Holiday Shopping at Chicago Block 37

Last year I got so much of my holiday shopping done at Block 37, the kids were excited to go back! Block 37 is the ultimate urban shopping, dining, and entertaining experience. We like to start by filling our bellies at Latinicity before we shop till our feet ache. The kids loved stopping by Block 37’s Holiday Pop-Ups for some fun Instagrammable backdrops! Follow Block Thirty Seven on Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter and tag a photo of yourself at our Holiday Pop-Up Photo Room (located at the Pop Up Market on Level 3) with #HOLIDAYSATBLOCK37 for a chance to win one of three $250 Shopping Sprees to your favorite Block Thirty Seven retailers! Full rules and regulations can be found at

I’m going to put together some off my favorite holiday gifts for men that you can pick up at some of Block 37’s great retailers, such as Zara, Banana Republic Factory Store, and Sunglass Hut.

After we bought all of our holiday gifts, we ended the fun day seeing Frozen 2 at AMC Dine-In Theatres. The kids loved it!

Have you guys checked out Block 37? If you haven’t, what are you waiting for? 

We’ve Been Doing this One Holiday Tradition Every Year

This post is sponsored by Woodfield Mall. All opinions are my own.

PSA: Saint Nick has arrived at Woodfield Mall! The big man in red is at Woodfield now until December 24, when he returns to the North Pole. Make sure you bring the kids to chat with the jolly and joyous man himself to make all their Christmas wishes come true.

Guys, between tree decorating, lighting displays and shopping, shepherding your kids around to be enchanted (or terrified) by Santa Claus is a tradition that remains central to the holiday experience for many families including mine. But wherever you land on the joyous/traumatizing side of this divide, it’s nice to know you can find a “nice Santa” locally at Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg. He looks legit, has a full belly and a real white beard, and friendly eyes–so hopefully your little ones will be more delighted than scarred for life. And with Woodfield Mall’s Grand Court transformed into an Ice Palace complete with lush evergreen trees and fake snow, surely this photo opp will make all your tinsel dreams come true.

Here are a few tips to make sure your Santa Photo Experience at Woodfield Mall goes smoothly:

  1. Skip the line. Don’t be a sucker and make sure you sign up for special times to reserve a FastPass to dance right past that long line of overly sugared kids.
  2. Plan your family’s outfits and coordinate colors and styles for potential holiday card photos. Do you want everyone to go dressy and traditional or fun with Ugly Christmas Sweaters?
  3. Prep your kids to think about what they want to ask Santa for in advance. This helps keep the line moving swiftly for others in line behind you.
  4. Look up Woodfield Mall’s shops and restaurants beforehand so you can use the Santa visit as either the incentive or reward for the little ones, who may get ornery from waiting. Woodfield Mall has over 2 million square feet of retail shops, restaurants, and family-friendly amenities so there are tons of options. Our favs include Rainforest Café and the LEGO store!

My kids love the Woodfield Mall Santa! This year, Roman asked him for an Xbox and an iPhone; Rhys wants an Avengers LEGO kit, and Cole wants monster trucks. The Woodfield Mall Santa Photo Experience stylishly combines convenience and holiday heritage for Chicagoans–we’ll keep coming here as a tradition even when the kids don’t believe anymore!  

Back to School Shopping | Woodfield Mall’s Got You Covered

This post is sponsored by Woodfield Mall. All opinions are my own.

Can you believe summer vacation is coming to an end? It’s bittersweet because I love having the kids home from school and being free of a schedule, but the excitement of back to school shopping helps soften the blow a little. A couple of weeks ago I took my niece out for a one-on-one back to school shopping trip. We had so much fun ditching the boys and having a little girl time. But don’t worry, my boys weren’t totally left in the dust – we hit up Woodfield Mall for my family’s annual back to school shopping trip. With more than 2 million square feet of retail shops, restaurants, and family-friendly amenities, there’s so much do, shop, and eat at Woodfield Mall and we got everything we needed.

I always loved back to school shopping when I was a kid and it’s still fun now as a mom. I now have a second-grader, a first-grader, and a preschooler! But with three growing boys, I try to do it smartly while still having some fun style-hunting. Here are a few back to school shopping tips:

1. Have your child try on last year’s clothing. Make a mental list of what needs to be replaced either because they have outgrown it or it’s in bad shape. Hand me downs are your best friend but make sure your kids get to pick out some fun new items for the school year themselves, too! We love these super comfy stretch camo jogger pants from Abercrombie Kids. Our favorite retailer at Woodfield Mall!

2. Buy backpacks with prevention in mind. We love the old skool checkerboard backpacks from Vans at Woodfield Mall – they have wider, padded shoulder straps and a padded back (recommended by pediatric doctors to prevent injuries) so they’re super comfortable for my kids. I always feel so bad seeing the teeniest kids shouldering giant backpacks so it’s important to make them as comfortable as possible!

3. There are plenty of great sales to take advantage of during the back-to-school rush, but that doesn’t mean all deals are the best deals. Try to stock up on summer items on clearance and remember that fall apparel are priced their highest when they first hit stores in August. If you can, layer on the summer t-shirts for the first few weeks of school, buying you time to shop for fall and winter clothing during holiday sales.

4. My boys love Buckle‘s shirt from RVCA! Too bad it doesn’t fit Cole. The Giant even found jeans for himself (he’s really hard to shop for because of his 6’6″ height!)

5. A trip to Woodfield is not complete without a stop to Timberland. We found some winter boots for the boys and you can check out those style here , here, and here!

Happy back to school shopping, mamas!

Trendy, Affordable Back to School Style for Juniors

This post is sponsored by Kohl’s. All opinions are my own.

As a boy mom, it’s not every day I get to go shopping for girl stuff, so when I get the chance to take my niece Elia out for back to school shopping – I grab it by the horns and then we finish with what else, ice cream. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always loved this time of year and there’s something about getting your school shopping done early that always makes it feel like the school year is starting off on the right foot. We headed straight to Kohl’s, where you can get everything for you, your family and your home, all designed to fit your personality and budget – including all your back to school must-haves in one place.

Elia had a blast shopping with her super fun, super cool auntie (me!). We ditched the boys at home and upgraded her school wardrobe for the incoming year. When you’re a growing girl and trends change all the time, Kohl’s makes it super easy to send them back to school in style without breaking the bank. And you know us girls, our tastes change from week to week!

There are always the staple basics every teen girl needs, like denim jeans and hoodies, but I think it’s also important to get some fun, trendy items that give them something to look forward to. We discovered an awesome Juniors’ brand at Kohl’s called SO designed for girls ages 13 to 24. It’s SO fun and youthful – see what I did there? Here are a few cute SO shirts and jeans that we love for back to school!

SO Cropped Hoodie in Sugar Glitter Tie-Dye: Because tie-dye never goes out of style and is forever young. We also love this colorful graphic tie-dye side knot tank guaranteed to “bring on the sunshine” to school days.

SO Off Shoulder Smocked Plaid Midi Dress: Because girls don’t want to live in jeans every day! Try on this adorable smocked midi dress – perfect for study dates or shopping at the mall with your girlfriends.

SO Paperbag Waist Vintage-Style Mom Jeans: Take the mom trend back to school this year. Bonus: these paperbag waist jeans come with a cute bow belt.

SO High Rise Vintage Bermuda Shorts: These vintage Bermuda shorts definitely pass the “fingertip” rule for school-approved dress code.

SO Solid Zip Front Hoodie: Comes in many colors including one with a varsity stripe down the sleeves – great for battling the classroom tundra or for Friday night lights.

Back to school prep with Elia was so fun! I wanted to show her how planning your first day of school outfit (and styling it with fun accessories) can jumpstart the school year. And really, what’s better than a shopping spree followed up with a sweet treat with your cool aunt?

Don’t forget, the Kohl’s Back to School offer runs from 8/2-8/18 and can be used on all SO apparel – receive $10 off $50 BTS purchase! Run, don’t walk!