a quick errand run? right…

It’s 8:09 pm. I just put my son down to bed…for the second time…and I can hear him crying again. #needtosleeptrain #iamasucker

I’m laying in my daughter’s twin bed with her. She is fighting a cold, but I always lay with her. Usually until, like, 10 pm, so if I’m out of here in 10 minutes I’m not really sure what I’ll do. Watch a movie? Online shop? Maybe sweet treats for tomorrow’s New Years party? (Insert reality: I’ll probably do some of this while I pump—not make candy…)

Today I was itching to get out of the house again. So my 3-year-old and I hit up some of my favorite places: Walgreens, Costco Gas ($1.99 per gallon unleaded!), Target, and the Jewel. Yes, I am a suburbanite (all of these places are within 7 minutes of my place), and, yes, I am old.

Usually it’s me strolling all of the aisles of Target alone at 10 pm (God bless the late store hours!). Today, on mom and daughter outing day, it was me coaching a 3-year-old girl who is into everything through the store. “Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go,” I said. “Focus, focus, focus!” I repeated. A woman actually laughed at me and said, “I wish someone would say that to me.” I will if you want me to, sister.

As exhausting as it was, I did have a mild parenting victory. When I asked Ellie if she would rather have a letters practice book and two paint projects from the dollar section (really, people, is there anything better than Target’s dollar section when it’s stocked?) or a PJ Masks t-shirt, she chose the dollar section treasures. That’s my girl! Education and art? You bet!

Another highlight? Rocking out to some tunes in the door mat aisle while a creepy dude looked on. Let’s keep it moving, Elle! Focus!


Spotlight: Austin, Texas

Well, I guess you can say I’ve been on a little bit of a hiatus. But, rest assured, I’m back!

I spent the majority of last week at a marketing conference in Austin (both informative and fun) with my boss, Amy.

While the conference kept us busy from 7:45-4 p.m. most days, we still found plenty of time to see Austin, do a little shopping, and more eating!

I asked my sister-in-law, Melissa, and co-workers for suggestions of where to go while in Texas (thank you!), but I have to tell you, the weather really hurt us. We wanted to walk and explore the city, but it was unseasonably cold (think 40 degrees, and envision me sheltering my head with a pashmina), so we didn’t get out as much as we’d liked to.

That said, let me share with you where we did go because we didn’t have a bad meal!

Roaring Fork
701 Congress Ave.

This restaurant was delicious for our first night meal, which started off with cute little corn bread muffins that were delicious. The restaurant staff was amazing, seeing as I left my phone there, and they had it locked up for safe keeping when I returned.

Stephanie – Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder Carnitas, with Black Beans and Fresh Hot Buttered Flour Tortillas
Amy – Grilled Fish Tacos, Served on Corn Tortillas with Guacamole, Corn Pico, Remoulade & Salsa Verde


The Backspace
507 San Jacinto

If you go anywhere in Austin, please go here. It’s small, cozy, and has delicious brick-oven pizza. Note: from 5-6:30 p.m. daily, Backspace offers a Happy Hour special of ½ off all antipasti, beer, and wine by the glass. (My mouth is watering remembering the pizza!) Backspace is the sister restaurant to Parkside, which also looks tasty!

Stephanie & Amy (share) – Roasted Beets (celery, lemon zest, pepperoncini), Spicy Cauliflower (caper, calabrese, lemon), and Margherita Pizza (mozzarella, tomato, basil)


310 Congress Avenue

We were freezing and craving Mexican food, so Amy used her Yelp app to find this amazing gem. It was packed (always a good sign), but we were seated pretty quickly. The staff was very friendly and accomodating, and the food is fresh, natural, and organic. Some of the best guacamole I’ve ever had (I guess I was so into it that I forgot to take a photo!), and loved how the flautas were grilled (much healthier).

Appetizer – Chips with Salsa and Guacamole

Stephanie – Natural Chicken Flautas, grilled enchiladas with salsa ranchera. Served with rice & guacamole.




Fall Trends at Anthropologie’s Fashion Show (Chicago Avenue Store)

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the fall fashion show at Anthropologie’s Chicago Avenue store. How, you ask? My gorgeous friend, Jill, was chosen to walk the catwalk! (Read her post about it here.)

Now, I’ve been to an Anthro store opening before, so I knew the event would be thoughtful and beautiful. (Not to mention this location is probably my favorite in the city!)

Anna and I came straight from work, meeting Jill’s hubby, mother, aunt, and friend Amy at the store. After checking in, we were greeted by employees, as well as cranberry Bellinis and danty chocolate brownies and goat cheese bites–yum! Then we headed downstairs to snag the first row.

Shortly after, members of the Anthro team came out to intro the show, sharing some of this season’s trends that we would see on the runway.

We saw a lot of pieces that you’ve grown to know and love about Anthropologie: feminine dresses and skirts that are sweet and a little sassy at the same time (must be why I love them); rich, saturated colors; lots of chunky booties; and really interesting mixtures of texture.

Anthro also does an amazing job with accessorizing, so there were belts on just about everything (which I’m a fan of) and lots of neck adornment, whether it be with a statement necklace or patterned scarf (also a fan of).

Side note: In addition to the clothing, I couldn’t help but notice that braids are still very popular in the hair trends, and I loved the models who wore a bright and bold lip. (I actually tried this concept for a wedding over the weekend.)

What a fun, fashionable show! You know they’ve succeeded when you want to go home and fill your closet with all Anthro clothing and accessories! More than anything, I was so glad to be able to support Jill. If it wasn’t for work, school, her blog, or a successful online bridal accessories boutique, I’d tell this girl to model on the side. She’s a natural. Congrats, Jill!

111 East Chicago Avenue
Near North Side