Faux Mums via Etsy / Faux Mums via Walmart / Buffalo Check Pumpkins / Topiary Dachshund / Three-Ball Topiaries / The Best Artificial Pumpkins: One, Two, Three and Four (The ones you see here are NOT them!) / Newer Lanterns / Newer Camel Cardigan here, here and here / Ugg Slippers / Madewell Roadtripper Skinny Jeans (The BEST.) / Striped Tee
These are always my favorite posts to write. :)
- Last weekend, we: had my cousins Cassidy and Olivia here! I should note that I write these post in advance, so I’m talking about the weekend of the 6th/7th. (Hopefully I will have already put a post with pics together by the time this goes live, haha.) But it was so lovely. Mitch and I loved chatting with them and hearing about what is going on in their lives; we’d definitely forgotten how different my 20s were compared to my 30s, and they really brought us back! I’m so proud of them for building awesome lives and careers for themselves—and the fact that they’re truly good people. And gosh. They were just so wonderful with the girls, who were in absolute heaven to have them!
- Let’s do some good: My Block My City My Hood wants you to BE PART OF THE LIGHT! M3 is one of my absolute favorite Chicago organizations, and last year they decorated nearly 500 street poles and over 500 homes off the historic Martin Luther King Jr. Drive with holiday lights, bows, ribbons, garland and ornaments. This year, they’re going to decorate from 51st and King to 115th and King. Volunteer and/or donate here, or send lights and supplies here!
- Emma got vaccinated last week! (First shot.) YAY. She was such a champ about it. We followed the advice of my brother, our pediatrician and science, and are thrilled to get this show on the road. Btw, we just logged onto Walgreens and booked an appointment, though there are lots of ways to get your age 5+ kid vaccinated right now!
- My cousin Mackenzie got engaged! YAYYYY. We are so happy for you, Kenz! She actually FaceTimed Olivia (who already knew, haha) with the news while we were all together, so Mitch and I got to shriek with them a little, hehe. So special. ♥️ Mackenzie and Patrick flew down to New Orleans the following day and actually got to celebrate with my brother (also named Patrick) and his wife, Kim. CONGRATS, guys! We love you!
- I’m looking forward to: Seeing our friends Gretchen and James (and their daughter) on Friday! Gretchen and James moved to our block during the pandemic, and we were linked up through some of our best friends Kira and Tom. (Thank you, guys!) Their daughter has become best buds with Lucy, which has been incredible since most of the other kids on the block are Emma’s age. And you know those couples that you instantly click with? Yep. We hit the jackpot with this fam. :)
- Style spotlight:
- I’m thinking about purchasing Veja Campo Sneakers (also here) or Veja V-10 Sneakers. (You can also find the V-10 sneakers here and here.) I love my Tretorn sneakers, but I go through them pretty quickly because they’re canvas and I apparently roll around in the dirt for fun. I was about to purchase this leather pair of Tretorns, but they’re sold out in my size… and I kind of want to try a new brand! Emma has actually been wearing these Veja sneakers for the last month because they were recommended by a friend. She LOVES them. Anyway, I’m between the Veja Campo Sneakers or Veja V-10 Sneakers—you can also find the Campo sneakers here and V-10 sneakers here and here—as those are the two pairs my cousins were sporting last weekend.
- I love these pull-on Stewart tartan pants. I’m trying to rein in plaid this year. If you’re new here, I’m a tartan fanatic and always have been. BUT things got a little out of control with a #30daysofplaid/#60daysofplaid challenge I used to do—plus my style has definitely changed over the last couple of years. Don’t get me wrong! I still plan on wearing it a lot throughout the holiday season. I still love it. ;) That said, I significantly pared down my tartan wardrobe (to one drawer!) and want to think very carefully about adding new pieces. Whew. This is my long-winded way of asking should these pull-on Stewart tartan pants be this year’s purchase?! I LOVE THEM. 😆
- “New LV to Look Your Ducking Best.” I got this e-mail recently and couldn’t stop laughing at the subject line. I also adore both Louis Vuitton and ducks. (As you may know, haha.)
- Dachshund Christmas socks! My dachshund Christmas socks have survived closet clean-outs for years. They spark joy. ;) And they’re BACK!
- “One Home Project Every Day” update:
- I washed everyone’s duvet covers/shams. UGH. Luckily, the girls come out of the dryer looking perfect. But ours requires steaming. Putting that off for now, though. ;)
- I attacked the living room game cabinet. Boom! That thing was a mess. I got rid of all the games with missing pieces (oh, Lucy) and put everything neatly into storage bins. Looks amazing and the girls have a newfound interest in the stuff because it’s so organized!
- I also put everything in the holiday cabinet into containers for a uniform look. Honestly, the cabinet has stressed me out since our first year of living here. Now it’s so pretty! Organizing it helped me get rid of some damaged/worn stuff, too. Put it all out in the alley and it was gone within the hour!
- I did a pre-holidays playroom purge. If you have kids and don’t do this every year, I highly recommend. I involve Emma—Lucy is still too little and doesn’t understand—and she and I set aside needed toys to donate to kids in need. It can be such a character-building exercise for kiddos, and it can teach the spirit of giving.
- I got rid of some duplicate serveware. We have a buffet in our dining room, and I rarely go into it. (Normally only during holidays.) I was working at the dining room table the other day and thought I’d take five minutes to go through it, and sure enough, we had lots of duplicates—mostly from blog collaborations with Mark and Graham over the years. I set aside the stuff monogrammed with “LARKIN” for family, and can’t wait to surprise them with it over Thanksgiving! (Unless they read this. In which case they will know. 😜)
- I threw out some REALLY ANNOYING towels. Have you ever owned bath sheets? They’re the WORST, haha. So huge! I’ve been annoyed by these things for years and finally was like, “Mitch! I think the time has come!” And he was like, “Oh, thank god.”
- Self care:
- My aunt “bounces” around her home as a way to exercise and get her heart rate up when she’s doing house chores, and I’m thinking I should do it. It’s really just like jogging in place/jumping as she’s cleaning and tidying, yet it works! My cousin was talking about it and I thought to myself, “Genius.”
- My Raynaud’s isn’t acting up because of my new (beloved) little tabletop space heater. First, it’s wildly effective. Second, it has safety features. Third, I’m no longer in pain. Fourth, it’s cute! ;)
- I was thinking this morning what a huge difference this detangling brush has made for me re: hair loss. All you have to do is glide the brush over your hair a few times—no tugging or pulling!—and it detangles. I really don’t understand how it’s real. It’s clearly magic!
- Random thoughts:
- The usage of the “!” reaction is very confusing to me on iMessages. It can be alarming, and make me question what the other person is thinking or feeling. Some people claim it’s to be used when in agreement; others argue it’s when you’re feeling shocked, surprised or unsure of what to say. Either way, I hate it. (!!!!!)
- What’s your love language? Mitch and I are super into this—mine is hugs and Mitch’s is gifts—though we do occasionally joke about it with each other. We were talking about love languages with my cousins one late night (because they ascribe to it, too) and then the following morning I said to Mitch, “Hey! I didn’t get my morning hug!” And he goes, “Hey! I didn’t get my morning gift!” It’s not that funny when I type it out, but I couldn’t stop laughing.
- Chicago happenings:
- Welcome, Paper Plane Pizza! It’s a pop-up on Hasted and North, and SO GOOD. Honestly tastes like NYC pizza. A+ from the Larkins.
- The Christkindlmarket opens Nov. 19th! This is one of our favorite family holiday activities. We usually last no more than 20-30 minutes when we bring kids, but still so much fun! There are downtown and Wrigleyville locations.
- Mitch and I went to the Nutella Cafe recently and wow. It really was the most delightful breakfast and coffee I’ve ever had. Every order can be customized. Truly what dreams are made of. ;)
- Starting Nov. 19th, you can go ice skating at Millennium Park for free! You do, however, need to reserve tickets.
- Armitage Ale House is INCREDIBLE. We went with our friends Dave and Natalie last weekend and were blown.away. I mean, just read this: “Outside, it’s Lincoln Park, but inside the doors of the Armitage Ale House, it’s London, circa 1926. This is the neighborhood pub you always knew existed back when, in the days when fireplaces still burned wood and music came from the piano, just like they do here. The menu offers select ales and cocktails, paired with hearty pub fare and dishes with their roots in India. The thoughtfully capacious list of French and American wines includes a number of curry-friendly selections and, of course, proper clarets. Rich, eclectic decor, spacious booths, warm lights and hand-carved woodwork — they just don’t make them like the Armitage any more.”
- Zoo Lights also starts on Nov. 19th at the Lincoln Park Zoo! Always a great time with kids, family and friends… and a great time to propose. ;)
- Home spotlight:
- I’m thinking about selling my office couch, and replacing it with a pull-out couch for Emma and Lucy when we have guests. Unfortunately, I don’t think our family will ever be able to handle fabric sofas. We’re a hot mess. But I love this style and the functionality it would provide for the family!
- Our bedroom, bathroom and office are getting painted this week! I thought for a minute about doing sage green in the office, but finding the right green was stressing me out, so I decided to play it safe and go with Benjamin Moore “Pale Oak” everywhere. I’m really happy with the decision because the neutral backdrop will allow me to decorate however I want over the years! (Until I decide to change it again. 😉)
- I’m ordering these lamps in black for our bedroom with a gift card and very excited about it. I know. I keep on saying I’m going to order and then I don’t. But I really think I’m going to do it this week, haha. I’ve had my eye on them for the better part of the year!
- LOVE these ceramic green Christmas trees from Target. Target for the win! Always so many gems each season, and these are definitely some of them!
- Crate & Barrel’s cypress line is the best for faux Christmas greenery. That said, I do think this line is worth it because you’ll never have to replace it. I think we own everything, haha.
- Can we talk about how cute these wooden snowmen are?!
- Finally, we own these zinc reindeer and they’re gorgeous. Excited Crate & Barrel brought them back this year.
- Read/Watch: Fun Ways to Get Spiders On You This Fall: This had my family and me in stitches, as I have severe arachnophobia, haha. (Yes, it’s a problem, but I’m very much good with people teasing me about it. It’s actually very helpful in combating the issue!)
- Have you heard of “warm and fuzzies”? In Emma’s classroom, the teacher gives out little papers that say something along the lines of “WARM AND FUZZY: You were caught doing some kind!” when she sees a student being thoughtful. It’s been so effective in cultivating a warm and caring environment at school, so much so that I’ve been considering implementing warm and fuzzies in our home. Has anyone done it?
- This Target dollhouse is STUNNING. It keeps going out of stock and then coming back in stock, but set an alert and keep an eye on it if you are in the market for one this holiday season!
- I’m on the hunt for a new corduroy jumper/skirtall/pinafore dress for Emma. She grew out of her old one, and I miss it! Right now I’m liking this one from SHEIN the most. Anyone have one they love?
- Let’s help some teachers:
Title: Pre-K 4th and 9th-12th Art Teacher
Location: Elgin, IL
Story: Hello! My name is Erin. I teach at a very small private school in Elgin. I teach the entire elementary school from Pre-K 4, in addition to teaching 9th-12th Intro to Fine Arts, Ceramics, AP 2D Art and Advanced Drawing. Last year, I taught students remotely and in-person simultaneously while also teaching in each individual teacher’s classroom instead of my art room. It was a challenge to say the least! This year we are FULLY back at school and my classroom is open for business again!
Last year, I had to use my entire budget on buying individual supply kits for students that they kept, so I am starting from scratch for supplies. These supplies would really allow us to create in many ways, giving the kids the opportunity to find ways to express themselves without bounds. It would mean the world to me if we had more resources to explore and experiment with.
^ Pictured above with her son!
Title: Kinder-5th Grade Reading Specialist
Story: I’m privileged to work with students who have reading difficulty, specifically Dyslexia. I also work as a teacher mentor and coach in all areas reading. Our campus has suffered the past few years, not only due to covid but we lost Title 1 funding [even though] our student population didn’t change! So we haven’t been able to obtain many of the extra resources for students or teachers that we need… especially those geared towards motivation. It’s my goal with the items on my list to help boost student and teacher motivation and reignite the love for learning I know is there. I’m also in the process of obtaining my principal certification, so I plan on donating any of the items I receive to a classroom teacher once I continuing in growing my goals!
Amazon Wish List: https://www.amazon.com/
Position: General Music Teacher teaching K-5 students (All students in the building)
Location: Kansas City, KS (Title 1 School with a large percentage of kids on free/reduced lunch)
Story: Hi there! My name is Matt. One of the best parts of my job is that I get to be the teacher that fosters students’ love of music and creating. I have these students for potentially six years in a row. Of course, the last year and a half were not what the world expected, and I taught music virtually from the beginning all the way until April of 2021. Because we couldn’t build community in the same way as we did before, books became a saving grace for me to share with students.
I would love to submit my Amazon wish list which consists books to build up my classroom library. These books represent more inclusive and diverse themes including illustrations representing more of the populations that are within my school and district. Many of the books include poetry and rhyming schemes that we can then mold and adapt into creative music lessons to share with our community around us. There are also mindfulness books to promote movement and expression when it comes to the social-emotional development of the student.
I love what I do and am so happy to be in a loving school with great students and want to do the best job for them!
Amazon Wish List: https://www.amazon.com/hz/