serena and lily

we were invited to an event at a chicago shop called serena and lily {i am obsessed with everything they sell!}! it was to meet the author of the children’s book, a raven’s nest by raven roxanne.

we arrived a bit past ten, at the store, and we were warmly welcomed by the staff, greeting everyone at the entrance. they kindly took our coats and invited us upstairs, where the event was happening. once we hit the landing, we were enveloped by the gorgeous decor, a beautiful brunch spread, and the author made her way over to us to say hello!

i was in photo heaven! the lighting in the space was amazingly perfect and the aesthetics was beachy, coastal cool. the author, roxanne, was just about to sit down and read to the children. i ushered olive and ellie into the room and they nabbed a space close by. after the book reading, the children were encouraged to create their own nests…inspired by the book’s storyline.

the girls nibbled on some treats and sipped on sweet beverages, while i waited patiently for the author to sign her book! once we were done at the event, we traipsed our way over to a yummy restaurant called the blue door {the last time i was there, it was at the old location on armitage and now it’s on halsted}! ohhhhhh, it’s such a good place. again, the decor was inviting and cool and the food and drinks are even better! there was a teeny tiny wait, but the girls entertained themselves. or more so, ellie was rebellious and olive was trying to calm her down. sigh…pretty much how it goes everyday!

after brunch, we walked along armitage and peeked into a few shops! while we were at papersource, ellie completely fell in love with a dog there! the great pyrenees belonged to a couple, who was shopping there too. as soon as ellie saw the dog, she could not let go! like at alllllll! she was in love! it was soooooo darn cute to see her so enamored with this beautiful white dog! i told hc, we found the dog we will get! hahaha!

it was such a perfect morning! we had the best time in the city and the girls were sooooo darn good! let’s admit it, when no one is screaming, crying, fussy, loony, and upset, it always makes for a better time! they had a wonderful time at the event and we all enjoyed our fun, smooth, no bumps in the road outing.

{check out all the fun pics below!!!!}

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[the delicious spread]

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[the girls or girl intently listening. olive was so into it but ellie was side eyeing all the other kids]

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[doesn’t she look so sweet and innocent?]

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[raven roxanne reading her book to the kiddos]

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[she spotted me and wanted up…when she wants me to pick her up, she says, “hugs”. melt!]

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[oh she’s soooooo saucy and sweet. just look at that mug!]

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[drawing their own nests]

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[color choices]

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[raven checking on everyone’s drawing]

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[ellie’s nest]

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[olive’s nest]

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[dream bedrooms set and beautiful girl]

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[can i please have this swing in our house?!]

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[olive wanted to show off her picture!]

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[with the artist and author, roxanne]

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[my sweet girls]

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[the beautiful little book]

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[so dreamy]

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[after the book signing, we ate brunch at the blue door!]

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[this cuuuuute face right here was being very naughty at this moment but oh, that sweet face melts me!]

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[i scolded her and she ran over to the stairs to hide]

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[squishing her face into the railing]

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[pouting]

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[she loves her big sister]

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[more coloring!]

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[the hubs…don’t mind his beard]

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[kale and brussel salad]

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[we’re at papersource lincoln park]

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xoxo

ravenswood brunch

it had been awhile since i had seen andrea and her family! we finally made concrete plans on the calendar and stuck to it! the fam and i drove to ravenswood to meet up with them for brunch at local irish pub near their abode.

we arrived early {yay! it’s always a win when we do cause usually we are late. #familylife} and waited in a quiet corner of the restaurant while the girls colored away with the paper and crayons that were given to them. jamie and andrea arrived a bit later with their two nuggets in tow.

it’s always so good to see them! i was delighted when they arrived. i’m sure a lot of you understand that energy and vibe you get seeing good friends after a long gap. andrea and i have been friends for quite awhile but we don’t get together very often now that i don’t live close by. add in kids, work, life, etc…it’s too far too much time in-between visits but it always feels just as good and routine when we do meet up.

the girls played together – annabelle brought her entourage of MLP and both my girls were excited to play with them too! ellie, per usual, was attached to me and insisted on sitting on my lap almost the entire time. i can only get her to bug her dada if i trick her into it but it’s usually rare that she chooses to be in his arms over mine! hahaha!

we ate, we drank mimosas and bloody mary’s {i have no idea what beverages the men consumed but i’m sure they were tasty!}, and chatted away about life. after an hour or so, andrea and jamie needed to head out – annabelle had a birthday party to attend. we said our goodbyes and gave our warm hugs before heading out in the major snow!! oh, it was so pretty when we walked outside! the fluffy snow was falling all around and covered the ground!

i must be the only person living in chicago that absolutely loves the snow. it’s been hitting us hard core this winter and i don’t mind one bit. it’s such a joy, so pretty, and i don’t mind driving in it. i prefer to not drive in it but i don’t mind.

well, i hope it’s not too long in-between our next visit with this wonderful family! it was so good seeing you, andrea, and your beautiful family!

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[mean mugging before heading into the restaurant]

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[she’s so wild and fun]

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[working diligently on her artwork]

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[selfie]

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[andrea and sebastian]

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[sweet annabelle and olive]

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[chunker]

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xoxo

dg brunch

we’re big fans {or at least i am} of having brunch in the city. the ‘burbs just don’t do much for me. there are several places out here in la grange, hinsdale, etc. that are aestetically pleasing and offer great entrées but the overall vibe leaves much to be desired. or is it all in my head?! haha!

most of my friends pretty much all live in the city. yes, my immediate family is in the ‘burbs and i have a few friends out here as well {in different towns} but the friends i hang out on a regular basis status live in good old chi-town.

so, we usually take turns and rotate our meeting destination. whether they come to our house or we go to their area, we usually end up going to the city because we prefer it. i feel pretty fortunate that my friends do offer the rotation split…it’s always thoughtful!

well this time around, we were going to host our friends olivia and aaron at our house. when it came down to it, hc didn’t feel like cooking because he was preparing something for the Super Bowl that evening and he didn’t want to be cooking all day. so, we decided to meet our friends in our local downtown area.

we really enjoy this place, called pierce tavern. it’s ‘new’, it opened late last year and we love the vibe, cocktails, and food! we decided it was our place to meet and overall, had a great time hanging out with these two beautiful people. the girls were so well behaved and we were all able to catch up with very little chaos that usually surrounds young children. LOL.

cheers to good local places to hang and to even better friends to hang out with!

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[me and olivia]

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[the best things for little kids – crayons and paper]

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[i’ll miss those chubby cheeks when they’re gone]

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[ellie’s incredible 2 moves on dada]

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[my go to drink on sunday’s]

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[my loves]

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[apparently aaron is the star focus of this pic. hahaha!]

xoxo

happy brunch

gosh. life. i think we…ok, i think i seriously have fomo. or fonde {fear of not doing enough} or fonda {fear of not doing anything} or for {fear of relaxing}. whatever it is…i cram wayyyyyyy too much into my calendar and i’m alllllllllllways busy. don’t get me wrong. i looooooooove to do nothing at times. it is so needed. i love to sit on the couch and not have to clean. do laundry. get something for the girls. make food. take a shower {where are my moms who understand me?!}. yes. there are moments where i just like to sit and do nothing but that is very rare.

but i always have something going on.

let me clarify something else. i might complain a bit that i am so busy but i love it more. i love being with my family. i love being with my friends. i love just being me. and part of that is to be social.

so a brunch date was in order with our friends dana and scott. it had been months since we have seen them. i’ve seen dana but we haven’t been able to get all of us together but today was the day!

we settled on a date. we lassoed everyone in and voila! we had everyone going to brunch! we met at the rookery and it was an awkward beginning. the server seemed disappointed there weren’t 7 adults but 4 adults and three kids. she wasn’t friendly at first and seemed rather annoyed with us and our kids {we made a reservation, in which we were asked several times by a few employees if we did. yesssss, we did! and besides that…the restaurant was empty}.

as time went by, she started to warm up to us but we honestly didn’t care or more so notice. we were thoroughly enjoying our time together with our friends. abe was soooooo darn cute, chunky, and so freakin’ laid back. oh, he was so squishy and adorable.

we caught up with each other, consumed delicious libations, adored each other’s kids, and ate yummy food. we just chilled. the restaurant wasn’t busy or packed and it was the perfect environment for us to just relax. the kids were in good spirits and the drinks were in full supply – encouraging us to stay and chat. we were there for a solid two hours before dana and scott had to run out. if dana didn’t have to get on a call, we probably would have sat there for, at least, another half hour!

it was so good to see them! goodness i love them! they are such a good couple and such a beautiful family! cheers to fabulous friends in your life!

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[is he not just the cuuuuuuuutest?!!! he’s such a sweet babe!]

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[he’s so sweet]

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[i completely didn’t take a pic of olive. at all. wahhhhh]

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[holding tight to baby jack jack]

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[kicking it]

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[the boys]

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xoxo

nutcracker

last year, i really wanted to take olive to the nutcracker. tickets, or at least the tickets i wanted to buy, were quite expensive and after i discussed it with hc, we decided that olive being another year older was the best time to take her.

well, this was the year and i reconnected with hc about it and he gave us the green light. i researched tickets and read reviews that balcony front center were the best seats. so, i purchased front row and i was so excited to surprise olive!

i told her we were going to the ballet but i don’t think she fully understood what i meant. on the way to chicago, i played the story of the nutcracker on the radio for her to hear the storyline and have an idea what it was about, on our way there. we were in heavy traffic and olive fell asleep after listening to the story a few times. i parked and rustled her up…she woke up so sweetly.

i wanted to take her out to dinner {i really wanted to take her to the gage, but we were running out of time}, so we ate at corner bakery instead. one, olive wanted to walk and she was walking so cute and slow. two…the gage was another 1.5 blocks away and that was valuable time and since we were short on time, i decided to eat at the latter.

she was soooooo excited over her outfit. it was too adorable to watch her so delighted with it. when we arrived at the theatre, everyone – everyone ohhhhh’d and ahhhhh’d over her ensemble! i asked her to pose in front of the poster easel and without batting an eyelash, she walked up to the sign and struck a pose! she literally stopped traffic! she was too cute, there were times when people told her that she was so cute, she would curtsy or pose and say thank you! hahaha! what a ham!

olive was so mesmerized with the dancing. her favorite dancers were the sugar plum fairies. during the performance, she got up from her seat and did her best to emulate the dancers. it was soooooooo heart melting to see her so enthralled with the beauty of it. i let her dance around a bit but ended up pulling her back to her seat in fear that she’d fall over the edge!

speaking of that, since we were front row center balcony, we were literally on the edge. the only thing that separated us to the floor below was a wall that was barely knee high. that FREAKED me out. i am so afraid of heights and i was having a hard time with it…hiding my fear as much as i could from olive. she found it funny but i was so nervous!!! so with her dancing so close the edge, i could only bear a few minutes of it without pulling her back!

during intermission, i took olive to the washroom and a women inside asked if olive was a part of the show {the women was dead serious}!!! haha! no but that was so cute. i got olive a pop and myself a prosecco and we moseyed back to our seats and finished out the show.

it was such a magical, amazing time. i had the best time taking olive to the nutcracker and i knows she had a memorable time! i must admit…i did cry a few times because it was so emotional for me. cheers to wonderful memories together!

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[i hastily got ready…i wished i wore something different but i was running out of time. despite the facial expression…she was really excited!]

[i hastily got ready...i wished i wore something different but i was running out of time]

[such a ham!]

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[this. she is soooooo sweet. just waiting patiently for her food and looking at the christmas decor]

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[i love her sooooooo much it hurts]

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[i was so happy her costume from last year still fit!]

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[she absolutely loved her outfit that night]

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[i was dyyyyyyying. i asked her if she could pose in front of this sign…without blinking, she walked right up and posed. i loooooooooooove her!! she literally stopped traffic!]

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[selfies!]

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xoxo

splash magazine party

one of my ‘gram friends, jen, invited me to a magazine party in honor of her being on the cover with two other cool ladies from chicago. i was game but hc was not but my go to party friend, olivia was in and i was set! i debated on going, initially, because it was a night my girls had gymnastics {i love taking them}, it was a tuesday night, and it was so close to christmas and my to do list always feels like a mile long BUT i thought, damn it thu…just do it. freakin’ nike ad but yes, it’s my motto. it’s the only way i get shit done around here…hahaha!

i got ready {it felt like it took me forever to gather all my things!} and headed out the door into some heavy traffic. olivia and i decided to meet there and go in together. i picked her up at a café nearby and we found a sweet parking spot! we arrived at our destination and the party was in full swing. jen greeted us and olivia and i nabbed two glasses of rosé right away and in usual fashion, gabbed with each other non-stop. i love her! i love that my closest friends and i can talk endlessly, now that is true friendship!

well, we mingled a bit with my other ‘gram friends, ate apps, and eventually the dance floor got wild! we had so much fun! i loved connecting with and meeting new peeps doing the same thing! olivia and i were tearing up the dance floor with the other babes and we stayed so much longer than anticipated!

overall, it was a night out that was so needed! i had such a great time with olivia and all the other ladies! cheers to all the ladies who blog and, typically, not taken seriously but we definitely know how to party! haha!

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[i love snapchat and olivia]

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[oh you know, just chillin’ on the couch and throwing my new gucci bag on the floor…don’t look at this hc!]

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[the guest of honor, jen!]

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[‘gram friends kristen and carla]

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[‘gram friend amanda]

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[rosé all day]

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xoxo

holiday downtown

we did our annual holiday trip to macy’s on state this past weekend! we did our usual routine of eating up on the 7th floor, shopping for ornaments, and just shopping around the store.

we love to buy ornaments from here every year, grab a little candy from the shop downstairs, and just take in the hustle and bustle of the season. dan, agata, kim, terry, the boys, thuy, mom and dad came out this year. we stayed at the department store for several hours and then headed home to our house to decorate gingerbread houses! before we left, we were able to admire one of their animated windows at macy’s. olive was so enamored with all the trumpets and christmas lights and wonderment all around her! her and ellie were so amazed as we walked the streets!

once home, we tidied up a bit and then kim and fam and agata and dan came over. kim brought over wine, cheese, and paté to nibble on. the boys brought food over to the house and the kids ate dinner. we had ordered pizza for everyone else and once all the consuming of food was done, we set up the gingerbread houses for the kiddos!

the kids had a blast! olive looooooved decorating her house. she was so excited and looking forward to it for days! olive did such a great job decorating her house – she didn’t even get frosting on her fingers! a big thank you to dan for being her structural engineer and making sure her roof didn’t fall down. thanks for holding the house together while olive decorated around you!

overall it was a great, fun festive day with the family! i love being able to spend the time with them during the busiest season of the year. that is what matters most during this crazy month! we soaked in the holiday mood and created some good memories together.

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[she’s so funny]

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[hey grace! i’m only going to take a pic of you while you’re eating. oops]

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[olive is so silly!]

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[she loooooooved riding the escalators!]

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[picking out candy]

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[olive’s stash]

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[my sweet girls]

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[ready to assemble her house!]

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[all the goodies to decorate with]

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[the cutest cousins]

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[olive’s house]

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[reagan’s house]

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[putting on her adornments]

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[reagan’s house looking good!]

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[olive was sooooo dang careful with her decor and she didn’t even get frosting on her fingers!]

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[reagan and his masterpiece]

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[she did such a great job!!]

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xoxo

kidcon

we were invited to an event called kidcon chicago. honestly, i had never heard of it and was curious. i love taking the girls to fun, different places and i was hoping this event fit that description.

we had a really rough day, because of me. i was a bad mom, literally. i hate to admit it but the pms was strong. sometimes when i am in this moment…it’s so hard to snap out of it and it was a miserable morning and afternoon for everyone. i had to leave the house just to reset. when i came back, i apologized to the girls and eventually to hc. we were hoping to hit up the event earlier but we ended up not going until wayyyyyyy late in the afternoon. much later than anticipated.

no worries, we still had time to enjoy ourselves. it was the longest walk ever to get there…mainly because i was carrying ellie. hahaha! once we arrived, we checked in and i could tell that the girls were excited. we started walking around and there were so many cute booths and i was pleasantly surprised. everyone was so darn friendly and nice.

we were so distracted when we walked in because we didn’t know what to do with our coats. we, honestly, should have left them in the car…we really didn’t need them but right when we walked in, we were trying to get situated and this super nice lady at the booth we were standing next to exclaimed how cute a hat would look on olive because she was wearing this polar bear ear headband. i was so distracted that i was polite with her but i felt bad because i didn’t fully engage with her the way i usually do with people. it’s little things like that, that can bother me! i’m so hyper aware of stuff like that.

anyhoo, the girls were EXCITED. they ran from one booth to the next. the convention had play areas everywhere. a lot of companies had their products set up in play stations around the area too, so that was cool and fun. olive loved playing with the toys, there were craft areas, interactive play areas…it was non stop for the kiddos. i was happy because they were so joyous!

well, we walked away spending way too much money! i had to restraint myself from buying something from every booth! it was great, though, because i also did some additional christmas shopping. i bought stocking stuffers for miss olive and the girls looooooved the super hero costume booth. we were suckered in to almost everything.

after an hour or so…we finally decided to leave but not before we hit up all the booths we loved and bought a thing or two. as we were leaving, i stopped back over to the check in desk and asked for my gift bag. the women gave me the most amazing bag! it was so cute and cool and filled with so many good things! olive was just as excited because she had a feeling there would be toys inside and she was correct!

overall, we had a really fun time at kidcon! i throughly enjoyed all the vendors and the kids had such a great time! thank you so much for having us! it was super FUN!

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[in one of the play areas]

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[her favorite toy in the entire area]

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[she’s so sweet]

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[i was thinking, ‘please don’t put this cup to your lips elllllieeeeee!’ hahaha!]

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[oh these girls. olive’s signature pose]

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[olive loved the unicorn headbands!]

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[this girl melts me heart]

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[she was given a free lip balm stick and that was it…it was application after application. hahaha!]

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[there were so many interactive areas for the kiddos…balloons, crafts, play…it was pretty awesome]

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[back at the play area and looking for all the flowers]

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[i got suckered into these costumes…they are so cute though!!!!]

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[they were obsessed]

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[my superhero]

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xoxo

brunch with matt and johann

we love these guys! hanging out with them is always so fun.

we had planned for a dinner at our house but everything that day was so topsy turvy. i forgot about plans to have the fam over for pumpkin carving that evening, so i asked matt if they could do brunch instead and they so graciously agreed to change the plans for us. plus, the weather was so unfavorable for our christmas mini photo sesh that morning, that those were cancelled. it was one erroneous surprise after another.

well, all eventually spanned out quite well. we made it to brunch early and had a wonderful time with matt and johann. we ate at oyster bah, a place we’ve never been to, and enjoyed our experience. as usual, we gabbed and gabbed and gabbed with one another while the girls were too cute and sweet.

the girls were dressed in their christmas outfits and looking so darn darling. so many strangers loved their looks and commented on how cute they were. well of course!

our hangs with matt and johann is always a good chunk of time. we love spending it talking and catching up. sometimes our brunch get togethers can be a couple hours. i am thankful i have two girls that can hang. olive is always so good and ellie can lose interest after an hour or so. once that happens, i usually attempt to entertain her until we leave {by walking around, typically}. she’s our short tempered, stubborn, tenacious babe. she loves to love and loves to hate. when this girl wants something, she won’t wait and will definitely let you know!

after ordering our entrees. manger, and drink after drink, we were ready to go. it’s always so lovely to hang with these two. i absolutely love their dynamics, humor, and friendship. until next time matt and johann! we love you guys!

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[hc, matt, and johann]

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[coloring away]

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[cheers!]

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[she’s so sweet]

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[i love this babe!]

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[playtime by the stairs]

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xoxo

kim’s 29th birthday!

we celebrated kim’s birthday this past weekend at pacific standard time, a restaurant of her choice.

so, funny story…i had text hc about our reservation time and confusion ensued. here’s our conversation {modified for your enjoyment}.

me: dinner is at 5 at pacific standard time

hc: 5? downtown? well, if you really think about it, 5pm is really 7pm cst but it’s still cutting it close to get to the restaurant.

me: hun, pacific standard time is the name of the restaurant. thuy wasn’t confused when she said the dinner reservations were at 5 at pacific standard time.

bahahahahahaha!

we all, almost, arrived on time {thuy was a bit behind}. our time was well spent drinking tasty libations and lively conversations between us before we placed our order. our server was detailed and encouraging during our time there. i loved how passionate she was about the menu, the food, and her astounding memory! she absorbed our appetizer {and we ordered a lot} and entree order with no glitches. everything came as specified and i was impressed!

we ohhh’d and ahhhh’d over our meals, we shared plates, and became giddy as our tastebuds were delighted! everyone throughly enjoyed kim’s cod…yes, that was written out comically, but we really loved her fish! it was my, and most, favorite dish!

the food kept on coming and we merrily passed along each plate to consume everything in sight. as our belly’s filled up, our evening out together dwindled. our server then brought out a surprise dessert for kim’s birthday – we awkwardly sang happy birthday and kim angrily blew out her candle {you would have to have seen my instagram story to understand}, and we cheered!

after dinner, we took a few pics outside and enjoyed the gorgeous warm temps. warm summer nights are an absolute favorite of mine! it was a wonderful time out celebrating my sister kim! happy birthday kimberdo!

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[pacific standard time]

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[ma seours]

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[lan. agata, and dan]

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[kim’s amazing cod, like, seriously…it was sooooooo good]

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[the half eaten delicious pappardelle]

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[this dessert was decadent and delicious]

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[happy birthday kim!]

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xoxo