The Ocean Is Calling… Caroline Turned 3!

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^ Pool party favors to keep the kids busy in the water! I opted for these instead of Moana themed favors 😉 I bought the buckets and other pool toys on amazon and used a paint pen to write the kids’ names on them.

Party Planner: SoiréeSmith

Moana: Wayfinder Princess

Cucpakes: Alliance Bakery

Cookies: Sweet Chickadees

Photo Backdrop: Amazon (If I was going all out, I would have added balloon garland to frame it on the top and one side of it.)

Table Decor: Plates/Napkins/Tablecloths, Palm Leaves, Leis, Take Home Cookies

Party Favors: Buckets, Water Blasters, Dive Toys, Fish Squirts

Venue: LifeTime Athletic (You don’t have to be a LifeTime member to have parties here!)

Invite: Paperless Post (While I love paper invites, I needed to get these invites out in a hurry and it was also more cost effective.)

Thank You Cards: I used the image from Paperless Post to create my own fill-in-the-blank thank you cards through Vistaprint (see above).

Our little minnow finally turned three in August! And, I say “finally” because she had literally been asking about her party ever since Peter had his first friends birthday party in December! Because she was sooo excited to have her own birthday party and invite all her friends, my husband and I decided we needed to make this a very special day for her! Every year won’t be as big 😉 Caroline loves the water, so we opted for a pool party, and of course we had to invite her favorite Disney character, Moana!

The kids spent the first hour swimming in the pool and then had an entertaining hour with Moana learning all sorts of songs, dances, and more. The girls were in heaven and even the boys loved it! I’m telling you this Moana was amazing!!

Parties can be a ton of work and especially last minute set up that is so difficult to do when you have little ones running around, and guests arriving. I was beyond thankful when Andrea from SoiréeSmith was able to help me out! I contacted Andrea about a week before the party and she jumped right in to see where she could be of use. When I threw out the idea of tropical floral centerpieces, she drove over to the flower market to text me pictures of what they had available to create exquisite arrangements a couple days later. I truly could not have done it without SoiréeSmith! For day of set up, Andrea stepped right up and totally put me ease… setting up the party room exactly how I wanted it to look, while I was out mingling with the other parents and watching our kids swim. We only had access to the room 15 minutes prior to the party start time, so this was critical! If you live in the Chicago North Shore area, I highly recommend working with Andrea for any type of party or wedding!

xo,

Marina

Back to School – Elementary Edition

  1. Secret wash button down (On sale! And don’t forget to use the daily discount code to get even more off! Styling tip: roll the sleeves for a more casual, ready-to-play look.)
  2. Roll-cuff linen shirt (On sale!)
  3. Classic pique polo (Similar style for less here)
  4. Slim-fit shorts (On sale! Comes in other colors too!)
  5. Canvas shorts (On sale! Similar style for less here)
  6. Striped belt (On sale!)
  7. Breaker shorts (Similar style for less here)
  8. Adidas sneakers (Similar style for less here)
  9. Basket-weave slip-ons
  10. Boat shoes
  1. The cold-shoulder bow top (Similar style here)
  2. White denim jacket (On sale!)
  3. Turtle grosgrain belt (On sale!)
  4. Chambray embroidered dress (Don’t forget “cartwheel shorts” underneath.)
  5. Floral dress (On sale! Similar style for less here)
  6. White scallop shorts (Similar style for less here)
  7. Espadrille (On sale!)
  8. Pompom sandal (Similar style for less here)
  9. Studded sandal

I know we say it every year, but how is it already the end of summer?! That said, I was so excited when my friends at North Shore Newsletter asked if I could create some back to school looks for elementary school kids for their monthly newsletter! NSNL was founded by two local Chicago North Shore moms and is truly THE one-stop shop for information on local activities and local haunts that keep the North Shore bumping! #FindYourFunNS 

Before you start stocking up on those fall/winter staples, get inspired by these looks to dress your kid for their first day! It’s always fun to get them a little more dressed up than normal, so they can kick off the school year with a good first impression! And you know you want them looking photo fresh for your Instagram account #firstdayofschool 😉

While I’ve included several options (and price points) from larger retail stores, here are a few more of my favorite boutique brands that specialize in classic style: Busy BeesBella Bliss, and Elephantito (I love their quality shoes). Lastly, for affordable, yet cute school/play clothes, I recommend Zara, Gap (make sure to use the daily 40% off code at checkout), and Cat & Jack (Target). Another idea is to check out the sales at Ralph Lauren and Janie And Jack (sort “price low to high” and filter by size to find deals like this).

Enjoy the end of summer!

xo,

Marina

Third Trimester Pregnancy Update

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Off the shoulder dress: ASTR the Label (note this is not maternity, but it works if you are pregnant! Similar styles here and here)

I know these dresses are a little summery, but you could snag them now for next year or for an upcoming tropical vacay. Also, here is another ASTR the Label dress, which is festive for Fall! I recommend layering it with a light jean jacket (daytime) or suede moto jacket (evening). Oh how I love the dusty rose color for this time of the year!

Okay, so now on to the pregnancy update…

Q: What pregnancy is this for you and when are you due?

A: It’s my third and probably my last given that three seems like a good number of kids! Our little baby boy is due mid-December and we can’t wait to meet him. We also have Peter, who will turn 4 years old in December (hopefully not the same day as the baby arrives!!) and Caroline, who just turned two last month. My first two kids are 20 months apart and then second and third should be around 28 months apart.

Q: How has this pregnancy been different so far?

A: The funny thing is that with our first pregnancy, as a couple, it is all we would talk about! My husband was constantly asking to feel kicks and we were also going to baby stores for the latest finds! And of course, I was stocking up on the baby’s wardrobe. This time, however, it is my kids that keep asking about the growing baby! It is seriously the cutest thing. Peter is fascinating to learn about the baby’s development and keeps asking to watch the weekly progress videos you can find online. He loves to feel the kicks and tells me what he is going to help with when the baby arrives. The other day, he put together a pile of his old baby books that he wanted to give to his new brother. Peter also keeps telling me that he has a baby growing inside him and he move his belly forward and say “it kicked, mama!” And then we have Caroline that is a total baby lover and keeps telling me how she is going to take care of the baby and hold the baby. Yikes, I’ll have to be careful that she doesn’t grab him out of the bassinet when I turn my back for a second 😉

Q: How have you been feeling?

A: I’ve been feel pretty good! I really can’t complain, because earlier in the pregnancy I didn’t have any morning sickness. Just fatigue in the first trimester and now in the third trimester, I’m starting to feel quite big and I’m ready to put my feet up at the end of the day, haha. But I suppose that comes with the territory. I should be eating better, but with the kids around I find myself nibbling on their leftover “kid food” often, and I’m having more carbs than greens lately… eek! I’m trying to counteract this with my cardio tennis class, Dailey Method, pilates, and walking.

Q: What is the worst thing about your pregnancy so far?

A: My varicose veins! They are out of control this pregnancy. I didn’t have much the first two pregnancies, but this time around is another story. I knew this was going to happen given my mom had to get hers removed. So I’ve just been wearing a lot of maxi dresses this summer.

Q: What kind of strange cravings have you had this pregnancy?

A: This is pretty embarrassing, but I have been craving chocolate milk! I know that is totally a little kid drink and for some reason I’m obsessed, haha. I’ll grab a small bottle at the store or I’ve even made it at home. And of course I’m craving sushi too. I can’t wait to get a hamachi roll and tuna tartare when the baby arrives!

Q: Are you prepared for baby #3?

A: Well I’m not sure you can ever be totally prepared, but I’m getting there. I just ordered mini diapers, started going through Peter’s old newborn clothes, and I’m starting to simply my schedule for the new year. I know I’ll be very busy juggling the three kids throughout the day.

What I need to do now is work on the little boy’s nursery, but right now it is our guest room. We have family coming in to town around the baby’s birth and Christmas, so I’m thinking I’ll leave the room as is until late January. For the first month or two, the baby will sleep in our room.

Leave a comment and let me know what other questions you have for me!!

xo,

Marina

 

 

Dressing the Bump for a Special Occassion

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Maternity evening gown: PinkBlush Maternity (comes in several colors!)

I recently wore this beautiful blush gown to one of my best friend’s wedding in Seattle, Washington. The wedding was absolutely stunning, and we had the best time catching up with all my high school friends!

I’ll admit that when the save the date arrived, I realized I was going to be pretty far along in my pregnancy for the wedding and that made me a bit nervous 😉 I started to worry about what I was going to wear!

After scouring the internet, I found this gown and knew it would be perfect for the occasion. It was incredibly comfortable to wear, and very flattering with the meshed neckline and ruched bust!

If you have a winter gala or holiday party to attend, this dress comes in a gorgeous burgundy and classic black. PinkBlush also has a wonderful selection of maternity clothes and everyday dresses.

xo,

Marina

Brought to you by PinkBlush Maternity.

I Scream, You Scream

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Button-down shirt: Egg by Susan Lazar | Seersucker bottoms: Egg by Susan Lazar (shorts still available here for 65% off)| White white shoes: Ralph Lauren

Fall is definitely in the air and the days are getting shorter, but we aren’t letting that stop our outdoor fun! Last night Peter was craving some “sprinkle ice cream” as he calls it… and I couldn’t resist chasing him around the park’s butterfly garden and watching him smile with glee. Poor Caroline didn’t get any ice cream this time, since she wouldn’t eat her steak or broccoli at dinner. I’m trying to make her a better eater… let’s see if this tactic works 😉

xo,

Marina

Brought to you by Egg by Susan Lazar.

East Coast Meets West Coast

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Chambray ruffle-sleeve top: Vineyard Vines | White denim jeans: Vineyard Vines

Here is one of Caroline’s beachy looks from our recent trip to the Pacific Northwest. I’m so grateful that my parents have a charming little beach house on Whidbey Island, WA, where the kids can run and play in the sand for hours. It was fun to watch them explore and find shells, crabs, seaweed and much more!

I absolutely adore Caroline in this east coast style from Vineyard Vines! If you are feeling like there isn’t enough summer left to justify buying this outfit, buy it up a size or two for next year. For sizing reference, Caroline is wearing 2T here and would likely fit perfectly into a 3T next summer.

xo,

Marina

Apple Picking in Wisconsin

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Caroline’s dress: Noch Mini (similar style here – 50% off! and here) | Fringe sandals: Gap Kids (find them in your local store) | Hair bow: Modern Piggy

Peter’s chambray button-down: Ralph Lauren (30% off with code FAMILY30) | Shorts: Gap Kids (similar style here) | Boat shoes: Sperry (40% off)

On Friday I took the kids up to Apple Holler in Wisconsin! We had the most amazing time picking apples, playing with the baby goats, riding ponies and much more. Although it is usually a fall activity, it was in the high 80s, so you can probably see the kids were a little flushed near the end of our adventure 😉

Now, I need to find some delicious apple recipes… let me know if you have one!

xo,

Marina

Labor Day Sales

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Polo shirt: Lacoste (can also be found here)| Seersucker Shorts: TF Laurence| Loafers: Sperry Kids

Hip hip hooray!! Here are a list of my favorite baby and child brands that are offering sales this Labor Day!

Freshly Picked – 25% off moccasins and shoes

Minnow Swim – 20% off entire order with code SUMMERFOREVER

Baby CZ by Carolina Zapf – Summer sale up to 60% off

Ralph Lauren – Take up to 30% off with code FINALE

Bella Bliss – Summer sale, items as low as $6.99

Jacadi – 25% off essentials

Gap Kids – 40% off with code LABORDAY

Janie and Jack – Take an additional 20% off sale items

J.Crew – Use code YESPLEASE for 30%

Vineyard Vines – 30% off sale items with code WHALE17

Happy shopping and BBQing 😉

xo,

Marina

Pink Seersucker Swimsuit

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Two-piece swimsuit: RuffleButts | Hair clips: Emery Common

Is it just me or are all toddlers pretty much obsessed with bubbles?! Caroline asks for them all the time and insists on trying to make them herself, which usually results in the whole bottle being dumped out.

Grammy gave Caroline the cutest little new pink seersucker suit for her 2nd birthday! The set that can be found at Nordstrom comes with a floppy hat and is UPF 50+. If you only want the suit, you can buy directly from RuffleButts. Caroline is wearing 2T, so I’m hoping she will fit in this next year too!

Oh, and I have to mention that these are Caroline’s first pigtails 😉 Her hair is finally getting long enough for some fun styling. I added the most darling classic hair clips from Emery Common to the look. These high quality bows are made with french barrette clips and actually stay in.

xo,

Marina

 

Family Look: Blues & Whites

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Peter’s gingham button down shirt: Ralph Lauren (similar style here) | White pants: Ralph Lauren | Boat shoes: Sperry Kids

Husband’s gingham button down shirt: J.Crew | White shorts: Bonobos

Caroline’s top and bloomer: Ralph Lauren (sold out, but similar style here) | Sandals: Salt Water Sandals by Hoy | Doll: Corolle

Marina’s jumpsuit: Vince Camuto | Wedges: Marc Fisher

Here’s a look back to our California trip in June. As you can see, I’m a big fan of coordinating us in blues and whites during the summer months 😉

Oh and I highly recommend the jumpsuit I’m wearing! It packs nicely without any wrinkles and it is super comfortable.

xo,

Marina