Dark Times

Dark Times

Can you believe how quickly this month, let alone, this year has flown by? I blinked my eyes and it’s practically November! It’s safe to say I’ve fallen on dark times. Don’t be alarmed though, I’m only referring to the fact that I’ve changed my hair.

Perhaps it’s my affinity for Riverdale or just the need to change things up but I’ve crossed over to the “dark side” as they say. I’ve always loved the power of a new look and this hair color is the perfect way to transition into fall. It’s making me more eager to break out the boots and sweaters.

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To usher in this darker era, I’m wearing one of my favorite H&M sweaters from last year. The graphic camel colored stripes are a great pop and blended in perfectly with this Lincoln Park backdrop. I’m so excited to start working with photographer Callie Craig, who captured some amazing shots of my new look.

I’m still getting used to the darker locks but it’s a great change that I’m excited to style and work with! Check out more of Callie’s work on her website. You’ll be able to see more of her shots here shortly. Another post coming later on in the week!

-TW

 

Harvest & Entertain

Harvest & Entertain

It’s been established that fall is indeed in the air and I decided that the change in season needed to be celebrated with a proper dinner party. There is no better feeling than being able to get good company together over delicious food and a great cocktail, especially for festive occasions. The idea of hosting a quick pregame is one thing, it’s another beast entirely to think about producing an entire dinner party. I’ve broken down this fall party with my own tips and tricks.

Inspiration: Every great party needs to have a purpose and inspiration. The changing leaves, sweater weather and general charm of fall inspired this get-together. Inspiration  can be found everywhere. Pinterest, magazines, or Instagram are great places to start. I personally love to window-shop to find ideas for decorations and the menu.

Decoration: During that “pre-shop,” I stopped dead in my tracks over this wood server. It really brings the outdoors in, and will work perfectly moving into winter too. For this party, it’s a charcuterie board, (I’m starting to hoard them) but it’d be a great to hold candles or serve as a tray. I picked up these incredibly affordable oversized leaf-shaped placemats too just for a pop of color.

I believe all parties should have always blend high and low, or natural and handmade elements. Various shaped pumpkins from the pumpkin patch (a local grocery store will have them too) mixed with leaf garland are the perfect combination! The glitter garland is from my favorite local gift shop while the paper garland I made myself. Free decorations are sometimes the best! (scrapbook paper, black thread and craft glue) It doesn’t hurt to have some bragging rights with something handmade, especially if you’re like me and can’t guarantee you’re making every dish yourself.

Food and Drinks: Now for perhaps the most important part. I, like everyone I know, am a huge fan of charcuterie and cheese boards. Grab your favorite cheeses and try a couple new ones! I grabbed a truffle salami to add to my usual spread along with a pumpkin cranberry crisp cracker to keep in theme. Trader Joe’s will never not be my savior when it comes to a dinner party. Easy, affordable and great taste. For a main dish, gnocchi with their Autumn Harvest sauce, because… basic, why not? Au Gratin butternut squash and plenty of bread make up the rest. Consult a cocktail book for the perfect drink, I chose a Trader Joe’s recipe instead and it did not disappoint.

Advice:

Have guests bring something– Even though I hate giving up control, let someone help. Ask guests to bring wine or a dessert. Put out an ice bucket so they can easily drop of their contribution when they walk in. Your wallet will thank you.

Invest in the essentials: A solid cheese board, great glassware and a nice tablecloth are key party staples that never go out of style.

Have fun: Sit back and revel in your hard work! You’ve cleaned, cooked, and served it all up, you deserve that glass of wine!

At the end of the day, the little details will pay off and you’ll be able to make new memories around a table you set yourself! Happy party planning!

Cheers,

TW

Falling Back into Action

Falling Back into Action

I know what you’re thinking, another person that’s telling me that fall is the best season…. groundbreaking. But honestly, now that the heat has burned off, and if you’re in Chicago, the rain clouds have parted, it’s started to actually look and feel like Autumn is upon us.

Fall is not just dedicated to infusing every food we know and love with pumpkin spice, although it should be!  It’s much more than that. I always appreciate that “back to school” attitude that fall comes with. As mentioned in previous posts, I’ve been working to reset and this season is as good a time as any.

Now that leaves are changing, so should we! I believe that after a crazy year like 2017, it’s important to start thinking about how to make the absolute most of the last three months of this year. Taking inventory of not only your scarf collection or that impending wish list for Santa, but of some goals you want to achieve. Whether it’s about getting active, making the most of family time for the holidays, or thinking ahead for 2018, start now! It’s never too early to start thinking of what direction you want to take next.

Realizing that most of this year has felt a little bit like being in a rat race, I’ve decided to stop running and slow down. I can already tell it’s paying off. So stop and smell the roses  pumpkin spice. While you’re at, you might as well get in that classic fall trip to the pumpkin patch and have your make shift photoshoot, like I did.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more fall favorites, travel guides and looks as we approach Halloween.

-TW

 

 

Turning Tables

Turning Tables

Over the past few years, Instagram has grown leaps and bounds in terms of its popularity! Whether scrolling on my own, or working in the field, I’ve started to realize that just about everyone has an account…. or two…. or three.

Instagram accounts fall under many categories.

We all have a personal account, sure, but what about your second account? It’s not enough to just have one! We’re either sharing unedited selfies on our “finsta” (fake instas), speaking in the voice of our dog on a pet account, or trying to become the next “girlwithnojob” ”with a meme account. Honestly, it’s a lot of work, but of course I’m in on the action too.

My second account is what I deem my hobby account. I can see why having a couple of accounts is fun. It’s a way to tap into another subculture or secret passion, whether that’s pretending you’re a french bulldog or in my case, party planner.

@TheTableRunner is my way to share on of my favorite pastimes, entertaining friends. I love dinner parties, holiday events and any excuse to have good food. Whether it’s Christmas or the start of The Bachelor, I try to create a table spread worth sharing on Instagram.

I hope to share more details about certain parties and tablescapes here since space and dedication is limited on running the Instagram account. So if you’re into charcuterie boards, themed cocktails and pretty tableware, @thetablerunner would love your follow!

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I’ve sprinkled in some highlights from the account here, and will be doing a feature on a fall table spread here shortly!

What’s your second instagram account? I love seeing what my friends are coming up with on their other accounts. Share them below!

Happy double tapping,

TW

Changing Course

Changing Course

Earlier this week, I mentioned that my visit to Los Angeles was a huge success. Not only was it sunny and relaxing, but it represented a new path that I’m setting myself on. It’s a path I’d already been working on over the last couple of months, and getting back to blogging was a part of it.

I came back to writing and blogging to fill a void that I felt was desperately missing. As the first year in the real world had flown by, I realized that the pace of work and trying to just “keep up” was hindering other avenues of my life. Creativity, relationships and most importantly, purpose, seemed to be at all time lows. I had to ask myself, how can I hit pause, reset, and then hit play again on my own life? I decided that in order to rediscover purpose, I had to take inventory of everything. There came a point where some tough decisions had to be made.

I asked myself questions like:

  • What do I actually have passion for?
  • Who and what is bringing joy to my life?
  • What are the risks of taking a leap of faith, or playing it safe?
  • How do my daily decisions relate to larger ones down the road?

As a perfectionist who puts a lot of pressure on himself, getting to those answers wasn’t easy. Facing my reality and then answering those tough questions has been a challenge. But if I want to be a successful adult, I had to.

Once I got those answers and leaned on supportive friends and family, I knew that in order to get to a better place, I needed to fully devote myself to the cause and change courses. That has meant that in relationships, I want to find quality and honesty. In my day to day, it’s about taking what life throws at me and appreciating the challenges. Lastly, in my career, it’s about passion and purpose. I recently decided to devote myself fully to searching for my next job and although it’s perhaps one of my riskier moves, I deem it one of my best. Embracing the risk I’m taking is the only way I can develop and grow stronger.

Meeting new friends and having the support of old ones who have experienced similar situations has been such a wonderful way to get through this change. I’ve always been a firm believer in “everything happens for a reason” and I continue to repeat that as I step further into adulthood. Change is a thing you can count on. Now it’s time to count on myself too.

-TW

TW Goes West

TW Goes West

I recently read that “a great trip sets you down a path that doesn’t end when you return home” and that statement couldn’t ring more true with my first visit to California last week. I’ll be diving more into that “path” a little later on in the week, but for now, let’s get into my adventure on the West Coast, shall we?

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Inspired by both the need to see one of my best friends and the desire to live out my Ingrid Goes West fantasy, I made sure to see as much of Los Angeles as possible during my first visit to the West Coast. The agenda was jam-packed but I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

My personal philosophy during a trip is to get a lay of the land as quickly as possible with a sight-seeing tour. It may seem traditional, but any sort of classic sight-seeing tour allows for you to get in some history and understand the layout of a city before you start exploring it on your own. Since LA is extremely massive and diverse, a StarLine tour seemed crucial. Although the tour guide was a bit…. redundant, there were some highlights. Photos at The Hollywood Bowl, lunch at The Farmers Market and strolling though Olvera Street were great first moments in Los Angeles. As an aspiring “Bravo-lebrity” my first full night ended at Pump and Sur in West Hollywood, of Vanderpump Rules fame. People watching has never been better!

 

Day two took a detour south, heading to San Diego! After a scenic two hour drive down the California coast, we finally made it. San Diego is stunning. With plenty of sunshine, boats and friendly residents, I could have stayed longer. Before heading into the city, we stopped at Liberty Public Market, a food hall style epicenter with plenty of flower shapes and boutiques too. The true mission was to see Hotel Del Coronado, the famous hotel and San Diego landmark. Charming and quaint, yet opulent, the “Del” was picture perfect. Coronado Island is lined with trendy shops and restaurants. Before heading out of town, we stumbled upon Solunto in Little Italy for a late lunch.

 

Back in Los Angeles for my last full day, the morning began at Gjusta, a Venice bakery and deli known for plenty of local flavor. Following that was a scenic walk around Abbot Kinney Blvd for shopping and photos, it was nothing short of a Instagram gold mine. The afternoon was topped off at Nobu for drinks in Malibu, while jamming to California Girls and yes, Malibu, on the way to and from. A delicious dinner at Osteria Mozza was followed up by a drive to Griffith Observatory. If you find yourself in LA, I believe it’s a must see. You’ll be channeling your inner Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in the City of Stars.

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As my trip wrapped up, my last morning was spent in Venice and Santa Monica. Venice is home to the laid back surfers and skaters that I’d seen plenty of times in TV and movies. After a breakfast at Rose Cafe and checking out the vintage shops in Santa Monica, I made sure to get a sushi lunch at Sugar Fish before one final drive through Beverly Hills.

All in all, California did not disappoint! Never short on good weather or a colorful photo opportunity, I couldn’t have asked for a better first visit. Having a local show me the ropes made the trip even better. Check out this map to see every spot I hit and stayed tuned for more adventures. I’ll be writing about past and future travels very shortly!

Happy Monday,

TW

Summer Late Bloomer

Summer Late Bloomer

Before I begin, I wanted to give a quick shout out to everyone who has been reading and reaching out to me about the relaunch! I’ve always been lucky to have great support from my friends and family with all of my creative endeavors. Kind words and encouragement make doing projects like this worth it. Now, back to business.

I think we’re all aware that Mother Nature hasn’t been the kindest to us lately. In Chicago, she’s decided to deliver a heat wave like no other at the end of September, a time that’s usually reserved for crisp winds and the leaves changing colors. Chicago’s officially a summer later bloomer it seems. How can people enjoy their pumpkin spiced lattes everything when it’s 91 degrees out? The jury is still out on the answer to that, but I’ve got more important problems at hand. One being how to dress through the heat with fall fashion in mind.

Falls Meets Summer

With the itch to dress for fall but a temperature scale off the charts, it’s all about compromise. Color palettes are an easy place to start! I personally pick out a few colors to build my wardrobe around each season. This fall, I’m trying to wear shades of green and more tan tones. Although Labor Day is over, I’m still wearing white (sue me!) because it’s an easy summer staple that you can build a fall look on.

Option 1: A bomber, which I feel is typically a fall jacket, can easily be thrown onto a lighter weight summer top for a night out. My green leather jacket is a great weight for when the temperature finally takes a dip. (far left photo)

Option 2: It’s too hot for a scarf, but it’s never too hot for a bandana! I may be late to the bandana party but I’m still showing up. Although it’s trendy, when worn in a neutral print and color, it can show you’re ready to embrace another layer of fashion without it adding to much heat. Plus, it’s honestly a very inexpensive accessory.

I hope your start to fall is a little bit cooler than mine has been! These looks might be working, but I’m ready to really enjoy fall fashion, are you? I’m heading to Los Angeles tomorrow and look forward to sharing my travel agenda after! In the meantime, you can follow along for photos and trip updates at my Instagram here.

Until next time,

TW