Rejuvenate for Spring!

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Photos by: Marena Beck Photography

Our winter has been really harsh this year, so I’m all about rejuvenating myself before spring officially arrives! Here are some of my favorite products to bring life back into your skin and hair. Let me know your must-haves to get you through the winter!

FACE

Face lotion (or this) – both of these lotions go on so smoothly and instantly hydrate your face

Lip conditioner – this is great for out and about when you want a little color with a chapstick-like feel

Lip balm – I apply this to my lips every morning and night after brushing my teeth, and it keeps them feeling hydrated without being too “goopy”

BODY

Hand lotion – this lotion soaks in quickly and doesn’t leave your hands feeling oily

Heel/foot treatment cream – this treatment is perfect for those cracky winter heels

HAIR

Shampoo & Conditioner – ultra-hydrating

Treatments – if your hair is dry and brittle from the winter, try this!

Leave-in conditioner – I use this every time after washing my hair to detangle it and prep it for blow drying

Hair Dryer – this dryer is super fast and gives your hair lightweight volume

Curling iron – I have noticed my hair is much healthier after switching to his curling iron

xo,

Marina

 

Snowed In, Again

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^ Peter, February 2018

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^ Peter, March 2017

Half zip sweater: Ralph Lauren (this one for baby sizes)| Teepee: Pottery Barn Kids (similar style here) | My First Anywhere Chair: Pottery Barn Kids

This is a bit of a repeat from last winter, but with many new followers this year and over a foot of snow outside… I decided to repost my “snowed in” post again.

Snow days can be so much fun, but they can also drag on with little kids that can’t be outside for too long. Here are my favorite indoor activities to do with my little ones on a snowy or dreary day. They are perfect to keep the kids entertained, get them moving, and teach them something new.

  • Set up an indoor campsite – You can do this by setting up tee pee or building a fort out of pillows. What kid doesn’t want to go camping in their family room?! You can make up fun stories to tell them inside the tent, and then later send them out to find make-believe firewood to keep you all warm and food to eat. It’s fun to see what they come up with when you ask them to go hunting for food and berries. If all else fails, the kids will love hiding in the tent with you lifting up different flaps and peaking through the windows.
  • Create an obstacle course – Get some of their energy out by setting up an obstacle course in a big carpeted room. Have your little ones climb over a pillow hill, army crawl throw a tunnel, go down the slide, weave through cones, and step up a big box and jump off it. Have a little competition and encourage the kids to count while the other ones completes the course.
  • Bake banana bread – Banana bread is a delicious cold weather treat and who doesn’t have  overripe bananas around, so why not bake with your kids. Toddlers love to smash the bananas, measure out the ingredients with scooping and dumping and of course… sample the dough. You can add chocolate chips to make it even more decadent.
  • Take a dip in the “indoor pool” – Change up your nighttime bath routine, and put the kids in midday for some swimming practice and bubble blowing. And if you want to get crazy, bust out the bathtub crayons for some artistic fun in the bathtub! Just be careful they understand that they cannot draw on walls and that those are special crayons that can only be used on the tub.
  • Play Simon says – This might only buy you 10 minutes, but it could be a lifesaver when you need your stir crazy kids to sit still during the evening witching hour. My kids find it hilarious when they get tricked and do something without me saying “Simon says” first. And then they try to trick me 😉
  • Get help with your household chores – As moms, we typically have a lengthy to do list. Why not employ your kids and make it a fun game for them? You’ll be surprised how they love sorting laundry by color and enjoy taking laundry out of washer and putting it into dryer. Give them a mini dust pan and brush and have them help you clean the floor by going on a crumb hunt.  Try having your little ones help you unload the dishwasher, starting with the non-breakable kids’ plates and cups of course!
  • Play restaurant – See what kind of fun concoctions your kids come up with when feeding you. Pretending to be at a restaurant, is a fun way to work on those manners, while introducing how to converse with a waitress or waiter.
  • Make a homemade bagel bird feeder – With just a few ingredients your little tots can make this bird feeder for those poor birds that have a tougher time finding food when it’s snowing. Hang it from a tree, and then go back inside to watch the birds (or squirrels) flock to the tasty treat your little ones created.

xo,

Marina

Ring in 2018!

  1. Red sheath dress: Felicity & Coco (only $98 and comes in other colors!)
  2. Jumpsuit: Lulus (only $68!)
  3. Rockstud t-strap pump: Valentino
  4. Sequin midi dress: Dress the Population
  5. Ossie d’Orsay Pump: Imagine by Vince Camuto (45% off right now!)
  6. Lace dress: Bardot
  7. Seamed tank: Trouvé
  8. Faux-leather skinny jeans: Good American (similar style here)
  9. Drapery tank with bow: J.Crew (comes in ivory too)
  10. Embellished ankle strap sandal: Sam Edelmen
  11. Red off the shoulder dress: Chelsea28

What are you up to for NYE this year?! Whether you are doing something fun as a family or headed to a glamorous party with your hubby… here is some styling inspiration! All of these items can be found at Nordstrom, which also happens to be having their half yearly sale (side note: I LOVE these pajamas that just went on sale)!

If you are worried about your order arriving on time, try their “pick up in store” option while purchasing online! It’s pretty amazing to just run in and grab exactly what you want without getting distracted by other flashy things 😉

Oh one more thing, if you really want to get all dolled up, treat yourself to a spray tan (or a good at-home self tanner) and fake lashes! I love these MAC lashes for an evening look or even a family photoshoot. They add just the right amount of pop without being too noticeable.

Cheers to the New Year!

xo,

Marina

Holiday Gift Guide for Hosts

  1. Monogrammed cocktail shaker: Williams Sonoma
  2. Peppermint bark: Williams Sonoma
  3. Wine ice mold: Crate & Barrel
  4. Christmas tree board: Crate & Barrel
  5. Set of Maison candles: Voluspa
  6. Christmas kitchen towels: Williams Sonoma
  7. Set of coasters: Target
  8. Stainless steel water bottle: Swell
  9. Buffalo check throw: Pottery Barn

It’s that time of the year and I love it! There are so many parties, and its always nice to show up with a festive host gift! I’ve compiled my favorite gifts under $50. Of course, there are tons of fun local shop options too, and hopefully this gives you inspiration there too 😉

xo,

Marina

Holiday Gift Guide For Men

  1. Half zip pull-over: Nordstrom
  2. Sphere ice molds: Williams Sonoma
  3. Secret wash button-down: J.Crew (25% off with code THURSDAY)
  4. Magnetic collar stays: Würkin Stiffs
  5. Quilted gloves: Ralph Lauren (on sale + an additional 30% off with code JOY)
  6. Bar tool set: Williams Sonoma
  7. Thermapen: Thermoworks
  8. BBQ tool set: Williams Sonoma
  9. Sweatpants: Bonobos
  10. Quilted Jacket: Peter Millar
  11. Canvas & leather belt: Peter Millar
  12. Pocket organizer: Salvatore Ferragamo
  13. Wine System: Coravin (20% off with code FRIENDS)

I hope you find this holiday gift guide for men (think husbands, brothers, dads…) helpful! My husband already owns several of these items, so I know they are tried and true! He swears by the magnetic collar stays (could be a stocking stuffer), and uses his Thermapen and BBQ tool set whenever I ask him to grill. The Thermapen is seriously amazing with its instant read, and helps us to not overcook anything.

Also, your husband will look really cool when he shows off his new Coravin wine system to guests, or makes them an old fashioned drink with the proper ice spheres! Another benefit of the Coravin wine system is that you snag one glass of wine with dinner (without opening the whole bottle) on those nights when your hubby just wants a beer… so basically it is a gift for both of you 😉

xo,

Marina

Here Comes Christmas…

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^ They loved their view from the 25th floor of the Trump Tower in Chicago during our recent staycation! Peter could watch “vehicles” (cars, trucks, trains, buses, boats…) as he calls them all day long 😉

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Holiday penguin pajamas: Pottery Barn Kids (boys and girls)

It’s officially Christmas pajamas season!! How cute are these penguin pajamas from Pottery Barn Kids?! And the best part, these pajamas (and other styles) are 40% off today!

Here are several other great Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales going on:

Ralph Lauren (30% off if you spend $100 with code ‘THANKS’)

Petit Bateau (50% off site wide with code ‘CYBER50’)

Jacadi (35% off off select styles)

Vineyard Vines (25% off + free shipping)

J.Crew (40% off + an extra 10%)

Minnow Swim (20% off with code ‘helloholidays’)

Nordstrom (20% off certain items)

Zara (40% off select items)

Gap (50% off with code ‘CYBER’)

Bella Bliss (up to 40% off)

Janie and Jack (20% off)

Pottery Barn Kids (20% off + free shipping)

xo,

Marina

J.Crew Holiday Favorites – 40% Off!

(Click directly on the item to be taken to J.Crew’s website.)

J.Crew just came out with 151 holiday arrivals, and today through November 26th, they are offering 40% off! The discount code is currently THANKU, but it may change tomorrow, so double check the website for the most accurate code.

I have this pom-pom hat and love it! And how cute is this ivory double bow sweater… you can easily dress it up or down depending on the occasion this season. Lastly I have to highlight the one-shoulder jumpsuit, that I recommend pairing with red accents for a pop of holiday color!

Happy shopping!

xo,

Marina

Baking for Dad!

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Long sleeve shirt: Ralph Lauren (on sale for $15!) | Kids apron: Williams Sonoma (also in red) | Step up kitchen helper: Guidecraft (one of my all-time best kid purchase!!) | Garland (above stove): Target (only $20) | White cutting board: OXO | Set of 4 Ramekins: Williams Sonoma | Goldtouch sheet pan: Williams Sonoma

Today is my husband’s birthday and Peter was so excited to bake dad his favorite dessert… chocolate pot de créme!! Peter and I have been having so much fun cooking together. It’s the perfect cold weather activity, so I encourage you to try baking or cooking with your little ones! And yes, it will definitely get messy 😉 But it’s so amazing to see how much the kids can do when they are young.

Here is the Epicurious recipe that we used to make the chocolate pots de créme today. I swear it is super easy and hard to mess up! The only thing is… you’ll want to give yourself enough time to bake and chill it before serving. Although usually my husband eats at least one right out of the oven 😉

PREPARATION

    1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Bring cream and milk just to simmer in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat. Add chocolate; whisk until melted and smooth. Whisk yolks and sugar in large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in hot chocolate mixture. Strain mixture into another bowl. Cool 10 minutes, skimming any foam from surface.
    2. Divide custard mixture among six 3/4-cup custard cups or soufflé dishes. Cover each with foil. Place cups in large baking pan. Add enough hot water to pan to come halfway up sides of cups. Bake until custards are set but centers still move slightly when gently shaken, about 55 minutes. Remove from water. Remove foil. Chill custards until cold, about 3 hours. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and keep chilled.)

xo,

Marina

Let It Snow!

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Bow peacoat: Gap Kids (use code HAPPY for 40% to get it for $33) | Cable knit leggings: Tucker + Tate | Boots: Ugg (similar style here)

I can’t handle the cuteness! There is something so fun about the first snow of the season! We were only out for a couple minutes before running back in to get proper snow pants, gloves, hats, and more, but I loved seeing Caroline’s excitement for our little winter wonderland. I’m sure we will have plenty more opportunities to play in the snow this year 😉

For sizing reference, this bow peacoat is 18-24 month (it runs large), while Caroline turned two this past August.

xo,

Marina

The First Snow!

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Cable-knit sweater: Gap Kids (on sale for $24 + 20% off!) | Skinny jeans in bottle green: Zara boys | Polo shirt: Ralph Lauren | Navy boots: Hunter | Snow hat: Zara

Today we woke up to teeny tiny flurries and the kids got so excited! A little after taking these photos (10am), it really started to come down, and now (11am) we have a full blown white out for our first snow of the season! It feels so festive and I can’t help but want to start decorating for Christmas! And also I want to make sure my house is decorated before out baby boy arrives 😉

This cozy cable-knit sweater is so charming, and on sale for less than $20 when you use the discount code “CHEERS.” For reference, I have Peter is a size 4T and he turns four in December. The “bottle green” skinny jeans from Zara are also perfect for all the holiday events! You can dress them up or down. They will fit great under winter snow boots (like these) or look cute with more dressy shoes too. For Peter, I size up in Zara, so these are a boy’s 5 year old. Over the summer, Peter grew out of the baby boy 3/4 size.

I have a feeling we are going to have a very chilly and snowy Chicago winter this year. Oy! I better order the rest of Caroline’s snow outfit and new Sorel boots for the kids.

xo,

Marina