veggies together
-Top with some fresh black pepper (and plain non-fat yogurt for extra creaminess optional)



IKEA favorites.

This weekend we went to IKEA and I was blown away by the amount of things I wanted to buy!  We already had a few IKEA pieces in our condo (kitchen table + chairs and two 2x2 EXPEDIT shelves in our bedroom -- with navy KVARNVIK boxes).  
But IKEA really knows how to style a room and we left with a new HEMNES dresser and HEMNES nightstands and a set of 6 SKUBB boxes for my drawers (yep. told you I am obsessed with organization). I helped h put together our nightstands and I was really impressed with the quality of the materials (95% of the pieces were solid wood) -- silly me, thought everything from IKEA was made from inexpensive particle board. Now I want to go back for a TV stand (I like this one but I am not sure it can support the weight of our TV). I also have my eye on the BAROMETER floor lamp and STOCKHOLM rug and chair.
Are you an IKEA fan? 
What are some of your favorite pieces?