Monday, June 23, 2014

Chicago Food Favorites, Part II (See Jane Eat)

Two summers ago, I gave recommendations of my favorite Chicago restaurants and thought I'd share some new places.  Just like last time, I included restaurants in various neighborhoods around the city.  Also, be sure to check out my instagram, too, as I often tag the restaurants where I eat.

Best steakhouse: Bavettes Bar + Beouf (a great place even for a non-beef eater!)
Best doughnuts: Stan's Donuts (bonus: they have delicious coffee)
Best patio: Parsons Chicken + Fish (sorry, Big Star--I can't deal with your four hour wait times anymore; Parson's only has a TWO hour wait)
Best pizza: Spacca Napoli (I still love Piece but if I want true, Italian pizza, go to Spacca Napoli)
Best gelato: Black Dog (go for the unique flavors; I love the goat cheese cashew!)
Best cheap eats: L'Patron Tacos (tips: pick it up to go. the veggie burrito is the best I've had. and order the guacamole + chips)
Best group dinner: Cho Sun Ok (It's the most delicious Korean BBQ I've had outside of LA and yes, the waitresses are brusque, but it's all in good fun)
Best dessert: Bang Bang Pie Shop (The key lime pie is so good, I'd eat it for breakfast)
Best Chinese: Lao Sze Chaun (Must head to Chinatown for the best--and Lao Sze Chaun is delicious)
Best kale salad: Siena Tavern (I had to include something healthy on here, although, I'm not sure it's considered healthy seeing as how delicious it is.  Their meatball is also amazing)

I've lived in this fair city for seven years now, so if you want any other lists (i.e. beauty, bars, shopping, baby friendly) let me know!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Newborn Essentials (See Jane Learn)

  1. stroller - quite possibly my most researched item--and I love it.
  2. iPad - because you will be watching a lot of netflix during feedings and naptimes.
  3. crib - you want safety and style for your little one (I went with an Oeuf crib).
  4. nursery art - you'll spend a lot of time in the nursery, so choose art you won't tire of seeing.
  5. bibs - one hyphenated word: spit-up.
  6. bath products - I swear, nothing smells better than a freshly washed baby.
  7. car seat - I chose the Cybex for its safety standards and sleek look (and it attaches to my stroller!)
  8. nursing tank - let's be real; you'll be spending most of the first month in yoga pants and a nursing bra.
  9. swaddle blankets - lightweight and great for travel.
  10. boppy - I found this especially helpful for nursing after a c-section AND as a safety net for guests fearful of holding a newborn. 
  11. grass pad - the best bottle holder.
  12. baby monitor - the Snuza is great for the parent who spends every five minutes checking on their child's breathing (like me!).

I would never categorize myself as a baby person.  I'm a youngest child through and through (youngest of four, to be exact), which means my interaction with babies was minimal until my nephews and niece came along.  I was reluctant to even hold them when they were babies for fear of breakage--seriously.

Now that I have my own little man, I've learned a thing or two in these early days--first being how to hold a baby, of course.  As for the rest, well, there is a learning curve; I learn something new every day so at this point, I know about 0.0006% there is to know about babies.  These first two months have been an incredible journey and my biggest takeaway is that you can't plan for anything--not even for how much you will love your little person (it's overwhelming how much you can love them!).  BUT you can have some essentials beforehand, which will at least make you feel (falsely) prepared.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Party Dressing (See Jane Wear)

J Crew dress, Coach shoes, Cuyana bag (c/o), Saint Laurent sunglasses
This party dress was the perfect pick for a friend's baby shower this weekend.  Thank goodness summer is here!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Father's Day Gifts // Cool Dad Edition (See jane Give)

Whenever I think of Father's Day gifts, I think of what I'm going to give to my own dad--that would include anything golf or motorcycle related.  However, now that I have a new dad in my life (that would be Eric) who is under 30 (just barely); I thought I'd round up some gift ideas from Nordstrom for the younger fathers out there.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Ringo Starr (See Jane Wear)

J Crew chambray tunic, Gap jeans, J Crew sandals, ChloƩ bag (similar), Ray Ban mirror aviators
When I wore this outfit out and about on Saturday, I heard a fellow patron in my local coffee shop call me Ringo Starr to his friend.  Rather than be offended, I was impressed (that takes balls).  Just to be clear, I wasn't totally oblivious about my outfit; I had asked Eric about an hour earlier if I looked like I was in Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band--and apparently I did.  I'm sure my Jesus sandals didn't help my case any, either.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

DIY Peony Bouquet (See Jane Make)

Peonies are the darling flowers of springtime.  Their season is short and when they're in bloom, people go crazy--myself included.  I was married in Sayulita, Mexico, where peonies are scarce; being that it was my big day and that they are my favorite flower, I had the florist import them from Columbia.  (I have no regrets; I loved my flowers.)  But even I, a diehard peony lover, grow tired of the same old five peonies in a vase.  I decided to build my own bouquet to complement this beautiful flower.  My personal mix is listed below (all bought at Sprout Home, here in Chicago):

Peonies - The star of the show (hint:  they're cheapest at farmers markets and Trader Joes!)
Dusty Miller - The silvery gray leaves are the prettiest fillers, often seen in wedding bouquets.
Vilburnum - I always thought these were just green hydrangeas; I'm such an amateur.  The vibrant green is a great foil to the soft and fluffy peony.

PS.  If you can get your mitts on the elusive light pink peony, grab it and run!  It's white with a hint of pale pink--much more delicate than the bubblegum pink peonies you see everywhere.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Business On Top, Party Down Below (See Jane Wear)

Madewell distressed denim shorts (and here),  Target tee shirt, J Crew double-breasted blazer, Superga sneakers, Cuyana bag (c/o), Ray Ban mirrored aviators
This is the mullet of outfits: business on top, party on the bottom.  I guess that's not really a mullet, but you get the point.  From a quick glance, I appear conservative--that is, until your eyes divert downwards and you see my distressed jorts and sneakers.  (Ok, I stand by the mullet description then...but this outfit is like the Uncle Jesse of mullets, which means it's totally stylish and appropriate for this day in age.)