VISIT :: CHICAGO

chicago travel guide visit chicago kids

Having grown up a midwestern gal, I spent a lot of time visiting Chicago and doing the prom dress shopping thing and deep dish pizza thing. Also, knowing my father, we went to a few cultural points and zoo’s to give the trip some street cred. And because zoo’s are where it’s at. Prior to this trip, our last visit to Chicago looked a lot different. We’ve swapped back stage at Lollapalooza for stroller friendly hot spots. While I’m sure Parker is going to have her fair share of concert experiences early on in her life, for now, we just enjoyed the spots that would accommodate a stroller. If you’re planning to visit Chicago with a one year old, this is how things went down for us!

chicago travel guide visit chicago kids
chicago travel guide visit chicago kids

We’ve become so spoiled with Airbnb, but that’s not always the easiest when you’re  visiting a walking city with a baby. We didn’t want to travel all that way there and then be a bit secluded from our main destinations (we were, after all, in town for a wedding). It was either stay downtown where we could get around to everything, like we do in New York, or stay in an Airbnb but pay for cabs to and from everything. Both are totally do-able, but being New Yorkers, we like to walk everywhere. So, we opted to play tourist and stayed in a hotel downtown. Since Parker was still on two hearty naps a day, we were able to venture out easily and go shopping, walk around to a lot of places we wanted to see, but still be able to easily pop back by the hotel for any needs.

chicago travel guide visit chicago with kids
chicago travel guide visit chicago kids

Millennium Park. Not surprising as it’s a must see for anyone who visits Chicago, but something about watching Parker just stand in awe of a big shiny mirror (aka “The Bean”) where she can just stare at herself at all angles. Kids are super narcissistic.  Once she had her fill of her own reflection, we went over to the huge Pritzker Pavilion where she could run wild and free. Perfect spot for a little picnic and relaxation too.

Navy Pier. Yes, it doesn’t get more touristy than this spot, but they have a giant ferris wheel and a carousel and nothing is cuter than babies sitting on a carousel. And she was free to run around and be a kid. Also you can jump on a boat tour here, which are the perfect way to get a full view and gorgeous pictures of the city. Same goes for New York. Boat tours are like the hidden gems.

chicago travel guide visit chicago kids

Chicago Riverwalk. A series of public walkways and seating areas offers interesting views of the city. Great way to weave in and out of some cool neighborhoods and also get some quality walking in! 

Shopping. Oh, the shopping! We were just a short walk to Michigan Ave, so while Parker was napping, I got to easily jump over and score some finds. Plus, we were close to Trader Joe’s and Eataly, so we could pick up some snacks and things for P to eat. With a child now, it really is more about convenience!  

buffalo check ankle boots   chicago travel guide with kids

Noteworthy places that are worth a cab ride with baby in tow:

Bang Bang Pie 

Una Mae’s

Milk & Honey Cafe

Randolph Street Market

Lincoln Park Zoo

Frank Lloyd Wright House

Hemingway House

Penelope’s             

* We get a lot of questions about what travel stroller system to use, you can see the base and the carseat here! *

visit chicago travel guide with kids the bean

Ten Ways To Use Coconut Oil

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I feel I can confidently say that you’ve already heard about the coconut oil craze. Honestly, this little oil is really have its fifteen minutes of fame, right up there with kale and the hashtag. It’s practically the superfood of the beauty world right now. Yet, I still get super inquisitive looks and questions from people when I explain all the ways I use it…. and this is in Brooklyn, y’all. Figured that may mean it’s still worth sharing.

My personal love affair started about a year ago and it was merely for the benefits of a moisturizer and something to cook with. New Yorkers live in limited space, so anytime something serves multiple purposes, I’m into it. These days, this oil has replaced a number of harsh, expensive and chemical filled beauty products in my daily arsenal. Bottom line, it has saved me a ton of money, cut out unnecessary products from my beauty routine and leaves me smelling like a walkingpiña colada. Mmmm. How does my skin feel about it? Awesome. It’s never looked so calm and refreshed, thanks for asking!

There are a number of ways to incorporate coconut oil into your beauty routine. If it’s a little scary for you to literally spread oil on your face, I get it, maybe start with just applying it to your under eyes or using it on dry spots only. Then work up the nerve to lather your entire face with it! A word of advice when purchasing coconut oil, I only get unrefined, organic and cold pressed. My skin went haywire when I used one that wasn’t. (Note: This one is my favorite.)

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TEN WAYS I USE COCONUT OIL

Make Up Remover :: This is my favorite use of coconut oil, as it is a gentle and easy makeup remover for both my face and eyes. I don’t have to worry about harsh scrubs or spending a ton on fancy make up removing products. A little coconut oil and then a cleansing wipe and my skin is squeaky clean. Plus, the safest way to remove eye makeup is with an oil based cleanser. That will save you from ripping out precious eyelashes or damaging them.

Moisturizer :: Fragrances in moisturizers can be some of the most harmful ingredients, especially if you’re applying it to your face. After washing my face, I swipe a bit of coco oil on to help keep my skin hydrated through the night. Honestly, when I wake up, my skin looks super refreshed. I will say, I don’t use it in the morning as I’ve found my make up settles weird on top of it. Just something to note.

Oil Pulling :: Remember when you got your braces off and all you wanted to do was swipe your tongue back and forth across the front of your teeth? Whelp, that’s what they feel like after you do some oil pulling. Coconut oil has antifungal and antibacterial properties, which help kill germs and freshens your breath. I take a spoonful of oil (in its liquid state) and swish that around in my mouth for 15-ish minutes and then spit it in the trash. This should not replace brushing and flossing, for the record. I still brush my teeth post oiling pulling, but definitely don’t brush them before. There are some that make actual toothpaste by mixing coconut oil and baking soda, if you want to take it one step further. You’ll also read accounts of people who think oil pulling has cured arthritis, skin conditions, etc. For me, it has just helped with cleaner and whiter teeth. Think Orbit gum commercial clean. *Ting*

Under Eye :: It’s super light and perfect for delicate under eye skin. Wrinkle creams and under eye moisturizers can be expensive, and what for? All you need to combat wrinkles and spots is moisture. Just don’t get it in your eye or else your vision will be a bit foggy. Think, one too many glasses of wine, foggy.

Hair :: A small amount, and I mean small, on your fingertips and apply it to the ends of your hair after a shower or you can also apply it to dry hair to wrangle in gnarly split ends. Just seriously go easy on it, you can always add more, but you will be a big grease ball if you use too much. I know from experience.

Cuticles :: I don’t get manicures much, I just don’t have the time. So this is a simple way to keep my nails looking pretty and polished. Using a Q-tip has proved to be the cleanest application process. I tried just using my fingers once and everything kept slipping out of my hands for the rest of the afternoon. Learn from my mistakes, people.

Lip Balm :: Swipe some on for smooth and hydrated lips. Miracle worker in those harsh winter months.

Clean Brushes :: Put some coconut oil on a cotton swab and use it to clean your makeup brushes, mascara brushes and foundation brushes. Just like it works as a makeup remover from your face, it will do the same thing here. After you’ve cleaned them, rinse them with a little soap to clean off any excess oil.

Body Scrub :: I used to spend a lot on fancy body scrubs, but now this recipe has been an easy and cheap substitute and I can mix up essential oils to add in to as the seasons change. Lavender for the spring and cinnamon for the fall.

Diaper Rash :: Little P has had her fair share of coconut oil exposure. Diaper rashes can be an ongoing fiasco for little bums. We’ve tried all those fancy and organic creams and honestly, the thing that clears it up the fastest….. coconut oil.

I know there are lists of like a million and one ways to use coconut oil, these are just the ones that have been tried and true and have worked for me. If you have others, by all means, please share! I'm always on the hunt for new coconut oil miracles. 

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THE QUALITY LIST :: FRESHLY PICKED

I have an announcement….. getting a baby’s foot into a shoe is impossible. Seriously. You’ll have better luck teaching them how to code the next Facebook at six months than getting their foot into a shoe. To help you with this endeavor, this is what I’ve learned about babies and shoes.

1. It’s like their foot has a magnet in it and so does the shoe. Everytime the two get within inches of each other, they actually deflect the other. Imagine an electromagnetic force field exists between them and it’s impossible to break the barrier.

2. Babies don’t understand how to not arch their feet. I don’t know why they don’t, but they just don’t. Idiots. So try as you may, but their foot will be stuck in an arch position and the shoe is never sliding on.

3. You’ve got about all of 30 seconds to get the shoes on or else your baby loses their cool and then it’s mission failed. Know your best approach. I prefer facing her while putting on the shoes while Eric prefers to have her sitting in his lap. Plan ahead.

4. By all means, don’t get your face too close while attempting to get the shoe on. For some reason, everyone crouches down and gets reeaaallly close, as if because the feet are so tiny they must zoom in to see everything. Do this, and you will be kicked in the face.

5. After all the blood, sweat and tears you actually manage to get the shoes on both feet of your baby. I give them an hour and at least one of them has managed to shimmy off their foot. #fail

So, now that we’ve gone over those. I also have the solution for you. Freshly Picked moccasins. This is starting to follow the rhythm of an infomercial, I don’t know why, but just follow me here. You’ve probably heard of them…. I mean, who hasn’t at this point. They were on Shark Tank after all. Susan is a powerhouse business woman and is likely going to take over the world here pretty soon. I’ve known her for a few years and recently had the pleasure of speaking on panel with her at Alt Summit. Girlfriend is a genius. She’s taken a common problem we face as parents and created a solution. A fashionable, chic, high quality and easy to use product. Oh, you just stretch it out and close it in over the babies feet? And then it stays on all day? They don’t fall off? I know it’s hard to believe, but trust me. These are the only shoes you should buy for your baby. 

As you can see, Parker has worn them throughout the duration of her long life. They are the perfect soft-soled moccasin that are best for their tiny feet, especially when they are learning to walk. Something about gripping and stability, think monkeys… or at least that’s what I thought when the doctor was explaining baby walking dynamics. You’re biggest problem at this point is going to be selecting a favorite.

Moccasin images via freshlypicked.com