Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Reunion 101

It just dawned on my husband that all my workout and shredding efforts all come down to one thing:  College Reunion.  Despite my protests that I have always been focused on getting to the couch gym, he may have me here.  But it's not just the reunion, it's a little upcoming trip to NY, it's a family reunion in June, a potential San Francisco wedding in July, it's not having my arms look larger than my head (which is how a lot of photos of me turn out...therefore resulting in constat de-tagging on Facebook).  My friends now know to watch for the A.T.H.R (arm to head ratio).  In true Tina Fey spirit of revealing not so flattering photos, I will go out on a limb here and post an example...(if you haven't ready Bossypants, I highly recommend it for some really really great laughs).

this will NOT be happening this summer
Let's get back to my reunion packing and how I plan to wow everyone (if you are not sensing my sarcasm...well, then, i guess you are not sensing my sarcasm) with the appearance of having it together.  I need to pack for two nights and one afternoon of beer tents on the Notre Dame campus.  Hmmm, what does one wear to a beer tent?  I suppose my old go-to of Gap jeans, braided leather belt, sweatshirt and ponytail sticking out of my baseball cap is no longer going to fly?  I know, it's a sexy visual....what i AM trying to visualize is the contents of my suitcase for summer weekend getaways.  I'm working on it....want to work on it with me?  Summer packing 101!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Protect yourself (part one of two)

In April 2004, a letter I wrote to Self Magazine was published in their July issue.  As Skin Caner Awareness month winds down and the beaches call, I thought I'd share the letter (randomly, you can still find it online), in hopes that it will remind everyone to get checked and protect their skin.

"5 Cancers That Strike Young" (April) literally saved my life. After reading about melanoma, I remembered I had a suspicious mole that needed to get checked. I immediately made an appointment for the next day.
My doctor removed the mole along with two others, and told me not to worry. Then, a week later, I learned that one of the moles was cancerous. Luckily, the melanoma was found early, and my doctor was able to remove all the cancerous tissue. Within one week, I was diagnosed and treated for skin cancer. If I hadn't read the article that day, I probably wouldn't have remembered to make the appointment.
While the stitches are fresh and the fear still lingers, I want to remind Shape readers that they can and will, along with their doctors, save their own lives by making and keeping medical appointments.
--Amy, Chicago

Like most children of the 80s, I was baking in the sun with my Coppertone 4 and Hawaiian Tropic oil.  Now, I do anything and everything to avoid IT.  In 04, we didn't have a lot of the SPF clothing options that we do now.  I ordered my sun protective wear mostly from this Australian company, Coolibar.   And although their stuff is top quality, it may not always top the design charts.  In fact, I was pretty much sporting a bee keeper suit for a few summers.  Sexy?  No.  Smart?  Yes.  Luckily, we now have companies like Athleta and Title Nine who offer a plethora of SPF options.

Here are a few of my favorite sun protective items for you and the little ones.

Athleta Summer Shade Tee $36
Athleta Ruched Gard
Athleta Moorea Sun Stopper

I have all three of the above and live in them at the beach and pool.
Save the Ruched Guard for cooler days...the material is rather thick for the heat of the summer.

These next cuties are from Coolibar.
Yes, my poor kids are forced to wear wet suits...no cute bikinis for my girl.

Working on a list of the top sunscreens for the second part of this post...doing the research for you on Environmental Working Group.org.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Emi-Jay hair ties for their bright and not so bright colors.  
And for the young designers behind them and their charitable ideas.
The camo pack is my fave.

Twist and Pout lip moisturizer for it's SPF 20 and pretty to go case.

The fun colored stripes in my new dress by Charlie Jade!
(now, if i can only find the courage to show all this skin)
Found at the lovely Sara Jane boutique.


What are you adoring this week?

Bear with me while I try to improve my blog template. 
I think it's time to bring in this bestie for some overdue blog clean up.

Well, my thermometer says it's 43 degrees...time to get out the down jacket and hit the farmer's market!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Spanish Asparagus

Our family is on huge asparagus kick.  With all the beautiful fresh asparagus making a bi-weekly appearance at the farmer's market, it's hard to resist.  Here is a super easy and delicious recipe I discovered at Trader Joe's.  Of course you can make your own hollandaise sauce (and I would be super impressed if you did), but I let Joe make mine and he left it in the refrigerated section of the store for me.

  • 1 lb steamed asparagus, then cut into inch long pieces
  • 4-5 slices of Prosciutto, fry in a skillet until crispy
  • Hollandaise sauce 


Happy Tuesday!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Market 5.21.11 yes, that's 5.21.11

Cloudy day at the market Saturday, but there was enough yellow to give warmth to the morning.

Hope there was some yellow in your weekend.

Happy Monday, besties!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Factory $40 and under

I am a little obsessed with the weekly factory sale at j crew.   Remember, it begins on Friday and runs through Sunday night.  My picks for this weekend...all under $40.

Have a lovely Saturday, besties!

Off to the market and this amazing sounding food festival in Lincoln Park!  
Head over the the Chill and Grill if you are in the neighborhood!

Friday, May 20, 2011

It's the thought that counts, right?

So, my husband was telling me the other day how a co-worker went to Capri, Italy on his honeymoon and that my husband was going to ask him to purchase a pair of shoes from a famous shoemaker there as a surprise for me.  A shoemaker, Antonio Viva,  whom I purchased three pairs of shoes from on my visit in 2005.   And then he said, that he FORGOT.  Forgot what could've been the most amazingly thoughtful husband gift EVER...what he could've reminded me of for years (let's say on a forgotten anniversary, unplanned Moher's Day, no card for Valentine's day, he would always have, "but I got you those shoes from capri" in which case, I would've responded, "you're right.") - detect sarcasm here -....And now I am left with thoughts of that quaint little shoe shop...and Capri...and Limoncello...and a forgetful husband ;)

the cute shoemaker, Antoio Viva of  L’Arte del Sandalo Caprese di Antonio Viva 
I turned to Zappos to see if I could get come somewhat close to any of Antonio Viva's creations!
I didn't have much luck.....


ZAPPOS:  Joe's Jeans $121

Zappos:  NOTHING
J. Crew Glitter CAPRI $78 (no wonder these are a match) 


Not one single match yet.....


ZAPPOS:  Frye $118
Seen anything similar lately?  Let me know because a trip across the ocean is nowhere insight...


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Vegan (well, kinda) Pumpkin Muffins

The consistent downpour, wind and 40 degree weather all equalled one thing:  Baking!  But it also equalled NO trips to the store.  I had one can of pumpkin in the cupboard, no eggs, but a lot of spices.  So, I googled eggless pumpkin muffins and found this vegan recipe.  I modified it quite a bit based on what I already had in the kitchen (remember, there was no way I was stepping foot outside that day...it was a jammers all day, kinda day).

  • Of course, this post would be better suited for October or November.  However, when it feels like November, these muffins fit right in. 

  • The only way to eat these are sliced in half horizontally, slightly toasted with a smidge of butta!
  • Tuesday, May 17, 2011

    Mommy Makeover

    Anyone who knows me knows that I give PROPS to the momma's out there. You besties with little ones work harder than anyone. Believe me...when I put in a full day at the office and then come home to a quiet night with my reality tv, Cougar Town on DVR and a glass of wine I am saluting all of you who prepare dinner, do bath time, bedtime and whatever else is on the to-do list. I don't have gas in my tank at the end of the day so the fact you ladies are doing it all...I salute you.

    My sister in law is one of you that I admire. She is a devoted mother and military wife who rarely takes the time to do much for herself. Her husband and best friend convinced her (barely) to leave the kids with the grandparents and go out for dinner. Her biggest obstacle? What to wear! I quickly saw my opportunity to hit the mall and surprise her with a summer wardrobe makeover. My goal was to not take her too far out of her comfort zone (Victoria Secret's PINK sweats) and give her some items that she could mix and match and still feel very much herself in.

    Everything in the pic above is from either H&M or Forever 21...and no one piece was over $20. I was going for both quantity and quality with some trendiness mixed in. Her fave color is orange so I used that as my inspiration and went for it. I think one of her favorite items was the coral chain fringe necklace from Forever 21...under $10! These fringe or bib necklaces will be my go to this summer. You put one of these on with a tank top and you instantly feel dressed up. Throw on a skirt, or a pair of jeans and some cute shoes...that's all there is to it.

    Jean shorts, tank tops, rompers...oh my! I got it all. It was so fun to see her reaction (shock and disbelief) but it was even better to see the smile on her face when she knew she had something that she would love to wear, and feel good in, for her night out.

    So in the immortal words of Salt-n-Pepa "get on out there and dance...dance I said!" Treat yourselves to a few new fun items...you won't break the bank and if you go in to these places (insert my sister-in-law's "you want me to walk in to Forever 21" face) with a plan...a particular color or item...you will make it out alive ;) Let me know what you find.

    xoxo - fwb

    Monday, May 16, 2011

    Market 5.11.11

    Do not let these photos fool you.  We had a fire in the fireplace last night and our outdoor thermometer did not read above 40 degrees once today.  But, last week, we had what appeared to be our only week of spring weather to date  and the Wednesday market was beautiful, sunny and warm!

    my breakfast; the most important meal of the day should be the best

    Fun straw hats everywhere!
    (Need tips on finding the hat for you?  Head on over to Passport for Style today!)

    The Tamale lady, featured on Daily Candy here

    and finally, the amazing asparagus!

    we roasted some of these purple beauties sunday night and my 3 yr old ate 10 of them, no joke.
    it's simple and fast

    Heat oven to 400 degrees
    Tear ends off asparagus
    Place them single layer in baking dish
    Douse with Olive Oil; make sure every stalk is oiled
    Salt & Pepper

    Roast for 10min for thinner stalks
    15min for thicker

    Sunday, May 15, 2011

    Go the F#*% to Sleep

    If you've ever been frustrated trying to put a child to sleep, you will be rolling over crying laughing when you read excerpts from this new bedtime stories for parents.  Perfect for new parents, or parents with toddlers who could use a good laugh...and a glass of wine!  Can't wait to slip it in a baby shower basket.

    by Adam Mansbach

    The eagles who soar through the sky are at rest
    And the creatures who crawl, run and creep.
    I know you’re not thirsty. That’s bullsh*t. Stop lying.

    Lie the f**k down, my darling, and sleep

    All the kids from daycare are in dreamland
    The froggie has made his last leap
    Hell no, you can't go to the bathroom
    You know where you can go,  The F*&@ to sleep.

    The cubs and the lions are snoring
    Wrapped in a big snuggly heap.
    How come you can do all this great sh*t
    But can't lie the f*&$ down and sleep?

    Tuesday, May 10, 2011

    Green City Spectaculars...

    At the market 2010
    One of my very favorite outings by myself and with the kids is Chicago's GREEN CITY MARKET.  I've been going to this market since it inception...pretty much every Wednesday and Saturday you can find me...strolling...usually with a cup of coffee...now pushing a double stroller, taking in the smells of baked goods and gorgeous flowers, sampling amazing Wisconsin cheeses, and stocking up on fruits and vegetables for the week. I am a sucker for most farmer's markets, but this one is home.  Last weekend was opening Saturday and was it booming!   I couldn't believe the amount of greens, but that will be in another post!

    Another thing I couldn't believe was all the adorable "market" styles...bright wellies, floral skirts, great reusable totes.  I started thinking that I may just have to blog regularly on the beautiful sightings at the market (food, people, totes)....  My husband questioned the idea immediately, "how can you build a blog on what people wear to the market?"  I decided that it's the backdrop, the market setting that I love...the experience.  And it's everything, the food, people (well, the ones that aren't rolling their eyes at my double).  Oh, one problem, I am not a photographer by any means, but this idea may warrant a new camera.

    So, what do you think?  Build a separate blog around this?  Or maybe incorporate into my posts.  Either way, I am going to have fun doing it!  What's your market like?  Let the farmer's market season begin!

    My first photo just happens to be of this adorable little 7yr old

    Monday, May 09, 2011

    Sunday Funday

    Me:  "How did I get the best daughter in the world?"
    Response:  "How did I get the best mommy in the world?"


    Finally a beautiful spring day in Chicago!  We enjoyed a delicious breakfast at my favorite spot Milk and Honey Cafe and got our creative juices flowing at Beadniks and all made bracelets.  Well, the husband didn't, he spent his time picking up all the beads that my three yr old kept dropping.  The bead store can be a very dangerous place for the kiddos...so much to spill.  And for me, very overwhelming with so many choices!

    Hope that you all had a great weekend!

    Side note here.  My son took a huge crash off his bike and skinned his face.  I started putting Egyptian Magic on it right away and I feel like it is healing faster than it should.  So, add another star to my review