Week In Review (June 23 – June 29, 2014)

My Week In Review (otherwise known as WIR) posts are just that: a review of my past week.  I post an update here every Tuesday sharing some tidbits of my previous week as well as an accompanying photo recap with selections from my Instagram.  Here’s the buzz from my week:


It may be hard to believe, but last week I didn’t have to prep for another trip!  Yes, we’ve been traveling up a storm lately, but I’m home for a few weeks before another whirlwind weekend away in mid-July.  Don, however, did have a quick turnaround for another business trip so it was just me and Winnie for a few days.  We sure do miss him when he’s gone!  There was lots of cuddling, belly rubs, and sunset walks to fill the evening time we usually spend as three. Fortunately, Don was only gone for two nights and then was able to spend the entire afternoon and evening with me on Thursday for a very special event (more on this in a moment).

Summer is definitely here and making itself known with typical midwest muggy weather!  We’ve also been getting our fair share of summer storms lately with a few strangely cooler days mixed in here and there.  It’s sure been an interesting year weather-wise in the Chicagoland area!  How’s summer (or winter, if you live in Australia), treating you?

I spent most of my week doing what I do: filming, editing videos, taking photos, editing photos, and writing blog posts.  I like how my weekdays have a nice rhythm to them in this way.  I never feel bored, because there’s always something to do!  And of course, I am a big believer in the “enjoy the little things” philosophy of life.  I definitely get genuinely excited about the small stuff, like watching an awesome summer sunset, catching a whiff of summer flowers as I walk by a garden, the satisfaction of a freshly cleaned kitchen counter, and the joys of opening fun mail.  Speaking of fun mail, my new Erin Condren 2014-15 Life Planner arrived last week.  Talk about exciting!  I share a close up look and my first impressions of this beauty here if you’re interested.  It’s so beautiful I can’t help but smile every time I look at it.  Little happy moments like these all add up to one happy me.


While I do enjoy the reassuring repetitiveness of my daily weekday routine, every now and then there is a special happening in the middle of the week that spices things up.  I was honored to be invited to The Container Store‘s blogger preview and preview party last Thursday in honor of the Oakbrook store‘s grand opening over the weekend.  The new space is absolutely gorgeous and I most thoroughly enjoyed the special tour and talk we were given during the preview.  The most exciting part of this for me, however, was being allowed to film and take photographs inside the store.  I’ve been wanting to do something like this ever since I started making YouTube videos four years ago!  I will have a post and coordinating video up on Friday sharing a bit of a store tour as well as vlog-style footage from my experience.  Don was super sweet in offering to come with me to assist in filming and hold my hand.  We made a dayate (Day Date) out of it by enjoying a big lunch out and catching Maleficent at a local movie theater between events.  We had an awesome day together.


We enjoyed a more relaxed weekend, spending most of the days around the house.  Don played golf in the mornings and I worked on organizing our closet and doing a more concentrated cleaning of the garage and my car.  I really enjoy cleaning up and organizing, so it was a very relaxing weekend for me.

We went to Sixteen, which is located in downtown Chicago at Trump International Hotel & Tower, for a full out fancy dinner date on Saturday night.  This is my favorite Chicago restaurant at the moment.  It’s definitely a splurge, but fun to do every few months since they change the menu seasonally.  It’s always a treat!

On Sunday, we invited both sets of our parents over for a casual family dinner.  Both of our families love sharing snacks, drinking wine, and chatting before dinner when we get together.  Don grilled up his delicious target=”_blank”>shrimp fajitas and we finished the meal with gelato.  I love how well our families get along and are so comfortable together!

If you’d like to see more from my weekend, check out my vlog:

As much as I love and appreciate being able to travel, I am so enjoying being home for a little bit.  I always feel a deeper appreciation for my home (both the actual house and location) whenever we’ve been away and it’s comforting to me to fall back into my usual routine.  There’s no place like home, right?  One of the things I miss most whenever we’re away is our bed, which is unsurpassed in comfort even at the finest hotels I’ve stayed at.  What do you miss most about your house when you are traveling?  Let me know if you care to share!  Home is where the heart is. 🙂


* Post contains affiliate links. This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are genuinely my own. *


39 thoughts on “Week In Review (June 23 – June 29, 2014)”

  1. Thank you for sharing another great video Jen! Because I am a single older woman, your date night adventures and restaurant reviews & opinions help me out a lot. As for the dresses, they are totally adorable and age appropriate; so, perhaps check into local alteration professionals that can assist with the black dress. Luv, Hugz, & Respect always, Cynthia in Wisconsin

  2. You should start buying dresses that fit your chest and hips and then have them tailored to your waist and other parts of your body. It will be much more flattering and worth the investment, especially if you plan on keeping the dresses for a long time. As soon as I saw the pink dress, I thought it looked like something a toddler would wear — even before you mentioned it. Maybe you could post a photo of you wearing it with accessories so we can get a better idea? Otherwise it looks too juvenile, might be best to pass it on to someone younger.

  3. Hi Jen

    Tell Suzanne that we are enjoying lovely weather here in Ireland at the moment. (20 degrees C around 70 degrees F)…that is lovely for here.

    She is best to pack light layers, so short sleeves with a cardigan and a waterproof (this is Ireland after all!) 🙂

    Hope this helps

    Clodagh xo

  4. Jen, I always love reading your WIN. I have been working on lots of projects at the moment, mainly for work, as I am a high school teacher and we are preparing for a big move into our new school that has been 18months in the making. The Summer over here in England is surprisingly good and we have seen quite a few hot days. I am really looking forward to seeing your video at the container store. How are things with you? Have you started anymore knitting projects or are you back onto the hexipuffs? Alicia x

      1. Oh Jen, I wish that I had the skill for knitting, sadly I don’t. I really enjoy your knit nook videos though. The knit crate is such a good idea. Supplies for knitting can be overwhelming so it’s a nice way to be introduced to new things. I’ve ben practising amigurgumi crochet at the moment but I am getting better. I’ve loved your bedroom storage organisation videos too, it has given me some inspiration as I am moving house soon. Your vlogs from the Dominican Republic looked amazing! I think that I have convinced my fiancée to go there next year. We are off to Walt Disney World for our honeymoon in a few weeks time. We are hoping that there are no tropical storms but I’m sure it will be fine and hot hot hot as usual. What was the temperature in the Dominican like? Humid? Or just straight hot? Alicia x

  5. Hey jen I had to ask when driving into Chicago what are the big red and white rails jutting out into the roadway for so curious to know

    1. There are express lanes that are directional according to the time of day. The rails keep cars from going onto them when the flow of traffic is going the opposite way.

  6. Do you keep your Crunch Cans out year round or do you store them away on a shelf? Can’t wait to see your Container Store video. I’m hosting a big summer party in a few weeks (cookout style) and am looking forward to some tips on how you go about preparing for your upcoming 4th of July cookout with family & friends.

    Keep up the great work!


  7. It looks like you had such a fun weekend. I am not loving the Chicago weather right now. It has been raining everyday in my part of Illinois. Plus, the humidity. The dinner looks amazing. I’ve never been to sixteen before but I might have to try it sometime. You look great in that outfit!

  8. I’ve been to L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in both London and Vegas – Sixteen reminded me more of Animal Restaurant in LA or of The Test Kitchen in Cape Town. I love an adventuresome tasting menu because it requires you to step outside your comfort zone. Looked like a lot of fun!

    With regard to the dresses you were puzzling over. If the Betsy Johnson can’t be altered I would say it is time to go. (If it can be altered, keep!) And your instincts about the Lilly are correct – the style just isn’t “you” any longer. My rule of thumb when considering to purge or keep an item is to ask myself, “Would I buy it again if I saw it in a store?” If the answer is “no” then I donate and if the answer is “yes” I keep. Things that don’t fit always need to go. Looks like you did a great job in the closet and I’m looking forward to your reorganization reveal.

  9. Jen, I loved you in the yellow dress with the black cami under it so much, I just had to pause the video to tell you! It made you glow!!! Def a really stunning dress on you and I am sure that Don was as always proud to be seen with you! Beautiful inside and out!

  10. Hi Jen, thanks for sharing another great WIR and vlog 🙂
    I just got home from work and for some reason got suddenly sad thinking about you talking about your Lilly Pulitzer dress. I know you put a lot of thought into things but it seems like you love it and want to keep it, you’re just thinking about what people on the internet would say. You get some hate (unjustified-you look great!) and you’ve even mentioned it in passing during OOTDs (“people will say i look like a child, whatever”); I feel like you’re taking that into consideration here. I know you love your job and want to make everyone online happy, but you do have to do some things for yourself-keeping this dress included 🙂 Even if you only wear it occasionally, you said you love it and it’s comfortable, what more could you want? Come back to it again during next year’s closet touch up. If YOU like it, you should keep it!

    “Don’t let the haters stop you from doing your thang”-Mean Girls

  11. Jen, I loved the dress you wore out to dinner, you looked fabulous and Don you really rocked that suit, you looked super handsome!! Jen I noticed you were not wearing your new Kate Spade Dianna sunglasses, I dont recall ever seeing you wear the ones you had on! What brand are they? if you dont mind sharing. The black dress you were debating on is very cute and much more your style than the other one! although altering to a larger size can be quite difficult, it may be time to move on!
    Thank you Jen and Don for sharing your weekend with us. Happy 4th and have a great time!!

    1. Those are Chanel glasses I bought in Vegas several years ago. I only wear them occasionally as they fit a bit loose on my face and I’m afraid of them flying off my head. LOL 🙂

  12. I just have to say, your boobs looked amazing in that DVF dress! 😉 Also, Suzanne–I have been to Ireland in July, doubtful you need a wool sweater, just a couple good all-purpose cardigans and a rain jacket!

  13. I love the Betsy Johnson’s dress, so pretty, and I hope it can be altered. And I agree with you that the pink dress is to juvenile for you, even if you’re still young in your early 30s. 😉

    1. I agree with you TrainBleu in regards to that pink dress. Jen, I thought that the black and white dress looked great and it is too bad it is tight in the bosom area. Too bad it can’t be loosened some. But such is life. I enjoy your blogs and have enjoyed the for the 3 years, I guess, that I have been watching them

  14. Dear Jen,

    I really like to read your blog and thought I ‘ll write a comment to you. 🙂
    It’s pleasure to read your WIR and a like to watch the videos what you do.

    I wish you happy Summer and lots of good memories 🙂


  15. Foodie blog! So was all the food local – was it actually from where it was placed in the map? (Or was the map just decorative?)

    I was at the Cubs game Saturday (American Girl Day for the kiddos) – I heard the trains were super-crowded, maybe that’s why the roads were so clear?

    Might be TMI – but for that black dress – try a minimizer bra. It works for me!

    For the Pink dress – take a picture of it for a memory and move on – you don’t want to be self conscious every time you wear it!

    I love when I have a weekend “off” to just organize too! It’s calming 🙂

    TFS Jen!

  16. Jen- loved your vlog. If you ever venture out to Geneva, you should try Bien Trucha. It’s an awesome Mexican place you would both love. The line is almost always out the door, but it’s worth the wait. Plus there is lots of cute stores nearby. 🙂

  17. Thanks for sharing another weekend with us. It is incredibly kind of both you and Don to welcome us in to your lives on a personal level.

    Regarding the dresses you shared in the video, I’m sure you may well have picked what to do with them by now but I also say to myself when getting rid of clothes, if there’s a doubt it’s likely it needs to go. Although I did love the print on the cream (or was it white?) and black dress.

    Also, keeping on the clothes theme. The dress you worn to dinner was absolutely lovely, it suits your figure and complexion perfectly. Beautiful!

    1. To Steph: Re: DVF dress, please try e-bay for vintage DVF designs I have been very lucky in my search for past DVF designs both NWT and Vintage. Happy Shopping! 🙂

  18. Jen– you and Don are such a handsome couple! That DVF is TDF!! It suits you perfectly; you absolutely glow! ..And as the world’s biggest Lilly Pulitzer fan, I would tell you to keep the pink sundress.

  19. Hi Jen! Enjoyed your vlog today – I like to save them for when I can really take time out to enjoy 🙂
    Yay, two mornings of “good morning friends”! Those are my favorite vlogs when they start out with your friendly, smiling face saying “good morning friends” – always makes me smile and puts me in a great mood right away! Thank you Jen!

    Gorgeous yellow dress that you wore to dinner!! Looks beautiful on you!
    Have you already decided what to do with the other two dresses?
    I think if you’re on the fence and you’ve done really well deciding with all of the other dresses, just keep these two for now and reevaluate again in a few months. I like the pink one, I hope you keep it 🙂

  20. When Don makes the shrimp fajitas, does he remove the black vein/intestine after he removes the shell and tail? I didn’t see him do that in the video. But those look yummy. I’m adding them to the menu this week.

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