Are you Ready for Fall?

Last weekend we went apple picking with our kids… And by apple picking, I mean paying an extreme amount of money for a tractor ride and about 10 apples.  In my next life I’m coming back as the owner of an apple orchard; those guys have a good thing going!

Hello AutumnAre you Ready for Fall?

I’m still holding out a little bit for a few more weeks of summer, but I’m excited to see the fall through my kiddos’ eyes again!  I LOVE all of the pumpkin carving, apple picking, jumping into the leaves – especially with my little munchkins:)

Next time we go apple picking, we’ll go back to a tried-and-true spot that we really like.  One of our favorite places to go is Garden Patch Farms in Homer – it’s a smaller spot than some of the orchards around our place, much less of a circus, and FABULOUS produce.  Not just apples, they also have the best Concord grapes, tons of vegetables, and a really great storefront.  Definitely worth the trip in the Chicago area!

Are you in the Chicago suburbs?  What’s your favorite spot to go for fall fun??

Rambling thoughts on Charleston

I’ve had a pretty heavy heart over the last week after hearing about the horrific and hate-filled shooting in Charleston.  The people of Charleston and the city itself have brought nothing but love, laughter, and joy to my family for nearly 30 years.  I’m truly heartsick for the city where I married the love of my life, bond with my family every summer, take in the southern hospitality, and visit with the amazing people that call Charleston home.

Rainbow Row in CHS

Charleston has always been an extremely happy place for me and my family.  We went to the beach just outside of the city for the first time when I was in second grade, just weeks before Hurricane Hugo absolutely wreaked havoc on the Lowcountry and the city of Charleston.  We went back for one week most summers, and I seriously considered going to the College of Charleston when I graduated high school (eons ago).  My parents kept going even when my brother and I couldn’t because of school or jobs.  But then, it just became “our thing.”  No matter what, my brother, my sis-in-law, and I would get there for a week of pure bliss: sun, surf, sand, and my doting parents.

My senior year of college, I met Jeff, who for some reason really clicked with not just me, but my entire family.  He even made it through a week in Charleston with my entire family about 6 months after we met.  (My dad made him sleep on an over-turned inflatable boat that had an air leak.  Just a little test “dad test”… I think…).  A few years later, we were married downtown right across from the old City Market.  These days, we still go, but most of my time is spent watching my own kids play in the sand with my nephews, soak up the sight of my parents indulging my babies, and just spend the week loving everything about the Charleston area.

Rainbow Row NailsSo – I’d always planned on wearing the “Rainbow Row” jams that I designed, but after the horrific attack last week, it’s less about just a fun manicure in honor of vacation and a lot more about wearing something that reminds me that the city is beautiful, its people resilient, and despite the hate-filled moments of last week, an amazing place for me to continue watching my little family make memories.  No amount of hate and violence can destroy that.

June – Or, Begin the Crazy!!

Today is my kiddo’s last FULL day of school for the year.  After today, I’ll have a full-fledged Kindergartner on my hands.  I am absolutely amazed.  It really does seem like it’s flown by.  Everyone tells you that when you’re pregnant, and most of the time you can keep yourself from rolling your eyes.  But it’s so true.  Even thinking that about Henry starting preschool in the Fall makes me wonder where in the world my babies went!

So June = Let the Good Times Roll

Amelia will be home from school for the summer – the first time in two years!  (We had her in a summer program most mornings the last two summers.)  So far, we’re raising ladybugs, planning tea parties and fairy-garden-planting parties, trips to the pool, frog-catching, fishing, four different camping expeditions, and three campfires – don’t forget the marshmallows.  And that’s *just* what Amelia and Henry have planned for us during their Team Toddler Huddle.

mc2j6Kids Camping

So for today, I’m enjoying some quiet time to start my June! 

As I said, today is Amelia’s last full day.  Which is giving me some time to catch up and plan ahead!

What are YOUR plans for the summer?  Any good tips for super active, fun-loving, hilarious and slightly prone-to-maiming-each other kiddos?

Want to Know What it’s Like – From the Inside?

My team is having a Sneak Peek next week!  If you’ve ever been interested in seeing what my team has for support, documents, perks, fun, and earnings, this is a great opportunity!

Sneak Peek Backstage Pass

Want to try it, but aren’t sure if you’d be getting in over your head?  Have you wondered if you have to start “from scratch”?  My sister-in-law, my good friend Kelly, and I will be running the Sneak Peek from Sunday, May 31st until Monday, June 1st.  Two days of info, games, and getting to know our team.  You’ll see the support we have from other teammates, the HUGE resource pools that we all share, and mostly – the relationships that we’ve formed as Jamberry consultants.  It’s been such a fun and motivating experience!

Want in on the fun??  Comment below or send me your email address to asking to be included!

Baseball Manicures – Or – How to Look Cute at the Cardinals’ Games

My husband (who reads the blog so he doesn’t get in trouble for being unsupportive – Hi!) is a huge St. Louis Cardinals fan.  He grew up going to the games at the old Busch Stadium and introduced me to the FUN of baseball.  I grew up… NOT a fan of baseball.  I thought it was slow, boring, hot, and just a filler on TV.

Busch Stadium - Photo by Matt Pasant, www.
Busch Stadium – Photo by Matt Pasant, www.

But then – he introduced me to the game – and the St. Louis Cardinals.

The StL fans are amazing – they legit love the game of baseball and will cheer for a great play – no matter the team the made it.  They’re actually FANS – fair and foul-weather.  They talk about the strategy of the game, the history of the ballpark, and they know the standings, history, and rivalries.  But they’re NICE about it all.  Plus – Busch Stadium has REALLY good hot dogs.   Deal-breaker for baseball, people.  DEAL. BREAKER.

Fast forward to 13-ish years later, and this popped up in my Pinterest feed: Baseball Manicure

Perfect!  And when you’re sweltering in the Midwest heat (or enjoying the game from your air-conditioned living room), Jams won’t wilt, run like sweaty mascara tracks, fall flat.  Because they’re Jams, and they’re awesome.

Not a Cardinals Fan?  Cubbies, BoSox, Nationals Fans – don’t fret! 

We live in the Chicago area now, where “Cardinals” is kind of a dirty word.  So if you’re here from Chi-town, Boston, or D.C., just pretend this red-white-and-blue fabulousness is cheering on your own Boys of Summer.

Baseballs!  Get your Baseballs right here!! 

Create Your Own Sunshine!

create your own sunshine

Another gray-ish day in Chicagoland – so I’ll be trying to create my own sunshine today!  My parents are here for the weekend, my kiddos are exuberant about it (read: “manic”), and we’re finally passed the “KILL ALL OF THE THINGS” portion of our Whole30.  Things are looking up!

PS – the Whole30 = No joke.  We’ve been pretty strict and we’re feeling good with a ton of energy.  I did have a total fail moment involving a FRESH DONUT, but I think the universe understands.  I think fresh donuts are an exception to just about anything, right?

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend filled with fun!  Have a good idea or plan for gray days?  Let us know!!

Tuesdays are for Camping

I have never liked Tuesdays.  Mondays aren’t that bad for me – I can get motivated and excited about the week ahead.  Wednesday – half-way done with the week.  Thursdays – it’s almost Friday and the whole world posts #tbt pics.  Friday, Saturday, Sunday – no problems there.  But Tuesdays – it kind of sinks in just how far from Friday you really are.

Tuesdays are for Camping – Or Just Pretending You’re Camping.

This morning, my kiddos woke up – and immediately decided to go back to bed.  Even kids get the “Tuesdays?  No good.” situation.   Amelia took charge and in about 10 minutes, they had set up “camp cots” (couch cushions) and sleeping bags were installed and inhabited.  Amelia: “I think we really just need to go camping today.”

Kids CampingThis absolutely reminded me of the forts and tents we made out of sheets, spreading couch cushions on the floor and pretending that the floor was lava, and just filling days with pretending pretty extravagant adventures.  Made my Tuesday.  I think we’ll try and go viral with the idea  – anyone have a catchy “Let’s all go pretend camping on Tuesdays instead of being grumpy” catch prase?  Yeah, me neither.

While I was catching up on dishes and some Jamberry business, my kids were telling “ghost stories” (with no ghosts, because they’re too “scair-wy”), found a bear in a cave, and counted “consultations” (constellations), all from the comfort of the couch cushions.  And all before 8am.   Big Tuesday around here, folks!

65. 65! SIXTY-FIVE!!

When I first joined Jamberry, I swore that I was only in it for the discount and that I’d probably never actually host a party.  Then I saw that the wraps *actually worked* as much as the hype and thought, “Okay – I’ll share this with a couple of friends.”  Then those couple of friends saw that the wraps *actually worked* as much as the hype (sensing a theme?) and joined up as well.

In October, I had an fun crew of three girls on my team – my cousin, my BFF, and a close family friend.  And I thought I was a TYCOON.  For the first time in a looooong time, I was helping to lead a team of people and I felt like a true grown-up again!

65 Team Members

But this month, just eight months into this crazy gig, my team is sitting at SIXTY-FIVE women and men, and I LOVE it!  It’s so fun to see these people taking on a new role, sharing something fun that they believe in, and just supporting one another on a daily basis.  So whatever coffee, tea, or OJ you’re drinking this morning, raise a glass and help me celebrate!