Monday, December 31, 2012

Holiday: A Thank You.

Happy New Year's Eve, loves! I'm (about to be) back in Minneapolis and couldn't be more excited to ring in the new year with loved ones and friends.

With only a few hours left in 2012, I think a thank you is in order. 2012 was so good to me, and I have a lot to be thankful for!

In 2012, I rang in the new year with my love and celebrated in style. I fell head over heels on Valentine's Day and spent a tipsy St. Patrick's Day in Chicago with some great friends. I finished my last semester in college and graduated. I graduated! I received my first big-girl job offer and happily accepted! I moved into my own little studio apartment in my new neighborhood, Lowry Hill and explored like crazy. I found my new favorite restaurant (The Lowry), ice cream parlor (Sebastian Joe's), hair salon (The Fox Den), nail salon (Always Nails), coffee shop (Spyhouse), thrift store (Steeple People) and (soon-to-be) gym (Uptown YWCA) all within walking distance of my new brownstone. And pizza joints in my neighborhood, don't worry, I found those too! I spent summer days in Wisconsin with family and in Minnesota with friends and spent a wonderful Labor Day weekend in the woods with the McCarthys. I wished Jack a happy 23rd with homemade food and threw him surprise birthday bash at a favorite Lowry Hill haunt. I welcomed my favorite season, fall, with apple picking, halloween movies and lots and lots of cooking. I hosted family members at my apartment for fun weekends in the city, headed home for Thanksgiving and was all-too hesitant to welcome the first-snow (a blizzard)! I celebrated the holidays with my family with presents, food and a Packer game at Lambeau field. And last but not least? I celebrated Christmas and my birthday with my lovely boyfriend and headed to the Dominican for a much-needed getaway. I've fallen more in love with Jack, my family, myself and my life. 2012, you've been good to me.

While it's bittersweet to say goodbye to 2012, I'm excited to see what 2013 has in store! 

Cheers, loves! Time to pop the champagne!

 - C

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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Style: White Lace in Winter?

The answer? Yes! You can wear white lace in winter. Forget what you've heard about "no white after Labor Day." In this case, white lace is 100% acceptable and very holiday-chic, if I do say so myself.

Wonder how to do it? Here's my take. While white lace is typically a summer fabric, white is also a great color to wear during the holidays. Dressed up with another festive color such as red, green, navy, black or gold, this look is chic and gives you a great excuse to re-wear your favorite summer staple.

I hope you like this look as much as I do! (Sidenote: I'm wearing a similar outfit tonight!)

 - C

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Style: NYE Dresses

After another wonderful Christmas, it's onto the next holiday - New Year's Eve! And if you're like me, that means one thing... it's time to go dress shopping.

Unfortunately, I did not do my shopping ahead of time this year (I know, I can't believe I was so unprepared!) And being in the Dominican, I think I've lost my opportunity. But lucky for you, there's a few days left to shop or order online!

New Year's Eve attire typically consists of cocktail dresses adorned with glitter, sequins or gems. And sometimes, it's nice to stick to tradition. It's time to glam it up!

Whether you're into light or dark colors for the big night, these dresses have it all - style, class and sparkle. Happy shopping!

 - C

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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Holiday: Today, I am Thankful

Merry Christmas, loves! While I find myself especially thankful on Christmas, each and every day I am thankful for the life I have. A wonderful family, loving boyfriend, a job I love, an education... the list goes on and on. Not to mention, this blog post is coming to you from a beach in the Dominican Republic. Thankful doesn't even begin to describe it.

And Jack, even though we're a thousand miles away, I love you with all my heart. Merry Christmas, darling.

 - C

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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Travel: Heading South.

Hola darlings! If you're reading this, I'm that means I'm far away, on a beautiful beach in the Dominican. While I wish you were here with me, I do wish you a Merry Christmas Eve, wherever you are! Enjoy your holiday, and I'll be back soon!

 - C

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Celebrate: All that Glitters is Gold.

Today is especially golden for me - it's my golden birthday! 22, you've been great. But 23? I just can't wait to see what you bring!

To Jack and my family - thank you for making this day so special.  Onto 23!

 - C

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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Travel: Up in the Air.

Hi darlings! Today, I'm flying from Minneapolis to Milwaukee to meet my family before heading off to the Dominican Republic for the holidays. With one flight today and another tomorrow, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to talk about holiday travel, and how to make the best of your time up in the air at 30,000 feet.

Before You Fly:
1. Update your playlists. Nothing is worse than being on a flight with nothing to listen to. Seeing a local band in the next few months? Upload their latest album. It'll be new music to your ears (literally) and will help you learn the lyrics before their show. That's what I'm doing! 
2. Pack your carry-on wisely. For me, this means a good book, headphones, lotion, chapstick, chewing gum and my wallet. Keep your bag small and light so it is as easy to carry as possible.
3. Check your flight status. Make sure you know your flight number, layover city (if you have one) and what gate you'll be boarding from. Most importantly, especially with the snowy Midwest weather, check to see if any flights are delayed at your airport (hopefully yours won't be!)
4. Wear the right outfit. While comfort is key, looking nice is just as important. Black leggings with a winter sweater or a blazer, a cute necklace and boots is a great look for traveling.

While On Board:
1. Be respectful of the passengers around you. Avoid eating odorous food, taking up the entire armrest or reclining your seat to its full extent. 
2. Use the restroom before the flight takes off, if possible. By doing so, you'll get to forego the long line once the crew says it's free to move about the cabin.
3. Be polite. Say hello to those sitting next to you, but don't feel you need to have a long conversation. Many passengers look forward to the alone-time they have while traveling, and prefer to read or sleep.

Safe travels during the holidays!

 - C

Friday, December 21, 2012

Celebrate: Love and Creme Brulee.

Hi darlings! What are you doing this Friday evening? I'm celebrating my birthday with that handsome stud down there at one of our favorite Twin Cities restaurants, Salut Bar Americain. An evening spent with my love, some champagne and creme brulee? I have to say, this might just be my best birthday yet. 

I hope you have a lovely evening as well!

 - C

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Travel: Holiday in the Heat.

It's good to see you again! I love guest-posting with Shop With Sarah, and was fortunate to do so again yesterday! In case you missed it, take a look at these must-haves for a holiday spent on the beach!

   Being from the Midwest, once the first snow falls, it’s easy to forget that sunscreen, bikinis and sundresses even exist. So, when leaving the bitter cold and snow for a week filled of sand and sun, it’s nice to be reminded of the essentials.

And here they are! From sunscreen to lip balm and a cotton maxi, these items are the key to any holiday spent on a beach.

Enjoy, and happy sunning!

-       C

P.S. Consider putting these must-haves in your carry-on – heaven forbid your luggage gets lost, you can survive on these for a day or so!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Style: Guest Post || Shop with Sarah || Winter Leg Wear

Hello Twentyapolis readers! I’m so happy to be back after a few weeks away!
With Christmas just a week away and winter in full swing, it’s time to bundle up and keep warm for the next few months. One of my favorite ways to do so is by layering with soft fabrics and chic knits. While we’re no stranger to layering our top half – sweaters, scarves, vests – legs get cold too! From colored skinny jeans to opaque tights to warm leggings, this winter it’s all about creative ways to keep legs covered and cozy. Start layering from the bottom up with these trends.
A perfect addition for tall boots, these knit socks are sure to keep you toasty whether you’re at home or out running errands.
Bootights, Bootights
Exactly as the name suggests, these tights have a pair of socks built in. With an assortment of patterns to choose from, these tights have everything you need from control top to a soft waistband to keep you looking great and warm! Brilliant.
A winter wardrobe is not complete until you’ve stocked up on opaque tights. Soft, stretchy and adorable with pretty much any shoe, what more could you ask for?
I’m somewhat of a leggings-snob since I pretty much live in them from October to May. Of all the leggings I own, these super soft fleece-lined leggings are the best. They look great under skirts, dresses or even with a big comfy sweater!
A new love of mine this winter is corduroy. These casual skinny cords from Gap are available in a variety of fun colors, and look great when work with ballet flats, a comfy tee and the biggest scarf you can find.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Blog: Guest Posting

It's that time again, Twentyapolitans! Tomorrow I'll be blog-swapping with Sarah of Shop With Sarah! Want a sneak-preview of what Sarah will be posting? Think legs. And what I'll be posting on her blog? Think beach.

Hope you're excited!

 - C

Monday, December 17, 2012

Life: Black and White.

Happy Monday, loves! Before we start on another beautiful week, I can't move forward without expressing my sadness regarding the tragic events that took place in Newtown, CT last week. It reminded me how dear family and friends are to me and how short life can be. It inspires me to continue to try to live in the moment, as we have no guarantees of tomorrow.

Speaking of inspiring, lately I have been inspired by photos of love, particularily in black and white. I have always gravitated toward black and white photographs, and during the cold and dreary winter months, I seem to be drawn to them more and more. Below are some of my favorite black and white photographs of love.

What inspires you this week? 

 - C

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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Celebrate: Birthday Girl.

Today, Twentyapolis is dedicated to the birthday girl - my dear mom, Jessie! Mom, you're phenomenal, and this day is all about you!

On your birthday, I hope you sleep in late and sip cups of coffee all morning long. I hope you read your favorite book, enjoy an afternoon nap and get all dolled-up for a night on the town with Dad. I hope you enjoy at least two old fashioneds with dinner, watch a great movie before bed and declare this day one of your best yet.

Happy birthday, Mom, to my very best friend. Enjoy your day!

- C


Friday, December 14, 2012

Style: For Her || Under $50

While Christmas is only days away (literally, days!) we've still got some shopping to do. And this time, we're shopping for the women in our lives. Whether you're buying a gift for your mother, sister, grandmother or bff, the gifts below (all under $50) will make both her and your wallet happy this season.

If she's a novice in the kitchen, consider buying her a French press or the Winter Harvest Cookbook. While practical, these gifts are welcome additions to any kitchen (and who doesn't love a hot cup of coffee and home-cooked meals in the winter?)

If you're buying for a student or recent graduate, a planner and business card holder are perfect to keep her organized in 2013. Not to mention, they're incredibly chic and made to last (thank you, Kate Spade!)

If you're looking to give a seasonal gift, consider a warm winter hat, energizing oil or festive phone case to help beat the winter blues. This hat from Gap is a steal at only $20 and looks oh-so comfortable for chilly winter days. The lightweight oil from Aveda is perfect for baths, body and scalp and smells ah-mazing. And how can you say no to that festive hot pink Kate Spade phone case? You just can't.

And for the Little Miss Glamour on your list, make her holiday sparkle (literally) with a glittery belt and nail polish. The J. Crew belt and fantastic seasonal polishes are perfect to help her spruce up her holiday wardrobe. Want to go the extra step? Add a little dazzle to her ears with a pair of classic pearl earrings.

I hope this helps, loves! Happy shopping!

 - C

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Style: For the Host and Hostess || $50 and under

Happy Thursday, Twentyapolitans! This evening, I'll be attending the boyfriend's work holiday party.  As one of many holiday parties I'll be attending this season, it's important to remember the host and hostess! Whether it's a new acquaintance or a good friend, it's always a good idea to bring a little something to show your appreciation for being invited.

While a bottle of wine is a failsafe (and classy) option, below are a few other gifts to give the host and hostess this season. From seasonal candles and tea to cheese trays and holiday cards, there is something for every host or hostess (and for every budget.)

Enjoy, and happy holiday partying!

 - C

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Life: On Speaking with Purpose.

I saw this on Pinterest and couldn't help but repin. An avid reader, I've always prided myself on having a thoughtful vocabulary. But between rushed emails, meeting notes, scribbled thoughts and the never-ending stream of text messages on my phone, I know my vocabulary has started to slip.  

When I saw this post, I was reminded how important it is to have a strong vocabulary and to say exactly what you mean. I'm going to work harder to speak with purpose. And I'll be using these words much more often to do so!

 - C

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Monday, December 10, 2012

Beauty: Obsessed with Ombre.

Every so often, I start craving a bit of change. It's almost always subtle - a new haircut, new wall art or a reorganization of my apartment. And currently, I'm in need of something new.

And I know just what that is.

Once I saw these photographs, I fell. Deeply, madly, truly in love with the ombre hairstyle. Natural, effortless and sun-kissed, I think I need it.

What are your thoughts on the ombre style? Should I go for it?

 - C

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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Holiday: Over the River and Through the Woods.

Hello darlings! In lieu of posting, I'll be spending the weekend at home in Wisconsin celebrating the holidays with my family. Have a lovely weekend, and be merry!

 - C

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Style: For Him || Under $50

It's that time of year again, Twentyapolitans, time to shop for the men in our lives. Whether it's your dad, brother or boyfriend who are making your shopping a little difficult this season, fret no further. The gifts below are sure to make every man on your list merry this season. The best part? They all come in at under $50.

For any Midwesterner, a scarf is a vital necessity for almost every season {seriously}. This oversized plaid scarf from Gap is not only stylish, but warm and affordable. And not to mention perfect for anyone on your list. Speaking of plaid, Banana Republic is featuring that stylish plaid shirt below for a steal of a deal right now. And in five separate colors, really, how can you say no?

If you're not interested in buying clothing, consider something practical. The leather card holder from J. Crew and shave set from Saks Fifth Avenue are both luxurious and sensible and are staples in any man's wardrobe.

Speaking of a man's wardrobe, Dressing the Man is a great coffee table book and read for anyone interested in men's style. While it's not for everyone, this could be just the gift your someone was looking for.

If you're shopping for the outdoorsy type, the Zippo handwarmer is a must-have item. Perfect for hiking, camping, a snowy gameday or even chilly day at the bus stop, the handwarmer is stylish and most importantly reusable. Going green while keeping warm? Works for me. If your "outdoorsy" guy is a little bit more on the indoorsy side, the faux wood iPhone case from Fossil strikes the perfect balance.

And last but not least, if your gent' likes to entertain, consider a set of rocking whiskey glasses or a trendy cookbook. Filled with hearty dishes and classic drink recipes, The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook can help make any party one to remember. If your man was to own a cookbook, he'd want to own this one.

Happy shopping!

 - C
scarf || card holder || shaving set || phone case || hand warmer || glasses || book || shirt || cookbook
|| Handwarmer provided by Zippo.||

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Recipe: Tuscan Sausage Soup

When the temperatures drop, there's nothing I crave more than a delicious, hearty soup. And this past weekend, I just had to indulge. Behold, my first homemade soup attempt ever: Tuscan Sausage Soup!

I found the original recipe from Feast on the Cheap. On a side note, if you haven't visited their site before, you should. The mother daughter duo behind the website offer budget conscious recipes that are low on cost, but not on taste. If the rest of their recipes are even half as good as the Tuscan Sausage Soup, I know I'll be back searching for more. So here it is!

Tuscan Sausage Soup


2 lbs sweet Italian sausage (mild works fine, too)
3 carrots, peeled and chopped (or 1/2 bag baby carrots, chopped)
1 sweet onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
3 quarts chicken broth
2 cans (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, with juice
2 cans (15 oz) cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 box (16 oz) shell pasta, uncooked
8 oz spinach leaves
Salt and pepper
Grated parmesan cheese


1. Brown sausage in a large soup stockpot. Make sure to break apart the sausage as you brown it.
2. Add the onion, carrots and garlic. Cook until onions and carrots are tender (about 10 minutes, depending on stovetop heat.)
3. Add the chicken broth, tomatoes, cannelini beans, basil and shell pasta. Cook until soup comes to a boil, and then let simmer for 15 minutes.
4. Add spinach. Cook until spinach has wilted.
5. Add salt, pepper and parmesan cheese if desired. Eat and enjoy.

|| in progress || complete ||

 - C

p.s. feeling a little under the weather? Me too. Trust me, this helps.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Style: Getting Cozy

There is nothing I love more {especially in the winter} than being comfortable. Wool socks, leggings, oversized cable knit sweaters - it's all in my repertoire. And when it comes to Christmas morning, my family agrees with me.

My family celebrates the holiday first thing after waking up. As soon as the coffee is made, candles are lit and the holiday music is playing, it's time to sit back, relax, and enjoy each-others' company... and open a few presents.

The best part is that there is no recommended attire for the event - come as you are is the general consensus. And for us, that means ugly holiday sweaters or pajamas. This is one of the many reasons I love my family so much.

And if you're in the market for a new pair of pajamas this holiday season, below are a few of my favorite sets. Stylish and affordable, these pajamas will keep you comfy and cozy all season long.

 - C

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Life: Hello, December

Hi loves! I hope you all had a fabulous December weekend. Even though the temperatures are dropping and my wardrobe is getting cozier by the minute, I'm feeling more productive than ever. This weekend, I made my first homemade soup ever (more on that later), attended my company's holiday party and went on a date with the must handsome stud I know. December is off to a great start.

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And I don't plan on slowing down. In December, I plan to:

1. Wrap each and every gift I purchased
2. Make homemade hot cocoa
3. Buy the perfect New Year's Eve outfit
4. Hang mistletoe in my apartment
5. Decorate sugar cookies
6. Have a snowball fight
7. Relax in front of a fireplace
8. Spend time with family and friends
9. Ring in my golden birthday in style (December 23rd!)
10. Make {yet another} hearty winter soup

As for blog posts in the coming weeks, look for holiday gift guides for him and her, gifts for the hostess, holiday jingles, easy ways to decorate and must-have holiday goodies.

Happy December!

 - C

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Blog: Guest Post || Shop With Sarah || Look Lovely in Lace

Hello Twentyapolis readers! I’m delighted to be back once again, this time to talk about one of my favorite trends we’re seeing this winter – lace!
Timeless and chic, the lace trend we loved so much this past spring and summer is moving into winter with us. While you might have scooped up a light colored lace dress over the summer, dark lace dresses have been popping up in stores everywhere as we head into the cold months. 

      || banana republic ||                            || loft ||                                  || h&m ||

In addition to all of the gorg lace dresses out there, we’re seeing this trend surface in other garments and accessories as well. Try a pair of pants with lace embellishments for the office, a lace sweater for a casual weekend look or scarf with lace trim.

              || ann taylor ||                              || j. crew ||                            || nordstrom ||
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