• fashion,  lifestyle,  outfits

    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!

  • fashion,  holiday,  lifestyle

    Love Letter to My DILF + Father’s Day Shopping at Woodfield Mall

    Where do I start with this Father’s Day post? For fear of being cliché, I want to write about all the things that The Giant is to us: he’s a loving husband and an amazing dad – basically, all the things that coffee mugs say, Dad of the Year, Best Dad Ever, #1 Dad. Truly though, I count my blessing every day that we have him in our lives. He’s so hands-on with our kids, which is somewhat rare when I hear some of my girlfriends talk about how their husbands are not. Even though he is a VP at his company, he gets home every day at 5:30 to take over for me. He’s been responsible for bedtime with the kids every single day for the last 8 years. When his boss asks him to travel for work, they know he has to ask his “real boss” (me) for permission and that I’ll say no. I feel so lucky that our kids have such an amazing and present father in this season of their lives — and I know he really loves being able to play such a large role in their daily lives — teaching them, being there for milestones, and building relationships with them that will endure a lifetime.

    Because fathers deserve a little something special this Father’s Day, in collaboration with Woodfield Mall, I have pulled together a quick list of my favorite Father’s Day gift ideas to give a little bit of an upgrade to those everyday essentials in their lives. Whether he is the “casual type”, “the fashionista”, or anything in between, I’ve got you (and him) covered.

    Father’s Day shopping at Lacoste at Woodfield Mall.

    Classy sneaker

    Every man should have a classy leather sneaker, one that can be dressed up or down. I love this leather and suede sneaker from Lacoste in a luxury tumbled leather with retro styling.

    Father’s Day shopping at Lacoste at Woodfield Mall.

    Cool Shades

    Get summer ready with a new pair of sleek shades from Sunglass Hut, like these rectangular acetate frames by Persol. Choose from Sunglass Hut’s curated selection of shades to complement his look and lifestyle, from classic to sporty. Free engraving included! (Maybe a naughty DILF?)

    Grab the perfect pair of sunnies at Sunglass Hut at Woodfield Mall.

    Classic Denim

    With denim jeans starting at just $40, you can’t go wrong with a classic pick from The Levi’s Store. My fave for men is the 511 Slim Fit Advanced Stretch Jeans – it looks tailored but feels so comfy and stretchy!

    Sophisticated Shaving Kit

    In my experience, most men won’t take the time to buy their own grooming stuff, so treat the special guy in your life to an all-in-one bundle from The Art of Shaving, like this Sandalwood 4 Elements Bundle with Badger Brush – it includes all four essential elements of the perfect shave: pre-shave oil, shaving cream, shaving brush, and after-shave balm! It’s a no-brainer!

    Sporty Accessories

    For the sports enthusiast in your life, head to Champs Sports for his favorite team accessory. You can’t go wrong with a local sports team, like this Chicago Cubs MLB cap. I may have zero interest to watch sports with him, but that doesn’t mean I can’t deck him out in his fave team spirit! #bestwifeever

    Of course, there are tons of retailers at Woodfield Mall to find your perfect Father’s Day gift. (I also love picking up quality basics from the new Uniqlo store and classic cheddar and caramel popcorn mix from Garrett Popcorn!) With more than 2 million square feet of retail shops, restaurants, and family-friendly amenities, there’s so much to do, shop, and eat at Woodfield Mall

    This post is in collaboration with Woodfield Mall. All opinions are my own.

  • lifestyle

    Spring Forward with an Easter Bunny Photo Experience at Woodfield Mall

    easter bunny experience at Woodfield shopping mall

    Happy first day of Spring! If this photo doesn’t give you spring fever, lest I convince you that every family’s gotta nab that Awkard Family Photo with the Easter Bunny for posterity’s sake, am I right?

    Mom and Dad always seem to be awkwardly placed behind the giant overstuffed bunny like we’re the bodyguards, and there’s a 50-50% chance of your kids looking thrilled or bored. Case in point above. And I love it. Sure, sometimes the Bunny can be a little creepy-looking, but this is one can’t miss family tradition (along with photos with Santa) that I’m going to push onto my kids every year until they’re at least 18 and have flown the nest.

    easter bunny experience at Woodfield shopping mall

    By the way, the Bunny at Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg is hands-down my fave. He’s pretty innocuous (and dare I say, cute), as far as oversized, overdressed rabbits go. My kids also enjoy telling the Bunny what they would like for Easter this year. Last year the Easter Bunny gave Roman a bike, so this year he asked for another new bike lol. This tradition is getting expensive! If you’re in the Chicagoland area, I love bringing my kids to Woodfield Mall for its family-friendly amenities and events, like photos with the Easter Bunny and more. The Easter Bunny Photo Experience at Woodfield Mall is happening now through April 20. Pro tip: You can reserve your FastPass and skip the line to see the Bunny! (Also, if you live in Chicago, don’t forget to check out Woodfield Mall’s Easter Eggstravaganza event on March 30, or Pet Photos with the Easter Bunny on March 24.).

    easter bunny experience at Woodfield shopping mall

    I’ve been coming to Woodfield Mall since I was a teenager, and bringing my own kids now gives me all the feels. Woodfield Mall is just 30 minutes outside of Chicago and is one of the largest shopping destinations in the United States. With more than 2 million square feet of retail shops, restaurants, and family-friendly amenities, there’s so much to do, shop, and eat here. A perfect day spent at Woodfield Mall for us includes swinging by the LEGO store and building at the Make & Take LEGO station (purchase it at 10 cents apiece and it’s a win-win for not having to step on that sh*t at home!), then grabbing lunch at Rainforest Café, and finally, letting off some steam at Yu Kids Island (a fab kid-friendly indoor playspace inside the mall, which we come to at least twice a week especially in the winter!).

    May your first day of Spring be filled with warm weather, flowers and pretty pastels – and go get your Awkward Family Photo with the Easter Bunny, you won’t be sorry!

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


    easter bunny experience at Woodfield shopping mall

  • lifestyle,  Travel

    Our Couples Getaway at Hutchinson Shores Resort and Spa

    When my friends over at Hutchinson Shores Resort & Spa invited me to stay on property, I jumped at the chance to extend my sunny Christmas vacation in Florida visiting the in-laws. If this doesn’t make me a legit “snow bird”, then I don’t know what does. Not to mention, this was a prime opportunity to ditch the kids for a few days with free, built-in babysitters (their grandparents) and have some alone time with The Giant, who was approaching a milestone 40th birthday. With the windows down and music blaring, we screamed “Be good!” and “Peace out!” to the kids and headed for the Treasure Coast for four days of uninhibited beachside fun.

    Road-tripping through Florida is nothing to write home about (unless you count the hugest and busiest rest stop I’ve ever seen, it’s a very flat state with no interesting scenery), but the benefits of being together with your sweetheart – without kids fighting in the back seat – far outweighs anything else! After the two-and-a-half hour drive from our in-laws’ home, we arrived at the most gorgeous oceanside luxury resort, Hutchinson Shores Resort, that made us want to strip down to our skivvies and jump right in!

    But first, we checked in to our room, which was airy and fresh with modern coastal touches like bold striped curtains. We had a breathtaking oceanside view from wall to wall glass doors, which we left open at night to fall asleep to the salty sea breeze and to wake to the gentle rolling waves. Our balcony was perfect for hanging out on every day. I’m obsessed with soft linens, and the bath towels at Hutchinson Shores Resort were heavenly – so much that I looked at the tag and saw the towels were all dated with utter care by month and year. That’s the mark of a luxury hotel, in my opinion.

    We dined several times at the resort’s restaurant, Drift Kitchen + Bar, which was beyond delicious in a fresh seafood meets modern Italian kind of way. For our first dinner at Drift we got a bit wild, ordering a little surf and turf. My blue crab crusted grouper was the yin to The Giant’s yang (a center cut NY strip steak). The flavors were so perfectly nuanced, the sear just right – kudos to having a delicious meal just an arm’s length away from our home away from home the next few days. (And might I add, breakfast was pretty special too; think crab cake benedicts, amaretto French toast, short rib hash, ya know NBD.)

    The truth is, Hutchinson Shores Resort seemed very family-friendly and I spent a few seconds thinking about how my kids would have really enjoyed it here… but somewhere in between a romantic horseback ride on Jensen Beach, checking out a cool car museum, lazily exploring charming downtown Stuart – oh, and poolside drinks – I’d be lying if I said our time alone here wasn’t just right. I cannot wait to “flock” back down to Hutchinson Shores Resort the next time we visit our in-laws!

    This post is in partnership with Hutchinson Shores Resort & Spa, but all opinions are my own.