Category Archives: Family
First, thank you to some of you who have asked if I was ok…I definitely am! I took a break from blogging to concentrate on spending time with my family, and then before I knew it, I was in deep to my busy season at work.
So what has Em been up to? A lot. Since my last post in May, I had a child move up to high school and my youngest move out of grade school to middle school. We went to my favorite city, Chicago, and went on a family adventure to Alaska via the Norwegian Bliss. We took our annual trip over to Hilton Head Island and enjoyed every second being in Palmetto Dunes.
This whole year has been a journey of health and wellness for me as well. In January, I decided to rejoin a FASTer Way to Fat Loss® group to get myself back on track. After that one round, I joined the VIP group and haven’t looked back. Not only that, I’ve decided to be come a FWTFL coach – and now am certified!! I will talk more about the program a lot, but click here to learn more. And even join me on my first round I’m coaching starting January 7! Doesn’t matter if you are a woman or a man or where you live. It’s an online program that provides the accountability you need coupled with the resources and tools you need to be successful at losing fat and keeping it off. This program has changed my life (and my husband’s – he loves the FWTFL lifestyle!), so I want to share it with everyone.
For now, here’s a few of my favorite pictures over the last few months!
If you’re interested in following me on Instagram, search for me at emd03! Instastories are my favorite!!
And of course what would be a post without a few fashion items…
- The Patagonia rain jacket I wore in Alaska not only repels water, but cuts the wind like no one’s business.
- The best nude colored suede booties seen in the last two pics are from Altar’d State. They seriously go with everything and are very comfortable!
- When we were in Amsterdam, I splurged on Yves Saint Laurent Tribute sandals. I didn’t get the sky high heels, so my feet thanked me.
- And if you want to wear jeans that never lose their shape, high waist, and comfortable ALL DAY, grab these Athleta jeans NOW!
First, I want to say that I’m here. I’m just fine. 🙂 My full-time career is managing employee benefit communications for clients, and this is the busiest time of year for me. So my time has to be devoted to my clients and less to my blog. So the next few months, posts will definitely be sporadic. So bear with me (and thank you for caring!).
Labor Day weekend we did get away for a few days to Ft. Walton Beach in Florida. Of course I had purchased a few things online at Lilly’s huge sale, but I went to the store in Mirmar Beach to see what they had left. I picked up this great skirt for about $35. I would much rather throw on a skirt or dress than shorts, so this is perfect for me. Cotton and comfy – so easy to throw on with just a white t-shirt! And look, I can even jump in it, LOL.
The girl got a few things at the sale too, including these super cute shorts and tank top. She loves her Lilly just like her momma! ❤ This shot is something we always try to do at the beach. I think we started it when she was probably 7 or so. I love taking photos like this so you can go back and compare how she’s growing up.
When I saw this jumpsuit on the hanger, I first thought it was a maxi dress. As I was feeling the fabric and pulling it apart, I discovered it was definitely not a maxi! I usually don’t gravitate towards jumpsuits, but I loved this print!
When I tried this on, it felt like I was in the most comfortable pajamas. I knew I wanted to take this to Charleston, so I did.
It was hot that day, and this was the perfect outfit to keep me cool while we walked around town. I know some of you fashionistas might be thinking, “why does she have flip flops on with that?!” It’s called comfort. Sometimes comfort goes over fashion when you know you will be walking a ton.
And it was bright and colorful to match Rainbow Row 🙂 The purple house was our favorite, and when I went on Realtor.com after I got home, it’s on sale for a cool $2.8 million. A tip if you plan on getting great shots of Rainbow Row in Charleston, don’t be disappointed that you will NOT get a great shot of all of them at once. There are a ton of trees – and cars – that sit in front of all of them. Maybe unless you have a drone can you get the perfect shot. 🙂
I was on the hunt for a great cross body bag that I could wear on vacation that was big enough for what I needed, but light enough that it wouldn’t hurt my shoulder. I found it! This Henri Bendel Jetsetter Convertible Messenger is perfect! It holds my large wallet, sunglasses, phone (actually two phones because I held my daughter’s too), and more. It has the zipper pockets in the front and a large pocket on the back that’s easy to slip your phone in and out of so you can keep the main part zipped and safe.
Over spring break this year, we went on our fifth Disney Cruise. Yes, fifth. Yes, we love them. Obviously. 🙂 We went on the Fantasy again and sailed to the Western Caribbean making stops at Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Jamaica, and Castaway Cay (Disney’s private island). The Fantasy and Dream are sister ships that set sail a few years ago. They are bigger than the Magic and Wonder and are just wonderful. My favorite part – the adult restaurant, Remy. I’ve been fortunate to eat at fantastic places in my life, and Remy is the #1 restaurant I’ve ever eaten at. This was also the Star Wars Day at Sea cruise, and this Star Wars family loved every minute of it!
But, this isn’t a travel blog…it’s a fashion blog. Another reason I love cruises is getting to dress up for dinner. Do you have to? No. But, it’s me. C’mon, do you think I’d really NOT dress up for dinner?! 🙂 Here’s what I wore this year.
I love Lilly Pulitzer, and this Sloane maxi (some other fun patterns here) was perfect for getting on the ship. So comfortable! Even though I’m just shy of 5’8″, I did have to get it hemmed a little so I didn’t have to wear wedges with it.
I got this on super sale last year. I knew that the cruise would be the perfect place to wear it – and I was right. (Here’s a similar style this year.) And these Schutz cage wedges I got last year in NYC have continued to be a favorite. Here’s a different version.
This Ted Baker dress I picked up two years ago for $90. This was the perfect dress for formal night! And these Michael Antonio silver shoes I got off Amazon for $23! I didn’t want to spend a fortune on silver shoes I know I wouldn’t wear very much at all! Amazon has everything 🙂 The girl is wearing a Lilly Pulitzer dress I wore on a cruise four years ago. My baby is growing up 😦
This night, we ate in Remy. When you eat in Remy, you are expected to dress appropriately. So yay for me to get to dress up again! This Halston Heritage dress had been sitting in my closet (another huge sale item) and was waiting for me to wear it. And I’ve had these DVF shoes forever…who doesn’t love a good leopard print?!
I posted about this great dress a few weeks ago. It’s on sale!
Most days were spent in a swimsuit, but this day we went out to walk around the Falmouth, Jamaica port. I got this $19 Lilly Pulitzer Rilo tube top last year. So glad I did since they didn’t come out with this style this year. The shorts were an Old Navy special! And you’ve seen these Kendra Scott pink Danielle earrings a few times this trip…they went with this top perfectly! Jack Rogers Lauren sandals are still a fav from last year.
When I saw this dress on Instagram, and it was on sale, I immediately sent the link to my hubby for Christmas. I was so happy he got it for me! This Parker dress is one of my favorites now! So simple but so beautiful. It also goes perfect with my Louboutin nude heels.
My hubby got me this Ted Baker dress last year for Mother’s Day, and I knew I wanted to wear it again on the cruise. If you are a RHOATL fan, you will recognize that Porscha wore this dress in her interviews, but I think I wore it better. LOL
I posted the Lilly Pulitzer Clara dress last year…and then I picked up this one on super sale. I just love how flowy these dresses are. Means you can eat a lot and not even notice! 🙂 Here are a few great patterns left from last year here and here. (This runs so big, you want to size down.) Oh and look, again with the Kendra Scott earrings and Schutz wedges!
If you have any Disney cruise questions, feel free to leave a comment with questions!
I wanted to take a few minutes to wish this guy a Happy 14th Anniversary. Fourteen years ago, we dedicated our love to each other in front of many family and friends. Since then, we’ve had two kids, grieved over too many family members we’ve lost, moved to the South, rescued two St. Bernards, brought a French Bulldog home, watched our daughter go through open heart surgery, bought two homes, changed four jobs, traveled a ton, and written a story with many ups and downs. We’ve written our own story that tackles every emotion. Every marriage is tested, ours included. No one is perfect. No marriage is perfect. People make mistakes. Forgiveness is given – and earned. Focus shifts to the children, without remembering why you became a couple in the first place. But over the last year, we’ve taken time to start a new chapter. Well, I guess it’s more of starting the next chronicles of our family instead of just one chapter.
I love this man. More than ever. I’m lucky he chose me to be his wife and the one to spend his life with. He’s my biggest cheerleader, but also keeps me level headed when I tend to think with my emotions. I wake up every morning thinking how lucky I am to have him and our family. I’ll never take it for granted.
“In all the world, there is no heart for me like yours. In all the world, there is no love for you like mine.” — Maya Angelou
We just got back from spring break – and we went on another Disney cruise. As always, it was fantastic. Of course I loved dressing up every night too! I’m sure you are all shocked. 😉
When I spotted this off-the-shoulder dress at Banana, I fell in love. It stays in place, which is key with an off-the-shoulder. It didn’t rise up once and I didn’t have to mess with it at all. With the hidden inside zipper, it does a great job of accentuating the waist line. Overall, it is such a fun dress! Like always, Banana had it on sale, so I got it for 50% off – score!
And here’s my not-so-little princess with the real princess, Cinderella. We had fun taking our pictures with all of the characters!
On the girl – Lilly Pulitzer (last season on super sale)
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. 🙂
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 😉 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. 🙂
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.
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 the girl: Lilly Pulitzer Rosalie shift 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!
I grew up watching the Blackhawks and going to games at the old Chicago Stadium. Why? Because my daddy loves the Blackhawks. 🙂 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.
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.
Now, I know this post is about the Blackhawks, but this video from a Bruins game tugged at my heart strings, too!!
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.
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. 🙂
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!
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?! 🙂 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!
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!
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 🙂
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! ❤
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!
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, and 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! 🙂
Dress – Tabitha (this was sold out at Anthro!); Shoes – Vince Camuto; Bracelet – Stella & Dot
Linking up with The Pleated Poppy.
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 🙂 (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.
Dress – Anthropologie; Shoes – Charles David; Bracelet and Earrings – Stella & Dot
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!!
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!
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. 🙂
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? 🙂
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!)