Coffee with Liz

Happy September! Happy Friday! My favorite month by far. Webster’s birthday, our wedding anniversary, Charlie’s birthday and the start of fall. I hope you’re enjoying a hot cup of coffee right now (or a pretty latte, doesn’t this look so good?) It’s from Owl + Lark

What is your bedtime routine with Charlie? Did you sleep train him? How did you do it? My daughter was a great sleeper until she turned 11 months and now everything seems to have gone awry.

I talked about sleep training/Charlie’s sleep schedule here. In the end, I have to say the thing that worked best for us was letting him cry it out. My pediatrician told me early that although it was the hardest route, it was the most successful and truly teaches them how to settle themselves. The biggest issue when it comes to sleep for infants/toddlers is that they wake up and don’t know how to put themselves back to sleep. To solve this issue the only thing that worked was letting Charlie cry (and not going in to soothe him). It was definitely torture but if you stick to it for three days I promise you’ll see a difference! Hopefully this is easier at 11 months because you have a better sense of who they are, what causes their cries and know they are okay. Charlie was very good at manipulating us so I knew that his cries were harder for me than him 🙂

I am from Louisiana and in my mid-20s. I would love to see myself moving to Chicago. As a gal from a slower-paced South would you suggest taking the plunge and moving straight into the city or are the burbs great too, knowing that the transit can get you to the city so quickly? As far as the city goes what are the best neighborhoods for young people to move into?

Move to the city! If you’re in your mid-twenties, that is definitely where you should be. The suburbs are great but it is quiet. You are young and should be meeting new people, going out on the weekends, etc. My favorite neighborhoods are Lincoln Park, Old Town, Southport Corridor, Lakeview and Bucktown.

I would love for you to write about how you pick out booties that are flattering on someone who doesn’t have Amazon legs, or just anyone in general. And how to style! Which ones are good for dresses, which are good for jeans/leggings?

I am super picky about booties because I have short legs that are muscular. I find that booties that at the narrowest part of your ankle (for me it is where my calf meets my ankle) work best with dresses and denim that either hits at your ankle or are long enough to tuck into your booties. I tend to gravitate towards denim that is ankle length (that hits at my ankle bone)which sits just on top of my booties. My all time favorite pair are these Treasure and Bond booties, seen here with a dress and here and here with denim. I also love this Hinge pair seen in this post. A few other styles I’m loving for fall here, here and here

You seem like an individual who knows good coffee!!👍🏼 Can you recommend some of your favorite coffee machines so I can buy my husband one for his birthday.

We have and love the Nespresso Vertuoline. We like it because it can brew full cups of coffee and espresso pods. For lattes you’ll want to buy the one with the milk frother included! If you want to stick to just espresso, then you can buy their standard machine which allows you to make all kinds of espresso drinks. If you’re looking for just a standard coffee maker, we love our Cuisinart which makes a full pot and individual cups. I also love a good French Press cup of coffee.

Would love to know what career you think you’d be pursuing right now if you weren’t a full time blogger/mom?

I love this question! I always tell Dave that in my next life I’m going to own a bakery/flower shop/stationary shop. I love baked goods and I love to bake (but I never do it because then I would weigh 500 lbs). My ultimate indulgence is going to a coffee shop and getting a croissant and a whole milk latte with cinnamon on top. Mmmm. I’m also really into branding so my shop would have pretty tile floors and white marble countertops and brass light fixtures with a beautiful, colorful flower stand and a wall of stationary. I would bake fresh muffins and croissants and open my doors early. I love the idea of starting someone’s day off on the right foot and food/coffee/flowers/stationary are always the way to my heart.

How do you maintain a good relationship with Dave when he’s out of town?

Lots of love and appreciation for one another, lots of FaceTime, not keeping score but knowing that once he is home, he owes me big time 😉 In all honesty, it’s give and take. This summer in particular has just been poor timing in terms of being pregnant and having a packed schedule. We have had 8 weddings between June 1 and October. Dave happens to be standing up in 4 of them which means 4 bachelor parties and full weekends away. It just is what it is! He didn’t choose this schedule, it just sucked that I was pregnant and couldn’t drink a bottle of wine after putting Charlie to bed. The fact that we now live a mile away from my parents has been a huge help. I always have an extra set of hands if I need them or can still go home for dinner when I don’t want to cook. A serious perk! 

How did you get your first job out of college?

When I was home from college in the summer, studying textiles and clothing with a focus in buying/merchandising, I would work for a woman who owned a small boutique company in the suburbs of Chicago. While I was still in school I would accompany her on buying trips to NYC and LA to attend trade shows. I had always wanted to own my own store and this really gave me a first hand experience in buying. On the other hand, I always dreamed of moving to NYC. When I graduated I had two job offers: one from this woman to be her assistant clothing buyer for her stores and another was a 3 month internship with a probable job offer for Rebecca Taylor (my favorite brand!). My dad and I flew to NYC to look at apartments and after 4 days in the city and looking at shoeboxes that cost more than my life, I decided to stay in Chicago (the truth is New York terrified me). I turned down the opportunity at Rebecca Taylor and worked as a clothing buyer for 3 years after college.

What are your favorite boutiques in Chicago? For Charlie and for yourself.

I didn’t shop at a ton of boutiques for myself in the city but a few of my favorite stores include Intermix, Art Effect, Club Monaco, Lou & Grey and Steven Alan. For Charlie I love Monica & Andy, Red Balloon and Sprout.

Do you have any advice for stay at home moms who want to go back to work? It’s such a hard balance for women to “have it all” especially with the high cost of childcare. How do you make this work for your family?

It’s tough. I have so many friends in this boat or the opposite where they have a job but their salary pays for childcare. I would say figure out what makes you truly happy. If that is staying home with your kids, great. If that means you need 2-3-4-5 days where you are expending your energy/knowledge elsewhere, great! I tell my friends who are stay at home mom’s that even they need a babysitter once a week. Just to workout alone, get your nails done or do whatever you want to do. Being a mom is amazing but it can also be isolating when your only conversations are with a child. We make it work by doing both. Dave works at his office every day. I work from home everyday but I also take care of a child 3 days a week (Charlie just started going to day care 2 days a week to give me a little break/the ability to actually work). It’s tough. Personally, I struggle with him gone even 2 days a week. School starts so early now (in Illinois there is preschool for 2 year olds) and it feels like my time at home with him is slipping through my fingers. Yes work is a huge priority but being a mom comes first. I’ve had to prioritize what is really important and right now it is taking care of my family and myself. My biggest advice is to write out a budget, do you research and see what you can pull off! 

What is on your healthy grocery list/items you like to always have on hand at home?

For breakfast: Bananas, gluten free bread, eggs, multigrain oatmeal (with flax, no sugar), frozen berries for smoothies, almond milk, turkey sausage, greek yogurt.

For lunch: No-salt added turkey breast, tomatoes, romaine lettuce leaves (I like to make turkey wraps), mustard, sandwich thins, Pirate’s Booty, almond butter, apples, mixed greens, avocado, cucumbers.

For dinner: Lots of veggies (mushrooms, peppers, zucchini, sweet potatoes), ground turkey, chicken breast, mixed greens, cilantro, parmesan cheese, brown rice noodles, pasta sauce, salmon, frozen brown rice/quinoa.

For snacks: Nuts, Lara Bars, apples and almond butter, cucumber and cheddar cheese, Bark Thins.

Before our son was born we had our dog for 2 years. Everything was okay – they shared visits to the park, sofa space, even food, however once he started walking our dog just either loose interest or become a bit jealous. We still do everything together but if my son enters a room our dog leaves immediately. Have you experienced something similar with Charlie and Webster? Did you routine with Webster changed as well once Charlie was born? How do you balance your time with both?

Webster is terrified of Charlie. Sometimes Webster will go up and love on him but majority of the time he runs the other way. Charlie is going through a phase where he just wants to beat up on Webster. Webster’s reaction is always startled and Charlie thinks it is playful. Webster’s lifestyle has slowed down a lot but we always give him extra love during nap times/sleep, I always make sure we spend some quality time with him outdoors and he sleeps in between us at night. He knows he is loved but he is definitely indoors way more. It’s hard. I feel bad regardless, especially during instances when I know Webster is watching us and feeling sad. BUT, I also think he realizes his roll and can also be protective of Charlie. It’s just doing what you can, when you can, to make sure all of your babies feel loved!

What are some of Charlie’s favorite books? What are “must haves” for his library?

All of the Little Blue Truck books, The Boy Who Spoke to the Earth, The Little School Bus and Brown Bear Brown Bear.

Make sure to submit your questions for next week via email and use ‘Coffee with Liz’ in the subject!

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