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

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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

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

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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



Muchness and Oxblood Pants

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casey 63 682x1024 Muchness and Oxblood Pants casey 62 864x1024 Muchness and Oxblood Pants Being what I like to call a ‘shopping enthusiast’ has its downfalls. Like the day after an exceptionally successful shopping trip and you have to force yourself to look at your bank statement.  It kind of kills the high of the day before.  Not cool.  This is why I shop sales so often. I just found out about an awesome site that combines all these great sales out on the internet and condenses them into one place.  It is called Muchness, and you can get early VIP access through this link until March 31st. T by Alexander Wang leather skinnes at 74% off?  Yes, please! (And yes, those are actually on there right now)

Photos by Nicholas Ryan

T-Shirt: Rodarte, Oxblood Pants: Hudson (on sale!) Belt: Zara, Cuffs: THP, Boots: Lucky Brand (similar)

Outer Space

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casey 921 Outer Spacecasey 811 Outer Spacecasey 84 1 Outer Spacecasey 91 Outer SpaceAdmittedly, this is the third post in a month I have worn these pleather track pants (similar here and splurge worthy here).  I am obsessed and can’t take them off.  Not only are they comfortable but they also look really cool (in my opinion) – which is a rare combo.  Worn with this super soft Wildfox sweatshirt, I could basically wear this outfit as pajamas it is so comfortable.  For day, that is a key factor.  When I am uncomfortable in my clothes, I look uncomfortable in my clothes.  Even if it’s not a security thing, just an ease and convenience thing.  I can handle a little pain at night, but when I’m running around all day I refuse to succumb to the whole ‘pain is beauty thing’. That is saved for when the sun goes down.

Photos by Nicholas Ryan

Sweatshirt: Wildfox, Pants: Zara, Boots: Steve Madden (old)



St. Paddy’s Day 2014 – A Little Late

Idea St 682x1024 St. Paddys Day 2014   A Little Late2014 St 682x1024 St. Paddys Day 2014   A Little LateChicago Big Star 2014 682x1024 St. Paddys Day 2014   A Little Latecasey 93 706x1024 St. Paddys Day 2014   A Little LateSt 682x1024 St. Paddys Day 2014   A Little Late casey 84 708x1024 St. Paddys Day 2014   A Little LateOk. I lied. I meant to post this on St. Patrick’s Day but I couldn’t find the time! Sorry, my St. Patrick’s Day look is so late!  Next holiday I promise to be on time icon smile St. Paddys Day 2014   A Little Late  Anyway, this is what I wore to celebrate the big day.  Like I said, here in Chicago, St. Paddy’s Day is quite the production.  I stopped at my favorite taco joint/bar before heading out to celebrate because I can’t think of a better excuse to indulge in some good grub. Hope you all had a fun and safe holiday.

Photos by Nicholas Ryan

Overalls: BB Dakota, Boots: Lucky Brand, T-Shirt: Urban Outfitters (I got it on sale for $5! – no longer available) Purse: Some random store in Paris, Cuffs: THP

Black Leather Overalls 2014

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casey 24 Black Leather Overalls 2014Hope you all are having a refreshing and relaxing Sunday.  Here in Chicago, St. Patrick’s Day is a huge celebration every year, which includes the ritual of dyeing the Chicago River green followed by an all day drinking marathon.  It felt like the whole city was out celebrating starting with brunch yesterday and continuing on into the night.  My brain still isn’t really functioning properly yet…am I getting too old for this? I will post my St. Patrick’s Day outfit tomorrow, the real St. Patrick’s day.  Hint: It is very similar to what I am wearing here icon wink Black Leather Overalls 2014 (I love overalls and black leather are my favorite) Did you celebrate?  What did you wear? I love seeing creative holiday attire.  There is always that fine line between looking cheesy and dressing for the occasion.  But sometimes the cheese factor makes it even better.

Photos by Nicholas Ryan

Overalls: Harley Davidson (splurge and save), Tee: American Apparel, Shoes: Converse, Tights: American Apparel, Sunglasses: Akira

Denim Button Up

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casey 123 Denim Button Upcasey 134 Denim Button Upcasey 152 1024x682 Denim Button Up casey 124 1024x682 Denim Button UpFirst, I would like to credit my fabulously talented roommate, Lindsay Kotay, for coloring my hair! Not as easy task with all the different colors I had going on in there. This new hair has made me want to brush it.  I’m still trying to figure out the best make-up to go with it.  Right now I am wearing bright reds lips by Hourglass (Raven) - the best lip color if you want something THAT WILL NOT COME OFF.  Seriously, that stuff is like a tattoo.  I love that you can eat with it on and not have to worry about a thing, but it is a day’s commitment.  Don’t try to rub it off or you will be left with weirdly stained lips.  Trust me.

Wearing a button up denim shirt all the way up to the top makes me feel more, well, buttoned up.  I just need to get used to ironing my clothes now and not pulling them off the floor if I am going to rock this kind of thing more often.  Whoops.   My hair is so intense that I keep thinking it looks better when I wear more put together outfits to offset it a little bit.  So here is my first go at it. Hope you like it.

 Photos by Nicholas Ryan

Denim Shirt: Target, Jeans: Anine Bing, Shoes: Old (similar here on sale, but I also really love these and they are cheap) Bag: Kate Spade – (Won it on the Price Is Right!), Sunglasses: Akira

The Game Changer

So I did it.  I went platinum.  White may be a better description.  It is intense.  Severe really.  It has been funny to see and hear other people’s reactions when they see me.  Jaws have literally dropped but not so much in flattery. It is a less ‘pretty’ look but to tell you the truth, I really kinda like it. It has grown on me everyday.  When I put it in a low ponytail parted down the middle I think I look like Andy Warhol which is awesome.

It’s funny to me how a simple change in hair color can be so liberating.  I have never been one to experiment with my hair, never one to get tattoos or piercings.  These small acts of rebellion haven’t ever appealed to me.  Yet, I have always been slightly curious.  How would it feel to be someone who did do those things?  My hair now is my small act of rebellion.  The image I’ve strived for many times in my life didn’t matter anymore.  If I absolutely hated it, oh well.

Once it was all set and done and I looked at my strange reflection in the mirror, I realized these little pieces of ourselves we relate to so strongly, like the familiar image of ourselves we know will be staring back at us from mirrored glass can actually be really fun to take away.  Therefore, making the only familiar part left being our internal dialogue as we look at our foreign reflection. And when that is all that remains, that is what you hear stronger than ever.  Who knew a trip to the hair salon could become a road to self-discovery?  Now the only question that remains, what color next?

Pictures soon to follow! And don’t worry, I won’t be offended if you don’t care for it icon wink The Game Changer
Now here’s little Saturday inspiration for the weekend xx

Images via A Life Undone

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