This Weekend

Sincerely Jennie Flamingo Wall Chicago

Here we are, staring down August! Has your summer flown by like mine has? Luckily, I really feel like I’ve really been making the most of it, even if it’s just been to consciously keep afternoons open to lay by the pool. As busy as this summer has been, I’ve made an effort to not fill it up with more activities than are necessary. It’s OK to turn down that happy hour if it means improving your mental health! My weekend continues to look like a balance or R&R and friend outings. If you’re also looking for a mix of things to do, this weekend why don’t you…

  1. DIY your next beach hat. It’s too cute!
  2. Restyle your Ann Taylor palm print midi with inspiration from Dana.
  3. Get moving! Researchers found that those who spent eight hours a day sitting but exercised for an hour daily offset the increased risk of death linked with high sitting time. (Not to get all depressing or anything.)
  4. Try wearing a bandanna – a functional and adorable accessory – one or all of three ways.
  5. Take the cooking outside with this easy grill recipe I tried myself!
  6. Take it easy in athleisure wear just like Posh Classy Mom.
  7. Get the gumption you need to branch out and meet new friends with tips on how to start over in a new city.
  8. Indulge your inner wino with 10 summer date night ideas that include wine.



Grill Master(ish)

 Foil Dinner Recipes

One of the reasons Steve and I like living where we do is because of the amenities. We’re in a great building that has plenty of bonus features, including a hot tub and community grills. (These amenities do come at a cost, though. The two of us are sharing a junior one bedroom.) Despite us saying we’re here for the amenities, it’s easy to take them for granted. I rarely relax in the hot tub, even when it looks so appealing. I tell myself that I don’t have time, that I can do it the next night.

The same goes for the community grills. Sometimes when dinner rolls around I’ll suggest grilling out, but our hunger leads us to say “Let’s not go to the grocery store tonight. We can do that this weekend.” Of course, the grills are always forgotten by the time it’s the weekend. I was determined to change that, though, for last weekend’s girls’ night in. After a quick Pinterest search, I found an easy, delicious foil dinner recipe. I marched over to the grocery store to get the ingredients.

 Foil Dinner Recipes I chose a foil dinner because it reminded me of Girl Scout camp. We made foil dinners over campfires and I remember them being delicious. If I could master cooking on a fire as a 10 year old, the grill couldn’t be much harder. Right? I chose a very simple and quick recipe that didn’t call for any marinating. Within 15 minutes of chopping and slicing, I had placed everything in the foil packets. All that was left to do was drink champagne as we waited for the food to cook.

I was happy to see that the food turned out delicious. And not just for my guests, but for me, too! I made quite a bit for leftovers so I could enjoy the smoked taste without needing to light up the grill again. Sarah and I brainstormed other foil recipes, which I’m excited to try next. It seems like the perfect thing to share with Steve on our next date night.

Foil dinner recipe

I used a foil dinner recipe from Chelsea’s Messy Apron. While it seems as if anything would have been delicious cooked in a foil dinner, I think her seasoning made the meal. Check it out to make your own summer dinner.



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Category: Recipe


Florida Florals

Sincerely Jennie Floral Maxi Dress

A few weeks ago Steve and I traveled to Florida, and one of the questions we kept hearing before we left was, “Why are you going to Florida in July?” The answer is we went for a wedding, but as soon as I set foot in the Florida heat and humidity I knew why people had a hard time understanding that. After just a few minutes outside I was *glistening* and any hope of a good hair day was lost! It just felt steamy. In fact, that’s why my pictures of this floral maxi dress aren’t the clearest. Steve and I couldn’t figure out how to snap photos without the lens fogging up. (If you’re experienced with photography in the South, let me know the solution!)

Floral maxi dress – ASOS (one size left) | Pineapple sippy cup (check Party City stores)

Sincerely Jennie Floral Maxi Dress

I still wanted to share the photos because I loved this dress from ASOS for my Floridian vacation. I ordered two huge shipments from the ASOS sale before my vacation in an effort to try lots of different dresses for the black tie wedding and weekend activities. I had no qualms about the orders because it’s super easy to return whatever you don’t want; the site offers free shipping and returns. I only ended up keeping two things: this dress and the dress I wore to the wedding. (So I guess you could say I ended up with the most important item for my trip.) I wore this dress out for drinks on our hotel patio one evening and really enjoyed how formal it felt yet the fabric was still casual and cool.

Sincerely Jennie Floral Maxi Dress

Oh, and I had drinks by the pool with my new pineapple sippy cup. For $1.99 I just couldn’t say no to this adorable gift favor from Party City! Do you have any favorite summer accessories?

Sincerely Jennie Floral Maxi Dress



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Category: Style


A New Cycling Studio

CycleBar

Today’s fitness blog post is for my suburbanites and women in other cities. As you probably know, spin classes are sweeping the nation, but the downside can be that the studios aren’t in all cities yet. Studios devoted solely to spinning seem to traditionally open in larger cities first, like Chicago, or trendy, wealthy neighborhoods, like the Hamptoms. Luckily, there’s a cycling studio out there that sees the missed opportunity. CycleBar  has been popping up all over the country with locations in suburbs or smaller cities like Cyclebar Wellesley, Cyclebar Hyde Park, Cyclebar Cincinnati and Cyclebar Royal Oak. I recently got to try CycleBar Burr Ride and loved the tough but fun workout that combines some of the best elements of other cycling studios.

CycleBar

CycleBar Burr Ridge celebrated its grand opening in June and seemed ready from day 1 to to rock its customers’ workouts. When I arrived, I was excited to find a water station with several temperature valves and water bottles. I can drink a whole bottle in a cycling class, hydration is so important! I entered the cycling studio to great music pumping through speakers and an energetic instructor ready to show us the ropes. As we started pedaling, I was pleased to see a scoreboard that showed us how we measured up to fellow riders. I really like a competitive aspect to help me ride my hardest. For those who’d prefer to focus on their personal ride instead, you’re able to do that too. Our instructor didn’t turn the screen on again until the end.

Sincerely Jennie CycleBar

CycleBar in itself is not too different from other studios I’ve been to. And I think is a good thing. The top cycling studios seem to have the right ingredients for tough workouts and strong followings. (These include great tunes, challenging routines and a community atmosphere.) What they’re missing are franchises in smaller cities. These are the cities CycleBar is now popping up in. So if you’re ready to see what these cycling studios are all about, now’s your chance. CycleBar is going to open more 100 more locations by the end of the year. Check if there’s a location near you.

CycleBar

Thanks Sarah for being my cycling buddy, and thank you CycleBar for having me!



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Category: Fitness


Rooftop Season

Blue Maxi Dress

I’m sure you hear this a lot, but Chicagoans cherish the summer. We have just a few months of sun, beaches and outdoor dining before the winter sets in again. So we’ve really got to do all we can to enjoy it! I’m lucky enough this summer to live in a building with a pool. I’ve tried to schedule my weekend activities around that. Other friends have rooftops and are kind enough to host us over to enjoy the views. I recently went to a cookout with a backdrop of the Willis Tower, and I wanted to wear something lightweight to transition from day to night. I reached for this blue maxi dress from The Limited. It’s been on repeat since I purchased it during a 50% off sale.

The Limited – blue maxi dress | White House Black Market – metallic slide sandal | Kendra Scott – Odette Double Ring

Blue Maxi Dress

I’m visiting The Limited a lot more recently because its great deals. The fun prints are what keep me there! Have you seen their lemon print clothing? The midi skirt in that fabric is on my list to get next. (I think we have to thank Beyonce for helping promoting one of the cutest fruits!) In my most recent shopping trip, I also picked up a new pair of metallic sandals from WHBM. They reminded me of something I could wear by the pool and then also for a casual night out. Here’s the story of how I chose the Odette double ring.

Blue Maxi Dress

Shopping for new summer closes aside, there’s obviously a lot more to be done over the next few months. Namely, soak up warmth and sunshine! You can find me by the pool or a rooftop. What are your plans this summer?

Blue Maxi Dress

Blue Maxi Dress



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Category: Style


Clogs for the Summer

I loved seeing the clog trend come back in the last few years. There are so many ways to wear the trend thanks to the many shoe styles. While I think of clogs as traditionally being a fall shoe, they can be summer shoes, too. Keep reading below for a guest post about how to wear clogs for the summer.

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Clogs have come a long way from being the European choice of footwear for heavy labor during the Middle Ages, according to Bellatory. With some major adjustments to the traditional Dutch wooden shoes, the wooden build and slip-on construction has been a huge inspiration in the fashion industry since the 1970s. But decades later, clogs were deemed unfashionable as they became the standard footwear for healthcare professionals and kitchen staff, taking them away from the spotlight as stilettos and other heels took center stage.

But the beauty of the industry is its unpredictability, reviving old trends and constantly redefining what it means to be fashionable. They say that trends come and go, but do they ever permanently fade into the background? Online fashion retailer Lyst, who stock an assortment of contemporary shoes have indicated that clogs are once again back in the spotlight, with Saint Laurent and Chloe reimagining the classic wooden platform.

And to help you find refreshing new ways to wear wooden heels this season, here are a few ideas:

Clogs in the Summer 1

Image via

A Button-up with Cropped Jeans

Loose jeans and an untucked button-up can look too dressed down when they’re worn with sneakers or flats, but cuffing the jeans and putting on a pair of wooden heels surprisingly gives the ensemble a sleeker finish.

Clogs in the Summer

Image via

Overalls with a Striped Tee

Children aren’t the only ones that can pull off overalls. Slip into some clogs while donning your updated work wear garment with a striped tee (or a crop top for a more grown-up look) for an effortless, casual chic outfit. If your overalls are black, opt for brown shoes for some contrast.

Clogs in the Summer

Image via

A Ruffled Blouse with Denim Cutoffs

If you’ve got eccentric tops hanging in the back of the closet, try pairing them with some denim cutoffs as well as equally interesting shoes, such as wooden platforms. The wacky design of your vintage blouse complements the personality of your clogs, allowing you to experiment with all kinds of prints and silhouettes.

For more tips on styling your clogs, check out Aelida.



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Category: Style


This Weekend

Kendra Scott RingImage via | Kendra Scott ring

Well after a week of birthday fun, it’s time to return to the real world – but not quite yet! Tonight I have bday plans with my college girlfriends at RPM Italian. I’m soooo looking forward to eating at the restaurant for the first time. After that it’s definitely time for a detox! I know they say calories don’t count on your birthday, but my body is telling me otherwise. I hope you all have fun plans for the weekend. If you’re looking for some things to do, this weekend why don’t you…

  1. Follow Jackie’s lead in styling an off-the-shoulder top.
  1. Catch up with the “Magnificent Seven” in a heartwarming interview by the TODAY show. (Was anyone else as obsessed with Dominique Moceanu as I was?)
  1. Get geared up for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, or start shopping if you’re a cardholder!
  1. Remember the woman who made us all believe we could be our best selves academically, professionally and in our personal lives – all while rocking pink! This week was the 15th anniversary of Legally Blonde.
  1. See why colorful is better in the summer, with this adorable outfit post by Jenn!



Year 29

Sincerely Jennie 29th Birthday

Well, it’s here: my 29th birthday! For some reason I was really dreading this one as it got closer. Maybe it’s because 29 is such a final year to me; it’s the last year in your 20s. I know it’s not old by any means, but there’s something about getting so close to 30, a number I did think was old when I was a kid. Up until this past year I still felt like I was a young 20-something exploring the world and figuring out. Now, with arrival of my 29th birthday, it seems like a lot is going to change, quickly!

And the reality is, a lot will change in this upcoming year. There’s a lot I’m looking forward to, and lot I can be proud of that I accomplished in the last year. So I thought to celebrate this birthday I’d share five things I enjoyed in year 28, and five things I can’t wait for in year 29.

Sincerely Jennie 29th Birthday

Happy memories in year 28:

  1. Getting engaged. If you had asked me at age 19 where I’d be at 28, I’d probably have told you married and with children. Having just got engaged this year, that’s obviously not the trajectory my love life took, but it was all the better. Steve and I really got to know each other and grow into a strong couple over our three years dating. There was no rush to make that timeline my younger self imagined.
  2.  Getting a promotion. When I moved to Chicago at 24, I was switching professions and taking an internship. In a way that choice set me back, and I’ve struggled at times feeling behind in my career compared to my friends. It was exciting to get a promotion to prove that my hard work paid off, and I was happy to tackle new responsibilities.
  3. Moving in with Steve. Steve and I wanted to wait to move in together until we were engaged, and for us that was perfect. It’s been exciting to build our life in a junior one bedroom apartment and explore a new neighborhood.
  4. Watching my friends get married. This past year two of my best friends tied the knot. I was so happy to be there for them. I love celebrating love, especially when it’s a relationship I got to watch grow!
  5. Staying close with my college friends. In year 28, one of my best college friends (and former blog partner) moved to Chicago. I have had a blast hanging out and doing all of the things that we bonded over originally! Beyond that, other college friends and I have made more of an effort to get together after work, and I stay in touch with my girlfriends near and far through an ever-entertaining text chain.

What I’m looking forward to after my 29th birthday:

  1. Getting married. Steve’s and my wedding is planned for May 2017, and I am very much looking forward to making that commitment together. Right now the wedding planning might have me stressed out, but I keep reminding myself that the party with family and friends and ceremony with Steve will be well worth it!
  2. Getting healthier and stronger. I threw my back out in January, which actually might have been a blessing after it was all said and done. I hear so many people my age complain about back issues or other pains and I really encourage them to see a doctor or physical therapist about it. I in no way have dealt with everything I need to, but by reminding myself to do my PT exercises or make time for even just 20 minutes of physical activity, I can get back to the healthy, strong body I used to have.
  3. Stretching myself professionally. Recently my professional world and blogging hobby has required me to learn much more about social media, design and photography. I want to continue my professional growth to improve my work and my hobby. I’d love to hear how other people fit this in to their day-to-day routine, because that’s the part I’m still struggling with.
  4. Decluttering our apartment. This might seem like a silly, unexciting goal, but when you live in a small apartment you realize what you need and don’t. There are several boxes Steve and I want to store or donate, and I feel like getting rid of them will be a good reminder moving forward that I can be less of a consumer and instead make use of everything I have.
  5. Cheering on Steve in a marathon. I am not a runner by any means. When I first met Steve three years ago, neither was he. Yes somehow, during the time we’ve been together, his love of running snuck up on me, and he signed up for the Chicago Marathon. I still can’t comprehend his drive or desire to run 26.2 miles, but I’ll be out there in October cheering him on!

Images of Sprinkle Cupcakes ice cream sundae



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Jooj It Up

Sincerely Jennie Jooj blow dry

Happy Tuesday! I hope it’s going much better than your Monday. (Mondays always leave me feeling a bit drained no matter how well they went.) I uncovered these photos of the mobile Jooj Blow Dry salon from the Randolph Street Market. I almost forgot to post them, but I’m happy I didn’t because I think the traveling salon is such a neat business model and deserves to be shared.

Sincerely Jennie Jooj blow dry

The airstream trailer that houses the mobile salon was parked at the market and it was so adorable that Sarah and I had just to check it out! Stepping inside, I couldn’t believe how cozy it was. I almost wished it could be my home for a few days. There was a lounge area and several stylist chairs and washing stations. Jooj (pronounced “zhuj”) offers blow outs only and they sound just divine: shampoo, condition, a scalp massage and blow dry. We only had time to try dry styles, but we really liked the stylists and have a feeling they’d provide blowouts just as good as the braids Sarah chose!

Sincerely Jennie Jooj blow dry

While Jooj Blow Dry is based in Chicago’s North Shore, it is at 1KFulton in Chicago’s West Loop on Thursdays and at Westfield Old Orchard in Skokie on weekends. You can also contact them if you’d like them at your event. I just loved stepping inside of this unique salon. I can’t wait to see where it goes next!

Sincerely Jennie Jooj blow drySincerely Jennie Jooj blow dry



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Category: Beauty


Kendra Scott Color Bar

Kendra Scott Color Bar

Well guys, it’s my last Monday as a 28 year old. The countdown to my birthday has begun but I didn’t even feel like I was prepared! Friends have been texting asking “What are we doing for #SzinkWeek2016” (that’s right, I designate a week) and I don’t even have an answer. Luckily, I did have one solid plan for this year’s celebration. I recently won a Kendra Scott Color Bar party and held it last week as a kick-off to my birthday. Since the store showered my friends and me with cupcakes and wine, I figured I could count it as a birthday activity.

Kendra Scott Color Bar

I was super excited to get to share the Kendra Scott Color Bar with my friends. I love Kendra Scott jewelry because of the bright colors and earthy feel; the jewelry definitely has a nod to the designer’s Texas roots. With the Kendra Scott Color Bar, you also get to be the designer to some extreme. Using a large iPad like screen, you can pick your style, metal and stones to create a personalized accessory. It was so hard to choose what I wanted, but in the end I designed an Elisa pendant necklace to layer with other Kendra Scott pieces I own. The red Greta earrings were runner up. (Hint, hint, birthday gift.)

Kendra Scott Color Bar

Birthday Treat

Oh, and I almost forgot to tell you the BEST part about going to the Kendra Scott Color Bar during my birthday month. Everyone gets 50% off one item during their birthday month. So if you’re a July baby, head to the store today to get yourself a little treat. This birthday girl left with the Odette double ring and hasn’t taken it off since.

Kendra Scott Color Bar Kendra Scott Color Bar

That’s the Elisa pendant and Rayne necklace – both are quite popular! 



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Category: Style