Week In Review (November 3 – November 9, 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:


Fall is waning here in the midwest.  The leaves have almost all fallen from the trees, the pretty mums are browning thanks to overnight frosts, and the temperature drops a little every day.  It feels like the winter winds have picked up and are bringing along the new season quickly.  Plus, with the days growing shorter and it getting darker earlier every day, it’s truly starting to feel like winter is swiftly on its way.  I don’t mind so much, as winter is one of my favorite seasons once the snow comes.  I’ve also been enjoying fully embracing boot and sweater weather as well as enjoying hot steamy cups of spiced tea.  This transitionary time between crisp and bright fall days and winter snow reminds me that change is inevitable.  Accepting what I cannot control allows me to embrace what life brings me, both good and bad, and illuminates the importance of the cycle of things and the journey within.  That might all sound a bit overdramatic to some, I supposed, but seasonal transitions like we are experiencing now really do act as gentle reminders of these things for me.  There is so much to learn from observing nature without judgements or agendas.


Speaking of winter’s coming, the holiday season is approaching with the speed of a three year old zooming to the tree on Christmas morning.  In other words, it’s practically upon us!  I kicked off my annual Holiday Prep series with a look at how we do our holiday cards.  Every year I get better about ordering them ahead of time so I’m not stuck frantically trying to stuff, seal, and label them at the last minute.  Another  one of my pre-holiday traditions is to check out The Container Store’s Gift Wrap Wonderland soon after it launches, typically in late October.  I was super lucky this year to be invited by my local TCS for a private tour of this gorgeous space.  No one does holiday gift packaging like The Container Store!  I will have photos and more information I learned during my visit up soon.


With the holidays comes longer to-do lists and busier schedules with both the increase in content I produce in my work life as well as more social gatherings with my loved ones.  It’s the most wonderful time of the year, yes, but also all of that extra busyness can leave me feeling overwhelmed and drained.  My mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and I decided it would be fun to kick off the holiday season with a morning spent together relaxing.  We headed downtown to the Trump Hotel on Saturday to enjoy their beautiful spa.  I opted for a pedicure and brought along my knitting.  Talk about double pampering!  Later that day, we had our friends over for a fun and causal evening at our home together.  On Sunday, Don and I went to see the Chicago Shakespeare Theater‘s production of King Lear with Don’s parents.  What an incredibly intense and powerful performance!  We’re very much looking forward to seeing one of our favorite Chicago actors, Larry Yando who was Lear, play Scrooge at the Goodman Theater’s A Christmas Carol next month.  We shared a wonderful meal afterwards at one of our favorite Chicago steakhouses, The Capital Grille.  Our weekend was filled with time spent with our loved ones and we’re looking forward to more like it in the remaining weeks of the year.

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

I’m so excited to be gearing up for the most wonderful and also my personal busiest time of year.  I find planning in advance even more important than usual during this time of year.  I’d love to hear some of your tips and tricks for staying on top of things during the holiday season if you care to share.  Let the holidays begin!


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


31 thoughts on “Week In Review (November 3 – November 9, 2014)”

  1. was wondering if you could repost what tea it was that you were drinking and the nail polish you wore in one of your photos..i think it was a julep brand but cant remember the name…thanks

  2. Jen, I just realized I’ve never commented before even though I’m an avid reader and viewer! Oops!

    Just wanted to say how much I appreciate all you do! I started watching you about this time last year and I love how genuine and so kind you are and you always give me new inspiration! I love that you’ve picked up knitting again and it’s inspired me to dust off my needles as well!

    Thank you for continuing to inspire your readers and viewers and I’m looking forward to catching up on your weekend! I promise to be more of a presence as it’s one of the few ways I can show my appreciation!


    1. Thank you for your lovely comment. So happy I could help inspire you to pick up your knitting again! It’s one of the best fixes for me when I can grab 20 minutes even in a hectic day to help soothe my soul (and frayed holiday nerves LOL) 🙂

  3. Thanks for sharing your WIR Jen. Lovely to read – as always. I have been watching your vlogs from last year which have really inspired me to get creative & organized for the festive season. In South Africa Christmas is hot and we usually braai (BBQ) & enjoy family time outside. It is so nice to see how things are done in a colder climate. Best of luck with all your prep. ~ Nadia x

  4. Well for me, right about now, I’m pretty much done with shopping. I always take advantage of any “Christmas in July” events, it definitely helps me stay on budget. This year both sides of the families decided to purchase gifts for the children and our parents. One side is Irish and the other is Cuban, and let me tell you we both LOVE LOVE Christmas, it is definitely our favorite holiday.

    The gathering have started due to the Birthdays being this month thru January. Lots of good food and family time.

    I’m able to stay organized because of Filofax and ECLP. It really does help and of course the color coding help tremendously.

    1. Thanks for sharing your tips! I used to be much better about buying gifts earlier like you, but now we’ve decided to stop exchanging lots of gifts except to the kids in the family, which simplifies things.

  5. Hi Jen,
    I am so sorry to hear you had a scare with Winnie. She is just the sweetest girl. I had a scare with my cat (the light of my life!) around this time last year and it was the worst time of my life, so I know just how tough it is. You wish you could just tell them what’s happening so they understand, poor babies. But Winnie looks wonderful, happy as a bunny hopping around with you. Thank goodness! She is very lucky to have an attentive Mom like you!

    Lots of love,

    1. I am so grateful for my sweet angel and am utterly relieved that she isn’t sick. Thanks so much for your concern. I hope your cat is doing well.

  6. Jen,

    I was feeling very anxious today so I decided to chill out and watch some of your videos. It slowly helped me feel better. Thank you so much for creating the content that you do, you’ll never know how much I (and many others!) appreciate it. It’s been an incredibly rough year for me, but I always find comfort in your videos and posts. When I read your thoughts about embracing change with the season, I felt inspired to comment and tell you. Enjoy the rest of your week!

    1. I had to back off due to a minor back injury last week. I’m much better now but still recovering so just elliptical for the time being, no impact.

  7. Still I’m in fall.. 🙂 The maple tree on our front yard yet to turn its leaves in orange. Although, the leaves are falling.. and tomorrow I’ve to clean the piles of leaves from my front yard. I yet to start making Holiday decorations. Still I’m in Fall mood. :).

  8. Hi Jen,
    I’ve not been in the holiday spirit much this year due to some sad things that have happened this year, but I started rewatching your vlogidays from the past 2 years and have gained some of the spirit back. Do you think you will be attending the chriskindlmarket this year? I love watching your vlogs and hauls from it as we have nothing like that down in NE Florida. Excited for your Disney vlogs (whenever that may be).

    1. I hope so! We’ll see if I can make some time for that. I love that fair! On another note – I hope things are on the up & up for you. ((HUGS))

  9. Jen,
    I think that you are a very practical, classy lady. I enjoy rushing home from work to watch your videos. I have a lot of amazing things going on in my life, including managing, work, family, home and a wonderful Husband. I admire your grace, style and excellenance. I proud that I watch and support you. My god continue to richly bless you! Love from New York!

  10. Thank you fr this new post and video!
    I always enjoy watcing your vidos or vlogs.
    You re so pretty and awesome.So lets take a look at the video!
    wish you a wonderful day!

  11. Jen, I LOVE your videos. Thank you for sharing your life with us. Will you be participating in Vlogidays this year? I hope so as its hard to wait an entire week for another video.

  12. Hi! Jen! You didn’t mention which way you preferred drinking your acv drink! Shooting it or doing it your way! Curious to know! Also, do you just take it in the morning? I truly enjoy watching your videos! You and Don are a breath of fresh air! I especially love the way you guys interact with each as well as your families! You can feel the love! Thanks for sharing!

    1. It’s tough to shoot…very strong, but it does make it go faster so that’s something. And I take mine just in the AM.

  13. I am so glad to hear that Winnie is okay. Those weeks must have been like hell. Earlier this year my Shih Tzu girl Daisy gave us a big scare. Her eye did not react normal to light and she had some other problems. The vet thought she had a brain tumor and told us to think about chemo and things like that. My heart broke and I was so scared. She had to get bloodtests and a special scan. I was so happy when the specialist said that there was no tumor. So I know how you felt. Give Winnie a big hug from me and a big hug for you and Don also.

  14. I am so glad Winnie is ok! When you were telling the story I was like, “Talk faster, Jen, is she okay??” lol You are Don are funny together, and let Don know that I feel his pain with the Netflix issue, I have had that same problem and said those same things. AND OMG I really think Don and my husband were separated at birth. The Boondock Saints shirt and particulars with the fade for his hair sealed the deal. lol And I got the Popsugar box with that scarf and I swear you always wear it better! My colors don’t align as nicely as yours. haha Okay I have commented as I watched I am sure this comment seems all over the place. Thanks for sharing! And count me in for another vote for you to do the Vlogidays, you know because the holiday season isn’t busy enough without recording and editing every day 😉

  15. ‘Tis the Season! I’m excited about Christmas too! I love your videos and enjoy your blog and instagram photos as well. You are so creative and inspiring! Thank you for taking the time to post and I want to encourage you to continue. You are such a blessing!

    As for Christmas ideas:

    1. Pick up stamps each time you go to the store in the months leading up to Christmas, that way it’s not so much of an expense at once.

    2. Sit down and plan your calendar for the holidays. When will you decorate your home, wrap gifts, make gifts, or plan parties.

    3. Address a few Christmas cards every night. Fix some hot cocoa and sit by the fire. Turn on holiday music!

    4. For fun…wrap the outside of the luggage rack on top of your car with a little garland! It’s fun and festive!

    Thank you again Jen for all you do! Can’t wait for your upcoming holiday videos and ideas! Many blessings to you and your family!

  16. Really enjoyed your WIR and vlog 🙂 Nice to see some of Chicago too!

    I’m SO glad that Winnie is ok – I know how scary is it when something is wrong with our fur-babies! So happy that it ended up being good news and all is well again!

    Loved seeing Don’s special nacho meal too! It looked amazing!! And that chicken really was gorgeous – glad he grabbed your camera to show some of his delicious cooking!

    How did the flat cookies end up tasting that you made from that mix? I was waiting to hear… and then that was the end of Saturday’s vlog 😉 Still would be curious what you thought? Thanks Jen 🙂

    1. They weren’t my favorite, although I’m partial to my favorite homemade kind recipe. They were nice to throw together in a pinch, but honestly I don’t think it takes too much time to oull out the dry ingredients separately, so I probably won’t be purchasing a mix like this.

  17. Hi Jen,

    I was just watching your video and noticed the very lovely dishes you have on display, there is a rooster and some birds. My decor is very similar to yours but I love roosters, I don’t have a huge selection – a couple of lamps and some decor items – that actually provide a nice contrast to my modern/classic furniture.
    Anyway, would you share where you purchased them.
    Thank you.

    1. I think you’re referring to the set of the 12 days of Christmas dishes I have? I know they’re technically for Christmas but I always display them in November because they look rather fall-ish to me. I purchased them from Pottery Barn years ago.

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