brunchin’

brunch time!

it was a last minute but really awesome get together. hc wanted to work on the house, so i had a day with the girls. the day prior, i text olivia to see if she could meet up and she could! score! then sunday morning, i text dana {on a whim} if she was available and she was, so bam! i was going to meet them for brunch. yeahhhhhh! i was so excited…the stars were aligned for us to meet.

 it was a gorgeous day, albeit on the hot side {not warm, hot} and i was excited to sit outside and enjoy the last bits of summer {or really fall because it officially became fall a few days prior}. we have had a streak of really warm days – like some days in the 90’s {and humid} but no real complaints here!

the girls and i cruised to the city and found parking right next to the restaurant {we decided to eat at bang bang pie}. yassss. olivia and dana were already there, so i just pushed our way into the outdoor eating area and found them at the first table!

before we started into our gab fest, we decided to peruse the menu and order right away or else we would sit there talking and talking and then one hour later, finally order {ok, we’re not that extreme but it’s a close description}! ha! olivia brought us menus and they both stepped into a long line to order. at one point, while we were sitting there, i saw the line stretch out onto the sidewalk in front of the restaurant!

i sat outside with the girls while olivia and dana ordered our food. olive really took to the gravel on the ground. she really, really liked it! i just cringed. i’m such a neat freak but held back because she was completely enjoying it! let kids be kids {with black fingernails and all}. ellie loved it too, but i had to make sure ellie didn’t eat the small rocks! hahaha!

after they ordered, we just sat back and enjoyed our afternoon under the shaded umbrella. we talked about life, we enjoyed the sunshine, the food, and each other. ellie was pretty fussy at first…unfamiliar environments get under her skin but then she eventually lets up and calms down. so, the first hour or so, i was so preoccupied with her that i couldn’t completely join in on the conversations {it’s sometimes hard when your baby is crying and clingy to get absorbed into the dialog right in front of you but c’est la vie!} but once she stopped crying and being so needy, i was finally able to relax a bit and focus on my two friends!

after more than a couple of hours of hanging out, we decided to leave. more so on my part because i had a pedicure appointment mid afternoon i couldn’t and wouldn’t change! ha! it was a great time with all my girls! my only regret was that i left without pie in my hurried state of leaving to get to my appointment! bah! oh well…next time bang bang, hopefully i won’t forget my pie!

cheers to friendships, brunch, and cute baby girls!

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[it was so hot out!]

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[she LOVED the gravel but man was it dirty, dusty, and dirty…did i mention dirty?! haha!]

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[i love the umbrellas]

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[me and my sweet babes]

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[sausage biscuit with an egg and maple candied bacon….yum! check out that little hand]

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[my two girls with my sweet, darling babe]

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[she’s so sweet…it cracked me up that she was so calm and collected sitting next to olivia and dana. typically she would freak out but she was kind of loving it]

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[could my girls be any more serious? so much so, that dana and olivia were dying]

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[she was LOVING the cup of water…olivia loved giving it to her!]

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[ellie is like, “hey lady, give me that water!!”]

xoxo

dim sum sunday

my sister, thuy, suggested the idea of dim sum on a sunday morning. hmmmm, ok. maybe. hc and i were super tired. i won’t openly admit that having two kids makes me tired. or taking on too much makes me tired. or always saying yes makes me tired. or being a type a makes me tired. or that my brain runs at 100 mph makes me tired. ’cause it doesn’t…hahaha! anyhoo, we weren’t sure if we were up for it – going out. well, we talked ourselves out of our rut and decided to go out for dim sum and, boy, we were glad we did!

we said to one another, what else would we do? why shouldn’t we take advantage of this beautiful day? we need to get out more often and voila! our trip out turned into a wonderful day.

we met my family at chinatown and walked our way to the restaurant. the wait was looooong but it honestly flew by or the wait time was shorter than expected. what i loved the most was that we had our own room! it was quiet, private, and it had a t.v. in there! olive was smitten! to her, it was the best room ever!

we ordered copious amounts of delicious food and i was super excited olive wanted to try a few different things. i am totally at fault for not being more adventurous with her palate. i succumb to her wants versus encouraging her to try different food items. i have to say, though, that recently, i have asked her to try it once. i say to her, that if she tries it once…and doesn’t like it, i won’t make her eat it. most, but not all, of the time…she does like it! definite baby steps!

during dim sum, ellie was being more finicky than usual {i think she was very tired but couldn’t fall asleep aaaaand we forgot her paci} so, i didn’t get a chance to sit down and enjoy my meal. i walked around with her, fed her food, held her, nursed her and she was not having it. after hc finished eating, he ran out to the walgreen’s {right next door} and bought a paci! woooo hooooo! it helped calm her down but she didn’t fall asleep. at least she wasn’t fussy anymore!

after eating, we walked around to explore the shops on this gorgeous, sunny day. we waited in the long line for tapioca smoothies and perused all the kitschy shops. olive was having a blast discovering all the store’s fun toys and stuffed animals. she’s so sweet! she would say, “ohhhhhh, how cute!” in her soft, sweet voice. i could eat her up!

oh, what a day! we were so glad we got off our lazy arses and went out. i know those moments when you aren’t feeling it, you just want to be in pj’s and chillax, you just want to be lazy, maybe take a nap, but i always find that living up life, regardless of the exhaustion, sometimes has better benefits. i always say, life is too short, enjoy today because there might not be a tomorrow. at the end of the day, it was fun, relaxing, beautiful, and time with family is always time well spent! cheers to life’s lovely moments!

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[entering into the realm of china]

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[dad waiting for my mom…she just randomly stopped at a store while we were all walking towards the restaurant]

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[sweet, sweet babe]

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[me and my babe]

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[olive and grandma]

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[checking out the flowers]

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[these sweet babes! they had a tv in the private dining area…genius! it kept the kiddos preoccupied, not that they needed it, they are so good anyways!

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[ma seour]

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[yum, yum, extra yum]

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[i love tchotchke things like this!]

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[the looooong line for joyyee tapioca smoothies]

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[her trend…walking away with some sort of stuffed animal]

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[mom waiting for us while we get smoothies]

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[oh this sweet face]

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[climbing the stairs]

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xoxo

brunch time with my gals

mhenry, here we come!

i love going to this restaurant. it’s one of my top three favorite brunch places in chicago. what made this trip even more exciting?! meeting my gals, dana and olivia!! yeahhhhhh. i love these babes and i, seriously, have the best time with them every.time.

my trip in was interesting. i took my usual route but forgot about lollapalooza…whaaaaaa? so, i had to detour down michigan ave. yuck. i avoid the avenue like the plague but on this day, it was inevitable. i needed to get on lsd, so i drove down to oak and finally got on! my cruise through the avenue was not bad, thank goodness, due to it being so early in the morning!

i decided to not go straight on hollywood {the line of cars made me avoid it} but turn left onto sheridan but the blocks are so long on this road that i ended up driving past my destination! as i turned down thorndale, a car pulled out in front of me and it was driving soooooooooooooo slow. no joke. s o  s l o o o o o o w. as we inched towards a light that was doing it’s countdown {9, 8, 7, 6…}, this car was probably moving at 20 mph or less and we got the red. arghhhhhhhh. i pulled up beside the car {old folks} and reminded myself, this could be someone’s grandma…be nice, be nice. well, the light turned green and i smoked this car. as i drove down the street, i looked in my review mirror and this car was just passing the intersection as i was two blocks away. gahhhh! i drove a few more blocks, parallel parked my car, grabbed my stuff, and starting walking towards the restaurant. as i did that, the old lady finally passed me. hahaha!

we all arrived within minutes of each other. we were seated right away and started our gab sessions. we talked and talked and talked. it was so great catching up with these ladies! they gave us our check and we continued to talk. a server came by to grab our check and we still hadn’t given our cards. we gabbed some more. then he came by again to grab the check. still empty…no cards. we shared some more stories. then he came by one more time and i said, “gosh, we need to pay the check!”. so, we finally put our cards into the sleeve and immediately another person grabbed our check and came back with the receipts. we were so oblivious.

we finally dragged our arses off our chairs and walked outside. omg. there were, at least, 25  people waiting for a table. hahaha! that is probably why they came to our table for the check so many times!!! there was such a big wait! eep. regardless, we had such a great time there and never felt pressured by the staff to leave or at least, we were not concerned, worried, or picked up on any bad vibes.

it was so good to see my gals! after brunch, dana needed to get to a jnf meeting and olivia invited me over to check out her new abode. it was great to hang out with miss olivia a bit longer and check out her new dig!

it was a gorgeous day and i had such a great time out without the kiddos! girl time is crucial as a mom! typically, i slightly don’t want to {gosh, i love my baby girls!} but i know it’s good for the soul to get out there and do something for me!

cheers to sunday brunch! it’s my favorite!

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[my favorite girls]

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[staples]

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[blissberry pancakes – my go to every time]

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[checking out her new house!]

xoxo

brunch avec mes seours

brunch – my favorite time of day.

my sister, kim, suggested that we try a new place for brunch. i was game. i am always up for new places and new scenery. after many exchanges of text messages, we finally decided on a time and confirmed that the new brunch restaurant, aforementioned, was the eatery du jour. to make commuting easier, my sister, thuy, stopped by our house and we drove together!

for it being only a few towns away, it seemed like it took forever to get there! we decided to circle around and pull up next to the restaurant to drop off my sister and ellie {who fell asleep}. well as i neared our destination, a parking spot was opened r i g h t next to the place! ahhhhh, luck would have it! i parked {ellie woke up!} and we all walked a few steps and arrived at owl and lark.

it was so super cute inside! it had a clean, cozy, eclectic feel to it. the decor was a bit farmhouse modern and fun! it’s the type of place where you order your food and then wait for it to be called. we nabbed the big center wood table and settled in. we were still waiting for kim to arrive and when she did, we all gasped! she matched the girls!!! it was the gingham girls club!! soooooo stinkin’ cute!!

we ordered our food, i fed the girls, and we waited for our meals. as it arrived, they were the prettiest brunch dishes i ever did see! so artfully done, almost too pretty to eat! well, if looks could kill, this sure slayed by taste buds!! my avobagel was beyond delicious!!! i was in love! it was savory, tasty, flavorful…it hit all the senses in all the right places!  i loved the chewiness of the bagel, the smoothness of the avocado, the bite the beet had, and the bitterness of the arugula. my words do not give this avobagel justice! yum, yum, extra yum!

we all slowly enjoyed our entrees, relaxing in the comfy environment, playing with the girls, and truly having a fun time! after we ate, we decided to walk down the block to a water fountain. it was so beautiful out. a perfect sunny day. the temp was just right and i thoroughly enjoyed sitting outside, with the slight wind cooling my skin and watching olive be so joyful by the fountain.

we actually hung out there for quite a bit. olive loves making new friends. it’s one thing about her that i am so excited about. i love how easy it is for her to get along with others. how she’s so bold with getting out there and saying hello. i don’t ever remember being like that as a child and my husband was definitely not that way either. so, it warms my heart to see her so social!

well, it was time. i needed to get the girls home for a nap and try to get other house chores accomplished. play for the day but at some point, i have to be the adult again and get sh*t done. argh.

it was a beautiful, beautiful morning/afternoon. i loved eating at owl and lark, i loved hanging out with my seesters, and i loved living in the moment. happy day lovelies!

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[auntie thuy and ellie]

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[i love yarn weaves]

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[aren’t these babes so cute?!]

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[perusing the menu]

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[banana bread and somebody can’t wait!]

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[the cutest toes]

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[enjoying her bread]

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[delicious avo toast!]

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[me and a beautiful girl]

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[check out those sneaky little hands]

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[isn’t she the cuuuuuuutest?!]

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[my sister kim, having fun with ellie]

via tandeminlove.com[my sister kim walked up to the restaurant and we all freaked out that she matched the girls!! how cuuuuute!]

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[loving the fountain]

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[enjoying the beautiful day]

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xoxo

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