Life and Marriage, Travel

Fun Summer Activities In The Chicago Area

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Looking for a little Midwest fun? Well put on your gym shoes and get ready for a day packed with activities and adventure! There’s nothing better than finally getting out of the house after a long, cold Chicago winter, and some of favorite activities are now open for business! See what I spend my weekends doing from May through September!


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Don’t let rainy summer days get you down – the museum campus along the lake makes any day wonderful and full of imagination! The Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium and the Adler Planetarium are just a few must-see spots to get the creative juices flowing. Even better, most museums have free admission days for Illinois residents with your ID! We happened to go to the Field Museum this year for my husband’s birthday and spent hours looking at all of the amazing and historical exhibits!

Learn more!


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Take a trip back in time and experience a real life medieval times! Jousting tournaments to shops and Ye Old Pub, get transported back in time for chump change at this spectacular event just minutes over the Wisconsin border north of Chicago. Also, who wouldn’t want to meet a few knights in shinning armor?

Learn more!


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Being a major city brings all of the best festivals to your front door, whether in the city or the suburbs. From the apple festival in Lake County to downtown music festivals like Lollapalooza and food fun at Naperville’s RibFest, you’re bound to find a festival worth your time! Find something you love and spend your weekend perusing artisan goods or jamming to your favorite bands.

Learn more!


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Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Chicago is home to not one, but two zoos! Visit Lincoln Park Zoo in the city with FREE ADMISSION to see your favorite wildlife creatures come to life in the urban jungle, or see the vast and beautiful exhibits at Brookfield Zoo just outside the city limits. Both are a great experience to see indoor and outdoor animals come to life on a fun and sunny summer day.

Learn more!


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See a game in the classically preserved Wrigley Field in one of Chicago’s most vibrant neighborhoods or take it out the suburbs to see the Chicago Dogs or Kane County Cougars for baseball fun on a penny pocketbook. A day in the sun soaking in some sports fun is exactly what the doctor called for the cure the winter blues. This is a summer tradition for my husband and I – we got engaged after a Cub’s game and always love seeing a little baseball with hot dogs and a cold drink!


Want the ultimate list of things to do in the city this summer? Click here!


 

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Life and Marriage

My Favorite Recipes: Lemon Blueberry Tart

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If you haven’t noticed already, I LOVE baking! I may not always be good at it or follow the recipes to the letter, but having the freedom to take someone else’s recipe with my own flair makes baking all the more fun! My favorite new addition to my collection is a rectangle tart pan, and I was so excited to make my first lemon tart! I have never made lemon curd or shortbread, and learning the techniques took some trial and error.

After many trials and tribulations, I am beyond thrilled to share my favorite recipe for my delicious lemon blueberry tart!

PRINT THIS RECIPE HERE!

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Life and Marriage

MONDAY MOTIVATION: Daily Mantra Phone Wallpapers!

Last week, I shared my four mantras I say to myself each day to make myself a better person, and today, I am happy to share phone wallpapers based on those mantras to keep you inspired, day in and out!

To use, simply screenshot or save the image to your photos, and enjoy! Click the image to open in a new tab.

YOU ARE ENOUGH

YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL

YOU ARE STRONG

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Life and Marriage

My Four Daily Mantras That Make Me Better Every Day

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It’s easy to get wrapped up in what daily life brings – stress and schedules, not to mention work and socializing. These and all the other aspects of life can bring varying strengths to each person, breaking us down and making us feel unworthy or blind to the wonderful things we have in our lives. We often forget to reflect on the aspects of life we are actually grateful for and take for granted – these are the parts of life that make us happy, fulfilled and feel good inside.

Every day, I wake up reflecting on my four favorite mantras – they remind of who I am, what I am doing, who I want to be, and where I want to go. Every morning when standing in the shower, I repeat these to myself and think about how I can take one more step forward to being a better me through these four paths. I set all my goals around my mantras and can only hope that they can help others to find peace and love in their soul to be themselves each and every day.

“I am beautiful.”

Beauty is not defined by outer beauty. It is a culmination of the whole person, the person that you are on the inside and out, whether or not you appear to meet the beauty standards of society. You find yourself truly beautiful when you learn to accept your flaws, open your mind up for total clarity and seek to just be a better version of you. You find beauty in kindness of words, in grace of actions, and in forgiveness to yourself and those around you. I have acne scars, I have a little extra fluff on my body, and I am not the traditional standard of beauty, but I love myself, I love food and I love feeling authentic to who I am because I am beautiful.

” I am strong.”

Strength does not come from your inability of being knocked down, but from your ability to get up and try again. Never let failure limit you and make you weak. Use your strength to say “Again!” and aim to be better. No one is born being able to walk or talk, but strength and determination make you grow and learn to be better, stronger and wiser. Physically, I can be strong enough at the gym to keep breaking fitness goals. Mentally, I can be strong enough to withstand the daily stress of life. And emotionally, I can be strong to ensure my glass stays full and help support those I love around me.

“I do my best.”

Effort is measured to the individual and often correlates with your strength. Those who have greater strength can often give more to themselves and those around them. Personal progress is a path achievable to all on different timelines. Not all can achieve the same success in the same time period, and no person every will, but when you do your best, you will never feel like you failed. When you fall, and you do your best, you know you must try harder and hence your best will grow. Leaving any situation or day like I feel like I did my best gives me a more positive and satisfied attitude toward the work I put in.

“I am enough.”

This mantra came from a restorative yoga class I take. Learning to appreciate who you are changes the way you approach every aspect of life. You are enough for yourself and that’s all that matters. Others may have varying standards of what best is, but if you cannot say to yourself that you are enough and you do your best, you must ask yourself where your downfalls are and where you can go to achieve these strengths in your life. Once I started to feel like I knew I was enough for myself, I began to build my strength around being a better me for the people I love.

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Life and Marriage

What Lifestyle Bloggers Aren’t Talking About This Week

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I follow a diverse group of people on my social and blog circles: lifestyle bloggers, artists, and just your average Joes. What I have truly observed in this tough week of public loss to so many is the topic often avoided on many lifestyle blogs: suicide. Many are still posting fashionable outfits of the day and quick RIP messaging in their stories, but after 24 hours, it’s old news to them and glanced over by their audience. I am not accusing them of being insensitive, unaffected or diminishing the work of those who have put a platform of assistance out there, I am simply pointing out an observation that is important in our bloggosphere of lifestyle lovers.

As role models for so many, it’s essential to emphasize the need for this conversation. We all fight our own personal battles: the world is a vigilant attack against who we are, telling us what and who we should be or do, telling us we aren’t good enough, and lacking to give us the resources we want to always be happy. We have to recognize that lifestyle blogs make everyone look happy all the time, but we all must know this isn’t true.

Self harm and suicide is something we all need to observe as a reality in our world, something we need to acknowledge as an issue and something we need to have frank conversations about. Many who struggle with mental illness are embarrassed to talk about it in fear that this perfect image may be broken of the perfect life they are attempting to live, but the reality of it is that 1 in 5 adults battle some form of mental illness, whether known or not, and mental illness isn’t the only cause of suicide. From PTSD to eating disorders and simple financial struggles, it’s important to support each other not just in disseminating this perfect image, but in creating a platform to discuss openly these tough topics. Bloggers design communities around common interests, and should engage in community discussion even when it’s not a product push or #OOTD post.

I can only hope that my followers understand, even if we are not known to each other personally, that this is a platform for all – one that welcomes many who want to be healthier and happier in their daily endeavors, which is why I make a point of discussing other topics that approach life, physically, mentally and emotionally. I challenge all bloggers to approach this type of mentality, giving their community the opportunity to reflect and grow on their own terms with support and guidance from those who have been through tough times and learned through their lives. Be the support you wish you saw more of in the world, and love each other unconditional above all else.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text TALK to 741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.

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Life and Marriage, Style and Beauty

Summer Essentials For Your Going Out Bag

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From girl’s night to weddings and date night, your bag holds of the must-haves for a great night filled with fun and Instagram-worthy photos (obviously!). Clutching the right products make all the difference in enjoying your night and feeling fresh throughout the evening. With our wedding season in full swing, my clutches always become a go-to mini pharmacy with all the right products to keep me looking and feeling amazing all night long!

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MY RECOMMENDATION: L’oreal Paris Colour Riche

Every girl needs a bold, kissable lip for a confidence boost. Whether it’s a satin finish, extra gloss or matte lip, ta great lipstick is the most treasured additional to my evening clutch to keep my look at 100%. From bright and bold during drinks with the girls to soft and romantic not to show up the bride on her wedding day, L’Oreal Paris Colour Riche lipsticks offer a broad and beautiful selection of colors to fit every skin tone with the perfect shade and long-lasting wear.

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MY RECOMMENDATION: Saint by Kat Von D

Sweet or spicy, strong to soft, perfume adds the perfect hint of personality to your night out. The last thing you want to do when busting a move on the dance floor or hanging out on that outdoor patio is give off a little B.O., but carrying a travel-sized perfume with you will keep that at bay. My favorite scent is Saint by Kat Von D because I love the floral notes and sweet scent it gives with the smallest drop.

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MY RECOMMENDATION: Listerine Pocketpaks

Keeping your breath fresh is important, even for us married ladies! There’s nothing worse than leaning in for a hug or kiss smelling like coffee, garlic, or worse! Keeping some kind of breath fresheners, like mints or gum, can help boost your confidence after eating or drinking something strong. My go-to is also Listerine pocket sheets – unlike mints or gum, you don’t have to constantly chew or hold something in your mouth for an extended time, and the fresh burst is quick and effective in eliminating those bad, stinky bacteria that can hang around.

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MY RECOMMENDATION: Pore-Fessional License To Blot Stick by Benefit Cosmetics

There’s nothing worse than seeing your makeup slowly accumulate in the fine lines on your face from the oils in your skin, and tissues seem to wipe too much off to make your efforts worthless. Blotting clothes and sticks are perfect for removing the oil and leaving your makeup in tact. With my mixed skin types across my face, I constantly find my pores on my cheeks and forehead becoming clogged with oil causing my skin to break out, but the Pore-Fessional License to Blot mini oil removing stick is the perfect game changer in my clutch to keep my makeup looking fresh all evening.

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MY RECOMMENDATION: Revlon Photo Ready Concealer

The whole Revlon Photo Ready collection of products fills most of my makeup bag regularly because of their great quality and longevity, but their concealer is a must. It gives me a smooth touch ups when my under eye bags begin to show and covers those imperfections in a pinch when making a pit stop in the powder room. Avoid packing an oil-based concealer and opt for a dryer concealer, like a stick or powder-finish concealer – this will help prevent greater oil build-up on your skin, making your face into a slip-and-slide.

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MY RECOMMENDATION: PreHeels Spray

For years I slaved over maintaining Band-Aids that kept falling off, and when a blister forms on a night out, nothing kills the vibe more than a pharmacy run. PreHeels has been a saving grace of mine for over a year – I bought it originally to get through the endless amounts of weddings we go to. I love wearing cute heels, and nothing is worse than having to take them off because your feet betray you, but PreHeels lets me dance all night long no matter how worn in or not worn in the heels are! I have yet to experience any rubbing or blistering after hours of fun using this.

Note: Some of the products featured in this post were provided for testing and review purposes. All reviews and uses of these products are the author’s honest and true feelings. No opinions are written or persuaded by featured companies.
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Life and Marriage

The Best Gluten-Free Funfetti Cake Recipe Around!

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It’s a holiday weekend and time to celebrate the unofficial start to summer! With husband and I’s birthdays falling in the summer months, there’s nothing more relatable to summer for us than funfetti cake! It’s a classic and delicious birthday staple, and as we kick off our favorite season, enjoy my favorite recipe for gluten-free funfetti cake using egg whites!

DOWNLOAD AND PRINT THE RECIPE HERE!

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