My Favorite Things: Pretty in Pink

Saturday, December 28, 2013

After a very relaxing vacation in Hawaii, I am back to blogging and I'm bringing you some of my favorite things in the name of the season!

Clockwise: pink pearl studs (handpicked by yours truly in Hawaii), Daisy Eau So Fresh parfume, Kate Spade Zoey wallet in Peachblossom (thank you, Adam & Bailey!), Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer in Strawberry
I've never really been one to indugle in the color pink, but this subtle, light shade is really growing on me. Bright pinks have never really gone with my wardrobe and tend to make me appear washed out, so I'm happy to have this alternative now that pastels are making a permanent comeback. 

I love the versatility of my new wallet; I can pair it with any bag or carry it by itself without it clashing. Besides, anything Kate Spade is so timeless. I know it will never go out of style.

The lip shimmer is perfect for an extra touch of sparkle, but following Iona's advice, I promise to never waste this lip gloss. It's light and keeps my lips moisturized while adding that pop of glamour I sometimes want. 

Marc Jacobs's "Eau So Fresh" is very light and floral, with a hint of woody musk that makes me feel sophisticated and ready to conquer the day. If you think his original "Daisy" is spectacular, you'll fall in love all over again with this rendition. 

The pink pearls are my favorite part of this set. While shopping in Honolulu, my parents and I stopped at a local jewelry store that let us choose our own oysters to crack. After my mother's pick turned out to be a beautiful, black pearl, I was surprised to find twin pink pearls in mine! I instantly knew that these lovelies were going to be my new favorite pair of earrings. The soft pink makes them a bit more feminine than my go-to, white pearls, but they're classic nonetheless. 

You could say I'm tickled pink!

XOXO,
Em

What is your favorite color of the moment? Are you finding yourself buying more and more of that hue?

My Favorite Things: Corner Desks

Thursday, October 24, 2013

I moved into this apartment thinking I would never use a desk. My bed is my mecca; it's giant, tall, fluffy, and perfectly fine for homework.

I was wrong.

While I am still in love with my three-and-a-half foot tall bed, I have realized that it is not always conducive to getting work done...especially when there's Netflix. But with the small size of my room, I wasn't sure I'd be able to find a desk small enough to fit yet big enough to actually work for me. And then I stumbled upon the corner desk. I snatched it up almost as soon as I saw it because I knew it would be perfect, and it is. My parents found a chair, re-finished it for me, and voilà! I have a work space!



It's been a long time coming, but I've finally found all the bells and whistles (monogram acrylic pencil holder, acrylic letter organizer, acrylic file holder, lamp) a girl could ask for and my desk is complete. And who doesn't like a personal thank you note for buying something? Thanks Mackenzie!

What is your work space like? What are your must-have desktop accessories?

Looking for some cute new additions? Take a look at Design Darling by Mackenzie Horan! 


XOXO,
Em

State of the Union: October 22nd

Tuesday, October 22, 2013



Autumn has officially settled down in Lincoln Park and the brisk air has forced me to put some things into perspective. I have a lot going on (naturally) and life is only getting tougher to juggle, but I can't make excuses for myself. I am a strong, independent, beautiful woman and that is enough. Midterms are over and I'm looking with bright eyes toward finals! Here are a few updates on my world:

going...to a seminar on preparing for Law School, even though I'm not convinced I want to go. I've always learned that it's best to keep your options open, so why not learn a little more about what it takes to make it in the American judicial system?


thinking... about Thanksgiving break and, well, Thanksgiving in general. Don't tell me you're not, because you are. Just imagine at all that delicious food, being surrounded by family and knowing you have your own comfortable bed to crawl into after the day is over

Photo from: therecipegirl.com

listening... to my new favorite band, The Neighbourhood. Just listen to his voice, I can almost guarantee you'll cave and buy their whole "I Love You." album too. Almost.



planning... my Halloween costume. I know, I know, I said I wasn't going to celebrate Halloween this year, but I just can't pass up the opportunity for a group costume. Sorry not sorry


wanting... these boots forever and ever. It's love.


Well that's where I stand right now. Where are you?

XOXO,
Em

What You Need to Know...Living with Girls

Friday, October 18, 2013



Living with other people was never really tough for me. I'd only lived "on my own" once and that was when I was still back home. But otherwise, I've always loved and even fought for living with others. My exchange students, my French sisters, my cabin mates at various summer camps...the list goes on. But living with two other girls in an apartment during my second year of college has proven a little more difficult.

They all say that too much estrogen in one household is catastrophic - I don't know how sorority houses do it. And while neither of my roommates nor I have ever considered ourselves to be very girly, nevertheless, we found ourselves dramatically balling our eyes out and talking about our feelings on the kitchen floor one afternoon. The fact remains the same.

We are all women. We are all moody. And on top of that, we are all stressed to the max with an overwhelming sophomore year course load.

After one giant heart-to-heart, we've all come to the conclusion that there are just some things we need to face that haven't needed facing before.

  1. Communication; this is the most important because everything that could possibly go wrong will stem from this. Talk, talk, talk! It's better to be bitter for a moment than upset for a week.
  2. Habits; everyone comes from a different background and it's tough sometimes to accept other people's habits since they may differ from your own house rules. Learn to accept them.
  3. Gestures; that smile, encouraging pep talk, or mug of hot tea says a lot more than you think. Your roommates are most likely your friends and if they aren't, they should be. Be there for them and know that they'll be there for you when you're trudging home from a long, defeating day!

Do you have female roommates? What advice would you give for getting along with them?

XOXO,
Em

Product Review: Mint.com

Monday, October 14, 2013

I never realized how different life is between your freshman and sophomore years of college until I transitioned from a freshman to a sophomore in college. Go figure.

I've dealt with a lot of adjustments, especially living in a city where I'm actually renting my first apartment instead of living in university housing. But I'm slowly learning to appreciate the skills it has given me. I will now be proficient in rent checks, paying utilities bills, having credit, and understanding the meaning of a budget before I even graduate!

Athough I'm taking this all with grace, I'm only twenty and I really was not expecting the mounting responsibility that I had to take. So I've enlisted the help of a budgeting website called Mint.com.



Mint allows you to create an account and sync up with your bank account(s), making budgets for whatever you might need (groceries, utilities, clothes, savings) based upon your income. Once you've set the limits for what you'd like to spend on each for the month, the site sends weekly e-mail updates on your spending - yes, it will definitely let you know if you have gone over-budget.

It has really helped me to realize the need for a budget and what areas I need to cut back on in terms of splurging and such. I could not be more thankful to have this loyal site by my side as I embark into adulthood and the world of deadlines with potentially severe consequences (hello, credit scores!)


What helps you stay on track financially? Have you used Mint.com before? 

XOXO,
Em

Playlist: Midterms

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The pressure has been on for the past month for me between tougher, second-year classes, the craze of recruitment, working for my university's newspaper, and my inevitably busy social life. My friends often ask me how I do everything and manage to stay (at least somewhat) composed. And my answer?
I have no idea.

Sometimes I wake up with a full plate of homework and deadlines to meet and I tell myself that this time it isn't going to work out. But then it does.
I suppose most of the reason I make it through is due to my biggest cheerleaders: my mother (she keeps me sane at my most frazzled moments), my Lilly planner/ iPhone 5 (putting everything in my planner AND my iPhone helps me to relax and see the big picture. I look at certain deadlines and determine when I will have time to do what), and my favorite playlist of the season.



  1. Sweater Weather - The Neighbourhood; This band is my current obsession. I just bought their album "I Love You." because it's really that good. I can listen to it when I'm getting ready, doing homework, cooking, or even just relaxing. 
  2. Tennis Court - Lorde; I cannot think of a better song to get me excited about doing homework.
  3. Safe and Sound - Capital Cities; It may be mainstream, but I can't help loving it.
  4. Counting Stars - One Republic; Okay, this one is actually very mainstream. But I am counting my lucky stars that I will get these papers written! 
  5. Let Her Go - Passenger; I like to take a nostalgic pause whenever this comes on. Look me in the eye and tell me it doesn't remind you of someone/somewhere. Yeah, that's what I thought.
  6. Stubborn Love - The Lumineers; A calm and collected melody is just what I want sometimes.
  7. Daughter - Youth; Sorry this is getting depressing but I just love her voice.
  8. Pompeii - Bastille; This song makes me feel like I just won a marathon. 
  9. Hold On, We're Going Home - Drake; Let's be honest, no playlist of mine is complete without a song by Drake. Sorry not sorry. 
  10. Hold On - SBTRKT; His voice and accent are the perfect motivation to finish a project. 


 How do you make it through midterms? What is your go-to playlist?

XOXO,
Em

That Time I Started Sophomore Year

Thursday, September 19, 2013

If we're being technical, I'm already a quarter into my sophomore year thanks to my summer full of online classes. But I count this time as being the real beginning of my second year in college. Everyone has filtered back to Lincoln Park and surrounding areas. My apartment is coming together with each trip to World Market and each purchase we make online. Both of my roommates are here for good and every time I run errands, go to work, or go to class, I see familiar faces. It's funny how small this school can feel in such a large city.

And the weather has finally accepted its fate: cold, rain, and wind. But there's something oddly reassuring about it. I am so happy to be back in my domain. I am busier than ever between all my jobs, classes, homework, and sorority life. But I haven't felt this empty in a while.

I have spent the past two days (and two sleepless nights) wondering where I'm taking my life. I've decided that I think it's good to lose yourself at least once a year. By wrapping myself up in all this stuff, I've realized that I don't know where I'm going anymore. So I'm taking off a few of the layers and getting back to my core. I love to learn, so I'm learning. I love to edit, so I'm editing. I love to tutor, so I'm tutoring. And I love my sorority. So I'm...sororitying? Nevertheless, I love where I am right now because it's so deliciously new, I feel like I'm just starting to paint my life onto a blank canvas.

Stay tuned to see where I head next!

XOXO,
Em

State of the Union: September 4th

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

In these recent weeks, I've been adjusting to my Chicago life again and preparing for the upcoming school year. I like to call my life at the moment my "limbo time" and while I definitely enjoyed doing some limbo-esque moves during Zumba with my sisters last night, I am not liking this transition period in my life. I'm very good at being on the move and constantly having something to do, so I'm sure this won't last for long. But here are a few updates on my world.

Currently...

going to: an event at Topshop hosted by fashion bloggers Carly Cristman, Kait Hunter, and Jena Gambaccini this evening with my girls

loving: Royals by Lorde (and all of her music, if we're being honest)

thinking about: getting an internship this fall?

planning: my family's vacation to Hawaii in December, and so happy Peek.com exists to help me out!

wanting: this beautiful specimen of Michael Kors

XO,
Em


That Time I Furnished My First Apartment

Monday, September 2, 2013

Now that I sit back on my roommate's couch and look at the upturned room around me, I realize how much work it takes to fully furnish and decorate an apartment. It's an adventure, a burden, and a major time commitment.

I wanted this process to be done overnight, but I'm seeing how that's next to impossible, especially without a car and the beautifully worn credit card with my parents' names on it. There are still more things than I can count on both hands that we need for this place. But for some reason, it is starting to feel like home. Even though the couch doesn't have a cover and the barstools are looking like more of a DIY project than a feasible option, it has character. Our TV stand is a plastic box, we have zero chairs, and every time we run the dishwasher, I think it might bust out and fly away.
But all of these things have one common thread: they are ours.

I may not know how to make hard boiled eggs or work the air conditioner properly, but goodness if I'm not good at being thankful for this apartment, I don't know who is. Every morning I have to smile as the sun peeks into the front windows through the leaves of a giant oak tree. I will figure this out. Little by little, those measuring cups will find their way to my cupboard, and I'll be baking cookies like a professional.

XO,
Em

My Favorite Things: Floating Shelves

Friday, August 30, 2013

You know that moment when you have a new room to decorate and you're imagining all the things you could do? After moving into my new apartment last month, I saw the blank walls as beautiful blank canvases that were just begging to be painted. And so I did.

My collection of knicknacks has been going for quite some time now, so I knew the first thing I needed to do was shelving. I popped into The Container Store with zero expectations and left with enough shelves to fill my wall. I spent a long Sunday afternoon putting them up...okay, just kidding, my father did all the work, but I was a fantastic moral support. At the end, I stepped back and squealed. It was perfect. I was so happy with how the shelving looked and the quality of the materials. Even if assembly was tough at times, it was worth it. I mean, just look at this beauty!

 Two Deco square shelves in black, two Conceal Book shelves by Umbra, and one Tchotchke shelf in black

If you're in the market for shelving, or anything of the sort, I strongly advise you to stop by The Container Store and let them do the work for you. Seriously, just hand them the measurements, tell them what you want, and they will find you what you're looking for. Talk about fantastic customer service!

XO,
Em

Wish List: Inslee By Design Notecards

Thursday, August 29, 2013

I found this lovely site while clicking around on the internet today - what else is summer break for?
Immediately, I fell in lust with the colorful prints that this artist makes.

Just look at the carefree watercolor and cute designs! I'm officially hooked and waiting for my next paycheck to buy these adorable notecards (they're only $35). She even does commissioned work, so that gift you've been trying to find for the person who has everything? Yes, I've found it.

Head on over Inslee.net and see for yourself!

XO,
Em


My Favorite Things: Kate Spade Phone Case

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

After the tragic breaking of my beautiful tortoiseshell Case Mate, I was forced to quit my monogomous relationship with phone cases and get another one.


For those of you who don't know me as well as others, it's very tough for me to part with something once it has become a part of my life. And I believe phone cases are very tell-tale signs of who we are; they show off a little piece of our personalities to people we don't even realize.
Needless to say, it was not easy to pop off the practical, neutral-colored case and slide on my new, bright orange one from Kate Spade.

But oh my goodness, was I surprised to find that this little on-sale find was perhaps even better than my original case! It is actually two pieces, a rubber edge lining and the plastic case. I honestly sleep better at night now knowing that my phone is all safe and sound. And the Dorothy Parker quote on the back could not describe me more accurately. I've had it for less than 48 hours and a handful of people have already told me how fitting it is.

Even though it took a lot of thought and a little hesitation, I would recommend Kate Spade cases to anyone. Their quality exceeded my expectations and their prices are very reasonable. Plus, it never hurts to put a little color and pep in your life.

XO,
Em

That Time I Renovated My Blog

I'm not entirely sure if it's possible to rehab a blog, but after the amount of work I just went through switching over to a Blogger account and making this very page look every ounce of cute as it does, I like to think I should get a certificate. Or at least a pat on the back.

Either way, welcome to my new blog! For those of you who have been following me from day one, you rock. I hope you are as excited about the new direction I'm taking as I am!

I've decided to quit trying to learn how to cook, clean, and sew (I'm certain I'll pick that up as I go) and start sticking to my true self. The self that loves to travel, eat, and sometimes to my own demise, shop until I drop. Follow me for restaurant reviews, the inside scoop on my adventures, a hint of style, and a lot of life lessons. Love me because I'm down to earth, keep my standards high, and believe that you are great.

XO,
Em

That Time I Went To Turkey

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Merhaba!
I know you all have been wondering where I've been and why I haven't been posting. Well, for part of my summer, I spent time in Istanbul, Turkey. I fell in love with the culture and also discovered my passion for ESL - and a newfound maternal side of me that I hadn't known existed!
Before we get into pictures and thoughts, though, I have to answer the few questions that I've gotten every time I tell someone I was there:

"Did you like it?" YES. I loved everything about Istanbul, from the weather to the food to the style of life there. I would go back in a heartbeat!
"Why were you there?" I spent three weeks teaching and speaking English with children at a summer program hosted at Koç University.
"Did you have to dress differently?" Not really. I wore more conservative clothing just out of respect for the people observing Ramadan, but otherwise the country is very modern and Westernized, so there was no need for me to cover myself from head to toe.

With my time being slightly strapped between working with my lovely group of 9-year-olds in the morning to the afternoon, then attempting to keep up with my online classes, and also trying to have a normal social life with the other mentors, I didn't have the opportunity to do a whole lot of sightseeing. However, I was able to make a few days of quick-fire tourism, which suited me just fine. I saw all the stereotypical things, like the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and the Basilica Cistern. I also spent more money than I should have at the Grand Bazaar and ate my weight in Turkish food.

I don't think I can compare Istanbul to anything in America. Life there is slow and easygoing, time and money are more relative, and every so often, you feel like you've been transported back to the Byzantine empire. It's magical and beautiful. But I could just be saying that because of the hammam.

IMG_5924 IMG_5930 IMG_1505 IMG_1568 IMG_5958 IMG_1597  IMG_1626 IMG_1650

(From right to left starting at the top: market day in Sariyer (the town where Koç is located); view from a restaurant on the Bosphorus Strait; a city street at sunset; main street in Taksim (you could find a flag almost anywhere though); the Basilica Cistern; the Blue Mosque; photoshoot inside the Hagia Sophia; Turkish feast - it is typical to order a bunch of appertizers and then a small main dish)

What are your thoughts on Turkey?
Have you ever traveled somewhere and directly fell in love with their culture? 

XOXO,
Em

That Time I Moved Into My First Apartment

Monday, July 8, 2013

First of all, folks, I want to say that moving is possibly one of the most disheveling things that could happen. And it is also one of the best things that has happened to me recently. I was staying in a temporary apartment for a while before moving into my lovely three-bedroom, two-bathroom place only two blocks away from my school. It is perfect - just spacious enough, airy, open and rehabbed (which is not as evident as one might think when you live in Chicago). On the first day I saw it with my roommates, we practically signed the lease. And now, even with most of my belongings still in boxes, I enjoy dancing around my beautiful kitchen/living room and belting out tunes in the shower. Judge me. I am in love, and I don't care who knows it!

However, the road to this place has been ANYTHING but simple. I wanted to share a few tips with you guys about finding, leasing and moving into a new apartment, because, especially for those of us who have never dealt with bills - aside from the kind you get at the theatre for a show - it can be a shockingly difficult transition.
  1. Look online. There are all sorts of apartment sites out there (zillow, padmapper, hotpads, etc), but the best apartments can be found on the very unsuspecting Craigslist. Most postings are made by management companies, so they're legitimate. People looking on here mean business though, so you won't want to wait a few days before calling to set up a walk-through - it's not uncommon for it to be off the market within 24 hours!
  2. Don't rush the process. If you don't find a place the first time you look, then congratulations because you're normal. Don't give up when that dream apartment doesn't have your lease starting date, or ends up being too expensive, or just isn't a feasible option. And don't settle for much less than you want, either. Good things come to those who wait.
  3. Read the lease. Once you've found the place, there are going to be a million papers you need to comb through. Bring them on the train, to the doctor's office, or while you're taking a study break. Read that thing like it is the latest Harry Potter/Twilight/Hunger Games/whatever people are reading these days. You will thank yourself later when you don't get fined because you know you have to double-bag your kitty's litter.
  4. Honesty is the best policy. Ask your landlord questions early and often. It's much better that you ask and the answer is obvious than not asking and being blind-sided later on.
  5. Over-plan your move. Wait, that's not possible. If you have movers, give them a reasonable time frame (and bring them snacks to show your appreciation). If you're doing it yourself, you will most likely need a couple of days to move in and adjust, even if you are the Hulk and can lift eight boxes at once. You will be tired, hungry, and sore in places you never imagined had muscles. So take off of work or minimize your hours for those days. Take breaks when necessary and eat snacks to show yourself some appreciation - hey, lifting that many boxes isn't easy, you rock!
  6. Slowly but surely wins the race. Unpacking will seem like an insurmountable task - and perhaps you'll never truly be done - but try, try, try! Three boxes a day, a room a day, one bag a day; make it work for your schedule and give yourself milestones. It makes you feel that much more accomplished when you sit back with your celebratory "I unpacked the [insert what you unpacked here]" drink.
  7. Relax. They call moving a process for a reason - it's not going to happen overnight. And honestly, would you want it to? Relish in the thousandth trip to Target, dance around the kitchen to that cheesy, new pop song, and love your new place. It is yours, all yours, and it loves you back unconditionally.
If you have more specific questions about moving and want advice, please comment below and I'll be happy to give you my two cents!
XOXO

That Time I Finished My Freshman Year

Monday, June 17, 2013

Even with summer starting, my crazy busy schedule is, of course, still full. I've come to realize that I simply cannot let myself have nothing to work on or toward. My most recent endeavor has been applying to intern at Koc University in Istanbul as an English teacher for a children's day camp this summer. I saw the opportunity and instantly knew that it was what I had to do. So between the papers, studying, and end-of-the-year coffee dates, I've been juggling the application for this program. I recently bought my plane ticket and I could not be more excited; I just know it is a step in the right direction!

So this leads me to my newest mantra. Along with constantly thinking about Istanbul, my past travels, and the trip to India that I hope will happen in the near future, I have realized that traveling is what I love. The sights, buildings, food, people, culture...everything about travel is fascinating. It is so immensely important to understand other people too, and I guess it is just luck that I love doing that. And since I will only be young once, I have vowed to go on as many adventures and learn as much as possible while arthritis and whatever other health problems are still at bay. So, after that long rant, we finally come to my mantra: She most heartily enjoyed pursuing life.

This little gem was introduced to me on a pin that was given to me by one of my favorite people in the world, my sister-in-law. She got it from a small, artsy store in our hometown and for whatever reason, found it fitting for me. I kept it pinned to the inside of my purse for the longest time, but I never really considered it before now. I do enjoy life. I enjoy pursuing my dreams and goals. And the word hearty just makes me think of food, which I might love most of all.

XOXO

That Time I Neglected My Blog

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

I honestly cannot remember the last time I posted, and that is an issue. With my finals week coming to a close, I can finally see the light at the end of the Freshman Year tunnel. I have loaded my schedule beyond belief the past few months, and while I enjoy being busy, a break from it all is just what I need right now.

Let's take some time to reflect on the academic year:
  • I went from being a Biology major to an International Studies major to a Political Science major, and now I'm back to International Studies
  • I started off the year being severely anemic and ended it with relapsing, but I made it through
  • I spent an entire 11 months living with the same person and I still adore her
  • I ran for a position in my sorority and got it, along with several other committee positions
  • I participated in Model Arab League and found my passion for politics
  • I got a job working for my university, was offered a position as a mentor for next fall, and was accepted to be a Copy Editor for the school newspaper
  • I finished all my classes, whether I suffered through or loved them
  • I drove 15 hours to Panama City Beach for Spring Break with two of my best friends and found out that I much prefer more worldly travels
  • I found my role model, my Big, and then had to say goodbye as she graduated
  • I remained a vegetarian despite my frequent cravings for chicken
This year has been more eventful than I could have ever imagined. I've made, lost, and kept friends. I've endured life crises where I strongly considered becoming an Anthropology major. I've spent countless hours thinking and searching for what I want in this life. I've realized that I am passionate about travel, culture, and learning, but not so passionate about the cost of a plane ticket.

I've learned that writing for me is what I do best and that I need to get back to the basics. So here I am, spending the three months of lovely sunshine, Chicago wind, and summer rain to try and figure this life out. But don't worry, I'll be keeping you all updated along the way!
XOXO

That Time It Turned To 2013

Monday, January 7, 2013

It's a new year. New beginnings, new resolutions, a new start.

For some reason this year doesn't feel like much of a fresh start to me, but it's slowly shaping up to be perfect in its own way. I have, of course, resolved to change a few things in my life:

1. workout more often (and surprisingly it's not because I want to be more fit or skinnier or whatever. I just really enjoy how it feels after working out.)

2. less intake of unhealthy food (it'll happen every year, get used to it.)

3. get out there more and make more friends

So there you have my three goals for the whole year.


I'll keep you all posted on how I'm doing with this in the future, but as for now, let's chat about my year so far. I spent New Year's with friends and family - the way it should be spent. I got a couple more days with my German darling, Luisa, before being forced to say goodbye. I went clubbing/dancing (such an underrated workout).

And now I'm back in Chicago at my school with my friends where I belong. Even though I had to say a wrenching goodbye to our good friend, James as he transferred out of DePaul, we made the best of our first weekend here. (I have to add, Pitch Perfect really is worth all of the hype. If you haven't seen it, go watch it now.)

Classes, apartment and job hunting, working out, and my life as a second-quarter freshman begins tomorrow and I couldn't be more excited to see what this year holds for me!

XOXO