Eeek, you guys, E and I leave in less than ONE week for our trip to South America. Back in February, I announced our big international adventure for 2017 was going to be a trip to Perú to hike Machu Picchu, and now I can’t believe it’s almost here!

It is no secret that I strongly dislike packing, like very much dislike it. Packing is my enemy.

Poor E usually has to deal with my incredible indecisiveness and dance party breaks into the wee hours of the night before we leave for a trip, but I’m determined to be ready wayyy ahead of schedule this time.


Me to my responsibilities as a packing llama: New phone, who dis? 

We fly out next Thursday, but I’m going to aim to have a majority of my packing done this weekend. *claps for self*

We’ll see. Wish me luck.

Regardless of what happens, I think I deserve brownie points, because we’re packing everything up in our Kelty Redwing 44 backpacks.

I looove this bag! Highly recommend it if you’re traveling abroad and want something that’s compact enough for international airlines (we had no problems using them as carry-ons), but spacious enough to fit all you’ll need.

After E and I graduated, we took these babies on a month long trip across Europe. I repeat, 30 DAYS – and they worked like a gem.


They’re such good quality, and available for a solid price online right now. We just bought one as a gift for my sister. It’s truly a symbol of adventure to me.

All that being said, these bags bring back all sorts of happy memories (did you know we got engaged on that Europe trip??), and I’m excited to break them out again!

Two little items I’m excited to be packing this time…my new stackable wedding bands from Qalo! These flexible, fun alternatives have been perfect to wear when staying active on the beach or at the gym.

I love that they’ll be perfect for our hike – no worry of banging up my real bands or anything happening to it while traveling. E got one too!


My last piece of news to share is that there are a ridiculous amount of adorable llama pics on the internet, FYI. Would you guys believe that when we were booking our hike with Alpaca Expeditions, I live chatted them to confirm we’d see llamas/alpacas on our trek because our hike description didn’t mention them, while others did…?

The answer was of course, yes. Hehe. I’m sure the person replying to me super enjoyed that. But hey, this is going to be my Emperor’s New Groove childhood dream come true!!

via Buzzfeed

Well, time I go back to googling packing lists in between my animal photo searches. Happy weekend, friends!

If you’ve got any Perú packing tips, comment away!

Days By Day

off the shoulder

It was toasty this past weekend, you guys! Well, at least by Chicago standards.

Not complaining though, because as much as I love fall and winter fashion, it feels good to show some skin and work on my tan! (I’ll forever be trying to beat my husband, Eric.)

I ran over to Old Navy last week for a workout top, and left with a few additional unplanned items –  including this fun off the shoulder piece!

off the shoulder

off the shoulder

Photos by Benavides Photography

I was immediately drawn to this one because of how bright and beautiful the color is. It’s definitely not a shade I owned, and I 100% needed it in my life (um, bonus it’s on sale for less than $15 right now, people).

To be honest, the florals had me feeling like I belonged in Barcelona or Hawaii instead of that Chicago dressing room…*sigh* note to self: book that beach trip I keep talking about.

If this color isn’t your favorite, have no fear! Old Navy had a whole wall of patterns, and I’ve rounded up a few other favorites I’ve come across below, because I think what really makes the look are the major summer vibes this style gives.



Old Navy
Lucky Brand

You can totally dress up off the shoulder tops with jeans and a cute pair of wedges, or wear it out and about for casual exploring with more laid back pieces. Same goes for dresses and rompers of this style!

I chose the latter this weekend, pairing my off the shoulder top with easy sandals (shout out Target’s shoe department, am I right?), old cut-offs (probably from a thrift store), and favorite cross body bag.

off the shoulder

Top | Shorts (Similar) | Sandals | Cross body

What are some of your summer style go-tos?? I want to hear!

In other news, E and I leave for Perú in just over a week, eeek! So while open toe booties are my ideal next purchase, I should probably hunt for the last of our packing list items instead…

Happy Wednesday, friends!

Days By Day

P.S. All photos taken + owned by Benavides Photography (Thanks, E!). In Chi and need a photographer? Send a note his way!

summertime in Chicago

Happy June, friends! AKA HAPPY SUMMER CHICAGO. Is there a more appropriate photo to represent this feeling than a movie in the park + rosé?

Well, fingers crossed, this beautiful mid-70 degree weather is here to stay.

I’m not gonna lie, y’all. May was tough, and that’s why I’ve been MIA these last few weeks. Eric and I had to go home unexpectedly for a series of unfortunate events, ranging from surgery to the loss of loved ones – the hardest being my family’s ten year old sweet pup, Gordo, to cancer.

If you’ve lost a pet before, than I know you know how it feels. There are just no words. They are true family members that grow up along side us.

summertime in Chicago

All that being said, the quality time with our families was so, so good and the break from everything else was much needed.

Now that we’re feeling recharged, it’s back to groovin’ and we are ready for summertime in Chicago! The people are out and about, ready to break out of their winter hibernation. It’s a pretty magical feeling – one that makes this city so special.

To celebrate this sweet new season around the corner, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite signs that it’s finally here in The Windy City.

{Paleteria Carts on the Beach} // Bring your cash folks! There’s nothing I love more on a warm Chicago day than hitting up the paleteria vendors on the beach. The authentic Mexican ice cream treats you can find are unbeatable and so delicious – my favorite are the cookies and cream popsicles!

summertime in Chicago

Spoiler alert: These treats can ruin exercise intentions, because sometimes you can’t help but stop for one. Oh, maybe that’s just me?

{Street Festivals} // To me, this is a quintessential sign of summertime in Chicago – street fests on street fests each week. Everyone has been locked up for 8 months, so now every weekend you can find multiple festivals happening across the city.

summertime in chicago

From the best hot dog round up to traditional German celebrations, there’s always something to explore! The best parts? Festivals are often free and come with awesome live music.

Side note: Tuesday movies in the park might not technically count as festivals, but they’re in this same category of awesomeness for us!

{Beaches & Balls} // This one’s pretty straightforward – the warmer it gets, the more packed the beaches get. Our favorite way to spend a Saturday includes tunes, snacks, and back-to-back sand volleyball games.

summertime in Chicago

It’s a strange concept to be laying out on the sand and turning around to a skyline, but it sure is pretty! (Also, confirming this is actual footage from a ChiTown beach.)

{Legs} // Until this month, I literally don’t think I had shown my legs outside since October? Well, except when I desperately ran to the drug store next to us for a dessert craving.

You know when those dresses, shorts, and skirts start showing up all over town, it’s a good sign. And sometimes, you just have to wear them and freeze a little because mind > matter.

summertime in Chicago

{Happy Pups} // It’s a sad sight to see all the cold doggies outside freezing their little bootys off with the rest of us during the winter because they have no choice – they gotta do their business!

That being said, you an tell it’s a good day when all the dogs are out with big smiles instead of pet sweaters. Running in the park, wind in their hair – Chicago summer pups are really living their best lives.

summertime in Chicago

Honoring Gordo with a photo from him soaking up the sun on Fourth of July a few years back. I know he would’ve freakin’ loved summertime in this city.

Now, I’m hoping I totally didn’t just jinx us with all this talk! What are the key signs of summer where you live??

Days By Day

five years

Happy Monday, friends! No start of the week blues over here today, because it’s a special milestone for Eric and I. We’re celebrating five years together and we’re pretty excited about it.

This past Saturday also marked six months of marriage, so I guess you could say the past few days have been full of all the extra giddy feels.

E and I are by no means relationship experts, but after reflecting on these five years, we couldn’t help but think back on all that we’ve learned. The more we got to chatting, the more I realized there were a solid five lessons we were most passionate about when it came to our relationship.

five years

Since I’m always one for learning and growing, it was important to me to take time to reflect and share these nuggets E and I hold strong to.

So here they are folks, our five lessons for five years!


{Celebrate the little stuff.}

I know some people might be chuckling at the thought of us making a big deal out of six months of marriage, but hey, that’s exciting to us! Half-way through our first year?! Time flies and we’re loving every minute of it.

My whole point here is even if it might be a smaller milestone, or a less significant event, always find reasons to celebrate! An anniversary (no matter how long), pretending to be adults with your very own phone plan, heck, even having enough willpower to only eat out once during the work week…if it’s a big deal to you, then it’s worth calling out.

five years

Our go-to is usually the donut shop at our corner, picking up a bottle of wine for dinner at home, or a good ol’ mini dance party. The point is take a second to cheer about the little stuff – it keeps life fun and exciting!

{Having different opinions is a good thing.}

E and I don’t agree on everything. We have different view points on a lot of things and I think that’s healthy. It brings fresh perspectives to our conversations and challenges us to learn from each other. It also encourages a healthy dose of respect.

I think being generally aligned in core beliefs is always a good thing, but thinking differently helps us grow and stay open minded.

five years

{Work towards your goals together and encourage each other.}

This goes for individual goals and mutual ones. I’m passionate about writing and blogging. Eric has really dived into his love for photography this year. We both get really excited in cheering each other on as we pursue these hobbies – and we keep each other accountable in not giving up.

This could look like us both heading to a coffee shop in the evening to knock out some posts or editing, giving one another honest feedback, or just reminding each other that we are kicking butt and making progress when we feel discouraged.

five years

All this applies to our mutual goals too. E and I want to move abroad in a few years. We would love to have our own business one day and/or be able to work from wherever our adventures might take us. We know these things take time and will challenge us, but how cool that we can work towards them as a team??

{You should always be “dating.”}

Even though we’re married, we still consider ourselves to be dating.

Dating, to me, means always striving to learn more about each other – after all, we’re still changing and growing with age. It means it’s important to carve out time for just us, without distractions or stresses. It means we genuinely love spending time together, and making each other feel noticed and cherished.

five years

Whether it’s planning special date nights that are more than just a dinner out, surprising each other with new adventures, or sharing sweet compliments – keeping the dating mindset alive is something we strive to do.

{Make each other the priority.}

This one’s pretty straight forward. Aside from our relationship with God, E and I’s number one priority is the other person. No matter what. Period.

As husband and wife, we’re committed to taking care of each other. We know if our relationship isn’t solid, than the other things around us will suffer. We make the choice daily to love the other unconditionally and invest in our relationship. In turn, we can love others well and focus on our other priorities together.

five years


I’m currently sitting across from E, dressed in a red plaid button up and a backwards Cubs hat, and thinking about how freakin’ awesome (and handsome) he is. Thankful for this human and the fact that I’m the lucky lady who gets to spend forever with him.

Have your own relationship lessons to share?? I’d love to hear ’em! As I said, always learning and growing – that’s my jam.

Days By Day

monogrammed case

I thought we had turned a corner with the weather in Chicago, but the past weekend proved me wrong with all the rain and wind!

As we navigate the back and forth transition I’ve had a few staple pieces with me, the first being my favorite JCrew coat that’s perfect for those cooler days. It’s unfortunately out of stock now since the height of the winter season is over, but it comes back each year – so keep your eye out this fall!

monogrammed case

Two more recent items I’ve picked up are not only stylish, but so functional – my new Nike Roshe kicks and a gorgeous phone case from SOFRANCISCO.

I’m always a fan of white, especially when it comes to casual shoes. I swear by my white converse, but was wanting for another relaxed look I could wear all spring and summer. Not only is the Roshe line so comfortable, it honestly just makes me feel instantly 10 times cooler than I am.

monogrammed case

Now about this new phone case. I feel like a fresh case almost makes you feel like you got a new phone, right? Well, my scratched plastic one was on quite the downhill trajectory, so this classic looking beauty has me very happy.

You guys know I’m all about unique finds, so when SOFRANCISCO reached out to me about their pieces crafted from soft, hand-picked Italian leather I was definitely excited. Each case offers a different color block combination – isn’t the blue and cream combo cool?

monogrammed case

monogrammed case

I think the major reason this accessory is so special to me is because it’s the first item I have with my new monogram since marrying E last fall! I’ve already talked about how changing my last name on social was a surreal experience. It was kind of another crazy first seeing these three letters printed in person.

I love it.

monogrammed case

SOF offers complimentary monogramming on any piece, which I really think makes the case a mark of pride or a meaningful gift.

Now I know we’re all like wow, super cute but like does it protect the goods?? The case is very lightweight, but feels very durable. My phone snaps in securely so I know I can look good, but feel good too – because let’s be real, phones aren’t cheap!

Now seems about a good time as any to share when the cool factor of my Nike kicks started getting to my head…

monogrammed case

CoatSimilar| Sweater (similar) | Leggings | Shoes | Purse | Case

Interested in snagging a case for yourself or a loved one?? SOFRANCISCO has been so kind and wants to offer my amazing readers 30% off with the discount code DAYSBYDAY.

Happy Wednesday, friends! We’ve made it halfway through the week – now who else is counting down to tacos and margs for Cinco de Mayo??

Days By Day

Thanks to SOFRANCISCO for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own. 

All photos taken + owned by Benavides Photography (Thanks, E!). In Chi and need a photographer? Send a note his way!