cold weather survival tools

Chances are, wherever you are, it’s quite cold. We rung in 2014 with almost 3 straight days of snow and now super cold temps to follow. The Chicago forecast for next week calls for highs of -8°. As in, the actual temperature. Not the windchill. It’s the kind of weather where you dare not leave your house with wet hair for fear that your tresses will instantly break off and when you open the door to let the dog outside she looks at you like you’re insane. I’ve rounded up a few things that are getting me through these wickedly cold days.

winter survival kit
1. Crane Drop Shape Humidifier – we have Crane humidifiers in every bedroom. I fill them every night and if I forget, my throat tells me the next day.
2. Gap Sweater Zip Cape – I sized up on this one so that it would last me through this pregnancy. I wear it around the house like a slightly more stylish Snuggie. The zips open so you can poke your arms out to change the channel and/or pin freely.
3.Numi Organic Rooibos Chai – Caffeine free tasty hydration. Delicious with steamed milk and a sleeve of Lorna Doones.
4. L.L. Bean 10″ Shearling Lined Boots – The gold standard of winter boots. I know everybody loves their Sorel’s right now, but these are the originals and so, so toasty. The black/black are on sale right now too.
5. Burts Bees Intense Hydration Day Lotion – I have dry, sensitive skin and this stuff is a game changer. It soothes wind chapped cheeks, isn’t greasy, layers well under makeup, and claims to minimize wrinkles (ahem, not that I need that, ahem).
6. Target Plaid Shirt Flannel – So soft. So cheap. Size up for sure. I think I might pick up the other colors too since I basically wear this every day. The perfect layer.
It’s hard not to have the sadz with this awful weather especially with the inevitable post-holiday cough we all seem to have. Lucy got an incredibly awesome gift for Christmas – the Kiwi Crate subscription service and one project box has gotten us through some long boring afternoons. You can read Shana’s super thorough review (and comparison to a similar service, Wonderbox) here.
Stay warm!

Wishing you the happiest New Year

We’re cuddled up on the couch, waiting for Pk to get home from another trip. The snow is falling and its about 15° outside. Lucy and I both have colds and my poor little girl has a terrible black eye from conking her head on Grandma’s table. I think we’ve reached the inevitable post birthday/holiday let down, but honestly, I’m looking forward to some weeks of clean, quiet, living. My goals are to sort through our ever increasing possessions and donate what isn’t beautiful or useful to us. Even Lucy’s in on it – she gathered up a bag of toys to give away this morning. Frequent blog readers know that this time of year we are inundated with to-do lists and resolutions and plans for living better. Mine are pretty simple – prepare for the new baby joining us this year, spend a little less time on Pinterest, and remembering…

We have an incredible amount to be grateful for. My baseboards might be dusty, and my closets in disarray, but our little family gives me the most powerful sense of happiness. I’m pretty sure perfectly folded laundry and kale smoothies can’t improve upon how much just their very existence means to me.

I doubt we will make it to midnight tonight so have an extra glass of bubbly for me!

Happy New Year to you and yours!


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counting down

Both the days until Christmas and the days until Pete gets home again – he has another work trip that the won’t be home from until Christmas eve. Lucky duck gets to miss all the pre-Christmas insanity that happens around here (smart planning Pk!) The past couple weeks have been a non-stop holiday birthday social extravaganza. Two holiday work parties for the mister and we celebrated Lucy’s 3rd birthday with our family a few days early over the weekend.


I know. blurry iPhone instagrams are the worst, but I was having too much fun to stop and take more pics. Please note the dog trying to sneak some cauliflower off the veggie tray. Luckily we had some cupcakes leftover for her actual birthday yesterday.


That face. Honestly. I can’t even.

The parties for Pk’s work have a special significance this year because my rock star hard worker (as he labeled himself in my email account) got a major promotion. It sounds cheesy, but I’m incredibly proud of him. It really makes all the times he was out of town feel worth it and even though his schedule won’t slow down any time soon, I’m thrilled to see him so happy. Also – it was super fun to trade in my yoga pants for heels and dresses. Here’s what Ive been wearing this holiday party season…

Holiday 13' Maternity

I’m just barely still squeezing into non-maternity shift dresses at 25 weeks. I had to size up on the red top shop number to accommodate not my ever growing belly but my ever growing bust (seriously, enough with the boobs already!) I linked to some J.Crew jewelry that I think I might pick up for this sort of thing next year – right now everything at J.Crew is 30% off with the code GIFTNOW. The outfit on the right is what I’ll be wearing when we host our Christmas day open house, with flats on because NO WAY can I imagine wearing heels when decorum doesn’t require it.

Now that our two weeks of partying is over it’s time to finish up our Christmas shopping and get this house spanked into shape so we can spend the days around Christmas just being together (until Pk goes out of town through the New Year)

That’s what’s happening folks! Hope your holiday prep is going well.


Toddler girl outfits – holiday inspiration

Toddler Girl - Holiday '13

I have found it much easier to shop for Lucy this holiday season than for myself, most maternity holiday clothes are pretty garish. Lucy’s options, on the other hand, are fabulous. I tend to shy away from the brighter colors in hopes that she can wear things again when it isn’t Christmastime and I also want her to be comfortable enough to play. I look for fleece lined tights and super soft under layers so that she can throw something sparkly on without being freezing as we go from place to place. Lucy is kind of a funny size – tall enough for some 4t, but a skinny mini so still fitting into some baby collections that go up to 36 moths, like Zara. We picked up a few things at H&M that I wasn’t able to link to, but I was really impressed with their in store selection and sales. The Gap/Old Navy has some darling options for more casual events (pre-school holiday party, holiday play-date, etc.) I rediscovered Garnet Hill kids – I always forget they have charming kids clothes too. Lucy’s birthday party is less than two weeks away so she will surely pick something sparkly to wear that day too (my bet is the gold dot dress from Garnet Hill.)
Hope your holiday prep is going well – I find it awfully tempting to shop for non-gift items this time of year.
ps. The Zara coat has tiny ears on the hood. Little old ladies always cluck and coo over Lucy when she wears it.

It’s the most wonderful time…

Of the year. Truly. We traditionally spend Thanksgiving with Pk’s family in a tiny town in southern Michigan. We’ve had a few years off, like when I was expecting Lucy and didn’t want to travel, or when Pk’s grandma became unable to host. This year Pk’s entire family made the trip and his Mom pulled together an amazing meal. His grandma came up for the night from the assisted care facility and was surrounded by her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. It was wonderful and of course – rural Michigan is beautiful. Lucy had a wonderful time playing with her uncles and cousins.

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It’s hard to explain what a powerful sense of belonging this place has for Pk’s family. Generations have lived and farmed there. His mom grew up here and visits as often as she can. I know that as the next generation grows up and has families of their own it will be harder to maintain a connection to this place, but I feel so fortunate that I’ve been able to see it and get to know Pk’s extended family. Truly something to be thankful for.

Also, farm fresh pie. Did I mention pie? I made it my mission to catch up on my weight gain after such a rough first trimester. We also crowd sourced baby boy names from the family (hilarious – the great grandkids thought Quatro was a winner) and ate as many leftovers as we could.

I hope you and yours had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend.



Lucy’s Selfies

Last weekend we met some friends/family at a new AMAZING pie and coffee shop that just opened. The place was pretty packed and there were a ton of kids. The line was kind of long, and Lucy was pretty crabby. Without a second thought I handed off my phone to her to keep her entertained while I ordered. Imagine my surprise when I spotted these awesome selfies she took while I was browsing my photo library.

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Those big brown eyes! Her little expressive face! I could kiss it a million times a day. I love that she included Daddy in one too.

I hope you have a fabulous weekend.


– the name of the pie shop is Hoosier Mama Pie Co. and Dollop Coffee & Tea. Everything was delicious! They make savory pies, quiches, and salads too. yum.

It’s a…



A healthy baby boy. Pk was able to come with me to my ultrasound yesterday and we decided to tell Lucy last night at dinner. She took it pretty well – there was about 5 minutes of crying because she really wanted to have a girl baby, then a few more minutes of crying when she realized she wasn’t going to have the baby herself. Once it sunk in, with lots of descriptions of our friends’ families (i.e. – neighbor Jane has a little baby brother John and you are going to have one too!) she got REALLY excited. She still thinks we should name him Lily, even though he’s not a girl and he should be a dragon for Halloween next year. She kept describing all the things she would show him and do with him and gave my belly lots of kisses. It was so amazing how instantly she felt love for him. This morning she woke up and asked if he was coming today, so we might have to work on that delayed gratification business. We shared the photo above with friends on Facebook and Instagram – it feels so great to celebrate!

It’s finally sinking in, I think. We are really going to have another baby. A whole new personality for us to know and love. A new character in the story of our lives together. I feel so lucky.


ps. I think picking a name is going to be hard! Pk likes to be pretty contrary 😉

New Couch! Round Two

SO. I was really sure that the World Market couch was the one for us. They were sold out at my location so I put in a raincheck and was assured by the sales associate that it would only be a couple of weeks. Hrrmph. I checked back in a week or so later and was told “we don’t know, most likely 4-6 weeks, there are a lot of orders ahead of yours…yada, yada, yada.

All this back and forth gave me time to rethink. On a whim, on Sunday, Pk and I ventured to Ikea, just to see our options (and shop for some holiday goodies early because they.always.sell.out. of the good stuff at least.) Pk was immediately drawn to the leather couches (dudes, always with the leather.) At first I was like “No WAY! cheap leather, too many seams, I want a light and bright room” but then we spotted an Ikea couch that isn’t shown online – The Jappling.


unknown source

You guys. This couch is $399. And you can wipe it off with a sponge. We didn’t actually pick it up yet but Pk will grab it some night after work this week. As if to emphasize that this is the exact right sofa for us, I woke up on Monday morning to find that the cat had puked all over the old couch. What I wouldn’t have given for some wipeable faux leather in that moment.

This is one of those times where I have to just turn off the designer-y part of my brain. I know this couch isn’t the most stylish choice. I know it’s not particularly sophisticated and looks a little cheap, but the truth is it’s a great choice for our lifestyle. I’m not gonna freak out if something spills on it, if it gets totally destroyed by toddler/cat/dog/future baby misadventures, the replacement cost is low as couches go. There is no slipcover to (constantly) wash and the size leaves a bit more floor space in our living room for playtime – which is what family living spaces are all about.

I’m a little bit worried that it will make the room feel really dark, but I checked out this post on how to decorate around a dark leather sofa from Centsational Girl and was comforted. I also found a few images on Houzz that made me feel like it’s possible to have a bright and warm space with a dark leather couch.

So, that’s our great progress in Couch Search 2013. Also, it snowed yesterday which I’m not at all ready for. Time to dig out the faux-fur throws and stock up on tea.
Ps. I’m 20 Weeks today! We find out in a couple days if this little munchkin is a boy or girl.Yippee!

Fall buys – Maternity edition

fall 13 maternity basics

I’ve been trying hard to stick with the less is more approach to buying clothes that I talked about here – but obviously, changing body = changing wardrobe. I had a tote of good maternity clothes left over from my first pregnancy, but it’s impossibly buried in our storage locker. Thankfully my friends have come to the rescue and sent bags of clothes my way (thanks Annie and Silva!), but I still picked up just a few basics to get me through. I love Old Navy Maternity because it’s so inexpensive and really, for clothes you’re only going to wear for a few months, there is no need to splurge. I normally wouldn’t spend on a specific maternity coat, but since the biggest parts (haha) of this pregnancy happen during the coldest parts of Chicago winter I thought I might make an exception. Surprisingly I think I’ll be able to wear it after pregnancy too – it has toggles to draw in or expand the waist as needed, and the detachable lining makes it versatile. I saw the little post earrings at Urban Outfitter when I was picking up some new lamps (pics coming soon) and they are irresistibly cute. They come in a bunch of different shapes too. They also inexpensively satisfy my growing obsession with delicate gold/brass jewelry. The boots are a classic and as much as I love heeled booties, my expanding waistline means my balance is getting worse and so, flat shoes for me.
So that’s what I’ve been shopping for this fall, how about you guys? Any recommendations for good snow boots? I shudder to think I’ll need them soon.
xo – H
PS. If I wasn’t looking specifically for a maternity coat I would have snatched up this one in khaki from Zara. I saw it in person and it’s gorgeous.
PPS. Sorry if you got multiple notifications about this post – Polyvore (what I use to make the outfit boards) was being a little fussy.

New couch!

I know. Didn’t we just get a slipcover for our couch last year? Yes we did, but after playing around with the layout of our living room and having to wash said slipcover a million times, Pk and I decided it’s time to move on. While Pk and Lucy were doing their weekend swim lesson (cutest ever) I wandered into World Market and spied a couch that fit the bill.

kendall sofa

Right now World Market is having their 25% off furniture sale, meaning that this beauty is only $524 before tax. I love its clean tuxedo shape, tufting, and trim dimensions. Our current couch – an Ikea manstad, is just a bit too big for our space. I always imagined it would end up in the basement, but since it appears that project is proceeding at a glacial pace – I just can’t wait any longer. Luckily Pk’s mom might want the couch, and if she doesn’t our renters have offered to take it so I don’t feel like it’s a total waste.

I’m REALLY excited about the new couch and desperately hoping the velvet upholstery will stand up to some dog/toddler/future baby love. It is basically dirt colored which should help.We debated quite a bit about whether or not it made more sense to just hold on to our current couch and get something a little nicer down the road, but realistically I don’t think we will ever be $2k couch people. Maybe when we are empty nesters?Basically all the other couches I liked ran in the $1500-$2000 price range which equals 3 World Market couches. Considering how fickle I can be, and how frequently we seem to replace them (3-5yrs) the cheaper option is just much more appealing. The couch should be in next week (fingers crossed) and I can’t wait.

Happy Friday!


ps – It was a totally rainy Halloween around here. Imagine a damp, bedraggled princess with rubber boots on and you’ve got the picture. We did manage to hand out quite a bit of candy (sad face) but there’s enough leftover to keep this preggo lady happy.

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