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 πŸ˜‚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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Wednesday, October 28, 2020

October 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.

It's almost November which means it's CHRISTMAS CLOTHES SEASON. The most wonderful time of the year ;) I've ordered a couple of things to twin with Mia for the holidays (like this top for me and this skirt for her) which officially makes me that mom, and honestly, I'm here for it. The only thing left for me before I officially turn into my mom is making her add a white turtleneck under everything. 

While I have kind of a lot of items currently headed my way, I actually only have one purchase for this month! I know, what, who am I?!?!! And my one purchase was actually an emergency Target pick up order for our family photo reshoots, ha! I planned very carefully for our family photos and had outfits picked out months in advance, but then Mia was crying or pouting in literally every photo except for this one. Our photographer offered to have us come back, which meant I had to figure out a new set of coordinating family outfits, which obviously meant I needed new boots. I have been trying to buy tall slouchy boots with a not-too-tall heel for years and years, and I honestly can't believe my Target pick up order are the pair that actually work. 

Target Boots - originally $39.99, on sale + used rewards $20.08

I did also order these jeans so I could do the cool girl thing and pair them with booties, but the fit was a little too baggy in the knees and slightly too short with my booties, so sadly they're going back.

For November, I'm most excited about getting this top in the mail that looks like the long-sleeve version of my favorite tank from this summer. Oh and of course, this scarf that I got to match with Mia in this jumper. Lol don't judge me πŸ™ˆ 

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Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Casual Everyday

Sweater - Abercrombie / Jacket and Booties - J.Crew / Jeans - Madewell

Has your daily style gotten a lot more casual since the pandemic hit? I spent the spring and summer fairly dressed up because I love a good house dress or skirt. You look dressed up but really it's basically like wearing nothing. But now that it's chilly out and I have to get dressed first thing every morning to get Mia up and out the door for preschool, I've been leaning way in on comfy, easy pieces. 

Enter, this sweater. It's amazingly soft, it's long enough to wear with leggings, and it's thin so it's really easy to layer. Three major wins for me! Plus, I mean, it's striped, so what's not to love? 

I usually toss this on with leggings and a denim jacket for preschool dropoff, but this outfit is from last weekend when we drove out to visit Jeff's mom for the day to get her a little Mia time. (Sidebar: we've relaxed a little from our initial pandemic state of not seeing anyone to only seeing our small circle of family, which honestly makes so much of a difference for me mentally. Hope you are being careful!!) I added my favorite quilted field jacket that I've had for a few years now and still love. It's surprisingly warm (like, fall in Chicago warm, not winter in Chicago warm) and has really big pockets which are great for holding all of my Mia things on walks. It also comes in tall sizes which is a major plus for me. 

Sweater - Abercrombie / Jacket and Booties - J.Crew / Jeans - Madewell

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Monday, October 19, 2020

Currently #3


By running and running after Mia! She has hit the phase where she's not so interested in being in her stroller any more for a long walk anymore, so if I want to take a walk with her I have to mentally commit to chasing her for a few blocks. Luckily she's stopped sitting down in the middle of intersections because she doesn't want to hold my hand anymore. We ran around the Lincoln Park Nature Walk last week, and stopped for a few photos in the Honeycomb. We had literally been there just a few days before for our family photos, and Mia cried the. whole. time. But with just Mommy she seriously just wanted to sit here and smile for fifteen minutes - how cute is she here?! 


I did a lot of theater in high school, so I convinced Jeff to watch Encore on Disney+ with me this weekend. The concept is so fun to me - take a group of adults and have them restage their high school musical, 20 years later. I was nerding out on the theater side of things because really, can you imagine trying to perform a musical after only a week of rehearsal?!? Jeff thought it was fun too and was not a theater nerd, in general it's a fun high school reunion even if you aren't interested in the musical part. 


I'm currently reading 28 Summers (ha I knooooow it isn't summer anymore but I was on the library wait list for this one for a long. time.) and it's a cute, fun, easy read. The only thing... it's eerily reminiscent of The Blue Bistro by the same author. I loved The Blue Bistro, it's a way better story IMO, and it's currently in my rotation of fun, easy books on my Kindle that I pull out when my heavy reads feel too heavy or when I finish a book but am not mentally ready to start something new (other books on this list include The Devil Wears Prada and the Harry Potter books). And like, I knooooow the author basically writes a book a year about Nantucket so there's going to be some overlap, but there are characters with the same name, with the same backstory, they go to the same places, there's the same obscure disease, and they even talk about going to The Blue Bistro (it's a restaurant) in 28 Summers. So like I'm enjoying it and I'm going to keep reading, but I'm also annoyed. Long story short, if you want to read 28 Summers, just skip it and read The Blue Bistro instead.


A new Instagram account! I always love to take pictures of houses while we're out walking, and decided it's high time to give them their own account. And let me tell you, it's weirdly fun to start a new account and feel like I can share different things I love. If you like looking at pictures of pretty front doors and cool Chicago houses, give me a follow


This red wine spaghetti with pancetta from the New York Times and ohhhh my god. It's such an interesting recipe but is so good and satisfying, and I had almost all of the ingredients on hand already which is already a win. Plus there is a whole bottle of red wine in there. A WHOLE BOTTLE. Try it for your next date night, but make sure to get another bottle of wine to actually drink ;) 


Allllll of the things on my Cricut :) Every now and then I get in a mood where I want to make everything, so I had the machine out a bunch last week. I was experimenting with Infusible Ink which basically irons on actual ink instead of iron-on material - so cool! I say experimenting because I was doing it with my very old iron, which does technically work but takes forever. I also used it to cut out some fun Halloween decorations, which I think is how I'm decorating for all not-Christmas holidays from now on. It's fun and easy, and I don't have to store them since I'll want to make something new next year! 


More clothes for Mia. Even after I shared this. Send help. Coming our way: this jumper, this hat, this sweaterthis skirt, these shoes, and probably more I can't even remember πŸ™ˆ

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Friday, October 16, 2020

Friday Finds

Happy Friday!! Not a lot on the docket for us this weekend, we just have to make sure to find some leaves for Mia to crunch because that's her new favorite activity ;) 

Here's the finds for this week: 

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Wednesday, October 14, 2020

The Pumpkin Patch

Do you go to a pumpkin patch every year? It isn't something my family did growing up (or at least that I remember doing, but my dad insisted he remembers going on a hayride or two) - we were more of the "grab a pumpkin from the roadside stand and go" kind of family. But since my first niece was born it's something we've made a point of doing every year. I guess that's how traditions are made, am I right?! 

I'm honestly kind of amazed by how cheesy a lot of the big pumpkin patches are (some feel like tourist traps!) but we found one that we love and have been to three times now - Kroll's! It's pretty small, but they have everything I want and need in a pumpkin patch: pumpkins, apple cider donuts, a small petting zoo (where you can tell the animals are treated well), hayrides, and a corn maze. 

We stayed at my parents' house over the weekend for a mini staycation, so we headed over on Saturday morning with my parents and my sister's family. We ate, we didn't get lost in the corn maze, and we touched every pumpkin that was for sale (and then one of us maybe melted down when it was time to stop touching every pumpkin!) - a perfect fall day! 

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Friday, October 9, 2020

Friday Finds

Happy Friday!! What are you up to this weekend? We're actually packing up and heading to my parents' house later to stay for the weekend. Since we live so close we rarely even spend one night with any of our parents, but since we don't have many plans these days a weekend away sounded fun! We have tickets for a pumpkin farm and plans to get some of my favorite hometown takeout. 

Lots of new arrivals this week, I had a hard time picking my finds!! I did show some self restraint while writing this and haven't actually ordered any of these... yet πŸ˜‰

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Wednesday, October 7, 2020



More trips to the zoo! I bought a membership for the Lincoln Park Zoo at the verrrrrry beginning of quarantine, mostly because it was something I'd been meaning to do for a while. I know, I know, Lincoln Park Zoo is free but with the membership I don't have to pay for parking. I can handle paying for a membership but I can't handle paying $30 every time we go to the zoo for parking and I literally would drive around for half an hour trying to find a free spot. I know, I know, my brain is weird. Anyway we went over the weekend. They have their fall decorations out and it felt so normal and cute! I made Jeff take a lot of photos haha. Mia also let Jeff and I sit and eat and have a beer without complaining and it was incredible. Thanks Mia! Of course she was being placated with a banana and potato chips, so we all know where the good behavior came from. 


I saw a meme from Emily in Paris and decided to give it a go. It's cheesy and cute and sometimes a little annoying, but it's also a nice show about a pretty girl wearing pretty clothes in Paris, so I'm on board. I mean really, I just really needed a fun new show, so I'm going to finish it even if it isn't the best thing on tv. I'm also rewatching Schitt's Creek to freshen up on everything before I binge the final season. It's so funny rewatching because I went through it the first time in the middle of the night while I was feeding Mia when she was a brand new baby, so I get "Ew David" giggles along with "awwww remember my tiny little squishy baby!!" 


I LOVED The Boy's Club, which is about a first-year female lawyer at one of the top law firms in New York City. The novel is a crazy rush through the partying, sex, sexism, and crimes that come along with a career in big law. It was so so so good, I flew through it. I also just finished The Jetsetters and ended up really enjoying it (not nearly as good as The Boy's Club though!). I was not so sure in the beginning because there was a little too much cheese + family disfunction, made me think it would be poorly done. The book is about a 70 year old mother who wins a contest for a Mediterranean cruise and brings her adult children along. The family dynamic was fun, but I also loved the description of the Greek Isles and Italy and Spain, and it's making me dream of when we can travel again! Jeff and I were supposed to go to Greece for our five year wedding anniversary this summer so I definitely have it on the brain. 


I went a little crazy over the weekend and made The Pioneer Woman's Pork Chops with Wine and Garlic and errrrrhmagerrrrrrrd so good! I say I went crazy because it was super time consuming (you roast the garlic first) but omg the payoff was worth it! The house smelled incredible from the roasted garlic for like a full 24 hours too. Oh also Mia saw my Pioneer Woman cookbook and thinks that it's full of pictures of me hahaha. So funny! 


More mums!! Someone send help because I decided last weekend to buy all of the fall flowers for our front balcony, and now that it's actually cold I'm heading back to the store for more mums to replace our herbs and tomatoes and pepper plants that have finally kicked it. It's so dumb because they're going to last like two more weeks in Chicago. But I just can't help myself! I also ordered this tassel wood bead strand which is super adorable, I'm planning on putting it in this bowl and keeping them on our coffee table as home decor that I'm okay with Mia taking off and throwing on the floor. Anyone else have a super destructive kid? Our coffee tables and side tables have been bare for a year now and I miss having stuff! 

I also bought these boots on a whim after deciding at the last minute that I definitely needed tall slouchy boots for our family photo reshoots and saw these were available for in-store pickup. They definitely aren't anything like suede (the outside is scratchy - how?!) but they actually pass my insane shoe comfort standards! Win win win. Oh also the family photos. So we went two weekends ago and Mia shouted no the whole time and then cried and was a general sourpuss. Our photographer was like, yeah, you're going to want to try again. We went for reshoots over the weekend and Mia was still pretty grouchy (she cried every time the camera came up to shoot!) but I think we managed to subdue her and trick her into a few good pictures with a combination of yogurt bites and playing the movie Frozen on Jeff's phone. Eighteen month olds are fun! 

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