Bay Area Fun

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Life, photography, Travel

My brother moved to San Francisco back in 2006. I was a little sad about it back then….but only for a little bit because I already knew at the time that San Francisco was one of my favorite cities and him moving out there would give me a reason to visit. And that has been the case where The Family and I head out there once a year to visit, which isn’t quite fair to The Bro as he’s in Chicago quite a few times per year. (I don’t think he’s complaining though – he knows first hand how difficult it is to travel with my angelic children, ha.) Long story short, we ended up in the Bay Area last weekend to visit him & my SIL.

I have to say that these trips to San Francisco have evolved in the past decade. My brother moved out to the area when The Hubs and I first started dating, so we were all kinda getting to know each other during the first trip and yowser, those were some quiet days. The Hubs and I were telling The SIL that back then, there was one night my brother thought it’d be cool to take us to Buena Vista Cafe (known for its Irish Coffee). We all went, ordered our drinks….and then drank in semi-silence. Ha ha ha ha ha. (My brother didn’t think this was a funny story, ha ha ha ha.) Needless to say, I’m glad we are past those days and that the family is growing. As a result, there is definitely a lot more laughter, more good times and more picking on my brother. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Also, these days there’s someone (hello, SIL) to drink with me because the guys aren’t big drinkers (I don’t know how that worked out, but more wine – or Irish coffee – for us ladies!).

Anyway, here are a few pictures from our time in the Bay Area on this recent trip –

















The Girl is grumpy because she wanted to run into the water and we wouldn’t let her. (I think she was trying to figure out how to make a run for it though.)


‘Til next time. ๐Ÿ™‚

Chicago Gourmet 2018

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Chicago, Food

Chicago Gourmet 2018

On Sundays, I try to do nothing. Absolutely nothing. It’s my day to regroup from the week and to get ready for the upcoming week. Truth be told, I don’t ever get to do “nothing” (ahem, kids) but we do try to take it slow around here. Sometime mid-week, however, my friend Leyla, sent me a text. “I have tickets to Chicago Gourmetย for Sunday.” I’m not even sure if she technically invited me, but I was so in.

On Sunday, I headed over to her place to meet her (and her 10-week old twins!!!!) before trekking to Millennium Park. I don’t have pictures of them because I kinda was obsessed with holding them (actually, one of them. The other one – the one she called “The Party Animal” – fell asleep when I got there. Ha!). After soaking in some baby time, we headed out to the festival.

I brought Daphneย (she travels well) but didn’t end up putting her to good use as I spent most of the afternoon with Instagram Story. (I’m not sure if that was the right decision because I felt like I was just taking pictures just to take pictures to share instead of being more mindful about the shot. This is totally something I could babble about for awhile…)

Chicago Gourmet Instagram Stories
A few of images from my Instagram Story

…and here are a few images from my camera –

Chicago Gourmet Chandon
Chicago Gourmet The Palm by Whispering Angel

Chicago Gourmet
I wish I had taken more food pictures!

Wow – I took a lot of booze pictures. ๐Ÿ˜‰

My overall thoughts on Chicago Gourmet –

  • The food lines get long. The best strategy is to stand in line for one and eat it while you’re waiting in the next line.
  • This is probably a great place to get hammered as there were TONS of wine and liquor booths…without lines. (This surprised me quite a bit.) Pace yourself.
  • I didn’t have a run in with Adam Rapoport. I’m a little sad about this. ๐Ÿ˜‰

So I didn’t get to relax on Sunday, but I definitely got a surge of energy from being out with a good friend and surrounded by the vibe of the city (I have a love affair with Chicago) and people.

The booze totally helped. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Sick Day

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Life, photography

The Kid was asked to stay home for a few days to make sure his HFMD was under control and wouldn’t be caught by his classmates. I understand where the school was coming from, but I was still pretty frustrated as I ended up having to stay home with him Monday. (The Hubs had been the real MVP and taking all the sick days the previous week. It was time for me to step up.) I was dressed for work and The Kid for school. I figured before I put him on an all-day video binge (so that I could focus on work) that we should take a few minutes to play around. So we did.


He started off the morning by playing with his blocks.


When he started stacking furniture, I knew it was time to move it on along….


So we decided to go outside and “take pictures”.


He told me that he didn’t want me to take his picture. “Let’s take a picture of Carol’s [our neighbor] house together!”

And then, he did his own thing:

[I love this so much.]


A few minutes later, I looked at my watch and saw it was 8:15. Work time.

Video time for him. (He wasn’t complaining.)

This wasn’t a bad day. He is a billion times easier to watch than his 22 month old sister (who definitely wouldn’t have let me do anything but play with her). But I’m glad he’s better & back in school. ๐Ÿ™‚

This Week

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Family Life, Life

Just thought I’d do a light memory card dump and share a few images from this past week.

I took this picture of The Girl on Monday morning. I think she was trying to eat her breakfast when I decided to take a picture of her (and the runny nose that I didn’t realize she had).This was her it’s-too-early-for-this look, lol.

This was us at the doctor’s office the next night. Her daycare had a little nasty thing going around (Hand,Foot and Mouth Disease, ewwwww). Kept her out of school the rest of the week. The Kid subsequently got it. So it’s been a bit of balance, juggling and stress trying to figure out alternative child care. I’m playing it cool, but I am so super duper frustrated. The Hubs, unfortunately, drew the short straw and stayed home with the kids so he’s equally frustrated. We’re not sure who to target our frustrations toward though, so it’s a lot of “This is the grossest virus ever….WHY???!!!???” (We’re experiencing confusing times around here.) We both know we’re not thrilled with the idea of not going into the office, but the end of this whole HFMD is near. (I feel it!) The Girl will probably be back at school tomorrow. I’m holding our breath that The Kid is ready….

Speaking of, he was 1000% easier to get to the doctor’s office. He cooperated and played nicely, so what more could I want?

This was him kicking it with some YouTube toy review while we were in the waiting area.

And surprise surprise, we left the doctor’s with a HFMD diagnosis for him. We kept him quarantined at home for the weekend, which he didn’t seem to mind because STRAWBERRY CUPCAKES:


My friend Nycole told me I should try to get him on Master Chef Jr, which wouldn’t be a bad idea except he’s three and doesn’t know how to make anything on his own except an Eggo waffle (even then…). Weird thing is that he woke up this morning requesting scrambled eggs. He went to the fridge and pulled out the butter & eggs and kinda did it himself (I had to help with the grown up stuff like turning on the stove). That would be awesome if started cooking meals (before his 4th birthday, ha).

It wouldn’t hurt if he was into doing dishes too. ๐Ÿ˜‰


Posted Leave a commentPosted in photography

I was in Vegas last week for work, and while I didn’t do anything that falls under the “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” motto (….at least not that I remember), I am so tired.

Me in the hotel elevator after a work reception. This was one of the nights I managed to make it to my room by 10:30. Actually, I think it was the only night, lol. And I still went to bed after midnight.
Me in the hotel elevator after a work reception. This was one of the nights I managed to make it to my room by 10:30. Actually, I think it was the only night, lol. And I still went to bed after midnight.

I came back Thursday afternoon and have slept 9-10 hours every night to catch up on the little sleep that I got while there. I’ll be caught up soon enough. Anyway, thought it was time to unload the photos off my memory card and share a few images of life lately.

This one is getting cuter (There was a period where strangers would approach me to say that I must have my hands full with “two boys”, so it’s nice that people are starting to see a girl when they look at her, ha):


She’s also more defiant (maybe independent is a better word?).

This is her drinking out of her sippy cup - without its lid. I told her not to do it, but hey, I'm just the mother. I'm supposed to be challenged. ;)
This is her drinking out of her sippy cup – without its lid. I told her not to do it, but hey, I’m just the mother. I’m supposed to be challenged. ๐Ÿ˜‰

One night, I thought it’d be fun to take pictures of the kids playing in the living room.

...which The Kid thought meant to sit on his sister.
…which The Kid thought meant to sit on his sister.

We had also placed a tent in his room just because we thought it’d be fun.


We didn’t realize he’d sleep in it.

So yeah, lots of crazy from the the two of them…


It all works. ๐Ÿ™‚

Flower Power & other random tidbits

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Cinemagraph/Stop Motion


Hi hi!

Hope everyone had a great 3-day weekend. We took it easy around here and met up with friends on Saturday and Sunday. The Girl – in all her 1.5 year old glory – was a little rough but I’m starting to feel us exit the baby stage of our lives. And it’s a pretty good feeling, I won’t lie. (I’m saying this but she screamed for a good five minutes while we were out at dinner on Saturday night, and on Sunday, she wouldn’t let anyone – but me and The Hubs – hold her. My ears are still ringing from the screams.) I took a bunch of pictures, but haven’t gotten around to taking them off my camera. Basically, I don’t have anything visual to share. However, since this is a blog, here are a few random things I want to put out into the world:

  • I stumbled upon a documentary covering Italian Vogue’s editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani’s life and career on Sunday afternoon. Watched it. Loved it. And the fact that it was directed by her son was just – wow. Afterwards, I googled Franca (as I wasn’t familiar with her before the documentary) and was crushed to learn that she had passed in 2016. I suppose that gives me another reason to watch the film again. It’s called Franca: Chaos and Creation – look it up.
  • Speaking of magazines, I subscribed to Vanity Fair. Hoping I’ll make the time to read it asย I appreciate their stories & photography (check out the photos on their Instagram page). I figured this was my small way of supporting the magazine because I refuse to let print die in my lifetime. (I have a thing for magazines and books in non-Kindle formats, I’ll admit….) On that note, I may have to consider subscribing to Italian Vogue….
  • I have two books on my nightstand – The Creative Curve by Allen Gannett and The Best Cook in the World by Rick Bragg.ย The Creative Curve was something I saw on Twitter and thought sounded interesting. I’m currently about 1/2 way through. So far I like it, but it seems like regurgitated information I’ve read from other business books. (If you’re looking for a business book recommendation, I recently read and enjoyedย When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel Pink.) And I’m very much looking forward to starting Rick Bragg’s book. After that, I’m going to go straight into Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret (any Crown fans out there?) by Craig Brown. Then, perhaps I can enjoy my new Vanity Fair subscription. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Behind The Lens

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Family Life, photography

For a Caribbean cruise, a few years back (pre-children) I bought a waterproof point-and-shoot camera thinking it’d be cool to take pictures under water.

under water photo
See? This is cool, right?

I used it a few other times, including the time my SIL came into town:

My SIL is always up for whatever nonsense I cook up
She’s always up for whatever nonsense I cook up

Long story short, The Kid had an interest in take pictures (I have no idea how or why this came about – ha), so I let him use the camera and he pretty much enjoyed himself.

kid with camera
Here he is with the camera.

The Girl was also a big fan of this camera and made many efforts to swipe it away from her brother. (I don’t have any pictures of her using the camera.) I think the interest in the camera was pretty high that we all know what happened next – the camera broke. I don’t know which kid did it, but the camera is legit broken. It’s a big time bummer, but hey, it happens. Kids break things. Which kinda scares me as The Girl now has a vested interest in Daphne.

This is me with Daphne (yes, I named her).
This is me with Daphne (yes, I named her).

….and er, here is The Girl with Daphne:

The Hubs freaks out whenever he sees her around poor helpless Daphne. But man, The Girl looks so cute when she (is trying to) shoot away. (I know I’ll be eating my words when Daphne’s fate ends with her.)

"I'm so good with Mama's camera!"
“I’m so good with Mama’s camera!”

Apple Holler (Sturtevant, Wisconsin)

Posted 2 CommentsPosted in Family Life, photography, Travel

The correct thing to do if you’re from Chicago and heading north into Wisconsin is to stop at Mar’s Cheese Castle. I think most people have intentions of picking up cheese curds, but there is also craft beer, pastry items and dried meats. Oh, and you can stop there for lunch as there’s a concession-like stand and a tavern. We did the concession-like stand.

Mars Cheese Castle
Here are the kids waiting for their food

Afterwards, we went on our merry way thinking we’d go straight to The Osthoff to meet our friends. But I kept seeing signs for Apple Holler and curiosity killed the cat….

Apple Holler sign

So yeah, we made a little detour to see what the Apple Holler was all about. Honestly, I thought it was going to be an apple stand, and we’d just drive past it.

When we got out of the car, this was the first sign I saw. Naturally, I made the kids take a picture in front of it:

Apple Holler

I didn’t realize that this was an apple orchard, and when I did realize it, I was pretty much into this place. There was a shop selling food (hello, cider donuts) and like other orchards, there was a corn maze…

Apple Holler
…which we got lost in

There was also a pretty big slide that the kids really loved going down:

apple holler wisconsin

The best part of the Apple Holler though are THE GOATS!

goats at apple holler


goats at apple holler


goat at apple holler



Since it was July, we were one of the few people there so we each had our time and space to feed the goats with the food that the people on site gave us. The Girl was very much not into the goats (she’s pretty much afraid of animals that aren’t Giada) and The Kid had to be eased into it (“The goats lick me!!!”).

feeding goat at Apple Holler

And then there were baby goats!

baby goats at apple holler


baby goats at apple holler

[I can pretty much tell you that if it pops up on the menu, I won’t ever be ordering goat again. These guys – or kids I should say – were too cute.]

The Hubs and I were pretty happy about this accidental find. We’re hoping to come back again this fall (because you know, apple donuts…).

Vroom vroom!
“We’ll be back! Vroom vroom!”

Alexa & Happy August

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Life, Stop Motion

“Alexa – you scary, guuuurl.”

It’s been a pretty eventful July. (How are we already at August?) I met up with a friend who was in town earlier in the month, stayed local for the 4th of July, caught with a few other friends, cooked a lot, finished up swim classes for the kids, did an annual vacation up at The Osthoff with my college friends & their families and my mom came into town (!!!) to spend time with us (and the kids…and my brother & SIL). Oh, and the job is going great! (Yay.) I’m typing this and realizing that I have a lot of pictures I want to share. I’ll try to make that my priority this month.

In the meantime, Happy August. ๐Ÿ™‚

Before their swim lessons
Before their swim lessons. (Slow down, summer!)

Skull dress

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Stop Motion


How cute is this dress? My friend C got it for The Girl, and it’s perfect for her.

I have a pile of pictures that have to be edited. One of these days I’ll sit and share them here. I also have to throw them into a photo book so that I can look back on this year – it’s been a good one so far. ๐Ÿ™‚

Ciao for now.