Friday, April 20, 2018

Post Grad Girl: Graduation Dresses



Graduation is right around the corner for most 2018 grads! When I graduated from Iowa State about a year ago I was in such a frenzy to find a dress. I could not find ANYTHING I liked. Everything was either to simple, to casual, or just boring. I wanted something fun, but also not to crazy as it is an important event. Plus I wanted something super cute for photos because duh. I ended up randomly finding something on Rue La La from Nanette Lepore on super sale. But, today I wanted to round up some super cute dresses that would be perfect for a high school or college graduation! In my mind these dresses are fun and fashionable, but aren't anything to crazy. 


Here is a little flashback to what I wore to my college graduation commencement. For my college specific convocation I wore a super fun Lilly dress. This dress was perfect for the main ceremony and for photos. It had enough interest, but was a simple solid color. Nude heels also keeps the look very classic. I kept the jewelry minimal and simple as well. 


Here is a *super* throwback photo of what I wore to high school graduation! Again, a super simple look but still a fund dress. This one was made out of scuba material and it was super comfortable. Sensible wedges are also key when walking across the stage. Skip the 5 inch heels ladies, unless you are very skilled. In that case go for it. I, however, could envision myself eating **** so we opted for a wedge in high school and a low heel for college graduation. 

What did you wear to your graduation? Or what are you planning to wear this year?? Let me know in the comments! 
XOXO 
Miranda 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Travel Guide to Chicago


Get ready for a VERY long post today! I constantly get asked for suggestions on things to do in Chicago or good restaruants and so on. Then I realized I never created a blogpost with like ALL of my suggestions on my favorite Chicago places. So, here is the comprehensive list of all of the places I love and would recommend in Chicago. From shopping, restaurants, neighborhoods to explore, things to do, and more it's all here. You can always reference this if you are ever planning a trip to Chicago! This is a very extensive guide on EVERYTHING I love in Chicago. 

I've lived in the Chicago suburbs my whole life. And now I work in the city every now and then and have spent more time exploring the city, more then just Michigan Ave. So, now I feel I can give you solid recommendations on things to do and eat if you are visiting the city. 

Restaurants 
Coal Fire Pizza | One of my favorite pizza places in the city! It is close by to the United Center so it's perfect if you're heading to a Blackhawks game or a concert and you're driving. You could also take an Uber if you don't have a car! Their pizza is super thin crust pizza and has fresh delicious ingredients. The place is super small and super local, so go as early as you can! It fills up quickly so you may have to wait. But, it is worth the wait for sure!

The Hampton Social | My favorite "basic" place in the city is home to the "Yes Way Rose" sign which makes it very recognizable on Instagram. But, besides the aesthetically pleasing decor they have really amazing food! I personally love the Lobster Roll or the Steak Frites. Then they have a Rose of the Day which makes it super easy to try new rose. This place is the best during the summer because they open up all of the windows and the breeze flows in and out. But, if you go in the winter don't fret, there usually isn't a wait or it's easier to get reservations! 

Public House | Public House has tasty shakes topped with cake, the best bar style food, and lots of drink options! They have other locations outside of Chicago, but it is worth the stop if you want a fun atmosphere and good food. 

Bub City | My favorite BBQ place and bar at night is Bub City. They have really good Moscow mules (random I know) and the best BBQ in the city (in my opinion). I'm not big into country, on weekends it turns into a country bar with live music and it's really fun! But, this place has some dang good ribs, brisket, and pulled pork. Plus they have tater tots, fried pickles, and lots of other yummy sides. All in all it's a great time and has great food! 

Summer Santa Monica House | Santa Monica House is a similar vibe to The Hampton Social, but it's in Lincoln Park. This place also has an extensive wine list and dreamy decor. I opted for the Prime Rib French Dip with fries and it was one of the best french dip sandwiches I have ever had. And I've had a lot of them let me tell ya. They have a little bit of everything so there is something for everyone on the menu! Plus brunch is available and it looks amazing. 

Maple & Ash | If you're looking to splurge look no further then Maple & Ash. One of the best steaks I have ever had in my entire life. That means something coming from me, I live for steak (ask anyone). It is a must-do if you want to do a nice meal in the city. Be sure to get reservations beforehand! In general reservations are a MUST. Use the Open Table app for easy reservations. 

Lou Malnatis | If you're looking for classic deep dish Chicago pizza Lou Malnatis is my favorite. Giordanos is a close second. If anyone tells you other places TBH they are wrong. These two are the best in the city! If you go to Lou Malnatis be sure to get the three cheese bread as an appetizer, you'll thank me later. 

Portillos | Another Chicago classic is Portillos. This fast food chain is unique to Chicago, but has other locations outside of IL. Stop in to get a classic Chicago hot dog, Italian beef, or a chopped salad (if you're feeling healthy). Chocolate Cake shakes are also a fan favorite. This is a great affordable meal to get in the city! 

Garrett's Popcorn | I'm a popcorn connoisseur, and I love all kinds of popcorn! Garretts is another Chicago favorite that serves up Chicago mix popcorn which is cheddar with caramel. I know what you're thinking... "that sounds nasty". But, trust me it is SOOO GOOD! They have a ton of locations around the city so you can't miss them. 

Stan's Donuts | Donuts are oddly very popular in Chicago. There are so many unique donut places in the city but Stan's is one of my favorites. From their cute pink and white decor and bags to their tasty donuts you can't go wrong. I personally love the apple fritter, but there are endless possibilities! 

Donut Vault | Another of my donut favorites is Donut Vault. They have the best donuts and they have $1-2 coffee which is amazing. You usually always have to wait in line to get them, but the line is for sure worth it! 

Three Dots and a Dash | The infamous tiki bar Three Dots and a Dash is a fun place to get drinks with friends. WARNING: these drinks are pricey and some are verrrry strong, so order carefully! I got the rum barrel and it was pretty good! But, my boyfriend's drink was nasty tbh.... it is mainly for the fun cup and atmosphere/ photo ops. So if that isn't your thing I would skip it. However, it is a fun bar! If possible make a reservation as this place is hopping on the weekends, and even weeknights. There is often a line to get in which, you don't want to wait in during the winter. The entrance is also down a back alley so you might miss it if you aren't looking close enough! 

Moe's Cantina | If you're looking for a good Mexican place, Moe's Cantina is a great option! They have tasty cocktails, including margaritas, and good food what more could you want? I got the build your own tacos and it came with so much steak it was unreal! Plus the chips, salsa, and guac was real tasty. 

Old Crow Smokehouse | Another good BBQ option is Old Crow Smokehouse! They have a few locations, one in Wrigleyville, which makes it a good stop before a Cubs game! With lots of meat and side options this place is mighty tasty and perfect during the summer as most of their locations open up the windows to let the breeze in. 

Tavern on Rush | One of my favorite brunch spots is Tavern on Rush. I get The Rush Street which is a tasty omelette with cheese, bacon, and sour cream. Complete with breakfast potatoes and a scone this is a very tasty breakfast! 

Goddess and the Baker | My favorite coffee shop in the city is Goddess and the Baker. Most mornings I work downtown I go there to grab a latte. They also have a wide range of pastries that are super tasty and other dishes available. I am also a fan of their white peach tea if you are a tea fan, they have a good selection of that as well. 

Pizza Parlor Bar | With a mural of pizza angel wings outside how could you not love this place? With tasty pizza and yummy appetizers this is a great place to bring friends for a bite! Also, they have a brunch menu which makes it a great Sunday spot. 

The Walnut Room | This used to be one of my favorite places to go as a kid! Every year we would go to see the giant Christmas tree display. I recommend heading to the Walnut Room during the holidays to see the decor! The food has changed over the years, but the inside is gorgeous and historic to Marshall Fields! 

Bavettes | One of the best steak places I have ever ate at. This meal was incredible! From the meat to the wedge salad to the sides everything was incredible. Again, another splurge meal but it is sooooo worth it. You need reservations for Bavettes, or else it is impossible to get in. So be sure to plan ahead if you'd like to dine at Bavettes for dinner. 

Shopping 


Michigan Ave | The most "basic" shopping area is Michigan Ave. You will find all of the stores you know and love like Topshop, Nordstrom, Uniqlo, and more. A fun stop along the way for Disney fans is the huge Disney Store on Michigan Ave!

Oak Street | If you're looking for a little more higher end shopping the area around Oak Street is where you'll wanna head. Walton Street also has some great shopping like the Barbour and Patagonia store. Plus Sprinkles Cupcakes! 

Birdseye Rule | A fun boutique in Logan Square has some amazing pieces! Plus there is an adorable stationery store right next door. Added bonus: they carry Barbour! 

Bow & Arrow | If you're looking for the ultimate stationery and party store look no further then Bow & Arrow. Such a cute store with adorable gift-able items! They also have some fabulous Packed Party products, which I love. 

Riley Rose | The most amazing store EVER for makeup and knick knacks is Riley Rose! They have so many unique beauty brands and so many things to try. Plus the store is just gorgeous. Plus there is an adorable Instagram opportunity inside. Riley Rose is located inside Water Tower Place. You can also find stores like AKIRA, Aritzia, Free People, Henri Bendel, and more located in Water Tower! 

State Street | State Street is another shopping area in Chicago. It is located pretty close to all of the Michigan Ave shops, but it is centrally located near a lot of the theater shows. So, if you're down near a show you can do some shopping beforehand! Some highlights are Macy's State Street (which used to be the original Marshall Fields RIP :( ), Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, and more. Plus the Nordstrom Rack on State Street always has amazing finds!!! 

Things to Do 


Explore neighborhoods | There are so many incredible neighborhoods to explore in Chicago. Until recently I really haven't been able to explore a lot of Chicago neighborhoods. As a kid who lived in the suburbs it was really hard to make it out to the smaller areas of Chicago outside of true downtown. But, now I love checking out more residential areas! Some of my favorites are Logan Square, Wicker Park, Bucktown, River North, West Loop, and Lincoln Park. There are so many things to explore outside of the "touristy" areas in Chicago. Be sure to try and venture out during your stay in the city. 

Go to a Broadway show | Chicago has a great Broadway scene! I've seen shows like Aladdin, White Christmas, Book of Moorman, Wicked, and more. PRO TIP: Like Broadway in Chicago on Facebook and on the 25th of every month they sell $25 theater tickets. It is such a great deal so be sure to check if you're planning a trip because they just might have a show on sale for your dates. There are also other ways to get discount tickets to shows, so try not to pay full price and find yourself a deal! 

Go to a sporting event | If there is one thing that is abundant in Chicago it is sports teams. We have the Bulls, Blackhawks, Bears (lol they kind of stink though), Sox, and the Cubs! No matter what time of year you come to Chicago there is probably a sporting event you can go see! Gametime is a great app to use to find affordable sport tickets, as well as concert and broadway tickets. 

Architecture Tour | There are so many beautiful buildings in Chicago to see, so a great way to get a comprehensive view of everything is a boat architecture tour. There are a lot of different companies that offer tours so do some research to find one that works best for you. 

Ice Skating or walking around Millenium Park | During the winter months there is ice skating at Millenium Park, which I did this past holiday season! I have to say it was quite stressful skating around the ice skating ribbon. But, it was very fun! Don't worry if you aren't around for the holidays because walking around Millenium Park is still fun in the warmer months as well! 

Fireworks at Navy Pier | All throughout the summer Navy Pier offers firework shows and they are sooooo fun! My friend, my mom, and I always go every summer to see them. While you're at the pier you can do other fun things like grab a drink or go on the ferris wheel. 

Go to a museum | I grew up going to the different museums in Chicago. My personal favorite is The Shedd Aquarium! I just love seeing all of the fish and especially love the whales. Not to mention the views from the outdoor areas are unbeatable. But there is also the Art Museum, Museum of Science and Industry, the Planetarium, and loads more! Personally I love walking around museum, ever since I studied abroad I gained a stronger appreciation for museums. I highly recommend checking out at least one of the museums Chicago has to offer. 

Landmarks 

There are so many great landmarks to see in Chicago. From the Willis Tower to the Bean some are more touristy then others, but regardless they are still fun to see and experience! At the Willis Tower or the John Hancock building you can do skydeck like experiences. From these decks you can see views of the city that are incredible. Then there are recreational places like Lake Michigan or the Lincoln Park Zoo that are great for kids and adults alike. I listed a few of my top favorite landmarks below for you to check off your bucket list while in Chicago!

The Shedd Aquarium | Willis Tower | The Bean | Art Institute of Chicago | Lincoln Park Zoo 
Water Tower Place | Grant Park and Millenium Park | Buckingham Fountain | Navy Pier 
Lake Michigan 

Neighborhoods to Explore 

As I said before, Chicago is home to so many smaller unique neighborhoods. Be sure to explore outside of the central downtown area and loop to get the most of your Chicago experience! Here are a few of my favorite areas for food, shopping, and more.....

Lincoln Park | I love Lincoln Park so much! This adorable neighborhood has many things to explore. From adorable shops to lovely restaurants this place has a little bit of everything. Plus all of the streets seemed to be lined with the most gorgeous houses, including some Chicago Greystones. Plus it is home to the Lincoln Park Zoo which is a free zoo that is perfect for taking a stroll on a nice afternoon.  

Logan Square & Wicker Park | Logan Square will hopefully be my future home! This neighborhood has some really cool "hipster" as I would say coffee shops, bars, restaurants, and boutiques. I don't think I'm cool enough to live in Logan Square but here I come! Wicker Park is very close by and also has some awesome shopping, food, and things to explore. 

River North | River North is what I would call "downtown" but it is home to some of my favorite restaurants like Bub City, The Hampton Social, and more. If you are downtown doing other things I recommend popping over to River North to get dinner or drinks! 

West Loop | West Loop also has some amazing restaurants like Pizza Parlor Bar. I haven't gotten to explore to much of this area, but there is so much tasty food that I need to try over there so I know I will be back for more.

That is everything for my Chicago Travel Guide! I hope you found some new and exciting things to do for your next trip to Chicago. If you have any questions at all feel free to leave them in the comments below! 
XOXO 
Miranda 

Friday, April 13, 2018

Dose of Disney: Dapper Day Outfit Ideas

Dapper Day is right around the corner and I am soooooooo excited to be going to my first ever Dapper Day at Magic Kingdom! I have always dreamed of going to Dapper Day and dressing up all fancy and vintage. If you don't already know, Dapper Day is an event that happens twice a year at Disneyland and Disney World resort. Essentially the event lets people show off their Disney style while channeling vintage fashions. Basically everyone Disneybounds but it is all inspired by 50's, 60's, and lots of other decades style! Just type in Dapper Day into Pinterest and you'll get the gist. People wear gorgeous dresses with fun vintage hats and accessories to create their Dapper Day look. 

So, today I wanted to create a few fun Dapper Day looks to help you get inspired for Dapper Day. Don't fret if you can't make it to Dapper Day this year. I literally just happened to plan a trip while Dapper Day will be at Disney World (boy I am LUCKY!). You can channel so Disneybound and vintage vibes from wherever you are. Simply change up the dress or accessories to what you already own to create your own Dapper Day inspired look. 

All of these looks were created with a base dress that was a solid color. To create a look for your favorite character all you have to do is get a dress that matches their appearance colors and pair it with fun accessories like pins, jewelry, and more! 


When I think of red I instantly think of Mickey! Mickey is a super easy Dapper Day look to create, and you most likely already have some fun Mickey accessories to use. But, I wanted to create a Mushu Dapper Day look as he is a little more of an obscure character. If you ironed on this fun Mushu patch from Boxlunch to your dress it would add such a fun touch! 



The amount of blue Disney characters is kind of endless. But, Cinderella is always a safe bet. Genie and Sadness are also fun ideas for a fun blue look. 




It's tough being green as Kermit the frog would say, but I have to say these green Dapper Day ideas are my favorites! I LOVE Mike Wazowski and I am living for this Dapper Day ensemble. Tink is also another great option and there are a ton of fun Tinkerbell accessories you could pull in to create your look. 


I hope you learned a little more about Dapper Day today and found some Disneybound style inspo! I've never gone to a Dapper Day so I am very excited to see what all of the buzz is about at Magic Kingdom's Dapper Day on April 28th! Although Dapper Day is bigger at Disneyland I'll settle for a Disney World Dapper Day this time. Who knows maybe I'll get to go to Dapper Day at Disneyland someday! 

Are you heading to a Dapper Day this year? Let me know who you are going as! 
XOXO
Miranda 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Dose of Disney: Faith, Trust, and Pixie Dust


Second star to the right and straight on till morning.... off to Neverland! 


In today's Dose of Disney post I'm channeling the ever so sassy Miss Tinkerbell for this fun casual look. Who says you have to be at the parks to show off your Disney style? In this look I turned a casual everyday outfit into a subtle Disneybound as Tinkerbell and Peter Pan. How you may ask? Well, with a little pixie dust and some magical accessories I transformed this everyday look to Disney inspired instantly. 


First things first, if you didn't know already Disneybounding is when you outfit is inspired by a Disney character. It can be as obvious or as subtle as you want. This look is for sure on the subtle side compared to others Disneybound looks. But, that is the best part! It can be whatever you want it to be. For my lifestyle in particular, subtle is usually the way to go. I live in the middle of the Midwest, we are far off from being close to Disney. So, adding cute little Disney touches to a look is a fun way to keep things magical without being to crazy. 


To channel Tink and Peter Pan I started the look off with this olive green sparkling shirt from J. Crew. The sleeve has a fun bell sleeve which reminds me of a fun pixie skirt. While the color is obviously channeling both Peter and Tinkerbell with its green color. Plus, sparkle anything always reminds me of some pixie dust! By pairing the green top with more neutral pieces like a denim jacket and cream colored jeans it makes the look way more everyday appropriate. 


As you can see the accessories is really what makes this look Tinkerbell inspired. The star of the show is this Danielle Nicole Tinkerbell handbag. I picked this up from Box Lunch a while back with my Lunch Money. When you shop Box Lunch you get reward dollars which can be used towards your purchase. These coupons really help when picking up more expensive items like a Danielle Nicole bag! 


I love this bag because of all of the fun details. From Tinkerbell's pom pom top know to the glitter fabric and bow this bag really is a work of art. The best part? It actually fits a ton! In this bag I have my Ray Bans sunglass case, an iphone and room for a small wallet and lipstick. The essentials of course! 


Other fun details in this look are my Tinkerbell pins from the parks. The donut pin is newer to my collection and I purchased it off Shop Disney Parks! They come in a pack with different character donuts. My other Tinkerbell pin is from way back when I collected pins as a kid. I love that I was able to keep my pins all these years and now wear them as accessories as an adult! 


Where it's from: 
Denim jacket: J. Crew 
Shirt: J. Crew 
Jeans: Talbots 
Pins: Disney Parks 
Bag: Danielle Nicole via Box Lunch
Sunglasses: Ray Bans 
Bracelets: Henri Bendel, Alex and Ani 


The best part about this whole look is you could do this for any character using similar pieces! Transform the look to be like Marie from Aristocats with a pink top, Marie pins, a fun bag, and top the look off with a pink beret or hair bow. Or become classic Mickey by swapping green for a red top, black pants, Mickey pins, and a Mickey handbag. No matter the character this look is super easy to change up to be any Disneybound you desire. 

What is your favorite Disney character to pull style inspo from? Let me know in the comments! 
XOXO 
Miranda 

Friday, April 6, 2018

Dose of Disney: Flower & Garden Style Inspo



It's Flower & Garden season y'all which means florals for spring, ground breaking. But really, florals for Flower & Garden are a must! From shades of purple and pink to pops of orange and yellow Flower & Garden festival has so many fun ways you can channel it to create a fun spring look in or out of the parks. 

Floral prints are obviously a major source of inspo from the festival. I am loving fun mini skirts and cute dresses with bold or small floral prints. You could pair skirts with a fun Disney graphic tee or pair a dress with a cute pair of ears. Or wear them outside of the parks for just a fun spring look.

Then prints with oranges or lemons are great to channel your inner Orange Bird or Violet Lemonade. I love this fun orange printed dress or this lemon top and pant set. So so cute! Citrus is always a good idea am I right? Well I think I am at least. This little Orange Bird bag is a fun pop to add to any look as well. Although it is more bold Disney then say this Draper James printed bag it can be worn outside of the parks just as much in! Then there is this adorable Lucky Rabbit Supply Co. Lil Tart pin that is so dang cute. Violet lemonade wearing a Mickey hat I DIE

Last year I wore a fun orange citrus printed Lilly Pulitzer dress with matching Sail Bow ears for the perfect Flower & Garden look. This year I am planning lots of fun looks using Pretty Little Monograms, Lilly, and lots of fun ears. Even if you aren't going to F&G this year be sure to channel the festival with a fun floral dress or look for spring time. 

What are you planning on wearing to Flower & Garden? Let me know in the comments below!
XOXO 
Miranda 

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Dose of Disney: Jackets to wear to Disney



Although Disney World is in sunny Florida, it does cool down in the evenings. I've even been at Disney where I've needed multiple jackets and layers! Then again, I'm always cold but minor details here people.... So, today I'm going over my favorite jackets and layers to wear to Disney!

First up, popovers. Popovers are great because you can easily take them on and off as the temperature might change. With a half zip design you can pull it off much easier then a hoodie or other kind of sweatshirt! I love Pretty Little Monograms or The Blonde Ruby for these! They both have adorable designs that are monogrammed so it adds a personal touch. Shep Shirts are a great alternative. I wore a fleece Shep Style popover on my last trip and it was great for early mornings. At one point it was as cold as 40 degrees! When it gets that cool in the morning or at night on your trip it's important to wear and have layers. As the days would warm up I would take off layers and put them in my backpack for safe keeping. 

Next up is a classic crewneck sweatshirt. I prefer crewneck sweatshirts over hoodies because they are less bulky. I wore a fun crewneck from Disneyland Paris on my last trip to Disney for a full day because it was so chilly! Be sure to pack at least one sweatshirt or popover, or plan on buying one at the park once you get there. Shop Disney or inside the parks have so many different options for crewnecks. Pro tip: I always buy a small size in men's! They have more of a looser fit vs. a true ladies cut sweatshirt. 


Rain jackets are also a must at Disney. If you want to ditch the plastic poncho I recommend a Pretty Little Monogram rain jacket. For Flower & Garden she had an adorable lavender rain jacket that I picked up, and I'm obsessed! She uses Charles River brand which is a great quality rain jacket. I had one that had my sorority letters embroidered on it and it was great, but this one is even better then that one! In the past I would wear my old sorority jacket, but now I can bust out my adorable Minnie monogrammed rain jacket. 

Lastly, I love brining a denim jacket to the parks. It gives you a layer, but you can still be cute. Obviously there are a TON of denim jackets out there. I personally love J. Crew's or J. Crew Factory's denim jackets. But, there are loads out there and chances are you already have one! If you want to add a Disney touch to your denim jacket add fun Disney patches or pins to flair up the look. 

What jackets or layers do you bring to Disney? Let me know in the comments below! 
XOXO
Miranda 

Monday, April 2, 2018

Dose of Disney: Stella Lou


Have you heard of Stella Lou? Well she is my new favorite adorable character home to Tokyo Disney! So, when I saw Pretty Little Monograms come out with this adorable Stella Lou inspired tee I had to pick it up. It was also the perfect look for Easter yesterday. 


I kept things super casual because we weren't leaving the house for Easter. Normally we cook an Easter ham and sides for our Easter dinner! It's been our traditional for so many years. We used to hunt for Easter eggs around the house, but sadly those days are over. Luckily I still got some Easter goodies in my basket that I've had since I was a kid. 


My favorite Easter basket goodies are chocolate bunnies (really chocolate anything), Life Saver gummies, and Sweet Tarts! What are yours? I've always loved finding candy in eggs. Now I just pick it up on sale at Target the day after Easter. It's fun being an adult isn't it?? 


These chino pants from J. Crew Factory are my absolute favorite. They have slightly changed the shape this past year, but they are still a great basic chino pant. Perfect for work or for pairing with casual pieces like this look! From olive to navy they have a ton of neutral options great for mixing with basics. With a bit of a crop hem they fit petite people great! 




Where it's from: 
Shoes: Sam Edelman 
Necklace: KJP 
Bracelets: Pandora and Pandora Disney charms
Below.... 
Skirt: J. Crew 
Necklace: J. Crew 
Stella Lou notepad: Tokyo Disney via Ballpensandetc 


What is your favorite Easter tradition? Let me know in the comments! 
XOXO 
Miranda