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Upon turning 40 last month, I reflected on a few important lessons I learned over the years. Oh, and I may have done a birthday boudoir session… 😉

On Confidence

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“Any woman can look her best if she feels good in her skin. It’s not a question of clothes or makeup. It’s how she sparkles.” – Sophia Loren

Only a month into my fourth decade of life, and I can already tell you I know I’ll love this chapter more than any other one. That’s because I’m able to say “I’m forty!” with so much pride. I feel so much more confident and prettier now as a 40-year old–and after giving birth to three kids. I know my body will never be the same as it was when I was 20 (heck, even in my 30s) and I’m so perfectly okay with this. Confidence and style go hand in hand, but it’s not about the clothes, it’s about the individual.

For my 40th I booked a boudoir shoot. It wasn’t for Michael, it was for myself. To celebrate all my imperfections and to channel my inner Beyoce. It’s about being able to say f*ck it and own your body, because you’re only given one body.

I feel so much more beautiful, composed and empowered now than I ever did in my skinny 20’s. At the age of 30, I worked towards and discovered self-love and this was life-changing. I always heard the phrase “forty and fabulous” and now I totally get it–it’s really not just a saying for cheesy birthday sashes!

On Love + Relationships

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Love yourself first and foremost. When I was in my 20’s and early 30’s, I was the pleaser and always settled. It led to heartaches and wrong relationships. It wasn’t until I loved myself and learned not to settle that my relationships blossomed with the right men. I would have also told my younger self to live in a shoebox, eat ramen everyday, and travel the world with my money saved. I regret never having lived in other countries.

On Motherhood

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As a mother to 3 kids under 5, the best lesson I learned in motherhood is to let the small stuff go. Spilled milk, tantrums in public, skipping naps. With every child, I’ve become more relaxed. Be the opposite of a helicopter parent. (Your other half will likely do that for you.)

On Independence

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It’s okay for a married couple to have their own hobbies. For me, I love to travel. I sent myself to NYC earlier in the month as a birthday gift to myself. I go out with my girlfriends a few times a month. I feel like you need that time away to appreciate and miss each other. I depend on him as my husband because I crave his love and affection he equally misses me when we are not together. When he and I go on his work trip to Germany in a few weeks, I plan to take the train to Cologne for the day and skip out on boring business dinners. And of course, I depend on him for being such a hands-on dad.

On Future

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I strive to travel more and show more patience. I want my kids to see the world so they don’t live in a tiny bubble. More patience because having three kids CAN test you. I sometimes believe it’s their mission to break you everyday.

A big thank you to everyone for all your birthday wishes last month! Looking forward to sharing my journey into my 40s with you all!

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Off-the-shoulder is a 90s trend that has been going strong in recent seasons, and I don’t see it going anywhere anytime soon. Try this warm weather staple in a few styles–cold shoulder cut-outs, slouchy peasant tops, and full-on off-the-shoulder like the ruffled top I’m wearing here. This trend showcases the neckline in a subtly sexy and feminine way, and for this alone, I LOVE IT!!! It is classic enough to stick around year after year. Be sure to invest in a high quality, well-fitted strapless bra, or my personal preference, reusable silicon nipple cover pasties. Pair your off-the-shoulder top with your favorite spring denim and get ready to unleash your inner 90s child!

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I just returned from my epic birthday trip to New York, so I’m busy cuddling my kiddos and catching up on outfit posts, editing photos from the trip, and doing other real life stuff. I believe every closet needs a good faux leather jacket. It’s the perfect piece for transitional weather, like we have been experiencing here in Chicago lately. Not quite warm enough to banish the outerwear to the depths of your closet for good, but not cold enough for a down jacket. If you’re not feeling the all-black leather for spring, try a blush option, this embroidered moto jacket, or maybe this baby blue beauty. I like to wear my leather with flirty, feminine details like lace camis and this floral print full skirt, pair it with booties and call it day. How about you?

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I’m presently in New York, the greatest city in the world (next to my Chicago, of course), and it feels like the perfect time to show off my new City Carryall bag by BUILT NY. BUILT offers a collection of industrious, stylish and protective goods ranging from freezable lunchbags and essential tote bags to kids backpacks and kitchen accessories. BUILT’s products combine form and function, like this City Carryall, which is made from durable neoprene, that wetsuit material which protects against spills, splashes, bumps and drops–perfect for a busy mom on the go! I love the chic granite print here, but this bag also comes in a classic black. It has an interior pocket, which easily fits my keys, phone, wallet, and more.

BUILT’s products are designed in New York and inspired by the city that never sleeps–and like a native New Yorker, this City Carryall bag makes a bold statement at first impression, don’t you agree? Follow along with my New York adventures on my InstaStories!

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