home sweet home

Instead of dressing up for Halloween on Saturday, Joel, Claire, and I, escaped to the suburbs.
Everytime I go home, I wish I had weeks and weeks to spend there. It's just so....homey.....and I never want to leave.

But, moving on, on Saturday, we had the Marino family tradition of baking apple pies. 

Every year we try and refurbish our reciepe so that we can get an even flakier crust, and I'm hoping this years reciepe succeeeds.It's all about mixing with the butter and crisco ratio.

I am very thankful that I got to spend some quality time with my grandparents since I hadn't seen them in a few months. At 89 (my grandpa) and 82 (grandma) they are so freaking inspiring I can't even stand it. I could go on and on about how amazing these two people are but it's probably meant for another post....but I mean, my Grandpa? He does not look (or act) 89!

After apple pies we got dolled up and went to Bistro Wasabi in Crystal Lake for some martini's and sushi.

Claire, my mom, and I, ditched the men and headed to this new bar that opened up called Exclusivley Napa. It's a great wine bar that let's you buy the wine (and pay retail) and open it up at your table. One of our old high school friends was playing guitar and so we had a great time catching up with him and enjoying a few (too many) glasses of wine.

On Sunday, after a walk around the 'hood, we grabbed breakfast at Starbucks and hit up my two favorite stores - TJ.Maxx and Marshalls. I found a few new finds, and Claire got super lucky in the home goods department.

After shopping we came back, curled up at the fire, and watched football and hung around. Had my sisters been there, I think this day would have been one of the best days of the year.

We stayed in Crystal Lake  for a home cooked dinner of pork, squash, rice, and bread.

It was such a relaxing weekend and it's always amazing to spend time with my parents and my pup. Who by the way, wishes all of you a happy halloween! 


Fall Fashion Friday (!)


I’m burning the candle at both ends and my body can feel it. Tomorrow, I’m escaping to the suburbs for a low key day and I couldn’t be more excited for it.

I had plans to see some of my best girls tonight, but waking up with swollen glands was my bodies reminder that I just can’t do anything tonight. I need to cool it with the restaurants and alcohol, so I’m going to cook myself a light dinner and stay on the couch.

In other news, I’ve been trying to recycle a lot of last year’s clothes before I go out and splurge on some new sweaters, blouses, and vests. Here’s what I’ve been able to pull together.

I hope you all have a beyond fabulous Halloween.


birthday gift guide

With 7, count um', 7 birthdays coming up before Christmas, I need a little help deciding what the perfect birthday present is, and I figured you may need some too...'tis the gift giving season, no?

Here are a few rules of my what not  never to get your girlfriends for their birthday:

1. House decor (besides candles): I do not want to be forced to display whatever you gave me. Plus, there really isn't anything for under $30 dollars that I necessarily want to use to decorate my house. Unless you can find a 100% cashmere throw in a neutral color, take my advice.

2. Gift Cards: Save these for your 15 your old male cousin whose name you randomly picked in your family's Secret Santa 

3. Perfume: Two reasons here. 1st, it sends the wrong message. 2nd. Perfume should be given by men.

Okay, now on to how to decide what to gift.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Gifts should indulge the recipients guiltiest pleasure

2. Gifts should serve a specific purpose.

3. Gifts should be thoughtful

If you can accomplish those 3 non-negotiable's, you will be in good shape. 

From this point, give yourself 2 weeks and a category to choose from (see below). 

For example, I know that my best friend looks amazing in gold, statement earrings (purposeful), she'll never shell out more than +50 bucks for an amazing pair even though she'll spend weeks talking about them (guilty pleasure), and I know she has a few dates coming up so I want to make sure I can find her a versatile pair (thoughtful).

Okay, well, now you have to let inspiration and time work their magic. Make sure you are signed up for all of the discount designer groups (Rue La La, Gilt, etc.) and scour, scour, scour.

If your lucky, Kendra Scott will pop up on your email and you'll be able to shower your best girlfriend with one of these darling baubles.

Most of the time, my gifts come from one of the following categories.

Coasters: Etsy, Cups & Popcorn bowl: Crate & Barrell

#1 & #2 came from Etsy, #3 is LL.Bean

I hereby promise that if you use these simple tricks when giving gifts none of your girlfriends will ever complain.

p.s. You can find this same post over at Total Basset Case. Head over there and say hi to Sarah for me!


mid-week update

  • I'm hosting my 1st ever book club meeting. I'm expecting about 15 girls, which is actually a lot for my 1,000 sq ft. apartment. I'm hoping everyone can sit, and be comfortable.
  • All of the girls are bringing something to share, so that took a lot of the work off of me. I did have to spend the last 2 nights cleaning, getting ready, and doing a few crafts. Thankfully I love doing that! I'll have a full post on the book club in the coming days.
  • Work has been good this week. Work is a very hot/cold topic in my life. Some days I'm ready to throw in the towel, and other days I find myself fulfilled and content. It's a constant battle but this week I've stayed positive and happy.
  • Joel and I are escaping the city for Halloween. We are going to head home to the suburbs to hang out with our families. Saturday is my families annual apple pie baking day. My pie from last year is still sitting in my freezer.
  • How did a year pass that quickly?
  • I'm currently writing this at work, and no joke, my boss just came up behind my desk. I really hope he has no idea what I was doing and did not catch the title of my blog. I think I'm going to take that as a hint and log off.



Move over Mary Kate and Ashley....your sister has arrived.

Elizabeth Olsen is "just like us": She wears shoes more than once!

and boy did she arrive.

She's out of control beautiful, and completely blows her 000 pint sized sister's away. She seems cool, down to earth, and here to stay.


Soup Sunday

Typically on Sunday nights, especially during the fall and winter months, Sunday dinner usually consists of chili or soup. 

I'm collecting a lot of different soup recipe's from blogs and Pintrest, but I knew I had to try  New Mom in Chicago's Lasagna soup asap.

The recipe is courtesy of

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
1 onion, chopped --> I used 1/2
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (32-ounce) container chicken broth
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper --> I tripled this
4 ounces broken whole-wheat lasagna noodles (about 4 noodles) -->I used white noodles, and 6
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup reduced-fat shredded mozzarella cheese

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a deep pot. Add the sausage, onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is crumbled and browned, 8 – 10 minutes.  

Add the broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, salt, and crushed red pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the flavors are blended, about 20 minutes. 


Add the noodles; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the soup thickens slightly and the noodles are tender, 10 – 12 minutes. 
Remove from the heat; stir in mozzarella, basil, and the Parmesan. 





pumpkin me thrilled

What do you call a wine glass that has black, gray, and white spots all over it?

I'm not the cleanest of painters....


I needed a night like tonight. We jammed out to the Michael Buble pandora station, drank a bottle of our favorite wine, and painted pumpkins until we drunkingly crashed into bed.

We're off to Iowa City tomorrow for a reunion with my best of friends. I can't hardly wait.



I'm joining Shari over at The Daily Dish in today's Top 3.

What are the top 3 things that make you happy?

1. Babies
I absolutley adore babies. In college I worked in an infant nursey and it was honestly my most favorite job that I've had to date. I love the sound, smell, and feel of babies. I can't be by a baby and not fall in love and be the happiest version of myself.

2. A cozy night at home
Nothing thrills me more than the idea of opening a bottle of wine, having a full DVR of shows, candles lit around the house, and going to sleep around 11pm in order to wake up refreshed and ready to tackle the next day.

3. Working out
I'm not sure which part of my body decided to write this down here, but I guess, as much as I want to fight it, it's true. I workout typically 3-4 times a week, and while it doesn't help me lose weight, it does make me happy. It energizes me, it refuels me, it makes me feel better. Exercise as been an a large part of my life for the last 8-10 years, and I continue to make it a priority for the rest of my life.

I seriously need a day where I workout in the morning, hang out with babies all day, and then spend a cozy night in.....I might honestly combust with giddyness.

What 3 things make you happy?


A day at the farm

On Saturday morning us girls convinced are men to record football and come to the pumpkin patch with us.
After a few wise cracks and huffs, we were off to Homer Glenn for a pumpkin farm like no other.

Our friends Kate and Dan had been Bengtson's last year, but little did I know that this was the adventureland of pumpkin patches.

First up: Pig Races

And of course, we had to place gentleman bets on the winning pigs. We thought about gambling, but figured we’d probably would’ve been judged.

After the pig races, we bought some kettle corn and checked out some of the other attractions they had set up. I loved the baby animal farm, and I wish I would have snapped a few pictures of the baby goats because I honestly thought about stealing them and taking them home to be my own baby.

 We even got to take a hay ride to pick out our pumpkins.

After the pumpkin patch we awarded the kids boys for being such good sports by stopping at a sports bar, watching some football, and indulging in buckets of beer and lots of nachos.

It was the most perfect fall day.