Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Mary Ellen Chronicles.

So, my mom is unlike anyone you'll ever meet. She's sassy, cares for people well, and speaks her mind.   I admire her for her confidence and fearlessness. I especially love the fact that half the time, she is hilarious without even knowing she is. Because of this, and the countless stories she tells me about her life, I thought it was time I started documenting, because people need to hear this stuff. Plus, my parents don't have internet, so it's really unlikely that she will ever read this. Well, knowing me, I'll call her and read it to her, so who am I kidding? Alllll this to say, I have a story. 

Let me set the scene. Here's my cute lil mama.
Peace. Love. Happiness. 

The thing everyone knows about Mama G is that she has this northern accent with a little Fran Drescher attached to it. {But waaaaaaaay less annoying than Fran} I feel like this is important to know as I am describing this story via a phone call. 

So, my mom calls me up at 9:30 last night. {A Friday night} I found it to be an odd time to call and whenever she calls at weird times I think something terrible has happened. So, I picked up and asked if everything was alright. Everything was fine. She was just calling me to tell me the latest Beach Park {the town I'm from} gossip. How she knows what's going on there six hours away with no internet is beyond me. But, alas, she finds stuff out way before I do. So, she updates me with all that and starts to tell me her clever idea from the day before. 

She said "Oh Chris, the damn dogs {their dog & the neighbors two dogs} have been waking me up in the middle of the night for the past two nights howling and howling and howling. I was so fed up with it and just wanted sleep. So I got up....found one of your father's firecrackers, went outside, lit the firecracker, and threw it in the yard. And when that thing went off, those dogs went running to the neighbor's house and howled there for the rest of the night instead of right outside my window." 

I died. Imagine this woman lighting a firecracker at 2am in her sweats. If anyone is redneck between my dad and her, she gets the award. Hands down. And she doesn't even try. 

Mom, I adore you. And if you ever do get internet and read this, be reminded of how much I love you and the woman God has made you. Never stop being hilarious. Keep that fearlessness and keep loving big. You're a good mama and you have my heart. xo

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Stitch Fix + Friends!

Ok, so you all know by now about how I might love Stitch Fix....just a liiiitle. That's an understatement. I think they are a bunch of fabulous people with fabulous, quality clothes. 
So, when I heard that my friends started signing up to get their own Stitch Fix deliveries, I got pumped, and now I want to show off their Fixes too. {I'm not even getting paid for this, I'm just in love with a sensational business that understands women and makes them feel like a million bucks.} So, my sweet friend Julie was kind enough to give in to my excitement and she let me blog about her Fix. Her stylist, Winnie hit the nail on the head with Julie! The pieces she received were amazing and she looked lovely in everything. Take a look:

First up: the Benfield Heathered Drape Front Cardigan by Caramela
Flowy. Cute. You can make it casual or dress it up. I love this thing.
And Julie, you are absolutely stunning. 

 The Peggy Embellished Collar Sweater by 41 Hawthorn is next. 
I thought this one was perfect for her business casual work attire. Super appropriate with some character.
I think the neckline is such a good pop of sparkle.

Third item: Adora Skinny Jeans by Just Black
Hel-lo! These skinnies looked amazing on her. 

Here we have my personal favorite piece:
The Faris Dotten Chevron Striped Blouse by Honey Punch
Luuuurrrrrv It! Julie said she wanted more patterns in her wardrobe 
and I think this is the perfect place to start.

The Rothstein Geo Print Henley Blouse by Sage is another incredible printed top.
Ok, I like really love this one. 
Julie, you are such a special friend to me! You challenge me, you're a killer listener, and you make me feel so known. Thank you for loving me so well and for being a part of my family of friends here in Chicago. And thanks for being my fabulous model for this post. You're an amazing woman. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Shop Update!

Not too long ago, with much prayer, wisdom seeking, and encouragement, I opened a little Etsy shop called The Simple City Shop. The process of starting has been a bit scary, but so fun at the same time.  
A risk for me, but worthwhile. It keeps me on my toes, keeps me thinking of new, fun things to create, and even challenges me to stay grounded in who I am. 

I thought I'd give a little update with some fun new projects I have been working on. Hope you enjoy!
Gold place cards for bridal showers and weddings have been super popular. 
I now have an array of gold pens that I am a wee bit obsessed with. 
I think I have purchased and tried out every gold one that Michael's has to offer. 

A big thanks to my sweet friend Linsey for letting me use her home, 
salt and pepper shakers, and window sill for props. 

Along with the place cards, I've been designing some watercolor prints. 
There will be some Valentine's Day prints up in the shop soon! 
This one was soooo fun to create for my friend Becky. 

Next up, monogrammed stationery.
Personalized stationery has been a good gift idea for people who have stopped by the shop. 

So, my friends, there you have it! Some of the things I have been working on these past few months. I've got some ideas coming down the pipeline that I can't wait to share with you! {i.e. some free printables!}

Just wanted to give a big thank you to all who have encouraged and supported me in this little dream of mine. Thank you to all who have purchased a little something from the shop. It has been a gift to work with you and create pretty things for your homes, your weddings, and the showers you throw. You all keep me going! 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Coffee Date.

Good Monday to you my friends! 
Today is a chilly one in Chicago, which really is an understatement. It's the coldest it's been since like 1000 A.D. Okay, not really but it feels like it, and Chicago really did break some record probably. It's -15 which means I'm not going anywhere. Which would make a Monday coffee date a bit tough, so thank goodness it's a blog post and not an actual planned coffee date. 

All this to say, if you and I were sitting down for a cup of coffee, I bet we would ask the barista to make them extra hot so they would stay warmer longer on this blistery cold day. I would want to know how you are doing. Like really doing. Your heart. Your mind. Even if it takes an hour to get there, I'm willing to listen and just sit here for a while. Remember, we got our coffees extra hot. So that means I mean business. 

With a new year here, are you excited about it? Dreading it? In between? Did you make goals or are you about up to your ears with the talk about goal setting?  I'll probably be wondering if you would want to keep each other accountable with similar goals. Or I'd ask you if you'd check in on me with one or two of my goals if you don't have any. 

As we continue to keep our hands warm wrapped around our mugs, I would tell you that I really am looking forward to this new year. 2013 was such a hard year on so many levels, I was just chomping at the bit for it to be over. It was a year of really high highs (PK now being a Chartered Financial Analyst, him finishing a marathon, two NYC trips, friends having sweet babies etc...) and really low lows (losing our baby Elston). I know consistency isn't promised to me, but I am not afraid to ask for it for this year! I am not putting my hope in it, but continuing to put my hope in the Lord this year. He has been good to us though it all. 
I would say that I didn't know this process of grieving the death of Elston would be so long. It is less dark, with less tears, but not a day goes by where I don't think of our sunshine baby. I am trying to be patient with myself still, and let God into the dark places that do continue their presence in my mind. Oh, this journey with grief has been an incredibly interesting one to say the least. I have experienced God in a whole new way. His comfort, His heart, and His care for my own heart. I feel known by Him and free to just be. Even if "being" means weeping on public transportation. Whateva. People have seen worse on the CTA, that's for sure. Me crying is chump change compared to what goes on sometimes.  

As we wrap up our coffee date and bundle up to enter the cold tundra, I would thank you for listening to my heart and being with me where I am. I would ask how I can be praying for you and give you a big hug with both of us in our huge Chicago winter coats. 

See you next time! 
You are loved

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Southern Illinois Recap.

This Christmas we traveled 6 hours south to the middle of nowhere Illinois. Literally. 
PK always describes my parents' place as that place you drive by and say out loud "who would live here?" The answer is my parents. It's where they moved when they retired and they love it. 

So, I ended up taking a ton of pictures. I mean, what else was I supposed to do with no internet?
Here's a little recap of our Christmas and you can meet my family! Enjoy!
sidenote: I think I look nothing like my parents. Let me know if you think I do. 
My mom and dad's Christmas tree. 
Believe it or not it's a Charlie Brown tree, but my mom decks it out to make it look voluptuous. 
My dad thinks he is a redneck now. We are from northern Illinois. I don't think he'll ever be a redneck. 
Maddie, their dog. My mom wraps her in blankets outside when it's cold. #spoiled #notahuman
Here he is. The man with the plan. Dad. I just adore this man. 
They had the best of times that week. They kind of did redneck things. 
Like shoot guns at clay pigeons.
Here's mama! Ever wonder where I get my sass? Don't let her smile fool you. Love this lady.
Mom and Pop took us to a lovely little winery. Southern Illinois is filled with 'em! Who knew?!
The crew.

My dad and his buddies built him a man cave. (Said in a southern accent) It's awesome and very my dad. It's filled with all things Chicago White Sox and pipes & cigars. It contains la-z-boy recliners, tv, and a sound system. Heat and air conditioning included. 
Target practice. 
I did some target practice too. With the headphones on. And I did pretty well! Look! 
PK, my dad, and I went hiking in the Garden of the gods. It was beautiful!
Can you believe this is Illinois?!
Oh I just love him! Oh, and thanks mom for letting me borrow your coat.
Moss. Doesn't it look like an aerial view of forests? 
Just call me your regular ol' mountain goat. 
And remember ladies, a hike isn't a hike without a pop of animal print! 
Here's my dad yelling at PK, telling him to stop being dangerous. He kept saying "You're gonna die! Get down from there!"

The man has adventure in his eyes. 
pop and me.

PK is my dad's dream son-in-law. Look, they are even wearing the same color palette. Which matches nature's color palette. I'm so impressed guys!

A happy new year to you!
Love, Ruger, Maddie, and Remington. Yes, the neighbors named their dogs after guns. Now that's redneck.

Allllll of this to say, no internet was a little challenging, but we got through it and it was probably good for me. :) Time with my parents was much needed and Christmas was a blast!
Mom and Dad, we love you to pieces!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2014 Goals.

Welcome 2014! 
The new year always makes me excited. New beginning. Clean slate. New goals. 
What? Goals?!!! Aaaaaaaaah! I can't believe I let that one slip in there. 
As an ENFP on the Myers-Briggs scale, I am not one to get all goaly and planny. As an INTJ on the Myers-Briggs scale, my hubby is. And he says it's one of his love languages. I have a rule that we all get one love language that actually isn't a love language. PK chose making goals. I chose surprises. To each his own.

As much as I kick and scream at goals, I know they are SO good for a girl like me and I am thankful that I married a man who is motivated by that kind of thing. I guess I am too, deep down somewhere inside. You just have to make it sound like a ton of fun, and then I'll get on board. 

All this to say, here I am with a list of goals! 
I want to share them with you. For accountability. To motivate each other. And to just be brave and put myself out there. So, I'm hoping you let me know some of your goals too! 

I know, I know, this one goes on the goal list every year. Here's the thing this year though. I am so tired of letting myself slip. I long to feel good about myself and what I'm putting into my body. I need some discipline. I need something to work toward. And I'm ready. 
 Here they are:

- I'm mixing it up with yoga, barre, and strength workouts. 
- Introduce juicing back into our diet. At least three times a week.
- Our diet will be very vegetable heavy. On the menu are lean meats & some whole grains as well.

 To stay disciplined I am realizing that the best for me is that the goals need to be really measurable. So, I have created a schedule for workouts, and menus for what we are eating and when. It's so much easier when I plan ahead for meals. I don't know what I haven't done it in the past. Saves money too.
{Well, I guess there is a little planny person in there somewhere!}
Ok, this one goes on the list every year too. But here's the thing. 
Well, there's no thing. I need to read through it. 
This is one passion that has really developed over these past two years. I love sharing my heart on this space, connecting with you, laughing, and crying with you. This blog has been a gift for my soul and I don't want to stop. I've got a lot I want to share these days and this year I am going to let myself do so. My goal for blogging is to have at least four posts out a week. It's going to take planning and discipline and I am going for it! The plan is being put in place so all I have to do is follow it. I pray it will be a place you can come to rest, and be encouraged, and reminded of how loved you are. 

To end, I want to encourage you with my little mantra for this year:
We are SO much more capable than we know.
 Thank you Pinterest work out video for this reminder. 
Happy 2014 and may your goals be ever in your favor.