the hottest alfresco lunch everrrrrrr

one sunday morning, we decided to head out for a late lunch. ellie’s morning nap was running into the early afternoon and we thought that it would be a great idea to get out of the house on this hot, hot day but not do anything too strenuous because it was so darn warm outside.

we headed into downtown dg for a lunch alfresco. it was ellie’s first jeep ride and olive’s second time but the first time she really understood what she was doing! she looooooooves riding in the jeep! oh, she kept screaming and giggling and waving her arms. it was the cutest thing to watch! it’s so joyous to watch your kids be happy!

well, it was sooooooo hot outside that even under a shady umbrella, we pretty much melted. omg it was so hot! near the end of our meal, ellie was getting a bit fussy, so i decided to walk her around the restaurant to cool off and calm her down. the first time we walked up to the window where hc was sitting outside, she said, “dada. dada.” and she looked out the window at hc. i was like, ‘hmmmmm. does she really know it’s hc?’. well, i decided to walk around the restaurant again and see if she would say it again. yup. she did. we walked back up to the window and she said, “dada. dada.” as she looked right at hc. i did it a third time!!! i finally caved in and admitted that was her first word. i wouldn’t have agreed if she really didn’t know what it meant but i have to say, she did and does. wahhhhhhhhhh.

after lunch, we decided to walk around town. gah! what a failure. it was sooooo hot. so hot. we only did one short lap and called it quits. i couldn’t wait to get back into the jeep to have the wind blowing through my hair. all in all, it was still a great afternoon. i am so glad we got outside even tho it was like an inferno. hahaha!

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[ellie’s first jeep ride!]

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[coolest girl in the world]

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[before i melt]

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[some drink i don’t remember what it’s called but it was delicious]

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[this precious face]

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[melting from the heat]

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xoxo

oysters for brunch

original plans fell through but the new plan still included the originals. haha!

we hemmed and hawed over where we were going to eat. matt and johann suggested that we meet somewhere in the ‘burbs but the burbs {when it comes to restaurant choices} boooooooore me. it’s basically chain, there are a few unique, good restaurants to choose from and they are so sporadic.

i preferred finding a restaurant in the city, it’s just more fun! the sun was out and temp was just right outside. we decided upon gt fish and oyster. i love the ambience, decor, and delicious brunch menu. we met up around 11am and we were seated immediately {with reservations, of course!}. we had a spacious corner spot and we had a great wait staff. they were so attentive to the kids…which is always a bonus in my book!

olive had a blast with the crayons and coloring paper and ellie enjoyed eating the crayons and drawing all over her onesie. we really had a wonderful time. the kids were so well behaved {natch}, the food was yummy, and we always enjoy our time with matt and johann.

it’s times like these that make me smile. number one…i love brunch. brunch makes me happy. i don’t know what it is about brunch. is it the fabulous breakfast foods? is it the coffee? is it the alcohol? is it because it’s the first meal of the day? or perhaps, it’s the city scenery that i love? anyhoo, brunch on sundays fill my heart with happiness and warmth and twirl it around with our kids, hc, friends or family – i’m set!

we took our sweet time eating, drinking, and just reveling in life, because we are truly blessed and fortunate. that is how sunday brunches should be!

cheers!

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[spicy!]

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[sweet cheeks]

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[aren’t they cute]

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[yummy mimosa]

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[cheers!]

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[so delicious]

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[i love this smiley babe]

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[yummy!!!]

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[i love this crew!]

xoxo

mom’s day

what a beautiful day.

the weather was just perfect! the sun was shining and it wasn’t too warm. i was super excited to host mother’s day brunch at our house. it was a last minute affair! my family wasn’t sure what we were doing for mother’s day. we usually head to the city and have brunch somewhere downtown but this year, we let our planning slip by and before we knew it, mother’s day was upon us and we had no plans! so, i suggested to have it at our house! we love hosting others at our home!

well, that gave us barely a week to plan a menu, conjure up decor ideas, and then actually going out to get all the food and supplies! oy! life has already been so busy and lately, i totally feel like i am strapped for time but we did it!

hc cooked up a storm! i chose the menu items and he brought it all to life! he’s so darn good and sweet! he insisted on cooking {i always opt for catering} and really pulled through with the delicious food. hc made 4 different kinds of quiches – red pepper, mushroom, bacon, and onion quiches. they were all so darn delectable! he made savory, seasoned breakfast potatoes, crispy thick cut bacon, and yummy buttermilk waffles served with sweet butter and maple syrup! wow! we were all so impressed.

we set up tables outside. how could you not?! the weather was simply amazing!

i had a calligrapher draw up menus, place cards, and station notes for our party! i love little details like that, it always adds a lovely touch to any party. i decorated our tree {aka the photo booth}, put flowers everywhere {thanks to kim!}, and created a dessert and mimosa table. i also bought little potted flowers for all the moms to take home! everything was so last minute but it all turned out so darn pretty {if i do say so myself!}.

everyone trickled in around noon and soon the party was in full swing. we all enjoyed hc’s divine brunch buffet, created our own mimosas, and soaked in the warm sun outside. after brunch, we all just relaxed here and there. i think that was the best part of the party, we all just chilled and enjoyed each other’s company. the kids played in the yard, hc took, almost, everyone for a ride in his newly assemble jeep, and we celebrated all the moms.

being a mom is the best gift, best journey, and best thing that has ever happened to me. i am thankful and so blessed to have my two little girls in my life. nothing prepared me for this miraculous role called motherhood and i can’t thank God enough for this amazing privilege to be their mom. cheers to all the mothers out there who love, give, and sacrifice so much for their kids.

hooray for moms!

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[celebrate mom]

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[table spread]

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[a pretty pot of flowers for our lovely mom’s to take home]

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[mimosa bar]

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[make your own mimosa!]

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[family]

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[the sweetest nephews]

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[sweetest souls]

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[we sure do love our moms]

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[dessert table]

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[the colors are like a unicorn cake!]

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[i love a pretty dessert table]

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[siblings]

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[with ba]

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[after a few hours, i finally poured myself a mimosa…soooooooo yummy!!!]

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[with our wonderful mom]

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[i kept saying, “olive, get in the picture…olive get in the picture!” and this is what i got. bahahahaha!]

xoxo

easter sunday

ohmergoodness. i am finally posting about easter. it’s been a whirlwind in life of late. i don’t know why it’s been so busy and hectic for me. i feel like life hasn’t changed much but yet, i am constantly chasing time!? smh.

anyhoo, my sister kim had planned an easter brunch at maple and ash…a yummy little restaurant in chicago. i was excited to go because we had celebrated new years there and it was epic. so, of course, i was stoked to eat brunch there!

we arrived pretty early, well early for us, and casually walked in & got seated right away. my family wasn’t far behind us. once everyone arrived, we ordered beverages and waited for our server to explain any necessary information guiding us in our soon to be brunch consumption.

we then took off and starting gathering copious amounts of savory sorts onto our plates. it was yummy! i loaded my plate full of bacon, fruit, sausage, and pancakes and i am sure i am forgetting what else. ok, ok, i put a lot of food on my plate because i was going to feed olive! hahaha but i did eat most of it, darn that breastfeeding! i am always hangry!

i love maple and ash. it’s so pretty, fun, and always a great time. we love the service and food there and we always have fun interacting with the staff and exploring new palates.

it was a great time out with the family and it was an absolutely gorgeous day out! what a fabulous easter it was. ellie’s first easter was awesome and olive’s 4th was just as amazing. i love celebrating holidays with the family and it brings me such joy to see my girls enjoy it too!

xoxo

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[brunch menu at maple and ash]

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[she’s so sweet & highly emotional]

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[sisters]

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[bromance]

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[the seafood starter was amazing]

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[aren’t they sooooooo cute?!]

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[i captured the sweetest moments between these two loves of mine]

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[my love]

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[the delicious bunny cookie]

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[uncle dan and reagan]

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[cheeky little monkey]

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[happy easter!]

xoxo

train station lunch

it was a lazy sunday morning and we wanted to do something fun with olive {and ellie of course, but ellie is just a baaaaaby!}.

we decided to hit downtown glen ellyn and go to the train restaurant. we scored a parking spot right next to the restaurant and there was a tiny bit of a wait but no worries, olive spotted the mechanical horse and became fixated! she was so excited to get on the horse and i was so excited to see her do so! i love it when i see the joy exude from her face. i took so many pics because it made my heart full to see her many expressions, showing the different emotions she was feeling. i chose these two pics that best showcase her joy!

she also loved putting a quarter in the ‘gum’ball machine to receive a toy! i loved all this newness that she was experiencing, it was melting my heart!

we were finally seated and she was loving the train! she was so good, she was sitting right next to the tracks but she never once tried to touch the train or did she ever get in the way of the train when it rolled by. she barely sat down and was so mesmerized by all the quirkiness the restaurant had to give.

after we devoured our mediocre lunch, i ordered ice cream for olive. now, she’s not really into ice cream…yes, i knoooooow! how could that be?! but yes, she doesn’t care for it too much but i couldn’t pass up vanilla ice cream with sprinkles on top! besides that, it also came with a pink train!!! now that was something olive loved! as soon as the ice cream cup was served, her hand snatched up the pink train immediately!

shortly after, we left the restaurant to walk around the downtown area. the downside? pretty much all the shops were closed on sundays…what a bummer! so, we decided to walk around the neighborhood and just enjoy the great weather.

it was a perfect afternoon and we had such a great time hanging out together and exploring the quaint little area. i know olive had a great time at the restaurant and i can’t wait to take her back to enjoy it again!

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[first thing we see…the mechanical horse! olive had to ride it!]

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[she was sooooooo excited!]

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[me and my babe]

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[she’s always so happy!]

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[first time getting something out a ‘gum’ball machine]

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[excited for her surprise]

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[she got a mini dinosaur! she loved it!]

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[here comes the train serving the food!]

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literally loving the bells and whistle]

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[there goes the train!]

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[mmmm, pink lemonade]

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[my precious babe]

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[olive couldn’t wait to pluck off her pink train!]

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[she tried to scoop the ice cream but it was a little bit hard]

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[so dada helped out!]

xoxo

atrium brunch

one, we were excited to meet up with olivia and aaron. two, we were super excited to try 3 arts cafe in the restoration hardware building. a six floor mecca of insane home inspiration. i really mean insane. it’s probably the most gorgeous store i have ever been to.

you walk inside and immediately it’s sensory overload. the architecture of the building is stunning, the colors are so pleasing, the luxurious fabrics against your fingertips were titillating, your eyes dart from one space to the next, almost unsure on what to focus on, and the chandeliers are absolutely mesmerizing…i could go on and on! every room was gorgeous and meticulously well kept. they had a cleaning lady walking around and that was all she did…maintain each room to perfection.

olivia, olive, ellie, and i walked around to explore while hc and aaron stayed downstairs and talked. we walked and talked and drooled over every single room. olive was having a blast. she loved inspecting each room and she loved hiding her dinosaur under every blanket she found. she thought it was the funniest thing! she is too adorable!

we only made it throughout the second floor {plus feeding ellie} before we headed back downstairs to check on our table. get this – aaron and olivia got to the restaurant at 10:05am or close to that time {they open at 10am} and the wait was already 1.5 hours!!! the hostess told them that the line to get in before they opened wrapped around the building and everyone waited in the p o u r i n g rain! whaaaaaa? cray!

anyhoo, it was close to noon and we were finally seated. i said to our group that after waiting for so damn long, we were going to sit at our table for freakin’ two hours! hahaha! actually we ended doing just that. we were having such a great time! the restaurant inside the atrium was gorgeous. everything was lavish, decadent, and supple. ellie’s highchair was made out of leather! hellooooo?! so amaze! i loved what i ordered and the bellini’s went down way too fast! yum!

after a few hours of hanging out, we went on our merry way home. it was such a great brunch! i loved eating there, the ambience was exciting, and it was just plain fun. the wait for a table was quite long but it felt like minutes when your surrounded by possible hours of exploration. what a novel idea this is! i can’t wait to go back and experience this again.

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[a sneak peek into the restaurant]

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[every corner you turned, there was an amazing living space]

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[ellie looking so sweet]

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[a coffee shop tucked away]

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[going up in the cool, cozy elevator]

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[the windows in the inner circle of the rooms opened up to the restaurant]

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[she had so much fun hiding her dragon under the blankets on the bed]

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[despite olive’s rbf face, she was having a blast!]

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[i loved the moss that they had everywhere]

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[i was loving all the colors and textures]

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[me and my babes]

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[my gorgeous babe chillin’ on a couch]

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[olivia and ellie being so cute]

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[the restaurant was so gorgeous in the atrium]

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[i love the olive trees in the eating area]

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[she was so sweet and patient, as always]

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[she was being so cute, ‘looking’ over the menu with olivia]

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[seriously? first, she is sooooo cute and second, this high chair is made with leather!]

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[cheers!]

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[i love this beautiful couple…such sweet souls]

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[love my time with these babes]

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[i looooooved my brunch plate]

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[best picture i could get of these two clowns]

xoxo

i looooooove sunday brunch

i don’t know what it is about sunday brunch that i love so much. sundays have always been a day of relaxing, a day of ease, a day to do much of nothing. or if it is something you do…it involves food. brunch or slow cooking is usually where it’s at and we gather. we gather with friends. we gather with family. no pressure, just a go with the flow attitude. it’s almost like a mental preparation for the upcoming week.

we were looking forward to hanging out with these two fabulous guys. it’s so great to have friends like matt and johann. they are kind, smart, supportive, and so much fun to be around!

we met up with them right outside their place. the weather was amaaaaazing. sunny, warm, and perfect. we walked over to a brunch spot matt recommended but for some strange reason, they were closed?! it even said ‘brunch on sundays’ boldly across their windows…hahaha! really? ya fooled me!

well, that pushed us to go to o’donovan’s down the street and that turned out to be a blessing in disguise. they have a large outdoor space and the weather was fantastic…it was meant to be! the best part? there was noooooo wait. whaaaaaa?! on a day like today ~ sunday and it’s brunch time and there’s no wait? sweet.

we got cozy in a perfect little spot and ordered drinks ~ extra spicy bloody mary please! the restaurant had a breakfast buffet and we were set. drinks were flowing and copious amounts of food were on our plates, we were having a great time, just how sunday brunch should be!

then a man came by our table, a magician! we said no to tricks but yes to balloon animals! the gentleman made a mouse for ellie and a butterfly for olive. the balloon animals were a hit! olive was soooooo happy! she is such a good girl to begin with and she will always sit around and chill with us without causing any trouble but the balloon animals entertained her the entire time! score!

after brunch, we headed back to matt and johann’s place. on our walk back, we bought some girl scout cookies {yum!} from a couple of girls and sponsors selling them on a street corner. i mean, c’mon…who would ever pass up girl scout cookies?! once we were back at their place, we enjoyed nespresso and cookies while olive pranced around entertaining herself.

after an hour or so, we gathered our belongings to head home. it was time for both girls to nap and a car ride would be the lullaby that they needed. we said our goodbyes and headed home. we had such a great morning and afternoon with our two dear friends. brunch time with buddies is the best. i love sundays like this, i crave sundays like this, and i am such a happy camper when we can pull in beautiful days like this.

cheers to sunday brunch! clink! clink!

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[o’donovan’s chicago]

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[waiting 5 seconds for a table…there really was no wait on this gorgeous day!]

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[it was so beautiful out and we had a fabulous time sitting alfresco]

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[bloody mary extra spicy please!]

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[best thing ever at the restaurant…a magician who makes balloon animals!!! win win!]

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[guncle matt with ellie]

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[guncle johann with ellie]

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[precious babe with her daddy]

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[inside matt and johann’s lovely place]

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[ellie matching the decor]

xoxo

ahhhhh back to our roots…

i was so excited to have made a date with dana!

we were going to meet at our old stomping ground, southport grocery. we used to do this all the time and then dana went and got a monday thru friday job and it was a bit more difficult to have lazy afternoons in the middle to the week!

anyhoo, we actually arrived on time {what?!} and ran into dana on the street as i was pulling out suitcases of our stuff {hahaha! we only leave with everything but the kitchen sink when we go out!}. we walked inside the restaurant and it was quiet and not busy at all. yay! it gave us more time to chill and chat, space for olive to play, and plenty of room for all of our stuff!

it was so nice to share our stories and current life happenings. even though we try to see each other once a month {give or take}, so much happens in-between our visits. the kids grow up, life throws curve balls, and fun, new things pop up! i thought maybe dana had a ‘secret’ to tell me but that was not the case. darn it!

olive and dana got along quite well! if you show an interest in her toys, if you are sweet to her, or just act silly to her…she will like you immediately. olive can be shy at first but then she will open up and be a total talkative goofball and then becomes your best friend! she’s so sweet like that, i love how stinkin’ sweet and thoughtful she is. oh my little babe, such a doll!

we were at the restaurant for quite awhile, at one point i was holding ellie and olive wanted me to hold her too! so, there i was, holding both girls in my arms…it was so fun, quite the sight, and so freakin’ adorable! dana snapped the cutest pics of the girls wrapped in my arms. they were being so sweet and heart melting, i loved all the pics she took of my silly girls!

after we ate, we shopped southport and hit our typical stores…anthropologie, francesca, and papersource are our staples whenever we are there. we had so much fun at each store but honestly, it was olive who made every store a blast! she is just so much fun! after perusing each store, buying things we don’t need, dana and i said our goodbyes. she was going to get her nails done and the girls and i were going to go home sweet home.

it was such a fun, relaxing, awesome afternoon with my sweet, dear friend dana. i love this girl so much! i look forward to many more chill afternoon brunches with this babe!

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[besties]

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[showing off her favorite toys]

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[me and my babes]

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[sweet babe]

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[ohmergawd i love them!]

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[cutest babes]

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[peek a boo]

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[heyyyyyy girl]

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[she’s soooooo funny!]

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xoxo

brunch with my girls

gosh. it’s been awhile since i have posted. i have been so tired. olive digressed in her sleeping patterns last week and i was wiped out. but per typical preggo fashion, i do post less when i am with child. i did the same thing with olive and now history repeats itself! i have been very low key overall and not going out much, but i have no energy or time to write many if any posts of late! eep!

well, i was super excited to have finally made plans with kt and karen. i love these two ladies. they are two peas in a pod and the sweetest ladies around. i have know these two beauties for quite some time now. karen and i have know each other for a ridiculous amount of time and i have know kt for 10+ years now? well, i always say, keep the good peeps around, it definitely makes life fuller!

our get together almost turned into a debacle. we had planned on meeting up for a bit now but then all sorts of things came up. karen and her mom had plans to visit their friend annie and her new baby girl and kt had a last minute doctor’s appointment that she had to schedule and then there was me, who couldn’t go out in the late afternoon because that would interfere with olive’s nap. haha! oh life. you’re so complicated sometimes!

we ended up agreeing and meeting up for brunch! yay! so, in the end, it all worked out. we had such a great time catching up. i love these two gals! it’s amazing where life had taken us and where we are going. what i love most about our relationships is that no matter how much time comes between us, we always feel like no time has passed.

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[aren’t they the prettiest?!]

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[love this babe]

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[working hard]

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xoxo

finally!

two of my besties went and got 9-5 jobs m-f and because of that, i never really get to see them as often as i would like. it was always easy to see them on the weekdays because there was less chaos and it was much easier but our weekends are so tied up, which makes it a bit more difficult to make plans.

anyhoo, we finally made plans for brunch on a lovely Saturday afternoon. we hemmed and hawed over which place to try. we contemplated new places we haven’t tried, old places that we love, and we finally decided to go to an old favorite of ours! when olivia mentioned mhenry’s…i was sold. i haven’t been in months and i love eating there. it’s alway delicious, great service, and a fun environment. i love their bakery section in the front. it’s always so tempting to walk away with something to take home!

the wait wasn’t that long. thank goodness! it was only 15 minutes or less. we were seated in the back, i have never been seated in the back of the restaurant! i was a bit bummed because the lighting was soooooo bad for pics and it didn’t help that there was a ginormous red painting on the wall reflecting red hues everywhere! plus olivia’s red shirt and the red doors all around us. ugh!

anyhoo, we had such a fab time. really, it was. the food was so yummy and the company and conversations were even better! we were there for hours! it was perfect. we just relaxed, enjoy our tasty meals, and talked our afternoon away. it was great to catch up but what i love most about this group of ladies is that conversations flow so easily. we can gab and gab and gab non stop over everything. no matter how much time falls in-between, we are able to catch up causally on all of life’s happenings.

cheers to great friends!

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[love, love these two so much!]

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[i made dana smile for me so i could test my camera…got ya!]

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[one of my favorite brunch places]

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[love this girl]

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[my most favorite dish there, ever]

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[treats galore]

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[my girls]

xoxo