Ask Liz over 6 years ago by Liz Adams

Coffee with Liz

Almond milk lattes from La Colombe in Chicago

Happy Friday and first day of fall! Thank you for submitting so many amazing questions this week – I always love chatting with you guys. Be sure to submit your questions for next week via email with subject “Coffee with Liz.” Also, I miss the almond milk lattes from La Colombe so much. So rich and creamy! Let’s ignore that it is going to be 95 degrees in Chicago today and pretend we are sipping coffee on a brisk fall day, k? xoxo

What type of planner/calendar do you use? Are you a pen and paper girl or do you just use your phone’s calendar? I love writing everything down and need some good ideas for 2018 planners! 

I am a pen and paper girl + an iCloud girl. But mostly pen and paper. My favorite planners are: Erin Condren life planners (you can customize them!), this paper-source calendar (I like when I can take notes for the day), the Emily Ley simplified planner (maybe my favorite!) and this Target one is cute, too! I also use this weekly calendar to plan the week ahead on Sundays!

This will be my first winter in Chicago and I commute from Lincoln Park to the Loop every day via bus or train; what clothing staples will get me through this fall/winter?​

A good quality winter coat (this is a great water proof option, this is super warm, and this is warm + stylish), lots of sweaters (I’m eyeing this, this, this and this), turtleneck tissue tee’s for layering, a lightweight vest (to wear underneath your coat if needed), cozy socks, cute snow/waterproof boots, chic leather boots and dark skinny jeans. *I think the trick is make sure you’re warm for the commute and change at the office!

What are your tips for traveling with a toddler? Example: time of day? do you ever drive through the night? or time it to be in the car for naps? specific toys? snacks? Etc.

When it comes to driving we actually haven’t gone more than 5 hours with Charlie. We usually plan these drives around his nap, whether we give him milk and he naps at the beginning or we leave earlier, stop for an early lunch and then he naps the last two hours of the drive. Either way, we always hope to have him sleep for a portion of the drive. The same kind of goes with flying but this is harder for us especially since there are so many people around and it is sensory overload. I always try to bring an obnoxious amount of snacks (pirate’s booty, string cheese, goldfish, pouches, fruit, etc.) and toys (usually a sticker book or anything having to do with trains). If we really need it we will turn this video on our iPad and it keeps him distracted for awhile. We actually haven’t done a ton of traveling with Charlie and if we do, it is usually pretty manageable. At this point, if he misses a nap we just make up for it that night or the next day. I don’t worry about his routine as much anymore. If he needs sleep, he will sleep!

As a boy mom – about to have another boy – do you ever get the question “Are you going to try again for a girl?” I have 14 month old twin boys and I’m due in December again – we aren’t finding out gender again – and people are CONSTANTLY asking me “I bet you hope it’s a girl”.  I find myself getting defensive – as I feel they are implying the only way to have a complete family is to have a girl and a boy. After struggling to have kids for so long – we are just thrilled to be having another baby!  Wish I had a response on hand that would respectfully end the conversation!

Yes! I think that because we are women, people automatically think we are dying to have daughters. In all honesty, I would be perfectly happy being a boy mom forever. We are probably going to try for one more because I really want to have three kids but if my third is another boy, I’m not going to keep going until I have a girl. I don’t know if the struggle to get pregnant is more prevalent now but it seems that the people who ask are a bit older than my generation. Maybe they expect that a complete family means one of each? But in this day in age, where so many people have a hard time getting pregnant, it seems like a silly question to ask. I’m always just grateful to have babies and I think my response would be “we are so happy with everything we have.” Kill them with kindness 😉

I have always loved shopping but recently feel so overwhelmed by it and am constantly buying and returning things because I cannot make a decision on anything I want/need. Any tips on how you decide what to purchase?

I struggle with this too! My suggestion is that every season you should take a survey of your closet. What do you love? What do you hate? What do you need? If something hasn’t been worn in a year, it gets taken to good will. If something has received too much love, I usually try to pass it on to a home that will treat it like new. I also like to go on Pinterest and look at outfits that inspire me for the season ahead. I then go through my own wardrobe and see how I can recreate these looks with items that I already own and from there it is easier to make a list of what I actually need. I’m going to be sharing a wardrobe checklist in the coming weeks so stay tuned!

Do you have any tips or tricks for getting your toddler to transition from formula to whole milk?

Charlie struggled with this, too! My pediatrician recommended substituting 1-2 oz of formula with milk at a time, wait 5 days, add another 1-2 oz of milk in place of formula, wait 5 days, until you finally have a full milk bottle. For example: if you have an 8 oz bottle do 6 oz of formula, 2 oz of whole milk for 5 days, then do 4 oz of formula, 4 oz of whole milk for 5 days, then do 2 oz of formula, 6 oz of whole milk for 5 days and then you’ll do an 8 oz bottle of whole milk. We did this with Charlie and it worked!

Did you get any good book recommendations from your insta stories and if so could you share them? 

So many! Here are a few suggestions: The Nightingale, The Glass Castle, The Girl in Cabin 10, The Boys in the Boat, A Man Called Ove, The Lake House, The Devil in the White City.

What are your go-to housewarming gifts? 

Such a good question! I always like to think of the things that I personally would love to receive (i.e.: love to have but don’t necessarily buy for myself unless I think about it). I like to have a few of these candles stocked up! They are so pretty and smell amazing. You can’t go wrong with some pretty dish towels – these and these are fun. Sometimes I’ll pair dish towels with some pretty soap (my all time favorite, smells amazing). I also love the idea of gifting a pretty bag of coffee + some cute coffee mugs

What are your favorite go-to healthy dinner recipes that work for the whole family and that Charlie can eat too?

Now that Charlie pretty much eats everything that we eat, our meals have become much more simplified. Here are a few of our go-to’s (these are super basic):

Ground turkey taco salads (ground turkey, cheese, corn, black beans and avocado for Charlie). 

Salmon, green beans and quinoa. 

Hamburgers and sweet potato fries.

Greek chicken salads (greek chicken, kalamata olives, tomatoes + I’ll make some potatoes for Charlie).

I would love to hear what you packed in your hospital bag for Charlie’s Delivery / things you wished or plan on packing for baby #2!

In my hospital bag for Charlie: A robe, extra underwear (these boyshorts), slippers, bottom spray, my makeup bag, bluetooth speaker, camera, charging cables, an outfit to take baby home in (I brought like 4 – unnecessary!), a baby blanket, my favorite leggings (I wear before, during and after pregnancy), a nursing bra, a scoop neck tee, a cozy cardigan and sneakers to go home. 

With #2, I’ll probably pack similar but way less clothing for baby (the hospital provides blankets, etc.). I am going to bring a pair of these pajamas (obsessed, so so soft – I have the navy and pink) for myself. 

If you couldn’t invest in a new winter wardrobe this year, what accessories would you buy to make your pieces look trendy without breaking the bank?

Great question! My three go-to fall accessories would be a statement bag (I love this, this, this and this), an oversized neutral scarf, chic booties (I love these, these, these and these) and statement sunglasses (I love these, these, these and these). 

Your home is beautiful and real which I love! Are you planning to move once Charlie goes to school or is it your forever and ever home?

One of the main reasons we fell in love with our home is because it is 2 blocks from Charlie’s future school! I love envisioning walking him to and from school every day. For now, it definitely feels like this is our forever home but there is still a lot to be done. Our house is also very old (built in 1927!) so fingers crossed it holds up, ha. I grew up in a very old home and my parents worked so hard to renovate and make it brand new. I envision doing the same – bringing life to something old. 

They say “comparison is the killer of joy.” How do you manage to stop feeling like you are not good enough when you read other people’s blogs?

I have to say I struggled with this big time after having Charlie. Who was I? Was I still the same girl who was able to do whatever she wanted whenever she wanted or was I just a mom who barely ever got dressed let alone shower? Social media can be dangerous. If you give me an hour I could easily go down a dark rabbit hole where I come out the other side feeling like a very tiny version of myself. I hate that about social media. It’s just important to remember that everyone’s instagram is MUCH prettier that reality (including mine!). I think in those instances I have to repeat these sayings to myself – comparison is the thief of joy. It’s so true. The one thing becoming a mom has taught me is that in the grand scheme of things, none of this stuff matters. Who cares if someone looks better than you in a pair of jeans, someone else can afford that designer bag that you have been lusting over or someone got to go on your dream vacation. If you want those things then you’ll find a way to get there, just make some goals for yourself, realize your priorities and go for it. I always tell my family and friends that I have to go through this business with blinders on. It’s tough, but as long as I stay in my lane I know that I’m being true to myself and my family. 

I know your husband shoots many of your outfit posts, and I was curious about what your workflow is like for that. Do you go out to do specific shoots together, or do you bring a camera along to your normal activities, etc.? What does Charlie do when you’re shooting together? My husband shoots many of my photos, but we sometimes have a hard time fitting them in without feeling like we’re interrupting family time. I’d love to learn what has worked for you!

A little bit of both! We usually try to bring our camera out during normal activities but sometimes it works best if Charlie isn’t with us and we shoot a bunch of stuff in one day (like on his daycare days). If Charlie is there for a shoot we usually always put him in his stroller with his favorite snack so he can watch. Sometimes Charlie is involved in shoots and in that case we try to make it fun! Like shooting in an environment that he will love, like the park or anywhere we can bribe him with a cookie. Ha! We always try to make it fun so it doesn’t feel like we are interrupting family time. 

With Halloween around the corner, I’m curious what Charlie’s costume will be this year? What has he been in the past? Have you ever done family coordinated costumes?

Last year Charlie was a lion (one of my alllll time favorite photos of Charlie!!!). Dave and I aren’t crazy about Halloween so we don’t put a ton of thought into our costumes. I think that will change as our kiddos get older! But last year we looked like this. I kind of want Charlie to be a skunk this year but Dave wants him to be Webster, haha.

I love your sense of style SO much but I am also on a budget due to the fact I am in my early 20s in the city and just started working! Do you have an advice on what clothing items to splurge on and which items to save? Which stores are your favorite to shop at for splurge and save?

For fall I recommend spending on a few things: a great pair of jeans (I love AG, Mother and Frame), a stylish coat, a classic cashmere sweater and a pair of booties. I think you can save in areas like a blouse, a turtleneck, ballet flats, cozy cardigan, a fringe scarf and a faux fur vest. My favorite stores to splurge: Shopbop, Club Monaco, Rebecca Taylor and Aritzia and my favorite saves are Zara, Gap, J.Crew and Urban Outfitters