Back to School KangaROOS Shoes with Payless

payless kangaroos with pockets kids

Since school in Chicago and the ‘burbs doesn’t begin until the Tuesday after Labor Day, we have been sure to enjoy every delicious ounce of summer. If you follow me on Instagram, you will see near daily splashpad and pool activities with my boys, treks into Chicago for city adventures and festivals, and even the rare “ice scream” treat. Usually sugar causes them to magically turn into wild hyenas, but with Back to School right around the corner, I was overcome with an acute sense of time fast forwarding on life and me not being ready for my two older boys to leave my side (my firstborn, Roman, will be attending school for the second year, and this is the first time for Rhys!). Suffice to say, I’m feeling nostalgia for the fading days of summer and nostalgia for wanting to keep them babies for longer, yet also dying to see what amazing little men they will become. Ice cream cures everything, right?

payless kangaroos with pockets kids

As every parent knows, there is a bit of ritual involved with Back to School – shopping for school supplies, inventing interesting boxed lunches and snacks, and of course, acquiring some spiffy, new clothes and shoes. When I was younger, my mom used to buy me and my brothers shoes from Payless ShoeSource before the start of each school year. And now that I’m a mom, I do the same thing. With Payless I love that I don’t have to sacrifice style and quality for price, and also that there is endless variety to choose from. When Payless reached out to me to try their new line of retro kicks, KangaROOS, I was thrilled to tap into that vintage childhood style for me and my boys. My hubby was stoked over these shoes because he used to wear them back in the day. As he informs me, “Walter Payton wore them and it exploded in popularity after that!” I don’t remember that at all (I’ll take my sports-obsessed hubby’s word for it), but I do love the retro look and the boys are just obsessed with the KangaROOS Pocketpass Jogger, which are so lightweight and comfy (especially important for children’s play!). But their #1 reason for not wanting to take off their new ROOS? It’s all because of the mini side pocket – perfect for storing tiny treasures! Roman and Rhys have taken to tucking away lucky pennies they find on our walks. Once I even found a dried up bug in there. #boyswillbeboys 🙁

I think I will start a new tradition this year and tuck in a little love note in each of my boys’ KangaROOS sneakers before sending them off to school. It’ll be my way of keeping them little and reminding them that Momma is always here in spirit.

Tell me, what would you put inside yours? Use the hashtag #whatsinsideyours to continue the conversation online.

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*created in partnership with Payless ShoeSource.







One Year Blogiversary!!!

melissa takes fashion blog anniversary

This entire week has been a week of celebrations after celebrations. Rhys, my spirited middle child, turned three so we celebrated his birthday party at Funtopia. More on that in a separate blog post.

Yesterday, this blog turned one year! I feel like I’ve been blogging for way longer. My Instagram now also has 40k followers. I remember a year ago when I started posting pictures on Instagram, I had less than 500 followers and seeing other bloggers having 10k plus seems like such a far goal to reach. I never in my wildest dream would imagine this little blog of mine can grow this big this fast. I’m so grateful to all my friends that supported me. Mainly my girlfriend, Jamie. She’s been my rock throughout this even when I doubted myself. Of course I have my biggest thanks to my Instagram husband, my Giant. Without him, I wouldn’t have these beautiful pictures to post. He learned a VERY long time ago that all the groans and complaining will only delay a shoot. So he knows to keep quiet. Lol.

I can’t wait to see what a year from now will take this blog but so far, it’s been AH-mazing!!!!

melissa takes fashion blog anniversary
melissa takes fashion blog anniversarymelissa takes fashion blog anniversary


Kapalua Ziplines Maui Review


kapalua ziplines maui

It’s been a month since we’ve been back from our epic vacation in Maui. We did so many excursions and activities while we were there. One of my fondest memories was my solo trip zip-lining with Kapalua Ziplines. The Giant had already gone back home to Chicago and I vowed I wasn’t stepping off the island till I went zip-lining. I researched many companies before deciding on Kapalua. I haven’t done any adrenaline rushing fun since before I gave birth to Roman so I wanted to go big. I can’t even begin to tell you the crazy fun I had at Kapalua Ziplines.

I wanted to record my adventure but didn’t have time to purchase a GoPro camera since this excursion was booked last minute. Before getting to Kapalua Ziplines, I stopped by an ABC store to see if I could find anything I could use. That’s when I spotted a selfie stick with a wrist strap. Kapalua Zipline’s policy is as long as there’s a wrist strap on your phone, you are allowed to use it for video recording. I realized when I got there that the camera button didn’t work so I just made due by using the timer function if I needed to take a selfie. This was my first time owning a selfie stick and boy was it so much fun!!!! I didn’t have to bother anyone! Freedom!!!! They do take photos of you throughout the day but the photographer in me likes being in control of my own photos.

Once I got to Kapalua Ziplines, my group did a safety briefing before hopping onto the van to take us to the ATV. The ATV ride up the mountain to our first line was muddy but I don’t think anyone signed up for this expecting to stay clean. There are seven zip lines total. Hands down my favorites were 3,5, and 7. Each line, the view was very lush and picturesque. At one point it started to drizzle, which was kinda refreshing when you’re zipping through with rain tapping on your face on a hot summer day. They gave us raincoats that we all had tied around our waists so we stayed dry. At the halfway point, we took a break to snack on energy bars and pineapples.

Overall, the trip was just amazing. Of all the ziplines I’ve done in the past, I definitely felt Kapalua Ziplines was hands down the safest.

I can’t wait to go back next year and bring the Giant. This was definitely my fondest memory of my time in Maui. I can’t recommend Kapalua Ziplines enough. I booked this trip through Maui Activities which also owns Ohana Fun Hawaii are also the ones that booked my trip to Molokini with my mom. You can read about that here. I know there are MANY booking companies out there for these activities so it can get overwhelming. I had such a great experience with Ohana Fun Hawaii and Maui Activities. Booking your excursions and activities with them is a must!

These photos were taken with my iPhone so please excuse the not so great quality


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Say No To Frumpy Nursing Clothes!


fashionable nursing dress

I nursed all three of my boys. Even with all these years of nursing, I have yet to find nursing clothes I love. Finding gorgeous fashionable nursing clothes is near impossible. They’re so bad I just gave up and just work with what I have. There are some tops that makes it so difficult to breastfeed. When Vida Leche Amor reached out to me, I was excited to see the many beautiful selections they have! The fabrics are thick and I love the quality so I know it’ll take the beating your clothes will go through from the constant washing of spit up and stains. It’s refreshing to see how this brand just gets it. You don’t have to look frumpy while nursing. This Savannah dress is not only a cute day dress, you can wear it for date night as well. I wore this a handful of times already and every single time I’ve gotten compliments.

As a small business owner myself, I enjoy working with small companies and love watching them grow. Very excited to see their future designs! Be sure to check them out because they’re currently running a fall sale!

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Thanks to my talented friend Anna Kim Photography for taking some of these gorgeous shots!

***This is a sponsored post from Vida Leche Amor. All opinions on this post are mine.