New Year's Eve in Florence...sounds dreamy right?!
Prior to 2018, I had spent most New Year's Eves at mediocre parties with my people, spending way too much money on below average atmospheres. I knew something had to change. Everyone always has such high expectations for "New Years" and it always disappoints.
So I figured, spending New Years in another country would be amazing no matter what we're doing! Last year, Amsterdam and London were incredible! I knew this year had to be something great- so my girls and I got together and decided- ITALIA.
We'll be going for 13 days over New Years- winter-time in Italy, and I'm very eager to see Italy not in the heat. My last time in Italy was in 2016- during the hottest months of summer and I'm so looking forward to being back and not dripping in sweat! Planning a trip with your girlfriends is such a fun experience- searching tours, sites, and more importantly restaurants! We're all dreaming about the pizza and wine we'll be drowning in just two months from now.
Our itinerary is pretty packed! Will post all the deets later, but we're so excited to visit Milan, Verona, Bologna, Florence, Rome, Naples, Pompeii, and Venice! So much history, and even more carbs!
Nothing beats spending time with some of your best friends in your favorite place on Earth. Italy is a natural energy source for me. Recharging to come home and be productive! A few of the girls have never been so I'm over the moon to share my bit of home with them!
Where do you go to re-energize? A place that feels like home away from home?
Drop some photos below so I can add your favorites to my list!
Been trying to figure out a lot of things lately- what to post being one of them. My favorite blogger, Carmen, has posted a series of her month's summary from A-Z, so I decided to give it a go.
September has been one wack-a-doodle month for me, and I'm so ready for October and the fall vibes. But this was such a fun way to recap the month and look back at all I've accomplished in the past 30 days! Give it a try and drop your links below!
Drinking More Water: Get yourself a refillable bottle and take it with you everywhere- you'll be surprised with how easy it is to choose water when you've got a bottle with you!
Ebooks: I drive, A LOT. I've always wanted to read more and this has helped me get through books so much faster! I used Audible for a while, and now I use Overdrive from my local library!
Fall Favorites: It's that time of year! Hot cocoa, an acceptable all-black wardrobe, sweaters, and fall festivals!
Going Green: little choices make all the difference! Say no to straws at bars and restaurants! Ask for the Cold Foam Lid at Starbucks!
Hot Tea: ALWAYS. English, Irish, Earl- any black tea, at any time of day. A MUST.
Italy: Is all I'm thinking about! The girls and I are off to my favorite place in just 77 days! Planning the itinerary and booking hostels has been my favorite thing to do on my stress-filled days!
justk8things: I've been on a hiatus, but we're back! Prioritizing my mental health and thoughts, which includes sharing those with you!
Keeping a Journal: I do my best to write every day! And it's made my days so much more focused! Writing 1-3 pages each morning is a great way to clear your head!
Lips: I have found my new obsession! Hello Maybelline Super Stay Matte Ink! This product dries so quickly, feels so light, and lasts for ages! And the color options are stellar! My current go-to: Huntress!
Micellar Water: OMG! GUYS! This stuff is literal magic in a bottle: a water-based cleanser feels so clean!
No: It's something that we all need to get better at saying. Overcommitment is something I have always been great at, and I'm trying to change that!
Only Good Vibes: Prioritizing positivity and banishing negativity, makes all the difference!
Pizza: THE most important item on this list. Favorite at the moment: Fellini Restaurant in Mount Prospect.
Qapital: this app has helped me put away $98 in the last three weeks and I haven't really felt that money! It allows you to create goals and set rules for saving! We can both earn $5 if you register here!
Rupi Kaur: one of my favorite voices right now! So inspiring and a genius with words. Check out some of her work.
Spinach Salads: Spinach, a bit of olive oil, and a dash of salt! It's just dreamy!
The Collective: the shoppe! We celebrated our one-year this month! OMG! What a wild ride, looking forward to year two with people who have done so much to get us here!
@Uhnonee: My recent find on Podcasts! Her podcast: "Adulting" is so relatable, a must listen! Her blog is great too!
Vespas: I dream of owning one, but I suppose taking Walkabout Florence's Morning Vespa Tour in December will have to do for now!
Witches: I'm preparing for my full season of witchiness! Hocus Pocus, all black, and this chilly weather is my favorite time of year to let out my inner witch!
X: what relevant words even start with X?!
Yoga in the Morning: As soon as I get out of bed, I do some light stretching that includes a bit of yoga! It gets the blood flowing and makes my day that much brighter!
all the Zzzs: Prioritizing my sleep has been the best thing I've ever done! If it's not finished by 11PM, it's not getting done folks. By staying up late, how much are we sacrificing in quality? Go to bed and wake up early to get that work done!
Are you ready to take on the rest of 2018! What are you going to accomplish in the next 82 days?!
"Behind every business is a family."
As we celebrate our one-year anniversary at the shoppe, I am so thankful for the folks who have supported, built, maintained, and brainstormed until the wee hours of the mornings to help bring The Collective to life. Owning a small business is not pretty- majority of the time. And deciding to open a business is not something that affects your life, but also the lives of those closest to you. Looking back, it seems kind of ridiculous to ask such things of people who don't really HAVE to help you.
But there's this really cool thing that happens- people show up.
From 6am carpet removal to all-night paint parties, from attending every event to volunteering to work hours in the space: there are so many people without whom the shoppe would not be successful. If you would be so kind as to read on through the following thank yous...since a billboard seems impractical, shouting my love for these people from the virtual rooftops will have to do.
First, to my actual family: it may be assumed you'd have to put up with me, but you Collins' and Fletcher's are some pretty incredible [read: tolerant] people. Thank you for everything, always. And to my lovely parents, there will never be enough thank yous for what you do for the shoppe and our community.
To our artists: without you, we wouldn't be here. Thank you for sharing a piece of yourselves with us and for making this space what it was, is and will be.
Kate, Bill, Ang, Todd and your family: YOU GUYS. The blood, sweat, tears and HOURS these people have willingly shared with me is insane. My emergency team, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for all you do.
Alyssa, Christine, Hailey, Liz, Meghan and Molly: my Cheetah girls. You all are my constant source of empowerment and inspiration. Thank you for being with me every step of the way.
Bert, Tom and Pat: I will never know what I did to be blessed with the gift that is your support, mentorship, and well, let's be honest- the therapy.
Tressa, Cassie, Renee and Hailey: Thank you for allowing me to balance both of my passions- while tolerating me and my brain on overdrive. Mohler has been a sanctuary for me and you women are just amazing.
Christine, Annie and Danielle: my rocks, my go-tos. Thank you for being my sounding boards, my therapists, my people.
My ConnXion Family: the ones who always show up. Even in the simplest of ways- the happy notes to snapchats of Carson's display sales- you are collectively a huge source of my sanity and success.
Mae and Mark: MY NEW PEOPLE! You both bring such a new energy to this community. Thank you for connecting people, and allowing me to be a part of your entrepreneurial journey; I am so excited to watch PTO take over Mount Prospect.
My fellow MP businesses : Businesses supporting businesses. It's the absolute COOLEST thing. There are so many businesses who have been instrumental in our mentorship and success this year. To Capannari Ice Cream, Mrs. P & Me, Byte Me Web Hosting & Design, Busse Automotive, LePeep, Canta Napoli, Knee Law Firm, Chokshi Filippone Law, Emerson's Ale House, Honey Biscuit, Trezeros, Lightbox Graphix, Picket Fence Realty, MECO Consulting, Innate Concepts, MPJWC, and the MP Chamber of Commerce: thank you for showing us not only what it takes to be a player in our community, but how to do it right.
Liz: what can I say? You're my other half in this game. Finishing my sentences, keeping me grounded, chasing me around with a fishing rod to reel me back in. Thank you for Zabette and for teaching me how easy it is to just be a GOOD human.
And finally, to our Village: this is where I say FRIENDLINESS IS A WAY OF LIFE YA'LL. When you work with the staff over at the VoMP, they make life so easy! Thank you all for being absolute rockstars.
There are so many other beautiful souls who have made our everyday so special. Thank you to those who volunteered during the long moving days, those who have sent cards and those who have attended our events and support us day in and day out.
Behind our business is a community: of parents and of old friends, of artists and fellow business owners, of new friends and bartenders, of teachers and coaches, of coworkers and neighbors- all coming together to support the dreams and art of local people. Thank you to the Village, our customers, and to those who have chosen our shoppe family- I am so PROUD of what we've created together this far, and year two is looking even better.
It's fall here in Chicago, which means that both my closet, makeup bag, and kitchen have all made the transition into hibernation mode. While there's been a lot of changes happening in my life, I'm most excited about these three additions to my daily routine!
1. Old Navy's 2017 Fall Line
2. LUSH Ultrabland Cleanser
Now everyone's skin is different, but this time of year means I have to take extra care of my skin. LUSH's Ultrabland Cleanser removes every inch of makeup and dirt from my skin with basically zero effort. The idea behind this cleanser is that as an oil based product, it reacts with the oil on your skin for full removal. With most water-based cleansers...well, water and oil don't mix, so is it possible to remove all the dirt and unwanted oils from your pores?
Swing into LUSH next time you're around and pick yourself up some Ultrabland. Exactly as the website suggests, it's an "all-purpose dream".
3. Bailey's Irish Cream
My recent trip to Ireland has got me HOOKED. I've always enjoyed Bailey's and coffee, but I have a new found love for this Christmas-in-a-cup delight. For the entirety of the trip you would find me drinking Bailey's and coffee or Bailey's on the rocks all day long. I couldn't begin to tell you how many Bailey's and coffee we had tried by the end of the trip.
With coffee, hot cocoa, on the rocks, I can drink this anytime, any day. Thankful to the Irish for blessing us heathens with such a magical beverage for which we are not worthy.
Seems as though each season has been bringing new products into my focus. Here's to what winter has in store for my new loves! What are some of your current favs? Tried out some of the above? Let me know what you think!
For the longest time I could not figure out what to do with my hair. I’ve had fire engine red, bleached streaks, and everything in between. None of it really felt like me. Until I finally fell into this cycle with my hairdresser. Going into college I dyed my hair Chestnut Brown. I had such an attachment to that color; I felt like getting rid of the bleached streaks was saying hello to the Intro to Adulthood that was this next chapter of my life. Boy was I wrong.
What came next was a series of overdue showers, missed haircuts, and doing the absolute most with my straightener. When I would actually find my way into the chair, I’d get the same cut and color: never changing my look, despite how much growing I was doing on the inside.
It wasn’t until I had been out of college a little over a year, spent two months in Italy, and was “finding my way” through my three part-time jobs before I had finally begun looking like myself. I went into my hairdresser for the first of my twice-a-year hair color/cut. Except this time, I felt different. I told her I wanted to go a tad darker than the variations of Chestnut Brown I had been keeping for the past five years. She instantly looked at me and said “You’re ready, it’s time to go dark. I knew it was going to happen eventually, but you weren’t ready until now”.
And I was ready more than ever. I felt invincible, as if this was my true inner self finally climbing her way out to slay you all. (Sorry that was her talking.) My point is, sometimes you have to make your way through the Chestnut Browns until you find your true self. Whatever color that may be. Maybe you’ll find your way to the pastel colors, or that rainbow underthing in those Facebook videos. I will say, that ever since, I’ve liberated my inner witch.
Wherever you find yourself, embrace it.
Life is complicated, that's a given. I'm here to talk through the rough patches, and celebrate the successes of adulthood as a millennial travel professional.