flare-up

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Flare-up
Not this! : a sudden appearance or worsening of the symptoms of a disease or condition.

Yes, this: skinny jeans alternative.

I have not worn a pair of jeans, that were not part of the skinny jean category, in forever. Since there’s all of these SALES everywhere, I hit the mall on Saturday. When I came across these flares, I had to try them on.

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wedges look best with flares                                                                                

It doesn’t even seem weird to buy jeans at the end of June since we had the coldest June day in 77 years.
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The Castings jeans here
Zara top here

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Millenium Park

We ate a restaurant Saturday night called Cindy’s, at the Chicago Athletic Association. I can’t brag about the food but the view was fabulous! I would recommend going for a drink, it is so worth checking out the terrace.

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Cindy’s
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Me & KN

easy as pie

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Obvs you know, it’s strawberry season. Instagram is chock full of strawberry pics from the farmer’s market. Even guacamole at the Mexican restaurant has strawberries in it. This is the time of year that you realize that the grocery store has fooled you into believing that strawberries are gigantic, tasteless, hard fruit. A real strawberry is in a bucket of all shapes and mostly small sizes of fragrant, bright, red berries that do not need dip or sugar or to be hidden in some salad dressing, to enjoy. I bought some on the way back from my mom’s house in Indiana and the entire kitchen smelled like strawberries and all they were doing was sitting there. I couldn’t stop eating them.
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For Father’s Day I was in charge of desserts. I made a chocolate cake and 2 strawberry pies! Don’t be fooled! It was easy! Unfortunately, {for my family} I am not a food blogger. The time consuming part of making a strawberry pie is cutting all of those little berries. So naturally I had KN do that.
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I used frozen pie crusts and 4 lbs (weight before cutting) of strawberries.
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After the pie crusts are baked and cooled a little, fill them up with all but 2 cups sliced strawberries.

Since I made 2 pies, I did the next step twice.
Put a cup of strawberries in a food processor or however you want to mash them. In a saucepan, bring to a boil 3/4 cup sugar, 3 TBS cornstarch and 1/2 cup water. Keep stirring until it gets thick. Add in the smashed berries and 2 TBS strawberry jello. (The jello is optional, it’s purpose is to make the sauce bright red and beautiful).
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Let the sauce cool and then pour it over the strawberries in the crust. Then do it again for the other pie. Now, the second time I did this step, I was more in a hurry because I was starting to make a Texas sheet cake and I can’t do two things at once. So the sauce did not get thick and I poured the smashed strawberries into the pan and thought maybe it would thicken up while it was cooling. It did not. It also did not thicken up after being in the fridge overnight. Point being, your sauce has to get thick while you are cooking it otherwise it will never get thick. Pay attention.

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It isn’t a food blogger pie but it was delicious. My dad loves fruit pie and since it was Father’s Day, I went out on a limb and made it. I just made sure to pull out the prettier, less soupy pie to serve first!

Ingredients:
2 pie crusts
4 lbs strawberries
1 1/2 cups sugar
6 TBS cornstarch
1 cup water
4 TBS strawberry jello powder

Arrange (all but 2 cups) sliced strawberries in the baked pie crusts. Make sure you put enough strawberries in the crust, you don’t want it to look skimpy.
In a saucepan, combine 3/4c sugar, 3 TBS cornstarch and 1/2 c water. Stir constantly and bring to a boil until thick. Remove from heat. Smash and add 1 cup of mashed strawberries and 2 TBS jello. Let cool. Pout over the strawberries in the crust. Put in fridge for at least two hours to set.
Serve with whipped cream {i.e. Cool Whip}.
Enjoy!
XO

Don’t forget your purse

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Current obsession: the cross body purse.
1) Hands free. {you can’t argue with convenience}
2) Small. {less junk}
3) Attached. {can’t forget it places because it is strapped on}

Here is a picture of my sister with her coral cross body bag, that she “had to have”, but she was sorry to admit that it was cheap and that’s why the tassel kept falling off …IMG_7093

 

Since these are typically smaller bags, you can go out of the comfort zone {black leather} and maybe get a color or some fringe or even macrame!

Check out these 10 cross body ideas here:

  • Etsy

 

 

not confused {weekend recap}

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Although there is so much confusion in the news, we were not confused about our girl’s weekend plan. {Really, what is your take on this whole thing with this Rachel person pretending she is black? I mean, I can’t. Or providing inmates with tools? Why would you help convicts escape? A gun accidentally going off at a Waldorf Astoria wedding? Why was it loaded?}

A world of seriously confused peeps on every corner.

I’m sure you can’t tell, but that is my sister in the middle. This weekend get-away was her first overnight away from her kids. Her wonderful husband surprised her with this for Mother’s Day! Yes, he is awesome like that. Kimberly and I were invited, which was nice since Dana probably would have been quite happy all-alone with no one talking or asking questions or needing a snack for at least 30 seconds.

We met in Indy because it was a half way meeting point. Dana and Kimberly met each other years ago when they were working at McGraw Hill. I just happen to be a tag along sister and her friends become my friends.

Our simple agenda: eat, drink, shop.

 

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http://www.bakersfieldtacos.com
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http://www.ceruleanrestaurant.com/indianapolis/
girls
http://www.union-50.com

We were not planning on the Pride Parade but of course we had to check it out. We were definitely overdressed for this event.

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and then we had to defiantly drink after that {@11:30am}
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legs

We definitely appear to be girls ready for a crazy, wild night on the town but truth be told, we were all sound asleep in the 11:00 hour…..

thanks for the laughs girls (charcuterie)

xo

{top picture: my dress here}

{middle picture: similar to my dress here}

{last picture: my dress here}

Fly off the handle

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When KN has to work in cool places, I like to go with. We flew to San Diego, he worked, I shopped. We had dinner in beautiful Del Mar with a friend and rode there in his California yellow Porsche. This is good stuff.

There is one problem.

In order to go to most cool places, you have to fly. No, I am not afraid of flying, that is not the issue at hand here. The issue is that you have to fly with other people. It is like a freaking freak show from the second the announcement of boarding takes place.The mad rush, the cutting, the dirty looks, boarding in the wrong group, hurry up and wait.

This winter I flew with KN to Dallas and we were denied our flight there and back until AA found “a plane that worked”. Total hassle. Now, it’s funny that I am complaining because KN is a Platinum flyer already this year. He flies all-of-the-time and doesn’t complain. It’s just a blanket statement “I hate flying”. He can’t even break it down into all of the parts anymore. Delayed, delayed, delayed.

A gigantic pet peeve of mine, is not sitting next to the biggest person on the plane, or the garlic breath person or a toddler. It is the LOUD talker. And they keep sitting directly behind me! And it is usually a MOM!! UGH. Why are you ruining mother’s reputations?? Just shut it!
On this particular flight back from San Diego, this mom traveling with her approximately 10 year old daughter, could not close the pie hole.I mean, I couldn’t help but notice when she asked the flight attendant on the second round “Can you just bring me 2 bottles of wine so you don’t have to come back and forth”. She is yelling it. Then she tells her daughter (who is a child), I couldn’t decide if I wanted more wine or a bloody mary.” And that set the tone for the ENTIRE 4 hour flight. She had headphones on and she is commenting on the movie she is watching. I  turned around to look at her, like 18 times, thinking maybe she would get the hint. Unfortunately, she didn’t catch on. Her face is all red and she is blabbing away about how “daddy is going to pick them up and I’ll bet he didn’t get groceries, so there won’t be any food, so when we land at O’hare we have to get food and we have to be fast because we only have 40 minutes and we have to find our next gate and I don’t know if we will have to take a shuttle and I never even texted daddy what time we land…..” And I kid you not, she repeated at a minimum of three times about the food and the finding the next gate. I almost punched KN. I almost stood up and screamed “THERE ARE NO SHUTTLES AT OHARE!” And then it started again, “I am starving, we need to get food as soon as we land and find our next gate”. I was so stressed out about finding food and my gate and I wasn’t hungry and O’hare was my final destination. And then this…

The pilot announces that we are in our final decent and that we are landing in the FARTHEST away runway, so that when we land (early) we will have to do a lot of driving around to get to our gate. I thought this was very cordial of him to share this information, because I have landed in the farthest away runway and thought maybe the pilot was driving me all the way home because it seemed we were driving miles and miles.

So we land and start driving, just like he said. She starts right up like tea pot ready to boil. “Where are we?” ” I can’t even see a gate” “Oh my god, I have another plane to catch, why is this taking so long” “We are so late, we are not going to have time to get food and find our gate”.”This is ridiculous why are we just driving around?” No joke, people sitting 2 rows in front of me are turning around to look at her! This woman across the aisle, her eyeballs were popping out of her head, right into her glasses. Finally, a man informed of her of the situation. She says “oh I didn’t hear him say that”.
NO KIDDING??? Apparently, your ears don’t work when you talk and all you do is talk! All of us people within earshot,  we were all stressed and worn out from holding our tongues and fists for four hours and not lashing out on her.
When we were pulling up to the gate, I told KN, she is going to pull one of those “can I go first, I have a flight to catch”. While grinding my teeth and staring him down I said ” If you let her go, you are not the man I thought you were.”

That is the first pet peeve and  can I mention another? This one will surprise you.

FEET.

What do I mean feet? Take a look at this and tell me you will ever fly again without taking your clorox bleach wipes and hand sanitizer?

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Foot to the left.
Foot to the left
Foot to the right. Do the hokey pokey and spin your feet around.
Lunch meat and feet
Lunch meat and feet

Maybe I’ll go on the feet diet. Look at a man’s feet and I can’t eat.

I could just keep going.

Like the plane ride with the mom, that was directly behind me, who constantly starts every single sentence with: “mommy has to..” “mommy says…” mommy will…” I already told my sister I would stab her if I caught her talking in the third person to her children. KN and I got off of that flight and couldn’t stop saying our names at the start of our sentences: “Kelly says she is going to punch people in the face that talk like that” “KN is getting the car keys out of his back pack”.

This is why Bose charges so much for their Noise Cancelling headphones. Because travelers will pay anything for them, sanity is not cheap.

XO

P.S.  Kelly is headed to San Fransisco next week armed with headphones and a canister of clorox wipes.

A trendy jumpsuit

 

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Last week I was browsing through Facebook, staying up to date with everyone’s goings on the last week of school. It was an emotional week for a lot of people, so many changes with kids graduating and teacher’s retiring, made my eyes teary even though my kids are not graduating.
However,
I was quickly jerked back to reality, when I came across a Facebook post from Kie & Kate Couture, a local boutique, that posted they had great ideas for teacher gifts! Hello! Wipe away the tears and wake up sister! The last day of school is tomorrow and big shocker, I had not done anything about end of school teacher gifts.
I literally drove there immediately and purchased all the teacher gifts. The end.

Just kidding!! Of course I got something for me!

This jumpsuit! It is this stretchy, soft fabric so you can just pull it on and go. A jumpsuit is perfect when you are not feeling creative enough to create an entire outfit. KN and I went to Gibson’s for dinner and I wore this BUT I am thinking I could wear it with my Adidas sneaks in place of wearing shorts too. {see about shorts here} The bottom of the pant legs are banded so you could pull them up a little higher for a sportier look.

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Head over to the store quick, before they sell out!  {Shoes similar here.}

Here are some other jumpsuit ideas  (click on the picture for deets) :

skirt the issue

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Summer shopping must mean shorts. Ripped up denim daisy dukes everywhere.

I do not love shorts.

Actually, I love them, but not on me. 

Out shopping when it’s all hot and sunny I get excited for new summer clothes and of course I  pick up shorts. “ahhh these are so cute!” Then I start this little mind game of trying on shorts, just like last year, and realize while looking in the fluorescent- lit 3 way mirror, that {just like last year} I still do not like shorts!  DANG IT. What is the deal with cellulite!  I mean, I train my booty off but apparently not my cellulite . Dead lifts, RDL’s,Squats {a** to grass}, tucks, lunges, sled pushes blah blah blah. I do all-of-it and yet, there it still is. 

I know 99% of women have it but that doesn’t mean any of us like it. And it does’t look like any of the girls in that picture have it…..

Since I just cannot embrace it, I feel like a good solution is a skirt. Right? Cute and flirty.

{Sometimes you have to wear shorts no matter what. So if you see me cruising the aisle at Target in shorts, settle down and don’t call me out. }

 

Here are a few ideas that I think are good replacements for shorts. Throw it on with flip flops, converse or your new gladiator sandals:

 

 1) J. Crew (on sale!)    5) ASOS           9) Bloomingdales

2) Gap (on sale!)           6) Target         10) Nordstrom (on sale!)

3) Zara                             7) Free People

4) Anthropologie           8) H&M

 

Ready for summer {with kids}?

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Is this the image that comes to mind when you think of summer? Long, sunny, worry free  days out on the sailboat?

yeah, me either. (or is it neither?)

This is the image that comes to my mind….and I think I may wear my eye makeup like this as well this summer.

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School’s out for summer, school’s out forever

 

There are a few good things about the kids being out of school such as:

no more packing lunches, no more racing to school praying not to be tardy, no more busy overlapping sports schedules, no more morning yelling, no more bedtime, no more being late to pick up at 3:00, no more homework, studying and bad grades. oh ha! just kidding…..

But seriously, the list is so much longer of why summer – is totally stressful.

Which brings me to my point. Summer with teenagers is very-stressful. Yes, teenagers need to be watched JUST LIKE TODDLERS becauzzz “an idle mind is the devil’s workshop”.

So guess what happens then? You book their schedules up so full that it’s actually busier in the summer than during school. Summer break actually costs as much as a year of private education. Now most kids go to summer school, so there is homework! Which puts the yelling  back on the schedule. There are overlapping schedules. They still need to eat lunch,  so lunch planning is back on. They go away to camp and need so much stuff. It’s like it’s not really all that different except the weather is nice.

I wish someone could explain this “summer vacation” business. Why oh why can’ t we go to a year round school system like France? Who is on this committee that makes this schedule?

{I’ll bet they don’t have kids and they are not French}

To add to all of this great, fun sounding stuff, maybe a family vacation could get thrown in. Woo Hoo. If you tell the kids you are taking them anywhere less exciting that the Serengeti, they are going to do the eye roll. Why?  What is there to do there? Are we flying? Can I bring a friend?

We did a mini family vacation last weekend. Thought we would give them a little family vacation “appetizer” for summer. Two nights, about 5 hours in the car, to Missouri. It actually went really well. Except that they both wished they were somewhere else.

Do you remember family vacations?  KN and I love talking about our childhood summer vacations. His family actually had one of those gigantic station wagons with the wood on the sides. The family vacation my family talks about the most, is when we rented an RV and drove 10 million miles……This is going way, way back, before my youngest brother was born, because actually my mom was pregnant with him.  I think I was 14 or 15, (yeah, that moody hormonal age), my bother was 18, my sister was 8 and my little brother was 1. It was a hot mess on so many levels.  We all hated it. We were all stuck in an RV together day and night with nothing in common. BUT the things we remember and laugh about! My mom says I had a gigantic zit. She remembers that, ha! I remember my brother driving and my dad navigating and driving “past” Boston. Here we are in this big RV, been driving for days to Canada and Maine but not stopping to see Boston. Maybe there was a good reason but it wasn’t a good reason to a teenage girl stuck in an RV with her dad, older brother, usually  annoying little sister, crying baby brother and pregnant mom. My mom asks us “Do you only remember the bad stuff?” But that’s just it! Sometimes that’s the good stuff!

Are you planning any trips this summer? I mean, why not? My sister suggested Mt Rushmore and Gettysburg. This is the stuff teenage dreams are made of.

This picture is cheesier than Wisconsin. BUT it is a memory of all of us together and that is what I want my kids to have. Memories are not made sitting in their bedrooms on their computers watching You tube videos. They don’t know that, but I was lucky enough to have parent’s that built memories for us and I hope one day my kids will realize that too.

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Gallery wall

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This is what happens when you have a lot of pictures and you really don’t have anywhere else to put them!

We started this picture situation shortly after we moved into our house 2 years ago. It was this big blank wall. What are we going to put there? Neither one of us had a big fancy artwork collection. {Wait, that is a lie. KN had Blackhawks, Nascar and Green Bay Packer “art”.} And since that wasn’t going to work out, I thought maybe we could make it a long narrow closet because this house does NOT have enough closets or storage. KN shot that down. “Are you going to put your clothes in the family room?”
well………maybe…..they have to go somewhere.

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I know it isn’t perfect and not fung shui but I love it. All my peeps are represented. 8 nieces and nephews, mom and dad, siblings, wedding pictures, some artwork we have purchased, kids, memories of places, old pictures and clocks. KN loves to know what time it is. {This little family room has 3 clocks.}

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My mom stopped by recently and loved looking at the pictures. She laughed and noticed that we added more pictures. Yes, I am sure that they will probably go all the way to the ground eventually. I can’t stop.

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My mom said she wanted me to help her do a gallery wall. I don’t have a lot of advice on how to do this sort of thing. I do know that you cannot be shy about putting nails in your walls {Dana}. Behind those pictures it looks like a bb gun shooting range. I change out the frames or change my mind about the layout and move things around. One evening a picture jumped off the wall and we all thought someone was breaking in. Of course, on its way to the ground the frame left a big gouge in the wall.

To get started, you need to map out the wall space on your floor. Move the coffee table and the magazine rack out of the way. Get some masking tape and measure out the area so you know what you have to work with. You need to have a lot of different shapes and sizes of frames. Hit up Michael’s or Hobby Lobby on frame sale week. Some of our frames didn’t even have pictures at first but they “fit”. Start laying the frames on the floor and moving them around until you feel like you like the look. I had to put the pictures down and move them over and over and then go out for a chocolate malt to calm myself down. Then come back to see if I still liked it. You have to leave the room to clear your brain because you can easily get frustrated {or MAD} about it and say “JUST FORGET IT, this was a STUPID idea anyway”. But in the end it is worth it, its even a tiny bit better than a closet :)

 

I can see by looking at these pictures of my wall, that all of the frames are not perfectly level. That must be from my aggressive and frequent dusting…. To fix this problem, you need that gummy stuff. (Otherwise known as tack, here) If you get out the level, set the picture and then put a smidgen of that stuff on the back, it will generally hold it level.
I am also noticing that my plant is getting kinda big and I want to change out a couple of frames…..

high heels

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Check out these bad boys (shoes).

KN surprised me with these. Mr. UPS dropped off a box by the front door and these were in it! I don’t wear heels very often, maybe that’s why he bought them for me….

They are not easy to drive in. I took off in the car, headed to the city in rush hour traffic and my braking was quite erratic. I had to take one off  so that I could stop slamming on the brakes like it was an emergency stop, every second.

 

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Wondering if driving without a shoe on causes bunions or if its just the high heels that cause them.

We had a lovely dinner at a new steakhouse, {because Chicago doesn’t have enough of them}, called prime & provisions. It was delicious and we received a great deal of attention, as the place was only on its 3rd night.

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KN ordered prime rib, which I personally think is gross. That is just a gigantic piece of meat. And of course, wine. Wine Wednesday, ya know! We had one of our favs, Palermo. Followed by a s’mores dessert, which, dang it,  I did not take a picture of. It was a big chocolate globe that the server poured hot chocolate over, to melt it into the marshmallow and graham crackers. Oh my goodness, it was crazy good.  (This all seems like a good idea until the 6:30 TFW workout in the morning.)

{People wonder how or why we go out “all of the time”. Well, Wednesday is always date night since my boys are with their dad. Oh, and I do not love cooking or grocery shopping. So I’m the last guy to turn down dinner OUT.}

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Before dinner we stopped over at Block 37. There was a Windy City blogger event to promote “Block 37″ which is an indoor shopping mall on State street. I can’t pass up anything shopping related. {I’m sure you’re shocked}. It was a wonderful night!

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Outfit details here:

Shoes

Jeans

Long top

tank top

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