2019 Christmas Photos

Happy Monday, all! Can you believe there are only nine more days until Christmas? And seventeen days until little Miss C’s due date?!! Eek. I just can’t believe it. So many different emotions now that we’re in the home stretch. Mostly, we’re just so excited to meet our little lady, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was a little nervous as we anticipate her official debut. All we can do is just take it day by day and embrace these last couple of weeks together as a party of two. It’s just been the two of us for the past 14 years so it’ll be a welcome change as we transition to a family of three. My last day at the office is this coming Friday and I’ll be on maternity leave until spring so I’ll have a couple of weeks to myself to get situated and get some rest (hopefully). We’ve been uber busy these past few months, as you can imagine, and the holidays are always full of social events. Pregnancy (or my swollen feet) have not slowed me down. Also, I’m so thankful to John for getting the majority of our Christmas shopping done for us this past weekend and really going above and beyond this entire pregnancy to help me out any way he can. Kuddos to the best husband and soon-to-be dad. Seriously. He’s been so amazing and I can’t wait to see him with our sweet girl.

A few weeks ago we shot our winter maternity photos that we used for our Christmas cards this year and I’m so happy with how they turned out. A special thanks to Sheena Ann Photography for capturing our last Christmas photos as a party of two. I’ve also linked both of my dresses below (the white sweater dress is non-maternity).

Have a great week! xo

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18 Chicagoland Restaurants and Bars Decorated For The Holiday Season

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Hey guys! I hope you all had a terrific Thanksgiving and enjoyed your long weekend, as well as snag some awesome Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. If you didn’t get any shopping in over the weekend, there are plenty of sales still happening so make sure to check out my list of Black Friday Deals from last week.

This past Sunday, my lovely girlfriends and I got together for our Annual Girls Christmas Party; a tradition our girlfriend Jen started about 15 years ago with only a handful of girls that has now grown to a group of 12. Each year we get together during the holidays for brunch or dinner and a gift exchange/grab bag. It’s just a fun excuse to kick off the holiday season with one another since it’s a lot harder to get together as often as we used to due to busy schedules, careers and families, although we do get together for important events and celebrations whenever possible. Most of us have been friends for over a decade (or two), and have seen each other go through many different stages in life. It feels so nice to be surrounded by such a wonderful group of women you can have fun with, but who also support you, love you and encourage you without any jealousy or drama.

This year we hosted our Annual Girls Christmas Party at Beatnik Chicago in West Town, a restaurant with an eclectic mix of furniture and decor from all over the world that offers flavorful dishes made up of ingredients from Asia, Mexico, the Middle East and South America. If Beatnik wasn’t already the perfect choice for Sunday Brunch, the restaurant was beautifully decorated for the holiday season with lit-up Christmas trees, candelabras and crystal chandeliers which has inspired me to compile a list of 18 festive restaurants and bars to visit with your friends or family during the holiday season.

RESTAURANTS

1. All Chocolate Kitchen: Located in Geneva (about 41 miles west of downtown Chicago); serves chocolates, cakes, pastries, house made gelato, coffee and other savory bites. They also make life-size candy and cake installations for the holidays.

2. Beatnik Chicago: There are two locations; one in West Town and one on the river in the loop. Beatnik On The River is closed on Sundays, but both locations are open for lunch and dinner. Our bill came out to $46/pp. with mimosas and cocktails.

3. Club Lucky: Cozy Italian eatery located in Wicker Park/Bucktown.

4. Graham’s Fine Chocolates and Ice Cream: Another chocolate shop in Geneva where you can even watch them make candy (a friend of mine recommended both All Chocolate Kitchen and Graham’s).

5. Happy Camper Pizzeria: Pizza place that also serves cocktails in a warehouse setting with tire swings and Airsteams. There are two Chicago locations; one in Old Town and one in Wicker Park. There’s also a location in Denver.

6. LUXBAR: Located in the Gold Coast. Had brunch with a girlfriend last year and it was very cozy and festive for the holiday season.

7. Meson Sabika: Mansion with eight dining rooms decorated in traditional Spanish decor located in Naperville; serves Sunday Brunch and tapas style dinner (had brunch with a couple of girlfriends last year). Super cozy and charming for the holidays. Cost of brunch is $34.95/pp which includes a mimosa; $16.95 for children 7-12 years old. Great venue for weddings and other events.

8. Miracle at Sable Kitchen & Bar: Restaurant/cocktail bar in River North decked out in holiday decor, offering ten Christmas-themed cocktails, a DJ and games.

9. The Lobby at the Peninsula Hotel: Beautifully decorated this time of year; John and I are going for brunch this coming Sunday. Brunch is served from 11am-2pm and The Lobby is also where the celebrated Peninsula Afternoon Tea is served.

10. The Walnut Room at Macy’s State Street: A Chicago tradition since 1905; open for lunch and dinner from 11am to 8pm.

BARS

1. Butch McGuire’s: One of Chicago’s most popular bars located in Gold Coast at Rush and Division; famous for its over the top Christmas decor.

2. Frosty’s Pop-Up Christmas Bar: Holiday season pop-up in it’s third year. Super fun and completely decked out for the holidays with four different bars on three levels. They serve Christmas-themed cocktails, have a DJ and a singing Santa Show every hour. Open from 4pm to 4am and tickets are $15-$30. Runs through January 5. An added bonus: Some of the bartenders are models and a lot of them are good looking.

3. Happy’s at Chicago Athletic Association: Pop-up bar located on the hotel’s ground floor, open for the third year in a row. Serves top-notch holiday cocktails and snacks with Christmas tunes playing in the background, festive decor and plenty of twinkling lights. Located at 12 S. Michigan Ave. Closed on Sundays.

4. Rudolph’s Pop-Up Bar at Casey Morans: Sports bar in Wrigleyville with several themed spaces and character appearances with plenty of holiday decorations and cocktails. Food is also available.

5. Santa Baby at Deuce’s and Diamonds: One of the largest and over-the-top Christmas bars located in Wrigleyville. Offers multiple themed spaces and bars. Free on weekdays; $20 on weekends.

6. Sippin’ Santa at Cortland’s Garage: A suburban Christmas pop-up in Arlington Heights; open Sunday through Thursday 12pm-11pm and Friday-Saturday 11am-2am.

7. The Christmas Club at the Country Club: Another Wrigleyville bar with two floors and three bars that offers six “naughty or nice” shots and snacks . No cover.

8. The Sixth: A new Yippee Ki Yay Christmas pop-up bar in Lincoln Square inspired by the movie, Die Hard. Offers 15 specialty cocktails and is open every day except Mondays, all through December.

You can check out other pop-up bars that are open for the season, here and here.

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Newborn Holiday Gift Guide With Walmart

With five weeks left until we meet our girl and only four more weeks until Christmas, today I’m sharing my first holiday gift guide of the season for anyone with a little one on the way!

Even though we still have quite a bit to do at the house in preparation for little Miss C’s arrival, I feel better knowing that a lot of the big things have been crossed off our list such as getting our car seats installed, putting the crib and bassinet together, washing her clothes, and knowing that any essentials we might need now or in the future, we can easily purchase at our local Walmart or Walmart.com. Walmart’s shop online, pick up in-store option and their free 2-day delivery makes shopping (and life) so much easier and less stressful, especially with a newborn on the way.

I’ve been really impressed with Walmart’s modern baby gear and amazing brands (a lot of which we received at our shower) like 4moms, UPPABaby, Owlet, Infant Optics, DockATot, TULA, Parent’s Choice, and Little Star Organics, their new organic bedding and clothing line, so I wanted to put together a newborn holiday gift guide with some of our favorite items and essentials to help make your holiday gifting a little easier.

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Thank you to Walmart for sponsoring this post.

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My Fall Maternity Shoot

Happy Sunday! I hope you all had a great weekend. We spent the entire weekend “nesting” and getting everything in order for little Miss C’s arrival in about 6 weeks. It makes it so much more real now that her room is ready, her clothes are washed, everything is organized and in place and our car seats are installed. It feels good to get all the important things out of the way so we’re not scrambling last minute. Tomorrow is my 34 week appointment and I just have to order some wall decor, her crib sheets and some misc. items, but otherwise, we’re pretty much ready!

On a side note, I did a mini fall maternity shoot a few weeks back thanks to my girlfriend Lauren so I wanted to share some of my favorite photos from that shoot. My maternity dress is from PinkBlush Maternity who were kind of enough to gift this dress to me. My dress comes in several colors and they have a ton of cute dresses for photo shoots, baby showers and casual everyday items. You can shop my dress below.

Thanks for stopping by!

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A Display Baby Shower for the Modern Mom

Happy Tuesday!! I hope your week is off to a great start. This past weekend was filled with family, good friends, laughter and a whole lot of love at our beautiful baby shower honoring little Miss C who will be making her debut in just eight short weeks. My incredibly kind, generous and thoughtful mother-in-law went above and beyond (yet again) to make this day extra special for us. She kept everything a surprise until the day of and wouldn’t let me lift a finger when it came to the planning, setup or cleanup the day of.

My MIL always does such a wonderful job planning parties so I knew she wouldn’t let this day be anything less than perfect. She also planned our luau theme gender reveal party this past summer and our display bridal shower five years ago. Since our display bridal shower was such a hit and allowed for more time to visit with our guests, we decided to host a display shower this time around as well.

Our special day was more than we could’ve asked for thanks to all of our family and friends who were able to attend and who so generously showered us with their love and generous gifts for our little one. We’re so grateful to be surrounded by such loving people and we’re so lucky to have each and every one of them by our side.

You can see some of my favorite photos from our baby shower below and shop my sequin dress, in addition to a few other fun styles. Also, thank you to Basic Invite for gifting us our baby shower invitations and allowing me to create the invites that I wanted.

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