Five on Friday

  1. It’s fall my friends, although I’m thankful for the fabulous Indian summer we are having in the midwest. I cannot quite get into full fall decorating yet, but I did pull out my Nest Pumpkin Chai candle which is the best thing of all time. It smells like delicious autumn baking. I also found a cute little burlap banner for $3 in the Target Dollar Spot yesterday, but I can’t find the link on-line. They have some REALLY CUTE fall/thanksgiving stuff so I also bought a new seasonal doormat which looks sweet with my fall wreath. 
  2. I have gained approximately one million pounds this summer due to excessive overeating (really, it’s horrifying) and making up for a year plus of no alcohol. My pants are not fitting and it ain’t cute. So last night I took advantage of the gorgeous weather and went for a run (I’m being generous here, it was more of a shuffle) with the stroller and the dog. Holy geez. If I can do that, I can do anything. Now I just need to run further than one mile and I’ll be on my way to looking like Gisele.
  3. I am trying to spruce up my casual weekend wardrobe and bought a few pairs of shoes to add to my collection. I’ve been on the hunt for neutral booties and found this pair at Target. My mom doesn’t like the wedge but my style guru friend Annie said go for it, so I did. They’re similar to the JCrew Macalister Wedge Boot but $100 cheaper. Women's Terri Lace Up Wedge BootiesAlso decided to kick it old school in my Chuck Taylors. I’ve been wearing these a lot with my jeans rolled up a bit and feel pretty cool. 
  4. I canceled my Birchbox subscription (again) this month. I signed up for it after Emma was born in an attempt to make myself more presentable, but I’ve been pretty uninspired by what they’ve been sending. It’s been a lot of hair products, which really I could care less about. Send me lipstick people! Anyway, my last box had two fabulous items that I will definitely be purchasing. The first was Benefit Speedbrow Tinted Eyebrow Gel. I have wiry, curly and unruly brows. This stuff was legit and keeps them in place all day long. The second was Wilma Schumann Collagen Eye Pads. I looked like a crazy person while I was wearing them, but I was approximately five years younger when I took them off. I was kind of annoyed that I put them on before bed. I definitely should have saved them before going out/taking photos/seeing an ex-boyfriend. They are a splurge at $18 for a five pack but wowza, they are worth it.
  5. Parents of the world, no need to buy your toddlers toys! Just supply them with a giant box of tampons. I was unpacking my Target haul last evening and Emma was in need of attention. I handed her a box of tampons and girlfriend went to town. I’m serious, this kept her entertained for at least 30 minutes. She loved being able to pick up many at a time and enjoyed the crinkly plastic wrap. #momoftheyear
    Mocs: Freshly Picked// Pants: Old Navy//Top: Old from Carters
    Next week Tim and I celebrate our five year wedding anniversary! I’ve always been a little sad I started blogging after I was already married because a wedding always provides good fodder for posts. Would anyone be interested in seeing photos from our wedding and various wedding events next week? Please remember this was pre-Pinterest!

Five on Friday: My Excuses

Remember how one of my New Year’s resolutions was to blog once a week? Sorry I took approximately one month off. Was I missed? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? It has been a crazy busy few weeks and these are my excuses.
1. We took a vacation! Actually, I’m not sure any trip with a baby can be considered a vacation as I was definitely up numerous times a night and our day started at 6am. We rented a beach house on Lake Michigan in Wisconsin. This is the third time we’ve been to the Sheboygan area and we will definitely be back. Our home was directly on the beach with an amazing view of the lake. We had a fabulous deck, a firepit, and a cute little kitchen. Unfortunately, it was like 60* the entire time we were there so rather than getting a sweet sweet tan, we wore our fleeces. It did give my husband a good excuse to start our bonfire at 4pm so we could keep warm. We spent our days taking long walks on the beach, throwing the ball 8 million times for the dog, BBQing, drinking Spotted Cow and playing one-on-one Trivial Pursuit. We can’t wait to go back next summer!             2. Em and I hit the friendly skies! (Post to come on traveling with an 11 month old.) My best friend just had her second baby girl, and her mother-in-law and sister-in-law hosted a Sip & See party for everyone to meet sweet sweet Emmylou! A Sip & See is a great way to celebrate the arrival of a second babe. Mama can indulge in a few glasses of bubbly and everyone gets to snuggle in that baby scent. I’m not going to lie…it made me want another baby girl ASAP. But then I remembered I haven’t really slept through the night in a year and I cooled my ovaries down. Our girlfriend Annie (who is expecting her second) came down from Boston with her two year old David Bowie lover and I cannot describe how wonderful it was to be in the company of two of my nearest and dearest again. Our lives sure have changed in the past 15 years, and we don’t see one another as often as we’d like, but I am so thankful to have these women in my life. 
3. Work has been crazy! I’m proud to share that one of the hospitals in the healthcare system I work for is opening a state of the art outpatient care facility in Lakeview. Our team has been fundraising for this initiative for the past few years and it is fabulous to see all the work come to fruition. For those of you in the Chicago area, I’d be happy to give you a tour of the Presence Center for Advanced Care, which opens for business on Monday!


4. Family was in town. My parents (and in-laws) were here, which meant lots of cleaning and socializing, and not a lot of time in front of my computer. Needless to say, all four of the grandparents are obsessed with Emma and Tim & I enjoyed a little date night out thanks to my mom and dad. Chicago peeps, you must try Kai Zan, an amazing Japanese restaurant in Humboldt Park. It was a delicious birthday celebration…complete with two glasses of sparkling rose. 
5. My little girl turned one! I promise to post a full recap of her pink and gold party next week. She was, per usual, a total doll and enjoyed her first taste of sugar!    

Five on Friday: Back at It!

Well my dear friends, two weeks ago, during the prime of The Bachelorette, my blog had 350 views. This week I’m at 84 so clearly the people have spoken and I’ll be wasting my Sunday AND Monday watching Bachelor in Paradise. I do it for you, readers, I do it for you. A few things rattling around in my head this week:
1. I had leftover watermelon juice from my jalapeno watermelon margarita so whipped up another tasty drink to continue my summer of cocktailing! Muddle a few mint leaves in the bottom of a collings glass. Add a shot of vodka, watermelon juice, two solid squeezes of lime and top with a splash of club soda for some bubbles. Delish! I did not take a photo because I was attempting to eat a burger and appease my daughter, who was trying to shove as much leaves and dirt into her mouth as humanly possible.
2. On a walk this week I discovered another Little Free Library in our neighborhood.  This is our third and had lots of great children’s books. Do any of you have these? It’s a program in which volunteers place structures in their yards to fill with books. Anyone can take a book  or leave a book, with the idea to promote reading and foster community spirit. I’ve grabbed a few great books from our neighborhood Little Free Libraries and have dropped off some as well. I love knowing that they are moving around the city to so many different homes.  
3. I took myself to Target this week, treated myself to a Starbucks and had a nice little stroll. While marching through the shoe section I spied the following:  Dude, I’m 100% sure I had these in 1994. First birkenstocks, then overalls, and now these hideous heeled loafers. The 90’s are back!
4. Playing House is the best show you aren’t watching.I caught Playing House on USA last summer and it is hilarious! Short summary: Two best friends, one is pregs and her best friend moves home from China to help her raise the baby. I obviously connected with it last summer as I too was incredibly pregnant, but I’m re-watching Season One now and I am still laughing and crying. These women are hilarious and it’s a wonderful model of female friendship. Season Two just started this week. It’s a must watch! Also, you will die when you see their house and want to move right in.
5. My mother-in-law came in town to help this week as I had a work event late last night and the best part…she’s babysitting for us tonight too so Tim & I get to have a date night! We’re hoping to have a drink at Terrace at the Trump, which has been on our summer bucket list (which I will share next week). Fingers crossed we get a seat. Check out this view! I love this city.

Five on Friday

Hello my friends! It appears as if all my posts are Bachelorette related, so I’m back to a Five on Friday with a random brain dump.
1. This has been a tough week for our family. Emma developed pink eye last weekend. Poor thing had her eye sealed shut but still woke up with a smile on her face. I will tell you that putting eye drops in a 9 month olds’ eyes four times a day is a true delight! I woke up Monday with a sore throat, lost my voice at a work event on Thursday and started this morning with pink eye as well. We are a den of sickness over here. Stay away!
2. Sunday was my husband’s first Father’s Day. Watching him fall in love with our daughter is the absolute best. I think its hard for Dads to connect with newborns since they are so fragile and really are attached to mamas most of the time, and truly newborns, while sweet, just aren’t that much fun (in my opinion). As E has grown and developed her little personality, he has just become smitten. No one gets more smiles than Dad and she absolutely loves when he sings to her. It makes me want to have like eight more kids. We celebrated by going to our favorite neighborhood diner for lunch, taking a long and leisurely family nap and going for a swim at the local pool–a perfect day to celebrate the #1 guy/only guy in our house.

3. I popped by Trader Joe’s on Wednesday on my way back from work to pick up a few staples to stock our freezer–perfect for the nights when I just cannot get it together to cook (which, lets be honest, is at least five out of seven night). I’ll do another post on my Trader Joe’s faves in the coming weeks. I did pick up Chocolate Coconut Almonds and I cannot stop eating them. I’ve plowed through half the container in two days. They are AMAZING! It’s like a bite sized Almond Joy but with even more crunch. Pick some up next time you’re at TJs. 
4. A good friend was in town this week for work and she was able to swing up one night for dinner. We shared a bottle of wine and it was so nice to catch up. We realized that it has been ten years since we last had time one-on-one, as the last few times we had seen one another was for weddings, bachelorette parties, and birthday parties. It made me realize I need to revisit my New Year’s resolution to make more time for friends and reconnect on a regular basis. Get ready for some phone calls ladies! Also, Lauren works for Pure Barre and teaches/attends class regularly and looks fantastic. This chubby mama is hoping to get her butt the barre soon. Anyone local want to join?
5. Chicago in the summer is the best (usually). One of my favorite things to do is take advantage of all the outdoor concerts. Last Sunday, Tim and I went to the Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park to see Iron & Wine and Damien Rice. Despite a lot of stress to get there (long story but our babysitter no showed), the night was absolutely perfect and it was no great to have a date night with my husband. 
 This weekend we are going to Ravinia, an outdoor venue where everyone packs a picnic and drinks a bunch a wine, to see Amos Lee and David Gray. I’ve already shopped for our snacks because obviously that is the most important. Loving this city and all it has to offer. Now if we could only do something about the weather…

Five on Friday

Hi pals! I hope everyone is gearing up for a long holiday weekend. The weather here in Chicago is not as delightful as I would have hoped, but I’m sure we will survive, especially considering my office closed at 2pm today so we’re starting vacation early. I’m linking up for Five on Friday yet again sharing things that are making me happy this week!
1. Pool party! Last Sunday was hot and sunny so we broke out the baby pool I purchased for E. She loved the pool in Florida and until the Chicago Park District pools open in June, we’re hanging in this bad boy. Girlfriend is rocking her fair Irish skin so I opted for a cover for sun protection. Add in her Beaufort Bonnet Company sunhat and her California Baby sunblock and I think we have her sun protection covered. Maybe someday we’ll actually have a house with a pool, but until that day comes, this is how we’ll roll. Emma didn’t seem to mind the freezing cold water from the hose either!
 Baby Pool
 2. Tim was out of town for the Kentucky Derby so we had a little fun for Preakness! We cheered on American Pharaoh while drinking Moscow Mules and enjoying my favorite snack. Crusty baguette, buratta mozzarella, gourmet pepperoni and prosciutto. We may have gone back for seconds (or thirds). I could eat this for dinner every night during the summer, especially with a glass of bubbly or rose. Yum!
 Crate & Barrel Platter 
3. I listen to iTunes radio quite a bit and my new favorite station is Americana. Country influenced, folksy, a little bit of bluegrass and some great listening for cooking dinner or reading. Think Lucinda Williams, Gillian Welch, Alison Krause. The other day I had the station on when I was in the shower and a song I had never heard came on. It is the story of a couple from meeting to death, written by their granddaughter, Holly Williams. It is absolutely beautiful and I cry my eyes out every time I hear it. Definitely take a listen, but not when you’re in public, because you’ll bawl and embarrass yourself.
4.  In case you didn’t read any other blog this week or live underneath a rock, it’s the Nordstrom half yearly sale. There is so much on sale that it is absolutely overwhelming. The beauty stuff is only Philosophy so no great deals there, and considering I carry a diaper bag everywhere I go I feel like there is no need to spend money on a really darling Kate Spade purse. Add that to the fact that I still don’t have a good handle on what fits my post-baby body and I ended up only buying for my husband and baby. Lame.
I finally got a pair of Freshly Picked mocs for Emma. They were still stupidly expensive for baby shoes, but so darn cute. I also picked up a North Face hoodie for Em. It’s water resistant and fleece lined (and only $35) so perfect for fall.

Freshly Picked Metallic Leather Moccasin (Baby & Walker)

Freshly Picked Mocs

'Chimborazo' Water Resistant Hoodie (Baby Girls)

North Face Hoodie 
In my attempt to turn Tim into Ryan Gosling in Crazy Stupid Love (come to mama!), I purchased him these bad boys. Next up, matching belt and blue suit.

Cole Haan Lenox Hill Cap Toe
5. You all voted for me to go for the Taylor Swift bangs. I got my hair cut this afternoon and went for it. Not as good as T-Swift, but I’m also not 27, have legs up to my neck and a team of stylists making me look hot every second of every day.  I took my hair up a little bit in a lob so it’s shorter in the back but still long enough for a pony, which is necessary when your baby is a vicious hair puller.Let’s see if I can style this myself, which is always the problem. Maybe a real life pic to come next week if I can get my act together. Also, this is really one of my first selfies. Are my eyes two different shapes/sizes or am I a little cross eyed? I did have to wear an eye patch when I was little so maybe residual effects? Either way, I need to step up my selfie game ASAP Stella & Dot On the Mark Necklace 
Happy long weekend friends! I hope yours is filled with sunshine, cold drinks and warm hugs.

Five on Friday

1. Life as I know it may be over. There is a chance that E has a cow milk allergy, meaning this mama has to eliminate dairy from her diet. You guys, this is going to be the WORST! What will I eat? No seriously, what will I eat? The only plus side (minus not changing dirty diapers a million times a day) is that maybe I’ll lose weight faster? Please cross your fingers this is not the case.

2. In an attempt to clean up my diet, I’ve been cooking recipes from the new SkinnyTaste cookbook. I’ve followed Gina’s website for years and really do love her recipes. I appreciate that she always includes the Weight Watchers points and her portion sizes are generous. This week I made Baked Potato Soup, Asian Glazed Drumsticks and Shredded Brussels Sprout Salad. I of course added a bit of parmesan to the salad because I can’t have anything without cheese. I think next time I’d add some crumbled bacon as well for a different texture and a bit of saltiness, and you know, because it’s delicious. Check out my amazing food photography below.
3. My best friend from high school, a teacher and mom of two,  started a blog about the love of books and all things literacy. It is focused on children’s books and she has awesome recommendations as well as tips on how you can encourage your child through reading. I definitely suggest all you mamas check out The Petite Stag. Erin is currently running a giveaway that ends tomorrow so visit and enter today!  Also she knows how to put images and captions together, unlike me. Here is my gorgeous friend with her sweet baby girls.


4. I finally fit into a pair of work pants this week. It was so exciting that I wore them two days in a row (before I spilled grilled cheese on them- no judgement please). As I work at different sites throughout the week there are times I recycle outfits. It’s fantastic because you don’t run into the same people and you don’t have to think about what you’re wearing. Today I ran into a snag in this glorious plan, as I realized the daycare people see me everyday. They probably just think I’m a total dirtbag. Whatever, if Kate can do it, so can I.

5. What is happening with Jillian’s butt on The Bachelor? Girl needs to put some pants on. That said, her leaping over the fence in one fell swoop to wrangle a pig was amazing.
My general thoughts on the season thus far:
  • So much head jewelry
  • Bring me more Ashley S. That girl is certifiable and I love it. Her crazy eyes make me laugh every time. 
  • I appreciate that the girls appear to like one another. The cattiness of other seasons makes me very uncomfortable and makes all women look stupid. Not that these chicks are representative of the population generally…
  • Chris is mighty cute but that laugh of his has gots to go.
  • The girl that wants to be a Kardashian is Krazy.  She would last 1 second on a farm in Iowa. Also, she’s a gross kisser.