Friday, September 28, 2012

chicago again

just the last of the chicago pictures today. we really did have a great time and I didn't realize until a few days ago that this was really our goodbye to summer this year. we came home to much cooler temperatures and even the leafs are now starting to turn. 

a few things to do if you're ever in chicago, with or without a toddler:

  • the free zoo at lincoln park. gates are wide open and you just walk in and out as you please. lincoln park reminded me a little bit of parts of central park in nyc. the zoo is a decent size with all kinds of different animals. it was an easy walk from very top of michigan avenue where our hotel was and along lake michigan. 
  • fun on the beach at lake michigan. like i said, it's right there downtown and when we stopped i didn't realize how eager logan was to actually get in the water... good thing we had backup clothes.
  • very touristy things like a visit to millennium park to take pictures of yourself in the bean and a walk up state street to take a picture of the chicago theater and of course stop at american apparel ;) 
  • the shedd aquarium to see the beluga whales. they recently had a baby but you can't see them at this point while the mom and babe are still bonding. 
  • walk along lakefront trail. just make sure no runners or bikers run you over. seriously crazy there.
  • navy pier
  • wicker park for all your hipster needs 
  • john hancock observatory

eat at:

  • pizano's pizza and pasta
  • bar toma
  • cheesecake factory
  • tempo cafe for breakfast
  • mike ditka's 
  • sprinkles cupcakes (go early, the line is crazy in the evening)

shop at:

  • topshop
  • zara
  • urban outfitters
  • american apparel
  • intermix
  • h&m 
  • anthropologie
  • the disney store
  • atrizia
  • free people 
  • diesel
  • ugg australia
  • lululemon 

next time I want to go on one of those architectural cruises through the city. so much more to do there!

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012


jacket: jcrew, shirt: american eagle, corduroy pants: jcrew, shoes: converse one star, watch: michael kors 

lots of random thoughts today so be warned ;)

this outfit makes me smile because it's so totally me. i like things simple and comfortable and that's what this is. i got these matchstick cords from at the jcrew factory store last year for $3!! I know! the girl at the check out said that they don't even carry them usually ( i guess only at the regular jacre store) and this was the only pair they received.
i honestly didn't care where they came from but they were my size and so they were coming home with me :) every once in a while i come across a huge bargain like that and it seriously makes my week, ha!

the jacket was on sale last year as well and even though it's a size up from what i usually wear, it cinches at the waist which makes it work for me. i am on the look-out for a similar vest.

so now that i've rambled on about my clothes I guess I am realizing I don't have much else to say today ;)

life is good. i had a wonderful night out for dinner with a new friend who I already believe to be an amazing person. i am keeping my fingers crossed that life will work out in our favor and allow us to spend more time together in the future.
j is coming home tomorrow night from the last road trip of the season which has me all giddy with excitement and plans for the next few months.

what are you planning for halloween? i haven't even thought about a costume for logan yet.
our local zoo is having some trick or treating festivities so I really want to go there.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012


sometimes things that are kinda magical happen when you least expect them to.
if you knew me in real life you'd know it's no secret that for the past 16 months, the one thing I've been looking forward to most, was for this little mister to say that magical 4 letter word.
heck, there was an incredible amount of hoping and praying and wishing and quite a lot of coaxing involved but while other kiddos his age were throwing around that magical word like nobody's business, my little guy decided that he needed to do things in his own time.
instead he went ahead and decided that giving in to his mama's biggest wish was sort of overrated and he would rather go around calling out for his dada all day long.
now of course that is quite cute and sure made his dada, who is away a lot, feel very special and loved.
so eventually I stopped coaxing. well, at least I reduced the frequency of such coaxing...
i hadn't really thought about it much lately, with us being busy and all but then yesterday, after an evening playing at the park with the most gorgeous sunset and the cool fall air clearing out all the fogginess of this past, very uneventful weekend, it happened...

he had just finished his dinner and started tilting his head side to side to get me to play along.
i played along for a while and then leaned in close to see if could sneak a kiss (another thing he distributes very sparingly). as I was looking at him and he was staring back at me with those beautiful baby blues, he leaned in for a wet kiss and then slowly and clearly said mama, repeating it once more as if to make sure I would catch it.
and man did I catch it!

parenthood can turn you into one huge sob ball pretty quickly, let me tell you!
this was one of those rare and sort of magical moments in life that will go down in my own personal history book. never to be forgotten.
like when you get your first kiss from that guy you've lost your teenage heart to or when you slowly sway back and forth during the first dance with you husband on your wedding day and the rest of the world just seems to go away.
those moments are rare and they fade away as quickly as they came, no matter how hard we try to hold on and make them last for just another moment longer.

so yesterday was the day my firstborn son called me his mama for the first time. and as hard as I tried to hold on to that moment and store it away in a jar I could pull out every time he will drive me crazy in the future, just as a reminder of the magical feeling of that moment and why this is the best job in the whole world, I guess I will just have to stick to writing it all down right here instead.

Monday, September 24, 2012


ok, so today is just a photo dump from our chicago trip. i didn't get them edited any earlier and there are more so there will be a part 2. no more than that though, I promise ;) 
we had such a great time. jason had an off day while there so we walked a lot, stopped at navy pier and shedd aquarium and ended the day with take-out from the cheesecake factory. i have never seen a bigger portion size from a restaurant, ever! 
of course that day the weather was a little off but the rest of the trip was gorgeous. logan and i did a ton more walking, stopped by the free zoo at lincoln park, played on the beach, had sprinkles cupcakes to see what all the fuss was about... holy goodness! i hope they come to pittsburgh ;) 
but more on that stuff in the other post.

i hope you all had a great weekend. ours was pretty quiet and uneventful. it's nice to not too anything for once and just regenerate. i need that quiet time to myself. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012





i truly admire jane birkin's effortless style and natural beauty. 
at the same time, she also makes me want to cut bangs again... and lighten my hair back up since it's just too dark for winter. her style is simple and chic yet never overdone. 

i am still in the process of simplifying my wardrobe. i've been collecting too many things that are just trendy or don't go well with my existing wardrobe and so they hardly ever get worn. 
i have found that the pieces I always go back to are the most simple and timeless items I own.
a few weeks ago i signed up for a big, local re-sale event coming up in october. what i haven't donated yet and most things from the shop my closet section on here will be going there. 

my goal is to de-clutter and simplify my closet as well as the rest of the house before the end of the year. we've only lived in this house for 4 years and already the attic is packed (we don't have a basement) and so are the rooms and closets. 

do you ever feel like the clutter in your life is taking over? how do you handle that? 

i do not own the rights to these images. all images via 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

jeans and boots it shall be...

sweater: esprit (similar) or (similar), t-shirt: old navy (here), jeans: american eagle (here), boots: jessica simpson (similar)

oh how I love this time of year. not only can I finally pull out my boots and knit sweaters but it's also time for fall festivals, fresh apple cider, pumpkin pie and that gorgeous autumn landscape.

we went for a little walk yesterday morning, the air was brisk and I have to admit that I really welcomed that unfamiliar chill. the sky was covered in big pouffy clouds and showed off the most gorgeous ombre blue I have seen in a long time.

this time of year also makes me long for more family time. when it gets cold outside and the rain tends to sneak up on me and turn my mood a little bit sour, I like to surround myself with all of my favorite people. i know i won't see my parents until closer to the new year but i am eager to start planning now. it always helps me to have a plan, something to look forward to, something set in stone.
right now things are a little bit too undefined for my taste but I know we'll get there soon.

baseball season is coming to an end as well, which means a lot more family time than I've had for the past 6 months.
so i am optimistic that this beautiful fall weather will stick around for a while and keep me in a happy mood with lots of things to look forward to before the end of the year.
i actually can't quite believe I am even talking about the end of the year... didn't it just start?
there were christmas decorations out at Kohls today, folks!!!

still time to enter the gage huntley designs giveaway here :)

linking up with Jenny at MMB

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Gage Huntley Designs Giveaway

It's time for a giveaway and this one is sponsored by the lovely Amanda of Gage Huntley Designs.
Please take a moment to check out her website and take a look at her beautiful, handmade jewelry.

Amanda graciously sent me one of her best-selling initial bracelets and this cute dainty heart bangle, and I am in love with both.

These are pieces you won't find at just any of your local stores and what makes them work for me is that they are basic enough to go with just about anything.
I don't buy a ton of jewelry so when I do, it has to be something that is versatile and classic.
These pieces will most definitely see a lot of wear from this girl :)

If you're looking for something a little more bold to make a statement, Gage Huntley Designs won't disappoint here either. Bright colors and the combination of dainty feathers and hearts with bold, gold chains and faceted beads sure make for jewelry that's one of a kind.

Here is what Amanda has to say about her business:

"I am a work from home wife and mother of a 2 year old ball of energy named Gage Huntley. By day I am in real estate and by night I am designing all these amazing pieces that I, myself, would LOVE to wear. I have been making jewelry all my life but gave birth to this business in 2012 when I finally got the courage to dive in. It makes me happy being able to hand make items that each person is so excited to receive and show off.

Jewelry is a statement. It’s your style front and center for everyone to see. It just makes you feel pretty! You can never have enough!" 

You can also follow Gage Huntley Designs here:

Instagram: @amandalovesgage

One lucky winner will receive a black and gold initial bracelet and the gold heart bangle as pictured in the top photograph.

If you're ready to place an order now, Amanda is offering a 15% discount with code: TheForge15 

The giveaway is open to all US and Canada residents! Good Luck!

You have to complete the first two entries to be eligible to win! 

1. Be a follower of The Forge
2. Visit Gage Huntley Designs and leave a comment about what item you like best

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

we're back...

we're back home and man does it feel good.
as much as I love traveling and seeing new places, I really love coming home just as much.
there's just something about the familiar smell and the way it feels to crawl into your own bed at night with the dryer steadily humming until you fall asleep. is that just me?
i think even logan could tell since he went straight for his toy box and then, when he curled up in his bed to go to sleep after this long and stressful day, it definitely seemed like he had missed it as well.

traveling with a 15 month old is much different than traveling with a 6 month old or even a 12 month old. he is just so much more active now and hates being confined to his stroller or a tight airplane seat.
i sure am glad the flight was only an hour long ;)
i am planning to share a little bit more about traveling with an infant vs. traveling with a toddler in a separate post soon.

the rest of this weeks posts will be way too many pictures from our trip to chicago, a giveaway that I can't wait to share and maybe a style files post?

if I haven't returned your email or comments, please forgive me! i will try to catch up this week :) i really appreciate every single one.

Friday, September 14, 2012

this week I...

... found two humongous and luckily already deceased spiders in the house. one under the dining room table and one on logan's play area rug. i still get chills wondering about whether he played with it or not.

... turned the oven on preheat and forgot that I still had the dessert from the night before in there.   covered with plastic wrap. yup. did you know that plastic wrap easily peels off of glass after it's been melted? now you do.

... cleaned up baby pee in the living room.

... thought the play yard was locked. realized it wasn't when I caught logan stirring my cold morning tea with my iphone. i have no idea how it survived but it still works.

... found a box of shoes underneath a box of purses in my closet. cool. new shoes :)

what fun stuff happened to you this week. do share :)
happy friday!