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Life Lately, Vol. 2

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:: LIFE LATELY ::

Happy Memorial Weekend! I feel like it’s been a long time since we’ve had an official holiday weekend and I’m beyond excited to have a few days to just romp around the city. I have a friend coming into town as well so I’m excited to take her around and visit a few new to me places in the city.

So what’s going on in my life? Well Saturday is my golden birthday – I turn 28 years old on the 28th of May. I’ve mentioned before that my birthday is a touchy subject for me but this year I’m ready to let it go (anyone else sing it Frozen style in their head whenever you say this….no? just me? okay) and just have a great day.

:: THE ROUND UP ::

+ SALE SEASON: This weekend is one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year! Don’t miss out on the Nordstrom Half Yearly Sale, J.Crew’s Summer Sale, Anthropologie & Ann Taylor’s Memorial Sales. #getit

+ If your throwing a Memorial Day party this weekend, definitely check out Rachel’s festive tablescape and party ideas. The best part? You can use the same items for your 4th of July party too! #doubleduty

+ After a long hiatus, I decided that I was ready to bring back the cat eye this summer season. I’ve been experimenting with a variety of liquid liners but this Clinique Liquid Pen is literally the best. The fine tip point makes it easy to create a cat eye and it’s got some amazing staying power!

+ In Chicago this weekend? Jess put together a great Alfresco Restaurant guide – a must do in the city. Chicagoans love their patios in the summer months and with a skyline like ours, who can blame us.

:: COCKTAIL HOUR ::

Hornitos Plata Tequila Agua Fresca

+ This weekend have fun with a summery cocktail like this Tequila Agua Fresca recipe that’s light and refreshing

+ If you are looking for something on the spicy side, The Artful Desperado has a great Oaxacan Slush cocktail recipe

chia seed fruit bar

Chia Seed Fruit Bars

chia seed fruit bars

With beach season just around the corner, I’m definitely starting to re-think my eating habits especially when it comes to snacking. Like most working Americans, I rarely get to take a lunch break. Most of the time I’m on the phone or in a meeting and rarely get to sit down to eat the healthy lunch I’ve prepared. I do get brownie points for brining a lunch to work every single day of the week! Over the past few months, grazing on snacks throughout the day has become my norm. As much as I try and prepare myself with healthy options int he office, more often than not I end up grabbing a big bag of pretzels and chowing down on all the carbs.

In an effort to be a bit more proactive in my snack planning, I’ve fallen in love with Trader Joe’s Apple & Banana Fruit Bars. At $1.99 a bar they are relatively inexpensive, but when you’re eating 1 bar a day it can definitely add up. Therefore this past weekend, I attempted to make my own version of this healthy snack and I can honestly say that the results were AMAZING!

The recipe is simple to put together and very customizable to the flavors that you prefer. Honestly the hardest part is just waiting for the fruit bars to dry up which does take a couple of hours. This is a great recipe to make on one of those rainy days when you plan to stay in the house and watch all the bad TV available on Netflix.

So what’s a favorite go-to snack recipe that you can share with me? I would love some suggestions!

chia seed fruit bars chia seed fruit bars chia seed fruit bars

chia seed fruit bar
Chia Seed Fruit Bar
Print Recipe
Do you love Trader Joe's Fruit Bars? Well this copycat recipe is better than store bought and couldn't be easier to make. This recipe is a healthy snack to have on hand and a great way to get your fiber in for the day.
Servings Prep Time
8 bars 15 minutes
Cook Time
10 hours
Servings Prep Time
8 bars 15 minutes
Cook Time
10 hours
chia seed fruit bar
Chia Seed Fruit Bar
Print Recipe
Do you love Trader Joe's Fruit Bars? Well this copycat recipe is better than store bought and couldn't be easier to make. This recipe is a healthy snack to have on hand and a great way to get your fiber in for the day.
Servings Prep Time
8 bars 15 minutes
Cook Time
10 hours
Servings Prep Time
8 bars 15 minutes
Cook Time
10 hours
Ingredients
Servings: bars
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat your oven to the lowest setting possible. This can range anywhere from 170-200 degrees. Line a square (9x9) sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicon mat.
  2. For your apples, core and chop up your apples into small cubes and dumps them into the blender with your bananas. Add your honey, chia seeds, and lemon juice to the blender. Blend your fruit mixture until you have a smooth puree.
  3. Dump your fruit puree mixture into your prepared pan and spread evenly. Place your pan on the top rack of your oven and bake for 8-10 hours, depending on the thickness of your oven. You'll know when you fruit bars are done when the top of the bar is no longer tacky and looks dry. Let your fruit bars cool down before cutting into bar sized pieces and wrapping them in parchment paper. Store in an airtight container.
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A Weekend in Blue

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:: BB Dakota Jack Dress | Sole Society Wedges (old, similar here) | Levi’s Jeans Jacket
| Monogramed Tote (gifted; similar here) | Kate Spade Sunglasses ::

Happy Monday! Anyone else excited for the last full week before Memorial Day weekend? If this past weekend’s weather was any indication of how beautiful the long weekend will be, I’ll be in heaven.

For those of you that follow me on snapchat (@caravanofstyle), you may recognize this outfit which I wore on Saturday for brunch at The Fremont. With my birthday falling on Memorial Weekend, the 28th to be exact, my friends were kind enough to spend Saturday with me at what has quickly become my favorite new brunch spot in Chicago. When they say bottomless mimosas, they seriously mean bottomless. I don’t think my glass ever made it below half full before we had a server come fill it back up with champagne. #cheerstothat

Thankfully between the brunch buffet and the never ending mimosas, I was happy I decided to wear this uber comfortable striped blue dress, it’s under $100! The drawstring waist was a lifesaver post brunch, allowing my food baby to get comfortable. Nothing says summer more to me than when I bust out my favorite denim jacket. It’s my go-to jacket for the summer because it’s lightweight yet neutral enough that it goes with just about anything.

TIP: I suggest checking out resale or vintages shops for denim jackets, they tend to be more worn in making them softer plus you can usually get them at a cheaper price.

So I would love to hear about your long weekend plans! What’s on your agenda this Memorial Day?

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:: Photography by Cassie Guba ::

lace up tops

On Trend: Lace Up Tops

With only two weeks before the unofficial star to summer, Memorial Day, I’m gearing up for some major holiday sale shopping later on this month. As I started to build out my summer wardrobe wish list, I found myself falling in love with lace up tops. This trend, currently worn on repeat by fashion “it” girls like Gigi Hadid and Kylie Jenner, is a definite must do for summer 2016.

Have you ever loved a trend straight from the runway but wondered if you could ever pull it off during the day? Well below I’m sharing a few of my “HR approved” ways on making this trend work for you this summer. I’ve also rounded up a few of my favorite lace up tops below, like this Madewell top that already in my shopping cart.

P.S. Click on the number and it will take you directly to the site of the item you love! 

KEEP IT CLASSIC

Like any great fashion trend out there, you just have to find the right balance of appropriateness and sexiness. Lace up tops are the most versatile because you get to decide just how much cleavage you want to show off. The best way to translate this trend into a daytime appropriate outfit: layers & sleek classic pieces.

KEEP IT MONOCHROMATIC

When it comes to the corporate world, stick to a classic office silhouette like a blouse and structured pencil skirt. A crisp white lace- up blouse paired with a great fitting pencil skirt in the same color will having you feeling on-point with your fashion game, but will also keep your outfit HR approved.

Work in a more creative office space? A sleek moto jacket adds a extra fashionable layer on top of your lace up shirt that balances out the subtle sexiness of this top. You can never go wrong with a sleek all black outfit.

KEEP IT YOU

Lace up tops can give you that va-va-voom cleavage, but if you aren’t comfortable showing it all off this is a trend that you can truly make your own. Loosen up the laces to create a mock-off the shoulder look for when you want to add some extra coverage. A light lace camisole underneath will add some unexpected texture to your look as well.  Be comfortable in confident in what you’re wearing, it really makes a difference!

This trend can truly be made your own and don’t be afraid to bust out your favorite lace-up top in the morning. Keep your outfit minimal and classic to really showcase this sexy trend.
grid print, chambray shirt & midi skirt, midi skirt, chambray, denim shirt

Grid Print & Denim

grid print, chambray shirt & midi skirt, midi skirt, chambray, denim shirt

:: J.Crew Chambray Shirt | Lovers + Friends Midi Skirt | Uncommon Goods Necklace (c/o)
| Tory Burch Wedges (c/o Shopbop) | Urban Outfitters Aviators | ASOS Cuff ::

You would think that after 3 years of living in Chicago, I would at some point not be surprised that I have to wear my winter jacket in the middle of May. You would think I would get the hint by now….

I will say that this past weekends less than stellar weather did allow me to bust out my absolutely hands down favorite clothing item of all time – this chambray shirt. I’ll be honest, you’ll most likely have to bury me in this top. It’s one of the most comfortable button down shirts I own; soft, versatile, and best of all doesn’t pop open in the chest area. (insert prayer hands emoji here)

One of my ultimately favorite ways to dress up my chambray shirt is to pair it up with a contrasting midi skirt, like this grid print midi skirt I recently picked up. Unfortunately it’s already sold out, but I’m also loving this style and this style. It’s a combo I’ve worn before for a work event, which makes this super simple combo a great look to keep in the back of your pocket for those “I have nothing to wear” mornings.

I would love to hear from you guys on what your “to-go” outfit is! Let me know in the comments below!

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:: Photography by Cassie Guba ::