Welcome to week one of coffee with Liz! I want this to be a fun way to start your weekend so grab your coffee and stay awhile. My goal is to have this be really candid conversation on a weekly basis so don’t forget to email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Coffee with Liz” in the subject.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I loved this question! When I was younger I wanted to be an artist. My mom always painted when I was growing up. She used to sell hand painted rugs and custom pieces for people. She always did a ton of DIY projects around our house and I think that is where I found my creativity. I also remember wanting to be a dolphin trainer at one point. Haha. When I went to college and studied textiles I always thought I’d open my own store. Maybe one day!
What is your evening routine after Charlie goes to bed?
Charlie seems to be going to bed later and later these days. It used to be 7 and a good day seems to be around 7:30 but most of the time it is around 8pm. Dave and I used to eat dinner once Charlie was asleep but since we moved we have been eating dinner around 6 as a family. It is so much more fun and opens up our evenings once he is asleep. Sadly, most of my night’s are spent on my computer. The days that I get ahead and don’t have to open my computer are bliss. Dave and I usually veg out on the couch and catch up on shows. We just finished The Keepers on Netflix (so crazy) and just started Ozark which is so good.
What does Charlie like to eat? Can you give us an example of his daily meals?
Charlie is a pretty good eater. However, if he isn’t hungry then he isn’t going to eat and I try not to force it. His appetite has definitely increased as he has become more active and we are introducing more foods now that we are eating dinner as a family. His typical meals look something like this – Breakfast: scrambled egg with cheese, breakfast sausage (WF has some great freezer options), fruit (Charlie loves berries), bananas with peanut butter, wheat toast with cinnamon and butter, smoothie. Lunch: grilled cheese, tuna salad, pb&j, avocado, pirate’s booty, cut up apple, grapes. Dinner: Annie’s mac & cheese, shredded chicken, mini hamburger, salmon, steamed (frozen) veggies, Dr. Praegers broccoli or spinach bites (frozen section). I always try to make sure he is getting a mix of protein and veggies with every meal. He also snacks a lot – I’ll give him a bowl of pirate’s booty or a string cheese or he still enjoys pouches here and there (usually organic apple sauce).
How did you know you were ready to have kids when you were living in the city? What are your tips/suggestions for growing your family while living in the city? Would you have done anything differently? Was there anything that was particularly difficult?
Such good questions! Dave and I had been together for 5 years when we got married and had lived together for 2. On our honeymoon we got pregnant (oops!) and 2 weeks after we found out I had a miscarriage. It was such a mix of emotions, feeling like we weren’t ready and it happened so fast to feeling really sad that we lost the baby and realizing that maybe we were ready to have a child. Three months later we got pregnant with Charlie and the timing was perfect.
Were we ready? I don’t know if you’re ever ready. I think letting and hoping that it happens naturally is ideal but if it’s something that has to be planned, know that you will probably never be prepared (ha). I still feel too young to be a parent but you just kind of let it take you down a new path. I always knew I wanted to have a child in the city and it was so much fun. My tips would be don’t live on the third floor of a walk up (our first mistake), buy a stroller that can get beat up and is easy to open with one hand (we love out City Mini GT) and just go with it. Expect everything to take a little longer than you planned and leave your expectations at the door. Utilize Instacart and Amazon Prime as much as possible. Living in the city did make me wish I had had Charlie in the summer when I could have gone outdoors right away. I did feel like I was held hostage indoors for a few months.
Overall, it’s the best. There is so much to do and see in the city. So many friends to meet and places to have fun with your kiddos (unlike the suburbs, sadly). There is something so liberating about doing it yourself. It makes you a stronger mama. Seriously, suburb life is a BREEZE compared to the city and I have to say I was ready for it. Not to say, I will forever miss the days of chasing Charlie along the lakefront or watching the front tire of my stroller pop off and roll down Fullerton Ave. I wouldn’t have had it any other way!
What are three outfits you fall back on year after year?
This was fun to think about and scroll through the archives. Living in Chicago means that it is usually chilly here at least 7 months of the year. That means my wardrobe is made up of a lot of cool weather staples. Think a good pair of jeans, classic button down shirts, sweaters, coats, leather jackets, dresses, boots, etc. Here are three of my favorite past looks:
I love this look so much. I remember feeling like no matter how hard it is to get dressed some days, this type of outfit always works. A great pair of jeans (love these, these, these and these), a classic shirt with a twist (current favorites here, here and here), a pair of shoes that work with everything (my go-to’s here, here and here – worth the splurge) and a statement handbag.
My no-fail date night or work event look. These over the knee boots are an investment (and something I was scared of for a long time) but one of my all time favorite purchases. I especially love how they look with dresses (some new favorites here and here). The combo of the OTK boots with a leather jacket just screams cool and confident. Something we all need once in awhile!
I will forever love my sneaker looks. True stylish mom status (I try). I know Golden Goose sneakers are hit or miss with people but I love them (favorite styles here, here and here). Either way, everyone needs a cool pair of sneakers that aren’t athletic sneaks so you should invest in these, these or these (Gucci look-a-likes for less!).
How do you turn a bad day into a good day?
Hm. I think the best way to do this is to take a break from my to-do list or whatever is stressing me out. I feel like my days are sometimes ruled by tasks. Emails, phone calls, prepping meals for Charlie, chasing a toddler, laundry, folding laundry, showering, washing sippy cups, prepping blog posts, catching up on accounting, shooting projects. It’s hard to think let alone blink. These days really get to me and I know it’s because I’m burned out. So, I like to give myself a break – close the computer, make a coffee or some hot tea, diffuse some essential oils, take a nap, get a manicure, book a trip, run to Target, schedule a workout class, turn on my favorite Spotify playlist. Everyone needs a break sometimes, even if that means a quick 20 minutes. It’s all about a positive mindset!
I’m 22 weeks pregnant and have two weddings this summer. One is black tie optional and one is on the fancier side – where can I find some good dresses?
I just bought this dress from Club Monaco for a wedding next weekend and it is perfect for my 24 week bump. A few black tie options here (would fit the bump!), here and here and I’m also loving this (not maternity but long for the bump!), this and this for other summer weddings. ASOS is a great spot for stylish maternity dresses.
What are your favorite diaper bag or mom bag options?
My favorite diaper bag is the Fawn Design diaper bag! I have the grey bag and we also have the cognac backpack for Dave. In terms of mom bags, I usually carry something on the smaller side. Now that Charlie is pretty much a functioning human, I usually carry something smaller with just one diaper, a smaller pack of wipes and a few snacks. My all-time favorite bag is probably my Givenchy Small Antigona bag. The shape is so classic. I also love the Annabel Ingall Isabella Tote bag, it’s the perfect size and shape for everything. It will fit the ToteSavvy too (the best way to turn your favorite bag into a diaper bag). For fall I’m loving this and this. A great bag option under $200 is here (so chic!).
Would you have stayed in the city with one kid or did you always see yourself ending up in the suburbs?
Dave and I always knew we would eventually move to the suburbs. Not because we don’t love the city but because we wanted to give our children the childhoods we had. We both come from similar places (me here in Chicago and Dave in Michigan) and pictured our children on a quiet block where they can ride their bikes. The truth is Dave and I haven’t fully enjoyed the city in a few years. Once we had Charlie we pretty much stayed in a 4 block radius due to early bedtimes and lack of babysitters. Our life in the city wasn’t what it was and with a toddler we knew we wanted/needed more space.
To be honest, it has been an adjustment but in a good way! It’s quieter and there is definitely less activity (I miss the takeout options and the lake) but I am at the point where I appreciate it. Everything feels like a luxury – a driveway, a basement, a front yard, room to run, proximity to everything, space in general. It just feels like we are exactly where we are supposed to be especially with baby #2 on the way.
What does your morning routine look like with Charlie?
Charlie is an early riser, usually 6am but we refuse to get him out of his crib until 6:30. Dave and I go downstairs around 6:20 to brew coffee and get Charlie’s milk ready. When he is up we all just kind of lounge (I usually post to social media and catch up on a few emails) and watch the news until he eats breakfast around 7:30am. This usually includes toys spread out all over the place. We feed him (see meal above) and then we will either go for a run as a family, Dave will take the boys for a run and I’ll catch up on stuff around the house or Dave will head straight into work at 8am and I’ll take Charlie to the gym around 8:30/9am. We like to put records on in the morning (Charlie loves to dance) and I’ll usually throw in a load of laundry and make the bed before we are out the door. After the gym (or a walk/run whatever we do) I’ll usually try to get any errands out of the way for the day. Having a backyard in the summer has been a godsend because we will get home, have a big snack in the yard and play with his water table or the sprinkler or fill up our plastic pool. Other morning we will go to the pool and grab lunch before he naps. Charlie is usually down for a nap around 12:30pm and sleeps at least 2 hours but usually closer to 2.5 and sometimes 3 hours. Charlie still has whole milk before his nap and bedtime.
Make sure to submit your questions for next week! xoxo