Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas

February 7, 2015

Still trying to think of that perfect Valentine’s Day gift idea? If you’re looking for something thoughtful to make the day extra special for someone you love (without breaking the bank), here are a few fun ideas…

52 Things I Love About You52 Things You Love About Him

I made this deck of cards for Joe two years ago when he was traveling for work almost every other week. They are the perfect size to pack in a suitcase and a fun reminder of all the reasons you love them so. Mine are made with classic Bicycle Playing Cards. Or if you’re looking for something more unique, this site has a huge selection of card options.

Build a Fort

Build a Fort Filled With All His Favorite Things and Spend The Day Relaxing

What could be better than a pile of pillows, blankets, and all his favorite things? Build a fort just like in the carefree days of your childhood and fill it with his favorite snack food, candles and wine. Then kick back and watch movies, listen to music, read books, or whatever it is you both love to do together, and let the outside world fade away.

Pinhole Press Photo BookA Book Filled With All Your Favorite Memories

If you’re anything like us, you have more photos than you know what to do with. But photos are always more fun when you have a good way to view them. Pinhole Press has a beautiful collection of photo books that make for a perfect walk down memory lane. Every time he flips through the book, he will be reminded of the fun you have together and the love you have for one another. Shop this exact photo book here.

Barrel aged SrirachaSet His Heart on Fire

Does he like it hot? Keep things spicy with a unique take on his favorite condiment. Sosu’s version of this classic sauce is aged in whiskey barrels for a fruity, spicy, and smoky flavor. Sriracha and whiskey in one? Dynamite. And for bonus points, order his favorite pizza or wings as a second surprise so he can get to tasting his new sauce right away. Sosu’s Barrel Aged Sriracha, $30 for 2 bottles.

Heart Shaped DonutsMake Him Breakfast in Bed

A tried and true romantic gesture that never gets old. Sneak away before he wakes up and return to bed with a tray full of his favorite breakfast foods. I’m drooling over this recipe for Red Velvet Cheesecake Pancakes and this recipe for heart shaped bacon. And what you do after breakfast in bed? Well that is totally up to you :) (Image Credit)

Something Pretty

Something For You And Him

This gift needs little explanation. Something pretty for you in turn is something pretty for him. Sounds like a win-win to me :) I love this site which has a beautiful selection lingerie and loungewear.


all of me loves all of youWrite Him Love Notes and Hide Them In Places He Will Find Throughout The Day

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Write him cute love notes and hide them in places to surprise him throughout the entire day: stick one on the dashboard of his car, in his briefcase, tucked inside his laptop, stash one in his lunch, etc. He will feel the love all day long.


No matter what you do on Valentine’s Day or who you spend it with, I hope you have a love filled day. And remember, there is no shame in writing yourself a love note or buying yourself a big ole box of chocolates :)

P.S. Speaking of love, our good friends Adam and Lauren just got engaged! Check out their fun Chicago engagement photos here.



Tulum Packing Inspiration

January 25, 2015
acacia swimwear

One of my favorite things about travel is the excitement leading up to the trip. Researching where to go and what to eat, scouring Pinterest for images that get you even more excited than you already are, and imagining what you would pack if you had an endless budget for vacation wears. So in the spirit of the latter, here are some wishlist items inspired by our upcoming trip to Tulum.

Tulum Packing Guide

1. This off the shoulder top from Stone Cold Fox has the perfect easy-breezy feel for a nice dinner out after a day lazing at the beach.

2. A vacation staple, this all black version of the classic Panama Hat from J. Crew is a unique and fun alternative.

3. A patterned clutch adds a festive punch to any vacation wardrobe. Shop similar here.

4. These Lennon inspired Ray-ban’s are the perfect accessory for Tulum’s boho beach vibe.

5. This sunscreen and after sun lotion from Sun Bum – because protection is a must, and good packaging is a bonus :)

6. I love simple and delicate jewelry, and especially when traveling. This Jennifer Zeuner Petra Lariat necklace still makes a statement and takes up almost no space in your carry-on.

7. Dreaming of tossing my beach towel, sunscreen, and favorite book in this patterned tote from Antique Batik.

8. Pretty details and you’ll blend right in with the sand in this crocheted bikini from Acacia Swimwear.

9. You can never go wrong with a flowy white lace top and easy cutoff shorts. Beaudry Blouse by Wilfred.

10. The feminine details in this playsuit from Zimmermann are stunning and make for a perfect after the beach cocktails look.

11. These Birkenstock Arizona Sandals are super easy to slip on and off in the sand.



Winter Getaway: Tulum

January 22, 2015


Tulum Ruins

Coqui Coqui Tulum

Gitano Tulum


Hartwood Tulum

Hotel Rosa del Viento

Tulum Mexico

 Images: 12 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13

Chicago winters are cold and dark. And it doesn’t take long for the travel bug to come back with a vengeance. So we decided to use some of the points we accumulated during our trip to Europe last summer, and planned a winter getaway to one of our bucket list destinations: Tulum, Mexico! We’re headed to the Yucatan Peninsula mid March for a week of relaxation, sun, and abundent fish tacos—and I can hardly wait. Have you been? Where do you recommend we go? Here are a few places on our must-visit list so far:

To Eat:


Posada Margherita

Casa Jaguar

El Tabano!


Casa Banana

Flor de Michoacan

Encanto Cantina

To Relax:

Coqui Coqui

To See:

Tulum Ruins

Coba Ruins


Do you have a go-to or bucket list Winter Getaway destination?


New Year Resolutions

January 11, 2015

Do you make New Year Resolutions? I’m not super serious about them, but I do think it can be a fun way to start out the year. And once the year is over, it’s nice to look back and see which of them you accomplished and which still need more work. So in the spirit of the the New Year, here are some of my resolutions for 2015:ReadMore_DuoRead More Books.

Reading more books was also on my resolution list last year. And while I may not have read quite as many books as I was hoping, I did get through a big one on my list—Donna Tart’s The Goldfinch. 775 pages and well worth the read. This year I’m hoping to knock out at least four, beginning with All The Light We Cannot See. Others on my list: How to be Parisian Wherever You AreWild, and Gone Girl. (And please, any suggestions are welcomed!)

Spend more time with people who make you happySpend Time With People Who Make You Happy.

It may be cliche, but life is short. And the older I get, the more I realize there are just some people who contribute positivity to your life and others who don’t. And that’s okay. But in this busy world we live in, time is so precious. So why spend it with people who don’t support and love you for who you are. Recently I came across a quote that read “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.” Amen.

RunMore_DuoRun Darling, Run.

My freshman year of college, for no particular reason, I started running. And before I knew it, I was running almost every day. This continued up until moving to Chicago 4 years ago. Once I moved, my routine changed and so did my exercises. Over the last few months I’ve gotten back into it more, and it’s definitely something I want to continue. Chicago winters don’t make it easy, but with a little layering and determination, anything is possible.

TakeAClass_DuoTake a Class.

Ever since I was little, I’ve always loved art and making things with my hands. Art classes in school were always my favorite, and lately I’ve been longing for that quiet time in the studio creating. So in the spirit of trying something completely new, I’ll be enrolling in the Beginning Metalsmithing class at Lillstreet Art Center in April to learn how to make jewelry! And who knows, maybe it will become one of my new favorite hobbies.

Wine_DuoLearn about wine.

No matter what your age, its so important to continue to learn and expand your mind. Joe and I are big wine drinkers, and especially with all the restaurants in Chicago, I’ve always wanted to really know what I’m ordering and why. For Christmas, my brother gave me Kevin Zraly’s book Windows On the World: a complete wine course. And if I have to sample many, many types of wine while learning, I suppose I can handle that. I’ll keep you updated :)

Worry LessWorry Less.

I fully admit it, I am a worrier. Much of this comes from being a bit of a perfectionist and wanting to have control over situations that can’t always be controlled. But lately, I’ve been trying my best to worry less. When a situation which may or may not even happen in the future starts to put a knot in my stomach, I take a deep breathe and remind myself theres no point in worrying until there’s actually a reason to worry. Sounds pretty simple, but it’s not always easy. However, worrying about maybe needing to worry? That’s just silly.


What are your resolutions this year? Here’s to making 2015 one of the best years yet!


Winter Beauty Essentials

January 4, 2015
5 Winter Beauty Essentials

Sure, a warm drink on a cold day does just the trick, and that freshly fallen white snow is so lovely, but dry irritated skin? No thank you. Winter is not easy on the body. Between the cold dry weather and the heater running 24/7, it can be difficult to keep your skin looking healthy and hydrated. Here are some beauty products I’m using right now to help fight the winter blues.

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Holiday Decorating Inspiration

December 10, 2014


How are you decorating for the holidays this year? We live in a small apartment so putting up a big tree really isn’t an option for us. I’m loving these simple evergreen accents, and if we had a big home, I love the idea of hanging garland in the doorways! I’m always a fan of clean design and love the Scandinavian palette of black, white, and wood. The pop of green looks lovely in a mostly white interior, wouldn’t you agree?

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Adam & Lauren are Engaged!

November 22, 2014
Chicago Engagement Pictures

Our dear friends Adam and Lauren got engaged this October! When they asked if I would shoot some photos of them around the city and in their home, I jumped at the chance. This was my first engagement shoot, and I had a great time hopping around Chicago to celebrate these two!



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Paris| Photo Diary + Travel Guide

September 27, 2014
Eiffel Tower Paris

Our first morning in Paris began with the a visit to the Eiffel Tower. It may be a cliche tourist attraction, but the views from the top are undeniably great. And the selfies are even better (haha).

Your best bet for visiting the Eiffel Tower is to make reservations and purchase tickets ahead of time on the Eiffel Tower website. Once you’ve done this, all you have to do is show up at your scheduled time, saving you a least an hour (and sometimes two) waiting in line. The reserved times go quick so expect to book at least two month in advance. If your desired time is no longer available, keep checking as times slots do open up.


Eiffel Tower Paris

Rue Cler Paris

Just South of the Eiffel Tower is the pedestrian only Rue Cler. Filled with bakeries, flower shops, patisseries and cafes, Rue Cler feels a bit like being transported to a small french village. We stopped for delicious lunch at Cafe du Marche before an afternoon of French shopping.

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September 26, 2014

On our fourth day in Italy, we made arrangements to visit the nearby island of Capri. From the Amalfi Coast, Capri is just a 30 or 40 minute boat ride away. In the summer months, hydrofoils operate direct from Positano and Amalfi, but if you are visiting in the winter months, you will need to catch a boat from Sorrento. Public sea connections between the island and the mainland do not run after 8pm, so keep this in mind when planning out your accommodations. If you would like to spend an evening on the island, enjoy dinner and drinks, etc, my recommendation would be to book at least one night on Capri.

Another option is taking a private boat tour around the island. There are several companies who all offer similar tours, but after checking out all our options, we decided on L’uomo e il mare. For only 55 euros each, we took an 8 hour tour complete with towels, drinks, and desserts. The tour began with 4 hours on the boat touring around the island and stopping at several sites along the way, including a stop to swim in the sparkling Mediterranean, sailing under the Faraglioni Rock, as well as a stop at the infamous Blue Grotto and Green Grotto. After the tour around the island, we had 4 hours to explore the mainland on our own. During the ride home, we stopped again for a final swim and toasted to a wonderful day with champagne and cakes. The private boat tour was a perfect way to see Capri and I highly recommend taking this route. Our tour guide and captain were very funny and informative, and spending a day out on a boat with visitors from all over the world was an experience I’ll never forget.



Farglioni Rock Capri

It can be hard to understand the perspective from photos, but the Faraglioni rock is extremely large—our boat drove straight through the center. Crazy! What a beautiful piece of Mother Nature.


Pulling up to Marina Grande, the island was much larger than we were expecting. The beautiful white buildings sparkled against the turquoise waters.

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Amalfi and Ravello

September 26, 2014

After two days exploring Positano, we headed along the coast to visit neighboring towns Amalfi and Ravello. Beginning in Positano and ending in Vietri sul Mare, the 55km coastline takes its name from the most central and historically important town of Amalfi. Getting to Amalfi from Positano is extremely easy. SITA buses run approximately every half hour from Positano to Amalfi, and the trip takes about 40 minutes. Tickets can be purchased in several bars and tobacconist around the area, but not on the bus. Sold as both a one way or as a round trip, tickets are good for any time, so to make things easy, buying a round trip ticket is the way to go if you plan to return same day. For us, the easiest location for purchasing all our bus tickets was Bar Internazionale in Positano. Not only do they sell tickets, but there is a bus stop located just across the street. Getting up to the town of Ravello requires first going to Amalfi, and then purchasing a separate SITA bus ticket up to Ravello. We decided to spend an entire day visiting both towns, and had so much fun adventuring around.AmalfiChurchDuo




The Duomo in the center of Amalfi is very impressive, and after climbing all those stairs, gelato was a must. The port town of Amalfi is definitely more touristy and busy than Positano. A few hours of exploring and we were ready to venture up to the far more peaceful and secluded Ravello.



The second we stepped foot in Ravello, it was love at first site. The drive up the cliffs is pretty impressive, tiny winding streets and garden after garden. And what a view from the top.

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