Black friday

Get up to 35% off at Club Monaco with the code THANKFUL. Here are a few of my favorite pieces (just bought that feather dress–perfect for holiday parties)! 

Save 30-40% off at J. Crew with the code HOLIDAY. My favorite windowpane pajamas are 40% off! 

Take up to 25% off your order at Shopbop with the code GOBIG

50% off everything at GAP with the code BLKFRIDAY! 

image via

It's the most wonderful sale of the year

My favorite store is having one of their big sales again, just in time for holidays! Save up to 25% off on EVERYTHING (some brand exclusions apply).

Some of my favorites:
Everything Club Monaco because this dress is perfect
Kate Spade is killing it (love this bag)
Cozy PJs
Winter gloves, boots, and hats
Budget-friendly RumbaTime watches
My favorite jewelry brand (love this necklace)
Ray bans
Cozy slippers
S'well water bottles
And don't forget to check out the gift boutique

Giveaway: My Kara Rosenlund Horse Print

We had a big holiday shoot in my studio this week which meant working until 2am, crashing the next night at 8:30 (and sleeping 12 hours), a fun afternoon with stylisted, a puppy, cookies from Blakeley Street Bakery,  Laura, Dee Dee, and Ericaand getting to enjoy these gorgeous florals from The Foxglove Studio.

Anyway, just popping in with what might be one of the best giveaways ever. I've teamed up with Kara Rosenlund, the photographer behind my favorite piece of art, to give one of you your very own 20x30 Wild Horses (valued at $440).

To enter, follow Kara Rosenlund on Instagram, then follow me and tag a friend in my post with this image. Please leave a comment below with your instagram handle in the comment so I know who entered.

Deadline: You have until November 24th at 11:59 PM CST to enter! 


I got all into blogging last month Then we hired our first full-time employee the week I decided to move across town. I unpacked within 24 hours, had my first houseguest just two nights after moving in, and didn't have internet the first week I lived here. Still bitter, Comcast. Still bitter. Add in the half-dozen photo shoots I booked during a two week period, some interior and graphic design projects, and that might explain why I disappeared. Again. It's always something, guys.

Almost one month later, I'm back. I am loving the new place which felt more like home two days in than any other apartment so far. Five apartments since 2011 so that statement means something coming from me. I just need to finish the office (need a new chair, rug, fresh coat of paint, and a plant) and dining area (table, chairs, and rug). I think I've found my table at Meg Made–going to swing by this weekend. I'm having someone come out to install my new lighting fixture in the living room and then I'm good.  

I bought the piece above from White Attic, and it's definitely my favorite piece of furniture, but the paint job wasn't great (and was chipping) so I had Meg refinish it and paint the interior grey during the move. It's so perfect now. Art is Minted and mirror is Kathy Kuo

Now we're diving into holiday content which has meant photo shoots (BIG one today) and gift guides, and I have three more shoots booked through the end of the year. One holiday mini session, and two shoots for brands (one fashion and one new product launch). So as usual, I'm a little all over the place, but things are good. On a very positive note, we needed wrapped gifts for our photo shoots, so I'm already ahead on Christmas gifts!

While picking up a few gifts, I bought some new cozy favorites at Gap and have been living in this henley. I'm also loving Shopbop's gift guides. These items for the home and the under $100 lists are just too good. 

I don't mean to end on a low note and plan on writing more about this soon, but I've been struggling with the holidays a bit. I've sort of been forced into a little bit of cheer with work, but haven't been feeling it the past few years. Anyway, I'm sure someone out there can relate, and hope I get back to my usual festive self soon.

Moving 101

It's taken some time to adjust to the move, lack of internet (thanks, Comcast) and hiring our first full-time employee, but I think I'm ready to blog again. I thought I should write a post about moving since I'm now in my 5th Chicago apartment (in a 5 year period). 

I first moved to Chicago in August, 2010 and knew nothing about the city other than that fact that it seemed like a great place to live and got very cold. I was certain I wouldn't be safe without a doorman and moved into a high-rise in River North, which was ironically around the corner from what was once one of the most dangerous areas in Chicago. Go figure. 

My River North apartment was tiny and too expensive (i.e. more than I could afford) so I traded my doorman for a buzzer and moved north to the border of Lincoln Park and Lakeview, where I gained about 200 square feet of space and saved $300 per month. 

Alaina and I had been talking about getting an office–something I didn't think we were ready for, Ss I proposed an idea. Let's move in together and get a larger apartment with a shared office. We can continue to work from home and spend more time working together. We talked everything through and decided that we'd go for it, with the plan of living together for one year. 

We settled on a huge 2 story apartment in West Town, located on a first floor. No buzzer. No doorman. Sure, I insisted on an alarm system–2 girls living alone, so seemed practical to me. Before we knew it, our year had come to an end. I decided to stay in West Town where parking is free and I'm 5-10 minutes from everything, and found a small 2 bedroom apartment down the street from our old place. It lacked the charm (and outdoor space) I was hoping for, but was a nice, clean, reasonably priced place (less expensive than anything I had looked at) with a washer/dryer and lots of storage. 

Then a few weeks ago, I happened to walk into my dream apartment and I couldn't not take it. And while things are great with Conor, no, we did not move in together. It's up north (Lakeview), but since I work from home and spend most of my time there, I decided to take the place I love. It's $200 more than my last apartment, and according to Learnvest, I can afford it. 

Now let's talk about the moving/packing process, because I've learned a lot about that over the past few years. 

If you own furniture and aren't a bodybuilder or The Hulk, you should consider hiring movers. If you have a car, take a few things over to save on move time. Sofa lifting is out for me, but I can handle lamps and artwork. I've worked with The Professionals, who did a great job, and this time around, used Wolley Movers. Both did a great job. This move (with Wolley Movers) was the first one where nothing was damaged. 

I usually ask if I can run to the store and pick up some drinks or snacks they might want when we go from apt. 1 to apt 2. I feel like this gesture is usually appreciated. And don't forget to take out cash to tip them! 

Boxes and packing
The past three moves, I've gotten smart and have skipped the cardboard for rentable moving boxes. I usually rent from Redi-Box, which is based here in Chicago, and go with the 1 bedroom option which is $149 for two weeks. This option is 100x better in every possible way.

No putting together or breaking down boxes (less trash!), no smelly cardboard, no tape, and no smashed boxes. They open, close, and stack easily, too. Reid-Box drops the boxes off and then picks them up at your new place! I gave myself a few days to pack and had the boxes picked up 24 hours after moving in. I unpack very quickly. There's usually a junk box or two at the end, which gets dumped on the floor. Anything I can't find a place for gets tossed.

I label boxes by room and contents. This is especially helpful with linens, because I'll try to get those washed right away so I have somewhere to sleep and towels to use after showering. I also recommend packing an overnight bag with your essentials (pajamas, underwear, body wash, phone charger, toothbrush etc) so you'll have everything you need the first night in your new home. 

Have an idea of where the furniture will go so you can tell the movers where to take it. Or if you're moving yourself,  it'll probably be a lot less painful knowing where the sofa goes vs. having to move it all over your living room 5x. I hired movers last time but didn't know where I wanted the sofa to go and threw my back out rearranging furniture the night I moved in. I also unpacked all 30 boxes by 3am, so I was maybe a little overzealous. Planning on making this move a bit breezier, and I already know where my sofa is going, so that's half the battle.

Each year, I usually skip packing the breakable/fragile things I really love and drive them over to the new place right before or after the move. As I just mentioned, this helps save on move time. I trust the movers to do a good job, but worry about my packing abilities when it comes to the extra-fragile stuff, so this gives me peace of mind knowing I was extra careful with things I really care about. 

I've had friends let me borrow cars or offer to do a trip with me, and now that I have a car, it should be even easier. 

Ever since moving to smaller buildings without buzzers, I've relied on Simpli Safe, a great alarm system without a contract. You buy the alarm and can order extra door/window sensors, glass break sensors, motion detectors (they are super sensitive to dogs and a pain, in my opinion). The system is easy to install (I installed one when I lived with Alaina and then installed the system at my new place, too). It's just $25 a month, which is worth coming home and knowing that no one has entered my apartment while you've been away. And you can control the alarm from an app on your cell phone. And there's even a panic button.

The Essentials
Drop water, snacks, toilet paper, and hand soap at the new place before the move. If you're feeling especially motivated, pick up a few things so you'll have something to eat the day after the move to avoid relying on take-out. Also make sure you have all the basics–detergent, light bulbs, trash bags, nails, mr. clean magic erasers, rags, paper towels, sponges, etc. Moving is exhausting, and having to run to the store for something you might need is a pain. 

Did you go from a built in microwave to not having one? Need a new trash can or shower curtain? Is there a closet that needs shelving? Figure out what you don't have and take care of that before the move.

I've heard stories about people taking weeks to unpack. I supposed this is another benefit of Redi-Box, but I just give myself 24-48 hours from the move to box pickup, which means i have to unpack. But if i'm keeping it real, I'd do that anyway because I'm as type A as it gets and want to get settled in as soon as possible. 

Find a friend to watch your pets the day of the move. If that's not possible, confine them to one room until everything is out of the old place. I usually get things settled and then bring Buddy over. 

Cable and other utilities
I always set cable and internet up after moving in, because sitting in an empty apartment for four hours pre-move sounds terrible. I moved on a Sunday and had cable set up for Monday, but Comcast screwed everything up and didn't come out until the following Saturday. It was awful! So if you have Comcast, make sure you have a hotspot or some sort of backup if needed. I'll set up electric and gas right before moving in and updated my mailing address, too. 

Use this as a chance to get rid of clutter. I've posted items to craigslist, had yard sales, and donated things I don't need. This is a chance to evaluate the things you actually want in your life, and to get rid of what you don't need or use. 

I'm sure a lot of this seems like common sense, but it's really easy to skip one or two little steps with a move because there's so much to do, so hopefully this list will help.