Wednesday, September 18, 2019

J.Crew & LOFT Try On's

Oh hi! I recently ordered approximately one thousand things from the internet (after buying basically nothing in August) so I thought I'd share! Everything came a week+ ago, but it turns out trying to take a bunch of mirror selfies when everyone in your house keeps getting sick is tricky! I managed to fit these in after showering but before nap time ended while avoiding Jeff wandering around trying to get dressed himself - made things a little tricky haha ;) So I basically took these as fast as possible without moving anything (really, I couldn't have kicked that laundry basket over?! 😂) so you can have fun seeing our mess and watching my hair dry ;)


This dress is from the Sneak Preview section at LOFT - basically, where they put their brand new merchandise before you can use any sale codes on it. I think the dress itself is gorgeous, the print is so pretty and is somehow one of those prints that will work for spring, summer or fall. It definitely looks so much more expensive than it is, the fabric is so pretty. But I'm still in this post-pregnancy mindset where I'm confused about what size I am, and ordered up a size. It was quite a bit too big in case you couldn't tell. I don't think this will work on my body type even if I go down a size though, because then the buttons would pull.

This dress is also from the Sneak Preview section and I went up a size in this one too, but it works! It has some invisible seaming that gives it more of a defined waist than a typical shift, and also has an invisible zipper up the back. So pretty and again, looks really high quality. I normally would not advocate buying anything full price from LOFT, but I'm keeping this one. In Chicago there are very few weeks when you can comfortably wear a fall dress without tights, and I am not wasting any of them waiting for this beauty to go down in price!

This striped sweater tee is actually a really dark green (it's very subtle in person) and is a nice staple to have on hand since it wears like a tee but is very easy to dress up. I had high hopes for this ponte skirt for work. The cut is really flattering and cute, with the a-line and slight flounce at the bottom. I did get a tall for some extra length which makes it perfect for work. The only thing, I'm not sure if it's my body or if the skirt was cut slightly wrong, but on my left hip as you're looking at this photo there was a flare out for hips that I definitely don't have. Weirdly the right side fit perfectly. So I'm going to try again on this one and hope that the second one I receive is cut correctly! 


This top is so pretty, I love the swiss dot pattern and the pretty neckline detailing. It isn't the most flattering on me though so I'm sadly sending it back. These jeans are a mid-rise super dark wash, which I always want to have on hand since they work so well for dressing up. This pair is cut slightly smaller in the waist than my other J.Crew jeans and the material is thicker and less stretchy, so they are super flattering but aren't quite as comfortable.

I ordered this sweatshirt while wearing rose-colored sale glasses, forgetting that I already have a towering pile of sweatshirts threatening to bury the next person who unwittingly enters my closet. It is really pretty in person. I love the gold hardware - makes it look so luxe! The fabric is a terrycloth, so it isn't that super soft inside. Instead it's lighterweight. The length is slightly cropped which makes the top of the pocket hit at the bottom of my chest, making it not so flattering on me.

I remember last fall being like 'ughhhhh why is that ugly brown everywhere' and now this year I'm like GIVE ME ALL THE BROWN hahaha. This tee is adorable and I can definitely see wearing it dressed up with skirts, or dressed down with shorts or jeans. The cut on this is loose and a little more boyfriend.

I've been eyeing these mules for a while, and they are so pretty in person! The leather is gorgeous. I think they look fine in pictures, but in real life I thought they made my feet look gigantic. I already have big feet so I'm a little conscious about making them look too long ;)

This blazer has also been on my wishlist for a while. I love that the brown can be worn with black, blue, or grey dress pants. I got a tall and the shoulders and sleeves are both big enough for me - yay! This tee is supposed to be fitted, and it is pretty tight and stretchy. I usually go for oversized tees these days, but sometimes it's nice to have something fitted so I think I'll keep it.

I love this gold wrap bracelet!! It's perfect for wearing with business casual outfits, I actually wore it when I dressed up for work last week. Oh, and see the clown feet?

And then I just wanted to show another way to wear the fitted striped tee - it works great tucked into a skirt!

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Monday, September 16, 2019

Motherhood Monday: The One Thing You Should Do Before You Head to the Hospital

The week before I had Mia (read: the week I was past my due date and NOT happy about it haha ;) I read a bunch of articles on preparing for baby and what to do in the hospital and other people's birth stories. Mainly in the hope that I would catch something my body was doing and realize it was actually going into labor.

While most of what I read was decidedly not helpful, one thing really stuck, and it wasn't really baby advice. It was, before you leave for the hospital, download the 1 Second Everyday app. I'd heard of it before - it's basically an app where you take one second of video every day for a year, and then can watch all of your memories back in one video.

We started taking videos on day one in the hospital, and have managed to fill in something every day since. The app is really easy to use. You pick what day you want to start (it can be any day in the past - or today!) and it automatically pulls up videos you took that day. You choose a video and where to cut the one second clip. Then whenever you want, you can have the app mash all of the clips together to make the combined video!

I've been watching it back at least once a week since she was born, and it's so sweet to see her as that tiny little newborn and then slowly get bigger and learn to do new things. I've got clips of her first bath, her first time rolling over, and her first food in there. We've also tried to get other people in the video, so you can see her with her grandparents and great-grandparents and cousins and friends. We're only at six months right now, and I'm so excited to see how she's changed by the one year mark!

There have been a few days we've missed along the way, because hey, we've got a baby! But the app will let you put in a "live" iPhone photo which sort of looks like a video clip when the video all mixed together. What I've been doing instead is cheating a little. If I miss a day, I'll pick one of the extra videos I took the day before or the day after and pop that in instead! The app will let you go into all of your videos and arranges them by day so you can easily find what you're looking for. Or, you know, if you aren't into cheating, you could just skip that day in the video. The days fly by so fast you would never notice.

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Friday, September 13, 2019

Friday Finds

Yay Friday!! Keeping this short and sweet, but I wanted to let you know that I tried on the wrap (number 1 below) in stores and it is SO soft and beautiful in person!! I usually recommend for this type of thing to go for the smallest size available, but for this one definitely stick to your normal size. The tie helps make it more flattering than the typical wrap, and with the side slits you want it to be a little bigger so they don't pull.

one / two / three / four / five

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Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Fall Cardi Party

Cardigan - Target / Dress (similar) - Old Navy / Flats - Sam Edelman / Bag - Madewell / Earrings - LOFT / Watch - Wristology

I was in Target a couple weeks ago sans baby and therefore doing all the browsing (as one does) and happened upon this cardigan.

(Sidebar: is this really the way I'm writing? Currently have Schitt's Creek on the TV and Moira is definitely affecting my writing patterns haha.)

Anyway, I snagged a super similar cardigan while I was pregnant, and loved the fall version so I obviously had to get it. Plus it looks a heck of a lot like that Madewell cardigan that was so popular during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, but at $30 instead of a cool hundred it fit much better into my budget.

It dropped down to like 68 degrees in Chicago so I decided it was definitely time for fall and broke out the new cardi. Of course it was also sunny and humid so then I immediately had to loose the cardigan. And then the baby started pulling on my ears so I had to loose the earrings. And then we had to walk a couple miles so I swapped my flats for sneakers.

So really I wore this for about 20 minutes and then I was suddenly in a completely different outfit. But hey, someday I plan to wear this all day.

A girl can dream, right?

Cardigan - Target / Dress (similar) - Old Navy / Flats - Sam Edelman / Bag - Madewell / Earrings - LOFT / Watch - Wristology

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Monday, September 9, 2019

Motherhood Monday: Transitioning out of the Swaddle

Oh the swaddle. Such a lifesaver at first, and then for some people, such a nightmare to transition out of.

We loved swaddles, even though neither Jeff nor I could ever figure out how to swaddle with a regular blanket. In fact, I currently have a drawer full of mostly-unused swaddle blankets - any takers? While we couldn't figure out the swaddle blankets, we loved the little baby straightjackets and sleep sacks and hands up swaddles. They made swaddling so easy, and while Mia wasn't immediately comforted by them they did help her stay asleep.

I was dreading having to transition her out of the swaddle - what if she stopped being able to sleep through the night? If you aren't currently a parent, you have to stop using swaddles as soon as your baby shows signs of being able to roll over. Basically, your baby might roll over and then wouldn't have her hands free to push up her face to breathe - scary! I was basically crossing my fingers that Mia would take her sweet time when it came to rolling over.

I sent my family a picture of Mia happy as a clam in her swaddle, and my brother asked me when we would stop using them. I said of course when she started to roll. I literally put the phone down from typing out that message, looked over, and Mia was rocking back and forth. Within 24 hours she was rolling onto her side and trying to figure out how to get onto her tummy. It was time.

We had been using these hands up swaddles, so I immediately hopped on Amazon to order the transition version. The transition version has little wings that zip off, allowing you to release one hand at a time. That makes the transition out of the swaddle easier, as your baby can still be partially contained while still having a free arm.

I know that a lot of people swear by the Magic Merlin suit, which we had been given as a hand-me-down. People love it because it gets those little arms out, but weighs them down a little so your baby still can't startle. I'm not sure if I just didn't give it enough of a chance, but Mia hated going into it the first time and then refused to nap in it, so I rejected it after that first day.

The first night, I zipped off that little arm after Mia had already fallen asleep, put her in her crib, and held my breath. Amazingly, since she was already asleep, she didn't notice. The next night, her arm was already out before she went to sleep, and when I put her in the crib, that hand immediately went into her mouth and she fell right asleep. It turned out, the hands free thing was pretty great because it let her self soothe - a mama's dream!

We did one more night with one hand in, and then bit the bullet and took the second arm out. With two hands out, we did notice her waking up in the middle of the night, but she was able to get those hands into her mouth and fall back asleep on her own.

These days, Mia is actually still sleeping in that transition swaddle with her arms out, as I think the tightness around her midsection provides some comfort (especially at daycare!). But now that she's starting to size out of it, we've been putting her in a loose sleep sack instead for her naps at home, and she doesn't seem to notice the difference.

It turns out that the whole transitioning thing wasn't as scary as I thought it would be! Here's hoping these tips help you unswaddle with confidence :)

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Friday, September 6, 2019

Friday Finds

one / two / three / four / five

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Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Instagram Lately

We moved Mia down to her room a couple weeks ago, so our bedroom is finally (almost) back to normal!! This is a pretty typical daycare drop off outfit for me now that the mornings are getting cooler. Always toss on that hat to hide my #momhair ;) 

We got tickets to a Cubs day game a couple weeks ago while Mia was in daycare, and it was so fun! Plus we managed to see a W which is always nice. The next day I had to go to immediate care though, it turned out I had a sinus infection! I thought something might be wrong when I had one drink at the game and thought I might die haha ;) 

We had my parents babysit on a Sunday night, which meant we had to be back home pretty early so my mom could be home for her early "school night" bedtime ;) We just ran over to Lincoln Square for dinner on the patio at Bistro Campagne. Somehow we've been several times inside but this was the first time we sat outside, and it's really pretty back there, like a secret garden.

My chai habit got out a bit out of control for a while (especially when my doctor told me I should be getting more calcium - took that as permission to have one daily haha!), but we've reeled it back in ;) 

Sandals (on sale!)

Had to be downtown a bunch of days in a row a few weeks ago, and it was weirdly fun to get dressed up and wander the city. I may or may not have ended up at City Winery a couple times ;)

Out and about in Lakeview with Mia to meet another friend's new baby!

This sweater blazer was one of my best buys (Er, gift requests? My mom gave it to me for Christmas last year.) - I wear it all the time. Love how it dresses up my summer mom uniform of a tee shirt and shorts.

Another date night from this summer at Flora Fauna. The whole restaurant is so cute, but the food was the real standout here - some of the most creative but really good dishes I've had in a long time! 

I know this outfit was in a blog post at the beginning of the summer, but I had to reshare since this top from last year is back in stock! The eyelet detail is so pretty :)

A snap from Jeff's brother's wedding earlier this summer - my dress was so fun to wear! And I managed to keep those heels on all night :) 

Dress (currently on sale!) / HeelsSimilar Earrings

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Monday, September 2, 2019

Motherhood Monday: Our Favorites at Six Months

It feels like FOREVER since I posted about our newborn baby favorites. Oh remember when I could just leave Mia in the Dock-a-Tot for hours at a time?! Of course she's much more fun now, and actually playing and grabbing and laughing. There's just a little less downtime for mama ;)

Some of those favorites are actually still the same - those changing pad liners are still saving my life (and changing table... and car seat...) on the daily. I'm also still trying to squish Mia into her Magnetic Me onesie because not having to worry about snaps or zippers is the best :)

Our Favorite Baby Gear at Six Months

Now that we're past that newborn baby stage, here are a few of our favorites:

Sophie La Girafe - Okay, so I thought this thing was the most overrated and overpriced baby item of all time. I mean, really, what's the deal?! Um, turns out the deal is Mia LOVES this thing. Like, can't get enough. She's always making out with little Sophie, or hugging her, or chomping on her feet. We think she must be fun because she's got so many places to hold and she's soft and easy to chomp on. Just remember not to put her in the dishwasher or the bathtub!

IKEA High Chair (also available here, but try to buy from IKEA directly if you can as it's much cheaper) - We initially only registered for a travel high chair that could attach to our counter. I figured, why buy one more thing when we definitely needed the travel chair? Plus we live in the city, so the less stuff, the better. But, it turns out our travel chair is made of fabric and within three days of using it Mia started wiping out her mouth on the arms when she didn't like something. Yuck! I did not want to have to wash this thing all the time, so I started looking for alternatives. The IKEA high chair is a cult favorite for a reason. It's really easy to clean, it's easy to assemble (and travels really easily too if that's your thing!), it doesn't take up much space, and it's a streamlined modern design. Oh, and did I mention it's only $20?! Nuts, right? It is pretty bare bones and I'm unsure how it will work when Mia gets bigger, but for now (and for $20) it's definitely doing the trick. If your baby needs a footrest, I've heard a good hack is to put an exercise band around the legs! I did buy this little insert cushion too since Mia is still so little.

Gathre Mat (ABC version is currently sold out, but they do frequent restocks so check back soon!) - Instagram hit me HARD with ads for Gathre (I think because I was looking at Crystalin's?). I initially got a big leather blanket in the maxi size for going to the park - it's great because you can put it down on wet grass or sand and not get wet yourself, plus any spills (ahem: or baby accidents) just wipe right off. And it's big enough that I can fully lay down without having to touch any grass (does grass make anyone else itchy?). Pro tip though - don't get the double-sided version unless you're cool with your mat being twice the weight and size! Definitely not something I thought about ;) But anyway, after loving the big size I decided to go for a smaller one that would be easier to fold up and carry with us for spontaneous play moments outside or on our deck. We also brought it with for our trip to Wisconsin and it was great because it took up zero space in our bags. Now that we're eating solids, I have it on the floor under the high chair so I can just take it outside and shake it off or give it a quick wipe after meals.

Lovevery Play Gym and Kits (play gym also available here) - Jeff's stepmom signed us up for the Lovevery box subscription and got us the play gym, and I am so in love. The play gym is great because it's not ugly like so many play gyms so I don't mind having it in the living room, and it has a bunch of different sections to keep Mia's short attention span in check. We use it multiple times a day. The kits come every other month and are full of little toys made out of mainly wood and fabric that are designed for each developmental stage. At first, I was like, what is this box of crap? Because one of the boxes was literally just little rings and crinkle paper and random noisemakers (like a little cage with a jingle bell inside?). But now I am a total convert. Mia loves everything, they are by far her favorite toys (besides Sophie of course). Weirdly all of the other kids in our family (who are ages 10mos - 4 years) all loved the toys too! They're also like Montessori toys, teaching your kid how to learn and play. They also don't make crazy noises and sound effects so they won't drive you crazy. I also love the boxes because we get new toys every month and I don't have to think about it. I think I've literally bought one other toy for Mia so far. I think we're signed up for boxes just through the first year, but I'm definitely signing us up for the toddler boxes too!

Munchkin Formula Dispensers - When we started supplementing with formula, I initially was at a loss as to how to travel with it. Do I bring the giant formula container? Do I put measure the formula into a ziplock? Do I pre-measure into bottles and then guess at how much extra water to put in to  account for the extra mass of the formula? Well I saw a mom using these containers instead and I literally hopped on Amazon immediately and ordered some. The bigger container has three sections that each hold enough formula for an 8 oz bottle, and the smaller container can hold one serving for an 8 oz bottle. They are perfect for sticking in the diaper bag. The reviews also say that parents who feed formula in the middle of the night like to pre-measure formula into them so their tired brains don't have to figure it out at three am. These little guys are game changers for sure.

Oh, BTW, while we're talking about it, we're using the Kirkland formula. Our pediatrician said that all formula is basically the same ingredients whether you go for name brand or generic, but this kind is sweetened without corn syrup (which weirdly is in a lot of formulas!) so it is our go-to. Much cheaper if you buy directly from Costco!

OXO Tot Glass Food Storage Containers - Is it dumb that I have two food storage items in this lineup? We started on solids a couple of weeks ago, and I'm making my own food so far. I love that these little containers have ounce measurements on them so I can keep track of how much Mia is eating. They also freeze nicely and can go in the dishwasher. I also chose them because they're glass, so I don't have to worry about gross plastic chemicals seeping into Mia's food.

SkipHop Activity Center - This was my one Prime Day purchase this year (can you tell I'm getting old?!) and I'm so happy with it so far. Mia is just figuring out how to spin herself around in it and how to play the little piano. She's literally sat in this for an hour straight. Worth every penny. Plus, it's cute ;)

Love To Dream Transition Swaddle Bag - At around 4 months we had to transition out of the swaddle because Mia started trying to roll over, so I ordered one of these. It lets you transition your baby's arms out of the saddle one at a time, which makes it easier on the baby. We did three nights with one arm in, and then dropped the second no problem. If I had to do it again, I would have just bought the transition bag when Mia needed to move up a size, because she was in the medium swaddle with her arms in for about three weeks before I had to switch into the transition bags. We are still using the transition bags now for naps at daycare and at night, although she's about to outsize them.

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