Wednesday, April 24, 2019

White and Navy for Spring

Shirt and Sunglasses - Amazon / Coat (similar here) - Michael Kors / Jeans - Gap / Flats (similar here) - Banana Republic / Earrings - J.Crew Factory / Bag (similar here and here) - Ann Taylor 

I now own this top in two colors, and I am not mad about it. Not one bit. 

Especially because it's only $19 and comes in 11 colors!! 

I've talked about this top a couple of times, but only shared it on Instagram, so I thought it was time to give you a better view. It has functioning buttons in the front (yay nursing friendly!) and the tie can be adjusted - I actually have the bottom button undone so the tie would be a little higher. It's also longer in the back, making it perfect for leggings. 

Now, I'm usually really hesitant about buying clothes off of Amazon, and I'm sure you are too. For me, the key is to look for items that already have a ton of good reviews, and to read through some of them to get a feel for sizing or anything else you might not realize from the photos. I also will look at the sizing chart if they have one, and usually end up sizing up since many products on Amazon run really small. For reference, I'm wearing a 2XL here. And then, also look at what the return policy is just in case. Most items from Amazon can be returned to Kohl's now! If you're anything like me, you loathe paying shipping and avoid the post office like the plague, so knowing I can do an in-person return is key

I wore this out for our first little dinner date with Mia. Yep, that's right, we took our newborn baby out to dinner! 

Ahem: at four o'clock. 


Now, Jeff and I have been known to schedule the early dinner, but this blows even our usual crazy out of the water. But, for our first time out to dinner with a baby in tow, we didn't want to get anywhere close to the dinner rush. And also we were headed to Spacca Napoli (which is the BEST Italian style pizza in the city, definitely check it out if you haven't!) and did not have a reservation, so being early was also important because we are terribly impatient and basically never wait for tables. We've noticed on the weekends the wait always starts to build starting at 5:15 so we always try to get there by 5 anyway. 

So, how it go? 

We did make one fatal error, in that we put Mia in her bassinet since we were walking to the restaurant, but didn't realize it would actually be fairly crowded at 4pm and we'd have to stow the stroller base. Had we put her in her carseat instead, we could have easily plopped it on an upside down high chair and called it a day. (Sidebar: did you know that's a thing?! Freaking amazing, they hold a carseat perfectly.) Instead we put the bassinet on a chair which didn't feel particularly safe, and ended up holding her for most of our visit.

Besides that, it was great! Mia was looking hungry as soon as we got there so I fed her a bottle, and then she fell asleep basically until we were done eating. I got to relax and have a glass of wine and daddy had a couple of beers over a really good caprese salad and salsiccia pizza - our favorite! Jeff did have to knock back his beer at the end of dinner because Mia started getting fussy, and I took her outside while he gathered everything up. But all in all, I'd call the night (afternoon?) a success! And cheers to many more!!

Shirt and Sunglasses - Amazon / Coat (similar here) - Michael Kors / Jeans - Gap / Flats (similar here) - Banana Republic / Earrings - J.Crew Factory / Bag (similar here and here) - Ann Taylor 

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Friday, April 19, 2019

Friday Finds

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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Moscow Mule Gift Basket

Are you looking for a fun gift idea? I come from the kind of family where we write exact wish lists with specific items we want, and then just buy based on those lists, so I'm not always great at coming up with something when it isn't specified. I mean, give me a wedding or baby registry and I am that person who only buys things from the registry.

We got invited to a couple's "stock the bar" party for Jeff's brother a couple of weeks ago. The concept was, instead of a wedding shower, we could have a fun cocktail party instead. Guests were asked to either buy something bar related off of the couple's registry, or to bring wine or liquor to fill their bar.

Of course I waited a little on the long side to actually buy a gift from their registry (because that's just the type of procrastinator I am) but there were still Moscow Mule glasses available. I had been planning on spending a little more on the gift, so I decided to make it into a gift basket!

Our gift basket included the Moscow Mule glasses (of course), vodka, ginger beer, lime juice, and limes for the cocktails. I also tossed in fun cocktail napkins, some pretty coasters, and reuseable straws. And then of course I picked out a pretty basket that was big enough to hold everything and would also look nice in their house.

Someone else had already purchased bar tools off of their registry so I didn't want to toss in more random things, but you could also add in shot glasses, beer or wine openers, a pretty cocktail shaker, or other bar tools to fill out the basket. Some other ideas I had were a mint plant (some people will muddle mint into the drink or use it as a garnish), cute dish towels, a candle, or a gift card to a liquor store.

To put the basket together, I first added in the extra items that wouldn't fit in the top of the basket, so the rest of the Moscow Mule glasses, additional bottles of ginger beer, and the rest of the set of straws. Then I added a layer of tissue paper and some pretty metallic shredded paper. I arranged everything else on top, with some extra shredded paper in the glass so you could see the limes I put inside. Add a cute card and you're good to go! This would also be a fun gift idea for a 21 year old's birthday or for a bachelor or bachelorette party.

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Monday, April 15, 2019

Motherhood Monday: Would You Ask for a Push Present?

Would you ever ask for a push present from your partner? I'm guessing you've heard of push presents, but in case you haven't, the basic concept is that you pushed a baby out of your body, so you deserve a reward.

On Mia's due date! We thought there would be a baby any minute, but she decided to hang out for 8 days longer!

I used to think it was a crazy concept, but then again, I also thought babymoons were a little silly too (note: babymoons are not silly, they are awesome and you should take one if you can!). Why would you need a present from your spouse just for having a baby, especially when you are about to spend a ton of money raising a child?

Right, well then I got pregnant and my tune changed. No, I didn't want something crazy and extravagant for carrying a child, but I was starting to think that after all of the craziness my body put me through (food aversions, motion sickness, prenatal carpal tunnel, a PUPPP rash, and more!) that getting something pretty at the end would be nice. In addition to it being a "reward," I started seeing a push present as something that would always remind me of the special time in our lives of being pregnant with our first child, and all of that anticipation that comes along with it.

Once I decided I wanted a push present, I wanted the gift to be specific to the baby and to be something I would keep and use forever. I ended up setting my sights on this initial necklace with an "M" for Mia. I've seen others with this necklace for years and always thought it was subtle and beautiful. It's a bit more than I would normally spend on a necklace, but perfect for a present.

I've found in the past that when I want something, especially something specific, I have to tell Jeff directly. He's never going to be the guy to just surprise me. (After dropping hints for years about how I like fresh flowers and candy, I ended up telling him directly that I would love if he would surprise them with me now and then. Now he knows exactly what my expectations are and a little way to make me happy, so we're both happy!) So, after I decided on the necklace I wanted, I told Jeff I would love for him to get it for me, and sent him a link with the exact size and color I wanted. Mia's due date was also right after Valentine's Day and my birthday, so I told Jeff not to get me anything for those and to combine them all with a push present instead.

Jeff ended up waiting to buy the necklace because we wanted to be 100% sure of Mia's name (we waited to meet her before settling on it!), so he ended up giving it to me a week or two after she was born. It was such a sweet surprise to see a pretty little present wrapped and sitting on my pillow. And you guys, the necklace is gorgeous in person. I love that it reminds me of Mia every time I see it, and have barely taken it off since I got it. It's the perfect little necklace to wear every day since it goes with anything, and pairs well with my other dainty everyday necklaces too. It also is durable, and has stood up so far to tiny baby fists that grab on to it and pull hard! Just a note, I have the 16" in yellow gold. I see now that they have an adjustable 16-18" chain now, and definitely would have gotten that one if I realized it was an option just so I could change the length depending on my top.

Now, did I really need a push present? Absolutely not. But, it was nice to have Jeff acknowledge everything I had done to have the baby and show his appreciation and love for me. And now, whenever I look in the mirror, I'm reminded of my beautiful little girl and how happy we are to have her! And for years to come, it will remind me of this special time in our lives.

So tell me, what are your thoughts on push presents? Would you ever ask for one or expect one?

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Friday, April 12, 2019

Friday Finds

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Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Three Favorite Handbags On Sale

You may have heard that ShopBop is currently running their "Event of the Season" sale where you can get 20% off on any order, and 25% off orders of $500+ with code EVENT19. If you've been wanting to make a big designer purchase, now is the time! I actually had been planning on making a major handbag purchase next week as I'm getting my annual bonus (yep, in mid-April!) so this couldn't be better timing for me - I'm thinking it'll be this tote!

I honestly rarely buy designer items and even more rarely shop at ShopBop because most things are pricier than I like to spend. However, they do carry a few lines I love (like Madewell and Sam Edelman) and three of my favorite handbags are included in the sale. The sale only runs today through Friday, so move fast if you want something.

I shared a full review of why I think this bag is worth the price last fall, and I still love it just as much! It's beautiful and gets so much use, as it works great for everyday as well as dressy events. I also love that the chain lets me wear it short or long, or even crossbody. I've had mine for three years now and it still is beautiful, just a little wear is showing on the corners. I was worried the soft leather would scratch easily, but it still looks brand spanking new! 

I wore this all. summer. long. And spring. And a little in the fall too ;) It is just so stinking cute and goes with everything! I was really surprised by how much it holds, I can fit my bigger camera in there when I travel along with my phone, (small) wallet, and sunglasses! It does not have a closure at the top but I found that it sort of closes itself when it's really full. I do keep stuff in a pouch inside and clip it to the handle when I travel though to make sure nothing gets stolen or lost. 

There are a ton of dupes out there (as well as really similar bags) so if this isn't in your budget definitely go cheaper, as it is a trendier item. However I love the real deal, and you can definitely tell it's higher quality than the dupes between the weaving and materials of the bag itself and the leather strap and detailing. 

This is the newest item in my handbag collection, and I already love it and carry it every chance I get! I had been considering a Transport Tote for years but couldn't quite stomach the price, but a big gift card from Christmas changed my mind! I love the zipped top for safe city commuting, and love that it's big enough to haul anything and everything, including my laptop and all of the cords, or any number of baby items. I sprayed the heck out of mine with a leather waterproofing spray to protect it from stains, and definitely recommend it if you get a lighter color since they can stain - I've seen some pretty beat up transport totes on the train! 

Have questions about any of these? I'm happy to help!

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Black Floral Spring Dress

Dress - J.Crew Factory / Sweater - LOFT / Booties - TOMS / Bag - Tory Burch / Sunnies - Amazon

Look you guys, an actual outfit post!! And I'm not even trying to get dressed around a gigantic bump anymore!

Jeff's parents hosted a little engagement / stock the bar party for his brother last weekend, and I used it as an opportunity to break out a pretty new spring dress. I love little dresses like this because they work so well dressed up or down. I wasn't really sure how dressed up people would get for the party, so it was nice to be able to sit at middle ground. By taking this dress that could be perceived as "dressy" but adding casual elements like the cardigan and booties, it perfectly toes the line. And it was good I went this route too, since some people showed up in dresses and heels and others were in jeans and tee shirts.

I also love black floral print dresses for spring in Chicago because you can still easily pair them with black tights. That doesn't work quite as well with pastel floral dresses. I am not a proponent for freezing your butt off during Chicago's "spring" days, so tights are a must for me! Turns out as you get older, you really just want to be comfortable all the time.

In case you were wondering, this dress does have a hook and eye closure so it does work for nursing. That's something I've really been looking for in dresses for spring and summer. If I'm in a tee and shorts I can still figure out how to feed little Mia, but I've realized that if I'm in a dress that doesn't open easily I basically have to get naked for her snack time, which I don't think will work quite as well out in public ;)

Dress - J.Crew Factory / Sweater - LOFT / Booties - TOMS / Bag - Tory Burch / Sunnies - Amazon

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