Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Catch the Entrepreneurial Spirit

The different between entrepreneurs and everyone else. Go ahead. Click and find out. Then come back.

I didn't realize how much I needed to read that definition until I did. I couldn't agree more with the piece, which in my opinion, is beautifully written. I've always been drawn to people who are passionate about a subject... their knowledge and excitement are, to me, contagious and interesting.

So while the first month of the new year has passed us and even though I don't entirely believe in resolutions, let's resolve to keep ourselves interesting, educated and passionate.

Life's too short to be anything but entrepreneurial.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Celebrate Love

Happy Valentine's Day!

via Pinterest
Wishing each and every one of you a Happy Valentine's Day and a day full of love. And not just romantic love... love for your friends, your family and yourself. Be thankful for and do something good for all of the love ones in your life.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Country's Night Out at the Grammys

Ah, the Grammys... a night that music and civilians look forward to every year. As usual, I watched every minute of the show, guessing the winners, adoring the fashions and enjoying the performances.

This year I was incredibly happy to see how well country music was represented - Jason Aldean, Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, Lady Antebellum, Reba (!), and Taylor Swift. The inclusion of all of these talented artists (and more) was a highlight for me. Especially when one of those lovely ladies nabbed my best dressed award...

Drum roll.....  Ms. Carrie Underwood!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Go Red, Wear Red

Did you know heart disease kills more women each year than any other disease? Yes, more than all cancers combined. Today - Friday, February 3 - is National Wear Red Day in honor of American Heart Association's fight against the disease. Wearing a certain color clothing is a simple task we can do to make an impact and to represent standing up for our health. So even if you've already gotten dressed for the day (as I suspect many have) think about wearing red out tonight.

Here are some of my favorite red pieces out now - what are yours?

Red Dress Boutique

White House Black Market

Old Navy

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Wellness Wednesday: Lean, Mean, Green Fighting Machines

Green Smoothie 
Let me start by saying I've never met a Jamba Juice flavor I didn't like -- and I mean it. I even liked the (admittedly) somewhat weird peanut butter flavor. So naturally all this talk about "green smoothies" in the health and nutrition world got me thinking... why the heck would anyone want to eat pureed lettuce?

Turns out a lot of people seemed to be hooked... and it's not just lettuce they are blending up. I came across this post on a raw foods and healthy eating blog and finally learned what it means to make a green smoothie and why they are so good for your body.

When we cook vegetables many of the vitamins and nutrients are lost in the cooking process taking away from their healthy benefits. To get the most vitamins and nutrients out of your fruits and vegetables it is important to increase the amount eaten in their raw form. Green smoothies are a beneficial way to absorb these important nutrients because the cell walls have been ruptured by the blending process and the nutrients are extracted in a more digestible form.

I feel enlightened now, but I'm still a wee bit hesitant about how it might taste. I understand and am even intrigued by this seemingly simple way to add more important veggies (read nutrients) into my diet, but I'm just not sure... 

Curiosity has almost gotten the best of me so I dug up a recipe that has bananas, strawberries and yogurt in it along with spinach. If I get brave enough to try it for breakfast one of these days, I'll let you all know. Until then, long live the Strawberry Surf Rider

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Creative Spaces

We spend many, many waking hours at work or working from home. I've always hoped to have a stylish, inspiring and creative home office... here's to continually hoping it looks a little something like this:

Clean and crisp, yet popping with color. And that Mac... a must have.

Photo cred

Chanel and peonies. Enough said.

Photo cred

Monday, January 30, 2012

Let's Get Cheeky

Hayden Panettiere
Ms. Panettiere's makeup look is smoldering in this photo, right down to her perfectly pink cheeks. It got me thinking about my love for blush -- I always feel like it elevates any makeup look to chic and polished.

I'm completely obsessed with Benefit Cosmetics Box O' Powder collection. I've tried three varieties so far and loooooooove them.

1. Coralista a "rio" pleasure face powder
2. Bella Bamba  3D brightening pink face powder
3. Sugarbomb "sugar rush flush" face powder 
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Thursday, January 26, 2012

For The Love of Mason Jars

I've often thought I was born on the wrong side of the Mason-Dixon line -- a Southern soul trapped in a Northerner's body. The allure of Southern charm, hospitality and front porch sittin' just seem to draw me in. 

While I'm not sure I'll ever get to live out my dream and live in a big, Southern plantation style home, there is one thing I know I can do. Stock pile mason jars -- no, I'm not going to start making my own fruit preserves. I'm going to get creative -- and maybe throw a BBQ-themed get together.

Behold my inspiration:
*All images via Pinterest

Can I interest you in a lemonade, sweet tea or water?

Sweet and so cute!


Why not use one as a vase?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wedding Wednesday: Memory Keepsakes

Many of us get so wrapped up in all the exciting, and not to mention time consuming, details of a wedding that once it's over we don't quite know what to do with ourselves. Yes, we can still read our favorite wedding blogs and create a board of inspiration on Pinterest, but somehow isn't the same. Well -- here's an idea.... why not take the time to commemorate your big day by finding ways to show off all the wonderful photographs you now have?
Customized Wedding Frame

Undoubtedly you received a good assortment of picture frames from showers, engagement parties and the actual wedding, so take some time and choose some photos to fill those (and your empty walls) up. While most photographers kick back a lot of great shots, just pick a few iconic ones that catch your eye right away. You can always switch them out.

Alas, my Pinterest (seriously follow me here) addiction lead me to find this photo pick on Etsy. The customized frame allows you to personalize a photo with a special saying or even the lyrics from your first dance song. Their are a variety of vendors who will make such frames, so just look around and you shall find exactly what you're looking for. I think one of these frames would be perfect in a bedroom -- a good reminder of a couple's love before going to bed and when they wake up in the morning.

They'd sure make a great gift too! Now, get off your computer & go decorate!


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Coveted Collection: White by Vera Wang

Looking for your next great "party dress?" I have two words for you. Vera. Wang.

I know, I know... Vera Wang's name is synonymous with wedding gowns, but her bridesmaids line for David's Bridal could very easily make a transition from one of the girls to a night on the town. Each one of the dresses features Vera's unique and eye-catching designs making the wearer look chic and oh so fashionable.

My first pick showcases a bold bow detail on one shoulder.

Hammered Satin Side-Draped Dress with Bow Detail

This next dress is simple, springy (like the season) and beautiful. It comes in a variety of colors too!

Organza Dress with Draped Bodice and Bubble Skirt

Usually I tend to stay away from drama, but this dress screams DRAMA in all the right ways. Hands down my favorite of the bunch.

One Shoulder Organza Dress with Black Belt Style


Monday, January 23, 2012

Just A Quick Note... say -- hey ya'll! How are ya doing?

I've always been an appreciator of the written word and I mean the written word, as in handwritten. There's just something exciting and magical about receiving an actual note or letter from another human being. While in this age of technology and text messages it's easy to forget about pens and fabulous papers, I'd like to advocate for more handwritten notes and cards. Especially since there are so many pretty and chic options out there for cute papers. After taking a self vow to write more handwritten notes this year (I live within walking distance of a Papyrus for goodness sake), I set out to find some great options to share with all of you.

Kate Spade Confetti Flat Cards -- (Is there anything this woman can't do?!?!)

I Love You Flourishes & Gems -- Valentine's Card

Skyline Letterpress Stationary

See! There is no excuse not to send your next thank you via snail mail - emails just aren't this pretty.

Xoxo ~ Dana

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wedding Wednesday: Belt It Out

Bridal trend alert: belts. Lately I've been seeing a ton of gorgeous wedding gowns with this modern twist, a beautifully embellished belt. Belts that can take the most simple dresses to simply stunning. Once a style that mostly appeared on couture gowns, belts are popping up all over many different designers fashions.
Here are some of my favorites -

Ella Rosa BE133

Sottero & Midgley, Veronica

Tessa by Bellissima Couture

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Your Health: On a Serious Note

News broke Tuesday morning that one of Food Network's beloved personalities, Paula Deen, has been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. This disease has grown much more prevalent in our fast life, fast food society full of large amounts of unhealthy fats, sugars and inactivity. Many are quick to throw Ms. Deen under the bus for her high-fat, high-calorie food recipes, but can we really blame her for providing the world with delicious food we all like to enjoy? Are her behaviors really any different than the average Americans?*

Personally, I think she is doing the right thing coming out as a spokesperson for the disease and will encourage people to consume less-than-perfect foods in moderation. Thank you Paula, and thank you for the amazing Red Velvet Cupcake recipe I can't imagine living without.

Just a friendly reminder that our health should always be our number one priority and that balance in everything is the key to a happy, healthy life.

I will now get off my soapbox. What do you all think about Paula's announcement? Did she do the right thing - yay or nay?

*Type 2 Diabetes is caused by more than just a poor diet. Lifestyle factors, age and genetics also play a role.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Craving Spaces: Seaside Bedrooms

If I could wake up in a bedroom like one in the following spaces, it really wouldn't be waking up at all. Seeing sunlight and water through glass windows and doors would be just like living in a dream. So forget it's winter for a bit (if you live in a cooler climate - if you live somewhere warm... consider me forever envious)

I love the use of prints in this room, especially on the tall curtains - makes the room look so tall. Lovin' the patterned rug too. Oh and check out that chandelier - love, love love!

Dramatic Master Bedroom

Simple and clean white linens and paint really showcase the blue water waving hello outside. That yellow blanket looks pretty cozy too.

Beach Master Bedroom

The turquoise coloring in this room is gorgeous... and I WANT those starfish pillows!

Breezy Beach Bedroom

Till next time... keep dreaming...

All images via 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Forecast: Winter

Winter has never, in recent years at least, been my favorite season. Yes - there was a time when I couldn't wait to put on my boots and run through the freshly powered yard and build a good snow fort or two, but those times have since long past. However, since I live in the Chicago area, winter and snow are two things I just can't seem to avoid no matter how hard I try. So this year I've decided to try and embrace the season a tiny bit more. Here are some things I can be thankful for this wintery season:

Fun beauty treats like these snowy-themed nails:

Image via Pinterest

Views like this close to home:

Michigan Ave., Chicago

Bundling up in a cozy infinity scarf and dreaming about a beach somewhere... sigh.

P.S. - An update on my order from Red Dress Boutique Kickoff Cutie. I love, love, love the dress I got. (Read more about that here.) To my surprise, they even included a bonus necklace that matches the dress perfectly! So sweet and can't wait to wear them both. : )

Here it is!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wedding Wednesday: Fancy Footwear

While there is something absolutely magical about a bride who wears all white or ivory right down to the tips of her toes, adding an element of character to wedding footwear is a trend I can't get enough of. For many of us we've undoubtedly seen the many pictures and stories of brides who wore 'something blue' on their feet or colored heels to match their bridesmaid dresses. Recently I saw a photo that I absolutely adored. A bride and her maids in cowboy boots! To. Die. For.

Photo courtesy of Wedding Bee

Now I'm a big fan of country music and southern charm, so maybe I'm biased as to just how darn cute I think this is. In that case, I've been thinking. Wedding footwear doesn't need to be a traditional heel, but could be decorated flip flops for a beach wedding, Converse gym shoes for the hipster crowd, Ugg boots for those winter brides. What do you think? Would consider wearing unique footwear? If so, what would it be?

This post originally appeared on 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Cold Weather Beauty Savers

Even though it's been a very mild winter here in Chicago so far (I'm not complaining!!!), the constant running of heaters and dryer air has taken its toll on my hair and skin... and the normal beauty routine just ain't cutting it.

A couple days ago I noticed my hair was feeling more crunchy than soft and knew I had to do something about it. Being on a 'au naturale' beauty kick (I've been testing out Evanhealy, an organic skincare line. Read more here), I scoured the beauty department at Whole Foods and ended up choosing a Burt's Bees product. Admittedly, I chose a product from that line because I'd heard of it before and been happy with their products. Well the Shea & Grapefruit Deep Conditioner didn't disappoint. In just one 2-minute treatment my hair felt softer and looked shinier. I'll definitely be adding this to my weekly routine throughout the rest of winter.

Another old standby I rely on throughout the winter months is Rosebud Perfume Co. Rosebud Salve. It's perfect for dry lips, cracked cuticles and even wind burnt cheeks. It comes in two different packages, a tin or a tube. The tube is perfect for lips - you'll love the pink tint it leaves behind and the tin is good for just about everything.

What are your winter beauty favs? I love learning about new products!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Coveted Collection: Red Dress Boutique - Kickoff Cutie

Even though most of college football has come to an end, I want to highlight a website that no dress-loving girl should be without. Created for a good ol' southern tailgating party, the dresses on Red Dress Boutique's Kickoff Cutie site are really perfect for any occasion -- especially for us midwestern Big Ten fans who don t-shirts and sweatshirts (layers upon layers for warmth) to tailgate and go to games.

I spent a perfect Sunday morning browsing the site and found a dress I ab-so-lutely can't wait to wear -- and it was on sale. It costs... wait for this... $26.00. Originally $84.00. Oh, wee - that's a good deal! I'll be rocking mine with my new cowboy boots I picked up this winter (I'll have to post on those someday), but would be equally cute with heels for nighttime.

Here's the cutie I picked up:

Sideline Sweetheart Dress - Orange/White

This dress comes in a few different color options -- you just have to sort through by team. This a great way to gain extra knowledge about SEC college football teams. You never know when that might come in handy...

Here's a taste of what else this lovely site has to offer... try to pick a favorite... It's tough!

Fan for Life Dress Blue
Three Cheers Dress

Game On Dress

Happy Shopping!! 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Year, New Beginnings

Admittedly I've been taking my time getting back into the swing of things... like working a full week, cooking dinner again (no more holiday leftovers) and hearing Christmas music on wherever I go. Well, actually I'm kind of glad about the music thing - Christmas music is great, but how many different ways can Winter Wonderland really be arranged?

After the champagne was drank, the confetti cleared and I managed to walk most of the way home in my heels on the night of December 31, I asked myself: so what am I really setting out to accomplish this year? I'm not really one for making resolutions, mostly because I think people tend to be overly ambitious in declaring them, but not overly ambitious while trying to follow them. So this year I've chosen to set a few specific and achievable goals instead of one grand resolution. Here's what I've come up with:

- Run a half marathon (I'm already signed up - date is June 9th!)

- Travel to somewhere I've never been.

- Keep in touch better with friends, both far away and close by.

- Continue learning to cook new things.

So that's the long and short of it (for now) - how can one really plan for all the wonderful things a full year can bring in January. Good luck to all of you who made resolutions, big and small. I hope you achieve them -- even though I can't wait for the gym to be back to normal in about a month.