My Darlin' Giveaway

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Hi guys! We're back from Australia (we got back last Sunday), and it feels like we'll never catch up on things. I've traveled over Thanksgiving a few times in recent years, and while I have the best time away and it makes sense to take advantage of the holiday time off, it always throws off the rest of the year for me. I've mentioned a few times that I like to be done with my holiday shopping before December, but I haven't started yet this year. And I'm really struggling for a few people on my list — there are always a few people who are impossible to shop for, but that list seems longer than ever this year (or, again, I'm really not on my game). I've been trying to brainstorm practical gifts, and I like the idea of gifting stationary, cards, art prints; pretty things so many on my list will love and use. I recently received some My Darlin' goodies I think will make the perfect gift, and I'd like to gift them to you :) 

I picked out some of my favorites from the shop for a little giveaway — this beautiful print, these cute pencils, this funny card (so appropriate, I'm known for one too many "ha's" ;), this sweet one, this simple one (perfect for every occasion), and, my favorite, this travel themed one that I've framed for our bathroom shelf. I love that the cards can serve as prints, so they can serve as gifts themselves (and $5 gifts are always welcome).

I'm giving one reader all these My Darlin' pieces :) The giveaway will close at midnight CT on Friday, December 14. Open to all readers (not just U.S.!). One randomly selected winner will be notified by email. Good luck!!!

(This post was sponsored by My Darlin'. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Make the Most.)

Bits and Pieces

Friday, November 16, 2018

We're off to AUSTRALIA today! Yahoo! We've been thinking and talking about this vacation all year, and I'm so excited that it's finally here! My dad's entire family lives in Perth, and I'm excited to spend a few weeks with them (in a place where it's SUMMERTIME!) at their homes, something I haven't done in more than 20 years. And, now, with my husband! Every time B and I do something like this, it brings on a rush of thoughts and emotions. Did I ever think I'd be going across the world to see my grandma with my husband? Did he think he'd be spending Thanksgiving with a bunch of Iranians in Australia? Life's crazy but so, so good. So grateful for this experience and so ready to turn that out of office on :)

Some photos from life lately below. As is 2018's trend, its been a crazy few weeks. But, thankfully, all good things. We won't have a real Thanksgiving this year, but we know how much we have to be thankful for <3

Two Years in Our Apartment!

Sunday, November 4, 2018

This month marks two years in our apartment, which is the average amount of time I've lived in each of my Chicago apartments the past eight years. One of the benefits of buying our apartment, I told myself, was that we wouldn't have to move for a long time (it's always an emotional, stressful disaster that brings out the worst side of me), but now that we've hit the 24-month mark, both Brian and I have mentioned that we're itching for a bit of a change. We're not ready for a full-fledged move, and while we desperately want to redo our hardwood floors (they're 100 years old and the source of blisters too often...), not intrigued by the chaos and price tag that'll involve, so we've decided small changes are the way to go. A few weeks ago we added a few Wayfair products that have brought novelty to our space, and this weekend we added this side table to the living room, which is a couch dinner game changer.

Since my first dorm my freshman year of college, I've documented my living space every year with hundreds of photos I save to my external hard drive. It's embarrassing and funny to look back and see what I've thought has been chic interior design over the years. I thought about posting some college apartment throwbacks here, but I was cringing at the number of photos of my then-boyfriend I had on my bedside table and the 13-inch junk-in-the-trunk TV I had to watch George Lopez on 15 feet away from my bed. 

I'm sure one day I'll look back at these photos with my hands over my eyes, but for now, I love this little space. I love how it's ours, both of ours. Brian and I combined all of our finances when we got married, but we bought the apartment before we had a chance to do so. So, we made sure we split it 50/50 to the penny. Both lifetime savers, it's funny to think about what went into it — babysitting gigs, allowances, first paychecks. We've also made it a point to decorate in a way that feels equal parts Brian and Ladan, and I see it in these photos (an Arsenal drawing next to an Anthropologie vase, for example ;) This is the first place in a long time that has truly felt like home, and I love walking through the door each and every day. 

So, a little home tour below. There are a few things I want to change this winter, and I thought about "styling" the place before snapping these photos, but I want to document it as it is on a random Sunday morning, the time it seems to show off most ;) 

// entryway and living room 
We spend the majority of our time at home in our living room, on our couch, a Room & Board splurge by Brian nearly a decade ago. It's where we entertain, unwind, eat. To make the room cozier, we recently added this essential oil diffuser. We were going through expensive candles quickly, and this diffuser can serve the same purpose with a more relaxing vibe. 

// guest bedroom and bathroom
This room feels especially homey to us because it has all of the furniture from our old apartment, the first one we lived in together, and it's where we slept for a few months when we moved in, before our furniture was delivered. I love that my brother goes straight for the bowl of Rolos in the bedroom when he walks through the door. I love that the WC sign I bought in Greece is always slightly crooked in the bathroom. The closets are full of "extras" (sheets, blankets, hangers) and things we don't know what to do with, but something about the fact that we even have room for excess makes it feel grown up. 

// master bedroom and bathroom 
In my post about becoming more of a morning person, I wrote about how I've moved electronics out of our bedroom. I'm still holding strong! Unless it's the weekend, I don't bring my phone or computer into the bedroom. Its made the bedroom so much more peaceful and getting ready in the morning much faster since there's no social media to distract me. 

// kitchen
Our kitchen is a big reason we put an offer in for our place. The 100-year-old built-in cabinets are a storage dream (something I've had in nearly every apartment) and something we were hoping to find in our next place. There's so much packed into this room (I'll never show the inside of those drawers or the cabinets), it's a running joke between our friends and family that we own every kitchen appliance or accessory ever made. 

This room is also one of the ones that feels the most "us." Our tablecloth, clock and plate on the wall are all handmade from Iran, and we have a "slainte" plaque on our bar cart, an Irish bottle opener on our fridge and a beloved wooden "love never fails" sign, Brian's family saying, on our shelf. What also stands out to me is our fridge. I grew up in a house that never had magnets or art work on the fridge. It was always sparkling clean and undecorated. It bummed me out sometimes as a kid, but when I moved into this place, I got it and wanted the same. Brian wouldn't budge and said it had to have photos and other memorabilia plastered on it (he grew up with the opposite). I put up a good fight but gave up, and while most days it looks overwhelmingly cluttered to me, it's also slowly growing on me.   


// den 
Our den is a hodgepodge of some of my most prized possessions and now, thanks to Wayfair, a beverage refrigerator (which Brian had wanted for years). It has the beloved gold deer head I've moved to three apartments, little Italian wooden frames my parents got on their honeymoon, our map of places we've visited together, a Continental WWII typewriter I had wanted for decades that Brian gave me when I moved into my first place. Everything I'd want to grab in a fire is in this room, but we often talk about how random it all looks together. We'll eventually do something about it, but for now we're embracing the odds and ends and loving the option to have a fully stocked beverage fridge outside of our main refrigerator. 

(This post was sponsored by Wayfair. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Make the Most.)

A Week of Work Outfits!

Monday, October 29, 2018

I've mentioned a few times now that I recently started a new job. With it, have come some lifestyle changes — I now wake up at 6, not 8 (remember how I went to work an hour late at my old job for two years and no one told me?); I have a separate work phone, plus I recently got a new personal phone — and it took some time to transfer my train tickets from one phone to the other — so for a bit I was carrying around three iPhones everywhere, ha!; and, the biggest change, I have to dress up for work. 

I haven't been one for dressing up the past few years. I frequent quick errands in my pajama pants despite my husband's wishes and prefer jeans and a sweatshirt (albeit, a cute sweatshirt, OK?) over anything. Most mornings I grab whatever I see first, as long as it doesn't have to be ironed, and go with it. But I wasn't always like this. In middle school and high school, I'd plan my whole week of outfits on Sunday. I'd write everything out, along with the accessories and purse that would accompany it (switching purse contents from one to another almost nightly, guys), and notes for the hairstyle and eyeshadow I thought would compliment the look best. I was (as always) over the top. And am likely still burned out. 

When I first found out about the dress code at my new job, I feared I'd have nothing to wear after eight years of working in casual work environments — my last office was the type to encourage ripped jeans and flipflops. But, after looking through my closet, I realized I have dozens of tops, bottoms and dresses that will work perfectly (we're on week nine and no outfit repeats despite two closet cleanouts — a minimalist maximalist through and through). All I needed were a few new staples to make everything work. 

I documented five outfits in 10 seconds before rushing out the door last week as a sort of diary. I didn't plan the outfits in advance and, as always, scrambled to get ready in 10 minutes, but I looked forward to putting looks together and might make this a series to see how much of my closet I can take advantage of — if I don't want to wear it and snap a quick pic, there's no use keeping it.

So, here are the five outfits!

Mondays are the hardest day to do any and everything. This ADAY outfit is a Monday lifesaver. These pants are seriously the comfier than my trustiest leggings, and the top (which can be worn backwards or forwards) goes with everything. There's a reason there's a 2,000 waitlist for some ADAY products (all of which are made from plant-based materials). Full disclosure, I was gifted this outfit. Full disclosure, I'd recommend it to anyone and everyone. I've never felt anything like those pants. // ADAY cardigan, J.Crew top (old), ADAY pants, Target mules

Tuesdays are... interesting. Perhaps TMI, but I typically wash and blow dry my hair on Saturday night because we're doing something or going somewhere that requires real pants and some blush. My hair's so dry these days, I try to shampoo it every two-three days, but by Tuesday it's looking rough. Tuesdays have to be a ponytail day (I mean, writing this, I just realized I guess I could just wash my hair?), so I wear something a little more fun to get the attention away from my scalp and onto my statement necklace. // J.Crew dress (old), J.Crew sweater blazer, Seychelles booties

Like I said, I've been going to the back of my closet and taking advantage of things I already own. Everything in this outfit is eight years old. I bought a bunch of "work attire" after I graduated, only to rarely use them. They're finally getting their turn — and my sweater was my first Christmas gift from my in-laws! // Ann Taylor sweater (old), J.Crew pants (old), ModCloth heels (old)

On Thursdays I typically need a boost. Friday's so close, yet so far away. So, I spice things up with more daring combinations (for a very corporate environment) and favorite items. These Jeffrey Campbell motorcycle booties were a splurge five years ago, and they sat untouched for years out of fear of not being cool enough to wear them. These days I pull them out whether it works with the outfit or not. That gold heel was meant to be shown off. // J.Crew shirt (old), Madewell dress (old), Jeffrey Campbell booties (old)

A few coworkers have decided to wear jeans on Fridays in hopes of others joining the effort, but I'm too new and too scared! So, cozy sweater dresses it is. My mom bought me this dress (and these boots!) last winter, and I always get tons of compliments on it. I love the length and bell sleeves. Should you be interested in it, definitely size down. // Madewell dress, Sam Edelman boots

There are a few more looks I want to snap, so I think I'll do this again before the year ends. I'm wearing this Aritzia blouse and these J.Crew pants today, and I'm loving how both fit. These pants are hiding allll the weekend indulgences.

I'm so very open to your suggestions for work attire — tops, bottoms, shoes, accessories, please! I'm quite new to this and need tips :)

P.S.  Would love to chat makeup at work, too. I don't wear it (other than lipstick) because I workout during lunch and feel like the sweat-foundation combination would lead to breakouts, and I rub my eyes too often to put anything on them (to be honest, I don't really know how to apply eyeliner). But I sometimes feel self conscious about my bare, baby face. Is everyone else out there wearing makeup to the office? This sounds silly, but could I be holding myself back without it?