In Mexico with the Minimale Animale

I was lucky enough to go down to Mexico recently to celebrate two friends getting married.  We had a great time being together, hanging by the beach, playing volleyball, and on the last night venturing into town.  In preparation for the trip, I got this Minimale Animale Golden Triangle tee.  God, the line kills it every time.  I love their designs.  I wore the tee with a mustard colored one piece from American Apparel.  It was the closest suit I have to skin color and I was going for there ‘maybe there is nothing under this tee’ look.  Check out the pics below.

Picture 143 In Mexico with the Minimale Animale

image 1 In Mexico with the Minimale Animale photo 1 In Mexico with the Minimale Animale

 

Sunglasses: NastyGal, Tee: Minimale Animale, Swimsuit: American Apparel

Liberal, Miserable, and Cynical

IMG 0826 1 721x1024 Liberal, Miserable, and Cynical IMG 1097 1 1024x691 Liberal, Miserable, and Cynical IMG 1217 1 1024x682 Liberal, Miserable, and Cynical 1 Karen Walker Liberal Miserable and Cynical 1024x854 Liberal, Miserable, and Cynical IMG 1237 1 682x1024 Liberal, Miserable, and Cynical IMG 1272 1 1024x682 Liberal, Miserable, and Cynical  Politics and fashion are two things that rarely mesh at an elementary level.  Although,  many times there seems to be a correlation with a person’s personal style and their political views. I found this clutch undeniably humorous. Anytime fashion can make me laugh that’s a win.  And maybe I can claim at least 2 of the 3 descriptors Karen Walker references from time to time icon wink Liberal, Miserable, and Cynical

Photography: Nicholas Ryan

Clutch: Karen Walker, Coat: Kate Spade, Skirt: Zara, Tee: American Apparel

The Best Damn Overalls Out There

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Full disclosure: I have a bit of an overall purchasing problem.  For some reason, this item is one thing that is so hard for me to pass up when I come across a good pair.  I probably have about 9 or 10 pairs of overalls, ranging in length, color, and material.  It’s not like I want to adorn myself in overalls everyday, and yet I still have a pair for every day of the week.  I just find them so cute when they are hanging on a hanger that I want them all.  There was one day alone I bought three different pairs.  It is kind of embarrassing actually.  These though are my absolute favorite.  I first saw the Friend of Mine Susie Blues on Alexandra Spencer of 4th and Bleeker and it was lust at first sight.  (I mean she’s hot, right?) But really, I couldn’t get those damn overalls out of my head. I finally decided to splurge on them a few weeks ago after about a year of contemplation. (Almost $200 for overalls is a little steep!) Haven’t looked back since.

Photos by Nicholas Ryan

Overalls: Friend of Mine, Shirt: Crossroads Trading Company, Shoes: Topshop (similar), Clutch: Samudra

Disappointing Fashion Moment? – Met Ball 2014

One of my fashion dreams is to be able to attend the Met Ball.  What an amazing, over the top night where you can wear some of the most exquisite dresses ever made. You know, those special pieces that make you say, “That is beautiful, but where would I ever wear that?!”.  Well, the Met Ball is just the place.

Usually, I am in awe and inspired by the dresses of the evening, fiending for the chance to recreate the look myself at some point. However, this year I am a bit underwhelmed.  I haven’t read much of what others thought of the night, but I didn’t find anything I was really wowed by.  My favorite looks, Dree Hemingway, Emma Stone, and Victoria Beckham are pretty, yet rather pedestrian.  Last year, the theme “Punk: Chaos to Couture” sparked controversy because people thought it was being insensitive to the very nature of punk with such an expensive, extravagant ball.  I understand the critics’ points, however, I felt the looks were much more interesting, out of the box, and inspired.  The year I’m not sure lived up to expectations.  Thoughts?

 

Dree HemingwayPicture 66 Disappointing Fashion Moment?   Met Ball 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emma Stone Picture 101 Disappointing Fashion Moment?   Met Ball 2014

Victoria Beckham Picture 100 Disappointing Fashion Moment?   Met Ball 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blake LivelyPicture 102 Disappointing Fashion Moment?   Met Ball 2014

 

High-Waisted Jeans and Halter Tops

IMG 2430 1024x628 High Waisted Jeans and Halter Tops IMG 2431 1024x682 High Waisted Jeans and Halter Tops IMG 24361 677x1024 High Waisted Jeans and Halter Tops IMG 2444 1024x682 High Waisted Jeans and Halter TopsHigh Waisted Jeans and Halter top 2014 1024x682 High Waisted Jeans and Halter TopsIMG 2448 682x1024 High Waisted Jeans and Halter TopsIMG 2620 1024x682 High Waisted Jeans and Halter TopsHi! I am sorry it has been so long since I have posted!  I have missed doing this so much.  Things have been a bit busy recently.  Out of town almost every weekend lately and I will still be traveling for the next month and a half.  I have a few good friends getting married so there are so many events surrounding those marriages that I get to take part in.  It is a lot of fun to have some many excuses to get together with friends and family I don’t get a chance to see often.  However, it can be a bit stressful and expensive too!

Here is a cute staple outfit I just bought at Urban Outfitters.  It is perfect for spring.  The jeans are very high waisted and tight.  Pairing them with this cute, flowy halter top works well since the shirt drapes well over the body and the jeans are so form fitting they contrast nicely.  I put on some sky high platforms to elongate the leg but still be comfortable for the day.  High heels would never work with this outfit during daylight hours! At least not for me.  These shoes are so refreshing to wear.  You just glide over the ground icon smile High Waisted Jeans and Halter Tops

Photos by Nicholas Ryan

Jeans: Urban Outfitters, Top: Urban Outfitters, Clutch: American Apparel, Platforms: Topshop (similar)

 

Leather on Leather

img 106 1024x682 Leather on Leatherimg 119 682x1024 Leather on Leatherimg 103 1024x682 Leather on Leather img 131 1 682x1024 Leather on Leatherleather on leather 682x1024 Leather on LeatherLeather love! I know I need to get over my leather obsession since it’s not really warm weather appropriate attire.  At least one perk of Chicago taking so long to heat up is that I can still wear leather for a little bit longer.  It might be the last time this season, but I will take advantage.  I don’t know why I am so fixated on leather everything lately (or secretively half pleather but oh well).

Photos by Nicholas Ryan

Leather Shirt: Joie, Pleather Pants: Zara, Shoes: Steve Madden, Bag: Zara

Crop Tops and Overalls 2014

img 44 682x1024 Crop Tops and Overalls 2014img 64 1024x682 Crop Tops and Overalls 2014img 45 682x1024 Crop Tops and Overalls 2014img 21 682x1024 Crop Tops and Overalls 2014img 66 1024x758 Crop Tops and Overalls 2014img 51 1024x682 Crop Tops and Overalls 2014img 32 1024x682 Crop Tops and Overalls 2014 I don’t know about you guys, but for me the crop top trend is pretty intimidating.  I love the look but showing my stomach while walking around or going to lunch just seems weird.  Plus, being pale from a sunless winter doesn’t help either.  I decided to ease into the trend by pairing this new crop top with some overalls.  Therefore, not putting my whole belly on display just yet!

Photos by Nicholas Ryan

Overalls: Les Halles, Crop Top: American Apparel, Hat: Zara, Shoes: Steve Madden (similar), Bag: Peruvian Market

 

How We Decorated Our Apartment Using Craigslist

img 2 1024x682 How We Decorated Our Apartment Using Craigslist

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This must be the week for old post references. A couple of months ago I had mentioned that I moved neighborhoods in Chicago and that for the first time ever I actually wanted to to decorate my new place in a cute way.  Here is a quick update on the progress.  We are not nearly finished – we still have to complete the above room and have a whole other living room to decorate too.  This is what we have so far.

The main obstacle was being on a very tight budget.  We decided to use craigslist to acquire almost everything.  I ended up becoming obsessed with it because you can find such unique things on there like our 1920′s chest coffee table from an old farmhouse in Iowa…$40!  I have started to feel like Phoebe in Friends when Rachel decorates with Pottery Barn and Phoebe flips out.  (But I secretly also love Pottery Barn…but so did Phoebe.  I mean, how can you not??)

The only thing we didn’t use Craigslist, or in 2 cases Ebay, for was the pillows.  I think the patterns on the pillows you choose change the entire room, and so are very worth spending the money on.  Plus, the idea of used pillows is pretty weird even for me.  I have been getting a lot of inspiration from Pinterest and became obsessed with Turkish Kilim pillows.  I found these on Etsy here.  I am literally so obsessed with them.  I think they make the whole room.  They are made from real Turkish rugs.  I talked with the owner, and you can get 30% using the code BOHOTRUNK if you like them too icon smile How We Decorated Our Apartment Using Craigslist

We still have a long way to go with our place, but I just wanted to post an update on how things are coming along.  I hope to have the place finished by mid May but you just never know when the cool things are going to pop up on Craigslist.  For now, I am continuing to search for that perfect next piece.

Photos by Nicholas Ryan

Forget the Fashion, In 2014 Let’s Go Travel! Part 2

Note: The comments page is not working for this post. Sorry for the inconvenience.

A while ago, I first posted my tips for how to travel the world on a budget.  Now, I’m back wanting to ditch the clothes talk and focus on adventure, my drug, for a minute.  I am getting the travel bug again and need to occupy my brain by focusing on adventure right now.

 Forget the Fashion, In 2014 Lets Go Travel! Part 2

I can’t really decide where I want to go, but I think around November of this year I want to do a 2 month or so trip.  I will plan it on here so you guys can see my process.  Nepal and India sound really good but I am not sure if November is a good time for trekking in Nepal (I think May is ideal, so maybe September/October would be good too.  I need to do a bit of research).  I also really want to go back to Thailand since I never went to the northern region of the country and would like to do Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam if I go around Southeast Asia again.  They are relatively close to Nepal and India but I think that would be too much for me to try to tackle all at once.  I really don’t want to be away from my life for more than about 3 months tops.  I think I would need a month in both Nepal and India, so that is already two months.  Maybe just add in something small Bhutan for a week or two and call it a day.

 Forget the Fashion, In 2014 Lets Go Travel! Part 2

That is where my planning is now.  So, I have 7 months to save money and make sure that I can go. I will probably aim for about $7,000 but I think that will be more than enough.  I do already know that trekking to Base Camp of Mt. Everest is very high on my list if I go to Nepal and can be pricey, which is why the number $7,000 is pretty high.  If I have $5,000 I think I will be fine, I just don’t like to watch my money and what I spend too much when I am traveling.  I know that these countries are inexpensive compared to the US.  Nepal hostels look like they range from about $4 USD to $8 USD per night according to HostelBookers.  In India it looks like it will be about the same per night. Private rooms in India go up to $20, however.

 Forget the Fashion, In 2014 Lets Go Travel! Part 2

With this pricing, if I am staying for 60 days and paying $8 USD per night, that is $480 for 60 days. In that case, $5,000 will be more than enough, but there are always the big excursions that really up the price, plus the touristy things that can be more expensive.  Flights to the different cities will be another factor – India is huge and would take a very long time to explore all overland, so I will definitely want to fly to a few of the different cities instead of trying to bus it.  I think my Base Camp trek and flight to and from the States will be the main expenses.

 Forget the Fashion, In 2014 Lets Go Travel! Part 2

Seems like this will be very doable.  My next step will be to get a travel book or two to read up on what exactly I want to do, how much time I really need in each place, and to get a more concrete idea of what these two countries are about culturally and logistically speaking.

 Forget the Fashion, In 2014 Lets Go Travel! Part 2

As I discussed last time, exploring the world is easily doable on a budget.  I haven’t been everywhere, so I can’t speak for the whole world, but of the places I have been there are some definite go tos, and some definite skips for cheap adventure.

For starters, if you are dreaming of a Chanel-clad Paris, with possible Karl Lagerfeld sightings at chic cafes, this post isn’t really for you.  I dream of that too, however, for now I won’t be giving advice on how to get the best room at the George V.  I’ll save that for another decade (one in which I actually know something about said experience). For now, I am content eating street food in Thailand, not showering for 4 days in Bolivia, and bungy jumping sans shirt in New Zealand for free jump – hey, tops are optional in France so really it’s so very euro-chic of me, right?

 Forget the Fashion, In 2014 Lets Go Travel! Part 2

As I mentioned before, you can do all of this alone.  I have been lucky that somehow I have usually been able to convince a friend to accompany me when I travel. However, there have definitely been weeks when I was just at it alone.  When I was away for 3.5 months, I had a friend with me for 3 weeks in Thailand. Then she went home, and I had a week alone before another friend came to meet me in Singapore.  For that week alone, I ended up tagging along with 2 guys we had met at our hostel and we all went to the island Koh Tao together, a short ferry ride away, to get PADI scuba certified.  None of us knew each other prior to our stay in Thailand, but it was as natural to stay together as if we had planned it all along. That’s just how this type of traveling goes.

 Forget the Fashion, In 2014 Lets Go Travel! Part 2

Even if you don’t meet people to travel with, which if you are gone a long time, there will definitely be spells where you are alone, I have found that I really learned the most about myself in these times.

After my friend Aaron, who met me in Singapore left me to go back home, I was alone again for another 2 weeks until my friend Melissa met me in Sydney.  Aaron and I were in Bali when he flew home, and we hadn’t met any good friends (well he met a Filipino girlfriend, and I went out

 Forget the Fashion, In 2014 Lets Go Travel! Part 2on a couple dates with a Swedish model dude but that’s a story for another day) so I decided to hop on a ferry to the island Gilli Tragwana.  On that particular ferry there was an Aussie guy about my age also backpacking alone.  We decided to split a bunk bed room in a little homestay I had heard about to save a bit of money.

The next day, I ended up getting food poisoning and was feeling very lonely, sick, and depressed. It was also Christmas.  Vishram, my new Aussie roommate, convinced me to get up and get Christmas dinner with him at a little beachside seafood restaurant.  I reluctantly consented and quickly learned I had just signed up for a 2-hour USA bashing marathon where Vishram went on to tell me how he had once had a layover in LA and because of his 4-hour experience in our dear country, he will forever despise Americans (I got the feeling me included) and will never, at least willingly, return.

 Forget the Fashion, In 2014 Lets Go Travel! Part 2

It was an interesting way to spend Christmas, to say the least.  I tried to defend a country I am not always thrilled with but I do have a loyal patriotism for for the rest of the night. The experience will forever make me think twice before flagrantly judging a place I do not know intimately. Just because I have been somewhere does not make me an authority, just like Vishram’s negative experience does not make him an expert on America. I left dinner feeling more depressed than ever and the next morning caught another ferry. This time to the island of Lombok, Indonesia.

 Forget the Fashion, In 2014 Lets Go Travel! Part 2

In Lombok, I got an actual hotel room, because the prices were so inexpensive, but my room felt much creepier than the hostels I had become used to.  It was a budget hotel of course, and budget hotels always seem so much seedier than hostels.  I decided to walk around town for bit, stopping to grab a fresh fruit smoothie at a little stand overlooking the ocean.  A German guy in a yellow polo came up and we started speaking about life.  He had a rented motorbike, the choice method of transportation in Lombok, and we rode all over the island. Up and down the hills and explored all the off roads, watching the locals go about life.  Fascinated by their daily rituals, seeing them walking their cows along the roads with buckets of water balanced atop their heads. I don’t even remember his name now,

 Forget the Fashion, In 2014 Lets Go Travel! Part 2

this German man, but riding through the hills we connected in a silent way.  Both being alone in an unknown place, taking in life as it came.  Feeling lonely in our unfamiliar togetherness but at the same time feeling alive in the newness of the foreign land we had found ourselves in.  I will never forget that day.

 Forget the Fashion, In 2014 Lets Go Travel! Part 2

I finally made my way back to Bali and then booked a last minute and rather expensive plane ticket to Sydney just in time for New Year’s Eve leading into 2010. As always, I had not booked a hostel, and since it was NYE I was in a bit of a bind.  It was either pay $350 USD per night for a hostel (yes, you read that right) or find someone to stay with.  I started facebooking everyone who might have a friend in Sydney to no avail.  Finally, I found someone with an open couch willing to take me in on Couchsurfers. His name was Mark, and he was not only housing me but 5 other backpackers as well. 2 Germans, a Danish, a Canadian, and an Israeli.  We all had a wonderful New Year’s Eve party at his house and then everyone left except me and the Canadian.  I ended up spending 2 weeks at Mark’s house.  He was the most generous host, housing me for free, showing me all over his city, introducing me to his friends over great dinners, BBQs and nights out.  We had a blast.  He is welcome at my apartment here anytime.  And that is the magic of traveling alone.  You aren’t bound to your familiar counterpart.  You branch out and you forge friendships in some of the most unlikely ways.  I will stop with the self indulgent trips down memory lane now.  But in the end, after your trip is set and done, it is what you are left with.  And I think it is one of the best things money can buy.

 Forget the Fashion, In 2014 Lets Go Travel! Part 2

So once you are set, you have picked your spot, bought your plane ticket, you’ve got to pack.  For me, I have

 Forget the Fashion, In 2014 Lets Go Travel! Part 2

a couple necessities to get me through anywhere.  First, a pair of black leggings.  This is my traveling uniform.  They are so easy to pack, take up virtually no room, comfortable when you are walking around or on long train or plane journeys and look cute.  I actually don’t even take jeans unless I am going somewhere cold. Jeans shorts, yes. So get yourself a couple pairs of staple leggings – my favorite here. Then get a huge, knit scarf.  You can use it as a blanket and then just put it around your neck when you get off the


Picture 47 Forget the Fashion, In 2014 Lets Go Travel! Part 2
train/bus/plane. Like this one. Besides that, Converse or Nikes (sorry no clue where to get these floral pairs of awesomeness) or New Balance (so happy this is a trend now!) are a must. Great fitting t-shirts, a must, too.

 Forget the Fashion, In 2014 Lets Go Travel! Part 2

No blow-dryer or straightner unless you MUST.

No heels.

Nothing nice that would make you upset if it got stained, torn, etc.

You might want a towel, or you could buy one as a souvenir once you are on the road and use that.

 Forget the Fashion, In 2014 Lets Go Travel! Part 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy exploring! xx