Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 in Review

2016 is generally regarded as a pretty crap year, bordering on cursed. (Possibly.) And while I'm a pretty optimistic person, I'd say that this bad reputation is well earned. From the rise of actually terrifying far-right politics worldwide to the election of a president who seems more likely to start a nuclear war with each passing day, 2016 hasn't given me all that much to applaud on the current-events front. But as I said, I'm a naturally sunny person, so I'll look for the silver linings wherever I can, and draw strength from the good things to keep fighting for a better world in 2017.

In that spirit, I present my own personal highlights reel for 2016:

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Ready for Takeoff

Today I've got a hot date with a backscatter X-Ray and a very large machine. In other words, Jeff and I are flying back to Chicago this evening after a wonderful first Christmas together in New York. While I'm bummed to be leaving, I'm still so happy that he was able to be here for Christmas for the first time ever! (Christmas dinner post to follow soon, I promise!)

green dita cardigan
Heading back to the Land of Always Winter (pictured above)

Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Best Christmas Present Ever

Christmas presents are such a magical thing, aren't they? Nowadays, I'm much more excited about giving the gifts I've accumulated over the course of the year to their recipients than getting my own gifts, but it's still an enormous thrill to open my Christmas presents and see what's inside.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

How to Cook for a Hungry Crowd

Without question, my favorite thing about Christmas Day is preparing an epic feast for my entire family. I literally look forward to it for months. To me, feeding the most important people in your life is one of the truest acts of love. I've been in charge of Christmas Dinner for going on five years now, after the previous chef was deposed in a coup d'etat by a council of concerned Hallocks who wanted to eat Christmas Dinner on Christmas, rather than in the wee hours of Boxing Day. After cooking so many holiday dinners for fifteen people who eat enough for twenty, I've learned a thing or two about getting everything on the table and still having time to change into my Christmas frock. Without further ado, I am delighted to present some of my secrets to cooking for a crowd.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Our Honeymoon: A Venetian Vegas Vacation

When Jeff and I started talking about honeymoon destinations, there was really only one option that stood out: Vegas! We've been there together four times: once in 2014 for our first-ever vacation together, and three times in 2015. We even got engaged in Vegas on the day we left LA to move to Chicago. After we left Vegas in August 2015, Jeff would sometimes lament the fact that we wouldn't be driving to Vegas anymore, since it's not quite the easy drive from Chicago that it is from LA. So when the time came to plan our honeymoon, we knew Vegas was the perfect place for us!

pug erin swing venetian vegas

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Fleece Navidad

It might not surprise you to learn that I'm ridiculously excited for all things Christmas. By 'ridiculously excited,' I mean that I've literally been waiting since January to dress like a crazed escapee from Santa's workshop in Christmas Town. Well, never let it be said that I don't reach out and grab what I want with both hands! Today's outfit features my first ugly Christmas sweater of 2016, and it's an absolute gem.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Chicago Christkindlmarket

One of my favorite discoveries since moving to Chicago is the annual Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza. It's an open-air German market with tons of little shops selling cute traditional ornaments and gifts, amazing/carby/meaty German food vendors, and two biergarten-like tents. Last year, Jeff and I waited to go until right before we left to visit our respective families for the holidays, but this year, I was ready to go on Day 1.

christkindlmarket chicago

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Review: Nando's

In honor of our brand-new baby niece and her London-loving mama Tiffany, I'm finally reviewing a restaurant that Tiffany recommended to us. Tiffany loved spent a year studying abroad in London, so when she heard we were going to England, she had tons of advice, recommendations, and tips for us. I think she was most excited for us to try Nando's, a restaurant that she'd really loved. Once Jeff started planning our trip, he discovered that there's a Nando's right here in Chicago, so off we went to check it out!

nando's west loop

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Goodbye, Fall

It's been a fairly eventful weekend, what with my trip to the North Side for a long-overdue haircut, a bit of unpleasant drama involving a dead mouse, and the arrival of our newest baby niece! I've been sitting at the computer trying to focus on style-related topics for longer than I'd like to admit, but it's not working. All I can think of is how excited I am to finally meet our three-month-old nephew and newborn niece when we head out for our lightning-quick holiday trip to LA!

vivien of holloway tartan circle skirt

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Review: Twisted Scissors Chicago

Based on all the responses to my Instagram post this morning, it's safe to say that I'm not the only one who gets rather nervous whenever it's time for a haircut. I've had more than one haircut that ended in tears (which, thankfully, I've been able to hold back till I found some privacy!) I'd found a hairdresser I liked in LA, but after six years of relatively hair-drama-free bliss, we moved to Chicago and the process began all over again. I'm happy to say that after fifteen months in this city, I've finally completed my quest today at Twisted Scissors salon.

deadly dames hotrod honey

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Review: Collectif Dolores Bloom Dress

In my continuing quest to embrace body positivity and love the wiggle silhouette, the Collectif Dolores dress has been a major asset. After seeing how amazing one of my Instagram friends always looks in her Doloreses, I picked one up on super-sale over the summer, and was shocked by how confident I felt in it. Thus, when Collectif recently had a free international shipping promotion, I took advantage of the opportunity to order the half-sleeve Bloom pencil dress that I'd been eyeing, rather than one of the Autumn/Winter swing dresses I've also had on my wishlist.

collectif dolores bloom