The Ultimate Getaway: A Weekend of Rest & Relaxation at Grand Geneva Resort & Spa

Hey, guys! Happy Monday! I hope you all had a great holiday weekend and are enjoying your summer so far. Our weekend was well spent with a few parties, including my father-in-law’s 70th birthday bash and quality time with family and good friends.

Just before the holiday, John and I went up to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin for a three day weekend getaway for a mix of fun and some much needed R&R. This was my third time going up to Lake Geneva and my second time staying at the award winning AAA Four Diamond luxury resort, Grand Geneva Resort and Spa. The first time I stayed at Grand Geneva Resort and Spa was for a friend’s bachelorette party a few years back which made my decision to stay at this resort again an easy one.

For two of my three trips to Lake Geneva, I chose Grand Geneva Resort & Spa because of its location, amenities and exceptional reviews. The resort is situated on 1,300 acres in the woodlands of Lake Geneva with 355 guest rooms and suites including their newly added luxury villas. They have two outdoor and indoor swimming pools, two beautiful 18-hole golf courses (rated one of the best in the Midwest), five restaurants, the WELL Spa & Salon, a fitness center and a ski & snowboarding hill, in addition to being a popular venue for weddings and/or group events year-round. Grand Geneva Resort & Spa is the ideal location for families, couples or a group of friends looking to sneak away for a day trip or for an entire weekend. The resort is conveniently located 3 miles from downtown Geneva, 90 minutes from Chicago and 60 minutes from Milwaukee or Madison, WI.

Grand Geneva Resort & Spa offers a weekly calendar filled with experiences and seasonal group activities for all ages, including a big fireworks show on July 3 that is considered the best in state and a small fireworks show every Sunday night from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

[Photo Credit: instagram.com/grand_geneva]

Some additional activities and amenities the hotel offers include:

  • Horseback riding
  • Hiking
  • Bike rentals
  • Scooter rentals & tours
  • Volleyball
  • Golf
  • Skiing/Snowboarding
  • Wine tastings
  • Fitness classes
  • Weekly classes
  • Spa
  • Kids programs
[Photo Credit: instagram.com/grand_geneva]

Grand Geneva Resort & Spa has five restaurants & bars plus five cafes & lounges including:

  • Geneva Chophouse -Upscale steak house; reservations are recommended and is also open for Sunday brunch.
  • Ristoranté Brissago -Contemporary Italian cuisine.
  • Grand Cafe -Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The breakfast buffet has really tasty cinnamon rolls and is only $19/pp before 9am or $22 after 9am.
  • Links Bar & Grill -Casual atmosphere and is open for breakfast, lunch or dinner with an outdoor patio and stunning views of The Brute golf course and the resort’s private lake.
  • Leinenkugel’s Mountain Top Lodge -Open in the winter.
  • Lobby Lounge -Offers live entertainment and a great place to mingle with friends and have a cocktail before dinner.
  • Grand Central -Coffee shop with freshly-baked pastries, salads, sandwiches and smoothies as well as a small range of toiletries.
  • Evolve -Indoor lounge offering beer, wine and cocktails.
  • Embers Terrace -An outdoor patio with a fire pit ideal for before or after dinner cocktails located outside the Geneva Chophouse.)
  • Cool Water Pool Bar -Outdoor pool bar.

I can’t say enough great things about Grand Geneva Resort & Spa, the exceptional service we received during our stay or recommend a better family-friendly resort in Lake Geneva for your perfect summer getaway. Grand Geneva Resort & Spa is offering my readers a 20% off discount on lodging that is valid now and all through September 30, 2019 via this link here or with code: STILETTOS on their website.

A big thank you to Grand Geneva Resort & Spa for hosting us during our stay.

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5 Ways to Celebrate Your Wedding Anniversary

Happy Friday! Today is a special day because John and I are celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary! Time sure does fly when you’re having fun. To commemorate 5 years of wedded bliss, I’m sharing 5 ways to celebrate your wedding anniversary!

1. Watch your wedding video and look through your wedding album. Each year on our wedding anniversary we watch our wedding video and reminisce about our wedding week in Mexico. Being able to relive those happy memories and feelings together is a simple way to ignite your love for one another and is a tradition you can share with your kids one day. You can read all about our destination wedding here and watch our video below.

2. Spend the day together and seek new experiences and activities. Try a cooking or painting class, go to a wine tasting or host one at your house, go to a baseball game, a concert or see a comedy show. Another alternative is to pick a sport that one of you loves like horseback riding, golf or baseball and spend the day on a golf course or at the batting cages. One year I surprised John with a private helicopter tour over Chicago on NYE which happened to be our dating anniversary and it was a memorable experience for the both of us. For our second wedding anniversary we treated ourselves to a Spa Day followed by dinner afterward. To keep it exciting, you can alternate who picks the activity each year and this is a fun way to cross things off your bucket list.

3. Take an anniversary trip. John and I have taken many trips together over the years and we both agree that sharing experiences and creating new memories outweigh traditional gifts. Instead of spending money on things, we “gift” each other trips whenever we can for our anniversary or birthdays. For our 1st wedding anniversary we spent a long weekend in San Francisco with a day trip to Napa Valley and last year we traveled to Italy for two weeks (read all about it here). This year we are going to Naples, FL over Memorial Day Weekend. Saving for an anniversary trip each year or every few years for those milestone anniversaries is a great way to start incorporating more travel into your life.

4. If a getaway or vacation isn’t in your budget, opt for a “staycation” in your own city. Go sightseeing during the day, visit a museum, do some shopping and then rent a hotel room for the night. You can order room service and binge watch your favorite movies in your hotel room and the hotel staff is always happy and willing to accommodate any special requests. Just inform them upon your arrival that it’s your anniversary and have a bottle of champagne and strawberries sent up to your room for that extra romantic touch.

5. Organize an anniversary photo shoot together. Hire a professional photographer, get your makeup done and get some professional photos taken for the fun of it. John and I didn’t get an engagement session in before our wedding, but we did a winter photo shoot the following year when we traveled to Park City which happened to be the town our wedding photographer is from. It was a unique experience and we were able to use those photos for our holiday cards later that year.

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35 Years Young and 35 Life Lessons I’d Tell My Younger Self

OUTFIT DETAILS

Jumpsuit: Express | Heels: Sam Edelman | Bracelet: Express [similar] | Earrings: Express

And just like that…I’m thirty-five (going on five because I couldn’t pass up the obligatory birthday/balloons photo op.) and officially in my mid-thirties! Yikes. Time flies when you’re having fun, doesn’t it?! In all honesty though, birthdays and turning another year older do not scare me. As the saying goes, “Do not regret getting older. It is a privilege denied to many.” I have so much to be thankful and grateful for and each year only gets better so cheers to another year older, wiser and happier!

In honor of my 35th birthday, I wanted to share 35 life lessons and/or life quotes (in no particular order) that I would tell my younger self that I’ve learned over the years and some that I practice today which have helped me have a more positive outlook on life and be happier in general. What are some of your favorite life quotes and/or life lessons you’ve learned over the years?

  1. You’re not going to be everyone’s cup of tea..and that’s OK. Invest your time and energy into the people who invest in you.
  2. While you have to plan for the future, you should live for today. Take that trip you’ve always wanted to take. Splurge on that handbag you’ve had your eye on for a while. Call in sick and spend your day in bed watching your favorite shows. Leave work early and meet your friends for happy hour or make it home in time for dinner with your family.
  3. Make sure to save for a rainy day because you never know what can happen. Believe it or not, I’m still learning how to save and need to keep working at it because I know how important it is to save. Nothing in life is guaranteed. That job you have now may not be there tomorrow and your family may not be able bail you out. So while it’s important to live for today, be smart about it.
  4. Life really is short. At any moment, our life can be taken from us so cherish those moments you have with the people you care most about. Remind those you care about how much you love them and hug them just a little tighter.
  5. Your high school years are not the best years of your life. I promise.
  6. Don’t focus so much on “being popular” and getting people to like you. Get them to respect you.
  7. Don’t chase those boys/girls (or anyone for that matter) in high school and in your early 20s. Focus on YOU! You have so much to learn about yourself from the time you’re 16 to 25 and so forth. You’ll continue to grow and evolve and what you think you want in your 20s might not be the same as what you want in your 30s.
  8. “Stay true to yourself, yet always be open to learn.”
  9. Not everyone you talk to or hang out with is going to be your best friend or has your best interest at heart. That too is OK. It takes time to develop trust and meaningful relationships so save your secrets for the select few.
  10. Collect memories, not things. The memories you make always outweigh the benefits and shelf life of that new accessory or gadget collecting dust.
  11. Don’t give up on your dreams and do what you’re most passionate about, but be realistic. If you’ve never played basketball a day in your life and can’t dribble a basketball, you’re probably not going to make it to the NBA. I know. Bummer. Just like my 5’6 average frame will probably never get me that Victoria’s Secret modeling contract, but who’s to say I can’t/won’t attend the show as a guest one day?
  12. Take risks and don’t be afraid of the unknown. It will all work out even if it takes you longer to get there. And if it doesn’t, you can always start over. If you’ve always wanted to live abroad and you have nothing major tying you down, go do it! You can always come back. If you’ve always wanted to open up your own bakery, bake away and offer to cater your friend’s next party! One of my biggest regrets is changing my major in college from broadcast journalism to marketing communications because I thought it would be “easier” or “safe” in the event I wouldn’t make it as a journalist. I gave up because of fear of the unknown. Here I am, years later, finally following my passion of writing even if it’s just as a hobby, but at least I’m doing what it is I’ve always enjoyed doing, in one way or another.
  13. Don’t pick a job or career based solely on the bottom line and what will give you short term results. You may have to work harder, work longer hours and make less in the beginning working a job you actually enjoy or you just might end up working a dead-end job with no potential to grow wishing you were doing something else.
  14. Don’t wish. Do. If you’re not happy with your current situation, whether it be financial, your career, your relationship, etc., you need to take control of your circumstances and change what you want to change. You can come up with any excuse in the book as to why you can’t do something or don’t want to, but in the end, it really is up to you.
  15. Spend time with your family. Call your parents, siblings, grandparents, aunt, cousin, etc. as often as you can. Take time out of your schedule and visit them. Your family loves you unconditionally and you don’t want to have any regrets. They won’t always be there (see #4).
  16. Show up. If a close friend or a relative invites you to something, it means a lot to them for you to be there so make the effort. This is something I always pride myself in doing and I know it’s never gone unnoticed.
  17. Be punctual and respect people’s time. This is something I’ve struggled with forever!!! I’m usually always running 5-10 min. late and while my friends and family have accepted it for the most part, everyone’s time is valuable so do your best to be there..on time!
  18. Develop deep and meaningful relationships, not surface ones. While it’s fun to have people to go out and party with, it’s more important to know you can count on said people to pick you up if you’re stranded, hold your hair back when you’re sick, are loyal and are there for you in a time of need (see #1 and #9).
  19. Be the kind of friend you’re looking for. If you’re a good friend to others, you’ll almost always get the same in return. However if you feel it’s always one sided, then it might be time to re-evaluate that relationship.
  20. Maintain the friendships you have when you’re in different stages in life. One friend might be having babies, one friend might busy growing her/his career, one may be traveling the world, but a simple text, phone call or email reaching out to them to check in every once in a while goes a long way and will help keep that line of communication open for a lasting friendship. “Everyone has a friend during each stage of life. But if you’re lucky, you’ll have the same friend in all stages of life.” (So lucky to have a few of these gems.)
  21. No one is ever “too busy.” You make time for those you want to make time for and/or things you want to do. Of course life happens and you may not be able to talk as much as you used to, but don’t forget the people who were there for you and made time for you when you needed it. People will come and go and that’s alright. Those who make the effort to stay in your life are worth keeping around.
  22. Don’t be self serving or only do things for others with the expectation of wanting something in return. People will see right though you and you’ll be awfully disappointed.
  23. Do something kind on a random day for a complete stranger. Help that elderly couple cross the street. Buy that homeless person you see often a meal. Volunteer your time. Whether it’s an hour a week, an hour a month or a couple times a year, help someone in need just because.
  24. Smile and say: “Hello!” to the complete stranger who catches your eye. You never know who you might meet or if they’re you’re soul mate.
  25. Don’t hold a grudge. I know for me at least, it takes more effort staying angry and holding onto resentment than forgiving someone. You free yourself by being able to move on and accepting that apology you may never receive. As that famous song goes, “Let it Go!!”
  26. Forgive and forget. When someone apologizes and you’ve addressed the issue already whether it be with a spouse, a relative or a friend, you owe it to the both of you to not bring it up again and not hold their past transgressions from 5 year ago against them. We all make mistakes.
  27. Having “better” clothes or making more money than someone doesn’t make you better than them. Neither does your job title. Sowwy. Most people don’t care and people who matter, won’t remember where you purchased your blouse from or the company you worked for. You should strive to be remembered for the kind of person you are. Stay humble.
  28. “People will forget what you’ve said, people will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” This one hits home. Good or bad, I can definitely say I’ve had situations where I still remember how someone has made me feel.
  29. Go to the movies, see a play, watch a musical or go to a concert in your free time.
  30. Travel alone at least once. It really is liberating.
  31. The world doesn’t owe you anything and neither do the people in it.
  32. Don’t cheat your way through life. It’s so much more rewarding knowing you accomplished something on your own through hard work and determination over being handed something.
  33. “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Don’t compare your life to anyone else’s. Work at your own pace and you’ll get there when you get there.
  34. Success has a different meaning to everyone. Don’t measure someone else’s success based on what it means to you.
  35. Follow your heart and trust that your gut is always right!

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[Photography credit]: Gaby Abboud of Gabmaster Photography

Hair & Makeup: Daniela Kosta

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Valentine’s Day Giveaway

OUTFIT DETAILS

Jumpsuit: Nordstrom | Ankle Strap Sandals: Sam Edelman | Cuff: Express | Earrings: Express

And the winner is……Kristi Schuster!!! Kristi, I hope you’re as excited to receive your 50 ROSES for Valentine’s Day as I am to gift them to you! I’m so grateful to all of you for following along, always engaging with me and for your thoughtful comments and messages. It really does mean a lot! Kristi, I hope you love your flowers and cheers to you, girl!! xx

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[Photography credit]: Gaby Abboud of Gabmaster Photography

Hair & Makeup: Daniela Kosta


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Modern Eyewear and Expert Eye Care in Chicago’s Western Suburbs

Hi guys!  I’m so excited to share this post with all of you!  Last week I had the chance to visit the new and independently owned optical and modern eyewear boutique, Moda EyeCare which is owned and operated by a childhood friend of mine, Dr. Mirjana McCarthy, OD, FAAO.

Dr. McCarthy and I have known each other since grade school.  She, her sister and I, had spent our weekends together for over a decade through our Serbian church and folklore dance group which has led me to know and trust Dr. McCarthy on a personal and professional level (I had gone to Dr. McCarthy for my eye exams back when she was just starting out in her medical profession).  After receiving her fellowship from the American Academy of Optometry, Dr. McCarthy’s dream was to open her own optical that would combine medicine with fashion (hence the name of her optical boutique).  Moda is a European term that translates to fashion. After experiencing first hand how much Dr. McCarthy values her patients, along with her dream of opening her own optical one day, I was extremely thrilled to learn that she had recently opened her own practice.  For as long as I’ve known Dr. McCarthy, she has always been on trend with her sense of style and impeccable taste in fashion as well as interior design; therefore, I knew Moda wasn’t going to be your average eye doctor’s office.

Moda’s modern space carries a curated collection of eyewear with pieces that are hand picked and handmade from designers around the globe such as Christian Roth, DITA, Thierry Lasry and Krewe Gravier, just to name a few (Meghan Markle was just seen in Krewe Gravier sunglasses and Camila Cabello is a huge fan of the DITA HeartBreaker frames).   If you’re looking for a modern optical boutique that uses state of the art technology and carries a line of fashion forward sunglasses and optical frames, then make sure to stop by Moda which is located in the western suburbs of Chicago in Clarendon Hills.  Moda EyeCare is currently offering a 20% off new patient discount (not to be combined with insurance) and they accept most major medical and vision plans.  Patients can also use their HSA or FSA cards for glasses and/or sunglasses.

Aren’t my new Christian Roth sunglasses just oh-so chic?

Shop my outfit details:

Website: https://www.modaeyecare.com/

*In collaboration with Moda EyeCare

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