Summer in Chicago is like non-other. After the cooped-up, bitter cold, windy months of winter, everyone just wants to be outside! Whether that's laying out at North Avenue Beach, running along Lake Shore Drive, or walking on Michigan Avenue and perusing the store windows, everyone has something to think about that gets them through the months of December through April. Another favorite summer activity that many of us Chicagoans relish in taking part of are the infamous Chi-town weekend festivals!
There are so many fun, interesting festivals to go to and each offers something unique, different, and exciting.
A few that I'm a big fan of are the Taste of River North
(which basically takes place right outside my door), the Old Town Art Fair
, Summer on Southport
, Roscoe Village Burger Fest
, and the Sheffield Garden Walk
! Plus, some friends and my hubby and I already have tickets to year 1 of the Windy City Smokeout Festival
in River North and we couldn't be more pumped to try some damn good BBQ from the best of the best barbeque restos in the country!
Most of these festivals focus on a combination of food and drink, art, music, and jewelry.
Each one is always entertaining and always a blast!
Check out Metromix's 2013 Chicago Festival Calendar HERE. Have fun and happy weekend!
XO Dana Ivy
Although I have a million, I've never been a scarf-with-my-outfit type girl. Of course I wear scarves in the dead of winter, but as part of my outfit on your average spring or summer day, no thank you! I've always loved the way they look on people but when I go to put on one of the tons of cute scarves that I have in my closet, it never fails that I take it off not even a mere 60 seconds later. This has probably happened once a month for the past eight years, I kid you not, but do I still buy adorable scarves for myself that I see at Bloomies? Duh! Do I still attempt to wear them all the time even though I know in my head that I'm bound to change before even leaving my apartment? Yes, indeed. I don't know what it is but I've always had faith that one day something would click and I'd fall in love with my scarved-clad attire that be... and guess what??
To make a long story short, it happened!! A few weeks ago my mother-in-law forwarded me the latest Stella & Dot catalog and asked me what I liked in it... and although I love their jewels (I featured their super girly and chic baubles before on the blog here and here), ever since my engagement the only pieces of jewelry I religiously wear are my wedding
rings! I obviously checked out the catalog anyways and saw the cutest scarf, to which I wrote my mother-in-law back and told her that 1) she doesn't have to get me anything if that was why she was asking and 2) the one thing that did catch my eye was not their jewelry (which is what they're known for) but the Palm Springs Scarf in Turquoise Ikat
! A few weeks later, what do I get in the mail?? That very scarf!!!!! I immediately knew who it was from and tried it on right away... it only took me .25 seconds to realize that this one was not only a keeper, but that it is beyond adorable and I might just live in it! I love love loved the way it looked on me and right off the bat adored the material, the pattern, the color, and the size... This, my friends, is the PERFECT scarf! Since I received it last week, I have worn it way too many times to count already, always feeling trendy and cool while getting tons and tons of compliments on it. A few days ago I even ordered myself the red version of the same scarf and I was so excited when I came home today to see that it had already arrived! The best part though? These scarves won't just sit in my closet and take up space! You can dress them up or down and you can wear either of the colors anywhere your little heart desires.
Well, at least I will :)
Take a look at the scarf in action when the hubs and I went to Chinatown this past weekend for dinner:
Okay, so I know I'm hot on the Us Weekly references right now,
but my fav mag has continued to inspire me once again...(I'll tell you why in a second, but in the meantime,
did you check out my "What's In Her (Makeup) Bag?" post yet??)
As you know, I starting blogging on December 4th, 2012 and am having the best time with it. Writing is something that I've always enjoyed doing and everyday upon coming home from work, I look forward to sharing with you what's going on with me. Not only is it super fun to think about what my next post will be about, but I typically like to write either right after school (and let's be honest, when I say school, I really mean work (I am a teacher, after all)) and/or right before bed because I find it to be one of the most stimulating, yet calming forces in my life. It's weird to say out loud but since starting this new endeavor, I seriously thrive on hitting the sack knowing that I've just written a damn good blog post for my readers to wake up to :) Over the past 6 months, I have shared a lot about myself with you all, such as my absolute favorite wedding pictures from my big day, my must-download-now cell phone apps, my easy and delish all-time fav recipes such as this not-so-typical vegetarian stuffed pepper and my famous salmon patties, as well as my obsession with eos lip balm and my thoughts on everything from the Boston bombings to my dedication to bright colored nail polish, amongst others. And every time I post on a new topic, I aim to connect with my readers in some way; but obviously, there are so many things about me still to learn! With that, I thought it would be fun to take another cue from Us and share with you 25 Things You Don't Know About Me:
- My favorite food is shrimp, even though I was allergic to it for a few years and have gotten awful food poisoning from it.
- I studied abroad in London, England during the summer of '06 and before that, I went to Israel for 10 days on Birthright.
- Speaking of London, it is my second favorite city in the world to Chicago, where I was born, raised, and currently live.
- I'm kind of celebrity obsessed. I follow all my favs on instagram and when I'm in LA, I always make it my mission to hunt them down.
- My daily Starbucks Coffee drink of choice is a venti, decaf americano with one equal and one sweet-n-low. Yes, I only drink decaf.
- Bravo, HGTV, E, and the Style Network are my favorite television channels.
- I know I should wear sunscreen outside in the sun, but I usually don't and my shoulders always peel!
- Shopping is my cardio. Well, maybe it's not my cardio but I am damn good at it and get a thrill every time I purchase something new.
- Since I got engaged on 9/10/11, I have gotten a manicure every single week.
- My husband makes me a better person everyday.
- My birthday month, September, is my favorite month and 7 has always been my lucky number (still not sure why; I was born on the 5th).
- I've sat in many a TV show audiences before, such as Dancing with the Stars, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and back in the day I went to The Bozo Show, The Bonnie Hunt Show, and The Rosie O'Donnell Show.
- Deciding what to make for dinner stresses me out but once I'm doing it, I feel as calm as ever.
- One day I will drive a convertible.
- I have magnetic hands... don't ask.
- I'm a sorority girl: was in Kappa Kappa Gamma at IU and because of it, I made best friends for life.
- I've read all of Lauren Conrad's L.A. Candy fictional book series... and always look forward to the next one coming out.
- I can't wait for Homeland to come back on TV already!
Saul is my favorite character.
- I am really good at playing Tetrix, but I get addicted so I can't have it downloaded on my iPhone.
- I'm genuinely happy for my friends when good things happen to them. And I live for those moments!
- No trip will ever top my honeymoon. It was everything and more. Still think about it daily.
- I'd rather run outside than on the treadmill but living in Chicago doesn't always afford me that luxury.
- I still laugh at the fact that I was on the poms squad in Jr. High. So comical to me!
- My brother and I are really close and always have been. The buildings we live in are right next to each other!
- This is the most difficult list I've ever come up with!!!!!!!!!
Hope you enjoyed getting to know me a little bit better! Until next time.... Dana Ivy :)
It's Mother's Day!!
Happy happy to all the wonderful mothers out there! I know I already gave a fbook shout-out to my amazing momma and mother-in-law but just to reiterate, I truly am such a lucky girl to have these wonderful, positive, loving women in my life.
With that, I thought I would share a clip from The Ellen Show of this little 4-year-old boy that I absolutely adore. His name is Kai and he is just too.freaking.cute. Although slightly random, it's sure to put a huge smile on all the moms out there on their special day :)
Would you judge me if you knew I watched this clip already six times??
I meeeeeeeaaaaaaan, I die for little Kai!
XO Dana Ivy
Taking inspiration from my all time favorite
gossip magazine, US Weekly,
I thought I would write my own "What's In Her Bag?" post.
The "her" obviously being ME and instead of showcasing what's in my everyday bag, or my purse as some would call it,
I thought I would showcase what's in my makeup bag. Are you following this? Ok, good. So basically, see below for all the fab makeup products I am currently using at the moment...
*Not pictured: A concealer brush that I'm still on the hunt for (Any suggestions?? I'm using my fingers at the moment; probably not the best idea) and my NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base ($24.00), which I'm currently out of and need to buy another!
Obviously these are numbered in no particular order but if you're interested,
here is my exact makeup regimen:
First, I apply the BB cream to my face by dotting it on each cheek, my forehead, chin, and nose, and using my fingers to rub it in. Then, I apply the foundation followed by the under-eye concealer and face concealer, if needed.
Next, I dust on the bronzer and finish my face off with a sheer blush application.
Finally, I always finish with eyes last, making sure to apply my mascara right before I walk out the door!
Thoughts, comments, questions? Let me know because I'm here to answer! XO Dana Ivy
FOUR WORDS: to-die-for-delish
Clockwise from top: Funghi Pizza, Burrata, Grilled Calamari, and Black Spaghetti
Obviously you can't go to a resto like this without getting a glass of wine!
Desserts: ENOUGH SAID.
When I went? Been twice now, once when it first opened in July 2012 and then once earlier this month.
Who went? Isaiah and I went for the first time with a few other couples but our most recent trip (and the one I am basing my review off of) was just the two of us :)
Favorite part? The table service! And the bread basket served with the most unbelievable olive oil and balsamic I've ever tasted, made in house. To elaborate, our waitress was super nice, attentive, and personable. She totally took great care of us all night and was extremely knowledgeable on the menu. She was able to answer any q's we had prior to ordering and she was friendly in the perfect amount that you'd want your waiter or waitress to be friendly towards you. In addition, our bus boy was definitely on top of filling up our waters, taking away our plates and making sure we were happy diners. He had a big smile on his face the whole night and you could tell he loves his job. Regarding the bread basket, it was already at our table upon sitting down, complete with three different kinds of warm bread and some homemade crackers. The best combination was dipping the italian-style bread into the olive oil/balsamic concoction. I honestly could eat that as my meal... OH MY GD!
Least Fav Part? We got the Funghi Pizza, and although it said on the menu that the dish included radishes, we didn't realize there would be so many! It might have well been called the Radish Pizza! Needless to say, we tried taking them off and the pizza was left with no taste so we sent it back. We felt bad and weren't planning on saying anything but they could obviously see that we didn't eat it. With that, the waitress was super sweet (as I was saying...) and gave us dessert on the house!! The only other negative was that although we had reservations for 8p, we didn't end up getting seated until almost 8:30p and we were starving once we finally sat down!
Overall, would I go back? For sure! Next time though, I will go with the mentality that reservations don't really matter, because not only did that happen this last time we were there but I remember it also happening the first time with our big group. I loved the Black Spaghetti with chillies and would definitely get it again as well as their grilled calamari (named on the menu Cicoria) which was cooked to perfection. Also, I may be back sooner than later to buy a bottle of the Olive Oil and Balsamic which are sold at the restaurant and as I mentioned, are homemade and to-die-for-delish!! As far as the desserts go, let's just say that they tasted as good as they looked :)
Have you ever been?
If so, let me know what you thought in the comments section below!
Also, forward this review onto your friends and family and
pin it on Pinterest by scrolling over the pictures to the left
and clicking on the "Pin It" button!!
Piccolo Sogno Due is located at 340 N. Clark Street in the River North area of Chicago!
This is actually my mom's recipe but I've renamed it Man Pleasing Shrimp Creole because my hubby is obsessed. He absolutely loves it! I love it too and for more reasons than one: not only is it a super delicious, unique meal to serve, but I'm able to whip it up in no time! So so easy!!
- Put chopped veggies in a nonstick stove-top pan on medium-high heat and sauté with canola oil until semi-soft.
- Pour the can of stewed tomatoes and the can of tomato soup into pan.
- Mix well over veggies and smash stewed tomatoes in pan.
- Let simmer for 10-15 minutes. (stirring every few minutes)
- Pour all the thawed and washed shrimp into pan. Mix well and continue to simmer for about 3-5 minutes.
- Done! Take the pan off of the heat and serve over the rice or quinoa :)
There you have it.
You may or may not have leftovers... we usually do not!
No matter what, I know you'll be yearning for more. Enjoy!!
XO Dana Ivy
| |Instead of going into details on all the reasons why moms are so important to each & every one of us, I will just say this: MOMS ARE GREAT.
And because they are great, they get their own day. Which in my opinion, is much deserved. Yeah, sometimes they may get on our nerves (don't worry, Mom, I won't go into details) but for the most part, they are selfless human beings who only want the best for their children. I personally know that I'm doubly lucky to have not only the best Mom on Earth but a wonderful Mother-in-Law as well!
With that being said, Mother's Day is quickly approaching (It's Sunday, May 12th, ppl!) and it's time to step up your game on the gift front! If you've been reading my blog, you should have already created your personalized card for your oh-so-admirable mother. Now it's time to gather up the gifts and thank her for all that she's done for you, no matter how old you are or how far away you live from each other :)
So check out some of my fav Mother's Day gift ideas & start shopping, because no matter how much money you have to spend, your mom will LOVE you for your thoughtfulness, generosity, and appreciation of all that she's done for you.
I know smell is a personal preference but you can't go wrong with the Tocca Beauty Eau de Parfum Viaggio ($45), which is the most beautiful smelling collection of perfumes I've ever smelled! It comes with 3-.5 oz sizes of perfumes that are sure to make your mother smell better than ever! And the bottles are gorg, to boot!
This Rebecca Minkoff 'Mini M.A.C.' Shoulder Bag ($195) might be my favorite Mother's Day gift of all. Besides for coming in a ton of fun, bright, cool, hip colors, I think it's pretty self-explanatory why: just look at it! | |Give the gift of an experience with sidetour.com! If your mom lives in Chicago, Philadelphia, or Washington D.C., then you are in luck because SideTour is awesome! For Mother's Day, they have partnered up with H.Bloom and created a very special Mother’s Day gift package that consists of a Signature Selection Bouquet from H.Bloom, plus a $40 credit toward any SideTour experience, such as going to a Truffle-Tasting Party in Chicago, taking part in a jewelry-making class in NYC, or learning about digital photography in Washington D.C. Each SideTour experience is unique & different and there are so many to choose from, no matter what your mom loves to do!
If your mom is into jewelry, this is the perfect gift! The Stella & Dot Wanderlust Triple Wrap bracelet is adorable, affordable ($59) and comes in three different color patterns to match anyone's style. So freaking cute!!!!
Everyone loves getting new makeup brushes but nobody wants to spend the money on buying them! The Sephora Collection Prestige Luxe Brush Set makes for a thoughtful gift that is sure to put a big smile on any one of our mom's faces. Each brush serves it's own useful purpose and the collection comes in a super trendy quilted pouch. Perfect for traveling!
Which Mother's Day gift suggestion of mine is your fav? Let me know! XO Dana
Okay, okay, I know the title of this post is cliché but every year I pray it rings true. Thankfully, things are looking good on this beautiful first day of sunny May! Although I am pretty much gone every single weekend this month for weddings, I thought it would be fun to compile a list of things that I hope to do outside before May's end. This is the month in Chicago that people stop hermit-ing up in their apartments and start running along the shore of North Avenue Beach. Definitely one of my favorite seasons, I can't wait to take advantage of our lovely city.
MAY'S MUST DOs
1. Eat dinner at one of the many restaurants with outdoor patios. Such as (the new) Howells and Hood, Bridge House Tavern (which is on the river), and/or Quartino's (which is an oldie but a goodie!)2.
Head to the outdoor Green City Market
in Lincoln Park on a Wednesday or Saturday this month! May 4th is opening day.3. Spend a night at the beer garden roof top at Rock Bottom Brewery, overlooking the awesome Chicago views.
4. Take a Barre Bee Fit
class on the roof of Hotel Palamar (which begins on May 22nd at 6:30 am every Wednesday)5. Enjoy a day at the free Millenium Art Festival, which begins on May 31st
in Streeterville and is always a blast!
So there you have it. Time to enjoy all that's to offer during this beautiful month in Chicago!
I've already started, since as I'm writing this I'm sitting on my balcony listening to the birds chirping and singing, dogs barking and playing, and kids voices trailing...
and now it's time for me to go run along the beach!
What could be better?
PS What are your must-dos for this month? Let me know in the comments section below!
Although it's supposed to get cooler in the coming days,
I'm focusing on the NOW!
It's 85 degrees out in the Chi today & it's supposed to be equally as nice tomorrow, so in honor of the heat, take a look at a few pairs of flats that I'm absolutely coveting at the moment:
Click on each image to enlarge it! Click on the sandal names to buy it!
Each shoe is so different, yet they all serve their individual purposes as the PERFECT flat
to wear during this beauteous 85 degree weather!
XO Dana Ivy