Friday, February 28, 2014

Guest Post: Yen of Diva in Me

Hello everyone! My name is Yen from Diva In Me and I am writing all the way from Malaysia. If you don’t know where it is, I do not blame you. It is a small country, stuck in between Singapore and Thailand, and it is hot and humid all year round. You might say I’m so lucky to get to enjoy Summer through the year but trust me, I’m totally envious of those Winter layering which some of you get to do and I don’t unless I travel to colder places.


I was reading the latest copy of Harper’s Bazaar (Mar 2014) and I was inspired to do a post about 5 key pieces from my wardrobe.  I shall start with a dress. It’s my go-to item when I’m lazy to think of pieces to mix and match. I have a few great quality dresses and I think they are necessary for many formal and semi-formal occasions.


The second key essential in my wardrobe would be denim top. I love how easy it is to use for mixing and matching. On weekends, I would wear it with shorts and on Fridays, I would pair it with a full length skirt or jeans. Roll up the cuffs, add some bangles and that’s it. I can go out and grab a cup of coffee with style.


The third closet essential would be a pair of black denim. I swear on this item and I believe this is a must-have in every lady’s closet. I can’t live without it! I invested in a good quality skinny jean last year which was from 7 For All Mankind (available here). I have no regrets on my investment so far.


My two weaknesses are bags and shoes. I think you would have noticed it by now. Occasionally I would splurge on good quality bags and shoes. Carrying a well-designed and good quality handbag makes a difference to your outfit and presentation. So, my fourth wardrobe essential would go to a handbag.


Last but not least, the fifth wardrobe essential will be a pair of comfortable shoes. Just like the handbag, I believe in investing in a good pair of shoes. In my opinion, a good pair of shoes would last from day to night without hurting my feet. My two best investments so far would be the Louboutin pump and the white Zara heels which I see myself wearing it in repeats. If Louboutins are too costly, there are a few alternatives such as Nine West, Guess and Steve Madden  which I’ve tried and loved! They make some comfortable, yet chic footwear.


There are many choices in fashion but you have to know what suits you best and wear something that flatters you. Create your own style and make sure you feel comfortable in it. Expensive doesn’t mean good. If you have an evergreen bank account, great! Invest and enjoy the finer things in life but if you have a budget every month for shopping, make sure you do some research before diving into it. Here are some affordable items which I would highly recommend.


I hope you’ve enjoyed my pictures and choices in fashion. Thank you Lisa, for having me as your guest blogger today.

*Thank you Yen for guest posting! Love this post, your style, and your outfit inspiration! Make sure you go check out Yen's blog Diva in Me, this is one girls closet I'm gushing over for sure!! 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Guest Post: Natasha of Tasha Delrae

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Hey Everyone!  I’m Natasha from the blog Tasha Delrae, like Lisa, I’m a wife, and mother of two who loves fashion! 
Last year Lisa posted an outfit that I haven’t been able to get out of my head.  It’s sat in my outfit inspirations pin board for way too long without me ever doing anything about it!  Now, a year later, I’m finally going to style an outfit inspired by that blog post!
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I’m a sucker for anything animal print…and I’m also a sucker for anything neon.  I love how Lisa managed to mix the two together without her outfit being too loud!  

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I love the idea of balancing the leopard and neon with "tough chic" black leather.  Since I couldn’t pair mine with an amazing leather jacket like Lisa did, instead I pulled on my tall leather boots that have the perfect about of “tough chic” details with their metal zippers and buckles.

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I love being inspired by fashionable women!  It’s so much fun to build a completely different outfit while stealing inspiration from someone.

Outfit details:
Jacket and Skirt- Made by me :)
Boots- BCBG

Natasha Janzen

Thank you so much Natasha for guest blogging for me today! I've been a blog reader of yours since I started my blog back in 2010 and I love your ever evolving style. 
Make sure you all head over to Tasha Delrae and send her some love! 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Guest Post: Rachel of Chicago Chic

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Hi everyone, I'm so happy to be guest-blogging for Lisa today! She's so much fun and one of the sweetest bloggers I've had the pleasure to know in person as well!
 
 I want to talk today about some of my favorite beauty brands. Over the past year, I've made it my mission to really take the time to research and test tons of various products so I can really establish a routine that's best for my skin. This resulted in some new favorites and mainstays in my collection!
 
Here are some that I love:

Lips:

 
Face:

 
Eyes:

 
Skincare:

Happy Shopping!
 
Check out more from Rachel on her blog, Chicago Chic!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Guest Post: Mary of Sportsanista

Color Me Bad













For the past few months I've been suffering from Winter-drab syndrome - black on black, grey on black.  I'd almost forgotten what color-blocking really was! Over the weekend I was rummaging through my closet and was inspired by these colors to put something together. I'm ready for Spring, as I'm sure you all are as well, so this chunky knit from Zara is my desperate ploy to bring Spring to Chicago - a little sooner. 

I love wearing red, so these pants were a no-brainer purchase from Marshalls. Red is such a timeless, classic color, but eye-catching all at the same time. Needless to say, when I came across this sweater, I knew it would be a match made in heaven - with me and the pants. Oh and, look Ma, no sleeves!

Hope you enjoyed the post! Have a great day!

Shop this look!





Coat: H&M (last seen here) | Sweater: Zara | Pants: Cynthia Rowley via Marshalls | Pumps: Chinese Laundry | Hat: Forever 21 | Necklace: H&M | Lip Color: Turkish Delight - Nars

Check out more of Mary's amazing style on her blog Sprotsanista! She is for sure one of my favorite bloggers in real life and in the blogger world. I mean, how great is her style?! SWOON! 
Thank you for guest blogging for me! xo

Monday, February 24, 2014

Guest Post: 11 Ways to Push Through A Workout by Lindsay Macdonald


You are only reading this post if you have survived Chicago’s Polar Vortex, and if that’s the case, congratulations; you are one of the few.

With the weather starting to warm up, and spring on the rise, it’s that time of year where we all start thinking about our beach bodies. I find the winter to be a time of hibernating and eating as much good food as possible, and if you’re anything like me, getting back into your workout routine can be a bit of a struggle.  With that in mind, I want to offer you some tips on how to push through a workout when it’s really the LAST thing you would like to be doing.

1.     Self-motivation can be a hell of a drug. It’s important from the minute you wake up to prep yourself for your workout by believing that YOU CAN DO IT! Mental preparation can give you that extra boost you need when you’re dragging your feet. I find that self-motivating myself throughout my workday keeps me from making excuses of why it’s ok to miss my workout, and instead gives me a push to hit the gym!

2.     Give yourself daily, weekly, and yearly goals and be specific! Goals create self-competition and give you motivation.  Work towards something and achieve it- use your goals to push you through your workout.

Specific/Measurable/Achievable/Realistic/Time-Targeted

   Bad Goals                                                                                    Good Goal
Lose weight                                                                       Lose 10 lbs
Look better                                                                       Fit into my prom dress
Run this week                                                                   Run 15 miles this week
Lift weights                                                                       Lift 3 times a week                
Get healthy                                                                       Lower blood pressure

3. You don’t need a gym; the world is your oyster.  It’s easy to excuse yourself from working out when you think you need to have a membership to a gym, but who says you need one of those? Find a bike or running path near your home, run the stairs in your apartment building, do yoga in your living room, use your own body weight for strength training or buy bands (you can get them on Amazon for cheap!) and work by resistance. Those of you in Chicagoland, here’s a couple outdoor fitness parks:



Parks With Fitness Courses


Dearborn park – 865 S. Park Terrace Chicago, IL 60605
Durkin Park – 8445 S. Kolin Ave Chicago, IL 60652
Lincoln Park – 2045 N. Lincoln Park West Chicago, IL 60614
Loyola Park – 1230 W. Greenleaf Ave. Chicago, IL 60617
Rowan Park – 11546 S. Avenue L Chicago, IL 60617
Warren Park – 6601 N. Western Ave. Chicago, IL 60645

4.     Make a routine and act as if it’s your second (more fun) job that you can’t call in sick to.  I find it really helpful to visually plan out my workouts by using a dry-erase calendar and crossing them out once I have completed my daily goals.  Set a specific amount of days you want to work out a week and stick to it! By devoting a couple hours, 3-4 days a week to working out, you’ll also find a new found respect for your rest days.

5.     Make a playlist and play mind games with yourself.  This has to be the tip that I find most useful for myself.  When you set out for a run or a workout, often, you find yourself concentrating on the clock and sometimes that can make your workout seem like it’s dragging.  Instead, make a playlist of songs that pump you up and distract you from the time.  I like to match the beat of the songs to my running rhythm.  Another great way to use music to your benefit is to trade music for time… What I mean is rather than saying you’re going on a 30-minute run, say you’re going to run for 15 songs.  The mind trick does wonders!
 

6.     Change things up and make it fun. Your workouts don’t need to be repetitive, monotonous segments of your day – leave that to your 9-5! Cardio, fat burning, stretching, and weight lifting can be practiced through various machines, sports, classes, etc. Running on a treadmill isn’t your only cardio option, join a dance class, go on a hike, do some yoga, or hit the pool!


7.     Find distractions and push through. Think about other things you have going on in your life.  What are you going to cook for dinner? What’s your schedule like for the rest of the week?  Simply giving your mind something other to think about than what you are currently doing, can get you through a difficult bump in your workout.

8.     Workout with a partner or pro. Now, keep in mind, having a partner doesn’t work for everyone, and that’s ok! However, many people find it motivational and a boost to have a workout partner.  I really enjoy running with my dog.  If you’re going the partner route, I suggest pairing with someone who’s at a level you WANT to be at.  Exercising with someone who is more experienced allows you to really push yourself and ask questions, too! Gyms can be intimidating and it’s always helpful to be with someone who knows what they’re doing.  Eventually, you can be the teacher for someone else!

9.     Compete with yourself and others.  A competitive nature is great for a good workout!  Since you already gave yourself goals for the day and/or week, compete with yourself to accomplish them.  If you can achieve even more than your goal, you’ve exceeded expectation.  It’s also great to bring others into a friendly competition.  Challenge a friend to a ‘miles per week’ competition or anything sort of challenge that suits you.  There are great apps out there that offer workout social networks to compete as well (i.e.: Nike_+). While you’re at it, why not sign up for a race?

10.  Visualize the end of your workout and keep heading towards it.  It’s easy to get stuck focusing on the clock, especially during a run! Rather than dreading that you have 10 mins left, think of it as you ONLY have 10 mins left.  Look forward to the end and remember the discomfort or pain you are feeling is only temporary.  Sure you could slack off on that rep or cut your run short, but the only person you’re hurting is yourself.  Instead, keep pushing and remember the sense of pride you will feel when you cross the finish line.

11.  Reward yourself!  First and foremost, you’re going to feel pain and soreness.  Be prepared for those feelings and think of the pain or soreness as progress and feel good about it!  When my abs are sore, I feel more confident about my body because I know how much work I put into it.  Treat yourself to a bubble bath, massage, new running shoes, or a healthy protein shake to give yourself major props for pushing through your workout.  Heck, if I were you, I would share it with my friends on Facebook too! Be proud and remember, you can do it!




Thank you so much Lindsay for this amazing post! Make sure you head over and follow her on Instagram
She seriously inspires me to want to be better at my yoga poses and cut out some more "me fitness time". 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Guest Post: Rosa of Lady Diana's Pearls

This week Stilettos and Diaper Bags is being taken over by guest bloggers! It's amazing and I can't wait to introduce you to some new inspiration and great people. 
Up first, Rosa!

"I have a confession to make; I'm not a big fan of jeans. There, I said it, whew... My thing is that often times I feel jeans are too casual or bummy and as I age, I tend to think that they're fashioned with the younger generation in mind. Having said that, I have to admit that I'm loving the skinny jean trend!
At first I shied away from them thinking that only skinny girls could wear them, as the name would suggest. But as I searched high and low and tried on different brands, since no two are alike, I quickly realized how many "skinny" jeans there is to choose from. I've found some great styles that complement different body types and ages. I'm happy to report that I now have several pairs I wear over and over, this being one of them.
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I typically reserve jeans for casual affairs, like this afternoon when I met my girlfriend for lunch. I wear them with a streamlined look. Pairing jeans with a blazer always works wonders and adding pearls to the mix completes the look with a touch of elegance.

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Since I'm not a tall girl, a mere 5'4", I don' like to wear my skinnies with flats because they seem to shrink me even more. Instead, I opt for wearing heels with skinnies because I get the height I want and an overall slimmer appearance. Besides, what girl doesn't love the sexiness stilettos bestow anyway. Yup, even in the snow I wear mine...
Jacket, Ann Taylor / Jeans, Ann Taylor / Blouse, F21, similar / Pearls, J. Crew Earrings, J. Crew, similar / Shoes, Jessica Simpson / Bag, Michael Kors / Sunnies, Tom Ford
So, how did I do? Sorority girl or powerhouse mom? Inquiring minds want to know."
Thank you so much for guest blogging!! 
Make sure you head over to Rosa's blog for outfit posts, home d├ęcor, beauty & makeup, weekend reads, and more!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Outfit: Chicago Symphony Orchestra

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This year for Christmas my husband gave me one of the coolest gifts ever.
This Guess dress, reservations to dinner at Rose Buds Prime, and tickets to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. 
I currently have an orchestra, opera, and ballet all on my bucket list and my man not only crossed one off, but dressed me up to do so. Good man!

OK, lets talk the dress. Backless. So no bra it is as I am not putting sticky things on my boobs. ;) 
It's always fun to wear something you would not have picked out for yourself. I didn't think I'd be so comfortable going out braless, but I ended up feeling very sexy in this number.
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Dress: Guess (similar) // Vest: Nordstrom // Boots: c/o Just Fab // Necklace: c/o Sammy Dress // Watch: Fossil 

I had the most magical night ever. 
Here are some shots of dinner:
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We were one of the first people in the theater so Ryan was able to capture this beautiful panoramic photo. It was even more beautiful in person!
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And no night would be complete without token bathroom selfies, couple shots, and photos with the beautiful lights up outdoors. 
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The CSO was outstanding! There was an Italian opera singer that accompanied them for a few numbers and she was flawless. This will be a night I remember forever! 

Have you ever seen an Orchestra before?
What do you think of the dress Ryan picked out for me?

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Outfit: My Hubby's Birthday

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This year my hubby wanted to try something new for his birthday. We've gone to wine and beer tastings before, but never to a spirits tasting.
If you know my man, you know he loves his whiskey. We were happily surprised to find that there is a local distillery we could also do a tour of and a tasting at!

Here is what we wore:
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Dress: Shop Frankies // Boots: c/o Sole Society // Scarf: Swap w/ Kaitlyn // Jacket: c/o Just Fab // Love Necklace: XO Veronika // Pendant Necklace: c/o House of Gemmes // Bag: Forever 21

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Top: Urban Outfitters // Jacket: Target // Jeans: Gap // Shoes: Sketchers 

"Quincy Street Distillery creates inspired spirits based on classic formulas with unique and distinctive expressions of taste."
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This place was so cool! It's right in downtown Riverside (Il) and the brick in the building is so beautiful! 
The bar is always open but they give tours and tastings (for only $10) there too. It's small but in the "mom and pop shop" type of way. 
I love that they even label each bottle themselves there. It was so educational to see how the sprits are made, stored, bottled, labeled, and ultimately served. 
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We ended up tasting lots of yummy spirits including whiskey, gin, bourbon, and even moonshine. My hubby love the bourbon so much we ended up buying a bottle and 2 glasses to take home with us.

Have you ever been to Quincy Street Distillery? 
I would highly recommend you check it out. The drinks are amazing and it's a business I'd like to see thrive for years to come!