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Staycation

Hello Friends!

Happy day after the Chicago Marathon!  Congratulations to all the runners!  Super special shout out to those I know and who kicked-ass. So proud of you!

Today is the day I tell you all about a GLORIOUS weekend I had with some of my very favorite people. We were out celebrating LIFE, MARRIAGE & Friendship. I honestly am already planning the next Staycation.  If ya’ll weren’t aware we live in Chicago.  To say there is lots to do here is a massive understatement our Staycation covered about .025% of what to do in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs but I’m going to share and encourage everyone to do this.

Friday began pretty straight forward.  Last minute packing (duh…) a shower and trying to clean a but of my house that was upside-down. Before we knew it we were headed to our first stop of our staycation a tour in Oak Park of Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and studio:

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Now. Let’s just stop right here.  This guy was a pure genius and interesting to learn about.   He lived beyond his means “hand to mouth” I believe was the phrase he was the epitome of “fake it to you make it” and his home life even was a bit scandalous, something about getting caught in Europe with a mistress, but ANYWHO this guys is famous for good reason as his ideas were… spectacular. This house features a playroom my kids would kill for, a studio that his breathtaking, and some hacks (e.g. painted plaster that looked like bronze and granite) to make it look like he had boatloads of money.  He was a design-with-purpose type guy all about an experience and let me tell you I had to pick my jaw off the floor several times during this tour.

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If you follow my photography page on Facebook you may have seen these.  I didn’t get too many of inside the studio – it was hard not to get people in my shots and I wanted to do FLW justice. I highly recommend this tour – click here for website.  We also took the walking tour where you get this cool looking phone thing to walk around stunning Oak Park this phone talks to you and tells you about several houses near his home.  I’m sure there was great information but I was more concerned about taking a few pictures and missed a lot it…lol guess I’ll have to do it again!

After this experience we ate a local fav spot – the Blue Max and headed downtown to our hotel:

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Kimpton Hotels host a wine hour with a featured red and white.  We grabbed glass (or two) each and headed off to dinner at Proxi.

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Proxi is one of my new favorite restaurants.  Small plates, great cocktails. We loved the shaved zucchini, elote something or another, and some sort of fish in a coconut curry sauce.  You can check out the menu here – their Gin and Tonics are pretty and tasty and I quite like their champagne ice cubes.

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After dinner we headed to London House for drinks – the view was spectacular.

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We stumbled into our hotel and took a snooze before my favorite part of the weekend SPA DAY. Saturday we took a stroll to Target to come back and have brunch at Sable (yum!), followed by a nice walk to the Gold Coast.

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My dear friend and I were treated to a spa day at the Waldorf Astoria and holy.oh.my.god.  Was it ah-mazing.

Mark, my masseuse, ripped my back apart in the best way the whole time I was just like “I’m so grateful, I’m so grateful” – Truly lucky – I highly recommend him, he just got all the knots and I smelled like a lavender leaf when I walked (glided? hovered? flew? IDK it was graceful and I was butterfly-like) out of the room. They treat you so well at the Waldorf, they have fabulous products (Oribe! My fav!) for use and the very best coconut water while you wait in the resting room.

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After our massage we had an hour of relaxing followed by a facial.  Jenny was amazing, the room was quite and my face felt pampered I even fell asleep at one point.  I came out literally glowing.  I cannot wait to go back.  Thank you thank you for booking this for us boys!

After our Spa day we were so hungry.  Walked in just in time for wine hour, ran upstairs and headed  over to Eately.   I’ve probably never eaten so much bread before in my life and olive oil.

On Sunday my wonderful husband got up early and took a nice walk with me along the river.  Chicago is such a beautiful city.  We enjoyed the beautiful fall flowers and super quite landscape.  Chicago is such a beautiful city and it was wonderful to walk hand and hand with my soulmate taking in this beautiful place we live.

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The weekend was wonderful and my heart is still happy from it. Thinking of a Staycation Chicago friends? Just. do. it!

I’m off to spend time with my favorite little humans, get in a good sweat sesh and take some fall photos.  Tis the Season!

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Train Thoughts 10.4

I’m not putting the year on this post because it’s 10/4 – get it? Ha. Anyway.

Today I have a dentist appointment so I’m on an earlier train than normal about to hurl. The amount of anxiety that goes into my dentist appointments is serious. The amount of anxiety in my life in general is an issue but especially tied to doctor visits.


Babies and dogs don’t even make me feel better about it for more than 3 seconds. 

Anyone else have this?  Last year I had BOATLOADS of work done.  Two gum surgeries, two root canals and 6 grand later (thank god for insurance- something around 2k out of pocket) I also have receding gums and I very likely grid or clench my teeth at night (probably due to anxiety and stress… full circle?). Awesome. My doctors are amazing.  No joke, the office staff is friendly and I even go every 4 months!  My teeth just suck so I just hate it and literally dread it for weeks.

I’m writing this to tell you if you have fear you are not alone and it’s perfectly ok!  Even for us waterpik, sonicare, listerine loving folks.  Hector? He doesn’t need to even brush his teeth they are like diamonds. Me I look at sweets and have a cavity. Wish me luck as I’m off to find more funny memes for my next train Thoughts post.

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Train Thoughts 8.30.17

It’s been a while since I’ve done a train thoughts post!  Part of my 25 minute train ride it’s typically totally random.

Today’s thoughts?

I. Love. Game of Thrones.  It’s playing on auditable as I type this! This is how I feel right now about the tv show:


I just can’t get enough!  Here are a couple 😂 memes 


And this 😂

 I mean this stuff makes me happy. That’s all.


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Evan’s New Adventure

We are finding a new routine around here.  My oldest son has started Kindergarten.

My whole heart simultaneously swelled with happiness and sadness.  Happiness because my boy is growing and thriving.  Sadness for the obvious – he’s a baby no more.  “Always my baby you’ll be” will always be in my heart but the truth is he is (and has been for some time) a little person learning, testing boundaries and soaking up all there is to know about life.

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Evan is a special soul he is sensitive, sweet and smart.  He was born a sweet soul.  As we awaited his late start I tried to fill my mind with other things; keeping busy making sure things around the house were picked up and he was ready to go.  Michael and him walked around saying “it’s Kindergarten day!”  We put on jeans, took pictures, realized it was too hot for jeans, changed to shorts lol.  Time ticked away too quickly and before we knew it Evan and I got in the car, drove the short drive to school, pulled up the new color doors and waited for them to open.

Evan stood close to me looking around for children he recognized and people quickly gathered on the grass outside the doors.  The teachers walked out with signs with their names on it and we got in line next to his new teacher.  Parents were allowed in the new classroom and were given a high level of what’s changing from preschool to kindergarten.  Not going to lie, I was instantly more nervous.  I started thinking to myself this is so much overwhelming information.  It’s literally school.  They are going to teach Evan a lot of independence this year.  I’m quite comfortable with this because Evan already has to be very independent due to Hector and I’s work schedules but still it’s just crazy to think how much more ridged his life is going to be.

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The teacher went on about making sure the kids were well rested getting at least 12 hours of sleep; and that they could not be late.  They would be getting homework (so soon!) and that this little blue folder was super important and needed to be brought to school EVERYDAY.  After lots of speaking she sat down with he children and read a book called “The Kissing Hand.” That’s when it took ALL OF ME to hold it together and not start sobbing.  I needed the kissing hand…

The wonderful thing that happens with newness of things is a re-evaluation of routines (or the establishment of them!).  So we’ve started a new things to help Evan make sure he’s organized and responsible for his things [more not that later!].

This new adventure is just in preparation for the rest of his life.  Like I said – so happy for him but also the dull ache of him being a true baby no more.

Good luck my love it is so amazing to watch you go through these new adventures!!!

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Baby Feeeeeever

Ok ya’ll.

It’s hit hard over here. Miss Jen has baby fever.   It’s probably because this guy:

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Couldn’t be less baby.  He’s literally moving and shaking at all times until he just crashes.

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He’s airborne most moments of the day.  He’s sorta like a rubber chicken, just bounces off stuff.  Smashes into things and just is crazy, but in the best way.  His energy is the best and as fun as ALMOST 3 is…

We are fresh out of baby clothes, toys and all that and I’m missing it.  It’s NO secret I’m the worst pregnant woman.  When I think about pregnancy in my head I’m like it’s not so bad, I can handle it.  I wrote this post about how to feel about pregnancy the next time after I had Evan and when I was pregnant with Michael? I still HATED BEING PREGNANT.  I want to clarify what I hate about pregnancy.  It’s feeling exhausted, not myself and sharing my body which I’m too obsessive about.  I’m way too body conscious and although with BOTH my pregnancies I gained around 20-25lbs I still STRESSED about it.  I’ve definitely come to understand that those preg hormones, not for me. I get morning sickness, feel gross and my thighs expand *sigh*.

BUT – I still think I want to do it again because I love babies and I feel like I’m supposed to have them.  I bring my babies home and I know what I’m doing.  I’m CONFIDENT in what I’m doing even when that stupid lady in the store gives you the stink eye (or EVEN says something!  when your baby is chewing on something potentially dirty INSERT EYE ROLL).

The fact my oldest is now five FIVE five years old and starting KINDERGARTEN has also put me over the edge:

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No seriously someone hold me.

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I also love that getting older means I really do care a lot less about people’s opinions.  One day I’m going to write a blog about being a young mom because I had Evan when I was 25 which was younger than a lot of my friends (not all of them!) but thinking about a baby after 30 is interesting and I’ll have to share my thoughts on all that.

Anywho I’m off to enjoy the rest of the day with my dudes and start jotting down ideas for more content like EXTENDED breastfeeding (happy dance), favorite kid stuff and what we are up to, per usual.

Today we saw peacocks and butterflies so I’ll leave you with a couple shots of those guys:

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Oh and follow me on Facebook!!

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Deep Love

My people.  They come in different shapes and sizes, some are related some are not.  Some call me friend, some sister, one calls me lover [ha, ok he doesn’t really but that sounds cool], and two precious little souls call me momma.

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I love deeply.  It’s what I do.  I fall in love with everything I do, and I fall hard.  I get into the weeds, learn the ins and outs.  I fail sometimes, sure, ok a lot? Whoops. But still, mostly I gather a deeper understanding of something.  I want to teach my kids to do this… to love deeply.  I’ll tell you this, no truer deeper love has ever come from my soul like the love I have for boys.  I chase that love, that deep profound love, and try to apply it wherever I can.  You look for that morsel that says “yes” deep inside, that touch of “this is right””this is what I should do”.  My love for them blows my mind and is the benchmark of all things in life.  I’ll sit on the couch as they play “let’s pile on mom” and I’ll snuggle and give lots of kisses and lots of hugs and lots of “I love yous”.  I’ll sit and stare as they play with one another.  There are no words to describe this other than the deepest most profound love.

You do not need to have kids to find this; but I do think that people need to find this.  Then you need to apply it to the things and PEOPLE that matter.  Your friends, your family, your barber and your yoga instructor (especially when they give you an extra minute of child’s pose) need to hear you love them, that they are tremendous professionals and wonderful human beings.   You should also pass that smile to the stranger on the street like my neighbor (and dear friend) Hannah does, because you never know how that person is feeling that day and how YOUR act of kindness can make a difference.  Life here would be so much better if we all just loved more, complained less and hugged more.  Like I said my kids are the starter that sparked my soul and started truly guiding my life.  No more bullshit, just huge chunks of love.

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This post isn’t about anything in particular.  It’s just my two cents on life and the most powerful message I can give to anyone outside of “Love and Trust God” it’s truly simple but can be immensely painful but I promise you, you will never regret it:

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there is also this tidbit.  Mental health is a real issue and we need to stop hiding it and talk about it.  People need to talk about sadness, depression and addiction.  People need to take mental health days because they need a day submerged in a book or diving into netflix (or taking a 5 hour walk)… when someone knows they need a day, they need it. AND WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT IT and encourage it.  It’s not about medicating everyone, it’s about telling everyone it is ok to feel the way you feel, but let’s also help you find out why.  Let’s help you find help, if you are willing to seek it and let’s make sure that WE VOICE THIS to our politicians so they know how we feel about healthcare, mental wellness and family wellness.  We need to encourage more start-ups around family health, coping mechanisms and all-around wellbeing.  Yes it’s important to workout, eat right and take care of yourself BUT IT’S ALSO not as easy as just doing it for some and it can be overwhelming and seemingly impossible and expensive.

I need to figure out a way to make my stamp, and if we each do a little bit to make this world a little better… We’ll be forever reeping the benefits.  What better way to show our deep love…

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Someday I’ll write a sensical blog, or even put together a cohesive set of what we can do – what you can do to even if it’s the smallest thing but today the homework is smile at a stranger, hug your life partner a little tighter for a second longer and send a text to a friend to just remind them you are thinking of them. God knows I think about mine everyday.  I’ll leave you with this picture of Michael saying “boo”:

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[these pictures are all “throwbacks” to last year]

Ok this is what I’m really going to leave you with… I’m giving my sister deep hugs because she lost a friend yesterday, he left us too soon.  I love you Nicole, you are my other light and you are a tremendous person,  don’t you forget that.  I love you. I love you.

Because sometimes we will loose someone, someone too young, far to young… There is evil out there, and deep profound sadness but that just means your depth for love is also greater and we are here for you.

WE can do better by being better to ourselves, the planet and the universe.

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A Few [more] Summer Favs

I hope everyone finds pure summertime happiness & bliss the way I do… Gosh I really should find somewhere warm to live.  Chicago summers are legit magical. I’m holding on to each second.

That said, wanted to share some SUMMERTIME FAVS!  Now I know I need to get into the selfie or professional [looking like my product stuff] posed *cough*hector*cough* pictures… But, I’d like to think sometimes I can get my stuff together.  My hair is super long [too long] but I’m into the messy salty hair waves on weekends.  I support wet hair with a bit of this and this magic in it:

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This goes onto damp hair.  Running after kids?  no worries! Throw your hair in Princess Leia buns and run; OR, not into the side buns? All good, just try to scrunch and run.  Either way this salty stuff gives your hair texture like you are a surfer mom/babe.   What I love about it is – I really am trying to stop from washing my hair EVERY SINGLE DAY (I know terrible… I have oil problems likely perpetuated by my constant washing).  I swear this stuff helps on weekends.  The texturizing stuff in it makes my hair not feel so oily the next day. The Oribe product I’m ordering more of because that was a magic in a can.  I’m going to try Drybar’s dry shampoo too… I digress, more on that later.  This salty goodness really does help me do quick dos and allows me to air dry without looking like a total spaz.

Sweat?  I sweat all the time.  Cold? Stressed? Hot? Working out? Yep.  I own it, but I found this amazing. AMAZING AMAZING deodorant. If I could always smell like a coconut *daydreams* – or lavender? Are you kidding?  Get. this. and you are welcome.  It’s aluminum free and made right here in the great USofA.  35 hundred happy reviewers. Go check them out at nativecos.com. They get two pictures – I’m serious it’s like a blessing to the pits.

I’m sure in some post somewhere I’ve talked about my Target addiction.  I mean Amazon has ruled my life but Target has to be a close second.  IF they had an app like Amazon, holy.guacamole I’d be in BIG trouble (hire me, great idea… upgrade yo’app deliver stuff to our doors).   And just above I talked about loving smelling like a coconut.  I love all the coconuts, like most people.  ANYWHO, I have a thing for this brand:

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Coconut probiotic? Sounds great. Give it to me.  But seriously, this saved our skin on vacation.  You NEED to rub it in.  Rub it in well.  No burns over here and I smelled like heaven doused in coconuts.  I have a bronzer one too.  Put this shirt on over your suit and go. True coconut style.  Honestly though I bought this, friend saw it was faulty but it’s still with the purchase.  Same friend actually rocked it with a side knot, super. cute.

I’m off to take O for a nice walk and walk off the last minute home-made mules from last night. HA.  My body is so confused on what to do with the sugar, but you only live once.

I’ll be back with more later!