2016-winter-guide-1

Read the Guide!

Ladies and gentlemen (Dad?), the moment Jess and I have been waiting for has finally arrived: our 2016 Winter Guide is live! Before I go on, though, I just want to take a moment to appreciate and call out Jess’ hard work on this enormous undertaking, and tell you a quick story.

While I’m getting better at juggling work and motherhood, I’m still in Struggle City over here. I’m short on time, deprived of sleep, and behind on… well, everything, all the time. (Happier than I’ve ever been, though! Emma is my world, and like I said, I’m getting closer and closer to finding a healthy work-life balance every day.) But because of this, when Jess brought up the idea of creating our second annual winter guide together a few months ago, I almost said no.

Why? Well, let’s back up to last year’s winter guide. I didn’t announce my pregnancy until pretty late in the game, but I was very pregnant when we published the guide, and struggling with extreme exhaustion and morning sickness. (This is what my first trimester was like!) Doing basic things–like showering and keeping food down–was tremendously difficult for me, and I simply couldn’t pull my weight with the project.

I alluded to this in last year’s post, but Mitch and I had a bunch of crises occur the week/day of publication, too. I was driving Noodle and myself home for Thanksgiving (Mitch was flying to meet me), and I got a flat tire and ended up sobbing to a state trooper on the side of the highway in Indiana because I was so unbelievably tired, nauseous and overwhelmed. (He handled me very well, but I’m 100-percent positive he wished he hadn’t pulled over to check on me, haha.) I was stuck at a Walmart–the only tire place open on a Sunday–for six hours, and I finally ended up getting myself a hotel sometime around midnight… a mere 2.5 hours from our home in Chicago. At the same time, back in Chicago, our pipes broke and the kitchen flooded. (Yes, only a few months after we lost an entire floor of our house to a flood.) Mitch was freaking out and I was freaking out, and I completely broke down to Jess and told her I didn’t think I could handle publishing the guide. I felt like a horrible friend, but I just couldn’t get it together.

But as you know, Jess is amazing. Like I said in last year’s post, she’s one of the most selfless people I’ve ever known. Like, she CLEARLY should have ditched me, haha. There I was, pregnant and emotional and irrational and unable to cope with life, and she simply told me that she loved me, that everything was going to be okay, and that she sincerely understood. And she just finished everything and hit publish, and it was the most amazing guide ever.

This year wasn’t much different from last year. Early on, I told Jess that I didn’t think creating a guide together would be fair to her. I knew that–once again–I wouldn’t be able to pull my weight, and that the bulk of the work would fall on her shoulders. And you know what she said? That she didn’t want to do it without me, and that she didn’t care about all of that.

Surely enough, what I predicted totally happened. I got overwhelmed, overtired and sick (currently on antibiotics for some very nasty bug!), and Jess saved the day, designing and laying out the whole thing. And she did it lovingly and happily and passionately and amazingly, while also coming over again and again to help with Emma so I could tackle my stuff. Like, can you believe the pure magic she created?!

I tell Jess this all the time, but her design skills and vision for projects like this one are nothing short of astounding. She’s truly gifted, and let’s just say what I would have created on my own would have looked like a second grader made it. (I “designed” the Hunter boots page, and it took me forever. AND I copied Jess’ design for another page in the book. It’s not even like I was being original!)

Anyway, here it is! We’re so, so proud. It took a lot of sleepless nights, bottles of wine and Ubers, but it’s here and we hope you’ll take a look at let us know what you think. (Certain parts you liked? Certain parts you missed? We’d love to create a spring edition based off of your feedback!)

And Jess, I love you. I hope you know just how lucky I feel to call you my best friend, and really: thank you for everything! I have so much fun with you, even when it’s 5 a.m. and we’re deliriously trying to link the “stupid dresses.”

So, without further ado: the 2016 Winter Guide!

winter-guide-cover

Read the Guide!