chloe, the sunshine girl

if you follow me on instagram, you KNOW today was chloe’s 4th birthday.  i went a little IG crazy, but i just had to capture her at this age.  she is fun and challenging, imaginative and sweet, and just plain awesome.  the light was just right in our breakfast nook this afternoon, so i took full advantage to mark her special day.

she wasn’t a fan of the idea at first….img_0940

but warmed up to it with a bribe. ;)img_0945

can we talk about these curls!?!img_0938

i feel like i can see her as a teenager here somehow…  img_0958

THIS is chloe.  img_0971


happy day, sweet girl.




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work it: the canadian tuxedo, part 1

well, there went another week.  i am still trying to figure out this blogging while mothering three small children business.  when i started this old thing, beckett was a ba-by, and he took reeeeeallly long naps, which gave me a nice chunk of time each day.  there is no longer a dull moment around here, and poor hudson had a sick few days, so i spent most of last week with a fussy baby on my hip.  i digress, but that’s where i’ve been.

ok, this may be the easiest outfit known to man.  it’s so ridiculously simple, but that same fact allows you to tweak it so many different ways.  sporty, dressy, edgy, the list goes on.  whatever feels good to you, do it.  i know you have a pair of jeans (or 7), and i’m betting you have a chambray shirt.  put the two together, add accessories, and that’s that.  the trick is to make sure the washes are a little different so there’s some contrast, otherwise i think it becomes a bit too much of a good thing.

look 1 i’m calling hipster chic.  my friend shared that term with me last week, and i’ve been trying to use it as much as possible.  i think it’s hilarious and i really just love it.




and here we have the sporty vibe.  i was having a dance party by the time i shot this one.  ;)  i am super-loving the destroyed denim right now.  it makes even the frilliest top seem a little edgy and undone.


chambray shirt: you’re gonna have this one forever, under $30, under $20,

jeans: mine (high-waisted), high-waisted similar, mine (destroyed, on sale!), destroyed

jewelry: spike bracelet, bangle, another fun one

scarf: similar, similar, similar

sunnies: mine (on sale for less than $25!), see my under $100 sunglasses round up here

shoes: booties, my sneakers, another fun pair

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under $100 sunnies round-up

funny that i would talk about sunglasses this week, when i have barely worn mine.  it’s been cloudy and gray for what seems like days on end, and i am sooooo ready for that sun to peek out.  i think tomorrow is our day!  finally!

as my dear husband would tell you, i have a little addiction. to sunglasses.  it’s harmless really, except that i have little piles of them everywhere.  i feel like they can totally change your look for not a ton of money, and it’s another fun way to show some personality.  and, when i go light on the make-up – which is basically every day, they cover a multitude of sins – like dark eyes from toddlers that are up all night.  but that’s a whole different topic.  of course sunnies are fun in the summertime, but i rarely go a day without them, and for me they’re just as important in winter – especially on a snow day.  hello bright white world!  i rounded up a few brands that are a little off the beaten path and have some great looking frames.  i own a few from quay and one from le specs and have loved them – a lot.  everything linked up is under $100!

LE SPECS (all pictured below)-  chunky cat-eye (bold, more subtle), black aviators, tortoiseshell w/ mirrored lenses, black square, blush transparent

DIFF – each of these come in several different frame and lens colors (all pictured below) – cat-eye, round, aviator

QUAY (all pictured below) – clear w/ rose lenses, cat-eye aviators, pink w/ silver lenses, round tortoiseshell, white marble w/ silver lenses, gray w/ blue lenses (same shape as my light gray with pink lenses)

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a few goals and my winter essentials

so, the holiday season is over.  wah, wah.  but i do love a fresh start, and that my friends, is what we have.  we actually didn’t start all that fresh over here, with everyone taking turns being sick for several weeks and news that chloe needs tubes for her ears.  BUT, i am determined to start fresh this week.  in fact, i’m treating this week as my new year.  so if that’s what you need too, i’m giving you permission for a late start as well.  as chloe has been saying lately, let’s do this!

i haven’t done resolutions in a long time, but i took a shot at making some goals for myself for 2017, and i’m sharing a few today.  my over-arching theme is self-care.  sounds a little selfish, i know, but quite honestly, i have put myself completely on the back burner since becoming a mother, and i have been pretty happy to be there.  but i feel myself coming out of the baby phase, i’m 100% good with it, and i feel like i can take charge of me for the first time in a loooooong time.  and i think the better i take care of me, the better i can take care of this family.  that means a) being even more conscientious about food – planning, what we eat, and less sugar for everyone, b) taking time for just me sometimes, and being ok with it (forever grappling with that mom guilt!), and c) working out consistently.  i have been on and off the wagon so many times with exercise, and it’s time i jump on for good.  i’m not doing this just for swimsuit season. for the first time in my life, i feel weak, and i don’t like it.  i was on a big kick with BBG last spring – it’s manageable and time-effective (under 30 minutes!), not to mention, i saw the fastest results i’ve ever seen with my body – so that’s what i plan to get back to and mix in some yoga as well.

now, to the good stuff – a few winter essentials….

first, the midwest weather is so unpredictable – last week, it was 60 one day!  but we still have our fair share of freezing days, and i. do. not. like. to. be. cold.  so i have a few favorites i thought i’d share with you.

fleece-lined leggings.  oh my gosh, these are game-changing when you still want to throw on some leggings, but it’s freezing outside.  they make such a huge difference.  mine are from target a few years ago, but i found similar ones here, here, and here.

cute winter coat. i feel like everyone needs a coat you can throw on with anything.  i can wear this with work-out wear to feel more put-together and just as easily put it on for a winter night out.  i bought it last year and i’m still obsessed with it.  my mom loved it so much that she got one in navy.    mine is j. crew.  a few other fun options here and here.

sneakers.  ok, mom-life is so much easier in comfy shoes.  i’m in constant motion chasing hudson, who is a tiny wrecking ball on feet, and my days usually consist of running a few errands in addition to running after kids.  i got these for christmas, and i LOVE them.  they’re a dusty pink, and they seem to go with just about everything.  these and these are great too.  and these and these are on sale!

beanie – for those days when you just can’t with your hair.  cute, cute, and cuuuuuute!

tell me, what are you doing this year that’s just for you?  and the more important question, how are you staying motivated to do it?


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life lately

well, sheesh.  i really didn’t expect to be completely absent here for almost a month.  the last few weeks have been fast and furious and long and full, and well, exhausting. christmas was amazing this year with the excitement level we had over here – definitely the best yet!  we rang in the new year with sweet friends, and watched our kids go bonkers – which quite frankly, is very typical.  and we tried every trick in the book to keep the kids entertained over christmas break.  good lord, i love them, but the energy level that they maintain all day leaves me both tired and in awe.


here’s the million dollar question – what do you do to burn your kids energy when you’re stuck at home?  none of my kids know how to sit still.

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festive for the holidays, part deux

put on your red lips, ladies!  it’s time to get dressed up for those christmas parties!

the formula for this outfit is simple – plaid shirt + flirty skirt + sparkly necklace.  i added a fur vest just for fun, but hung it up when i got to the party.  what really makes it work, in my opinion, is the plaid and the sparkles.  they seem like opposites, but put them together and it just works.  i find that a lot when i’m getting dressed actually – mix opposites (denim and sequins, high and low, leather and ruffles) and they will usually play well together.



shirt (old) similar – skirt (old) similar, this one would be fun! – faux fur vest (old) similar – booties (old) similar, these are awesome – clutch (cw boutique) – necklace (old) similar

this next one i wore to our neighborhood party, which was a dressier affair.  i’ve had this dress for probably 10 years, and it still feels relevant.  i love when i accidentally buy a piece that works for the long haul!  the faux fur snood has worked into so many outfits lately.  it feels festive and fun, not to mention super warm.



dress (old) similar, similar, similar – faux fur snood – clutch (old) similar – shoes (old) similarlipstick

happy party hopping, and enjoy this last weekend before christmas!

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festive for the holidays

tis the season for about eleventy billion holiday events!  i’m not complaining, because it means being social and dressing up – two things that i’m always happy to do!  in the past week, we’ve been to jared’s office party, a musical, a neighborhood party, and a friend’s annual party…these were back-to-back nights and we were so whipped by sunday, but it’s a great problem to have!  this week, i’m going to share a few fun holiday outfits that got me through the aforementioned event explosion.  the first look is for something on the more casual side, but you could easily dress up this top with black pants, a pencil skirt, or maybe some sequins??   let me say that this top is so. flipping. cute. that you’ll want to wear it all the time.  i’ve already worn it to two holiday events, and i don’t plan to stop.  it always gets a compliment, and the plaid is on point for the christmas season and beyond.


enjoy the golden glow of the post-baby hair fall-out/grow-back-again flyaways.


also, these jeans, they’re like buttah.  they are high-waist, super stretch, and come in petites for stubby people like me!  the jacket is from my favorite things post.

not a great picture below, but this does the best job of showing the top.


ok, i’m outta time.  the kids are raiding the pantry and the baby is hollering for me to come get him up from his nap.

topjeansjacketbracelet – earrings (old) similar similar – shoes (old) similar

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i digress, and a diy

last week I had a nasty cold and just felt rather dull all around. i kind of felt like the universe was telling me to hit the pause button and look inward. weird, i know, but that’s what I did. i was more thoughtful about my day, spent more one on one time with the kids – lunch at school with b, 2 hrs straight of play-doh with c, and up and down the stairs more times than i can count with h (just following that boy around is an exercise program). writing here felt trivial so I didn’t force it, and honestly, it felt good to let go of some of that pressure (that I put on myself) and just be. now, all that said, i still don’t have it all together this week, but it was a nice little refresher and reminded me that it’s ok to slow down sometimes.  and this still applies:
yep, i mostly feel like i’m running around like a crazy person all day.  it doesn’t help that i can’t seem to focus on any one thing and bring it to completion.  i start something in the kitchen, go get something in the pantry to finish it, discover that stack of magazines i’ve been hoarding and flip thru one, think of an outfit idea and run upstairs to pull it before i forget about it, and find an old sweater that needs to go to goodwill.  that spurs a closet clean out, and before i know it, hudson is awake, and i can’t remember where i started  (please tell me i’m not the only one who does this).  and that’s basically what was happening when i did this little diy.  i started it, and in between coats of paint, i was trying to cram as much into nap time as i could.  i finally came back and finished it at 4pm after having started it at 10am.  one day, i will learn the art of focus.  i think.  i hope.
so, let’s get to the point here.  i wanted to make a few frames a little more festive for the holidays by adding some sparkle.  all i did was use painters’ tape to mark where i wanted the gold to go, and i hopped to it.  i’m not one to do a lot of measuring (sorry dad), so i totally eyeballed this, and decided to go asymmetrical so that anything would look ok.  i’m super happy with the way it turned out, and i might just add gold accents to every frame in the house. or, little fluorescent accents would be cute in a kid’s room.  or black and white stripes would be fun too.  or a rainbow.  really, the options are infinite!  and, who doesn’t love a project where perfection isn’t necessary?!?
tape it, paint it (a few coats), pull the tape.
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these are a few of my favorite things

we put up our christmas tree over the weekend – is there anything better than that golden glow of white lights at night!?! – and our elf ‘eddie’ has returned!  the poor guy isn’t very creative – he must be tired.  i really hate to steam roll through thanksgiving, but i’ve really had christmas on the brain and i’ve made a good dent in my shopping.  the plan is to keep the momentum going so i can just do the fun christmasy stuff thru the month of december.  today, i thought i’d let you in on a few of my favorite things that you might want need to add to your own christmas list!  these are things i own and love and can give a hefty stamp of approval to.  everything is linked up below.

bralette – ok, i have given up on legit bras because i am done being uncomfortable.  these are pretty, feel like you aren’t even wearing a bra, and are pretty inexpensive as far as bras go.  sold.

leather jacket –  well, it’s faux leather, but looks and feels like real leather.  i had been searching for about a year for the perfect moto jacket (that wouldn’t break the bank), and this. is. it.

patagonia – this pullover is so warm, it feels sorta like wearing a blanket, which is basically my idea of heaven.  i have it in white, which i was worried about, but i’ve managed to keep it white for about a year, and that’s sayin’ something.

dutch oven – i have had this one for about 8 years, and it’s great.  it’s a less expensive version of this, and it has performed so well.  i use it at least a few times a week, especially in the winter when soups are on the menu more frequently.

hydroflask – ok, this is silly, but it’s practically my fourth child with as much as it gets carried around.  i am trying to be better about drinking more water, and this thing is great, keeping it cold for hours.  make sure you get the straw top, because water just tastes better out of a straw.  ;)

copper mugs – the moscow mule has quickly become a favorite at our house, so copper mugs to serve them seemed just right.

tote – this thing has taken a beating, and the more it gets used the better it looks.  one downfall is that it just has one small pocket inside, but it hasn’t been a deal-breaker for me.  they have it in a cross body version that would be great too.
wallet – ok, this is pretty big for a wallet, but it holds everything and then some and can double as a clutch.  it’s on major sale with kate spade’s early black friday sale.
zella leggings – i had heard from a few people that these are THE leggings.  i finally bought mine at the nordstrom anniversary sale, and they were so worth it.  they are mid-rise,  reversible (one side is matte and one side is more shiny (but not too much)), and so comfortable.
now, quick!  start that wish list!
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our gratitude tree

one of the greatest gifts my parents gave was teaching me to be grateful.  i think it’s led to my ‘glass half full’ outlook on life, and it’s a gift i want to give my kids as well.  they will probably grow up wanting for nothing – we have a roof over our head, plenty of food and car to get us where we need to go, among many other things.  i don’t want to guilt them, but it’s important that they understand that there are so many who are struggling just to get their next meal or to find shelter each day.  we’re starting with a simple, age-appropriate, and visible idea this holiday season with our gratitude tree.  we’ve been at it for several days, and each of us has the chance to write something that we’re thankful for each day – and we’ve seen everything from family members to food to barbies and hot wheels.  hey, it all counts!  and they’re really into it.  i had originally thought it would be a thanksgiving activity, but the kids have gotten so excited about it that i think we’ll keep it up through christmas and keep adding as we go through the season.




it’s the last thing we see before we go upstairs at night, and a nice reminder for all of us to count our blessings.


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