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!

cocktail hour

Happy Monday, friends! Keeping it positive on the blog because the weather was very bleh this past weekend, and there’s more rain in the forecast.

That being said, I’m escaping to some prettier weather with today’s post! I’m so excited to finally be sharing Part III of Eric and I’s wedding – the dreamy sunset at cocktail hour, during which Feather & Twine snapped some of our favorite photos from the whole day.

While it had rained a bit earlier, the sky cleared to an incredible outpouring of sunshine and rainbows for the ceremony (read more in Part IPart II)! I’m in awe every time I think back to how lucky we got and how amazing our team of family, friends, and vendors were in making it the most perfect event.

wedding part II

Read below for details on the fairytale that went on while our guests mingled at cocktail hour…I can’t wait for you to see!

*****

After the ceremony and our pre-first dance sway (actual first dance?) to a fantastic mariachi band – we ventured off to a big, beautiful field on our venue’s property to take pictures while guests enjoyed chips, queso, and drinks.

Side note – queso was a requirement for our wedding because it is our all-time favorite. Don’t you worry, I definitely made sure to eat some at the reception.

Ok back to the field. Such a gorgeous setting, right?!

cocktail hour

cocktail hour

cocktail hour

cocktail hour

cocktail hour

Props to our wedding party that trekked into the grass without any hesitation, even though an hour ago it was pouring. They’re the best humans. I’m not sure how E and I got so lucky to have these friends who are actually our family.

And in case you were wondering, the field wasn’t so messy after all! We had so much fun laughing, swinging flowers around, and trying to walk while still looking oh-so-graceful for our photographers, Kelsey and Talon, and videographer, David.

We’re beyond thankful for those friends too, and their incredible talent.

cocktail hour

cocktail hour

Ugh, these girls. They’re so inspiring, funny, brilliant, and stunning.

They all picked such fabulous dress styles. I landed on this deep wine shade fairly quickly because it fit fall perfectly, while bringing such elegance to the whole wedding.

There was never a set style though, I knew every one was different! I wanted my girls to feel beautiful and comfortable in whichever look they chose. I also just really loved the mismatched yet coordinated vibes of it all!

cocktail hour

cocktail hour

These dresses are Nouvelle Amsale designs. I highly recommend this line if you’re looking for beautiful pieces that won’t break the bank! They were also breathable and movable – perfect for a Texas wedding with lots of dancing.

We ordered them through Bella Bridesmaids in Austin – but with their locations all across the country, the shopping experience was a breeze. I love these dresses, and these ladies!

cocktail hour

cocktail hour

I can’t forget about these guys though. Beyond handsome, of course!

E and I were set on navy from the start. We struggled to find the perfect suit at a fair price for the groomsmen to rent, but then The Black Tux came to our rescue!

cocktail hour

cocktail hour

cocktail hour

cocktail hour

Trust me, I was skeptical at first with the whole online rental, arrives just a few days before the wedding scenario, but The Black Tux makes the whole process SO easy.

I mean, did I marry James Bond over here??

cocktail hour

During this time, I also made the transition from veil to flower crown. From the minute we began planning, I knew I wanted to wear one of these beauties at some point on our day.

Fresh flowers are my absolute favorite, so not only were the floral details around our wedding so precious , but this delicate, wax flower piece Wild Bunches created just for me had me feeling like I jumped straight out of a Disney story.

cocktail hour

cocktail hour

I’ll be talking about it, and that magical bouquet for the rest of my life. Sorry not sorry.

Taking some intimate photos of just E and I after the whole bunch with our wedding party was really special. We love, love, loved our first look (maybe our fave part of the whole day!), but snapping some as Mr. & Mrs. with no one else around, as the sun settled into a dreamy dusk, was completely romantic.

cocktail hour

cocktail hour

cocktail hour

cocktail hour

cocktail hour

Our lovely Memory Lane coordinators, who ensured the whole day went off seamlessly, eventually had to usher us back towards the reception hall to keep the party going. We were out there having way too much fun!

cocktail hour

cocktail hour

The next few moments were filled with ridiculous laughs and coordinated dance moves as we prepared to be announced into the reception with our wedding party, just outside the doors of the hall. So and so would be carried on so and so’s shoulders, those two were going to pretend to play some 1:1 basketball, and E and I may have decided to shuffle then chest bump.

It was finally time to celebrate with our loved ones and we couldn’t wait!

*****

We definitely were ready to party with family and friends, but let’s be real, we were also ready for some tacos, cake, and a good ol’ beer too!

These sunset photos are so near and dear to my heart. As I mentioned, we truly loved the whole wedding planning process, and these swoon-worthy moments remind me how all that hard work paid off.

Stay tuned for the final piece of the puzzle, Part IV: The Reception! Can you guess the 90s movie theme song we entered to after taking a poll from the wedding party??

Hint: A famous Chicago Bulls basketball player starred in the film.

Days By Day

unique gift

How are we already over half way through April?? Time is flying by, and with Mother’s Day, graduations, and Father’s Day over the next couple months, we’ve got special celebrations coming up.

That’s why I’m so excited to have collaborated with JORD to bring you some unique gift inspiration, along with an easy to enter contest!

I’ve always loved watches. Not only do they serve as the perfect arm candy, but they’re a practical accessory to invest in! I’ve had a few pretty time pieces over the years, but never one made of 100% natural wood like this.

unique gift

As soon as I came across JORD’s wood watches, I knew there was some real art here. I had always worn a metal watch, and just knew I had to change it up with one of these special accessories.

From the beautiful packaging to the colorful faces, these watches bring a different flair from the moment you receive them.

unique gift

Photos: Benavides Photography

Because I’m a fan of larger faces, selecting a piece from JORD’s Frankie series was an easy choice! How cool is that dark sandalwood and emerald face combo? A dreamy combo in my book.

For its first wear, I paired my watch with a casual white maxi to let it be the real star of the show, but it truly goes with everything! Another reason I love this statement piece so much – it stands out while fitting seamlessly with my wardrobe.

unique gift

unique gift

unique gift

Earlier this month I had been thinking, what do I gift my sweet mama for Mother’s Day this year? What’s fitting for the most wonderful woman in the whole world? Once I had this JORD watch on my wrist, it hit me. She’s got nothing like this. Mom needs a piece as one-of-a-kind as her!

I’ve been combing through the women’s watches and just can’t decide yet – there are so many beautiful combinations.

And don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about dads! There’s actually something for everyone. Wait until you see all the styles in JORD’s men’s section.

unique gift

This shop offers a variety of combos – from zebra, olive, and koa woods to rose gold, smoke, and midnight blue faces – how could you not come across the perfect fit for a loved one?

Or hey, for you. Because #treatyoself, am I right??

So whether you’re in need of a unique gift for mom, dad, an upcoming grad – or looking to change up your go-to watch with a fun accessory, I want to help you make it happen!

WIN $100 TO JORD!

Click HERE and enter to win a $100 gift code to use on JORD’s website! One lucky reader will win, but get this: everyone who enters will receive a $25 gift code once the contest ends.

Psst! Some friendly reminders: The contest closes at 11:59 pm on 4/30/17. Giveaway codes will expire on 6/30/17.

unique gift

Pretty sweet if you ask me – a situation where we’ve got nothing to lose? Yes, please.

Hope you had a wonderful start to your week, friends! Wishing you a productive one full of lots of sunshine. I’m hoping it’s finally here to stay in Chicago!

Days By Day

Thanks to JORD 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!