April 2017



Magnus’ Nursery

Written by , Posted in Motherhood

At long last, Magnus’ nursery! I spent many a day and night before Magnus was born combing through Pinterest, Instagram, and design blogs to gather ideas for his nursery and it was so much fun! A little stressful, trying to find the *perfect* things, but when it all came together I couldn’t have been happier. This is really the only room in our entire house that I consider “done”, so I love spending as much time in here as possible. Now that Magnus is on the move, we spend a lot of time in his more contained playroom, but we still manage to squeeze a little time in here everyday.

nursery, glass door knob, shhhh

modern nursery, grey glider

Nursery, white crib, roxy marj, safari mobile, cactus sheets

nursery, knit safari mobile

Nursery, white crib, roxy marj, safari mobile, cactus sheets

Nursery, white crib, roxy marj, safari mobile, cactus sheets

Nursery, Winnie The Pooh bookends, white radiator, Tellkiddo sleeping bear toy storage

Winnie The Pooh, bookends, radiator, never stop exploring

Nursery, Bookshelf, Children's Books

babyletto, book shelves, nursery

Nursery nook, book shelves, wallpaper, black and white

Nursery nook, book shelves, wallpaper, black and white, wood and white stool

room and board dresser, modern city prints

Beauty Counter, Cocovit, Coconut Oil, Baby Products


Crib – Babyletto
Crib Sheet – Biscuit Home
Glider – Dutailier
Changing Pad – Keekaroo
Dresser – Room & Board
Book shelves – IKEA
Bookshelf – Babyletto
Sleeping Bear Storage Bag – Tellkiddo
Tool Box – Tosca
Rug – IKEA
Knit mobile – Patricija (Etsy)
City Prints – Tomas Pernicky (Etsy)
Never Stop Exploring Print – Society6
Wallpaper – LivettesKIDS
Shhhh mini banner – MatriarchHandmade (Etsy)
Elephant Head – Near & Deer
Birth Poster – The Birth Poster
Mirror – IKEA
Hello Pillow – Land of Nod
Floor Lamp – IKEA
Blanket Ladder – Umbra
Honeycomb side table – Target
Campsite Night Light – Land of Nod
Clock – West Elm
Lion Throw – Roxy Marj
Sheepskin Throw – IKEA
Bison Quilt – Little Unicorn
Dip-Dyed Stool – Serena & Lily
Whale Plush – Tapla Things (Etsy)
Taxi Push Toy – Manny & Simon
Knit Cat – Cuddle & Kind
Stuffed Bear – Hazel Village
Cactus Plush – Julia Staite
Baby Skin Products – BeautyCounter




November 2016



Hello Magnus!

Written by , Posted in Motherhood

One month ago our lives changed forever when Mike and I welcomed our sweet baby boy, Magnus Michael, into the world. These last few weeks have seen lots of ups and downs (and we haven’t seen a whole lot of sleep), but whenever I look at Magnus’ cute little face and chubby little cheeks, all the tears and frustration melt away and all I see is this tiny little boy who I already love more than I ever thought possible. It’s crazy how much he has already changed in just a month and I’m already wishing I could slow down time to soak up just a little bit more of his perfect newborn-ness.


While it seems crazy that he’s already a month old, his actual birth seems like it was wayyyy long ago. I planned to have a natural birth from the very beginning, even before I found out that I was pregnant. I knew that it would be painful but I also knew there was no way for me to imagine what the pain would feel like, so I wasn’t afraid and I really just wanted to let me body do its thing. We took a birth class through Chicago Family Picnic, I read lots of books, especially those by Ina May Gaskin, I had my doula lined up, and I kept thinking positive birthing thoughts throughout my pregnancy. By the time my due date finally arrived I was ready, and apparently so was Magnus. So without further ado, Magnus’ birth story…


I woke up at 2am on Friday, September 30 and after my usual bathroom break I got back into bed and felt my first contraction. It was definitely different than anything I had felt before but I knew that didn’t necessarily mean anything – although something in the back of my mind told me that this little guy might enjoy being punctual like his mom and show up on his due date. For the last week Mike had been sleeping in the guest bedroom (since I was taking up more than half of the bed) so I let him sleep and figured I’d wait and see if these contractions were going to go anywhere.

After getting back into bed I felt this crazy hunger come on and all I could think about was pizza – I was even googling if Chicago Pizza was still open – I was jonesin’ hard. Sadly it was not, but I proceeded to dig a frozen pizza out and eat the entire thing. Good thing because that’s about the only real sustenance I had until around 11pm that night. After my pizza binge I got back into bed and started timing the contractions (there’s an app for that), and they were averaging 15 minutes apart and 1 minute long. I tried going back to sleep but I was so excited/nervous at the thought that we might end up meeting Magnus that day (and focused on timing my contractions) that I was awake now for the long haul.

A few hours later Mike woke up and I let him know I was having contractions but didn’t know if or when they would pick up. Luckily he was working from home that day so he was able to keep me hydrated and check in on me throughout the day. I texted my mom and doula and let them know the same and then continued to work through the contractions lying in bed for the next few hours. We were in the home stretch of our latest round of home renovations and our house was filled with workers that day, so the sounds of a nail gun make up the soundtrack of my labor, along with the smells of fresh paint wafting up from the first floor.

Around noon some of my contractions started to become a little more intense; I tried squatting, bouncing on the medicine ball, and leaning over the medicine ball while Mike squeezed my hips to get through them, but I ended up being most comfortable sitting on the end of the bed because Magnus just felt way too heavy in any other position. Even though the contractions seemed to be picking up in intensity, they were becoming more spaced out – some of them 25-35 minutes apart, so I really didn’t know what to make of them. At that point I decided we needed to get out and take a walk, so Mike, Ruby, and I headed out for a stroll around the neighborhood while I worked through a few more contractions. Because I was aiming for a natural labor and my water hadn’t broken yet, the magic number we were looking for  was 3-1-1….we weren’t supposed to head to the hospital until I was having contractions that were 1 minute long and 3 minutes apart for 1 hour.

After the walk things started to pick up. Even though I still wasn’t sure the “main event” was going to happen that day, I texted my doula, Kathryn, to head over because I was having much more trouble getting through each contraction. She arrived at 5pm and immediately jumped in, giving me acupuncture (she’s also my acupuncturist), busting out the essential oils, rubbing my back like crazy through contractions, and getting me to stand up and walk up and down the hall when I really did not want to. Mike took over the contraction timing while Kathryn handled pain relief, and I texted my mom that even though I wasn’t sure when I’d be ready to head to the hospital, she might want to start heading downtown. Throughout the day I was worried about getting to the hospital – if things picked up and we had to get from the northwest side to Prentice during rush hour it was going to take at least 45 minutes to an hour, and I was not looking forward to that.

After Kathryn arrived it didn’t take long for things to escalate – quickly. After one of my most painful contractions I threw up – there was definitely a desperate scream for Mike to get a trash can – and we decided to call the midwives around 7pm. The midwife on call told us to call back in about 45 minutes or if my water broke, because my contractions still hadn’t reached the regularity where they would usually tell me to head in. Maybe 15 minutes after Mike got off the phone with her I had this feeling come over me that we needed to leave for the hospital NOW. I told Mike and Kathryn and at first they said let’s just wait a little longer and call Meredith (the midwife) when she told us to. Well, then I told them I felt like I needed to push (which is usually a sign you’re very close to giving birth) and that was all they needed to hear. The thought of getting myself from the bedroom upstairs to the car in the garage seemed nearly impossible but with Mike’s help we made it and were off.

Luckily it was around 7:45pm and the express lanes on the highway had just opened so we were able to make it downtown very quickly – although not without some serious struggling on my part. I was moaning probably the entire ride and Chicago’s pothole situation did not make it much easier. Side note on the moaning/labor noises – for months prior to the birth, I was so worried about being self conscious about any noises I was going to have to make during labor. Let me tell you, that self-consciousness went out the window very quickly when the first difficult contractions came on – you do what you gotta do!

We pulled up in front of Prentice and they got me into a wheelchair and into triage very quickly – although still giving me enough time in the lobby for the woman at the front desk to tell my mom that she was sure I was going to have the baby right there. They hurried us into triage when I told them I felt like pushing and after an extremely painful cervix check by the nurse, she said I was 10cm (fully dilated) and ready to go. They shuttled me up the the delivery room and I was pushing as soon as they had me set up. I thought the contractions leading up to this were bad (and was swearing at myself for deciding on a natural birth) – well, they were nothing compared to the pushing. I was screaming movie-style and thought there was no way I would ever be able to do this. Who are these women talking about a “beautiful” natural birth?? Not me! I had a death grip and then some on Mike’s hand as he stood next to me letting me know when my next contraction was coming and telling me how great I was doing, my doula Kathryn rubbing my shoulders and also reassuring me that I was doing great, and Meredith the midwife getting me to stop screaming and hold my breath to push during each contraction. Luckily with everyone’s support I was able to focus and was only pushing for maybe 10-15 minutes before Magnus arrived less than 40 minutes after our arrival to the hospital! Immediately he was on my chest and it was, as everyone says, love at first sight. Relief, excitement, love for Magnus and for Mike, and accomplishment were just a few of the emotions washing over me at that moment. It was surreal that this little baby that I had been carrying for 9 long months was now here with us, and he was perfect!


Even with the pain I still felt/feel like I wouldn’t change a thing about Magnus’ birth, although in the days that followed I definitely contemplated whether or not I would consider going the natural route again if we have a second child. Slowly but surely my mind has been pushing out the most painful memories and I’m already to the point of thinking I’d do the exact same thing again – I guess that’s nature’s way of ensuring you keep procreating! My recovery seemed quick and easy, Magnus had no issues, and my body did its thing just like it was supposed to (painful as it was) – not much more I could ask for! After this whole first baby experience I now truly understand how much of a miracle creating, carrying, and birthing a baby is, however you do it, and I feel incredibly lucky to have Magnus here with us now!




September 2016



A Weekend in Charleston

Written by , Posted in Restaurants, Travel

Back in July I spent an extended weekend in Charleston, SC for my sister-in-law’s bachelorette party and, as expected, I LOVED Charleston! The 90+ temps in July were no joke, especially considering I was 6 months pregnant, but I just stuck to black clothes to mask the sweat and accepted the fact that I was just going to be hot at all times! Charleston has so much to offer from its adorable southern charm (think colorful old row homes and brick-paved streets), to the nearby beaches, to a ton of great bars, breweries, and distilleries (which I intend to enjoy when we return and I am not pregnant!), and of course THE FOOD! So. Much. Amazing. Food. And that I got plenty of! Here’s a round-up of some of the best Charleston has to offer, we didn’t make it everywhere on this list, but all the more reason to return…

Charleston, South Carolina

Where To Eat

698 King St, Charleston, SC 29403

Leon’s was my absolute favorite spot in Charleston – I loved it so much that I went twice! Leon’s is a little farther north on King St, but 100% worth the trip. Stop in at nearby Edmund’s Oast for a drink before or after. Obviously the food was AMAZING – I started with the grilled oysters, hush puppies, and the peach and heirloom tomato salad and finished off with an order of their famous fried chicken. Everything was delicious but the hush puppies were the best I’ve ever had, hands down. I would also highly recommend the peach salad – it’s somewhat of a weird combo of ingredients with mushrooms and a tofu cream dressing but it really worked! Of course you also have to try the fried chicken – I recommend the standard fried chicken over the fried chicken sandwich – I tried the sandwich on my return visit and while it was still really good, the fried chicken shines on its own. Finish off your meal with a cute little vanilla soft serve cone topped with sprinkles and you’re good to go! Did I mention they also have rosé on tap?!? They made me a fantastic mocktail, but yea, definitely need to return when I’m not pregnant!

Charleston, South Carolina, Leon's Oyster Shop

Charleston, South Carolina, Leon's Oyster Shop, Interior

Charleston, South Carolina, Leon's Oyster Shop, Grilled Oysters

Charleston, South Carlina, Leon's Oyster Shop, Peach and Heirloom Tomato Salad

Charleston, South Carolina, Leon's Oyster Shop, Hush Puppies

Charleston, South Carolina, Leon's Oyster Shop, Fried Chicken

The Daily
652 King St, Charleston, SC 29403

Just about a block or so from Leon’s is another one of my favorite Charleston finds – The Daily. We stopped in for a quick breakfast before heading out of town and I definitely regretted not checking them out earlier. In addition to quick breakfast eats like avocado toast and breakfast sandwiches and tacos, they also have a great line-up of smoothies, fresh-pressed juices, and most importantly, all your coffee and espresso needs. I HIGHLY recommend trying the Aztec Cacao smoothie – made with cold brew coffee, almond milk, banana, cacao nibs, cinnamon, cayenne and ancho pepper – I’m in the process of trying to recreate this at home!

Xiao Bao Biscuit

On Thursday night, our first night in Charleston, 8 of us had arrived into town and had a late dinner at Xiao Bao Biscuit. It’s a small space inside of what I think was possibly an old gas station, luckily they were winding down and were able to seat us fairly quickly (no reservations here – and not even a phone!). Everything we ate was delicious, we ordered a first round of several dishes that were brought out as they were ready and then ordered more of the dishes we liked until we were stuffed. The table’s favorite dish was definitely the Okonomiyaki, a Japanese cabbage pancake, topped with an egg of course, but like I said, everything was really good, including the cocktails!

Hominy Grill

We stopped into Hominy Grill for a later brunch/lunch on Friday and their famous Charleston Nasty Biscuit did not disappoint. Sadly we missed out on the breakfast menu but luckily this fried chicken sandwich with gravy is available all day. Our table shared a few apps – hush puppies, fried green tomatoes, and okra & shrimp beignets, but they weren’t our favorite – unfortunately they just tasted like fried things with no real flavor. I would stick with southern staples like this biscuits, shrimp and grits, etc – I think that is where Hominy really shines.

Charleston, South Carolina, Hominy Grill, Charleston Nasty Biscuit and Gravy

The Park Cafe
730 Rutledge Ave, Charleston, SC 29403

Our last dinner in Charleston on Saturday night was up in the air, but luckily I was able to get a reservation at The Park Cafe and it was perfect! Finding reservations for a group of 10 is no easy feat in Charleston, especially on Friday and Saturday nights, so I was super excited to hear they had an opening. It was a little farther north of the main King St. drag, which is probably why it wasn’t super busy, but it was perfect for our group’s “last supper” – delicious seasonal dishes, super cute minimal space, and not very loud at all so we could all hear each from each end of the table. The homemade pastas were a big hit at our table, but definitely do not miss out on the house-made ricotta and/or burrata, I’m fairly positive I could eat an entire order myself, SO good!


If you have a sweet tooth you have to stop into Kaminsky’s Dessert Cafe. It’s right in the heart of downtown Charleston and not only do they have an amazing case of baked goods greeting you as you walk in, they also have a crazy menu of boozy and/or espresso filled cocktails and milkshakes.

Charleston, South Carolina, Kaminsky's, Cake

Rita’s Seaside Grill

On Saturday we spent the day at Folly Beach and grabbed lunch at Rita’s Seaside Grille, mainly because it was the closest restaurant to where we were hanging out at the beach. Little did we know this was not just your average beach diner! We started with their ahi tuna and watermelon nachos which were delicious and I indulged in the shrimp ‘n grits – my belly was sticking out anyways, so no need to worry about a big lunch on a beach day! While I’m definitely no shrimp ‘n grits expert, this dish was so insanely good, I didn’t want it to end! If you’re near Folly I highly recommend checking out Rita’s.

Rita's Seaside, Folly Beach, Charleston, South Carolina, Shrimp and Grits


Unfortunately our plans changed and we didn’t make it to Husk, but I had to mention it because it is probably Charleston’s most well-known restaurant with James Beard Award-winning Chef Sean Brock at the helm.

232 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29401

Sadly they didn’t take reservations for groups of more than 6, but when we return to Charleston FIG is on the top of my list for dinner!

Slightly North Of Broad (SNOB)
192 E Bay St, Charleston, SC 29401

Up there with FIG, Slightly North of Broad is way up there on my Charleston to-do list.

Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit
476 King St, Charleston, SC 29403

A tiny little shop that puts out some amazing biscuits. On Fridays Callie’s also has fried chicken sandwiches which I’ve heard are worth the wait. They’re also open late night 10pm-2am on Fridays and Saturdays for the bar crowd.

Peninsula Grill
Planters Inn, 112 N Market St, Charleston, SC 29401

Even if you don’t plan on eating a full meal here, make some time to stop in for a slice of their famous Ultimate Coconut Cake.

Tattooed Moose
1137 Morrison Dr, Charleston, SC 29403

Better-than-your-average-bar-food bar food. Try Mike’s Famous Duck Club.

The Macintosh

Locally-sourced, modern American fare, also home to the Bacon Happy Hour.

Cannon Green

Gorgeous space, outdoor seating, worth a visit.

167 Raw
289 E Bay St, Charleston, SC 29401

For all your Charleston seafood needs.

The Grocery
4 Cannon St, Charleston, SC 29403

Another seasonal, local/regional restaurant with a menu that sounds unique and delicious.

Lost Dog Cafe

Another highly rated spot on Folly Beach.

Black Tap Coffee

Coolest spot in Charleston to get your caffeine fix.

City Lights Coffee

Another great choice for coffee in Charleston.


Where To Drink

Stars Rooftop

The Belmont

The Rooftop at The Vendue

Closed for Business

The Gin Joint

Edmund’s Oast


Where To Shop


My favorite shop in Charleston, and more candle scents than I have ever seen! It’s a little intimidating at first, but the staff is great at helping you find the scents you love from their massive scent library. Bonus, they have super inexpensive flat rate shipping so you can buy as many candles as you’d like for yourself and loved ones and have them shipped back home instead stuffing them in your suitcase! They also have candle making classes which I think would be super fun.

Charleston, South Carolina, Candlefish, Candles

The Commons

This tiny little shop is hidden down an alleyway so it’s easy to miss – but worth the extra search. Beautiful, minimal, American-made home goods – higher price point, but worth a browse.

Charleston, South Carolina, The Commons, Home Store

Candy Shop Vintage
9 Cannon St, Charleston, SC 29403

Great spot to find some super cool vintage jewelry, and also where you’ll find a great variety of Charleston Rice Bead jewelry.

Croghan’s Jewel Box
308 King St, Charleston, SC 29401

Even if you don’t plan on making a purchase, a stop at Croghan’s Jewel Box is a must when visiting Charleston. They have a super impressive selection of estate and antique jewelry and if you’re looking to buy a piece that won’t break the bank, check out their goldbug collection.

Charleston Farmers Market
329 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29403

Pretty self-explanatory, open Saturdays April – November.

56 Queen St, Charleston, SC 29401

Quirky little antique/vintage shop.

Hampden Clothing
314 King St, Charleston, SC 29401

Trendy women’s clothing boutique.

Finicky Filly
303 King St, Charleston, SC 29401

Another luxury women’s clothing boutique in the heart of Charleston’s shopping district.

Indigo & Cotton
79 Cannon St, Charleston, SC 29403

A little something for the men.

Mac & Murphy

Cute little paper/stationary shop.


What To Do

Rainbow Row

Pretty painted houses near the waterfront, one of Charleston’s most popular sites.

Charleston, South Carolina, Rainbow Row

Waterfront Park

Charleston, South Carolina, Waterfront Park, Pineapple Fountain

Folly Beach

Arthur Ravenel Junior Bridge

Firefly Distillery

Magnolia Plantation & Gardens

Charleston Tea Plantation

Boone Hall Plantation & Gardens


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