Thursday, December 21, 2017

Instagram Round Up!

I hope you are all having a great week! It is finals week over here, and I am counting down the days until heading home to see our families!

I surprised Mike with his Christmas gift (early) Wednesday night; I got a 3D ultrasound done! It was the best experience ever. I got it done at this darling boutique in Wheaton called Angel Kisses 3D. The owner was amazing, and she actually is from Youngstown, too! I got a recording of our baby boy's heartbeat put into a stuffed elephant, thanks to my friend Kelly telling me about her doing that when she was pregnant with her son Wesley!  Kelly was the one who suggested this entire idea, and it was the PERFECT idea for a Christmas gift! I couldn't wait to give it to him! You also get a flash drive with all the incredible pics-- you can see his legs, his little nose, his lips-- everything! We cried looking through all the amazing images and hearing his heart :) 

Today on the blog is my Instagram roundup! Sorry that my pictures are all selfies this week-- I take my #ootd pics before work around 6 am each day before I leave for school-- haha! I don't want to wake Mike up for that. 

Sweater dresses are my new bffs. They are pregnancy friendly, and they are sooooo comfortable! I have this in camel and purple.  It is currently on sale for $25 with code: fifty. I have a medium in both colors. The shoulder ruffle detail is the best! Length is perfect for work, too. 

Drop earrings: 

Also, I just got these new black boots because they are flat. I need only flats these days! Way more easier on my swollen feet! 

This was great for when it was a little warmer, or if you live in somewhere more tropical than northern Illinois-- lol-- but the layering of a collared shirt dress (this one is $20 currently with code: fifty!!) with a sweater. This day was particularly rainy, so I got to wear my favorite green Hunters.  Also, this way you don't have to pack away your short sleeved dresses for the winter. 


Throw some sparkle into the mix, and you brighten up any day! Bonus: sequins/embellishments are a great addition to any holiday party/Christmas Day outfit. 

OBSESSED with this multi-colored striped/sequined top. 40% off with code: DEAL.

More embellished tops for all climates:

Embellished sweaters and tops remind me of Christmas time! 
Ann Taylor is offering 50% off all purchases with code: thatsawrap! 

Pre-baby, post-baby or no baby at all, wrap dresses are flattering on everyone's figures.

Another 5.5 month pregnant gal's friend: the wrap dress! I am obsessed with Ann Taylor's selection. This is a size 8 for reference, and it isn't maternity. I love the ruffle detail! It is on sale for $45 with code: thatsawrap! It comes in dark navy, too, which I may need to purchase. Also, it is a thick, forgiving material, which is really nice for work. 

Tweed blazers are ideal for a growing belly. You don't have to close them! 
Plus, they're super professional and polished. 

These two blazers are two of my proudest purchases. The top navy one was on super clearance this summer at Banana Republic. I got it for $16! The bottom neon pink one was down to $32 this summer from J. Crew, but I had a $25 rewards card. Helloooooo $7 peplum blaze! As I cut off the $198 price tag, I patted myself on the back. LOL

Lantern earrings:

I just throw on blazers over LBDs. The black dress makes the summery blazer far less SUMMER.

I cannot get enough of embroidery. It's everywhere-- and rightfully so. This sweater is from Loft last year, but right now, everything at Loft is 50% off with code: wrapitup! And the embroidered options are ADORABLE! 

What are your plans for the holidays? I am sooooo excited to travel home to Ohio and see my family and high school friends, and then to head to Michigan to see Mike's family, too! Then, another plus? Mike is taking Thursday and Friday off of next week, and we are going to get the nursery painted and set up! Mike's best friend from childhood and his sweet wife gave us their sons' old crib! We are so grateful and cannot wait to set it up!

Saturday, December 16, 2017

New Year's Eve Outfit Ideas for under $100!

When it comes to NYE (and life in general), I am all about the sequins. My 2015 NYE and 2016 NYEs show that!! I can't stay away from a sequin-- it's a disease, I think. Haha!! This year's look might be a little more subdued since I will be 6 months pregnant, but I wanted to share some looks for everyone looking for the perfect NYE outfit. You have plenty of time to order it now and receive it by Dec. 31, too!  I will be sure to update my blog on what I wore for New Year's Eve 2017! Plus, there are major sales happening right now to take advantage of. I've listed the code below, too, for the deals!

Here are ideas broken down by what you might be doing on NYE:

1. All you can drink bar package in the city-- think sequins and fringe! New Year's Eve is the night to pull out your most fabulous dress and heels! If you're in IL like me, you'll need some tights, too! Haha. Details like open backs and side cut outs are totally appropriate for this venue.

2. Dinner/drinks/dancing at a country club or hotel venue-- maybe even add in going with friends from work or your in-laws/parents to this NYE. Slightly more subdued style, but still super fabulous! (hint: Loft is currently offering 50% off everything with code: wrapitup!). 

3. Separates to pair with skirts or jeans with heels for a house party!  (hint: J. Crew is currently offering 40% off with the code: time2give!).

4. The cutest maternity options for any pregnant gals going out on NYE:

5. And, in case you're laying low by the fire with your significant other or family and just relaxing-- the best jammies out there:

6. All the accessories you need for NYE 2017!

What are you doing for NYE? Comment below! Low key New Year's Eve or super fabulous night on the town?

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Holiday Party Outift!

Hello! I hope you've had an amazing week! I swear these weeks before Christmas break and final exams FLY when you're a teacher. On Monday, I thought to myself,  "HOW ARE WE GOING TO FINISH OF MICE AND MEN BEFORE FINALS!?!?!?!" and had a mini panic attack. But, we are well on our way! LOL! #teacherprobs

This outfit is a mix of maternity (jeans) and non-maternity (tops), but I will provide all non-maternity options, too! These are definitely the last days of fitting into non-maternity tops. Too tight! haha!! But, I love my sequins!  Remember this post? I can't stop wearing this tee, and it was seriously $20.

This tartan plaid is probably my all-time favorite for the holiday season. I just adore the colors in the print. Also, nothing says "holiday cheer" like some sequins, am I right?

Earrings: here on sale!

These are maternity distressed jeans from my sweet friend, Lauren, who let me borrow all her maternity clothes. 

Here are non-maternity options: 

A word of advice on distressed denim: these from Lauren are the perfect amount of rip. Be careful that the skin to jean ratio is much more jean; you don't want to see too much leg! haha!! 

My mom sent me this awesome wreath from Maine. It smells amazing! She made the bow for it, too! 

My sequined shirt is old J. Crew Factory, but here are some more options:

We got Bella and Bentley little stockings!!! SO cute. haha!
Also, I can't stop buying those bling Christmas trees and glitter reindeer. Poor Mike! haha

One of my favorite purses of all time! ^^
Bought myself this with my first full-time-public-school-teacher paycheck back in the fall of 2011. Can you believe it has lasted so long?! Kate Spade is such high quality.

Tartan shirt: here for $23. Below is the J. Crew version, which is much more expensive. I seriously do not know why. I have the J. Crew Factory version up next to the regular J. Crew one, and maybe I am just blind, but they look identical to me. Please LMK if you find a discrepancy haha! All J. Crew is 30% off right now with code: HolidayFun.

More plaid for this holiday season:

This Lands End tote was one of the best gifts ever from my dear friend Jenny! It's washable, and it is perfect for my school bag. I love the seasonal ones they have!  Also, 50% off your order with code: frost. It makes for the best gift! Bonus if you monogram it for your recipient! 

We love these little guys! Bella has been in training for about 5 weeks now because she started nipping/biting. Has anyone seen that occur with their dogs? She is 6 now, but we only got her in May; we just got so worried because we will have a baby in less than 4 months, and we just couldn't imagine having her unintentionally hurt the baby. Her breed, Lhasa Apso, is known for being stubborn, but this has come on very recently (just about since I've been pregnant). The trainers are really working hard with her, and they seem positive! We know she just needs to learn! Just wondering if anyone has experienced this before. We love Bella and Bentley so much, and we just want her to be trained for the baby's arrival. 

Bentley ^^

Hope you're all having a wonderful weekend! I finished up the last of the Christmas shopping this morning after Pure Barre, and we are going to snuggle on the couch and watch The Good Place tonight! Have you guys seen it? SOOOO funny!!!


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Christmas Gifts under $50-- Stocking Stuffers/ Secret Santas/ Coworkers!

Hello! I hope you've had an awesome weekend. I slept virtually all of Friday after work and Saturday, but I am thanking God because I finally feel like myself after 8 days of being really sick! Sunday was warm and sunny, and we even got to take the dogs for a long walk. I swear, the weather and sunshine makes everything better, don't you agree? As we walked around the neighborhood, I just kept saying that if this was our weather in the winter in Illinois, life would be glorious every day! Haha.

This next gift-giving guide in the series is all under $50. These gifts will work for stocking stuffers, girlfriend Secret Santa exchanges, work friends, neighbors, etc.  There will be an array, so I hope I can cover all my bases here. Feel free to let me know in the comments if there are any other specific gift guides you're looking for. I would love to be of service!

[1.0] Swell Water Bottles.
I love these! They truly do keep your water cold for 12 hours-- no joke! I have the Lilly Pulitzer x Starbucks one (thanks to my pal, Kyle, for fighting the crowds at his Starbucks to find me that last year!), but any of these will do. Perfect for guy or gal-- I use them for Pure Barre and work!

[2.0] A cozy scarf.
There's nothing better than topping off your look with a blanket scarf. Sometimes my entire outfit is just super plain-- black pants and a collared shirt for work-- but then I finish my outfit with a fun plaid scarf. I have gotten so many as gifts (in fact, I don't remember the last scarf I bought myself), and they bring with them so many memories of the person from which I received the scarf with every wear. Guys or girls, too!

[3.0] A witty/monogrammed/seasonal mug.
This works for guys and gals, and seriously, there is something more enjoyable when you drink out of a mug you love. True story!  You could be extra cute, and pop a Starbucks gift card in said mug (or even a box of Kcups!).

[4.0] Ornaments.
I had so much fun taking out all the ornaments we had stored away as we decorated our trees this year. It's so special to remember who got you what ornaments and the stories behind them. My best friends from high school and college do yearly ornament exchange-Secret Santas, and it's such a personal way to get a gift that will last forever. I do a lot of my ornament shopping on Etsy for personalized ones, but honestly, Von Maur's selection is amazing, and they ship and wrap FOR FREE!!  (Plus, their store credit card has no interest. HELLO!).

[5.0] This cozy wrap cardigan.
My cousin wore one when she was in town from Ohio, and we all fell in love with it. Then my mom got 2, and my sister also scooped one up! They're soooo soft and cozy. They're currently on sale for $39.90! You can wear it open or closed, too! Prepare to NEVER want to take it off. Here's my mom in hers! My cousin Ashley actually found hers at Costco! Amaze. This is great for any woman on your list, too.

[6.0] This motivational phrase on a bracelet.
This is seriously one of my all-time favorite sayings. The fact that it's on a stackable bracelet makes me sooooo happy. Give it to your darling friend who sets her mind toward something and achieves it. Let someone know you're cheering for her. Loving the rose gold version. Other bangles are awesome, too, because you are always reminded of the gift-giver when you wear them.

[7.0] A lip kit from Mac.
Obsessed with bright red lips for the holiday season (and all year round, who are we kidding haha), but sometimes gals are hesitant to buy themselves their first RED LIP color, especially if they aren't used to wearing a bold color. Enter: this! How cute is the makeup bag, too?! I adore this red, and you cannot go wrong for a holiday party with an LBD.

[8.0] Statement earrings!
Earrings ALWAYS fit. Obviously, know your audience here, but how adorable are these statement earrings? I have some surprises for some of the special women in my life, and they entail some gorgeous statement earrings. I love how earrings can dress up ANYTHING. I am all about BIG, fabulous earrings with a pony tail or messy bun. It makes you feel put together, even if you're tired or not feeling great.

[9.0] A fun phone case!
All you need to know is what size/type of phone they have, and you could pick out the cutest case for your recipient (male or female)! Phone cases are always kind of a drag to by yourself-- they aren't cheap, but they can break like they are.  Bonus for monogramming it for your pal! (Full disclosure, I always have an old version of the iPhone, so I get my $14 Kate Spade cases at the local outlet mall-- haha!!).

[10.0] A throw pillow.
Hear me out on this: I think throw pillows are the cutest accents to your house for chairs and couches. The best pillows we have were gifts from other friends and family. Bonus if you can match the color scheme in your friend's home (or even just know their couch is gray, for example). I love witty ones or textured ones. I find the cutest stock at Homegoods or TJ Maxx!

How's your Christmas shopping going? I am basically all bought for and wrapped, but I still have a few outliers I am working on. Yes, I am crazy. haha!! I approach my Christmas shopping like I do my grading and eating of Oreos: in a binge fashion. LOL.


Saturday, December 2, 2017

Christmas Gift Ideas for the Men in your Life!

Hi, all! I hope you're having a happy and healthy week! I wish I could say I was healthy, but sadly, I got hit so hard with a really awful cold last weekend, and Tuesday and Wednesday it was so bad, I had to take off work. I hate missing! I am definitely a control-freak when it comes to teaching (just ask my co-teacher! haha! We always laugh because I tell the kids to not touch any of my stuff lolol!), and I would just rather be there with my kids than have someone else in charge! But, I needed to rest and heal. Sadly, though, I am still not feeling well. I canceled all my plans for the weekend, and I have resigned myself to the couch. I do think it's a lot harder to heal while pregnant. Mike had the same illness Monday, but he felt like a million bucks on Tuesday (thank God!).

Speaking of Mike, he is taking over for this post! He is a pro! Thanks for reading :)

Thanks for the intro, Mary! I am so happy to share some gift ideas!

1. Gloves

I think I mentioned back in January I go through a lot of gloves! I'm sure I'm not alone. I like having a pair of fleece gloves as well as a pair of leather gloves so I have the versatility to wear one with a puffer and another with an overcoat. Bonus points if you can get some that will work with your phone!

2. New Phone Case

Speaking of phones, I bet you know someone in desperate need of a new case for his phone. I know mine has seen better days after 3 years. I like Apple's own leather case, but there are some great options that either a) cost less or b) include a built in battery pack so you don't have to worry about running out of juice. This would also be a great gift if your man is about to upgrade to a new device!

4. NES/SNES wireless controller or controller extender

Are you or your guy nostalgic for the early 90s? If so, I'm sure you scored either the Nintendo Classic NES last year or Classic Super Nintendo this fall. I managed to get the SNES from with the intention of selling it before Christmas for a profit.... but as it turns out I still have it and it's hooked up to our TV and I haven't beaten Super Mario World yet. The one problem I have (aside from opening the box and deciding to keep it) is that the controller cables are soooo short! I literally had to sit on the floor like a kid the whole time I worked my way through the dungeons in Zelda. 🤓

Apparently there exist some great options to solve this problem. You could get a chair for the floor, some extension cables, or (probably the best option) some wireless controllers. Your classic gamer with thank you!

5. Shawl Collar Sweater

I love getting a sweater for Christmas, and not just because I get to quote one of my favorite movies as I open the package. A shawl collar cardigan is great in the winter, since it's usually pretty heavy and looks great for work!

6. New Hobby accessory

If you follow Mary on Instagram (btw, you should totally follow Mary on Instagram), you probably have seen me playing the piano recently. In October, I took the train to my hometown in Michigan, and brought back my grandmother's piano in a U-Haul. She and my grandfather bought it brand new 60 years ago, so it is so important to us that it is still in our family and will stay in our family for years to come. I took piano lessons from 2nd grade all the way through high school, but I haven't really played in 10+ years. I've been so excited for the chance to play again, I've been serenading Mary with my renditions of "Hey, Jude" and the music to A Charlie Brown Christmas. I've since discovered that there are lots of books available that include the note-for-note piano parts the musicians played (such as Queen, or Ben Folds). Basically, any gift related to a new hobby would be wonderful!

7. Special Edition team shirt

While November featured some disappointing and rough losses, my Irish looked a lot better than expected this football season. And not just on the field. To commemorate the passing of the former football coach Ara Parseghian, the players wore these t-shirts throughout the year. By each and every account, Ara was a remarkable leader and a remarkable man who truly walked the walk. Proceeds of this shirt also benefit his foundation. If your giftee isn't a Notre Dame fan, I'm sure his school or team has some special edition shirt, so he can dress just like the players!

8. Fancy bluetooth speaker (or any office speaker)

If you're looking for a BIG item for your music-loving guy, I'm sure there's another place in the home or office where he'd like to upgrade his sound over his computer speakers. This speaker from Klipsch looks like it's straight out of Mad Men, but it packs bluetooth capabilities, as well as an input from a small stereo plug. It's a little pricey, but it would fit right right in with some classy decor, delivery great sound, and remain unobtrusive.

9. Pajamas and Pajama Pants

Remember when Mary said she got everyone the Christmas dog pajama pants? Well, it turns out Old Navy has a full set for men. If that doesn't float your boat, any pajama pants will always come in handy!

I hope this helps you buy a great gift for the man in your life, and I hope even more that you have a very merry Christmas!