OlgaDavis30: 2017

Friday, October 13, 2017

When A Not So Long Drive Feels Like Forever

Happy 125th Birthday to the Milwaukee County Zoo. 
We recently loaded up our girls and took a trip to my favorite neighboring city of Milwaukee. We were heading to the Milwaukee County Zoo. We’ve done this ride multiple times over the years. But this drive, oh my goodness, it was so different. I’m not sure what was going on with my 5-year-old. She is typically entertained with window watching, playing with her toys, and listening to music. But as soon as we got on the highway it was all yelling and crying and are we there yet. We’d ask her to be quiet so daddy could concentrate on driving and she’d do it for about a minute and start up again. My husband and I just went down a list of items. Did she sleep well? Yes, we are pretty sure she did. Did she eat breakfast? Yes of course we all did. Was she uncomfortable in her car seat? Nope, she actually responded to us.

So after about an hour into our trip she just kept going on about how bored she was and demanding we give her one of our phones. I’m sorry, but when you start demanding things from mommy and daddy, that is a surefire way of not getting what you want. But in all honesty, deep down I really did just want to give her my phone so we could have some quite, however, I knew I couldn’t do that because, one, we’d be giving in, and two, my 2-year-old would then be the next to start crying. No win-win here. 
I really love that many of the animals walk up to the glass so
the small children can have a really good look at them.
We are about 10 minutes away, and of course there is a vehicle accident. It must have just happened as there was a young lady in tears walking out of her car trying to get out of the traffic. Anyway, thankfully no one seemed hurt, just immobile cars in the shoulder and left lane. So my daughter is frantically crying that she wants to be where we are going now. Meanwhile my husband is trying to maneuver and he himself not get involved in another accident. She would just not listen about being quiet for a minute. I had to turn around and yell at her “SHUT UP”. I don’t normally yell at her, and I have never said shut up to her. I just don’t like how it sounds to me. Well that got her attention, and then waterworks because I yelled at her. I felt horrible having to yell at her like that. And after what seemed forever, we finally got to our destination. At the zoo, it was as if nothing had happened, just her usual cheery self. Luckily the ride home was the total opposite. Both girls were so tired out by the fun at the zoo that they were practically asleep before we left the parking lot. I've sprinkled in our happy zoo pictures so enjoy, and definitely check out the Milwaukee County Zoo. They have elephants! I'm worn out from our drive!

Have you ever had a bad road trip experience? How have you handled the situation? I know all families are unique, but sharing any advice for future trips could benefit us all. Next time should I invest in portable DVD players, tablets, etc? Please share in the comments. 

The Milwaukee Zoo is currently in Halloween mode.
Lots of fun decorations. 

Friday, October 6, 2017

Zulily - Helping Women Entrepreneurs Reach Their Goals

Have you shopped zulily? Do you know what zulily is? If not, zulily works with thousands of brands from up-and-comers to household names, you order from them, then they place one large order for all their customers, saving you money by being able to offer lower prices. It’s always fun to see what is being offered, as they offer new sales every morning.

This month, October, is Women’s Small Business Month. zulily is celebrating with over 100 amazing brands owned by equally amazing women. For four weeks of sales events, zulily will be featuring female small business owners and the amazing products they’ve created. By working with zulily, many of these female entrepreneurs have been able to expand their businesses and quickly reach their goals.  I’m excited to support these women, and look forward to checking out the sale (especially home d├ęcor and children’s clothing). If you shop the event, please share what you got! I’m already eyeing a cute Apron from Handstand kids & Simply Whimsical. Visit zulily.com and do some shopping and don’t forget to check back daily as more items are added.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Max and Bird - A Friendship Book

Now that my daughter is learning to read I'm on the lookout for fun easy reading books that she can learn from. We received an advance copy of Max and Bird, by Ed Vere. Madeline, who is five, has been excited about reading. Now she gets to hold the book and try and sound out the words. The story is great for kids of all ages. It shows what friendship means and also what persistence to reach a common goal can lead to. Madeline has chosen to read this book for the past two weeks almost every day. She says she really likes that Max and Bird has some really nice illustrations. I think they are pretty cool too. Check out the book and tell us what you think. By the way my favorite part is when Max makes a pros and cons list. Now Madeline wants to make her own lists too.

Max and Bird
ISBN: 9781492635581; September 2017
$17.99 U.S.; Hardcover; Juvenile Fiction/Picture Book

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Olivia's Messy Alphabet Book - A Personalized Book From Put Me In The Story

Olivia's Messy Alphabet Book!
I received a free book product in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own.

I really love that my girls are really into books. And after receiving a personalized copy of Sesame Street: The Messy Alphabet Book for Olivia, I knew it was only a matter of time before Madeline would be asking for one of her own. We’ll see which book I surprise her with in the near future.

“You know, it seems like every alphabet book I read is full of nice, clean things like cute kittens, cuddly puppies, and shiny new toys. I think it’s time for a new alphabet book, a MESSY alphabet book.” — Oscar the Grouch

Oscar the Grouch is tired of the same old ABCs. They’re too predictable, too perfect, too clean. In his version, your child finds out that G stands for gooey, M stands for mud-coated, and S stands for slimy (yuck!). Your kiddo will have a blast learning their ABCs in this silly, scribbled take on alphabet books.  You know what Oscar? We couldn’t agree more! 

We love this new take on learning about the alphabet, and it really suits my messy little monster Olivia. She’s already finding it fun to learn her alphabet using the fun pictures in the book. What kid would pass up the chance to be silly, really silly? In Sesame Street: The Messy Alphabet Book, a new personalized book available at PutMeInTheStory.com, Oscar the Grouch and his Sesame Street friends teach your child their ABCs by splashing and crashing their way through the alphabet together!

You are able to personalize with your child’s name and photograph. Olivia was excited to find herself in the book. “That’s me”! I was even able to write my own dedication to her.

At the end of the book, your child can decorate their initials using all the tricks they learned from their Sesame Street pals! We're waiting for a day we have spaghetti for dinner. 

And if you enter below your child can get the opportunity to love their own personalized book.
Enter through the Rafflecopter link to win a Sesame Street Personalized Book Bundle & Elmo Plush from Put Me In The Story! http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/54ca7af7566/ (giveaway is sponsored by Put Me In The Story)

$34.99 personalized book

A is for applesauce dripped down the wall.
B is for birthday cake wrecked by a ball.
C is for cookies all covered in goo.
D is for doughnuts all frosted with glue.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Find Local Savings When You Open Your Valpak Envelope

This is a sponsored post, all opinions are my own.

Do you get a big blue envelope every month, and not look at it? Maybe you should change that and start opening it up. There's lots of savings in the Valpak envelope for you to use each month. In addition to household service and restaurant coupons, Valpak envelopes now contain great grocery savings and coupons for everyday household items.  I know I like clipping my coupons to save money; saving money means I can use it on something fun for the family, like a vacation or a nice dinner. So this month be sure to open it up and find great savings like this great offer: Free $20 gift card with the purchase of $45 Sam’s Club membership.  What would you use your savings on?

Some of the coupons I picked out for myself in the photo below. I like using them to visit our local restaurants. This coming Sunday is Sunday Funday at our house. It's the beginning of the NFL season for our Chicago Bears and we'll be cheering them on with 1/2 off pizza from Salerno's. What kind of coupons or discounts do you look most forward to?

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

AquaBall's Sugarless Back To School Sweepstakes

I received a free sample to facilitate this review

If you haven't heard of AquaBall its a great alternative to sugar filled drinks. They have fun flavors kids like but with zero calories and zero sugar. Plus it's even a good source of vitamins. My girls love the fun princess designs and the unique shape of the bottle. For my toddler it's a nice size for her to hold on her own.

So now to some exciting news! AquaBall is hosting a Sugarless Back to School Sweepstakes with awesome prizes just in time for back-to-school season. The naturally flavored water is available in four flavors – Berry Frost, Fruit Punch, Grape and Strawberry Lemonade – and features fan favorite characters from Disney's "Frozen", Disney Princesses, Marvel's "Avengers," and Disney Classic Characters. The drinks are sweetened using Stevia. 

AquaBall's Sugarless Back to School Sweepstakes will run from August to September 2017. Entering is super easy! Simply visit http://www.aquaballdrink.com/offers/ and complete the entry form including a photo of your child with their favorite AquaBall – don't forget to tag #Sugarlessbacktoschool and @aquaballdrink.

Six lucky participants will win a one month's supply of AquaBall (one 6-pack of each flavor), which will be drawn every Monday between August 14th and September 18th.
Ten winners will receive a one year supply (twelve 24-count packs), which will be drawn Monday September 18th.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

A Little Staycation in Chicago

I love being able to visit our wonderful city of Chicago. It’s definitely a big city to explore. I’m all about trying to take vacations near home and this summer was no exception. Our staycation this summer was a little different as we decided to leave the little ones at home. Yes, it was the first time leaving Olivia for more than one night. I’m not sure why it left me sad, because this summer I feel like I’ve needed a break from my kids. I wonder if I’ll ever be able to truly take a one-week vacation without my two girls. Any other parents suffer from separation anxiety like me? Usually it’s the child that’s upset, but not my girls. They were excited to be visiting Abuelito and Abuelita, because as we all know, grandparents let their grandchildren do whatever, and eat whatever they want. My parents are no exception.

The good thing about a staycation is the commute. We can easily drive or take public transportation into the city. We drove since we were already going to be dropping of the girls on our way. But once in the city we utilized the CTA and Uber to get around. We booked a room at the Hyatt Centric that was right off of the Mag Mile, close to shopping, restaurants and public transportation. The Hyatt had great service and a beautiful spacious room.  I loved that we had a Kuerig in our room, since I can never figure out those other hotel coffee makers, and how awesome is the hair dryer from Dry Bar? I had an awesome hair day! The floor was nice and quiet so we could have a good night’s sleep which I was desperately looking forward to since my two-year-old tends to wake me up at 5 am! 

You can’t visit the city without shopping. Nordstrom’s had their anniversary sale so I had to restrain myself (which by the way is through August 6th). Stopped by some usual spots like The Gap, Forever XXI, and the new Ulta store near the Chicago River. Definitely take a stroll along the River. They have the cutest TikiBar/Restaurant - Island Party Hut.

Getting around the city is easy on the CTA. We took the Red Line up to the Addison stop. We took in a baseball game at the friendly confines, Wrigley Field. My husband had not been there since the renovations so we went early to take everything in. Park at Wrigley is a nice size and on game days only open to ticketed guests. It was nice to sit out there and have a drink before the game. Take advantage of Wednesday’s Movies at the Park, August 9th features The Sandlot (one of my childhood favorites). For a new view of Wrigley, we also decided to take a look at the Budweiser Brickhouse Tavern. We went up to the terrace and could see the whole park and the outside of Wrigley (and the new hotel that is being built across the street). Inside Wrigley they also have lots of food options. I opted for Wicker Park's Pork & Mindy's and a had a pulled pork sandwich served on a bao bun with brown sugar-coated "Pig Candy" bacon bites. Yum! Sadly, the Cubs lost to the Sox. After the game we hit some local spots, and noticed that a whole chunk of Clark Street is getting redone. Can’t wait to see what’s coming. 

Dinner (in my opinion the most important meal of my day) was delicious. We went to Cantina Laredo in the Loop right on State Street. My carne asada was so good, but it was far too late to take a photo of a half empty plate. It was also National Tequila Day so they had a nice drink special. And they offered table side Guacamole so you know you’re getting a fresh batch. 

The next day we decided to keep it Chicago style and went to Uno Pizzeria for some deep dish. Makes your mouth water don’t it? There are so many other spots to eat at while visiting Chicago, like Eataly, Frontera Grill, RPM Italian, Ruth Chris Steakhouse, Bub City, and for a fun drink go to Three Dots and a Dash. 

Some great quick spots to visit are Millennium Park, The Art Institute, and Navy Pier. If you have a lot of time definitely take in the view at the Willis Tower (aka the Sears Tower) or Hancock building. Breathtaking to see the city from up high.   

What kinds of activities do you do on your Staycations? Any other spots we should hit while in the City of Chicago.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

A Book For a Little Girl Who Loves Tea Parties

Having a Tea Party with Ellie the Elephant
 This post may contain affiliate links for which I may be compensated

With two little girls we’ve had our share of tea parties. Tea parties are so much fun, especially for Madeline. She likes to get all dressed up for the occasion and invite all of her dolls and stuffed animals. On days when we know that Olivia isn’t going to be around I like to bring out the little ceramic tea set so it seems more grown up for her (yes poor Olivia, but no one likes broken dishes…and one has already been broken and glued back together).

So when I saw the book, The Queen is Coming to Tea by Linda Ravin Lodding,  I thought it would be a fun read for Madeline. It is an adorably illustrated book about a girl named Ellie who receives a note from the Queen “May I please come for tea? Sincerely yours, The Queen Herself”. Ellie travels the world as she makes sure to have everything she needs for the Queen’s arrival. I have been reading the book to Madeline, she’s 5 and it makes for a good bedtime book for us. It’s a fun way to follow Ellie on all of her adventures as she gets ready for the Queen’s visit. Plus I get to share about my own travel experiences with Madeline, and even make new future plans with her. (I hear Paris calling).

I think you'd love the book too! Sign up for the opportunity to win a copy and a cute ceramic tea set so you too can get ready for the Queen’s arrival. And don’t forget to try the Peach Mango White Iced Tea recipe below.

Peach Mango White Iced Tea Recipe

4 Cups Water
3 White Tea Bags
1 Peach
½ Cup Chopped Frozen Mango
1 tbsp sugar plus Sugar to Taste

Boil the 6 cups of water; remove from heat
Steep the tea bags about 5 minutes; remove bags and allow tea to cool to room temperature
Add chopped peaches and mango to a mixing bowl and mix with sugar; let fruit soften
Place fruit in pitcher and pour cooled tea on top; add sugar to taste and stir
Chill and serve

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Queen is Coming to Tea
Author: Linda Ravin Lodding
Illustrator: Constranze von Kitzing
February 7, 2017
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
ISBN: 9781492607571; $16.99; Hardcover

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Summer in Chicago - Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co

With summer in full swing and the girls full of energy, I've been looking for new ways for them to see Chicago. My family was invited to take a scenic ride on a Double Decker bus from Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co. I had been on one many years ago, but never took full advantage of its full offerings. You can visit one of their many kiosks, purchase your ticket, and be on your way. When your on the Chicago City Tour you'll be able to hop on and off at any of the thirteen stops. If you download the app you'll even be able to track when the next bus is on its way. That's a great thing for those who want to spend a little extra time taking in the views and taking photos. Just be sure to keep your ticket handy as you'll need it to re-board.

Tours offered:
Downtown Tour - 13 Hop-onHop-offstops throughout downtown Chicago and River North
The Wrigley Field/Lincoln ParkZooRoute
The Museum of Science &Industry/ChinatownRoute
The Night Tour
For those wanting to experience Chicago by water, Chicago Trolley also offers the Land, Lake and River Package.

The family really enjoyed being able to see the city from up high. Seeing the tall buildings and how big Lake Michigan was kept the girls in awe. We were really excited to take some photos of the skyline on our stops near the Shedd Aquarium and Buckingham Fountain. I would recommend taking the tour towards sunset, it's just a breathtaking view of the city. I loved our tour guide. He had some great little facts about all things Chicago. And just FYI, kids 4 and under ride for free! To learn more about the stops, Double Decker bus, and Trolley visit their website at www.chicagotrolley.com. Let me know if you decide to go, I'd love to hear about which stops you enjoyed.

Olivia taking in the Lake Michigan view

Chicago Skyline

Madeline and Daddy

Madeline and Daddy at Buckingham Fountain 

Land, Lake
and River Package

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

My Toddler Gave Herself a Haircut

Olivia finally wearing hair clips
Ugh, it finally happened. My toddler gave herself a haircut! I'm sure this has happened to many of us. In fact my now 5 year old also took scissors to her hair claiming she wanted to have bangs. Fortunately for that episode I caught her in time to where the only damage was centralized to the front of her hair...easy fix with what she wanted bangs. (And those scissors are now hidden and out of reach).
Picture day...luckily before the haircut
I have a bit of mom guilt. I'm a bit of a helicopter mom. I'm like a shadow trying to see what my kids are up to. But this time around I let my guard down, which thinking back now I should have known better. We were at my dad's, and well he doesn't really have a baby proof home. So my sneaky 2 year old got the better of me when we were all having lunch. Seeing as she was done she and the 5 year old went to watch some tv, right in my line of sight. I must have been caught up in conversation with dad, when Madeline calls out to me, "mom, come see what Olivia is doing". I assumed that she was trying to climb something as that is her new thing. Nope I walk into the bathroom to find a ton of hair on the ground, I didn't even know she had that much hair! She was holding the (thankfully blunt ended) scissors so proudly, "look mommy". I didn't know whether to cry or scold her. I was finally able to get her to hair hair clips and bows (she must have been rebelling against it). 
I'm going to miss those hair clips
My first thought was Madeline must have helped, I mean she cut the back of her hair! Madeline denies, denies, denies. I asked Olivia where she got the scissors and she insisted that "Madeline climbed". At this point the damage is done so pointing fingers is really well pointless. I grab Olivia and sit her down, contemplating how I'm going to fix this. I tried to trim and give her bowl cut, but I quickly realize that she had cut pretty deep. I was going to have to find some real help.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Stitch Fix Review - April Box

I always look forward to my mailman dropping off my Stitch Fix box. I'm always wondering how big the box will be and what is going to fit in it. And I always cross my fingers that my stylist delivers a five out of five fix so I can take advantage of that 25% off.

Now that Spring is here I'm thinking about what I'm going to be doing for Mother's Day. I'm looking forward to a great dinner with the family. As far as my mom goes, I'll probably surprise her with some flowers. Who doesn't like getting flowers?! What are you planning for your mom (or yourself). If your still thinking you can always get her a Stitch Fix Gift card so she can try out the service. You know how fun it is to get stuff delivered to your house. I'm also already writing up next month's request to Katie, my stylist, so she can send over some great summer pieces. Vacation please!

Papermoon Englewood Lace Inset Blouse in Navy - $44
Cute lace detail on collar and a good length. The paisley is a nice print and I think it looks okay on me, but not sure its really my style. 

Skies are Blue Kendruh Layered Hem Knit Top in Teal Green - $48
I really like the the hem on this light sweater it adds a bit of asymmetry to the look. And the color is one of my favorites. This sweater can easily transition from spring to fall.

Kaileigh Felton Bell Sleeve Top in Blush - $38
When I pulled this out of the box, I was like no way, uh-uh. And then I put it on and I'm still like nope. But then I took this picture and I'm really loving how I look in it. Maybe my mirror was lying to me. I felt it made me look wide, but It really is pretty. What do you think? Keep or pass?

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Stitch Fix Review - March Box

Ahh, Spring is in the air...well it should be. While trying to take these photos it was cold and windy, but I just kept imagining myself somewhere warm. Anyone have plans or already go somewhere for Spring Break? Ours isn't until April, and I'm still looking for one of those last minute deals to somewhere warm, sandy, and all-inclusive - A girl can dream!

So with that in mind I asked my Stitch Fix stylist to send me some tops that would work if I decided to go somewhere warm, but could also work with layering if I had to stay behind in the much cooler Chicago temps. I also wanted to add some prints to my wardrobe, florals and boho vibes. If you're ready to try out Stitch Fix, go ahead and use my referral link. All you have to do is fill in your profile information and what you like and dislike, your body type, and you'll get matched up with your own stylist. Plus you never have to keep anything (but you'll lose out on your styling fee), or you can keep everything and take advantage of the 25% discount! Something you like but doesn't fit? Exchange it! And now they offer fixes in Plus sizes and for men!

Renee C Tucker Split Back Top in Blue $38
Love the print on this top, but not sure it flatters my body type. I kind of feel it makes my hips look wide (well maybe my hips are wide, LOL). I do like how the color looks with white jeans. A cute alternative for less here.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Stitch Fix Review - February Box

Oh-oh, how did I forget to post about my my February box from Stitch Fix?! I must have been super excited to wear my fix. February's fix came during a busy birthday season. Having a birthday that falls at the end of the month just means I get to celebrate into the next month. I was busy going out with friends and family wearing my new clothes that my review must have slipped my mind. How long to you tend to celebrate your birthday for? I might be a little extreme when it comes to my birthday, LOL, celebrating for two months is norm, right?

For my stylist I pinned some casual outfits and sent her a note telling her I was looking for clothes to that were comfortable to chase my kids in and were going to be good for Spring. I'm so ready for Spring to be here. Chicago was teased for a couple of weeks with some unseasonably warm weather, but that went away last week and it snowed, and rained, and today we are officially in Spring and its gloomy. Yep, typical Chicago weather. Are you ready for Spring? What do you plan on adding to your wardrobe? 

Skies are Blue Becky Cutout Detail Blouse in Orange - $44
My stylist knows I like bright colors, so seeing this blouse made me happy. I loved the pattern and way the orange popped. I paired it with burgundy pants to have some of the darker color on the blouse stand out since I was wearing it in the winter.  Target has a cute tank top that is similar here.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Fitness Meets Fashion at Fashion Outlets Chicago

How are your fitness goals from New Year's resolutions going? Mine aren't horrible. In the last three months I've lost 7 pounds from just changing what I eat a little, and walking more everyday. I have really cut back on fast food and soda. I think I'd have a little more motivation to do more if my husband decided to come home one day and say, "Honey, get ready to pack your bags in six weeks because we are going on a beach vacation".  Yep, that would definitely get me to do a lot more. 

You know what else motivates me? Shopping! Getting ready to work out means I get to go shopping, because, well I've got to look good doing it, right? Last week I was invited to Fashion Outlets Chicago to check out the many stores they have geared towards health and fitness. 

1. Le Creuset

We were treated to some delicious cooking from Chef Corey Rice, from Master Chef Season 7, thanks to Le Creuset. Sorry no photos, I was too excited and it was my first stop. I've always wanted one of those pots, but I don't do enough cooking to get one for myself...yet. But they do have a lifetime guarantee, and are significantly less at the outlet than at retail. Plus you'll find seasonal items marked down even more. I was very close to purchasing Valentine's day items. Having the right cooking tools can motivate you to eat healthier. 

Friday, February 24, 2017

How To Plan For A Fun Oscars Party in 6 Steps

The 89th Academy Awards will be held on Sunday, February 26, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, and will be televised live by the ABC Television Network at 7:00 p.m. EST/4:00 p.m. PST. The show will be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel. So what better way to watch the show than with your friends. Why not throw a viewing party. Here are some quick tips to get you started.

1. Invite your friends.
The more the merrier. Give them the star treatment by setting up a "red carpet" and taking tons of photos. Don't forget the swag bags!

2. Dress to Impress.
Have your friends dressed in their best attire, ball gowns are encouraged, but not necessary. I'll be wearing this cute blouse from Who What Wear to keep with the gold theme. 

3. Decorate!
Golden is key! I got a ton of gold colored decorations from Target. Use balloons, plates, streamers, etc to get Oscar ready. You can even find cute Oscar statues and Hollywood themed decoration at your local party store. Amazon also has you covered with gold party supply bundles!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

At The Chicago Auto Show Feb. 11-20, 2017 #CAS17

This post is sponsored by She Buys Cars in collaboration with Hyundai

Looking for something to do this week? Check out the 2017 Chicago Auto Show. It's considered the nation's largest consumer auto shows, with a large variety of car brands. Are you in the market for a new car? This is the best place to see what your options are with out feeling the pressure of the sales agent to purchase. Everyone is here to answer all your questions regarding any of the cars you see. The show is at the McCormick Place and runs from Feb. 11-20, 2017.

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