Tuesday, July 31, 2012

This Time Last Year...

Are you where you thought you would be this time last year?

This time last year I was working for the zoo, teaching children's theatre and working with a sketch comedy troupe, all while living in my parent's house in the bedroom I grew up in. When I fantasized about my life in Chicago I had a few things in mind...

I would have a great apartment in the city...we'll give this one a check.

I would be working in theatre...we can check this one too

Buuuut I also thought I would have a full time job that payed me well enough to take care of not only the bills but ever so slightly feed my clothing and adventure habits. I want to admit this to the blogosphere because when I moved to the city I thought all of my friends were self sufficient and I was in the minority scrambling to catch up. Since moving I realized that there are plenty of 20-somethings that are struggling to make it all work which makes me feel far less alone. The part that caught me most by surprise is that I'm not the only one getting help from my parents. 

I've always paid the apartment bills myself, but my new driver's license and plates? Parents. New summer clothes? Parents. Gas/food to visit Ohio? Parents again. I can not do everything that I want to on my own. I'm fortunate enough to have parents that want to help and don't see it as a burden, but I want to be able to support myself, which is why it's re-appeared on my 24 Before 25 list this year. 

I guess my point is that right out of college you might struggle, and through your struggle you will ultimately get frustrated, down on yourself, and question the smart capable person that you thought you were when you were still in school. But don't give up, and know that you're not all by yourself. Chances are the schmo sitting next to you lives with their parents or has their rent paid by their sweet grandmother. It doesn't make them any less intelligent or hard working, and that certainly goes for you too.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Denim Revival

In keeping with my "24 Before 25" list I've been going through drawers, closets, and the rack trying to decide what stays and what goes before summer is up. For the most part if it fits, it stays and I need to get more creative with my wardrobe instead of wearing the same gray v-neck everywhere (even though it's just so darn flattering!). Of course my theory is if I get rid of some stuff a few replacements are in order! However, I'm going to be more careful about what I buy and stick to my mom's "if you don't love it, don't buy it" philosophy. She's a savvy lady.

My focus has been denim, since the most fun I had during my big closet clean out was trying on jeans. There's no item of clothing that makes you feel better than a pair of great fitting, great looking jeans. N'est pas?

Photo Via

It looks monochromatic when you put it all together, but I have my red, yellow, rust, and hot pink jeans from last season so I thought it might be time to tone it down. Pale washes, neutrals, and prints seem to be my favorite, especially the pair from the Gap! I actually tried them on already for my birthday but ruled that it was too hot to be thinking about jeans.

I've been searching for a great light wash pair for a while, and these American Eagle jeans seem to be the ticket. I also decided to part with my grey flares this year, so a grey pair of boyfriend jeans are the modern update.

Please, allow me to simultaneously drool over these high waist skinny skinny jeans from Madewell and the printed beauties (polka dot and floral), once again from American Eagle. After the floral denim online-ordering fiasco of last spring (damn juniors sizing) I don't want to miss out again. And polka dots! We all know how much I love polka dots. Plus they'll get along nicely with my leopard print pair!

Not pictured are wide leg/trouser jeans that I've been in search of ever since I accidentally donated my pair to Goodwill. I hope a stylish lady picked them up and adored them!

What denim trends are you looking forward to this fall?

Sunday, July 29, 2012


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Smash marathons, rehearsals, Mexican wrestling Macbeth, pancake making, cleaning, coffee drinking, trying to plot my next move while plugging and chugging through the rest of the week. A good weekend indeed.


Saturday, July 28, 2012


Target is not only my favorite place to do my cardio routine, it is also one of my favorite places to browse the racks and try on things I wouldn't normally wear. Panama hats, gold glitter loafers, sheer tunics with flamingo prints, don't mind if I do! I happened upon a maxi skirt, a trend that I had never really attempted, but two minutes with a jersey fold-over and I was in comfy this-should-be-PJs heaven. But, I passed it up, seeing as I had just paid rent and was feeling mighty broke. Doom and gloom: when I came back they were sold out of my size! I have stalked the juniors department ever since and low and behold they returned to me! I snatched up a black maxi skirt and ran home to give it a whirl.

But now that I have it I have no idea how to style it. I tried three different outfit combinations last night before   hanging it back on the rack, defeated. This morning after some minimal Pinterest research and throwing things together on Polyvore, this is what I came up with:

One: a flow-y tank with bohemian edgy accessories, otherwise know as the "celebrity look"

Two: A denim jacket and bright pops of color to make the black skirt a little cheerier.

Three: Belted with a white button up top, very classic.

Which styling do you prefer? And what's your favorite way to wear your maxi skirt?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Suspending Disbelief

A couple of years ago I was getting ready for a wedding. I was going as Viking's date and I had spent the morning getting ready only to find that my strapless dress wouldn't stay up (typical) and my make-up was sweating off and my hair was determined not to do anything. I was in the midst of a pre-event stress out when Viking debuted his own wardrobe choice  for the wedding...it went a little something like this:

Kiley: What the (crap) are you wearing?

Viking: Suspenders! I forgot a belt.

Kiley: I will buy you a belt on the way, please don't wear those

Viking: Why?

Kiley: Because only old men wear them! Men that can't find a belt that fits!

I pleaded with him to reconsider but his mind was pretty well made up. I tried to take a deep breath and realize how ridiculous I was being, but wouldn't you know it, suspenders have become one of the ongoing jokes of our relationship.

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One of Viking's main points has always been that women have so many more options! Dresses, skirts, shorts of different hem lengths, etc. It felt wrong to deprive him of one of his few potentially stylish options.

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What do you think about men in suspenders? 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Local Urban Yokel

I became more of a Chicagoan last week when I, ahem, my sweet mother whom I love dearly, forked over $300 so I could sacrifice two and a half hours of my life switching to Illinois license plates and an Illinois driver's license. I would take a picture for you but something tells me that it's not a good idea...even though I'd really like to show you because the picture actually turned out pretty good for a license picture. The backdrop is a nice teal color that brought out the blue in my hazel eyes *swoon*

Here's me back in December, my first piece of Chicago! But now that I have this proof of residency it opens me up to tons more opportunities in Chicago. Resident's day anyone?

Most museums/art galleries/zoos/places of public interest in Chicago have a day where Chicago residents can come for free to show their appreciation to the tax payers, which is now me! Huzzah! Here is an extremely handy list of Museum Free Days 2012 from Explore Chicago. It has me itching to wander the city and fall in love with it all over again.

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First on my agenda is the Art Institute of Chicago

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Fellow Chicagoans or just Chicago-lovers: is there anything else I just have to see? I'm willing to dig up the discount!

Monday, July 23, 2012

24 Before I'm 25

I wanted to give myself some time after the 24 before 24 list to think about which goals I wanted to roll over and which to edit slightly or get rid of. Plus I had to come up with some new stuff, and I think I'm pretty happy with the results. I tried to err more on the side of achievable and yet something that would propel me towards the life I see for myself within the next year.  

So without further ado, here is my list:

24 Things To Do Before I’m 25

1.)                Travel to one place I’ve never been before
2.)               Write something every day
3.)               Be happy and self-sufficient with my employment
4.)               Find a work-out regiment that makes me happy
5.)               Complete a full length play
6.)               Save up enough money for a puppy
7.)               Take a class
8.)              Finish reading all the books on my shelves
9.)               Go on one romantic trip with Viking
10.)           Finish making the dress and skirt I started
11.)            Start researching Grad Schools
12.)           Start shopping vintage/thrift more often
13.)           Get a credit card
14.)           Promote myself without being embarrassed
15.)            Pair down my make-up to only high end stuff or things that get a lot of use
16.)           Shop my closet and wear all of my clothes. If I don’t I have to donate it at the end of the season
17.)            Donate money or time to charity
18.)           Run a 10k
19.)           Learn to cook for myself
20.)          Get out of my comfort zone professionally
21.)           Find a way to manage my stress level
22.)          Get a bike
23.)          Go to the zoo with my Goddaughter
24.)           Dance or sing in public

Anything I'm missing? I have no qualms with this becoming a "28 before 25" list.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


I was so busy running around Ohio with my family and friends that these are the only four pictures I took. I have to promise myself that I'll start taking more, especially with my spiffy camera instead of my instagram. All in all, it was nice to have a break, forget about all my anxieties about work and what I want to do next with my life. Of course upon returning it hit me all at once. What am I doing? What is my next step? I'm hoping that it all just comes to me.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


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Rolled in to town a few hours ago and this is what I heard while crossing state lines, obviously:

Mom already has the evening planned which is fantastic since I have not planned a moment of this trip since I pulled off Lake Shore Drive. Dinner at a new steakhouse with some of the family and a True Blood marathon! 

Hope you're enjoying your Sunday!


Saturday, July 14, 2012

I Wanna Go Back

Rebounding from the doom and gloom of yesterday by mixing equal parts getting things accomplished and relaxation. I'm trying to pack for my mini-vacation to Columbus, Ohio tomorrow! I also decided that it would be a good day to re-organize my room...psssh. I'm writing this blog post mostly to procrastinate. I'm going to attempt to get home from the closing cast party at midnight (pssssh!) and keep cleaning (pssssssh!) so I can wake up at 5am and start the drive to Columbus by 6pm (PSSSSSSSH!) No really.

T-minus twelve hours and I'll be on my way!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday the 13th

It certainly feels like it today. Normally I can let the day just slip by without even thinking about it, but today it poured buckets, my hair won't cooperate, I got three hours of sleep and I just want to wear sweats to my theatre job just this once. Hopefully my luck will turn around and I'll get some sleep and feel like accomplishing things tomorrow...one can only hope.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


I started trying to adhere to the Artist's Way writer's block recovery plan since, oh, I don't know, January, and I have been stuck on Week 4 for approximately forever. It recommends that you use reading deprivation as a tool for expanding your creativity, and I just can't do it.

I know the idea is to get me to observe what's going on around me, draw inspiration from it, and do "artist brain" activities like running, or cleaning, or re-organizing (all of which I need to do) but I've only been able to trick myself in to reading abstinence on the commute home when the train is too packed to read a book. But they may be on to something because I've observed quite a few note worthy things:

1.) A homeless man wearing a brand new outfit and reeking of pee and trapping a young female tourist in to a mumbling one sided conversation that she has no choice but to nod sympathetically to. He blocks the door of the train and when I go to another door he shakes his trash bag at me and mumbles loudly. I should say that this isn't an uncommon observation for the red line...

2.) A 70 year old woman clad head to toe in juniors clothing who is readying her cigarettes for when she leaves the train yet puffing on an inhaler the whole ride. She takes one too many puffs and stumbles off the train

3.) A woman my age with two freshly skinned knees as a result of what I can imagine to be an embarrassing fall running to the train. She reads her book triumphantly and ignores her knees which are starting to drip blood on to her socks. The girl across from her can only avert her eyes in horror. I have a box of band aids in my purse but who would accept them from a smelly tired stranger on the train? I wouldn't. Does she even know she's bleeding? Should I tell her? I wrestle with myself until I have to get off at my stop. Internal crisis averted.

Could you go a whole week without reading anything? Blogs and I'm assuming facebook included? I'm getting close but no cigar.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


I love this graphic design project; The Chicago Neighborhoods. It's essentially branding logos for Chicago neighborhoods based on local features and background knowledge of graphic designer Steve Shanabruch.

Best of all, if you'd like to represent your neighborhood via a swanky t-shirt, that is an option an Below the Collar. I'm also reminded of those all too cute Pinterest projects where you hang up pictures or maps of where you lived. These prints would look super spiffy adorning your wall. 

Here's an adorable one from Life Blessons:

Monday, July 9, 2012

School's Out Forever

A solo trip to Country Estates was in order to check up on my throat this morning. It's a rare case but luckily it's nothing serious. When I called Viking to give him the update what I said was "there's nothing they can really do about it" but what he heard was "it's an untreatable fatal illness." Oops.

Despite going it alone, I made a day of it. Eating lunch Noodles and Co. which is surprisingly hard to get to on the north side with Ollie's for dessert. I also practiced what is quite possibly my favorite form of cardio: shopping at Target. I wandered up and down the aisles at my leisure with a minimum of screaming children because it must have been nap-time. I turned the corner and what did I spy?

The school supplies are here! The school supplies are here!

(From Ohio I can hear my mother the teacher: "You are sick.")

School supply shopping is easily one of my favorite pre-fall activities. The allure of an empty notebook, the thought of cracking in to a fresh package of pens, the smell of college ruled loose leaf paper, mmmm!

Of course I made out like a bandit: a binder and two pocket folder for the upcoming production I'm stage managing, and some sweet little notebooks for more writing on the train. How could you not love this? Those ice cream cones have bow ties, bow ties!!! And shall I sing thee a sonnet of finding the perfect plan-book? Something creative yet functional that doesn't have drab colors or an obnoxiously neon pattern. Plus it has space to make lists PLUS it has the same amount of weekly space for Saturday and Sunday, two days often given the shaft by plan books but are the days that I end up doing the most.

I suppose the best part is that these school supplies are for my own enjoyment. My dainty little ice cream cones will never have to hold the Pythagorean theorem or notes on a crap-tastic movie I had to watch in Geology lecture. Only my musings and rants and things that make me happy!

Sunday, July 8, 2012


A re-building day it is.

My head is still spinning from all the guests that have been in and out of my apartment in the past two weeks: Mom, Viking, Running Buddy. Not to mention the trip to the emergency room. Plus the theatre performance I've been working on had three replacements for our extension; it was no easy feat but it has been a fun challenge. My recovery is being aided by iced coffee and the comedic styling of a young Tim Curry...along with the soothing island rhythms of Diddy Kong going on downstairs. I bet you wish you had my Sunday.

Also here's this piece of deep art I found on the streets of the County Estates. The medium is white out on brick. It's called: Frantic Hyperspace Pineapple Jockey.

Hope you're enjoying your Sunday!


Friday, July 6, 2012


Every year Mom takes a picture of my brother and I on the 4th of July. She's been doing it since we were babies and this is the first year Reid and I have been so far apart on the 4th. This is my half of the photo so Mom can stick them together when she gets home to Ohio.

And we can't leave Viking out of the mix....

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Ring of Fire

After vowing to myself to blog consistently this entire week something stopped me, doesn't something always?

Viking and I reached the country estates on Sunday night to have a quiet date night...I don't know how to segue in to this any way other than to say that I got a piece of my dinner caught in my throat. I tried everything: throat massage, gargling hot water, hanging upside down from the passenger's side door of Viking's car. Three hours later I tipped my hat to this determined piece of meat and had the Viking take me to the emergency room.

After a round of muscle relaxers I cozied in to watch Ice Road Truckers and wait for this sucker to bite the dust. An hour later, no dice. I started to panic so another round of muscle relaxers and and I was off to sleep. They decided to preform an endoscopy in the morning.

I've had an endoscopy before, and I notoriously complimented the nurse for having gloves that smelled like banana pudding and thinking the doctor was a dreamboat for brushing my hair out of my face. Not to be outdone, I informed the nurses of the banana pudding smell. "That's funny (the throat numbing spray) is supposed to be flavored like bananas! But most of our patients think it tastes like tires." I opened wide: "Oh look at that! You are a pro!" they complimented. Lights out.

After I woke up Viking collected me and a coffee mug full of "Recoup Soup" and took me immediately for some frozen coffee at the D. I guess my first questions were: can I have coffee and can I have ice cream? Yes to both.

Viking and I spent the rest of my days off relaxing and deciphering what was okay for me to eat and what wasn't. Peanuts = not okay. Frozen custard from Ollie's = always okay, no matter what.

At least you can't say our dates are boring! Thank you Viking.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

4th Style

4th Style

Outfits via

Happy 4th! Sorry for the silence, more on that to come...

Today I thought I'd put together a string of outfits that I thought were too hot to wear outside today, with the exception of the bikini of course. Viking and I are hiding out indoors watching Batman Begins and eating refrigerated Russian candy bars. Dream scenario? Only if my apartment had air conditioning...womp womp!

Hope everyone is enjoying a well hydrated 4th of July!

Sunday, July 1, 2012


Guess who's back?! He managed to stay awake until ten minutes before I got home last night. I left the theatre, parked my car a block away and locked in to a dead sprint (or as fast as I can go in sandals) back to my apartment. Upon entering I immediatly woke him up and we spent a little while going over his artifacts; playbills, metro cards, and such. 

This morning will be filled with egg-making, walks around the block, and jet lag naps...the best Sunday I could ask for.

Hope you're having just as lovely of a day!