Wednesday, August 27, 2014

cafe tola

If I could eat empanadas daily without any guilt I would.  Sadly, empanadas don't love me as much as I love them (I know TMI) and we had to break up, but I don't deprive Liam from eating these fried dough pies stuffed with amazing fixings.  In fact, I probably would have one hang-gry child if I eliminated it from his life.  We live down the street from one of the most amazing empanada joints called Cafe Tola and I'm telling you everything from food to coffee get two very enthusiastic thumbs up.

Ground sirloin empanadas from @cafetola! Doesn't every toddler ask for this for breakfast? #chicagofoodauthority #chicagofoodblogger #cafetola #empanadasunday #alwayshungryinchi

Monday, August 25, 2014

oven fried lumpia

I grew up on Filipino food, but I rarely eat it...or crave it.  So when I do, getting that fill is a must.  So last weekend, I rolled up my sleeves and made one of the most common Filipino dishes - Lumpia!  It's absolutely a process to make these suckers, but they're totally worth it.

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Friday, August 22, 2014

back to school celebration with gap

I'm absolutely LOVING all the back to school pictures that have overtaken my feed.  All the little ones are absolutely adorable and it's making me reminisce back to when I was a youngster prepping for the new school year.  I remember the excitement around buying new clothes and making sure that my first day of school outfit was absolutely killer.  That's why I'm so excited that Gap on Michigan Avenue asked me to put together some of my favorite fall looks that will be featured at their back to school celebration event this weekend.  Details on the event after the jump.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

5 reasons why you should read blogs

As many know, blogging is my hobby.  And working with blogs?  Well it happens to be my full-time gig.  So as you can image, I often get a lot of questions about blogs.  How to start one? Which ones to read? What some bloggers are like in real life? How to get free stuff? But the question I get asked the most is, why do you read blogs?  In my opinion, reading blogs is such a personal experience.  We only read blogs that relate to our interests or life experiences (afterall isn't the point of blogging), but the ones we choose to read are based on personal tastes.  What I like to read may not make sense for others and while everyone has their own reason for reading blogs, I've put together my short list of the reasons why I encourage people to read them more often.

Reading blogs is like an intimate relationship and it all starts with a first date....

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Thursday, August 7, 2014

super hero birthday party

Last weekend we celebrated Liam's 2nd birthday party and I'm not going to lie, I think some adults had just as much fun as the kids all thanks to the amazing crew at Whole Foods Lincoln Park.  If you're looking for new ways to celebrate your little ones birthday, be sure to read on.

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

how to take photos like a pro

Taking professional quality pics is every moms dream.  You want to capture every moment like a paparazzi, but taking the time to snap, edit and share takes more work than you know, but with a good camera and quick tips - your life in pictures will change.  Since I'm not qualified to share photog tips, I asked my wonderfully talented friend Kristin who owns her own photography business, Kristin Mann Photography, to share her tips so that you can start shooting pics like a pro.  Here's what she had to say...

(Photo credit: Kristin Mann Photography)

Friday, August 1, 2014

gluten & egg free (damn good) choco chip cookie bars

Thanks to my friend Dana that manages Paleo Kitchen Stories I decided to see a nutritionist, allergist and internist about my digestive issues.  For many years I did a process of elimination to figure out what was upsetting my stomach, but I followed in Dana's footsteps and decided to see a professional.  Welp - come to find out that all visits brought to my attention things I didn't expect.  Allergic to all melons, kiwis AND bananas (not to mention seasonal allergies), but what's even more shocking is my sensitivity to yeast, rye and egg (whites and yolks).  Yup - eggs!  So all this while I thought I was gluten sensitive, but in reality - it's pretty much everything else that it's mixed with it that I can't eat.  Since these recent findings, I've been having to modify a ton of recipes to avoid  egg (PS - Dana is egg sensitive too so she has a ton of dairy free recipes on her site) and one of my all time favorite desserts I've been making are these chocolate chip cookie bars.  Warning - they're addicting.  Like for serious.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

soccer mom fashion

After going back and forth on whether or not we should enroll Mini into Lil Kickers, and after some convincing of people saying that our buddy had good hand/eye coordination with kicking the ball, we finally bit the bullet and with one swipe of the Mastercard I became a (dum dum dum)....Soccer Mom!  I didn't think I would be that mom who would be so involved with this activity, but alas every Saturday morning there I am running the field and cheering my little guy on, even if it's more of a scrimmage than game.  So when I take the kid to soccer every Saturday, it requires the right gear (for me and him) to make sure we're stylish enough to workout a sweat.

Ear to ear grin as soon as we stepped foot onto the turf #lilkickers #soccermom #futureworldcupplayer

Monday, July 28, 2014

10 ways to be productive with a work from home job

I'm really (really) fortunate to have a job where I work from home.  Aside from having no commute and never having to set an alarm clock (since the kid wakes up at 6am daily), working from home is a luxury that can't be overlooked.  However, many people have asked me how I'm able to be productive throughout the day without being distracted by my environment and my answer is that it's much easier than what people think.  It's a matter of knowing yourself, scheduling accordingly, and creating a routine that will drive you to be productive.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

rules for outlet shopping

Mini was in need of some new kicks (can't these kids stop growing so fast?) and since I'm super adament about not paying full-price for any kids clothes it was a good time to venture out to the Chicago Premium Outlet in Aurora!  Now going to the outlets can be amazing because of all the gear you can collect at a fraction of what you would normally pay at the mall, but it is easy to go a little overboard.  So I've put together a few trusty rules that will help you stay on track when outlet shopping.

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