Friday, December 25, 2020

Merry Christmas + Our Family Photos

Merry Christmas from our family to yours! We're planning to spend today at home in our matching pajamas, snuggled up around the tree opening presents, watching Christmas movies, and cooking a (hopefully not too) fancy Christmas dinner.

Prior to the 2020 craziness, Jeff and I always talked about spending Christmas mornings at our house once we had kids, so while this year feels *weird* it's also where we always planned to be. At home with our family, combining our extended family's traditions and making new ones of our own. 

I think I mentioned a few times that taking our family photos this year was, well, exciting. Mia was not having it, to the point that our photographer invited us to pop back during another of her sessions to try again. We cajoled, we danced, we tickled, we snuck snacks into her mouth (like, in basically every photo you can see a yogurt bite!) and we even played videos from Frozen and Tangled on our phones, but nothing really worked. We still ended up with a few photos with smiles (or at least what looks like smiles - sometimes Mia's angry screaming face photographs as a smile!) so I'm calling it a win. Here are a few (of the many, many) from our sessions: 

P.S. Our photographer was Victoria C, we used her last year too and she's also shot some of our friends and extended family! We did our first session (the green photos) at Winnemac Park, and our second session in the Lincoln Park Nature Walk. 

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Thursday, December 17, 2020

November Budget

I share my clothing budget here every month. My budget per month is $350, which may seem like a lot to some people or a little to others, but for me feels just right. I include all of my clothes, coats, shoes, and accessories in that budget, but not athletic gear, pajamas, or intimates.

Oh heeeyyyyyy I haven't written a blog post in two weeks!! Holy moly I've heard moms complain before about how crazy the Christmas season is, and now that I have a toddler running around I fully get it. I have one thousand things on my to-do list to complete before next week. But it's all in the name of making Christmas special for Mia, so I'm happy to do it. 

That being said, I'm so sorry for not getting to my November budget earlier, because it's a lot of Christmas clothes, and it's now probably too late for you to get any of them in time. So really, I'm sorry for being such a tease over here. I decided Mia and I were going to match as much as possible this holiday season, and that plus the few pounds more I weigh than I did pre-babies and pre-pandemic, means a few new holiday items. 

My absolute favorite thing though are these velvet pants. They are so comfy but make you look dressed up - basically fancy joggers. I wore them for Thanksgiving and have been putting them on for some fancy WFH, and fully plan on pulling them out again for Christmas. I went with my typical dress size, but I'd suggest going down one size for these as they are a little roomy.

Here's the rest of my purchases for November: 

LOFT Poncho: originally $59.50, on sale + used rewards $20.46. I bought this durning a November heat wave when I thought a short sleeve sweater would be a good idea. We are now past that part of Chicago winter haha, but I really liked this the two times I wore it! 
J.Crew Factory Plaid Ruffle Blouse: originally $64.50, on sale $25.60. I bought this specifically to twin with Mia. I thought it wouldn't be particularly flattering on me, but I was surprised by how cute it is in person! I wore this here
J.Crew Factory Pearl Bow Earrings: originally $22.50, on sale $8.80. These are my favorite earrings forever and ever. I've been wearing them basically every day. They are so, so cute for the holidays, but I think I'll keep wearing them until the *fun* summer earrings come out to play ;) 
J.Crew Factory Plaid Bow Scrunchie (sold out but the J.Crew version is almost identical): originally $16.50, on sale $6.37. I obviously needed this for holiday matching. Worth it. 
LOFT Cowl Neck Tunic Sweater: originally $59.50, on sale + used rewards $20.46. Really, I was just looking for more tops to wear with leggings since I've gotten super into quarantine style lately. This isn't anything special, but it fits the "wear with leggings" bill. 
J.Crew Velvet Wide-Leg Pants: originally $118, on sale $59.00. Like I said above, these are the perfect holiday pant, because they look classy but are super comfy to wear. Definitely not the most flattering thing in the world, but I'm not letting that stop me! 
J.Crew Ribbed Ruffle Neck T-Shirt: originally $49.50, on sale $24.75. I reeeeeeally wanted this and was going crazy waiting for it to go on sale. I had the tank top version of this top in white and black for summer (seen here) and both the tank top and long sleeve versions are perfect for tucking into skirts or higher waisted pants if you, like me, don't like bodysuits. Plus the ruffle detail is so cute! The scoop neck is a little low for me though, I wouldn't wear it for work. Unless I'm not turning on my camera for meetings ;) 
LOFT Bobble Sweater: originally $59.50, on sale + used rewards $20.46. I like the texture on this but it is super see-through and not so warm. It worked great during warmer fall weather, but I wouldn't recommend it for true winter. 
J.Crew Factory Plaid Button-Down: originally $59.50, on sale $24.65. I bought this specifically to twin with Mia too, and then the top for her ended up getting cancelled. Wah wahhhhhhh. This top is a little more "business" than most of my button-downs and it definitely isn't my favorite because of that, but I still have been wearing it because I cannot stop with the plaid. 
J.Crew Factory Plaid Scarf: originally $49.50, on sale $19.60. I kept telling myself not to buy more plaid scarves because I have like five of these plaid scarves from J.Crew Factory from previous years, but then I bought Mia some blackwatch plaid and obviously I needed this scarf to match. Someone please send help. 

Total Spent: $230.15

Moving forward, I'll share a budget post for December but I think for next year I'm going to drop the full "budget" post every month and just share my favorites. My guess is, you're less interested in how much I spent and saved on new things in my closet, and more interested in my current finds and favorites. Let me know if I'm wrong! 

For December I'm basically not shopping for myself besides a couple of novelty Christmas sweatshirts from Alice & Wonder. The pandemic seems to have finally caught up with me ;) 

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Friday, December 4, 2020

Friday Finds

Happy Friday!! How was your Thanksgiving?? Such a weird year. We were planning to have Thanksgiving at home by ourselves (I even made an overly ambitious meal plan for the day!) but then Jeff's parents quarantined for a full two weeks for us so we ended up at their house. His family usually has pretty small Thanksgivings so it actually felt strangely normal. I'm not a huge Thanksgiving food fan, but I got some mashed potatoes and gravy so I was a happy camper.

I thought I was supposed to have this Friday off work but it got changed to next Friday instead, so I'm in a very confusing place mentally at the moment haha. We don't have much going on this weekend, but we are planning to wander the city to look at Christmas lights. I'm also hoping to wrap a few Christmas gifts, because our bedroom is the current holding place and it's starting to explode! I'm weirdly excited that Mia is at the age now where she's excited to open presents, so I may have gone a little overboard ;) 

Here are my finds for the week: 

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Monday, November 30, 2020

Motherhood Monday: Holiday Matching

Okay, so I always knew I was going to be that mom at some point and make Mia's outfits match mine. But I hadn't fully indulged until this holiday season. Go big or go home, am I right? Here are a few of our matching outfit moments so far (and watch out Mia, because I have an exact match coming up ;): 

Friday, November 20, 2020

Friday Finds

Happy Friday! Since COVID is currently surging in the Midwest, we're pulling back on social activities and keeping things quiet this weekend (besides the tickets we already had for Zoo Lights at the Lincoln Park Zoo - hoping it feels safe!). I'm finalizing our Thanksgiving menu since we decided to cancel dinner with my family and are just cooking for the three of us at home - our must-haves are mashed potatoes for me, and sausage stuffing for Jeff. And maybe a festive cocktail or two ;) 

Here are my finds for the week: 

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Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Starting a New Holiday Tradition: December 1st Box

Have you heard of December 1st boxes? The basic premise is, instead of giving your kids Christmas stuff for Christmas, you give it to them at the beginning of the holiday season so they can use it up through Christmas. Think Christmas pajamas, movies, books, bedding, etc. I first heard about the tradition on Merrick's Art, and I was like, "duh!" Why would you give your kids Christmas pajamas on Christmas, so they can wear them once and then grow out of them?! As someone who currently has a toddler growing out of all the fall clothes I just bought her, I'm very on board. It's also more exciting and fun than just giving your kids their pajamas ahead of time, or giving a book ahead of time. 

December 1st boxes are also special because they aren't just a present - you can turn the boxes into a whole day of traditions. Maybe every year you include a new Christmas movie, and then you pop some popcorn and watch the movie as a family. Or maybe you include a pack of Christmas sprinkles in the box, and then you all bake cookies together after. Or you could include hot chocolate mix in the box, and set up the tree and decorate the house while you drink hot cocoa. It's a world of possibilities to bring a little more cheer to the holidays! 

The only thing I'm personally thinking of changing up is the name. A December 1st box implies that you have to open it on December 1st, and I just know that if December 1st falls on a busy Tuesday there is no way we're going to remember our tradition. So I'm currently trying to think of a little rebrand before Mia is old enough to remember what we call the box. Holiday Cheer Box? Christmas Kickoff Box? (Lol I work with sales people, and that is a little too close to a SKO or Sales Kick Off for me ;) Let me know if you have any good ideas! 

Here's what's going in our December 1st box this year for our toddler: 

Have you heard of a December 1st box? It's a box of Christmas-related items, like pajamas, books, movies, and more, that you can give to your children before Christmas so they can use the items for the whole season. Here are ideas for what to include in your December 1st box for a toddler, including a coloring book and stickers.

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Monday, November 16, 2020

A Walk in the Park + My Favorite J.Crew Winter Coat

The best J.Crew Wool Coat for winter

Coat, Jeans, and Hat - J.Crew / Scarf - J.Crew Factory / Sweater - Gibson / Boots - L.L.Bean / Sunglasses - Amazon

What are your Saturdays looking like these days? I knew as a parent our slow Saturday mornings would turn into days at the park, but it's been weird having the playgrounds closed! We're still trying to figure out what we can bring to the park to make things a little more fun (wind socks? beach frisbees?) but this weekend Mia was very into the leaves and pointing at doggies so that was enough :) 

After having some beautiful weather, things took a turn this week in Chicago so we had to really bundle up. I normally am a puffer coat girl, all the way. Wool coats are fine down to about 40 degrees, and then I usually put them away in favor of my big puffy warm winter coat. But the J.Crew Lodge Coat is a total game-changer. I also have the J.Crew Chateau Parka and have tried a few of their other coats like the Cocoon Coat and the Lady Day Coat, and none of them come anywhere close to how warm the Lodge Coat is. 

There are a couple of reasons it's so much warmer. One is the knit cuffs and double collar. These completely seal the edges of the coat, so no Chicago winter winds can blow in. The cuffs are so big and warm that I don't always need gloves with it. This coat also has an amazing lining. The interior is quilted instead of just a lining under the wool, and it is so warm and cozy. And then the third difference is the fit. Most of J.Crew's wool coats are a swingy fit through the body, which is flattering but can be breezy. The Lodge Coat is cut a little closer to the body, which also adds to the warmth factor. 

As far as sizing goes, I took my usual size in a tall for the Lodge Coat and the Cocoon Coat. For the Chateau Parka, you can stick with your normal size or go down a size, and for the Lady Day Coat I suggest going up 1-2 sizes, definitely 2 sizes if you're curvy on top. 

And now, here's a bunch of photos of Mia playing in leaves, which she realized are very fun for throwing ;) 

Toddler playing in leaves

dressing toddler for Chicago winter

Toddler girl winter coat

How to stay warm in Chicago

Warm coats for being outdoors in Chicago winter

Toddler warm winter clothes for Chicago

Cute Toddler bobble winter hat

The best fall plaid scarf

J.Crew Lodge Coat Review

What to wear to the park as a mom

What to wear for playing in the park in the winter with a toddler

CoatJeans, and Hat - J.Crew / Scarf - J.Crew Factory / Sweater - Gibson / Boots - L.L.Bean / Sunglasses - Amazon

Mia's Coat / Mia's Hat / Mia's Boots (highly recommend these!! I went up 2 sizes for Mia so they'll fit a little longer, and the velcro on back means they still stay on her ankles.)

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Friday, November 13, 2020

Friday Finds

Happy Friday!! Whew, it's been quite a week at work, but I finally finished a big project which is something to celebrate! We aren't doing a ton this weekend, so I'm toying with the idea of decorating for Christmas. Is it too early? Or are you pulling stuff out early this year too because of quarantine? 

Here are my finds for the week: 

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Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Currently #4


That we have a new president!! I'm assuming that all of you spent last week in a similar state as me, i.e., refreshing the news every five minutes and then waking up to look at your phone in the middle of the night. I didn't quite realize how much stress and sadness I've carried the past four years, and it felt amazing to have it lift off my shoulders on Saturday. 


This incredible peanut butter cake! We had some of my family over on Saturday which happened to align perfectly with the celebrations mentioned above. Whenever I have people over dessert is what stresses me out the most, partially because I forget to think about it until the last second, and partially because I never know what to serve. I don't like anything with cooked fruit which takes out a lot of options, cakes always feel too birthday, and that generally leaves me with brownies from a box. But! I saw this snacking cake recipe last week literally right after I asked my sister to bring dessert, and knew I found a winner. It's a cake but it isn't layered and doesn't have buttercream frosting, so the birthday connection is gone. Word of warning though - the adults all liked it, but my five year old niece took one swipe of the frosting (dotted with sea salt) and pushed the rest away. So this one might fall in the "adults only" category of cakes. 


I finally read The Idea of You after hearing about it over and over, and this one was actually better than I expected! It's about a single mom who goes with her tween daughter to a boy band concert (ahem: a thinly veiled One Direction), and ends up in a relationship with one of the twenty-somethings from the band. This book is steamy, like basically a romance novel, but the love story and the look at fame really drew me in. 


Over this beautiful Christmas quilt. I keep going back and forth between "I NEED THIS FOR HER IT WILL BE SOMETHING SHE HAS FOREVER" and "this is overpriced and she's only going to use it a year or two and she doesn't care what her blankets look like." 


The Bachelorette - anyone else?! The past two episodes have been totally nuts and I was so drawn in. Normally I get a little bored during the episodes and end up double screening, but I was completely riveted with the breaks in formula and look at production. And then of course I had to recap with my favorite podcast, Bachelor Party. Jeff actually got me to start listening to the host Juliet Litman way back when we first started dating when she did a podcast about lots of reality television, and we both love her so much we seriously considered sending her an invitation to our wedding just to see if she'd come 😂Like that's the celebrity we're interested in lolol. Anyway, last week she did a podcast with Nick Viall and Rachel Lindsay to talk about their fantasy suite date the night after the 2016 election, and it was such an incredible look at the behind-the-scenes for The Bachelor. I highly recommend if you're a fan! 


Matching Christmas outfits for me and Mia. We have this top for me, this top for Mia, and this skirt for Mia so far, as well as a plethora of matching black watch plaid options. Watch out world. 

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Friday, October 30, 2020

Friday Finds

Happy Friday and Happy (almost) Halloween!! We're dressing Mia up tomorrow morning and heading to a party with the kids from her preschool pod, and then coming home and secretly eating Halloween candy (hopefully) without Mia noticing ;) 

Here are my finds this week. Eeeek Christmas clothes are starting to come out! Gimme all of the plaid please!!

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