March Spotlight

How was your first day of spring? In true Chicago style, we dropped below 40 degrees yesterday so our first day felt more like late fall kind of weather. This chilly weather is making it difficult to get out of bed each morning so if there’s one thing I’m looking forward to with the new season, it’s hopefully finding more motivation to get out of bed. I’ve also been on a Criminal Minds binge lately. It’s the one show I allow myself to watch on Netflix and I’ve been a little too eager to catch a few episodes here and there. Instead of continuing to jabber on, I’ll get to the March spotlight! Lots of great stuff to share this month.

Photo Credit:   Levine-Moore Photography

Getting inspired for my next dinner party with these recipes

Spring cleaning isn’t just for the house with 5 ideas for spring cleaning your life

And speaking of spring cleaning, recraft your workspace for a more calming atmosphere while putting things back together

Desperately wishing I had a house of my own to redecorate the dining room

And while we’re talking about houses, I think I found my new home in this French villa

Prepping for Easter next weekend with sugar on the brain…

Adding to my ever growing book collection with these inspiring suggestions

Embracing my inner romantic and making sure every one of these European cities is on my bucket list

Love these tips for productivity at work to avoid working overtime

Vicariously living my Nicholas Sparks movie dream through this Beaufort, South Carolina feature

Absolutely loving the dog mama gift ideas

Visiting foreign cities through my essential oils! Rome, here I come...

[from top left]
Creamy Pumpkin Pasta
Chicken Milanese with Simple Spaghetti
Harvest Season Chicken Pot Pie
Raspberry Mint Margarita

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Normally I like to update you guys on my book progress but reading hasn’t been a huge priority in the last month. I’m hoping to finish Julie & Julia by Nora Ephron by the next spotlight. There’s nothing against the book, things have just been a little crazy lately. I’m feeling a little extra motivated to get finished though because I was just sent two new books to read and review and I’m pumped. Hot Mess by Emily Belden is her second book but first fictional novel. I read her first, Eightysixed, when it came out a few years ago, provided a review and even did an interview with her! I had the opportunity to listen to her speak at a recent event hosted by Chicago Woman magazine here in Chicago with other influential women in the food community and left inspired, motivated and with a great attitude. I also got my hands on an advance copy of Paris Ever After by K.S.R. Burns which I can’t wait to start reading. Any novel or memoir that’s based in Paris gets bonus points for me. Reading about the characters’ experiences transport me back to the city I vowed to always return to.

Moving on from the book front, it’s been a little crazy lately. I’m in the thick of one of the busier seasons for my day job which has a tendency to take over every other aspect of life. I’ve also been hard at work behind the scenes with a project I can’t talk about yet but and very excited to reveal in the next two months. So even if things get a little quiet on the blog front, know that I’m still working with a fury to get content and other goodies to you. I’m still living that split life - half my time in the burbs and the other half in the city. To be honest, it’s a little exhausting some weeks and I get to the point where I just want to stay in one place. I unfortunately don’t have any travel planned. There’s just so much going on that any travel I planned at the moment would not be fun. It would be stressful and overwhelming so I’m holding off before making a getaway this year.

I saw Love Never Dies the last week it was in Chicago and you guys, if you have a chance to go make it it happen. Something I haven’t talked about too much is my love for musicals, theater, etc. Phantom of the Opera was one of my favorite musicals since I can remember. I saw it live twice and can basically quote the movie from beginning to end. When Love Never Dies originally premiered in London, it was only supposed to be a one-time run. They weren’t going to bring it to any other cities. But then it went to Australia where they filmed it and last year it was announced Love Never Dies would tour the US. The music is incredible and the talent absolutely mindblowing. I was ready to be slightly disappointed since I’m such a fan of Ramin Karimloo and Sierra Boggess but Gardar Thor Cortes as the Phantom really did a phenomenal job. I cried twice and you will rarely see me cry for anything. I was practically sobbing at one point. The emotion was real and you could feel it in your bones. So please, if Love Never Dies comes to your city, go see it. If you haven’t see Phantom, rent the movie on Amazon or something. You won’t regret it, I promise. Next on my radar, the pre-Broadway premiere of Pretty Woman featuring Samantha Barks which is here in Chicago right now!

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Loving the flowy dresses coming out for spring right now especially this one from The Gap

I’m really obsessed with the Perasima Dinner Plates at Anthropologie in mint and also their Piet Mugs.

I have got to get my hands on the LC Lauren Conrad Madeleine Convertible Satchel but also can’t wait for warmer weather because her Baneberry Sandals and Poem Women’s Flats are calling my name!

My skin went through a lot of issues over the winter with uncharacteristic breakouts, dryness and redness. I started using the Aveeno Ultra-Calming Night Cream and it made a HUGE difference in just one application. There’s no partnership here, just a typical consumer giving a product a go. After the night cream worked so well, I added the gel cleanser to my routine as well and even converted my best friend. Now I want to finish my collection with the daily moisturizer. This stuff is honestly amazing.