Aaaaand we’re back up and running! It’s been a whirlwind of a couple of weeks, but the toddler is napping, the laundry is going, the rain is falling, the music is playing softly, and my coffee is warmish. And I’m about to go trade my jeans for these can’t-live-without pants, haha. (You can actually pull ’em off as dress pants if you pair them with the right shoes!)
Okay, never mind. Toddler is apparently not napping… Please hold.
BAH! It’s a no-nap day. So I’ll write after bedtime. Please hold one more time. And excuse all the typos. ;)
…Aaaand we’re back!
- We’re home in Chicago! What an incredible life experience. We traveled with Charlie and Shirley (my brother- and sister-in-law), and really bonded with them while we explored Southern California for the first time. Nothing matters more than family, and I’m grateful for all the adventures and laughs we had together. Photos to come! Oh, and I should note that Southern California is a dream, and I can’t recommend visiting more.
- Gabby and Brian’s wedding was phenomenal. Wow. Mitch and I keep saying that what struck us most about the festivities was the sheer number of people who spoke about how the couple cultivates beautiful, lifelong friendships wherever they go. Both were constantly described as people who would do anything for their family and friends—from offering up their home to those who need a little help to going to extraordinary lengths to help others through tough times. Gabby and Brian are the definition of good people, and we’re personally proud to call them friends. Congratulations, guys. So happy for you!
- I MISSED MY GIRLS! I’m not sure they missed us, haha, but gosh, I missed them. This was the longest we’d ever been apart from them… and while we weren’t worried at all, it was tough! About halfway through our trip, all I wanted was for my babies to climb into my lap for cuddles. Our homecoming was so special, though. We somehow made it right before bedtime, and had the best hugging and catch-up session ever. And that homesick-for-my-daughters knot untied itself. :)
- My parents rocked it at taking care of Emma and Lucy. Wow. No, this wasn’t my parents’ first rodeo; after all, they raised three children themselves. But they seemed to have zero hiccups while we were gone, and settled into life with littles again like it was the 1980s or 1990s. And when Mitch and I returned, they even stayed an extra day so we could all have some QT with each other! I love you, Mom and Dad. Thank you.
- Mitch and I went to the restaurant “World Famous” in Pacific Beach overlooking the ocean, and it was quite possibly the best date night ever. Photos of the place really don’t do it justice. But it the last night of our trip, and we somehow got a table and caught up over glasses of wine as the sun sank into the water. If you ever find yourself in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego, I highly recommend trying this one at sunset!
- I hiked Iron Mountain! Mitch planned the whole thing, and we went with Shawn (our roommate from NYC and his childhood best friend), Charlie and Shirley. It probably took us between three and four hours, and it made me want to make hiking a regular part of our lives! Just look at how many cool places there are within driving distance of Chicago. :) I actually took my camera along for the Iron Mountain hike, so stay tuned for some cool photos.
- This is the best fall jacket I’ve ever owned. It’s selling out quickly, but guys: If you can find it in your size, PURCHASE IMMEDIATELY. It’s so ridiculously soft and cuddly, and it feels like you’re wearing a blanket! The gold hardware makes it look very sharp, too. I brought it along on our trip for chilly mornings and nights, and got so much use out of it. I would say that it runs TTS, but don’t size up. I took it in an XS, which is my usual size in J.Crew outerwear, and it’s super flattering yet I still have room for layering.
- I’m obsessed with Faherty’s Legend Sweater Shirts. HOLY. These are the best flannel shirts of all time, and I’ve actually parted ways with my other solid-colored flannels since having discovered Faherty’s! They’re ridiculously soft, and they have a little stretch in them for added comfort and coziness. You can try the code “KITC20” to take 20 percent off your order. (Asking the brand to extend the code. Fingers crossed!) Worth every penny, though. In terms of sizing, the shirts are meant to be slightly oversized… so size down if you want a more tailored look, and order your usual size if you’re looking for comfy/cozy. My favorite colors are the off white, black and gray.
- Are you as fascinated with the Facebook/Instagram whistleblower Frances Haugen story as I am? Whether there is actual evidence that supports her claims aside, it’s definitely food for thought. And while I’m not a teenager, it’s certainly something I question regularly. Is social media something I want in my life on a longterm basis? I’m not sure.
“One Home Project Every Day” update: Welp, I did absolutely nothing… but my father went to TOWN. He’s someone who really likes tinkering with and fixing things, and he asked for a to-do list before he arrived. Here’s most of what he did, though I’ve probably missed a bunch! (Dad, we can’t thank you enough!)
- He fixed the playhouse (Wayfair/Overstock) door. This has been broken since month one of ownership, so Emma is absolutely thrilled.
- He attached the playhouse sign. Ignore the curse word. I obviously put “Emma + Lucy’s Playhouse” on it. But it really adds some character! I’m a legitimate psychopath. Do you ever question why you read this blog? Because now’s the time to do that, if not…
- He replaced our shower sprayer. I use this all the time when showering Emma; it gets the shampoo out of her hair in under a minute. Unfortunately, though, I dropped it a few weeks ago and it broke into pieces. Sadly, the replacement part was out-of-this-world expensive, but my father took it upon himself to find and install one that matched everything else in the bathroom perfectly. Like, what? WHY CAN’T I BE HANDY?! (You go, Dad.)
- He re-caulked Lucy’s bathroom. The previously installed clear caulk had turned yellow and it looked awful. But let’s be serious: There was no way fixing it would ever become a priority. Until Dad came to stay. ;) Now it’s white. Yay!
- He installed a paper towel dispenser. He installed this when we first moved it, and it made kitchen life really nice. When we painted the kitchen, though, it needed to be uninstalled. So excited to have it back. It’s the little things.
- He fixed the powder room door. Until this trip, it didn’t close; the lock wouldn’t latch. It wasn’t a huge deal for our family but it was pretty awful for guests when we had people over. Turns out all that needed to be done was loosen the plate. Go figure.
- He fixed the broken hook on the back of Emma’s door. I spent a half hour trying to get the job done. Dad? Thirty seconds.
- He determined the electrical problem in our bedroom/office. We do need to hire an electrician for this one, but now we understand what’s going on with the lights, and know that it’s possible to fix it. Hallelujah!
What’s on my “One Home Project Every Day” list for this week:
- Finish the laundry. I have roughly five loads. But I’m three down! Hoping to finish it all tonight.
- Put out the fall/Halloween decor. Kind of started before we left, but now we’re well into October, and most of it is just sitting in tubs. Let’s. Go. Kelly.
- Set up the new vacuum. We have the V11, which looks like it may have been discontinued, but there are three others that are awesome and in stock. After losing most of the batteries to my cordless Hoover this year, I’m convinced that Dyson is the way to go—for the vacuuming-obsessed, at least.
- Put away the girls’ summer dresses. Otherwise they will keep begging for them, and it’s getting chilly! Out of site, out of mind.
- This ghost pillow is quite the hit in our home. I originally fell in love with this one from Pottery Barn, but it sold out quickly. I have to say, though: The one I found on Etsy is WAY cuter! My mom loved it so much that my dad ended up getting her one, too, haha. And I may have to invest in a second because the girls are obsessed. Listen, I get it. (Btw: Have you seen these ghost mugs from Target?!)
- Have you heard of “slugging” re: skincare? Slugging is coating your face in an occlusive agent after applying normal moisturizer, and letting it sit overnight. I tried it last night, and was blown away by the results. It’s important to note that if you’re prone to breakouts, this might not be for you. (I am, but I’m currently on medication that makes that a non-issue. More on that once I finish my treatment!) If you have dry skin, however, slugging can be pretty darn amazing. The idea is that the occlusive agent locks in the moisture from the moisturizer, and prevents it from escaping as it often can. I used Aquaphor, btw, and woke up with the softest, most moisturized skin I’ve had in years.
- This photo is Mitch and me in 2009 while teaching in the Bronx. We couldn’t stop laughing when one of our best teacher friends, Darby, sent it to us. From our clothing to our hairstyles/hair color it’s spot on. (With the exception of the fact that Mitch taught math.) Though why can’t I just be Emma Stone?!
- I’m in love with these sherpa-lined rain boots and these sherpa-lined sneakers. Bring on the warmth! We’re gearing up for a few days of rain here in city, and while it’s not super chilly yet, I know it will be soon. Sherpa/shearling is a gal’s best friend here in Chicago.
- On a related note, I’m putting together a fall favorites blog post. I’ve worked pretty hard to get rid of pieces in my wardrobe that don’t get a lot of wear, mostly so that getting dressed in the morning is easier and more enjoyable. But it’s also helped me identify my most-worn favorites, and it’s time I shared those!
- Thank you to everyone who gave us San Diego recommendations! We’re really grateful. We pulled up the blog post—and reader e-mails—countless times throughout the trip, and your insight led us to some awesome spots. Thank you!
- I didn’t suffer from allergies in San Diego, and the experience gave me life. I did some research about why that could have been, and couldn’t really find much—so I suppose I’ll chalk it up to different allergens and being on the water. But man. It was lovely. For a solid week, I didn’t sneeze, experience congestion pain, or deal with a runny nose. San Diego, you are magic!
- Emma got her nails done with Gamma while we were gone and the two of them loved every minute of it. My mom said it was THE nicest nail salon she’s ever been to (Smooth Nail Lounge on Halsted in Lincoln Park), and that they were fantastic with Emma and very affordable. They painted little ladybugs and flowers on her nails, too! How cute is that?
- I love this dainty necklace from Dana Rebecca (also on Nordstrom) and this one—which you can personalize with birthstones—from Haverhill. I used to own so much costume jewelry, but most of it has found its way to the girls’ dress-up box/vanity. I now personally love owning one or two pieces that I can wear on a daily basis. The simpler—and more meaningful—the better!
- And my all-time favorite dainty necklace is this Maya Brenner initial one. (Mine has an “E” and an “L” on it.) There’s a bracelet version, too!