Florals? For Spring? Groundbreaking.

I saw floral fashion attire left and right this past weekend, and not going to lie but I am all about it. Bill and I took a day trip up to Holland, Michigan to check out the Tulip Time Festival and had a great time. It’s about 3 hours away from Chicago, and let me just say I have never seen a city so on fire for something as simple as a tulip. Don’t get me wrong, I loved it, but this town lives for the two weekends the tulips are in full bloom. From its parades, tulip art, to tulips in every storefront window, these two weekends are like our fourth of July. Such excitement!

I knew right away I was going to wear a floral arrangement (so basic, I admit…) BUT when I saw this romper with a skirt overlay at Francesca’s I was so excited to wear it out with a cute bralette underneath and my red Target sandals. I am embracing the warm weather and vibrant colors because we have waited too long for these moments!

If you ever want to take a day trip to Holland, MI, I would recommend grabbing a bite at Butch’s, apple cider donuts from Crane’s, walking around Window on the Waterfront, and stopping by the 205 Coffee bar for a latte and cute photos. I really had a great time ooh-ing and aah-ing over the array of tulip colors, and we couldn’t have asked for a better weekend to be outside! Shots from my trip are below. Dare I ask what your favorite flower is? I bet you can guess mine.

RomperFrancesca’s // ShoesTarget // Bralette: Styles for Less // Sunglasses: Quay

XO.

Lex

 

5 Places in Chicago Both You and I Need to Try

The never ending cloudy skies and rain in Chicago is having me dream of summer dresses, high waisted everything, wedges and jumpsuits to wear out and about the city. I recently made a mini list of restaurants and bars I want to try and I thought I would share, along with a cute jumpsuit by Ellie Kai that I can wear out to these new hot spots. This classy jumpsuit is not only perfect for just about any night out, but it is so comfortable too. Be sure to check out all of Ellie Kai’s cute outfits on their website. I love that everything is made to order and they have so many patterns to choose from!

Anyways, tell me what places I am missing! They don’t have to be brand new- I just have a thing for supporting new businesses in the city.

Jumpsuit: Ellie Kai

Ella Elli: Southport, Chicago

The chic booths and savvy light fixtures speak to me. On top of this photo worthy restaurant, the menu contains everything delicious. Whether it is a date night or grabbing a drink with a friend, I cannot wait to stop by this charming restaurant.

La Josie: West Loop, Chicago

I love seeing the transformation of restaurant row in West Loop. This industrial community is bringing every kind of cuisine and La Josie is sure to be a hit. Not to mention this Mexican restaurant has a roof deck. Summer just got that much better.

Violet Hour: Wicker Park, Chicago

I know. I haven’t been to Violet Hour. I’m just as shocked as you are. The artisanal cocktail menu and hidden appeal with no signs outside is the perfect addition to the Wicker Park community. I love that you can escape the grunge and artsy part of town and toast to a cocktail at Violet Hour. I will be stopping in soon!

Steak Bar: Old Town, Chicago

Another place that has been on my list, especially for brunch. No wonder it’s almost famous with it’s extensive brunch menu and bottomless mimosa deal. $35 buffet and $15 mimosas? Yes and yes.

Up and Up Chicago: Wicker Park, Chicago

Located atop the Robey Chicago in Wicker Park brings stunning city views as the perfect beginning or end to any night. The Robey Chicago is a trendy hotel in Wicker that actually used to be an office building. Did I mention Up and Up has a terrace? You’re welcome.

The sunshine is close. I can feel it.

XO.

Lex

 

Photography by: Lincoln Park Minute

Tried and Tested: Beauty Product Mini Reviews

 

 

It is no secret that I love skincare products. I hoard them like an old lady that loves antiques. They overtake my bathroom, bedroom and office as I slowly test them one by one. I normally share mini product reviews on my Instagram, but wanted a more cohesive way to share my weekly beauty finds with you. Below are four mini reviews of products that I have tried, tested and fallen madly in love with.

If you have been following Al + Lex for a while, you have followed my skin saga while it changes. I have learned that every new product that works helps immensely and you can never have too many products in your arsenal. You can see some past skincare posts with Scratch Goods and Tula.

 

I stumbled upon Lark Skin Co. one late night stalking Instagram. I had recently been diagnosed with Lyme Disease and was learning the importance of what went into the things I put on my body. Lark Skin Co. only uses ingredients you can easily understand (hello coconut oil, aloe and witch hazel.) As I mentioned above, I try a lot of products. The Lark Skin Co. Aloe + Lime Purifying toner has totally transformed my skin. When I started my Lyme treatment, I broke out in tiny little bumps all over my face. This toner is the first thing that has not just soothed those bumps, but cleared them up. I am now a religious Lark Skin Co. user.

 

I really want to be a lipstick person. SO badly. I have never found a lipstick that stays on the way I want it to and seems to fit my face. Maybe it is because I have no makeup skills, or because I am oddly picky about what I put on my lips (as you will read below!) I wasn’t expecting to love the Matte Shaker by Lancôme but was blown away by the ease of application and comfort of wear throughout the day. I was sent the color “Magenta” which seems overpowering, but goes on light and is buildable if you want an intense pucker.

 

I am a self professed lip balm freak. I am so, so picky about what I put on my lips: the smell, taste, texture…I could go on for hours. You know how some lip balms have that weird taste that dries our your mouth? It is non-existent in the Kiehl’s Kiss For The Cure Butterstick Lip Treatment Duo. The clear butterstick goes on super smooth thanks to the coconut oil and protects lips with SPF 25. The pink butterstick lends the perfect tinge of pink to your lips that is universally flattering.  Plus: 100% of proceeds go to Bright Pink for breast cancer educational programs.

 

Over the past few years, the skin under my eyes has gotten puffy and I get a red tinge to my cheeks. I have tried every trick in the book to sooth my skin. While many of them work well, I love the feeling of this Farmacy Hydrating Coconut Gel Mask. The mask goes on easily and does not leave a slimy residue like other sheet masks can. The mask leaves my face feeling ultra-hydrated, plumper, and cooler. Cucumber extract delivers high levels of Vitamin C, which are major players in retaining the moisture in our skin. The coconut gel provides intensive hydration and restores the skin’s balance and just flat out smells A M A Z I N G.

If you have any skincare recommendations, I would love to hear them!

<3 Al

 

Dreaming of La La Land

“Why did you move from California to Chicago?” is a question I have received 100+ times. My answer has remained consistently the same: The energy in Chicago is different than anywhere else and you never take a beautiful day for granted. Now that I don’t live in California, I never take a pretty day for granted there either.

I was so excited to be in Santa Monica/ Venice Beach for work and I was able to stay the weekend to visit my family. I was able to squeeze in a few things here and there whether it was get a workout in, grab a yummy coffee, walk around the Venice Canals, check out Abbott Kinney Blvd.. it was all so fun. There is so much to do and see in Los Angeles. The next thing I have on my list when I return is to get in more hiking, drive up the coast from San Diego to San Francisco, and see wine country in NorCal. My bucket list just keeps getting longer and longer! What’s on your bucket list and upcoming travel schedule?

Below are a few pictures + outfits linked from my very own La La Land- and I can’t wait to go back <3

XO.

Lex

 

Shorts: Express (Similar HERE) // Shirt: Styles for Less // Backpack: TUMI // Sandals: Nordstrom

Bathing Suit: Victoria’s Secret (Similar HERE!)

Until we meet again, La La Land <3

Super Simple Frośe recipe

 

I am afraid to say it- but, I think the weather in Chicago might F I N A L L Y be turning itself around for the better. Last weekend I woke up to 60 degree weather on Saturday and decided to have a Hamptons themed cocktail party…because why not?

My favorite thing about having a group of friends over is planning out what to serve food and cocktail wise. I think a great craft cocktail can liven up any situation, and there is one for every occasion. While I was trying to find a truly “Hamptons” style cocktail, I flipped through Ina Garten’s cookbooks that feature cocktails like The South Side and a classic Negroni. I love both of these cocktails, but I wanted something that would not just scream Summer but put a smile on someones face!

Last year, Frośe was all over my Instagram feed. I couldn’t log in and not see at least one photo of it. I had wanted to try to make it, but was intimidated because I hadn’t seen a recipe come out for it yet! I settled on making frośe because who doesn’t love a fun frozen drink??

Frośe is shockingly simple to make and does not take a lot of prep work. I followed the below recipe from Bon Appétit and made a few tweaks. Personally, I added more strawberries so the flavor came through. You can also thrown in some mint leaves for a twist on the classic.

Ingredients

Makes 4 to 6 Servings

  • 1 750 ml bottle hearty, bold rosé (such as a Pinot Noir or Merlot rosé)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 8 ounces strawberries, hulled, quartered
  • 2½ ounces fresh lemon juice

Bon Appétit recommends freezing the bottle of rose in an ice cube tray and giving it a whirl in the blender. Personally, I just threw all of the ingredients in the blender with about a cup of ice and preferred the outcome.

<3 Al

 

Travel Guide: What To Do in Venice Beach

Oh LA sunshine how I have missed you. I am excited to be on the road for work and staying the weekend to visit my family. (Summer time is one of the busiest seasons at work!) Of course when I found out I was going to Venice Beach for work, I could not resist finding a few hot spots to check out during my travels!

If you ever find yourself in the beach babe mind set, biking down the board walk, or just need some sun in your life, here are a few of the places I have in mind to check out.

  1. Venice Canals: I came across this by mistake, but it brought pure happiness when I discovered it! You are sure to see a few photos on my Instagram from here. Cannot wait to see all of the cute houses and boats!

Photo by @TheVeniceCanals

  1. Blue Bottle Coffee: Because when you have early morning meetings or need that afternoon push to get you through the day, Blue Bottle Coffee is a Southern California classic. How can you NOT love their coffee?!

Photo by: @deviljulin

  1. Barry’s Venice Beach: Oh you bet I am stopping in for a full body workout at Barry’s Bootcamp over the weekend! Cannot wait to get my workout in and do the occasional run on the boardwalk too!

  1. The Penthouse Restaurant, Santa Monica: Because everyone needs to have a classy dinner with killer views am I right or am I right? Located in the Huntley Hotel with plush white interior and fancy cocktails, you can’t go wrong getting lost in the beauty of the sea with a cocktail in hand.

Photo by: @dailycherie

  1. The Butcher’s Daughter: I love the vegetarian options The Butcher’s Daughter has available! You won’t even realize you are eating all plant based foods! Fresh food on a sunny day: winning.

Photo by: @gettinavocontrol

Any other recommendations while I am adventuring in Venice? Comment below with your recommendations and follow along my travels on Instagram!

See you in the sunshine!

XO.

Lex

Friday Blues with a Hint of Pink

We made it to Friday! I am so excited for a few adventures coming up in the next few weeks, so thanks for following along :). I will give you a hint of what my upcoming adventures include: an ocean, flowers, and more flowers. Oh yes. As you can tell I have been on the floral fashion train because I cannot stop talking about them. I found my top on sale from Anthropologie and I thought it was perfect to wear in the city because it is long sleeved but still bright and cheery (writing this as I wore all black today…). I paired it with my jeans from Zara that are so comfy (and they are high rise!) and my bright pink M. Gemi flats. Anthro usually has a few great pieces on sale when I check out their site or in store (and make sure to grab some Voluspa candles while you’re at it) so make sure to take a peek.

I hope you enjoy your time with family and friends this weekend for Easter! And don’t stay at work too late today.. Happy Friday!

XO.

Lex

Top: Anthropologie // Jeans: Zara // Shoes: M. Gemi // Purse: Kate Spade // Shades: Wavvse

Photography by Brittany Benson