Organically Gorgeous

 

Over the past few months, my skin has completely changed. This is not something I normally talk openly about, but I think it is important to know that not everyone is perfect! I went from having crystal clear skin with a few bumps here and there to having flare ups of tiny little bumps all over my face. Let me tell you: it isn’t fun!

I have always stuck to a strict skincare routine involving a lot of high-end products that worked wonders for me for years and I had not recently changed anything so I was puzzled. I go for a monthly facial at Cowshed Spa in Chicago (I see Ashley- she is a miracle worker!) and found out that my sudden little bumps were not acne, but bodily toxins trying to expel themselves through our largest organ: my skin. Ashley had me switch all of my beauty products over to being 100% plant based, organic + all natural and I was totally lost. I started researching brands that are gentle but effective and stumbled upon TULA.

Each TULA product nourishes your skin with a balanced meal of good-for-you ingredients, the same way a healthy diet nourishes your body. At TULA, they are not just looking at what we put on our face, but looking inside at internal medicine to improve the health and appearance of our body’s largest organ, the skin. That means leveraging the power of probiotics, “the newest breakthrough in skincare.” TULA uses carefully selected skin superfoods and probiotics AKA good bacteria to help skin reveal it’s best self.

My personal favorite and new hero product is the Exfoliating Treatment Mask. I have never used a mask that has exfoliating particles in it, but was pleasantly surprised at the texture. This particular mask contains Lactic acid and Bentonite clay to gently peel away impurities, dead skin, and debris and the tiny beads are plant-based and biodegradable. They release hydrating nutrients including Jojoba and Vitamin E to heal and calm skin.

If you have sensitive skin like me or are

 making a conscious effort to switch what you put on your body to being plant-based, TULA is the perfect line to dip your toe into. They offer this great little started pack so you can try different skincare items to see what works best for you.

 

PS: how funny are these products from Anese? The silly names make me laugh every time I look at them. Currently obsessed with this hair elixir. PSS: take 20% off your order with code FIRST20. No…I do not earn anything from this.

 

<3 Al

Thank you TULA for working with me on this post!

Casual in Nashville

 

This past week I finally got to visit Nashville! DJ frequently takes trips to Nashville for work, but since beginning my masters program at DePaul University in Chicago it has become difficult to travel due to missing class. I had my Spring Break last week and tagged along on DJ’s work trip that he extended through the weekend so we could explore and it did not disappoint.

It felt SO.GOOD. to get away from the cold weather in Chicago and walk around without a jacket most of the trip. I had no idea that there were so many different areas to explore besides the touristy downtown- I explored 12 South and Germantown. 12 South is home to a lot of great, small stores and restaurants as well as Draper James. Draper James is adorable but dangerous because one thing is cuter than the next- more on that in a post to come!

Shop some of my favorite Draper James picks: Totes Y’all, the worlds cutest Easter dress, embroidered cocktail napkin, lace shirt dress.

I stuck to basics throughout my trip, opting for dark denim, my new favorite flats and nontraditional, light tops. I found these flats at Nordstrom in Chicago last month. They are by Tory Burch’s previous designer, Mercedes Castillo. They are SO ingenious because you can wear them as a slide, or slip a leather cord through the sides of the flat for a tie-up style sandal. I already have my eye on these (and every other shoe in her line- lol.)

Top (only $30!) Jeans. Flats.

Some beautiful old houses I snapped while wandering around Germantown. If you visit Nashville anytime soon, I would highly recommend heading to this area! We are thinking that we would like to visit Charleston soon- any recommendations?

<3 Al

Black Tie Inspiration

 

 

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These three gowns are some of my favorite pieces that I have seen this season: La Femme | Ieena | Cushie et Ochs

 

In the next few months, Chicago is booming with black tie fundraisers, galas and events. The feeling of getting to dress up in a floor length gown is one that I have always loved, but comes few and far between. I wore this Parker zing-zag skirt two years ago to Snowball which is quickly approaching at the end of January. This year, I am wearing a floor-length dress in a classic silhouette that I picked up in Milan. Specifically when making a big purchase like a floor length formal dress, I look for something timeless that I can wear again in many different ways and fits me well.

This year, I am topping my dress off with an All Saints leather jacket to give it a little “oomph!”

<3 Al

My Favorite Parrot Dress

 

Amelia Island

 

If you are anything like me, you hate the frigid weather that the Midwest (Chicago, I’m looking at you) brings in the Winter months. With DJ getting his MBA at Booth and working full time + me getting my Masters and working part-time, we decided that a mini-vacation to a warm place was much needed. We wanted to try a place neither of us had ever been before so we settled on Amelia Island, more specifically the gorgeous Ritz Carlton.

I posted this same photo above on my Instagram a few days ago and got some questions on my dress so I thought I would share it here! While this dress isn’t current season, it will always be one of my favorites. We weren’t expecting to take any (professional) photos on our trip, but spontaneously decided to last minute and this playful parrot print dress worked perfectly! I don’t often wear tight pieces, but I love how Milly makes dresses for women with curves.

 

Amelia Island

 

me

 

 

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On DJ: Lacoste for JCrew White Polo | JCrew  404 Stretch Jeans | Sperry Boat Shoe

 

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Dress: Milly (Similar: here, here!) | Wedges: Tory Burch (Similar: here, here!) | Bangle: Hermes | Watch: Rolex |

 

If you have any suggestions on some fun, form fitting Summer dresses- I would love to hear them!

<3 Al

Little Red Christmas Bag

Al Plus Lex

Little Red Prada Bag

Al PLus Lex

Little Red Prada Bag

 

Al Plus Lex

Hat: JCrew (New style here) | Long-sleeve Top: Free People | Vest: Nordstrom (Love these here and here) | Jeans: J Brand | Boots: Tory Burch (Loving these dressed up tassel boots and these for sloshing through the Chicago snow) | Bag: Prada

 

Lexi and I met a few weeks ago on Southport. We walked by the prettiest Christmas decorations right off the main street and a cute red door in an old brick building. I got this vest last year from Nordstrom for easy layering while working in Park City at Sundance Film Festival. Park City has tricky weather because there is a ton of snow, but it stays in the 50s (at least when I have been there!)

I got this little red Prada bag when I was in Milan this past November with my parents. It was a quick trip, but my mom and I spent four straight days shopping and I think I died a little (a lot) and went to heaven. Each store was set up like an art gallery and was truly an experience in itself. I have always been in love with these cute pint-sized bags and as soon as I walked into Prada, knew that one was coming home on my arm.

In my current bag collection I mostly have blacks and nudes that are timeless and will pair well with anything. I chose to go with the little red bag because it still acts as a neutral, pairing well with almost anything you put on.

This little red Prada bag has quickly become my go-to Winter accessory- what is yours?

 

<3 Al

Photos: Theresa Ferrell

Embroidered White

 

Saturday was the first (semi)relaxing day I had in a while. I took my math final in the morning, walked around Green City Market, and then relaxed in the sun. I picked up this simple cotton dress with bright blue embroidery on a vacation in December and am ecstatic that it is finally warm enough to wear it over a bathing suit.

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After a long week, sometimes all you can do is go get a glass (pitcher) of sangria and cozy up to the bar. I stumbled upon a photo of sangria and a cheese board from Black Bull a few months ago. DJ and I finally went and tried it out Saturday night. Black Bull definitely lives up to the food porn photo hype splattered across my news-feed.

On our walk home from the roof a butterfly started landing on me. Health wise, I have had a very rough few months with a lot of tests in the horizon. I have always taken butterflies as a sign of my grandfather’s presence, who passed when I was in high school. I would like to think that this is him keeping an eye on me.

 

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Sunday Stripes

Brunch is one of my favorite meals of all time. When else can you eat breakfast foods, lunch, pastries, all topped off with a mimosa and have it be socially acceptable? Exactly. My family loves brunch at The Publican. The avocado scramble with a side of frites if my dish of choice.

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My mom brought this dress home for me from J. Crew last year. Being a little curvy, I wasn’t sure that it was the right fit for my body. I put it in my closet, and did not touch it for a full year. I stumbled upon it two weeks ago and fell madly in love with the blue and white color palette and high-neckline cut. I have worn it quite a bit since, often with a leather jacket thrown on top or with a brown leather belt wrapped around my hips for a boho look. The best part? The loose fit allowed me to consume all the baked good and scrambled eggs I wanted. Now, that’s a real winner

 

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