Kleinfeld, NYC

Fashion, Lifestyle

So, seeing as this was probably the best day of my life, and I am getting so many questions about it, I figured I would share all about my Kelinfeld Bridal experience via blog post!

I have been watching ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ with my mom for years, so when I got engaged she knew this is where we had to go for the dress. She surprised me around by birthday with this trip- and I was so so excited!

After we booked the trip, we found out Hayley Paige would be at the store that day launching her Fall 2019 collection. Seeing as Hayley Paige is one of my favorite bridal designers, I was so excited she would be there!! (Not to mention, she responded to my message on Instagram and chatted with me about when we would be there!)

We flew into NYC, saw some sights, and the next day it was the day! Arriving at Kleinfeld’s literally felt like I was watching myself in the show. Every first impression from walking through those doors, to checking in, to waiting in the waiting area was surreal! As we waited, we saw so many familiar faces walking by us (Shay, Randy’s mom, Diane, Ally, Lisa!!!)

As it came time for the next round of brides to head into the salon, consultants started to come out and call our names one by one. I didn’t recognize any of the consultants coming out to get their brides- but eventually I was the only one left! Cue *last kid to get picked for kickball at recess feeling* lol! I was kind of like “what the heck where is MY consultant?!” for a moment. Then, Diane came out. I(f you don’t watch the show- Diane is the God of Kleinfeld.) My mom looked at me and jokingly said “what if Diane is your consultant?!”

Next thing I know, Diane was coming towards me saying “Jennifer? I will be your consultant today!”

I. Literally. Died.

I was worried my experience at Kleinfeld would almost feel like a “watered down” version of the show. Not true. My mom was sat on the blue velvet couches in the center of the salon, with our own area for me to come out to the mirror at… just like on the show!

Next, Diane walked me around the salon and we looked at dresses, pointing out what I liked and didn’t like. I mentioned to her I was very interested in Hayley Paige dresses, so we started there!

When I came out in the first dress, a Hayley Paige that had just been released that day, it felt so surreal to be standing on the step in the middle of Kleinfeld’s in a wedding dress! But- things got better.

Next thing I know, Hayley Paige was running up to me saying “my dress! my dress!” She hugged me right away, and was complementing the style… she was legit so nice! She asked me all kinds of questions about my style, and even gushed over my engagement ring (100 points to Justin). CRAZIER: as I told her about what I liked in dresses, she grabbed her iPhone and started flipping through her camera roll showing me some of her new designs that haven’t even been created yet!

So, we went on trying on some dresses, all of which were amazing of course! I won’t share if I “Said Yes to the Dress”… but I will tell you there were lots of tears either way!

It was crazy seeing myself in a gown… and even crazier when Diane insisted we try on a veil as well. Its so cliche… but I swear the second she set that cathedral length veil on my head I lost it! I was just staring at myself thinking “Wow. I am MARRYING my best friend, the most amazing guy I know…” it was honestly such an emotional moment. Even other people around us started crying seeing how worked up I was lol!

Overall, Kleinfled’s truly treats each and every women that steps into that salon like a princess. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience, or consultant (I mean… DIANE! It still doesn’t feel real that I spent 2 hours with a Kleinfeld legend). Meeting Hayley Paige and chatting with her was probably the highlight of my 25 years of life.

So, if you are engaged I highly recommend making a girls weekend out of it, and heading to NYC to the most well known bridal salon in the world! It was truly 2 hours of my life I will never, ever forget and am so thankful for.

Now if you need me, I’ll be watching STYTD re-runs for the rest of time.

Gluten Free Snacks

Food

It’s officially Celiac Awareness Month, and as someone who is FINALLY feeling like myself after a life of not knowing why I just never felt well… it’s time to not only spread awareness, but celebrate over 3 years of being gluten free myself!

If you know me, you know I snack ALL. DAY. LONG. At first, finding gluten free snacks (that weren’t a fruit or vegetable) was a struggle for me! However, I have found my tried and true favorites. Some are super healthy, some are just copy-cats of some gluten-filled favorites! Here they are (click on the photos to head to their website):

Aldi Gluten Free Granola & Yogurt Parfaits– Speaks for itself. Aldi sells this ‘Live G-Free’ brand granola at all its locations.

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Lifes Grape– This is a newer product that I found while browsing #GlutenFree on Instagram (no judging pls). These are ‘vine dried grapes’ or raisins, packed with nutrients! I am a big fruit snack girl… and these crave my sweet cravings. They come in original, dark chocolate, and minis. Life’s Grapes sent me an assortment of their new flavors to try and honestly, I can’t pick a favorite!

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Goodie Girl Cookies– I first found these at Starbucks, and have been in love ever since. They don’t even taste gluten free! Goodie Girl shared their animal crackers with me… and oh my gosh, they are so good! Even my gluten-loving fiance couldn’t tell the difference!

Apple & Justin’s Cinnamon Almond Butter– This almond butter flavor is SO good I could literally just eat it straight! This is one of my go-to mid-workday snacks.

NutThins– Can’t go wrong with a good cheese & crackers moment! I will actually often eat this as my lunch with some veggies & hummus. #AdultLunchable

From The Ground Up Snacks– Ok… here me out… cauliflower crackers. I promise they taste WAY better than they sound! These crackers come in your childhood favorite flavors… cheddar, nacho, pizza, & sea salt. 80 pieces only contain 100 calories & 18g carbs. Even better, they are also available on Amazon Prime. You can also use promo code: 20MAYSNACKS for 20% off.

Are there any other amazing GF Snacks I must try?! Comment below or on Insta and let me know… I’m always down 2 snack.

What I’m Packing: NYC

Fashion

I’m heading to NYC for the very first time in just two weeks! If you know me, you know I’m an earlier packer when it comes to trips… totally weird!

Since it will still be a bit chilly in NYC when we are there, I am packing lots of layers and basic pieces that can be mixed and matched. I threw in a cute dress to wear to Kleinfelds, and two jumpsuits for dinners/nighttime.

Shop what I’m packing here, be sure to scroll to the left to see all the items! Each item is ‘clickable’ to shop. Don’t forget, you can always ‘heart’ an item to get an alert when it goes on sale!

Coffee Shop Tour

Food

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I love a good coffee shop (and apparently I use the same caption every time… see photos below lol)! I do love my Starbucks, but honestly the best coffee around doesn’t come from this kind of chain. Below I am sharing some of my favorite coffee shops from the Chicago ‘burbs!

  • Sparrow Coffee: Hands down, my favorite. This place is so good, and the inside is one of the cutest coffee shops ever. It’s a refreshing addition to the chain-filled streets of Downtown Naperville!
    • My Order: Nonfat Caramel Latte (hot or iced) (in a ‘for-here’ cup, so they do the cute design of course.

 

  • Krema Coffee: This was such a neat addition to downtown Plainfield. Krema has a book/reading nook and the comfiest spots to camp out to work.
    • My Order: Flat White

 

  • Two Brothers: My favorite place to work! You’ve most likely heard of their beer, but their coffee is even better! Best part- free refills and my fav. breakfast!
    • My Order: Regular Coffee & A Bacon Egg & Cheese breakfast bowl

  • Calibre Coffee: This is in the South Barrington Arboretum, and the perfect stop for a coffee while shopping. I love their patio!
    • My Order: Iced Vanilla Latte

  • Brewpoint Coffee: Cutest little shop off of the Wheaton train stop… AND Gluten Free muffins!
    • My Order: Regular Iced Coffee & a GF Muffin

  • Endiro: Guys, saving one of the best for last. I ignored this place for FOREVER. It’s in the heart of downtown Aurora, which isn’t somewhere I go often… but it is amazing. The best almond milk latte ever (and its HUGE), amazing tea, and their food is great.
    • Caramel Almond Milk Latte & a Bacon, Sausage & Cheese breakfast sandwich on gluten free bread

Madewell Sale

Fashion

All products are linked to Nordstrom Rack where they can be purchased. Click the photo for more details.

This Nordstrom Rack Madewell sale is no joke. It may just be me, but I feel like Madewell never goes on sale. PLUS, it being at Nordsrom is the perfect way to rack up some Nordstrom points before the N-sale this summer!

Below are some of my favorite picks from the sale- if you like something jump on it fast! Most of my picks are work appropriate and under $50.

Image of Madewell Harper Suede Mule

SALE: $59 (Reg. $150)

These Mules are probably the best steal from the sale, I mean $100 off?! They’re paying YOU to buy these 😉

Image of Madewell Striped Tie Front Button Down Midi Dress

SALE: $60 (Reg. $138)

Such. A. Great. Deal. And, so many sizes left! How perfect would this be with a denim jacket?

 

Image of Madewell Clip Dot Patterned 3/4 Sleeve Blouse

SALE: $40 (Reg. $80)

This tie-front blouse is the perfect work to weekend top!

 

Image of Madewell Nolan Cardigan

SALE: $40 (Reg. $88)

A white cardigan is a spring/summer must have in Chicago!

 

 

Image of Madewell Northside Striped Vintage Tee

SALE: $14 (Reg. $18)

These short sleeve t’s are some of my favorites! This one would be so cute paired under the above sweater.

Image of Madewell Central Ruffle Sleeve Shirt

SALE: $36 (Reg. $55)

Such a cute spring transitional piece! Wear it with black jeans to the office, or white jeans and a cute pair of wedges for a super cute weekend look.

Image of Madewell Scoop Neck Pleated Top

SALE: $24 (Reg. $45)

$24?!? I need 100 of them. Click the photo to see all the other colors this work-appropriate top comes in!

Image of Madewell High Rise Skinny Jeans

SALE: $69 (Reg. $128)

There are still SO many sizes left in these jeans. I don’t care how many pairs you own, when Madewell jeans go on sale, you buy them. LOL.

 

 

 

 

Birthday Cake

Food

Well, it’s officially time for my quarter life crisis… I am 25!

I’m celebrating the only way I know how… CAKE. Being gluten free, I have been seriously deprived of birthday cakes the last few years (so sad).

I was so excited to find The Vegan Knife on Amazon… I bought one of her chocolate cake mixes right away. It was SO good. The Vegan Knife generously sent me one of their newer flavors, Birthday Cake, to review for my birthday!

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First off, how cute is this packaging?! It reminds me of my childhood. Also- I’m convinced everything tastes better when the package is cute… (wine especially)!

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I loved this cake flavor, it was so easy to make (just add milk, oil & vanilla!) and did not even taste gluten free! I was especially glad to see it didn’t require a stand mixer to make like many cake mixes.

And, LOOK how fluffy they are!! They actually rose up while baking, instead of coming out flat and sad like some GF cake mixes!

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The birthday cake flavor paired perfectly with a lemon cream frosting. I am sure it would have been just as delish as a cake.. or with chocolate frosting!

Other flavors include chocolate, vanilla spice and cinnamon sugar donut mix.

If you’re gluten free, vegan… or just want to support an amazing small business check out The Vegan Knife here on Instagram and here on Amazon Prime.

Smoothie Bowls

Food

Scroll to the bottom for my fav. smoothie recipe and a link to Lil Bucks.

In the last year, I have been on a total smoothie kick for breakfast or lunch!

I always try to include protein, fiber, fat, and some greens in my smoothies. (Thanks Kelly Leveque!)

Recently, I came across a new small-business in Chicago, Lil Bucks! These are mini sprouted buckwheat pieces that are perfect toppers for smoothie bowls, or used in place of granola on yogurt! ‘Lil Bucks are super high fiber and protein… and are gluten free!

I was lucky enough to receive all three flavors… and it is SO hard to pick a favorite! For my chocolate protein smoothies I have been loving the Cacao flavor. The Matcha is great on top of some greek yogurt!

Here is a recipe for my favorite morning smoothie/smoothie bowl to keep me full all the way until lunch!

Breakfast Smoothie

  • Half of one frozen banana
  • Almond milk- I normally eyeball the measurements for this, add more for a smoothie, less for a smoothie bowl
  • Handful of spinach
  • 2 scoops of chocolate peanut butter protein powder
  • 1 tbs chia seeds
  • 1 tbs almond butter

Blend all ingredients, and top with some ‘Lil Bucks and fruit to add some crunch.

‘Lil Bucks can be purchased directly from their website here, or on Amazon Prime here!

Do you have a favorite smoothie recipe? Share in the comments or on my most recent IG post- I am always looking for new, delish ways to start my morning!

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Spring Transitional Pieces

Fashion

All products are linked below and can be viewed by clicking the photo for quick & easy purchase!

Spring. I honestly feel like it can be one of the hardest seasons to dress for. You’re so over wearing boots… but it’s way too early for summer heels and sandals. It can also go from being 40 degrees in the morning to 70 in the afternoon… so there’s that.

Below are some of my favorite spring closet staples. To me, spring is all about lighter/distressed denim, chunky but lightweight sweaters, bralettes, and transitional shoes!

 


These sweaters are a perfect transition outfit! Order a size up for a slouchy fit, perfect to pair with a bralette for a pop of spring lace! I also love that these sweaters could be re-purposed as a summer outfit with a cute pair of shorts. OR, even worn again in the fall!

I love to transition my denim to be lighter in the spring. These are two options I own- and let me tell you, they are THE comfiest jeans ever. They are a bit of a splurge, but so worth it. Here are 2 options linked via prime- so you can try them out and ship back fo free if you don’t fall in love.

SPRING SHOES. Who else agrees these can be SUCH a struggle?! I am always standing in my closet trying to find a shoe that works in both 30 degrees and 40 degrees lol! Here are some of my favorites that I plan to invest in this season…

These wedges are so in right now! They are adorable with jeans or a dress/romper when it gets warmer.

I own these peep-toed booties and wear them more than any other shoe. Again, perfect almost year-round.


Another shoe that is in my work-wear rotation are these low-heeled booties. They literally go with almost any outfit!

Am I the only one that is SO glad my middle-school go to is back in style?! These are way more casual than the other options, but would still be so cute with jeans and a sweater for a casual weekend look. Not to mention- they’re $11 and GREAT quality.

Skincare Routine

Lifestyle

 

All items are linked and can be viewed in more detail or purchased by clicking each photo.

Skin. Care. Honestly, one of my favorite topics. I love buying/trying new products, and LOVE finding a good routine even more.

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This is my current skincare routine! I have been using this exact routine for about a year, and it has done wonders for my skin. I took out a lot of the harsh products I was using to ‘prevent breakouts’…. and realized my skin looked & felt better when I just let it be!

Recently I’ve been on a mission to find cleaner beauty products. Working for the American Cancer Society I am avid about my health and the scary places cancer-causing ingredients can hide… but my skin is something I never thought much about in that context! After researching some ingredients a couple of years ago, it got pretty scary seeing what kind of cancer-causing/just bad for you in general ingredients I was literally allowing to soak into my skin 2x a day!

Not all of these products are “clean”, but I would say about 80% of them are! Clean beauty can be so expensive, so I am just making an effort to find cleaner products one at a time as I use up current products!

Morning:

  • Wash: I shower in the mornings (and have a clean face from washing the night before), so in the shower I use this gentle scrub. I never use this unless I have a make-up free face.

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  • Prevention: I am somewhat addicted to these…. lol. I know they are not the best for my skin, but they are now the only Salicylic acid product I use… so I justify it that way 😉 I give my skin a quick swipe with one pad after getting out of the shower.

  • Moisturizer: Next, I swipe on my favorite product, this Neutregna moisturizer! There is also a version that contains SPF, but it feels to heavy for my liking so I add in an SPF next…

  • Prime: Before putting on my makeup I use a primer (I switch to one with SPF to protect against the sun in the summer or whenever I will be outdoors) to prep my skin for foundation!

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Night:

  • Wash: I use a more gentle cleanser at night than I do in the morning. I swear by this one! It is so gentle and takes off ALL my makeup (no need for gross-feeling eye makeup removers!) I am convinced that this face wash has transformed my skin.

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  • Prevention: Time for Noxzema pads again (I know, I know, you skincare gurus are all probably shaking your head at me because of how not-good these are for your skin!)

  • Brighten: One of my favorite steps, vitamin C serum! This serum is amazing for the price (only $20!!) and is made of all natural ingredients. I have seen a significant difference in the brightness of my skin tone since using this. Be sure to only use it at night, the vit. C can interact badly with the sun.

  • Moisturizer: Same moisturizer as the morning.

  • Under-Eye Care: I am always switching out my eye creams. Here are two very different ones I love:
      • Under-Eye Roller: I use this if my eyes are extra puffy/tired looking. It feels so good and I do see a difference in dark circles by the time I wake up!

    • Cream: I love this cream by Clinique when my eyes feel like they need a little extra moisture boost! This is also great as a spot treatment for other dry skin patches.

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Extras:

  • Favorite Face Masks:
    • Garnier Skinactive Moisture Bomb The Super Hydrating Glow Boosting Sheet Mask, 1.08 Ounce” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>Moisture Surge Sheet Mask
      • This mask is one of my favorites during the winter! I have NEVER seen results from a sheet mask- let’s face it, they’re just fun. But- this one made my skin so soft and glowing!
    • Clay Mask
      • Honestly, I SWEAR by this. It’s so affordable, lasts forever, and you see instant results. This is my go to when my skin is breaking out or just feels dull. 15 minutes with this guy on and you will feel like a new person. Not to mention its SO affordable.
    • Formula 10.0.6 Peel Mask
      • I only do this one before bed, because I find it to have a weird texture to put makeup on after. But, it’s great for a little extra brightening boost.
    • Under Eye Mask
      • My favorite after a stressful day, hours of crying during the bachelor, or for a little Sunday self care!

Feel free to reach out with any other skincare suggestions! I love trying new things!

 

Baby Shower Inspo

Lifestyle

‘Tis the season for Baby Showers & Wedding Showers! The last month or so of my life has been full of them, and I am honestly loving it! There’s nothing better than celebrating love and babies 🙂

This past weekend, my cousin and I hosted a “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” themed shower… complete with a “how we wonder what you are” pun since she doesn’t know the gender of the baby.

Below are some photos and details from the shower!

 

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This barn door made the perfect area for present-opening! It also served as the backdrop to most of the photos with the mom & dad to be.

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This diaper cake was made by Amy, it sat on the Diaper Raffle table. Guests were asked to bring a package of diapers to be entered to win a prize basket.

baby blocks

Photo Opp- these diaper boxes were wrapped in paper, and then made to look like child’s blocks for a cute photo opp when guests walked in!

 

This was an area where guests could vote on if they thought Baby K. will be a boy or a girl… boy won!

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These centerpieces were also made by Amy, they are just rolled up diapers tied together with burlap ribbon.

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The amazing cake one of the grandmas-to-be provided for the party.

Overall, Kelly & John’s shower was a success! We were so happy to be able to shower them with love… and mimosas ;)… for a whole morning!

amy and i