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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2 killer treat recipes and my favorite accidental christmas decoration

i brought this toffee to a party recently, and at least three people asked for the recipe that night. thought I’d share the love since it’s just that good, and also ridiculously easy!


baked toffee

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped pecans
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (i used semi-sweet)

preheat oven to 375 degrees.  line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment paper, leaving ‘tabs’ on two sides so you can pull it out of the dish after it cools.  combine butter and brown sugar, bring to boil over medium heat, stir.  boil for 3 minutes.  stir in 2 c of the pecans, and pour mixture into the baking dish.  bake for 15 minutes.  remove from the oven and sprinkle entire surface with chocolate chips.  let them melt a bit, and they will spread out easily (i used a silicone spatula for this).  sprinkle with remaining nuts (forgot this part this time, and it was still great, next time i might sprinkle with a little sea salt instead of nuts).  let it cool completely in the refrigerator.  lift the ‘slab’ out of the dish and cut into small pieces.  i think about 2×2 pieces work well since it’s pretty rich.

baking note: you have to be pretty exact when you’re making candy, so watch your times on boiling and baking or it won’t turn out just right.

now, these.  its just not christmas without them, and the ladies seem to like them a whole lot more than the men.  kinda funny.  if you make them, you’ll have to let me know if the same is true at your house!  they’re pretty, light, and super yummy.


christmas kisses (meringues)

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 3 1/2 T raspberry jello powder
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 1 T vinegar
  • 1 c mini chocolate chips

preheat oven to 250 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  beat egg whites with salt until foamy.  mix jello and sugar in a separate bowl, then gradually add to the egg whites.  beat until the mixture stands in peaks.  add vinegar and chocolate chips.  drop by teaspoons onto parchment paper.  bake for 35 minutes.  after all batches are baked, turn off the oven and put cookies back in overnight.  this will help them dry out and become really crispy.  store in an airtight container with no other cookies.  they will get chewy if they take in any moisture.

baking notes: make sure your mixing bowl is really clean.  any oils can throw off the recipe.  also, make these small so you can eat them in one bite.  they’re crumbly!

let my cute assistant show you how it’s done.  first, sing a song to the mixer.

img_0695 here’s what the mixture should look like before you spoon it onto your baking sheet. img_0703 think she snuck a few chocolate chips??  img_0705

and if you’re not bored to tears, let me show you my favorite little christmas decoration that happened by accident.  i had been looking for a himmeli wreath for this spot for months, and who came through?  the target of course.  i threw in some of those teeny led lights just for fun, and it provides the prettiest little glow.  i just might leave them up year round.



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