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5.31.2017

Day Date - Running

We're in the Midwest this week visiting family, and I was excited to get out for a run on the trail near my parent's house. I used to run a lot in my twenties, but as I got older and gained a bit of weight it became too hard for me and I stopped.

At the beginning of this year, after losing about 15 pounds through changing my diet, I gave running a try again, and was amazed how much easier it was now that I was a few pounds lighter.

So, while the kids were away sleeping over at my sister's house, Bill and I decided to do something together we haven't done in years - exercise!
My parents live near the Fox River in Illinois, and there is a bike trail that runs for miles along the river right by their house.
It was a nice change of scenery from my normal neighborhood run back in Phoenix; much more scenic for sure. I'm not going to lie, running is not my favorite thing, but the hardest part is just getting myself out the door. Once I start, it's not so bad, and I'm enjoying the progress I've been making.
We only ran about two and half miles. Bill can go a lot farther and faster than me, but he didn't seem to mind the slow pace. It was mostly about doing something active together. 

Do you workout with your significant other? We used to more when we were dating, but now pretty much workout exclusively by ourselves. This was definitely a rare exception to that. I think with being parents, working out is a nice way for us each to have some time to ourselves a couple of times a week. For me, I never want to do it, but I'm always glad I did when I'm done.

5.29.2017

Last Day of School - First Grade / Preschool

Madeleine is officially done with first grade!
I love seeing how much they grow in a year. She's wearing the same shorts in both these pictures. How funny!

And speaking of growing...
Seamus went from baby boy to well...just boy during his first preschool year. He grew up a lot in other ways too, and I'm so proud of how far he's come.


5.26.2017

2017 Father's Day Gift Guide

Father's Day will be here before you know it. If you're stumped on what to get your husband, boyfriend, or dad this year, I put together a few things he may enjoy. Happy shopping!

Every guy I know seems to love Deadpool ($11.79), so chances are yours will too. It's the superhero movie they wish they could have watched when they were a kid, but is totally inappropriate for their own kids. It'll appeal to their inner child, while reminding them how good it is to be the grown-up.

A quality knife, like this Wüsthof Santoku Knife ($169.95), will have him chopping away in the kitchen in no time. We've had this exact knife over 8 years, and it has held up amazing.


This Golfers BBQ Set ($26) is practical, fun, and a great combination of two of his favorite past times - golf and grilling!

He'll love a portable DoubleNest Hammock ($69.95). It fold up super small, and he can take it anywhere - camping, the beach, or even just to the backyard.

Simple, quality, and extremely economical, Harry's ($15) has reinvented the razor game. Get your favorite dad a starter gift set, then sign him up for their affordable subscription service to deliver new blades straight to his door when needed.

Do you have any go-to or great ideas for Father's Day gifts? What are you planning on getting, or what would you love to get?

5.24.2017

Let's Go To The Movies - Rough Night

Some girlfriends and I went to a special screening of the new Scarlett Johansson movie, Rough Night.

Five old friends head to Miami for a Bachelorette party weekend where things quickly go from bad to worse in a high jinks filled adventure they'll never forget.

I was pretty excited to see another female driven comedy and was hoping Rough Night would be up to the caliber of Bridesmaids, but alas, it fell quite short. It was much darker than I was expecting and entirely unbelievable. Still, I can't say I didn't laugh. Kate McKinnon was the standout of the bunch. Listening to her do an Australian accent for the duration of the film was worth the price of admission alone (full disclosure - I didn't pay anything to see this, but still, you get my meaning). Scarlett Johansson, was an unexpected choice for this style of comedy, and while she had her moments, I'd say raunchy comedies are definitely not her genre. Overall, Rough Night is somewhat amusing, but it will be equally as good from the comfort of your living room when it hits DVD. No need to rush out to the theater for this one.
I did have fun being out with friends though. The marketing company went all out with games, a photo booth, and prizes to promote the film. I remember having quite a few "rough nights" with these lovely ladies back in the day. Good times.

5.22.2017

Madeleine's First...Piano Recital

I have another Madeleine related post coming at you. She recently had her first piano recital!
She started taking piano lessons in January of this year. I'm not quite sure if she even likes it or not yet, but for now, she's learning. It's a struggle getting her to practice sometimes, but once she gets a song, she'll play it all day long. 

I surprisingly got her into a dress for the performance too, as she put it, "It's the mature thing to do."
Another "first" in the book for her. So proud of this girl!

5.19.2017

Pancakes à la Madeleine

Bill recently taught Madeleine a new skill - making pancakes!! She can't wait until the weekends now, and loves making herself breakfast.
I sometimes forget how capable kids can be if you let them. Sure, I could make the pancakes faster (and neater), but she's so proud of herself and loves being self-sufficient.
What surprising things can your kids do by themselves already? At what age did you let them near the stove or oven? We haven't gotten that far yet. I'm good with her staying at the griddle under supervision stage for awhile longer yet.

5.17.2017

Let's Go To The Movies - Snatched

A friend and I went to see the new Amy Schumer/Goldie Hawn comedy, Snatched recently.

Dumped by her boyfriend days before they were set to vacation in Equador, Emily (Amy Schumer) convinces her homebody mother, Linda (Goldie Hawn) to accompany her on the trip instead. When things don't go as planned, the two, despite their differences, must work together to save themselves from their nightmare jungle adventure.

It's been ages since I've seen a good comedy at the theaters, and I'm happy to say that Snatched didn't disappoint. It was consistently funny and outrageous throughout. Amy Schumer does her thing, and it was delightful to see Goldie Hawn on screen again. She's amazing! The story was darker than I thought it would be, but they fully committed, so it ended up working for me once I realigned my expectations. Snatched is a great female driven comedy, a great mother/daughter comedy, and just a straight up great comedy. If you're in need of a good laugh, this is your movie.

What movies are you looking forward to seeing this summer?

5.15.2017

Whale Watching & A Half Marathon

We recently popped over to California for a quick visit with my father-in-law and to watch Bill run another half marathon.

We drove Friday night, and rolled into Costa Mesa well past the kids' bedtime. The next morning we were up bright and early to go whale watching. Bill got tickets from Groupon to Davey's Locker.
We set out on the first tour of the day, which was nice because there was hardly anyone on the boat. Probably because it was a chilly morning and the threat of rain was looming.
We were all smiles as the boat headed out towards Newport Landing.
The kids loved being on the boat. Me? Not so much. The weather made for a very choppy ride. We didn't see any whales this trip, but did run into a pod of dolphins which was fun. They were jumping out of the water like crazy, but I wasn't able to get any good pictures. We also saw a pile of sea lions hanging out on a big buoy.
I made it through watching the dolphins, but shortly thereafter my lovely seasickness kicked in; and I was pretty much done. Luckily Bill does not get seasick, and apparently neither do the kids. They were having a blast with the bumpy ride and getting sprayed by the occasional wave.
I try not to let the potential of getting sick stop me from doing things like this. If I get sick, like this trip, than I do. No big deal. I've gone on many a boat/plane/car ride where I'm totally fine, so it's a risk I'm always willing to take in search of a good time.
The next day, Bill ran The OC Half Marathon for the second time. It was a cold and rainy day, but Bill was undeterred. We don't get cold and rainy in Phoenix much, so I don't think he minded the conditions at all.
My father-in-law, the kids, and I got up and out a little later and found a nice spot to watch for a bit.
We were all excited to see Bill when he ran by, and he was so excited to see us too! I think it helps break up the monotony to see a few friendly faces during a long run. Hopefully it gave him a little boost of motivation to keep going and finish the 13.1 run.
We went to breakfast after that, and by the time we were finished, so was Bill. Another successful race in the books for him.
We stuck around for lunch, but then it was right back in the car for the 6 hour trek back to Phoenix. It was definitely too quick a trip for how much driving we did, but the kids were troopers, and I'd pretty much do anything to support Bill. So proud of this handsome guy!

What have you guys been up to? Have you ever traveled a long way for a short visit? Bill and I once drove from Milwaukee to South Dakota for a weekend. We were just in the mood to see Mount Rushmore, so we thought, why not?

5.12.2017

2017 Met Gala - Final Looks

Alright, let's put the 2017 Met Gala to bed with this one last post showcasing a few other noteworthy looks, plus my favorite of the night.

Lily Collins in Giambattista Vali
Lily Collins is channeling her inner Goth princess here, and I'm digging it. I'm a fan of anyone who takes the risk to go more high fashion instead of just pretty. The black and ballet pink provide great contrast; while the shape and texture of the skirt provide texture and visual interest. However, it's the blunt bob and dark make-up that really elevated the overall look. Great job, Lily!

Lena Dunham in Elizabeth Kennedy
Lena Dunham achieves a personal best in this burgundy and black gingham gown. That's a lot of dress, but it's not overpowering her. The pattern and pleating provide plenty of visual interest, and the simple hair and make-up let the dress shine. Nice job, Lena!

Kate Hudson in Stella McCartney
Kate Hudson wore this one-shouldered sleek white dress. I love the shape and that one puffed sleeve. The make-up is perfect, and the platinum top-knot and white nail polish complete the monochromatic look. Nicely done, Kate!  

Elle Fanning in Miu Miu
Elle Fanning looked an ethereal beauty in this blue strapless gown. It's age appropriate, and the color suits her pale skin perfectly. Simple hair and make-up compliment the look well. Just lovely.

Ruth Negga in Valentino
Ruth rocked in this regal white and green structured look. I loved the pattern and the colors, but it was the interesting silhouette of the gown that really made the look. She carries herself well, this one. Great job, Ruth!

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
Mary-Kate (left) and Ashley (right) Olsen opted for coordinating bohemian looks (designer unknown). Again, I appreciate those that don't just go the pretty route. There's so much going on here that begs for a closer look. The textures, the lace, the layers, the patterns - I could stare at it all day. I particularly loved Ashley'a jacket. Nice job, ladies! 

Jennifer Lopez in Valentino
Jennifer Lopez was covered head to toe in this flowy blue gown. She's giving off a great vintage vibe here that suits her well. The hair extensions were a little over the top, but come on, she's Jennifer Lopez. It wouldn't be her without a little diva added to the look. Lovely job, Jennifer. 

Reese Witherspoon in Mugler
Reese Witherspoon opted for this black and blue one-shouldered number. Reese has a pretty strict red carpet uniform, so this was a surprisingly chic deviation from that; yet still very much in her comfort zone. This dress is all about that shoulder, and I loved that blue fabric. Simple pony and make-up let the understated dress shine, and I loved the art-deco feel the jewelry brought to the look. Great job, Reese!

Zoey Deutch in Tory Burch
Zoey Deutch wore this white mod style dress with bell sleeves. I loved this whole look, and it is very much what I would consider a "me" gown if I were to ever attend a fancy event such as this (I wish!). It ticks all my boxes - simple, structured, crew neck, long sleeves, and statement jewelry. She looks lovely from head to toe. Beautiful job, Zoey!

AND FINALLY...
Blake Lively in Versace
Blake Lively wore this stunner of dress and my favorite of the night. The construction on this thing is insane. The individual strands of gold hang perfectly to give the illusion of a solid color. Then, the pop of blue from the feathered train is just the icing on the cake. The hair, make-up, and jewelry all compliment the look perfect. Man, would I have loved to see this thing move in person. Loved it!

There you have it. What was your favorite look of the 2017 Met Gala?


All photos from here.

5.11.2017

2017 Met Gala - The Models

As the Met Gala is the fashion world's biggest night, I always like to check out the looks the professional models put together. Let's take a look!

Gisele Bundchen in Stella McCartney
Gisele Bundchen wore this stunner of a silver dress. The fit is fantastic! It's a gorgeous fabric, and I love the crew neck, long sleeves, and train. It's very modest as well, but the side cut-outs keep it from feeling too matronly. The simple pony tail, fresh face, and jewelry all compliment the look well. I even loved the gold clutch. Great job, Gisele! 

Candace Swanepoel in Topshop
Candace Swanepoel wore this black ball gown that really showed off her top half - toned arms, tiny waist, and ample decolletage. The cat-eye was cool, but I was disappointed in the hair and lack of lip and nail color. I also would have liked to see some big sparkly jewels. A pair of chandelier earrings or necklace would have been a fun addition. All-in-all, this look was just okay for me.

Daria Strokous in Christian Dior
Daria Strokous opted for this black feathered dress. I love the sort of Gothic forest nymph vibe here. It's light and airy, but the dark color brings the drama. The fit is great, and I loved the soft up-do and natural face. Nicely done, Daria!

Stella Maxwell in H&M
Stella Maxwell opted for this white fringed number. I thought the skirt looked unfinished. There are a lot of wide gaps between the fringed sections. I would have loved to see so much more fringe. Not my favorite dress, but her face does look pretty fierce. Over all though, this one was a miss for me.

Adriana Lima in Alberta Ferretti
Adriana Lima wore this black plunging v-neck gown with high slit. You know, it fits her well and her face looks, well...gorgeous, but it's kind of a yawn for the Met Gala, no? It's a pretty, but an ultimately forgettable look.

Kendall Jenner in La Perla
Kendall Jenner wore this sheer black number. I thought it had enough interesting construction to fit the theme of the night. I was disappointed by her hair and make-up though. I know I always want more lip color, but this particular shade seems to compete with look instead of compliment it. Still, not a bad look overall.

Lily Aldridge in Balenciaga
Lily Aldridge's white satin gown with red boot-tights was a great choice for the night. There's complexity to the construction, and the vivid pops of colors provide fun contrast. Simple hair, make-up, and jewelry compliment the look well. Nicely done, Lily.

Taylor Hill in Carolina Herrera
Taylor Hill wore this off the shoulder burgundy gown. It's pretty dull for a Met Gala dress, but she still looks quite elegant and poised. The color of the fabric looks lovely with her skin tone and I loved the moody make-up. Good job, Taylor.

Karlie Kloss in Carolina Herrera
Karlie Kloss went the menswear route sans pants. It's a simple and chic look that she wears well. It's perhaps a little casual for the event, but I appreciated that it was not your run of the mill red carpet gown either. I approve.

Miranda Kerr in Oscar de la Renta
Miranda Kerr opted for this floral tea length ball gown. It has a great vintage vibe and I loved the fabric! I would have loved to see her hair down, but the make-up and jewelry more than make up for it. She looks happy and ready to twirl. Great job, Miranda!  

AND FINALLY...

Gigi Hadid in Hilfiger Collection
Gigi Hadid rocked this asymetrical nude number. Even though there's not a lot of color here, there's still so much to look at. It's structured, yet flowy; severe, yet feminine - great contrast and texture all around. Plus, fishnets! How fun. This is some Met Gala realness right here. Awesome job, Gigi!


All photos from here.

5.10.2017

2017 Met Gala - It Don't Matter If You're Black Or White

Black and white was another popular trend at the Met Gala this year. Let's take a look!

Margaret Qualley in Atelier Prabal Gurung
For a Met Gala gown, Margaret Qualley's gown is quite understated, but there's no denying it's a pretty look. Simple, elegant, and classic. Well done, Margaret.

Allison Williams in Diane von Furstenberg
Allison Williams opted for this severe white dress with black corset, and it's all working for me. It has a great "Old Hollywood" feel to it, and she wears it well (although she is looking a tad thin). The hair is styled well, great jewelry, cool black nails, and that cat-eye and bright red lips are the perfect finishing touches. Great job, Allison!

Dree Hemingway in Diane von Furstenberg
Dree Hemingway wore this graphic black and white crochet-esque dress. I actually like the main part of the dress. The circles are fun and the woven look brings a lot of visual interest. She lost me at the weird sash draping across the front though. Plus, the natural hair and naked face makes the entire look seem too casual. Not a complete miss for me, but more of a "meh" look overall.

Kerry Washington in Michael Kors
Kerry Washington opted for this black and silver patchwork dress. While the patterns are all interesting and fun, I didn't like the overall effect of them stitched together as such. This is another gown that comes off looking cheap even though it most certainly is not. Great hair and make-up though. You'll get 'em next time, Kerry.

Alexa Chung in Diane von Furstenberg
Alexa Chung's black polka dotted gown suits her perfectly. It's a good shape for her and the polka dots keep it light and fun. It's not nearly "enough" for the event, but she still looks good. Okay job, Alexa.

Jennifer Connelly in Louis Vuitton
Jennifer Connelly wore this plaid short dress that feels much too casual for the event. Styled differently, this could work as day wear, which is not something you want for your Met Gala gown. It's cute, and she looks good, but I feel like I've seen this look from her 100 times and was hoping for more. This one was a miss for me.

Chrissy Teigen in Marchesa
Chrissy Teigan wore this white lace gown, and while I appreciated the drama and effort put into the look, the dress is overpowering on her slender frame. There is so much going on at the neck and wrists it's as if she's being swallowed up by all those flowers. I also wasn't a fan of the black underlay. Still, huge points for taking a risk, so overall, not bad, Chrissy.

Celine Dion in Versace
Celine Dion wore this black and silver number. I think the whole thing would have worked better without the silver t-shirt mini-dress underneath. Lose that part and connect all the black and it would have been quite striking. It may not be my favorite gown, but yet, she looks so happy her joy is rubbing off on me. So, I'm going to give her a solid, "You go, girl!" Sometimes all it takes is the right attitude to pull a look together.

Ruby Rose in Burberry
Ruby Rose opted for this ruffly tiered gown. I thought it was a nice juxtaposition against her tattoos and the black and white downplays what is really quite a frilly and feminine dress. Her hair looks great, but I would have liked to see a brighter/darker lip color to provide a bit of contrast. Overall though, nice job, Ruby. 


AND FINALLY...

Janelle Monáe in Ralph and Russo
I, of course, couldn't do a post about black and white ensembles without featuring Janelle Monáe! It's her trademark colors, and like always, she knocked this look out of the park. To quote Despicable Me, "It's so fluffy! I'm Gonna Die!" Seriously, that skirt is awesome! The feathers around her neck are a tad heavy for her petite frame, but overall this was a great look. Fantastic job, Janelle!


All photos from here.