Category Archives: Family

Extreme Kitchen Makeover

Hello, everyone! I know it’s been a very long time since I’ve blogged, but I’ve had a lot of personal things going on as well as a ridiculously busy fall season at work. I had to set aside the blog for a bit, so I’m coming back slowly but surely. And thanks to a few of you who actually reached out to me and asked if everything was ok…that really meant a lot to me. Oh, and if you used to follow me on Instagram, my account was hacked and deleted and I lost everything. But, I’m taking that as a fresh start, so if you would like to follow me, just click here (my account is set to private, so just request to follow).

This fall we made the big decision of gutting our kitchen. Not just a simple remodel of painting cabinets or new countertops. I’m talking complete gut. Ripping out floors. Ripping out cabinets. Not having a kitchen for six weeks. Although the process was long, I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Here’s the before pictures. These are the original cabinets from when the house was built in 1996. Some of them were literally falling off the hinges. We had done band-aids of paint, granite, and a backsplash, but we knew an overhaul was needed.





One big thing we wanted was an island, one big enough for four kitchen stools. Another want – a new range with a hood. We first enlisted our cabinet guy (who is phenomenal), and he really understood our vision and came up with great drawings. After those were approved, it was time to pick granite, tile, backsplash, paint color, lights, appliances….so. much. to. pick. out. But, we did it with ease because we did have a vision of what we wanted. And of course I pinned everything so I wouldn’t forget. πŸ™‚

It was time for demo! No, I didn’t pick up a sledgehammer…I left it to the professionals for that. They did a good job putting up plastic, but dust was everywhere.






After the demo, work could really start. Of course if one thing was off track, it threw off the entire timeline. It only happened a couple of times πŸ˜‰ It just floors me how some people take zero pride in their work; I just don’t understand that.





With the drywall and tile done, the cabinets could finally be put in! We wanted dark cabinets with light countertops…and the stain and glaze we chose for the cabinets ended up being perfect.




I am not the cook in our family, so I really left the range selection to my husband. We did decide we only wanted four burners and added the option of a griddle and grill.


After the paint and walls were ready to go, we were at the finish line. I do have to say our walls were no easy task though…the previous owner of the house texturized them. It took lots and lots and lots of work to get them smoothed out.

So here’s the new kitchen! Every morning when I come in this room I feel like I live in a new house. It just feels like a bigger space with the lighter walls, countertops, and backsplash. And the island…I didn’t know what I was missing. Not only does it now store the new microwave, but has the four chairs and tons of drawers for storage. There are just a few things still left to do like window treatments in the seating area and new blinds, but those will come after the end-of-year bonuses at work. πŸ™‚








We couldn’t be happier with how everything turned out. The six weeks of eating out and the house being a disaster was worth it.

Girls in Lilly – Clara and Rosalie

lilly pulitzer clara and rosalie

lilly pulitzer rosalie

lilly pulitzer clara

Why I continue this Lilly Pulitzer kick, I’m not quite sure. But I’ve picked up some great pieces on super sale, so that makes my budget (and my hubby) happy! We spent Labor Day weekend in the Ft. Walton Beach/Destin area, so the girl and I busted out our “Lillys” for a great dinner out at Marina Cafe.

I had been eyeing this Clara dress for most of the summer, and finally picked it up on sale. It is so flowy and fun…and comes in so many fantastic prints. The girl’s dress we picked up when we were in Hilton Head on super sale (I’m totally not buying her full price Lilly stuff!). She looks so grown up! 😦 But I think we’ve perfected the-hand-on-the-hip pose, don’t you think?! Like mother like daughter.

On me: Lilly Pulitzer Clara dress (same print, Roar of the Seas, pink floral)Β 

On the girl: Lilly Pulitzer Rosalie shift dress


Sail to Sable Fit & Flare Dress



There’s nothing I love more than a fit and flare dress! (Ok, I do love a lot more, but this is a fashion blog!) The coloring of this Sail to Sable “At the Ferris Wheel” dress drew me in. They call it cabbage, but it’s far from that on my color wheel. It’s a soft green with coral accents. The flare is more structured too, which makes it fun to wear. I still can’t get enough of these Schutz caged wedges either. If you don’t have any white shoes in your closet, get some for summer! You’ll be amazed how much you wear them! And doesn’t the girl look so grown up?! Can’t believe she’ll be in 7th grade…time has flown by too quickly!

Dress – Sail to Sable Fit & Flare At The Ferris Wheel; Shoes – Schutz (not online); Bracelet – Henri Bendel Petite Enamel (super sale!)

Mom and Daughter Bonding Time – Love It!


Last week, the girl and I saw Ariana Grande and Rixton in concert. Going to concerts has turned into mommy and daughter adventures. And I love every moment…and I hope she does, too.

When we were getting ready for the show, I was just looking at my little girl and realizing that she is growing up too fast. You know when they are babies and you just want them to keep reaching those milestones? “I can’t wait for her to sit up. I can’t wait for her to walk. I can’t wait until she gets out of her car seat.” Those milestones come and go so quickly. I just can’t believe she’s going to be 11 in a few short months. As I was fixing my hair, she got in my closet (like she always does) to play in my high heels. When she put one pair on – she was almost as tall as me! AHHHHHH! I know the day will come when she will actually look me eye to eye. It will be here before I know it.

I’m trying to learn to enjoy it all. Since you can’t take time and slow it down, you have to live in the moment. Put the phones down. Enjoy the time you are spending with your children. Before the concert, we ate at P.F. Changs and just talked. About anything and everything. I think that was my favorite part of our evening. Just hearing about her school day and swimming and just life as a fifth grader. I want her to always know I will be there to listen.

We both enjoyed the concert. I have to say Rixton was a great opener. They knew how to engage the crowd – and they are great singers. Did I mention their British accents are awesome? I’m a sucker for accents. Ariana has some big pipes for such a petite girl. I could tell it was her first headlining tour; it seemed a little unpolished as she constantly exited the stage to change and there were big gaps of time. I wouldn’t rate it in my top shows I’ve ever seen, but the girl enjoyed it, and that’s what matters. I bought the tickets for her (and I’m so glad she didn’t want that $40 concert t-shirt either!).

I’m looking forward to many more mother daughter bonding adventures! How do you bond with your daughter?

Me: Dress – Anthropologie (super sale!!); Sandals – Kohl’s (old); Necklace – Tiffany; Watch – Rolex

Girl: Dress – Lilly Pultizer via ThredUp; Flip flops – Target (old) 

Love Those Blackhawks On and Off the Ice

I grew up watching the Blackhawks and going to games at the old Chicago Stadium. Why? Because my daddy loves the Blackhawks. πŸ™‚ Keeping up with the Blackhawks keeps me connected to my dad. We have a ton of stuff to talk about, but in some way I know since he never had a son, it’s my attempt to be able to talk sports with him.

kane and toews fans

When I was up in Chicago in December, my dad even surprised me with buying me a Kane jersey. Seriously, it was the sweetest gesture (especially since my daughter and son are the ones who receive the gestures…they have him wrapped around their fingers!).

I follow the Blackhawks on and off the ice. I know so many sports teams are involved in their communities, and it warms all fans’ hearts. These guys can bring so much joy to so many people by doing the littlest things. The team puts out videos on Blackhawks TV, and some of these videos can bring you to tears. Let’s take a look at a few of my recent favorites…and see if your eyes are dry afterwards.

Screen Shot 2015-03-08 at 8.23.48 PM


Screen Shot 2015-03-08 at 8.26.16 PM


Screen Shot 2015-03-08 at 8.28.06 PM


Now, I know this post is about the Blackhawks, but this video from a Bruins game tugged at my heart strings, too!!

Screen Shot 2015-03-08 at 8.32.38 PM

Rescuing a “Saint”

Since the weekend after Thanksgiving, our house has been a little busier. Why you may ask? We have the pitter patter of four new paws.

Meet Rosie.

St. Bernard Puppy - Smooth Coat

Yes, some people thought we were crazy adding another dog to the house, especially since our Frenchie Daisy Mae is such a diva. But our hearts felt we needed to rescue another St. Bernard.

Our journey with Saints began in June 2003 back in Illinois. We rescued a 3-year old smooth coat Saint from the Illinois chapter of the St. Bernard Rescue Group. Gabby became our first baby. Well, a big baby. She came with a sad story of neglect, so we couldn’t wait to shower her with lots of love. When we lost her to old age in April 2011, it was rough. She was such a huge part of our family – and our kids loved her so much.

So we added Daisy to our family shortly after Gabby passed. And don’t get me wrong, we love Daisy to death, but…our hearts missed our gentle giant. We had gone from 110 lbs. of a lovable giant to 23 lbs. of a diva made of pure muscle. Occasionally over the years we would check the St. Bernard Rescue Group’s adoptions, just wondering what dogs needed forever homes.

At the end of November, the hubs was checking the site, without my knowing. And of course what showed up in Tennessee? Three smooth coat puppies. He said it was meant to be. Puppies don’t last long in the adoption world, so he contacted the TN group.

Rosie and her sister and brother had been relinquished by a backyard breeder. He couldn’t sell them and make money, so he just dumped them at the Rescue Group to handle. I guess at least he didn’t just turn them into a shelter. But still…why are you a breeder? Just to make money? Makes me sick. Most breeders I’ve ever encountered are pure dog lovers – and they have a huge brood of their own. (And they don’t care their houses have been destroyed by puppies chewing everything!) I guess at least we got her before she was abused or neglected. When we had Gabby it was hard because at age three, she had so many years of neglect and a back story we didn’t know.


So we got to adopt and rescue this beautiful 7-month old girl. It made our hearts happy giving her a great home. Now, the first few days were a little rough with Daisy, but now they constantly are together. And we pay close attention on how much love we give Daisy – making sure it is equal amongst the “siblings.”

Rosie is such a sweetheart. You just want to lie on the floor and snuggle with her (which I find myself doing a lot of). She wasn’t consistently potty trained, so we are still having a few accidents – and boy had I forgotten how big bladders Saints have! She is great with all of the kid’s friends, and she’s starting to open up meeting Oliver the Newfie and Ozzie the Great Pyrenees down the street. It’s important to me that she is socialized with other dogs besides Daisy. Her favorite thing to do daily is to take every single toy out of the basket and throw them all over the first floor of the house. πŸ™‚

If you haven’t rescued and/or adopted a dog before, it’s such a wonderful feeling. There are thousands of dogs out there that need loving homes! If I could, I’d have ten more dogs! If you can’t adopt a dog, always remember that rescue groups and shelters are always in need of donations. Before Saints are adopted, for instance, they are spayed or neutered and brought up their shots. And let’s not forget how much food can cost! While it’s almost the end of 2014, you still have time to get your tax deductible donations in!

Happy Halloween!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Halloween! I got the pleasure of trick-or-treating with a Grecian Goddess and Boba Fett. IMG_4268.JPG

Latest Happenings – Matron of Honor

One of my most favorite people in the entire world got married last weekend – my beautiful cousin, Heather. She and I are very close, and she is close to her other cousin on her dad’s side of the family, too, so we both acted as Matrons of Honor. We were both so honored Heather asked us both to stand up with her.

Heather is more than a cousin. She’s always been more like my sister. The memories we have are endless – and full of so many laughs. We took her on many vacations with us…she became my travel companion. We’d end up fighting at least once each vacation, but isn’t that what “sisters” are supposed to do?! πŸ™‚ She always helped me get out of my comfort zone, and she was more adventurous than I. I hate living so far away from her now, but I know she’s always there for me.

And now I’m so happy she’s finally found her prince! I remember a little over two years ago, she was going to give up on finding love. I told her that it would come when she wasn’t looking…and it did! Now I hope they have some cute babies to add to our family!

Heather is a makeup artist and hair stylist, so her coworker and best friend did our hair and makeup. It was awesome! I can’t tell you the last time I had my makeup professionally done – and used bobby pins in my hair!

DSC_3709 DSC_3710

I think my makeup turned out awesome. My skin looked flawless!


And my hair was curled with a flat iron. I’ve got to practice curling with my flat iron. Marcy, the girl who did my hair, just curled and then started pinning randomly. I LOVED it!

DSC_3735 DSC_3756DSC_3753

The wedding was at the top of my parent’s building in Chicago. They don’t call it The Windy City for nothing. Look at our hair during the ceremony – and we are both holding our dresses down πŸ™‚


I’m sad I couldn’t help my cousin as much, so when she asked me to put together her flowers for the reception, I was ecstatic! I think they turned out pretty darn well. I loved the vintage mason jars Heather found!


Remember how I said we loved to laugh – well, I think this picture proves that point!


I love you, cousin!!! Many years of love and happiness…and thanks for having me be a part of your big day! ❀


Daddy’s Girl

I don’t care that I’m 34. I will always call my dad “daddy.”

As an only child, I’m very close to both of my parents. But, I’ll always remember weekend errands with my daddy. Seems like we would always go pick something up at True Value…and end the day at the car wash. I loved hanging out with him, and I always looked forward to Saturdays.

He also tends to give me advice at just the right times. And when he does, I always listen. His advice is invaluable. He also always has a way to throw in some dry humor as well; it’s his way. I’ve learned so much about the working world from him, with the best advice being to “Choose your battles wisely.”

He’s also been the greatest Pop-pop to my kiddos. He is wrapped around both of their little fingers. And he would do absolutely anything for them – and they know it. I look at his relationship with them, and it warms my heart.

Here’s to you, daddy! Love you!


A Momma’s Love in Red

I love my mom. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. She is an amazing woman who has taught me so much about love and life…and how to shop. But most importantly, she taught me how to be a mother. How to love my children unconditionally. I can’t thank her enough.


This last Sunday was my 11th Mother’s Day as a momma! Well, one was when the girl was in the womb, but that totally still counts. Pregnant women everywhere would agree with that statement. These two are my world! I was a younger mom having the girl just after my 24th birthday, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. As I look at my life and reflect on how I’m mothering my children, I think I’m doing a pretty darn good job. I’m protective, but not a helicopter parent. I comfort my children when they are sad, andΒ try and get them to talk about their feelings. I let them make their own choices (to some degree), so they can grow as individuals. It’s so important that these two grow up knowing how to handle life by themselves – that mommy and daddy won’t always be there to solve their problems.


I had a great Mother’s Day. The girl loves to coordinate with me, and I’m cherishing every freakin’ moment!! So of course we both got new dresses to wear to brunch. I picked up both of our dresses at Von Maur (my favorite store on the planet!). I got mine on sale, while I spotted hers in the girl’s section and couldn’t resist. But, I know she will wear it a ton this summer. It is so fun being this girl’s momma! And of course my son, too! πŸ™‚

Tabitha Cherie Dress Tabitha Cherie Dress


Dress – Tabitha (this was sold out at Anthro!); Shoes – Vince Camuto; Bracelet – Stella & Dot

Linking up with The Pleated Poppy.

Purple People Eaters

The girl wanted us to coordinate our Easter outfits, so how could I refuse?! Someday I know this will be “totally, like uncool,” as I know I would have died matching my mom when I was a teenager. So I’m referring to us as the Purple People Eaters πŸ™‚ (Did anyone used to sing that song? We sang it in grade school all the time!)

This was an older dress I had from Anthropologie a couple of years back. Out of all my dresses, this is the only purple one I had. I couldn’t believe it! It also really made me miss my spray tan that I got a few weeks ago – welcome back, pale legs.

I just love this girl. And so glad she loves me back.

DSC_2871 DSC_2873 DSC_2892


Dress – Anthropologie; Shoes – Charles David; Bracelet and Earrings – Stella & Dot

Do you Kinect?

For Christmas, Santa brought the kiddos an Xbox 360 with the Kinect sensor. Now, I was hesitant of this gift at first because the last thing I wanted is the kiddos sitting on their booties playing video games. BUT…I was completely wrong!

The Kinect is awesome. All of the games we have bought for it so far get all players up and moving. No controller necessary. In the winter months, even in Georgia, it can be hard to get outside to play, so the Kinect is one of the best indoor options in my book. Last night, the boy came upstairs sweating he was playing so hard. Disney’s Rush game is currently their favorite, and I’ll admit I was down there playing it with them this morning.

Of course momma had to buy a few games as well. Just Dance 2014, Hip Hop Experience, and Zumba Fitness have joined the game collection. I did the 45-minute Zumba “class” today on the Easy level and it kicked my booty! I was sweating just as much as I was in class the other day.

So if you are hesitant on buying your kids – or the whole family – a video gaming system, try the Xbox with the Kinect sensor. It truly is fun for everyone!!

Xbox Kinect

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to you and yours from a little bit of em and her family!


Happy Birthday, Buddy!

Happy birthday to my “baby,” who turns 7 today! It’s amazing how fast the baby became a toddler then became a little boy. The hubs and I have tried to learn to treasure all of those little moments because before we know it, both of our “babies” will be off to college and then having their own kids! I wish time could just slow down just a little.

Here’s my baby throughout the years. I may be a little biased, but he is just the cutest thing EVER!! Happy birthday, buddy!


Favorite Things Thursday – My Kiddos



Now, this post isn’t about my favorite makeup or my favorite accessory…this edition of “a few of my Favorite Things Thursday” is dedicated to my favorite two things in the whole world. My kids.

I know I usually don’t talk about them or the hubs on the blog a lot. They are a part of my life that I just don’t want to share with the whole world. But today, I just felt like it. πŸ™‚



See these two? I’m a little biased, but they are the cutest things EVER. I had the girl right after I turned 24, so I was a young momma. But I wouldn’t change that for the world. Her personality is one in a million. If I’m stressed or had a bad day, what does she do? She’ll come over and just hug me for the longest time. Her heart is so full of goodness, it’s amazing. And speaking of that heart, we just passed her 6-year anniversary for her open heart surgery. Talk about one of the most scary times in my husband’s and my life! Just thinking of the chance your baby could be taken away from you, makes you learn to appreciate what loving a child is all about. It puts your life (and your priorities) into perspective real quick.

The little man, although extremely shy to outsiders (he has selective mutism), is the sweetest, most loving boy. When he says he loves me, I just want to melt. I’m hoping he’ll stay this way forever, but I know the stage in life when I’m the most annoying person in the world will be here before I know it. His spirit and demeanor just make me smile. One of my favorite moments is when we are traveling and he’ll be deep into watching a movie in the car, I’ll look back at him from the front seat, and he just looks at me and gives me the biggest smile on the planet. I’ll reach to the back seat and pat his leg, and then his little hand pats mine. Love. That. Boy.

Being a working mom is challenging at times, but I’ve never known it any other way. I feel the time I do have with my kids is special. And truthfully, I think sending them to daycare and summer camps has helped shape them into the great little people they are today. Do I ever get working mom’s guilt? Oh absolutely. But the kids now know how to get along without mommy or daddy being right by their side. It’s helped them gain independence at a young age…and I’m so glad for that.

By no means do I want to speed up time, but I am looking forward to seeing the people they are going to grow up to be. Will she become a nurse? Will he outgrow his shyness and anxiety in new situations? How many grandbabies will they give us? πŸ™‚

My kiddos are definitely my two favorite things. Hands down. (Oh, and my hubs is the third, but I’ll save that post for another day!)

Importance of Date Nights


The hubs and I have been married for 10 and a half years…together for 12. Six months after we were married, we had the unexpected (and awesome!) news that we were expecting our first baby! So, a lot of our marriage has been based on being parents. And all of the parents out there know that having a baby can cause you and your spouse to bicker more (hello lack of sleep!) and get annoyed more easy with each other. Even though I have to admit, we rarely ever fight – we’ve always taken to heart that communication is key.

As working parents, we both try to spend as much time with our children as possible. But, my parents have always told us how important it is to go out as a couple and remember why you became a couple in the first place. This advice was the best marriage advice we’ve ever gotten.

Our marriage hasn’t been perfect, but no marriage is. We notice when we haven’t had time for each other, we tend to drift apart. So we’ve tried to make sure we set aside time for ourselves at least once a month. Most of the time, it’s just a quiet dinner out – but we also try to do weekend get-a-ways every now and again, too (when my parents are available to babysit all weekend!). These weekends tend to bring us back to who we are and why we fell in love in the first place.

So last weekend, we went out to a nice dinner…and it was much needed. I told the hubs to pick out whatever he wanted me to wear, and he picked out this BCBGMaxAzria dress – that I had never worn! I remember buying this dress a size up and when I got it, the belt it came with was way too loose. But, I purchased this belt at The Limited last year on super sale, and it worked perfectly!

DSC_3305 DSC_3306


Dress – BCBG; Heels – Jessica Simpson; Belt – The Limited; Bracelet – Louis Vuitton; Earrings – Local Artist

So when was the last time you and your spouse went out? Do you make it a priority to keep your marriage going?

The Girl’s First Concert

Let’s travel back when I was 10…and had a Joey McIntyre poster on the back of my bedroom door. Oh….he was so dreamy. I was for sure going to marry him someday. I loved New Kids on the Block. My parents gave me my very first concert ticket for my birthday in May, and I was waiting three long months to see New Kids at Busch Stadium. I’ll never forget my first concert…seeing all of the guys rise up from the stage floor. Oooo oooo oooo oooo ooo. The right stuff.

Fast forward to last Saturday when I’m taking my daughter to her very first concert. And who might it be, but the one and only Justin Bieber. I bought the tickets last December to give her for her birthday in June for the concert in August. (You following this timeline?!) It felt like an eternity. I won’t lie either; I love the Biebs. The kid is incredibly talented.

I love having mommy/daughter experiences with her. And I still love how she’s not too old that holding my hand isn’t uncool yet. I cherish every minute of it. I love hearing her stories. I love answering her questions about life. And I love how she said, “Mom, Justin needs to pull up his pants.” Ha! That’s my girl.

I hope to have many more memories like this with her. Her first nine years of life has already gone by in a blink of an eye. Most of the time I wonder where on earth the time has gone. If you’re a new mom, cherish every single moment with those babies because before you know it, they’re in fourth grade.


%d bloggers like this: