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

dinner party

our dear friend andrea invited us to a dinner party in celebration of her husband, jaime’s birthday. we love getting together with them; they are fun, funny, smart, and sweet as can be.

we come to find out that andrea had hired a chef for the evening to serve us dinner! how cool is that?! oh, it was going to be a fun, decadent evening! plus, it was a kid friendly party! woo hoo! double bonus!

we arrived on time and were greeted by jamie. olive was a bit overwhelmed and became super clingy and upset so i knew what would calm her down…toys! andrea and jamie have a ‘play area’ downstairs and i knew olive would get lost down there with all the fun items all around her! so, downstairs she went and we never saw her again! hahahaha!

we were immediately served champagne and hor d’oeuvres were plentiful ~ yum! don’t mind if i do! we mingled and visited with everyone while hc and i switched between holding ellie. we love their friends and have such a great time catching up with everyone. the chef was hard at work and i guzzled champagne and ate a lot of cheese ~ my weakness! we periodically checked on olive and continued to enjoy ourselves. did i mention that jamie and andrea have the most gorgeous home in chicago?! let me just say it’s so fabulous!

we were called to sit down for dinner and i was so excited to eat! the chef gave us details of each dish that was served. i loved that we were informed on ingredients of each delicious plate that we were about to consume. each portion served was a combination of wonderful flavors and eat bite made my mouth and mind happy! we had the best time at our table and the conversation was delightful, funny, and entertaining. gosh, i love moments like these!! great food, drinks, and friends, you just can’t go wrong!

oh my! we were having a great time! we made it through the end of the meal with two happy kids but it was almost nine thirty and we were ready to go. the kids were holding up great and were so good but we know our limits. it was almost ten o’clock by the time we left and it was perfect. we had a fabulous night, the kids were in great spirits, and we left just in time!

we had such a wonderful evening! thank you to jamie and andrea for inviting us over for jamie’s birthday dinner! it was fun, fabulous, delicious, and perfect!

cheers to amazing friendships!

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[the pretty table setting]

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[the menu for the evening]

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[daddy and daughter]

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[aren’t these ladies by my side so pretty?!]

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[appetizers and plenty of booze…mmmmmm]

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[party time]

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[the chef for the evening]

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[bottomless glass…keep it coming!]

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[feeding ellie before we feast]

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[kathryn and ginger]

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[these babes were being so cute together]

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[hmmmm, i am so cute!]

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[the chef explaining each entree]

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[the delicious pomegranate salad]

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[ellie entertaining herself during dinner]

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[hostess with the mostess]

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[baby, baby, baby!]

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[main course]

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[andrea with baby colin]

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[creme brûlée]

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[the man of the hour!]

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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

thuy’s fabulous birthday

we went to dawson for thuy’s birthday celebration. it was an unseasonably warmer night and we all packed into our car for a quick ride to the restaurant. we valet’d and mosey’d on in. the restaurant was dark, warm, and old world, i liked the decor and ambience of the place.

our wait for our table was short and when we all gathered around to sit, it was like freakin’ musical chairs. no joke. i think everyone but one person got up from where they were sitting to get the feng shui right. we moved ourselves around until we felt the right flow and vibe. man, it was quite the sight.

well, once we settled in, we ordered libations, small bites, and had a great time. i really enjoyed the drinks and food…it was all so delicious but i mostly enjoyed the company. we had such a fun time celebrating thuy! we knocked down apps, entrees, and decadent desserts throughout our evening.

terry, my brother in law, know the two owners of this place and they happened to be there that night. he conversed with them for a bit and they kept insisting on buying us drinks, natch. one, this group of ours is not the biggest of drinkers, and two, we were dunzo but we graciously accepted their offer. they sent over shots of something and all i can tell you was that it was not for the fainthearted! geeeezzzzzzz, it was so strong you could probably light a match five feet away and it would have caught on fire! hahaha! we could hardly even smell it, it burnt off our nose hairs! bahahahaha!

anyways, after we hung out for a bit longer we said our goodbyes and headed back home to the babes. it was a wonderful, lovely, cheerful evening in lieu of thuy’s birthday. we love celebrating her! cheers sweet sister, i wish you nothing but the best – may you have happiness, love, and luck always by your side! we love you!

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[grace, thuy, and lan]

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[terry and kim]

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[nice dan]

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[happy birthday thuy!]

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[the man in the back is the co-owner of the restaurant]

xoxo

old people time

we were meeting our dear friends aaron and olivia out for dinner at cafe babareeba in lincoln park. our original plan was to meet up at longman and eagle and meet there early because they don’t take reservations and we really didn’t want to wait a long time. well, little did we know, longman and eagle was closed for cleaning?! that screwed up our plans! so olivia decided to eat at cafe babareeba but we still kept our old people time for dinner.

hc and i scored front row parking and we met up with them inside the restaurant, they were already seated. it was so awesome to see them! i love hanging out with olivia…we can gab on and on forever. we really love talking and we can become so engrossed in our conversations and before we know it, it can be hours later. like many, many hours later. sometimes our goodbyes can last an hour…hahaha!

well, we had a delicious dinner and even better conversations. we were getting a little bit deep, spiritual, and emotional with our topics. we shed a few tears and talked about how much we love life and appreciate the blessings that we have. life has it’s challenges and we discussed how we realize life can be too short and how things can open your eyes to appreciate the people around you and what you already have.

despite the heavy subjects, i really had an amazing time out at dinner! we debated on going out to another bar but decided to head back to aaron and olivia’s place to have drinks. we chilled, relaxed, and had a great time hanging out! after a few hours, we decided to call it quits. it was soooooo early! like 10:30ish? one, we had dinner so freakin’ early and then, two, we called it a night when most people probably start going out. haha!

we said our goodbyes and headed on home. the babes were asleep and i was a bit sad but that’s life! hc and i chilled on the couch and fell asleep! we had such a great time out with them…we always do! i can’t wait to meet up with these two lovelies soon!

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[this sweetheart got me a birthday gift!]

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[mmmmm sangria. so yummy!]

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[seriously aaron?! hahaha! nice pose]

xoxo

happy birthday andrea

andrea’s birthday was actually in the beginning of the month but in typical fashion, i am late.

i was excited that we were able to get together and celebrate her! we were all meeting at bottlefork on clark street. i had a really tough day…dealing with a viral infection, coughing until i puked, going to urgent care, and just feeling off kilter…but ya know me, nothing really stops me from going out {except pregnancy…the only time(s) that exhaustion stopped me in my tracks}.

i headed down there in no time {a wee bit of traffic} but it was the ‘i will try to find parking’ attitude that dug a hug hole for me! i drove around and around determined to find parking and i was absolutely unsuccessful. then gps took me on a route to turn me around and that damn machine took me on to wacker and spit me out onto the ike! are you freakin’ kidding me?!! i had to drive onto the highway, back onto the kennedy, and get off the ramp, back to my destination. holy cow. i was sooooooo late and i was suppose to be on time.

i then thought, eff it…i am going to valet. what i should have done in the first place!! i probably spent enough gas money driving around for what it would have cost me to pay a valet to park my car.

i was finally there. i made it! so darn late…i know everyone else was late but i can’t believe i was driving around for as long as i was! anyhoo, i sat down, relaxed, and really enjoyed my time out. we ordered bites and libations all around and became very engrossed in our conversations. i don’t get to see andrea very often and it was fantastic to have a chance to catch up with her! what stymies our girl time of late is, one, she’s always traveling somewhere, and two, we both have kids and that doesn’t always create the freedom to meet up sporadically and conveniently as we did before.

the food was yummy, the atmosphere was fun, and it was a great time seeing all the girls! since i had such a rough day and was sick, the rest of the group decided to grab more drinks at rpm and i chose to go home. it’s no secret i always miss my babies but i was tired and ready to retire to a horizontal state on the couch.

it was a fabulous time out! i cherish my friendship with this lovely lady…she’s sweet, stylish, considerate, smart, and loyal. happy birthday to a dear friend of mine! cheers to many more wonderful years together!

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[bottlefork chicago]

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[i know i shouldn’t say this…but i look so old! whaaaaaa!]

chicago

[ginger and beth]

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[make a wish]

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[i could of eaten this cup o ice cream all by myself. hahaha!]

xoxo

a lazy day…we can never have enough

maybe it’s because it was the holidaze but life has been cray cray and hectic around here lately {what seemed like months}. it seems like i never have enough time for anything or we are always doing something. we never really get a day where we just sit around, let time slide by, and be lazy. i am sooooooo excited for january. i am looking forward to slower days, days where there isn’t much to do, no parties and events but just time to relaxxxxxxx!

we had a day planned where we it would be just us and we were going to have fun and have a relaxing agenda. our morning started off very late. the girls slept in but we quickly got ready and headed to bucktown for some grub and shopping. i wanted to try my favorite spot, the bongo room but the wait was ridiculous. we couldn’t wait more than an hour for brunch with two little kids, so we decided to walk and find another place. we rounded the corner and decided to hit up feast. the wait was only 15 minutes and we were ready to eat.

after brunch, we hit up the shops along the street. we just wandered and went into any shops that appealed to us. it was a brisk day but not freezing cold. we were comfortable walking along the neighborhood and had great time perusing shops and finding unique places. grace was hoping to record shop {our true purpose of hitting this area} and our last stop happen to be reckless records – a gold mine of old finds. we spent a good amount of time inside the store and grace found quite a few gems.

we truly had a wonderful, relaxing day together. we did what we wanted and had a great time doing so. boy, do i miss our old ‘hood. it was great to visit the area and hit up some old favorites. i am hoping we have another relaxing, lazy, fun day like this again soon!

via tandeminlove.com[feast in chicago]

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[this girl]

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[brunch cocktails]

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[prosciutto breakfast croissant]

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[taking pics in shinola]

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[poor babe dealt with an ear and eye infection]

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[loving this window display at mojo spa]

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[olive staring out the window at US #1 vintage shop…you can’t see jane the sweet dog, behind her]

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[strolling our old ‘hood]

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[hanging out at reckless records]

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[look kiki, the train!]

xoxo

my big birthday weekend

i was so excited for my birthday weekend!

hc had planned a fun agenda and i couldn’t wait to relax and celebrate. i still can’t believe i have hit the big 4-0. whaaaaaaaa? seriously, wtf? what happened? i still feel eternally 28 but those wrinkles and gray hairs are finally catching up with me. eek!!!!!

i really can’t tell you what i imagined what it would be like turning 40. i never really fretted about it or thought i would have a big hurrah for it. one, we ended up having a baby and two, i am one of those ‘moms’ that really loves to spend time with her family. don’t get me wrong…i love having date nights with hc and spending quality time with him but i have become a moooooooooommy. it doesn’t feel right when the kids are away, especially if we are out locally. i miss them dearly. now, give me a warm, tropical get away with hc…i can be convinced to leave the kids behind. hahaha!

anyhoo, we started out our morning quite chill – coffee, chaos, and cuddling. we packed everything but the kitchen sink to take downtown with us. oh my goodness. we seriously pack everything when we head out the door with the kids. first on our agenda was to meet the fam at macy’s on state for a fun holiday outing! we love looking at all the decor, hearing the christmas music, listening to the jingle of all the bells around us, and just enjoying the crazy chaos of the store. we met up on the 7th floor for lunch, bought toys, headed down to the walnut room to view the tree, and then we were off to the ornament area to pick out our ornaments of the season!

after spending a few hours at macy’s, we headed on over to block 37 to do some more shopping. after eating, shopping, a trip to starbucks, more eating and shopping, we finally retired to our hotel room. hc had booked a lovely room at the james hotel. it was so cute and cool! i loved the decor inside! our room was super cozy and i really enjoyed the warmth and friendliness of the staff.

as soon as we were inside, olive was out. she passed out in the car and actually stayed sleeping while i carried her into the hotel and up the elevator and into the room! olive slept, ellie laid around, and hc and i got ready for dinner! olive woke up a bit later and relaxed in front of the t.v. with ellie. it was too adorable to see them chillin’ together!

we got all jazzed up and went to david burke’s restaurant for dinner. it was sooooo awesome. we loved our server, we loved the food, and we loved how kind everyone was! everything was delicious and we had such a great time with my brother dan, who joined us for dinner. what made the night even prettier was that it had started snowing and it looked so serene and lovely.

after dinner, we retired to our hotel room. olive and ellie got cozy on the bed again and hc had ordered dessert and wine to be sent up for this birthday mama! it was a perfect end to a perfect day! i had such a wonderful time!

 the next morning, we headed to southport grocery for brunch! while we waited, we picked out gift baskets for our neighbors {something we do every year}. i love shopping there and gathering fun goodies for the christmas baskets. they have the most yummy, delectable treats to make any recipient happy! we enjoyed a fabulous brunch and spent the next hour shopping along the street. oh how i love chicago during the holidays.

it was a fabulous birthday weekend and i have to thank hc for conjuring up a fun filled agenda! i wouldn’t have celebrated it any other way. i was sooooooo happy to have my hubby and children by my side to bring in the big 4-0! as olive would say, “this is sooo ahhhhhmazing!”. i couldn’t agree more baby girl! cheers to a new decade!

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[crazy cousins]

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[loving her necklace]

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[macy’s on state]

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[chestnut room tree]

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[we put her down on the couch and her hair became electric!]

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[poor thing…i made her stand in front of every christmas tree. hahaha!]

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[i love christmastime]

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[she was like NO MORE PICTURES! eep]

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[so festive and fun]

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[so gangsta]

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[hotel living]

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[chillin’ and relaxin’ in our hotel room]

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[fancy kids meal]

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[back to the hotel room and ready for bed!]

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[dessert and wine delivered to the hotel room]

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[she was being so silly…she wanted me to take a picture of her with every.single.one. of her figurines]

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xoxo

cubs game!

woo hoo! i was super excited to get out, hang out with my girl dana, and go to a cubs game!

it all started with these being hc and his aunt wendy’s tickets. it’s quite a long story with some complications, emotions, and tough decisions that ended up being a win for me! i was going to have a day without the kids and i was going to a cubs game! woot woot!

hc left early with the girls which let me sleep in. oh mer gawd! it was like i was single with no kids again. i slept like a log and woke up feeling so rested and refreshed! it was amazing! i leisurely got up and got ready with no kids screaming at me or needing something! wowza! i was on slow mo. i was texting dana and we were both very chill with idea of just doing things at a slow pace.

i finally made it out of the house and on my way to meet dana. we weren’t worried about making it to the game on time {as you can already tell if you read the above paragraphs!}. i parked by her condo on lsd and we walked towards wrigley. it was a beautiful day out…the sun was shining and dana and i were having a blast just walking and talking.

once we arrived at wrigley, we grabbed some beers and found our seats. holy cow! they were great seats…right by third base and the first two seats of the row! woo hoo! we were having a grand ol’ time. we couldn’t stop chit chatting, so much so, we weren’t really watching the game. that was a bit different for me because i am a game watcher. anytime i go to a cubs game, i love watching them play but not this time. eep! they were not playing very well anyways. ugh!

after the 7th inning stretch, we decided to make a run for the bathroom! as we were walking towards the restrooms, we were elated there wasn’t a line! oh em gee…the 30 seconds it took us to walk up to the line, it formed so expeditiously from no line to at least 20 people in front of us! after the restroom, we needed to find the first aid room so i could pump. we walked out of the bathroom and the line to the women’s restroom stretched back so far, it hit the next women’s restroom line! yikes!

we found the first aid area and the women behind the desk walked us to a clean room where another mom was pumping, then another mom came in to pump, and then another mom came in to nurse. it was a milk pumping party in there! thank goodness they have this area because the women’s restroom and the family restrooms were disgusting! there was no room, it was dirty, and no shelf to be able to put your bag/pump anywhere!

after the restroom and pumping, we met up with dana’s friends mara and amanda. before we knew it, it was the end of the game. whaaaaaa?! we left during the 7th inning and by the time we were done, it was the bottom of the 9th…how did that happen?

we decided to go to vines on clark for some more drinks. it was so darn nice out! perfect temperature and weather! it was packed, as expected, but we found a bench spot in the sun, yay! we just drank and talked and had a lot of fun being silly. i had so much fun with these three! amanda and i realized we were picture soul mates! haha! we both love taking pictures no matter what the situation or environment! after an hour or so, we decided to part ways. yes, i missed my family and i was ready to go home. after hours of having fun, i was ready to see my babies!

we all walked back towards dana’s place and we said our goodbyes and gave our hugs. i got into my car to hit very, very heavy traffic and finally made it home to my hubby and girls! it was a fantastic day out! i had the best time and i am so happy to have had a little me time! it was an absolutely awesome day spent with my dear, sweet friend dana!

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[hanging with my bae]

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[3rd base seats]

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[hanging out at vines on clark]

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[amanda, dana, moi, and mara]

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[completing a photo shoot while at vines on clark]

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[we dab everywhere]

xoxo