Thursday, February 28, 2019

Book Review — February 2019

I used to do reviews here and there on here but I went through a personal reading lull when I was reading a lot for grad school. Last year I did the Goodreads reading challenge and read 50 books, and this year I've challenged myself to 55, so since I'm reading consistently each month to reach my goal, I thought I would start these back up!

There may be some months in here where I only read one book and some where I read five or six. Some months might be solely romance novels SORRY BOUT IT. Additionally, I rate books within their own category/genre/age group, so if I give a middle grade novel a 5/5, it's to be compared to all other middle grade novels and not the contemporary adult fiction novel that follows it, etc.

So as we round out February, let's talk books—my very favorite thing.

I initially heard about this book from Caroline at Cup of Jo who raved about it saying she had read it two days. It's a memoir about family, life's twists and turns, and identity. So basically my kryptonite. I picked it up the same day and also read it in two days.

Plot from Goodreads:

What makes us who we are? What combination of memory, history, biology, experience, and that ineffable thing called the soul defines us?

In the spring of 2016, through a genealogy website to which she had whimsically submitted her DNA for analysis, Dani Shapiro received the stunning news that her father was not her biological father. She woke up one morning and her entire history—the life she had lived—crumbled beneath her.

Inheritance is a book about secrets—secrets within families, kept out of shame or self-protectiveness; secrets we keep from one another in the name of love. It is the story of a woman’s urgent quest to unlock the story of her own identity, a story that has been scrupulously hidden from her for more than fifty years, years she had spent writing brilliantly, and compulsively, on themes of identity and family history. It is a book about the extraordinary moment we live in—a moment in which science and technology have outpaced not only medical ethics but also the capacities of the human heart to contend with the consequences of what we discover.

Timely and unforgettable, Dani Shapiro’s memoir is a gripping, gut-wrenching exploration of genealogy, paternity, and love. 

It's well written making me want to pick up some of Dani Shapiro's other work. The pace is fantastic which I appreciate in memoirs. I give it 4/5 stars because I think I wanted the tiniest bit more from it although I can't quite pin down what that would be.

A perfect follow to Inheritance even though it couldn't be more different and has nothing to do with the actual book other than being written by the person who recommended it! This debut middle grade was written by Caroline Cala Donofrio of Cup of Jo and you must purchase for every 10-year-old (and up!) you know. It's a perfect dose of early adolescent nostalgia. It's everything I wanted in books when I was the target audience's age, and quite frankly, even now. It has a sweet and believable plot, diverse characters, and witty, funny, age-appropriate dialogue.

Plot from Goodreads:
Once upon a time, a girl named Kristy Thomas had a great idea: to form The Baby-Sitters Club with her best friends. And now twelve-year-old Malia Twiggs has had a great idea too. Technically, she had Kristy’s idea(And technically, little kids seem gross and annoying, but a paycheck is a paycheck). After a little convincing, Malia and her friends Dot and Bree start a babysitting club to earn funds for an epic birthday bash. But babysitting definitely isn’t what they thought it would be.  

Three friends. No parents. Unlimited snacks. And, okay, occasionally watching other people’s children. What could possibly go wrong?

I couldn't have loved it more and am, like the 10-year-old I am, waiting anxiously for the second book in the series to be released this August. 5/5 stars.

I could talk a long time about this book but I'm hoping to keep it succinct because I would never be able to find the right words to describe how good this book is. Even though I will admit to having a slow start with it—which is no reflection on the writing or story itself, I just think it takes a little adjusting to get in the rhythm of the story telling—it was utterly compelling and I've thought long about it since finishing it.

Plot from Goodreads:
For years, rumors of the "Marsh Girl" have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life--until the unthinkable happens.

Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

I've said it repeatedly, but it's truly one of the most masterful pieces of fiction I have ever read. Delia Owens' (who is remarkable and fascinating on her own) ability to write about isolation and nature and family is breathtaking and mind boggling to me. Her talent is mind boggling. 

I will be recommending it to everyone. I'm especially excited Reese Witherspoon's production company picked it up and is making a movie of it! I can't wait to see who they cast. 5/5 stars without question.

I've been meaning to read Kristin Hannah's books after reading so many rave reviews but haven't gotten around to it till now. I'm definitely going to keep reading her stuff after this one. 

Plot from Goodreads:

Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.

Thirteen-year-old Leni, a girl coming of age in a tumultuous time, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, dares to hope that a new land will lead to a better future for her family. She is desperate for a place to belong. Her mother, Cora, will do anything and go anywhere for the man she loves, even if it means following him into the unknown

At first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers. In a wild, remote corner of the state, they find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the Allbrights’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources.

But as winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates and the family begins to fracture. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own. In the wild, there is no one to save them but themselves.

In this unforgettable portrait of human frailty and resilience, Kristin Hannah reveals the indomitable character of the modern American pioneer and the spirit of a vanishing Alaska―a place of incomparable beauty and danger. The Great Alone is a daring, beautiful, stay-up-all-night story about love and loss, the fight for survival, and the wildness that lives in both man and nature.

I checked this out from the library and ended up getting stuck in the first chapter too long and lost my loan, so I checked it out again last week and finished it over the weekend. It's on the longer side for contemporary fiction at over four hundred pages but it certainly doesn't drag. The pacing is awesome, the relationships are gripping, and the story is engaging. Something I really loved was how it spanned the main character's life from thirteen years old to late twenties (?). I feel like lately I've been reading a lot where the main character is the same age the whole time, which is obviously totally fine and great, but it's awesome when you can see a lot of development throughout an extended period of time (this is how it is in WTCS too).

I highly recommend. 4/5 stars because I tend to reserve five stars for books with exceptional writing quality (like WTCS) and ones that leave me feeling happier. This story is a heavier one, which is great because sometimes you need that, I certainly did, but at the end of the day, a feel-good story is going to finish out with five stars from me. But Kristin Hannah's writing is stellar and the story has such depth and I kind of can't imagine the amount of time she must have spent researching for this, so... maybe 4.5 stars ;) Ps. I did a quick Google and found out it's being adapted for the screen! Very exciting.

 Currently reading: 

My last two reads were heavier, so as soon as I finished The Great Alone (and stopped crying),  I decided I needed a break from those hefty stories and went back to my tried and true, ol' faithful YA category. My very favorite. 

I'm about halfway through and I like it so far.

Plot from Goodreads:

Clara Shin lives for pranks and disruption. When she takes one joke too far, her dad sentences her to a summer working on his food truck, the KoBra, alongside her uptight classmate Rose Carver. Not the carefree summer Clara had imagined. But maybe Rose isn't so bad. Maybe the boy named Hamlet (yes, Hamlet) crushing on her is pretty cute. Maybe Clara actually feels invested in her dad’s business. What if taking this summer seriously means that Clara has to leave her old self behind?

With Maurene Goo's signature warmth and humor, The Way You Make Me Feel is a relatable story of falling in love and finding yourself in the places you’d never thought to look.

Maurene Goo is friends with Jenny Han, one of my favorite, favorite YA novelists, and I basically want to be IN their circle of author friends (I love following them on Instagram), so I knew she'd be a great next YA author to familiarize myself with. I'm on the wait list at the library for her first novel (which I wanted to read most) but was able to snag this one without waiting. I'm enjoying it so far. It's a light, humorous read and I'll be interested in the direction it goes toward the end here.

Any books I just HAVE to read? I'd love to hear. xo

Monday, February 25, 2019

Weekend Recap

Hi, friends! It was a good, good weekend. I've mentioned a few times here that this winter has been kicking my ass. I've been trying to stay positive and sending all the gratitude out to the universe for all the things but these temps and wind and snow have been testing me for sure. That combined with some other random stressors has made for a tense few weeks so this weekend was very much appreciated.

stole my sister's cute snapchat photo

I had plans to have my hairdresser come to my house (she lives five minutes away) for a quick trim on Friday night but her son ended up in the hospital (he's fine, thank God!), so we had to reschedule. Meaning I was able to cook dinner (something I never do on Friday nights when Sammy works haha I usually make him get Chipotle because by Friday night I'm DONE), eat with Sammy, and get some reading in which was awesome. I finished The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah and it was as good as everyone says.

I also spent the evening stalking our wedding venue's Instagram because they had started posting about the wedding show they were hosting Sunday. I got super excited to see that draping in person!

Sammy and I headed to his family's jeweler on Saturday morning to drop off my ring for resizing *praise* but before we left, we tried on some wedding bands. Because of the shape of my center stone, I feel like I can only get something like in the picture below, which I think is pretty, but I also think it takes away from the engagement ring itself. So this bitch may not have a wedding band at all. WHOOPS.

Later that afternoon, Chelsie and I went to see Isn't It Romantic which was cute. I thought it was going to be a little funnier just cause I think Rebel Wilson is hysterical and smart but it left a little to be desired. Still cute to see with your friends on a Saturday afternoon. I'm always in it for the popcorn.

We got some Chick-fil-A afterward because it was right by the theater and because I've never had it before and like, it was good, but guys, I don't get why people are obsessed with this place. You heard me. I didn't like A Star Is Born and Chick-fil-A is just so-so in my book. SORRY.

(I do want to try their chicken minis for breakfast because I feel like I'll like them more than they're other food, if that helps anyone.)

We snuggled, read, and played with many tennis balls for the rest of the afternoon before Sammy came home from work. He took off a few hours early so we could meet friends downtown. We went to our friends' place for some drinking and then over to Benchmark in Old Town where Sammy and I stayed for approximately ten minutes before leaving to catch the last train home to CL. Still didn't get home until almost 2 A.M. which is plenty late for me. If I'm going to stay up that late, I want to be in bed reading ;) which I proceeded to do upon getting home because I haaaaad to finish The Great Alone haha.

I got up on Sunday with Henry, made myself a cup of tea in my new mug, and looked at a few wedding things before getting ready for the wedding show at our venue!

Chelsie, my sister, and my mom all met at my house (I'm closest to Lake Geneva) and my mom was kind enough to drive us all up.

I took this this morning at the train station HA cause my sticker was still on my coat and I wanted to document since I forgot yesterday #classic
Our venue hosts a "preferred wedding vendor show" in February each year where (mostly) Wisconsin brides can come and check out local vendors while also checking out the venue. Not everyone there was getting married at Geneva National (or had even chosen a venue yet) but it's especially awesome for people who are.

I was able to see what certain colors looked like in each room, taste appetizers we may choose to serve, taste some drinks, see different food bar/station options, talk to vendors (we definitely found our bakery!), see the hotel where our guests may stay, use the shuttle they might use, etc.

Best of all, it was awesome to show the most important women our venue, especially my mom. I was thrilled when she kept saying how much she loved the place! I took a bunch of pictures to show Sammy and his mom (he was working and she was traveling for work), but I'm including a few of my favorite ideas/elements below.

We're really liking the draping on the walls and on the ceiling. I would nix the bling gatherings and use something transparent or more neutral, but I loooove the white, especially against the windows.

And I think we're going to be too large to have a full head table, and I'm not a fan of sweetheart tables, so I think we're going to have a few round tables up at the front (where a head table would be) and call it a day.

These color combos are all too dark, but I wanted to show a better view of the room at large. Since the ballroom already has some darker elements (moldings, the doors), I want to keep everything light and airy with white, ivory, and cream. Greenery in the florals. I think stuff like that will help lighten the space up a bit.

They had a few different appetizers being passed around: vegetarian egg rolls, mac & cheese, and crab cakes. All were really good which put me at ease food-wise. They also passed champagne around as well as some berry vodka lemonades.

I just loved the halved lemon on top of this cake haha.

The view out the ballroom windows gets me every time, even in the winter. The windows are what sold me on this place. I just think it's so beautiful and I haven't seen it when things are actually green and growing outside yet! Both times we've come the lake has been frozen and everything has basically died for the season, so I'm really excited to see it in a different season. I'm hoping to come up for our anniversary in April and on our wedding date in October this year.

They had a s'more bar which was awesome for this s'more fiend.

I made a super weirdo combo of cookies and creme bar with a maple marshmallow but it was SO good haha.

We tried samples from a lot of bakeries there but nothing compared to Julie Michelle's cake. Omg out of this world stupid good and I am not a cake fan. Sammy can't wait to go to the tastings haha. And I believe they're based out of Harvard, so they're actually closer to us than Lake Geneva is so getting to a tasting will be a breeze.

Our moms are super about these dark brown chivari chairs for whatever reason haha so I had to get a picture of those. They're not my personal favorite, probably because everyone uses them and I tend to dislike things everyone else loves (like Chick-fil-A and A Star Is Born haha), but I do think the dark brown look more elegant than the super popular gold and silver do. Sammy actually likes the glossy black which I may have to agree with, so we'll definitely have to see one of those in person and I can't believe I've been thinking about chairs THIS MUCH.

I was super about these clear chargers. I think they're very elegant looking. I think Sammy liked them too when I showed him.

A lovely woman has a cute business of making all these personalized items and signs and I thought these would make a great day-of groomsman gift if Sammy hadn't already given them koozies when he asked them to be groomsmen.

They had a french fry and tater tot bar with a bunch of dipping sauces that my mother of all people lost her shit for hahaha. She must have told me three times that we should have this as our late-night snack option.

The hotel down the road is owned by the same company who owns Geneva National, so if our guests don't stay on the houses on Geneva National's property, they can stay here at The Ridge just a mile down the road. The inside was recently renovated and I loved seeing how modern and clean it looked.

It was a great day. I really loved being at the venue, especially with my best girls.

Chelsie headed home once we got back to my house and my mom and sister stayed to hang out and watch the Oscars with me. Henry forever loving on everyone.

We ordered some Chinese food and settled in to watch the Oscars which I felt were kind of boring but I live for award shows so I'd watch five more hours of that boring shit if it were on.

Sammy came home from work just as the awards were ending and my mom and sister left pretty soon after that. We crashed into bed together five minutes later haha. I showed him all the information I got and all the pictures I took, sufficiently overwhelmed him, and promptly put myself to sleep ;)

As of now, my work calendar and home calendar for this week are looking very "boring" which I'm extremely happy and grateful for. Trying to keep my sanity as we close out this winter and having a schedule I can maintain helps to not overwhelm me. Twenty-five more days people. TWENTY-FIVE. Although, March 1 is spring in my book regardless of temperature ;)

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend and are looking at an even better week ahead. xo

*Linking up with Biana!

Friday, February 22, 2019

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, all! We made it. 

Starting off the favorites of the week with this so lovely engagement gift my cousin gave me when I saw her last weekend for her baby shower (like who remembers to bring someone else a gift at their own shower?! Ugh love her): these beautiful Kate Spade mugs. Do you die?
We got the sweet, sweet, sweetest valentine in the mail from our niece. I can't with the scribbles!

for you non-Italians, "Zio" and "Zia" mean Uncle and Aunt :)
This is a very dork "favorite" but this delivered to my office last Friday. It's SO good for anyone who's in the editing/publishing/writing world (or anyone who likes grammar? haha). So funny and wildly smart.

We haven't gotten the OK to move into our new space for real yet (hopefully by March 1), but we had to return the crates we've been storing our stuff in to the movers, so I unpacked most of my desk yesterday afternoon. I'm liking how it's turning out so far! It's going to be so fun to work down there.

Sammy made dinner Monday night since he was off (and when he's off during the week he usually cooks dinner himself, or at least helps, to give me a break since I do a majority of the cooking) and he made this awesome skirt steak and roasted potatoes in a garlic butter sauce.

I was laughing while getting ready for bed the other night because I've officially become my brother. Jurassic Park and Green Bay anyone? (I don't even like football... those pants are just the softest, thinest flannel EVER and I love them so much.) These two things are literally the epitome of my brother's childhood existence haha. Now I just need an Indiana Jones shirt...

Aerie was having a sale on underwear and bras for Valentines Day and I had recently read somewhere that someone said they threw out all their underwear and bought all new nude underwear so they never had to think about color per their outfit again and didn't have to dig through a bunch of underwear they never wear/don't like. Genius. 

SO I took advantage of their 10 for $30 sale and got a few pairs in three different styles. I haven't worn Aerie underwear since high school so I wasn't expecting to like everything but boy was I wrong. I LOVE them all and won't wear anything else now. Definitely want to get more the next time they have a sale. I'm also a huge fan of their cotton bralettes (I have one they've since discontinued that I will never throw away because it's so comfortable), so I grabbed one for $15 that I'm really loving.

I had to order another package of makeup remover wipes and my perfume from MAC (HUGE favorites of mine) and I got to pick a free sample item and I went with their cleanse-off oil, which would normally be a no-go for me since I'm super oily but this winter has just dried out my skin more than previous ones, so I figured I'd give this a whirl. Holy shit guys, I LOVE this too. It melts your makeup off and made my skin so soft afterward and it smells amazinggg like all MAC products. Every sample I've tried of their skincare products, I've loved, loved, so the next time I go into a store, I'm gunna blow everything on skincare.

Please ignore the grossness that is our hand holding. I had just mentioned how I was excited to be going to our wedding venue on Sunday (for a wedding show) and I grabbed Sammy's hand when Henry laid his head down like this. Since I wanted to get a picture of him before he moved (which he did three seconds later), I was trying to move minimally myself, and therefore, the hand holding remains. Gross. This picture is about Henry ;)

I edited my first book for Smithsonian this week which was super exciting! I can't wait to see this baby out in the world. It is not lost on me what a privilege it is to work on books with licensors like Smithsonian. They help us get facts and new words and gorgeous illustrations and photography into the hands and minds of all the littles out there.

Made one of my very favorite meals Wednesday night—Sammy and I never seem to tire of it. I made a variation of Andrea's chili recipe and I think adding brown sugar is a game changer.

Saw this quote on Instagram last night and it hit my heart like a bulldozer.
*Store away in brain forever*

Last night I threw together some sausage we had in the freezer, beans, spinach, a can of tomatoes, and some pasta and called it soup. It actually turned out really well and will definitely be making again.

After reading rave reviews about this lipstick (that has apparently been around forever!) on Cup of Jo, I ordered one off Amazon. I am in love with the formula—it feels like you're wearing chapstick and is so hydrating—and the color is a really pretty berry kind of color despite how dark it looks in the tube. It sort of reminds me of "Amorous" from MAC. Will definitely be wearing it during this dry season. (I had a little try-on party with some heart Reese's ;) )

 And I'll finish out with my favorite of all—the best boy to grace our planet ;)

We are trying to get in tomorrow morning to have my ring resized, but after that I'm hoping to get together with Chelsie to have lunch and see Rebel Wilson's new rom-com and then have a low key night at home with Henry, maybe try to watch a nominated movie or something in preparation for Sunday?

And, as mentioned, I'll be going up to Lake Geneva on Sunday with my mom, sister, and Chelsie for a wedding vendor show at our wedding venue. I remember signing up for this event back when we booked the venue—I can't believe it's here! I'm sure the whole planning process will feel like this with events suddenly coming up in record time. I'm excited :) And then I'm hoping my mom and sister will hang around at my house to watch the Oscars afterward!

Have a great weekend everyone! xo

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Top Three — 2019

Hi, all. I saw Shay doing this on her blog this week and I thought it would be a fun idea to steal replicate (I did make a few slight adjustments to her original list). I think it'll be fun to maybe do every year? Just to see how/if my answers change.

Favorite Binge Shows
The Office
New Girl
Four Weddings (maybe any wedding show, honestly)

Favorite Movies
The Sound of Music
Father of the Bride
Tied for third: Singing in the Rain, When Harry Met Sally, Indiana Jones (I or III)

Favorite Trips (so far)
Paris, but of course
Our annual Christmas trip
Grand Canyon/Route 66 road trip

Favorite Books (so far)
Anne of Green Gables
The Paris Wife

Favorite Cities in the US (so far)
New York
This third one is up in the air but I really loved Sedona.

Favorite Places to Eat in Chicago (or just outside of Chicago...)
Freddy's (in Cicero)
Scudiero's (in Melrose Park)
Gene & Jude's (in River Grove)

Favorite Holidays

Favorite Subjects in High School/College
English (surprise, surprise)
Creative Writing (in college and grad school)

Favorite Gift Ideas to Make Someone's Life a Little Easier
Freezer meal (pasta is my go-to!)
Leaving groceries on their doorstep
Flowers and a card with some words of encouragement if they need a pick-me-up

Favorite Things About My Job
Getting to read and work on stories all day
Working with the nicest humans
Being a part of getting quality books into the hands of littles!

Kindest Authors I've Ever Met (because I haven't met any "celebrities" and authors are celebrities to me)
Anne Lamott
Cheryl Strayed
TBD ;)

Top Three Places to Shop for Gifts (outside of independent stores which I much prefer)
Uncommon Goods

Three Favorite Nail Polish Colors
Naughty Berry by Essie
Bahama Mama by Essie
Ballet Slippers (or Mademoiselle, they're so similar) by Essie

Three Things I Always Have in My Purse
Pain meds (precautionary in case my kidney stones act up)

Three Typical Dinners (at home)
Pasta with meatballs or breaded chicken
Some kind of skillet dish with meat and vegetables and either potatoes or rice

Favorite Drinks at Starbucks
Medicine ball
Iced caramel macchiato
One of the fall seasonal drinks, probably PSL

Favorite Things to Do with Sammy
Lay and bed and laugh and talk
Go to the movies

Favorite Things I Can't Wait to do with Kids (SO MANY)
Experience the holidays together
Introduce them to simple joys i.e. good food, movies, books, music, etc.

Places I Want to Visit
Cape Cod

Favorite Things to Put on When I Get Home
Jersey T-shirt
Slippers or fuzzy socks (even though I much prefer to be barefoot, this bitch can't hang with her plantar fasciitis so I need some cushion)

Favorite TJ's Buys
Frozen risotto
Brie and ciabatta 
White chocolate peppermint pretzel bark shit (ungodly good)

Favorite Workout Activities
Not working out—ha just kidding but not really
*always looking for new activities though and would love to get into swimming at some point*

Favorite Things to Eat (oh bitchhhh, what a loaded Q)
Pasta, pasta, pasta
Good bread and butter
Chili with cornbread I carb girl or what?

Favorite Desserts
Chocolate covered strawberries

Favorite TV Shows of All Time
The Golden Girls
Sex and the City
The Office

Favorite Social Media Outlets
Don't think I have a third! I use Facebook, but I don't like it anymore.

Favorite Family Traditions
Seasonal craft-y traditions like carving pumpkins and making our gingerbread house
Watching Home Alone while wrapping gifts or decorating the house
The tradition of creating new traditions whenever Sammy has to work during a holiday or celebratory event
*this further proves we need to develop more traditions, especially before we have kids*

Favorite Indoor Activities for Rainy Days
Binge a show
Cook something indulgent and then take a nap

Favorite Ways to Self-Care
Something that feels indulgent: long shower/bath, comfort food, nap, etc.
Face mask

Ah, I love stuff like that. But that's all for now...happy Thursday! xo

Monday, February 18, 2019

Weekend Recap

Well people, it was a doozy of a weekend. What I was expecting to be a super light, fun-filled weekend, turned out to be unnecessarily emotional and kind of tough honestly. It was still fun! But kind of bogged down by some other bullshit.

I noticed my ring was missing Friday night after I came home from work and it sent me and Sammy into a total shit show. To make a long story short, we found it. Well, Sammy found it. It was literally under our bed like the most stereotypical place for it to be haha. I KNEW it fell off when I was changing after work or messing with my laundry in our room. I don't know why I don't trust my instincts more because, while I looked thoroughly in that room, I should have looked harder since I knew it was in there.

At the end of the day, all is well. I'm just disappointed it turned into an argument that permeated the whole weekend.

So, enough about that. On to the fun parts of this weekend. 

I met my girlfriends for the annual Wine about Winter event that we go to every year in downtown Libertyville. We have such a fun time every year and I love getting to spend this time with them.

Love seeing pups every year on the crawl!

One of my fave gorge ladies.

We ate at O'Tooles after the wine crawl was over and then I snuck back to Chelsie and Dan's for some DQ afterward. Nothing like wine and dairy to really fuck up your system, am I right? 

I ended up spending the night at my mom's that night because we had a baby shower Sunday morning to go to together (and since I don't have my car yet, she'd have to pick me up at my house so it was easier just to spend the night and be with her in the morning for the shower) and it was really nice after an emotional Friday night to be at her house.

I got some pup snuggles and my mom's oatmeal (the BEST) and it was good for the soul.

I headed to my cousin's shower with my mom and Grandma around noon and it was such a lovely day celebrating these new parents and their sweet baby boy (named after his grandpa)!

This family gives the loveliest favors at their showers and this was nooo exception. We got a box filled with gourmet chocolate items and a beautiful white appetizer dish from Crate & Barrel.

They had a great appetizer spread—I wish I could eat like this every day. And I had mimosas and Sprite all morning which means I was a happy girl (I'm literally half adult half child at all times.).

They had a great spread and serving two salads, chicken in a cream sauce with mushrooms and artichokes, beef, baked pasta, roasted potatoes, green beans, and rolls.

The sweetest couple was showered with some awesome stuff which they certainly, certainly deserve. They're seriously so generous to everyone else, I loved watching them be on the receiving end.

My cousin (the mom-to-be's brother) made all the centerpieces and floral accents. He has such a raw talent but is actually going to floral school (who knew?!) downtown Chicago soon to learn even more. I've already asked him to do our wedding flowers (if he wants). I actually won our table's and got to take it home! So pretty for a winter shower, right?

I got home at about 4 o'clock and was able to do all the things since Sammy was at his parents' for dinner and Henry was occupied with a new treat. It's been a while since I've had such a productive Sunday (in the last month or so, Sammy has been off on Sundays and I really don't like to be doing random stuff around the house when we can be spending time together) and it felt really good.

I did a load of towels, dish rags, table runner/cloth (aka all the things you put off washing), folded everything including our Christmas sheets (YES, Christmas, I know) that have been sitting in our laundry room after being washed like a month ago, made my lunch for today, cleaned the kitchen and living room, straightened up random stuff, took down Sammy's birthday decorations, which still left me time to have a bowl of cereal (and a few other snacks ;) ), spend time with Henry, and watch a few episodes of Four Weddings (Please note my princess blanket...further proving the half adult half kid thing from earlier.).

I'm really hoping for a relaxed week this week. I have nothing to complain about—there are much much worse things that could happen than losing your engagement ring, believe me, I know—but the whole event kind of shook me up for other reasons, so I'm looking forward to a low-key, chiiiilllll week haha. 

Sammy is off tonight and tomorrow night, so I'm looking forward to *fingers crossed* not having to make dinner and having a little more "me time." I swear I have no idea what we're going to do when we have kids if we think we're busy now haha. This is the first week in a while where I don't have anything going on after work (I actually cancelled plans with friends for tonight so I could go home and spend time with Sammy because I felt like it was important after the weekend we had) and I'm really looking forward to that refresh.

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. Happy Monday! xo