Playing Catch Up


As you can tell, dear readers, sometimes I am totally on top of this blog. Sometimes I can sit down, play my favorite Pandora stations (this week it’s totally the Young the Giant station), write some posts, and schedule them accordingly.

Sometimes, however, I cannot. Last week was pretty much a “cannot” kind of week. And that is mainly because I am just plain old exhausted. Dominic started a new job working some seriously crazy hours, Olivia has been sleeping some seriously crazy hours, and I pretty much sleep when I today, for instance, I’m probably going to go nap as soon as I finish this post because Olivia was up more than she slept last night and I seem to be the only one paying for it.

I’m not complaining, I hope it doesn’t come off that way. We are truly in a really wonderful (and busy) season of life, and my favorite season is upon us as well, but like my horoscope says today: “It’s not that you are having a rough time; it’s just that everything seems overly intense these days.” And that, my friends, couldn’t be more true. On the days where I know I should probably sit down and write, I find myself watching something on Netflix (I just finally caught up with New Girl….can that show be anymore amazing?!), or being in the moment with my family, or sitting outside on my balcony at night, enjoying the beautiful fall breeze.

Today, I am playing catch up and then as soon as our internet is back up (in the middle of an internet switch, definitely writing this from my iPad.), I’ll be able to blog about a few things including our trip to Disney on Ice (I know, didn’t we go that show like two weeks ago?)

Here we goooooooooooo:

Dominic got a new job at a different restaurant. Because he’s training, he doesn’t get to pick his schedule and because he’s training, his hours are pretty cray cray. I expected this, but it sure doesn’t mean that we don’t miss our guy around here.

And also, while we’re on the subject of our main Man, he also completed his real estate training, and is a certified Real Estate Agent! So if you’re in the Chicago/West Suburbs, and you’re looking to buy, he is your guy! This is his Facebook page (Like it and share with your friends, please!) and who knows, you may even get to run into Olivia and me from time to time because we love looking at beautiful houses ;)

Dominic and I are starting the WHOLE 30 on Wednesday. I have to admit, I am pretty pumped about it. I lasted two weeks without a lot of the stuff that you can’t have on the Whole30, what’s another two weeks? Cannot wait to report back! Also: if you have any advice, recipe suggestions, favorite whole30 IG accounts, I’d really appreciate it!

We’ve started planning for Olivia’s third birthday. This is absolutely crazy to me. Why does time fly once you have kids?! I just don’t understand! This year, we’re keeping it super simple with a Sunday brunch but as long as there’s cake and presents, I don’t think our girl is going to mind one bit.

Speaking of my little parrot of a daughter, she is on quite the roll lately. She talks SO MUCH and reminds me pretty much every single day that she analyzes and remembers basically everything I say now. The other day she said, “are you freaking kidding me?!” I will say that I am glad that it was the word “freaking”, and like any other A+ parent, I had to document it for bad days and now you all get to see it, too. You’re welcome.

My 24th birthday is this Thursday… am I already that old? No major plans because I’ll be on the whole30, but that’s okay! I got to celebrate my birthday this past weekend, and had a fantastic time :)

A few posts around the web that I am loving:

This is what a good mom looks like.

This song has been stuck in my head all week!

I reaaallly want to make this drink (after whole30, of course)

So hilarious!

I ordered the cutest little fall jacket for Olivia the other day!

I really want to try this frank body scrub, I love body scrubs!

Have a good week!


Our Fall 2014 Bucket List!


You guys…..

It’s officially FALL!! Fall is here! Yay! I know that technically we have a few more hours, but with the fall-like weather and all of the hot drinks we’ve been drinking….I’m gonna go ahead and say that fall is here! And we are so excited.

Unfortunately, we did not completely finish our Summer 2014 Bucket List, but it was still a lot of fun! Because of that, we’ve decided to continue the tradition for this beautiful season, and here’s what we came up with:


1. Go to the pumpkin patch!

2. Make a pie from scratch (I’ve really been wanting to make an apple pie!)

3. Carve pumpkins!

4. Jump in a big pile of leaves!

5. Go on a hayride!

6. Go apple picking!

7. Make soup from scratch!

8. Make something from my I love all things pumpkin board (it’s gonna be hard to choose what to make!)!

9. Go on a nature walk!

10. Have a friendsgiving!

Obviously this seems a little more geared to cooking/baking but we’re fine with that! I’m kind of a stickler when it comes to not putting on the heat right away (just layer up, people!), so having something cooking/baking on our stove and/or oven will definitely warm up our home.

Ugh, I am so excited for this season (and then the holiday season! Yay!), I could just cry!

Fall, we love you and welcome you with open arms!

What’s on your fall bucket list?



What Olivia Wore: Red Vans Edition.


Last year, for Olivia’s Second Birthday, one of her birthday gifts was a pair of red Vans. Although it always seems like she’s growing so freakin fast, it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that those shoes finally started to fit her!

Fact #1: Baby shoes are seriously the cutest. Fact #2: Baby shoes are hardly worn enough because kids grow out of everything so dang quickly.

Olivia is already parting with so many of her shoes this fall because of this whole growing thing, it’s kind of hard to keep up! But, I’ve already made a vow to have her wear these shoes as often as possible because, well….look at them!!! Does it get any cuter?!

Oh, by the way, go cubs! :P

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Bucket List #8: Spend a Day Downtown! (AKA Our Anniversary Weekend)


As you know, last week was our first wedding anniversary. I still can’t believe it came so quickly, but it did and so we celebrated. We decided to spend two days, one night away, and I really do think it’s exactly what we needed!

Early Saturday morning, my beautiful mother in law treated me to a mani/pedi. It was the perfect way to start the day! A little coffee, a little pampering, a little girl talk…perfect. It was also my husband’s birthday so I decided to stop on my way home to get him two pecan tarts from Starbucks because they are his absolute favorite and I love to surprise him when I can!

To my surprise, when I got home, he was waiting with his own little present for me. My anniversary gift, a day early. My sweet, sweet husband (with the help of my father in law!), built me the most BEAUTIFUL bed frame. You bet your ass I cried. I was so surprised! I couldn’t believe that one, he built it and two, that he pulled it off! Ugh I love that man. I ended up giving him his gift, too. I bought him another watch that he was instantly obsessed with (the man loves watches!) and on the back, I had ONE inscribed in it :)

Before we made a break for our little getaway, we took Olivia to the car show in our old town. My sister and I used to go all the time when we were little and we’ve pretty much made it a point to go every year now that we’re older (with the exception of last year since it was on our wedding day.) We also went with my dad, my grandpa, and Dominic’s parents. A family affair :) Olivia really wasn’t too interested, but there was a pink car that caught her eye, of course!

Dominic and I have honestly been counting down the days for this little getaway, we were SO excited! But why, oh why, does it just seem so damn difficult to leave Olivia once the day actually comes? Fun fact: I seriously cry every time I leave her. No matter where we’re going. Like I say bye, and then Dominic grabs my hand and we kinda walk fast to the car because he knows I’m about to let it all out. I can’t help myself!

Anyway. Once we were on the road, I was obviously fine! If you knew us at all, you’d probably think our first stop would be to get coffee but instead we went to the mall….and then got coffee once we were inside! :P We walked around Woodfield Mall, hand in hand, just being alone. Our hotel was like three minutes away so we were just killing a little time!

Even though our dinner reservation was set for that night downtown, and we knew we were going to spend all day downtown on Sunday, too, we decided to book a hotel in Schaumburg because it was literally like $300 dollars cheaper. We stayed at the Rennaisaince. We’ve stayed there a few times before and picked it again because it’s beautiful, it’s clean, it’s close to things if we decided not to make the trek back to Chicago the next day and we love it.

When we got to the hotel, we decided to order a little snack because our dinner reservation wasn’t until 9:30pm. We ordered chicken fingers, they really good. Or were we just hungry? I don’t really know. We slowly started to get ready and around 7:45pm, we were on our way to dinner.

To keep the tradition going, we had dinner at RPM in Chicago. Last year it was truly such a delicious meal and we were craving their garlic bread like two pregnant women. While I stuck with my filet mignon, Dominic tried the carbonara and it was fantastic! After we were through with our meal, we were presented with a little surprise flight of gelato for our anniversary. It was such a nice surprise and I am still thinking about that pistachio gelato. I never even knew I liked pistachio gelato up until that night! We went back to our hotel, SO exhausted, but had previously ordered dessert for when we got back (obviously not knowing about the gelato). It was creme brulee, you guys, how could we not eat it?! God I love me some creme brulee.

The next morning, we woke up bright and early. We wanted to get breakfast in the city and generally just start our day early so that we’d have as much time to spend together as possible. (PS: I was so upset because we had stopped home on the way into the city to drop off our bags and I forgot to grab my camera from one of them and didn’t realize it until we were already downtown. UGH! So all of my pictures are from my iPhone!)

Again, keeping the tradition going, we went to the West Egg for breakfast. I really love their chorizo and eggs with potatoes! We had parked our car in a parking garage, and we kept it there all day. We were seriously walking around Chicago from like 10:30 to 4:30 and it was awesome!

We had a few places that we wanted to visit, and we ended up hitting each of them (except one! Bow truss! :( ) throughout the day. We really enjoyed walking around Chicago, playing tourist. We found ourselves saying “Olivia would LOVE this” or “Aww I wish Olivia could see this!” a million times, but we were both glad to spend a kid free day in our beautiful city.

When we walked to Bow Truss and realized that they were closed, Dominic saw that I was a little bummed and said, “Okay, I know you’re upset but I do have a little surprise for you…..there’s a doughnut shop right around the corner. Let’s go check it out.”

My hero.

The place was called the Doughnut Vault and it was so cute! It literally was this little vault too, it’s address even contained “1/2″ in it! If you would’ve asked me before this spontaneous donughtnut run, what my favorite spot was for doughtnuts, I would’ve said Glazed and Infused. But now? Absolutely, 100% this place. I had their chestnut flavor and it was amazing! They were so soft and also very huge! We probably should’ve split one but….hashtag YOLO.

Moving on!

Since we didn’t get to try the coffee at Bow Truss, we went to the nearest Starbucks for some caffeine and then headed to our last stop….


I cannot even tell you how long I have waited to try this place. Once we started making plans for this anniversary weekend, I knew Eataly had to be on that list. And I think it’s safe to say that we’re both happy that we went. That place was incredible!

And huge! I knew it was going to be big but I didn’t think it would be that bIg! When you first walk in, the first floor welcomes you with Italian imports (such as cookies, candy, jams, etc.), really cool kitchen utensils that you didn’t know you needed, a gelato stand, a chocolate stand, a cafe, a panini stand and….a Nutella bar.

We started by just looking around…we didn’t want to make any impulse purchases before we saw everything ;) We went upstairs and we were so amazed. It looked even bigger on the top! They had anything and everything you could think of up there, including 8 restaurants. 8! They had wine, a fruit market, a meat stand, cheese stand, fish stand, bread stand, Olivia oil, pizza, pasta, a library, plus so much more!

We ended up choosing the pasta restaurant to sit down and eat at. We were both only a little hungry, so we split a pasta. We tried the Tagliatelle al Ragu di Manzo….aka pasta with beef short rib Ragu! It was, hands down, one of the best pastas we’ve ever had. You could just taste how fresh the noodles were. Ugh, I cannot wait to go back there!

Once we were finished stuffing our faces, we bought a few things (prescuitto, pasta, mozzarella balls), we made our way downstairs. Pistachio gelato for me (I’m obviously on a roll with that stuff!) and a latte for Dominic! We made one last stop and the chocolate stand so that we could buy a certain little person a few little chocolate hearts, and then we made our way back to the car to head back to real life ;)

About 45 minutes later, we pulled up to my in laws house to get our baby. The minute she saw me, she dropped everything she was doing and ran right over yelling, “MAMA!!!!!!!” she squeezed me so tight and it was truly the best feeling ever. She of course did the same thing once she saw Dominic!

It was such a much needed little trip away with my husband but as for our next downtown adventure, I think we both agree that Olivia should probably come with us ;)


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Bucket List #7: Go on a Getaway!


For Labor Day , we decided to get up super early and drive up to Michigan for the day, with Dominic’s parents. They’re always talking about how much we’d love it up there and since everyone was off that Monday, we decided to get up and go!

I am such a fan of road trips. I love seeing new things, I love the road trip snacks, I love waking up and driving somewhere while it’s pitch black and slowly starts to get light outside, I love listening to so much music….even the coffee somehow tastes better! It made sense to leave early so that Olivia would sleep through the car ride….or so was our thought process. In actuality, she stayed up for half of the drive there, singing and dancing with us and of course, drinking her coffee (vanilla milk).

Once we arrived in South Haven, Michigan, our first thought was breakfast. It was a little cloudy and we drove up there full well knowing that there was a huge chance of rain, but at least it would be hot rain, I thought. Nick and Nancy said they knew of a cute place by the water and while we were walking to the restaurant, I would stop along the way to take pictures. Everyone was a little bit ahead of me, but I didn’t mind. It had kinda been forever since I had pulled out my big camera so I was just walking along, snapping pictures, loving life.

All of a sudden I see the 4 of them turn around and they’re yelling, “RUN!!!!!” And we literally saw the rain coming, making it’s way toward us. It was hilarious, and I’m so glad I got their faces on camera. We pulled under a little shop, and waited for the rain to pass. It was pouring! It definitely slowed down, but didn’t show signs of stopping anytime soon, so we ran to a different place for breakfast.

After breakfast, full and satisfied, we made our way to the beach. As soon as we got there, I knew I wasn’t going to want to leave. I am truly not much of a beach girl. The sand, the hot weather, the dirty water. Just not my thing. But guess what? In Michigan, the water is so freakin clean. Like SO clean. I was thoroughly amazed. Also, it was still cloudy, so no sun. And the sand was wet so it wasn’t burning our feet while we walked to set up camp. Olivia and I ran right for the water. It felt like we had the beach to ourselves because it was so early, and hardly anyone was there yet. I immediately took out my camera and started to take pictures, a lot of pictures (as you’ll see below….whoops.).

There was a beautiful lighthouse, there was wispy grass throughout parts of the beach, and there was just enough fog in the distance to make my pictures look mysteriously beautiful ;)

We were probably there for almost three hours, before we packed up and decided to drive down to St. Joseph, MI. On the way there, it started to pour again and we worried our trip was over because the rain was so cold. We decided to stop at a cute little cafe for lattes and some sweets, praying that the weather would come around just a little big and thankfully, it did. The rest of our day was sunny and warm–perfect for walking around downtown St. Joseph.

Next stop was New Buffalo, MI. On our way there, driving from one town to the next, we noticed a sign that said “tourist views here” or something like that, so we stopped. I really am so glad that we did. The view was absolutely incredible. It was like Narnia or something. The worst part was only being able to see from afar, but I didn’t complain. I just took as many pictures as I possible could so that I would never forget that view. It really was so amazing. And then off we went.

When I was younger, I had a really good friend who used to go apple picking with her family every year. I went with her a few times and they’d always stop at a burger joint called Redamaks (sidenote: if you click that link, make sure you’re speakers are down because there’s music and it seriously just scared the crap out of me) after apple picking. That’s where we went in New Buffalo. Dominic and Olivia were the only ones that had never been, and they were both pretty satisfied! It seriously is such a good burger place with a surprisingly good toasted ravioli appetizer…

Our last stop before we headed back home was to get ice cream. Nick and Nancy were really excited to take us there but when we asked why, they simply responded with, “you’ll see”. It’s called Oink’s Dutch Treat and it was hilarious. The minute we stepped in, we saw that it was covered in head to toe, everything and anything you can think of, PIG gear. It was so fun and so quirky and I loved it! My favorite part, though, was the ceiling. There were so many different ice cream scoopers, it was so cute! The ice cream was pretty delicious too :)

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