Friday, August 30, 2019

Friday Finds

Happy long weekend!! We have lots of plans with our extended families this weekend, but I'm also hoping to get in a little relaxing and Mia hangs because it's my LAST weekend before I go back to work! That's right, maternity leave is OVER and starting Tuesday I have to figure out this whole working mom thing. I've heard that there's nothing harder than being a stay-at-home mom... except, well, being a working mom. Wish me luck!

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Wednesday, August 28, 2019

August Budget

Every month I post about my clothing budget. My budget per month is $350, which may seem like a lot to some and a little to others, but feels just right for me. You can read my thoughts on my 2018 budget here.

Well, this might just be the least exciting budget post ever! I triple checked my secret Pinterest board (how I keep track of my purchases every month!) and even looked into my closet to make sure I didn't buy anything else and forget about it. But nope, these were the only two keepers this month! I even questioned keeping the earrings, I had a hard time deciding if they were cool and modern or a little too old corporate business lady. Clearly I decided on the former.

I am currently waiting on this sweater to arrive (couldn't resist a good Madewell sale!) and have a feeling a few more fall pieces will be flying my way in September, so things should change a bit for next month's budget post ;)

Here's the damage for August:

EDIT: RETURNED. I just wasn't ever reaching for this top and wasn't excited to pull it out, so I decided to take it back. LOFT Leopard Print Top - originally $54.50, on sale $32.70. I saw this print in stores when I was making some returns, and it is so pretty in person!! It also comes in a pretty tank and work dress.  I thought when I ordered it that it could work as a weekend top as well as a work top, but it doesn't work quite as well with my jeans as it does with black skinnies or a cute pencil skirt.
LOFT Glitter Pull Through Hoop Earrings - originally $29.50, on sale $17.70. On that same trip into the store, I glanced over at the jewelry section while I was in line to return approximately one thousand items and realized that LOFT has some freaking adorable earrings right now. I combed through the selection online and ended up ordering these cute minimalistic beauties. I thought I had to be "done" with fun earrings for a while since Mia has hit the must grab everything and pull stage, but then I realized duh, she's going to daycare full time. Mommy just has to wait until after dropoff to put in her fun earrings. And try not to drop them on the floor of the train while doing so. Which I definitely haven't done during the morning rush hour commute. Definitely no.

Total spent: $17.70
Total saved: $11.80

I think that might be my lowest total since I started tracking this whole budget thing! I am on the hunt for shoes though which can be a pricey add - I returned over $500 worth of shoes to Nordstrom last week!! I'm looking for another pair of sock booties, some black mules or loafers, and maybe some taller boots too. So hopefully we'll see some of those in my September post!

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Tuesday, August 27, 2019

40% off at J.Crew!

J.Crew is having a 40% off everything sale with code SUNSET, and I got so excited I just added over a thousand dollars worth of stuff to my cart, and then sadly removed a lot haha ;) A lot of my favorites are on sale, as you can see below, like my favorite jeans and sweater blazer and field jacket. Definitely my kind of fall sale!

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Monday, August 26, 2019

5 Tips for Dealing With Postpartum Hair Loss

I'm now five and a half months postpartum which means it's time for, you guessed it, hair loss. Yay for bodies being weird!

I actually thought I would escape this unfortunate part of postpartum life, because my hair did not get thicker at all while I was pregnant. But then, lo and behold, two weeks after I had Mia my hair stopped falling out and growing. What?! I mean, really I first noticed because I kept getting confused in the shower about whether or not I had shaved. Turns out I hadn't, my leg hair just wasn't growing! Once again, yay for bodies being weird!

But, since my hair got thicker, that meant that eventually it would have to shed back to normal, and oh my goodness it has been happening. I've been losing hair like crazy (our vacuum even broke - couldn't handle the shedding!!) for the past month or so, from all over my head but especially around the temples and my hairline.

I've actually always struggled with having extreme baby hairs, which really is what postpartum hair loss gives you. In middle school whenever I wore a ponytail I would shellac all of my baby hairs back to my head, and then eventually in high school I gave up and let them fly everywhere in all of their glory. I even cut bangs (and then kept them for almost 10 years!) as a way to camouflage the baby hairs. Over the years, they've given me lots of practice for keeping baby hairs under control.

Here are my top five tips for dealing with postpartum hair loss:

1. Part your hair when it's wet 

A lot of tips for volume include waiting to part your hair until it's dry, but if you're trying to get baby hairs under control that's going to result in them standing straight up! My technique for years has been to get out of the shower and then comb and part my hair with a wide tooth comb while it's still wet. Then I go over my hair again with a fine tooth comb to make sure that my baby hairs are in place (this also helps keep my hair sleek and smooth!) and let them dry that way. I also part my baby hairs closer to the center even though I part my hair over to the side, as this also keeps them from standing up.

2. Change up your part to hide any sparse or bald spots 

If you have any spots that are starting to thin on your part, change it up now before things get worse. That will give that spot a chance to recover without the stress of being directly on your part. Since my left temple is right on my part it has suffered the most, but since I shifted my part a little closer to center it has started to get better.

3. Keep your part when putting your hair in a ponytail

You may have noticed that whenever I wear my hair up, I don't push all of my hair straight back. Instead, I always keep the first inch or two of my hair parted (like here - wow that's a pregnant belly!). This allows my baby hairs to lay flat and stay camouflaged. When you try combing your hair straight back, that means those baby hairs are going to stick out and any sparse spots are going to show.

4. Use a toothbrush and hairspray

If you are trying for a style that isn't cooperating with your baby hairs, try putting hairspray on a toothbrush and using that to brush those little hairs into place! A toothbrush has much finer bristles than a brush or even a fine tooth comb, so it can catch those short little hairs and help them conform to your style.

5. Don't stress it!

Worrying about how your hair looks will just make things worse, as stress can increase hair loss! Just know that it's likely that no one else has noticed your hair, and that things should bounce back to normal soon.

Are there any other tips you've used that have worked? Let me know in the comments! 

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Friday, August 23, 2019

Friday Finds

Fall clothes are starting to show up in stores and I am here. for. it. 

Of course I don't actually want to wear them yet, because for me fall means the end of maternity leave and the return to reality. But I can't really hate on the fall clothes. It isn't their fault. 

one / two / three / four / five

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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Nothing to Wear

Tee (similar) and Shorts - J.Crew Factory / Blazer - J.Crew / Shoes - Sam Edelman / Bag (similar) - Mali + Lili

I was having a total nothing to wear moment last weekend. There wasn't anything new and exciting in there, and I was several days past definitely needing to do laundry. But instead of flailing around, I spied these leopard espadrilles and challenged myself to build an outfit around them. 

The next time you look in your closet and think, "I have nothing to wear," try combining things you normally wouldn't. A white tee and white shorts might look odd on their own, but with a third piece over the top they all the sudden are an outfit. 

Bam. Like Emeril. 

Tee (similar) and Shorts - J.Crew Factory / Blazer - J.Crew / Shoes - Sam Edelman / Bag (similar) - Mali + Lili

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Friday, August 16, 2019

Friday Finds

one / two / three / four / five

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Monday, August 12, 2019

Motherhood Monday: Mia's 5 Month Schedule

I can't believe it's been over three months since I last shared Mia's schedule! I know everyone says this, but really, as soon as you get used to something with your baby it will change. It's so crazy looking back to May and knowing that we were going to bed at 9 (or 10... or 11) and taking hours to nurse her and help her fall asleep. Now Mia goes to bed at 7pm after eating for 20 minutes tops and is happy to fall asleep on her own. And no more late mornings over here, she's usually up in the 6:00 hour instead of 8 or 9am.

We did start daycare a couple of weeks ago, so this a typical schedule for non-daycare days. And as before, this is just a typical schedule. Everything may change based on how long naps last or if we have plans for the day. Or an emergency bath ;)

We don't swaddle anymore, but we do put her in a sleep sack - these ones are my favorite!

6:30am: I'll hear Mia start stirring in her crib (or more likely these days blowing raspberries - so cute!), so we wake up and nurse in the bedroom followed by a diaper change.
7:00am: Playtime on her playmat or in her activity center while I eat breakfast, pump, and try to turn our living area into a reasonably clean space that others might enjoy using.
8:30am: It's already naptime! I usually nurse Mia for a hot second if she seems hungry, then we sing a couple of songs and she lays down in her sleep sack. Sometimes she falls right asleep, and sometimes she complains for 10 or 15 minutes. This nap is typically 90 minutes, but sometimes as short as 20 minutes or as long as 2.5 hours.
10:00am: We wake up, do a diaper change and actually get dressed for the day. Mia will nurse, and then we'll head out for whatever activity we're doing - usually a long walk and a stop at the grocery store. Mia will usually hang out for a bit and then nap in her stroller. I pack formula in these sweet travel containers in case she gets hangry while we're out, because I still haven't figured out how to get enough hands to feed her under a cover in public. I always forget to plan lunch for myself and end up grabbing something for myself while we're out.
2:00pm: We get back home and get all of our stuff back upstairs. Mia will nurse and get a diaper change and then we'll have some playtime.
3:00pm: Mia lays down for her last nap of the day while I pump.
4:00pm: Mia wakes up and we sing or play and anxiously await Dad's arrival home from work.
5:00pm: Dad is home! He plays with Mia for a little bit, and then we start in on baby food! Mia just started cereal last week, so this week we're starting to try other foods which has been... exciting ;) But really she loves food so far and wants to eat everything she can as fast as she can. We're using these bibs so she doesn't get messy - amazing since they cover her whole outfit! Dad usually feeds Mia while I prep stuff for our dinner.
5:30pm: More playtime until Mia starts getting grumpy.
6:30pm: Dad takes Mia into the bedroom to change into her pajamas and get into her sleep sack. We don't do baths at bedtime yet, but I know that's about to change as she starts eating messier foods!
6:45pm: I nurse Mia and try to keep her awake to eat as much as possible before bed since I know that will help her sleep through the night. If I feel like I'm not producing enough milk I'll supplement with formula here.
7:00pm: Mia is asleep! I do a happy dance and then we make dinner and hang out before bed - these days we seem to always have an episode of Bachelor in Paradise to watch ;)

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Friday, August 9, 2019

Friday Finds

Happy Friday! This week was a little crazy getting back into the swing of things after our weekend in Lake Geneva and trying to reclaim and clean the house since we are having a bunch of my high school friends over tomorrow for a barbecue. Mia also caught some sniffles at daycare last week, which turned into a full-blown cold for me that knocked me down for a bit. Mia, however, barely noticed she was sick, so I guess that's a good thing! It's amazing how busy I can feel during maternity leave when my daughter is going to daycare two days a week - like, what am I doing all day? And yet, I'm still somehow running a mile a minute trying to get stuff done. How do all of you working mommies do it?

Here are my finds for this week - so excited about all of the back to school clothes showing up in stores!
one / two / three / four / five

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Wednesday, August 7, 2019

A Girl's Weekend in Lake Geneva

a three day girl's trip in lake geneva, wisconsin

Back in the spring, my sister and I got it in our heads that we should plan a girl's trip somewhere at the end of the summer before she had to go back to school and I had to go back to work. Jeff was actually away for a weekend for his brother's bachelor party, and we started talking about how Ellen didn't end up getting to go on my bachelorette party because she was super pregnant, and decided we needed a re-do! A little time away from the kiddos to rest and recharge was just what the doctor ordered. We had grand plans of flying off to somewhere on the ocean or heading back to New Orleans, but then never managed to actually plan something or buy tickets. But then I thought, we don't have to go very far at all to have a fun weekend! My mom ended up coming along too, and it was such a nice little trip.

If you haven't been before, Lake Geneva is a cute little lake town just across the border in Wisconsin, and is just a 90 minute drive. Lake Geneva used to be where wealthy Chicagoans would go during the summer so there are huge historic mansions on the lake. There is also a small but adorable little downtown with a surprising number of ice cream restaurants per capita. I could see staying for a longer trip if you rented a house outside of town, but really it's great for a long weekend trip if you stay downtown.

Where we stayed: 

I looked at a bunch of hotels but we were booking pretty last-minute so there weren't a ton of options. I ended up finding a room available at The Cove, and once we realized there was a huge pool with a bar it seemed like a no brainer. The hotel itself was interesting because parts of it seemed super dated (hallways, balconies, etc), but our room was actually updated with a gorgeous bathroom and pretty hardwood floors, plus a little kitchenette for keeping all of our wine and snacks. We booked a studio suite, which had a queen and a pullout couch, which ended up being perfect for three people. The pool was crazy busy every day with people out drinking all day every day and live music, but it was still very family friendly with lots of kids running around. The location was also perfect, we were one block off of the beach and just a couple blocks from the main downtown area.

What We did: 

When you're in Lake Geneva, you have to get out on the lake! We booked a Jazz Dinner Boat Tour with Lake Geneva Cruise Line to have dinner out on the water. The boat left from downtown at 7, and we got to cruise through the whole lake while having drinks and dinner. There was a little bit of history about some of the big mansions on the water, but for most of the ride there was a live jazz band! The food is nothing to write home about (my sister said, "Oh, it's like wedding food") but the sunset views and music more than made up for it.

We also spent a surprising amount of time shopping downtown. I thought Marigold was so adorable, and ended up buying a set of cute minimal Christmas plates at C.R. Goodfinds because apparently I'm the kind of person now who buys sets of Christmas plates while on vacation. We also did a mini wine tasting at New World Wine Shop (you can just walk in and taste things for free), and I'm pretty sure my sister tried every kind of beef jerky at BJO. We also got ice cream twice from Scoops because it's vacation and calories don't count ;) But really, it was so good we had to go back for round two.

And then obviously we spent a lot of time at the pool! We thought we were going to go for a walk around the lake too, but a thunderstorm blew through so we ended up having a couple of drinks at Hogs & Kisses instead. My kind of exercise ;)

Where We Ate: 

We stopped in for lunch at Oakfire right when we got to town, and got the last table on the upstairs balcony with an amazing view of the lake. We split some apps plus a pizza and a salad, and everything was so good. I'm basically always pro burrata, but the calamari was so good!

We went for dinner to Sopra and it was packed. I made a reservation two weeks in advance and was so glad I did because we saw people being turned away at the door. My sister and I both got the duck, and it was so good I wanted to lick the plate!

Joni's Diner
I realized once we wandered in that I actually have been to Joni's before, and that diner breakfast didn't disappoint! The menu is small and standard, but everything was really good! Probably because it was covered in butter ;) It's a fun place to visit too because it's a vintage diner from the 1950's so it's really old school and cool inside.

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Monday, August 5, 2019

Motherhood Monday: On Starting Daycare

Mia started daycare last week, and we are slowly adjusting over here. It's such a funny thing, to go from spending literally every second with your baby to only seeing her an hour in the morning and an hour at night. It has been a hard adjustment for me and a very easy adjustment for her! I just wanted to share a little bit about why we chose daycare for Mia, the process of getting into a daycare in Chicago, why we're starting daycare now, and how it's been going.

Why We Picked Daycare

Deciding what's best for your child is such a personal thing, whether it's staying at home, hiring a nanny, or finding a daycare. My mom stayed home when I was growing up, I think she was a full-time SAHM for 16 years! For me, it was an amazing experience and something I hoped I'd be able to do for my kids someday. But as Jeff and I talked it through, we weren't sure it would really work for us based on the lifestyle we want. Jeff went to daycare starting as an infant and he thought it was really good for him. Who knows if it's related to daycare or not, but Jeff is a much better sleeper than me and has a better immune system, and 100% has better social skills ­čśéObviously all of that can't be from daycare, but I like the idea of our kid being adaptable and learning from the get-go that everything isn't always about her. I also liked the idea of Mia being able to socialize with other kids all day. I also wanted her to experience some of the Montessori concept if I could, because I went to Montessori pre-schools growing up and know first-hand the amount of independence kids gain from it. And while every nanny or babysitter is different, I've heard some true horror stories from some of my friends which made me nervous about having one person alone with my child all day. A nanny also might make more sense if we had more than one kid, but based on pricing for daycare vs a nanny in Chicago, for one kid it was less expensive to do daycare.

Finding a Daycare in Chicago

Once we decided we'd be doing daycare, it was time to dive into the craziness that is the Chicago daycare scene. We started looking back in November when I was six months pregnant, and it turned out we were already way late. I don't know when other people start applying to daycares (the day they find out they're pregnant?) but every place we looked at had at least three kids in line ahead of us for our same start date. It turns out the spaces are really competitive to get, so the recommendation is that you apply to three or four daycares and pay a non-refundable $50-100 fee at each to put your name on the waitlist. Then you just pray (and annoyingly badger via email) that a spot will open up when you need it.

We ended up applying to five places back in November/December/January for a mid-August start date, and in June I started hearing back from each place that they definitely wouldn't have a place for Mia. I was starting to freak out that no one would have a spot available for us and we'd have to scramble to find a temporary babysitter or figure out how Jeff and I could take enough time off of work to watch her.

Finally at the end of June, I got an email that there was a space opening up at our first choice daycare (a Montessori), but that she would have to start in mid-July to hold the space. I read the email and immediately started crying, both out of relief but also sadness since it was cutting short the time I'm supposed to have with her before I go back to work. I managed to negotiate the start date back a week and have her going just part-time until I go back, but I still was pretty upset about the whole thing.

Our Experience with Daycare So Far

The first day was so rough. Jeff and I walked her there and got her settled with her teachers and everything was great. Mia seemed just fine to be hanging out on the floor with all of the new toys she could put in her mouth, and didn't appear to even notice when Jeff and I left the room. Of course, I started crying immediately! It was just so sad to me knowing that she was going to spend all day with strangers instead of me - I missed that little girl the second we left. Mia, however, had a blast! The teacher showed us pictures from that first day of her playing on the floor with the other kids, smiling in a swing, and even holding her own bottle (which I still can't get her to do at home!). She has been having a harder time adjusting to napping there and has been exhausted every time I've picked her up, but the teachers say she's been pretty happy despite that.

While Mia is adjusting easily, it's definitely still hard for me. I've found that I need to schedule stuff for me to do during the day to distract myself. It's been nice to be able to exercise and get stuff done, but I still miss that little girl! I'm hoping things get easier as we go. While I would have preferred we start a month later, the slow transition from part-time to full-time has been nice, and I'm definitely glad I didn't have to adjust to getting Mia in daycare the same day that I had to go back to work!
Why we're sending our baby to daycare - Kristina does the Internets

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