Viewing entries in
Uncategorized

Comment

Summer Backyard Challenge

Sixteen months ago we moved into our house, two days before Will was born.  Last summer we were the house waiting for sod.  A big dirt pit with nothing fun going on.  This year we promised the kids it would be better.  While their friends' were all swinging on swing sets and swimming in their pools, our kids were begging me to check my phone for invitations to play. This year we took the summer backyard challenge.

backyard ocean

 

Backyard Ocean sent us a 10' long pool that is 30" deep an my kids just can't get enough of it!

pool 1The pool is big enough for several kids to play and swim at once.  My 8 year old can swim under water from end to end and my almost 6 year old loves to jump and make a big splash.

pool 2The girls love this pool so much that Madeline decided to have a backyard water party for her 6th birthday later this month.  It's a Rainbow Unicorn themed party, naturally, and she can't wait to have all of her little friends over in her new pool.

kids in pool 3

The pool comes with a ladder, filter and cover.  We use the cover when we are finished to keep out the extra bugs.  Because we have a toddler, we have left the ladder off for now.  Ellie can easily climb in and Madeline always likes to get a boost so it's working just fine for us.  Once the liner was smoothed out, the pool was easy to install.  You fill the ring with air and as the water fills the pool, the ring floats to the top.  Take down and storage is super simple as well.

Our Backyard Ocean was a great addition to our backyard this year.  It's the perfect spot to cool off on hot days for everyone in our family!

 

Thanks again to Backyard Ocean for giving our backyard a summer fun facelift!

 

Comment

girls rule: guide to chic & cheap girls activewear

Comment

girls rule: guide to chic & cheap girls activewear

My girls LOVE to dance.  They have both been dancing since they were 3 and are on their studio's competition team.  We are actually just back from their first national competition.  Did I mention they like to dance?

While they would dance every day of the week - for hours and hours - I'm using this summer to expand horizons.  While I'm glad the girls have a sport they love, we want to make sure they are exposed to all different kinds of sports.  They may not compete in all of them, but being active is always important and something I want them to learn for life.

Instead of shopping for leotards and booty shorts, we hit up the stores for tanks, tees, shorts and capri's for tennis and volleyball.  While we were shopping for two court sports, these outfits would work for running, soccer, basketball and just going out to play.  Active wear for girls has come a long way since my volleyball playing days.  Here are some of our favorite summer active outfits available for girls 4-14!

girls active wear

I mentioned we were trying new sports so I didn't want to break the bank on activewear for the girls since it could be a one and done scenario.  Our two favorite stores for stylish and comfortable activewear were Target and Old Navy.  My youngest was excited to play tennis for the skirts.  No lie.  So she got tennis skirts at both stores with a variety of matching tanks and tees.  My older daughter has been playing volleyball with me in the yard for a while and was pumped for camp.  She wanted her shirts to have positive sayings like "Winning is just my style".

All outfits can be purchased from Target and Old Navy.  What are your girls playing this summer?

Comment

Fill Your Top Two Drawers with Peach!

Comment

Fill Your Top Two Drawers with Peach!

One of the most frustrating things to do as a woman is to go bra shopping. We each have our own style, size and preferences, and any of those factors can change in an instant. Add in the fact that we usually have kids tagging along during this necessary yet complicated excursion, and it is a recipe for disaster. If millions of women wear these things...heck, billions, and why is the process so incredibly confusing and filled with misinformation? Did you know that 80% of women are in the wrong bra size and 95% of women hate the shopping experience? Time for a change. I recently attended the Peach Perfect Fit Tour on their stop in Chicago, and received a "Perfect Luxe Bra Fitting" with a Personal Stylist. My Stylist, Katey, was so incredibly knowledgeable about how a bra should fit. She took a look at my current bra and could immediately tell that it wasn't working for me. After taking a 10 point set of calculated measurements (and no, it wasn't just a quick whip of a measuring tape twice around), she found a size that was truly me. She asked questions about the clothes that I wear and how I prefer to have my bras fit.

Want to know the best part about Peach? The stylist actually comes to your house. No more getting shoved alone into a fitting room, armed with an arsenal of assorted garments, only to rush out of the store with something passable because your kids are driving you crazy. Your information and sizes are then stored in the Peach system, and you have access to your Stylist moving forward. They are currently in 25 states and expanding- you can see if they are in your area with this link. Appointments are made at the convenience of the client (you) for dates and times that work within your schedule.

In addition to bras, they aim to "fill your top two drawers." This means everything from panties to shapewear to hosiery to chemises to t-shirts and camis, even loungewear and cardigans (which are all the absolutely softest clothing items I have ever worn). Here is one of their Spaghetti Strap Camis peeking out from under my favorite wrap dress. This gorgeous item stayed put all day- it didn't ride up, and held shape after washing.

I also tested out their insanely soft Infinity Scarf- perfect for those deceptively chilly days right now where the sun is out but it is still in the 60s. It also doubles as a nursing cover! One item that I have my eye on, which happens to be a best seller, is their Simply Soft Flyaway Cardigan.

The whole goal of Peach is to inspire women to be their most "beyoutiful" through their one of a kind shopping experience. Take a look at what they have to offer you!

 

PS- They are actively looking for stylists to add to their team, so if you are entrepreneurial in nature and looking to get in on the ground floor of a new company, check them out here!

Disclosure: I was provided with select Peach apparel for review purposes, and even purchased some with my own funds because I simply loved it. As always, all opinions are honest and my own.

Comment

Mom Style Monday: 3 Summer Hair Styles

Comment

Mom Style Monday: 3 Summer Hair Styles

In the summer, my hair styles differ quite drastically from my winter 'dos. In the winter, my hair is dry, full of static, and I usually shove it into a ponytail or keep it over my ears to stay warm. In the summer, there are so many more options and places to go that motive me to actually style my hair. Here's the thing with moms, though- many of us have chopped our lovely long locks in exchange for an easier-to-manage style. If the length of my hair is going to necessitate a 45 minute session with my blow drier, I would rather pull a Charlize Theron a la Mad Max buzz than waste my precious morning minutes in a stuffy bathroom. There are ways to fake length, whether it be permanent extensions, clip ins or flat iron styling. I loved my long hair for all of the versatility it provided- braids, complicated top knots, long beachy waves, prom girl curls (ok...maybe I don't miss those). Here are a few of my favorite looks for Summer 2015, inspired by both the runways and my personal preferences.

Long Beachy Waves

The perfect beachy wave is such an enigma- you want it to look tousled and undone, but to get it to that point, you have to put a heck of a lot of product in and have some serious skills with styling tools. Since my hair isn't long enough to really get that wind-swept look, I used clip in extensions from Irresistible Me. Since they are real hair, you can style them, wash them, even color or cut them like you would real hair. If you go the extension route, I highly recommend spending the extra money to get ones of this caliber. The set I used comes in 10 pieces in varying widths, so you can make your hair as thick as you wish. They have 12 different colors, come in lengths from 14-24 inches, and varying thickness. For this style, I clipped 3 pieces in and used a bubble curling wand, specifically the Bed Head TIGI Rock N' Roller. The trick to beachy waves is leaving out the very end of your hair- leave it straight for a relaxed look.

Braided Topknot

First of all, the topknot is the best hairstyle for second day hair, hands down. Some of my favorite style icons such as Nicole Ritchie and Rashida Jones have raised the bar with a braided topknot. Unfortunately, my hair hits just below my collarbone, so I can't get the volume they do (FYI- a wimpy topknot just looks like something growing out of your head). I grabbed my extensions again and this time clipped them in upside down to go with the flow. To make a topknot, flip your head upside down and secure a HIGH ponytail just above the crown of your head. Celeb stylist Kylee Heath recommends pulling hair up in sections, lightly teasing some and braiding the others, wrapping all around the base of the ponytail. The goal of this isn't sleek perfection- more of controlled chaos.

Crown Braid

I am still on the fence with this one- it is very appropriate for festival season, but I am not sure if I can pull it off for the carpool. Let's give it a shot! I am not about to get into the crazy french braided crown- that is too much effort. To cheat, make regular braids and pull them across. Again, I used the Irresistible Me extensions to give myself more hair to work with. I used four clip-ins and pulled my hair into two low ponytails secured tightly right behind my ears. If you don't have any texture to your hair (like me) try to build some on top with a curling wand or dry shampoo. I then pulled the braids across the front of my head and secured just above my hairline behind my ears with bobby pins. Done!

What are your thoughts? Do these look like styles you might try, or are they better suited for the glossy pages?

Disclosure: I was provided with Irresistible Me product for review purposes. As always, all thoughts and opinions are honest and my own.

Comment

Macy's Presents American Icons LIVE Events!

1 Comment

Macy's Presents American Icons LIVE Events!

I am a member of the Everywhere Society and Everywhere has provided me with compensation for this post. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

As summer rolls in, there are so many iconic moments that I have captured with my children. Charlotte JUST had her first popsicle, which I recall consuming mass quantities of as a child. She rode her bike around the block for the first time last week, with some help from mom. She wore her first denim jacket, which is so fashionably iconic America.

As for Bryson, he started playing baseball this year, America's past time. He discovered his love for s'mores on a camping trip with my mom and I last summer. He also loves to bake, and makes a huge mess in the kitchen! These are all the childhood memories that many kids share across America, making them iconic moments in our lives.

Macy's is hosting a series of events to celebrate what makes America the place we love to raise our children, and you are invited to join the in-store party! Macy's American Icons events are family fun and fashion bashes to kick off the summer right. I will be attending the event at the Chicago State Street Macy's location on this Thursday, May 14th at 12pm. Make sure to join me and participate in these events sure to get you ready for the warm weather!

Take an #AmericanSelfie with Chicago's own Stanley Da Bear, snack on Garrett's Popcorn and hit up the lemonade stand.

How about BBQ, is that iconic America enough? Well, you can learn tips & tricks from Milt's Barbecue for the Perplexed AND Brad Saylor, Macy's Executive Chef.

If you are in the mood for a little music, the steel band Potts & Pans and a cappella quartet No Big Deal will be on site, belting tunes and charming the audience.

And of course, what Macy's event would be complete without shopping? Everything you need to put together a timeless ensemble will be on hand during the fashion party as you shop to the DJ-mixed beats.

Don't live in the Chicago area? Make sure to check out macys.com/americanicons for over 20 additional locations. I am almost tempted to hit up NYC at Macy's Herald Square on May 14th to meet Carl Ray, makeup artist for America's First Lady and Maksim Chmerkovskiy from Dancing with the Stars! Or how about Macy's Union Square in San Francisco? The Pitch Perfect 2 costume designer Salvador Perez is hosting a fabulous fashion show celebrating iconic style from some of my favorite American designers on May 16th. Make sure to check out the website to see if the Macy's American Icons party is coming to a Macy's near you!

Macy's is also a proud partner with those who have served our country alongside Got Your 6. Each year, 250,000 incredibly brave women and men return from service, and Got Your 6 works to make sure they have the support and tools they need to become leaders at home. (The phrase "Got Your 6" originated from an old pilot system where directions correspond to hours on the clock, so anyone at your 6 is behind you, so "Got Your 6" means "I've got your back.") These are the true American Icons, and Macy's has declared Saturday May 16th Got Your Six Saturday- if customers donate $3, they get a 25% off pass to use all day May 16th.

I hope to see you this Thursday, May 14th at 12pm at the Chicago State Street Macy's!

1 Comment