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

housewarming

dana and scott just bought a new place together {they were married last year!}. a sweet home for the sweet couple!

they invited us to their housewarming party and we couldn’t wait to see their new place! it was a hooooot day. the commute was long but the good news was, we found a parking space right by their place!

dana was so surprised to see us! the day prior, i was sick. soooooo sick. i wasn’t sure if i was going to be able to come to her party. i was a mess – chills, fever, aches, pains, it was awful but one day later, what a difference it can make. i felt soooo much better. i was still sick but when you can get over a horrible hump like that, you feel like a new person even though you are still recovering.

we were so excited to be there! dana took me on a tour of their new home and i love her beautiful place. i am so happy for them! right after we arrived, that was when everyone started to trickle in. her parents showed up and i love her parents! jeff and marcia are so stinkin’ cute!

it became crowded in their condo and hot! there were so many bodies within their place, the temperature inside soared! i knew hc was uncomfortable. he becomes miserable when he’s too hot. ugh. time flew by and before we knew it, we had been at their house for several hours! it didn’t even feel like it, i was having a great time! ellie was uncomfortable though. she was being so darn clingy and didn’t like the fact that everyone was ohhh’ing and ahhhh’ing over her. it kind of freaked her out.

we decided it was time to leave, although that is when olive got real comfortable, befriending everyone there! she was being so cute, running around and being silly to anyone who would pay attention to her. she’s such a fun gal!

we were so happy we were able to make their fun party and see their beautiful new home. they are such a cute couple and i love them! many blessings to you both – may your home always be filled with laughter, love, and comfort.

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[unfamiliar environments equates to a fussy ellie]

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[sweet sisters]

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[my sweet babes]

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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

go cubs go!

hc sprung on me the idea of a cubs day date! hell yeahhhhhhh! i was so excited to 1. go on a date and 2. go to a cubs game {thanks aunt wendy!}! it was such a beautiful day – sunny skies and perfectly warm temps.

we dropped the kiddos off at my parents and headed into the city for brunch at southport grocery {my top three brunch spot}. we sat outside, i ordered my usual, and we absolutely enjoyed a conversation uninterrupted! the sun was beating down on my skin and it felt fantastic. after brunch, we walked down towards the field.

the front side of the ball park was finished and hc and i strolled around, taking in the new sights. we headed into ‘the park’ and grabbed some tasty beverages. we just hung out on the green, people watched, downed our drinks, and then headed into the cubs store to peruse the racks.

we finally traipsed inside the ball park {i pumped}, grabbed more drinks, and found our seats. right away, hc started gabbing with the people around us. it’s so funny to me that i am usually the gregarious one and hc is typically the quiet one but the tables were turned in this situation. i just prefer to mind my own business and hc wants to be everyone’s best friend. hahaha! well, it works!

as usual, i seat danced to every cheesy song they played…i think it’s my second most favorite part of being at a cubs game…seat dancing. it’s like the best thing everrrrrrrr, besides the cubs winning! we drank beer, ate hot dogs {with grilled onions, of course}, and cheered on the cubbies!

they kicked the white sox derrières and i was ecstatic! go cubs gooooooo! go cubs goooooo! hey, chicago, what do ya say? the cubs are gonna win today! peeps started waving the W and i jumped on my feet to boogie down to the cubs song!!! yeahhhhhh! i was so happy! woo hoooo!

hc and i trekked out the park and cruised straight to the car. i secretly wanted to stay in the city and continue our day date into a evening date and have dinner but we needed to get home to the kids…we were gone since mid morning and with the crazy traffic ahead of us, the kids were pushing the limits of their stay with my dad {he’s just so frail these days}.

it was a perfect date. we definitely don’t have too many of these of late and shame on us…we should! although, being away from the kids gives me heart palpitations. i can’t help  it! i am obsessed with their cute little faces. i throughly enjoyed our time out, i love my hubby so, and was so satisfied that the cubs WON and that they won against the white sox! ha!

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[he’s like, “what are you doing? um, doing what i do best. hahaha]

via tandeminlove.com[my old ‘hood. when i was single…i would always go to julius meinl for coffee or sometimes just hang out]

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[a favorite place…southport grocery]

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[yasssssss!]

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[we had to check out the cubs store!]

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[i’m so ready for the cubs to WIN!]

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[enjoying our time together sans kiddos!]

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[enjoying the park]

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[i love this field]

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[the place to get grilled onions on your dogs! mmmmmm]

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[i’m in love]

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[7th inning stretch! take me out to the ball game…]

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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

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

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