Posts tagged Chicago
Celebrate the Normal: Makes Me Smile


Hello friends! How was your four-day weekend? Even if you didn't have the joy of total downtime for 96 hours (but who was counting?), we've been apart, and I'm hoping you've had some time to celebrate.

I have some fun surprises headed your way this week including a summertime series beginning tomorrow and continuing every Wednesday with fabulous blogging mommas that you know...

So, I'm rolling Celebrate the Normal to Tuesdays because I could use a little gratitude to start my week off right.

And it never fails, every week, I am happily overcome with the art that comes my way through this series and the moments that you share with all of us. Some new artists have joined the fun this week, and you won't be disappointed by the things that "make me smile" from their points of view.

For my four-day I took Friday off to have some fun in Chicago with family. Despite the cold, we managed a very good time at Navy Pier and putt putt. Time back home was spent with barbecues and gardening, shopping and snuggling.

Here I am being a goof in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art and their giant, rotating installation art. I felt like I owned it.

And I was reminded, as only a great art museum parking lot can show you, that inspiration is found all around, even on the thick columns of garage structures. Here's this week's thought for you, artists:

So, here's to seeing things differently from how they really are - with Makes Me Smile...

It's the most wonderful time of the year...~ Erin

{I Dislike} ... having weeds in the yard/garden. ... but seriously just look at how perfect and delicate, though resilient, the weed really is. ~ Jen at jenmygatt on Instagram

Summer plantings make me smile! ~ teddy4775 on Instagram

Green. On a perfect spring day. ~ Ricky

Such a sleepy puppy #oscargram ~ Paige


Another pretty package ready for shipping tomorrow! ~ Melanie

Funny conversations while enjoying some milk and cookies. This makes me smile. ~ Karen

The product of a great time ~ MJ

Pure joy. My job makes me smile. #blessed ~ Brittani

Wonder Filled Grace. ~ Michelle

I hope that you all will continue (or start) joining us as we appreciate the crazy, messed up, wonderful, normal life around us. You might be surprised by how much the simple gesture of capturing an image can add joy to your every day.

Next week, we're focusing on the goodness right around you:

Have a bright week, everyone. Hope to see you back tomorrow for the grand beginning of something wonderful!

xoxo, MJ

Chicago. Favorite moments

Hi friends, I promise that I'll be back next week with a great two chapters from The Happiness Project. I'm still playing catch-up professionally and domestically, and I totally played blog hookie last night and hung out with my bookclub ladies (and an amazing flourless chocolate cake).

Can I share with you some wonderful moments that can only be found in Chicago? If you're near the city, take advantage. This will not be my-vacation-photos-post, mostly. :)

1. THE ART INSTITUTE - Please promise me you'll take just an hour (or much, much more) and see the amazing array that's available. Here are my top 3 favorites from this trip.

2. A BOAT TOUR- Yes, it is so tourist. I've been to Chicago dozens and dozens of times, and this was our first time on a water tour. I learned a ton about the architecture, and the kiddos got to take a break from all the walking. A lovely way to spend 90 minutes.


3. MILENNIUM PARK - We visited during the rain and in the sunshine. Both times we found new treasures to enjoy. Spend 5 minutes or 5 hours people watching and listening to the symphony.


I've been up in the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) and the John Hancock building and enjoyed both views. I'm not picky, and again, this is tourist, but on a clear day, the views from up high are so wonderful. Take an opportunity to see it all from a bird's eye perspective. My kiddos loved/were-totally-frightened-of the glass floor possibilities!


These can happen anywhere, and don't need to be in Chicago, or even on vacation for that matter. But, when I think back to what I loved most about our time is the simple stuff like the funny faces we made at each other in the elevator mirrors or bouncing on the beds or splashing in the puddles.

Vacations allow me to really look at my husband and my children and see the incredible blessings they are (all the time), and I'm so thankful for our latest adventure.

How about you, friends? Have you visited Chicago lately and have some great recommendations?



Funday Fashion Monday: To the Windy City

Good Monday, everyone! I'm sending you greetings from the lovely city of Chicago. We're enjoying some fun family days here in the city, soaking up a fancy hotel, museums, parks, trains, and boats, too! I love Chicago, and I could really use some time away so cheers to a great few days!

How was your weekend?

I'm not sure what the weather has been like in your part of the globe, but here in the Midwest, we've been experiencing cooler (65 degree) weather and rain. It's put me in the mood for my favorite season, and though summer is so fun, I think I am ready for the beauties of autumn.

Today's look is a transitional summer/fall (or walking around a windy city) ensemble.


Those bright pants: Color blocking! Let's embrace it with some great skinnies!! Seriously, I think every gal should find a fun color of pants for the Fall.

That cool top: I've been eyeing some great Dolman-sleeve tops, and I love the material and neutral tone to this one.

Those shoes: Open toed booties still offer a hint of summer pedicures and the stylings of next season.

This scarf: Stripes and colorblocking. I love tying my scarf around my bag when the sun peeks through the clouds and warms things.

That green handbag: Keep a little green going into the autumn tones. This one is bright and can pack a whole lot in it.

Those pyramid studs: These are from a great Etsy shop in a rose gold. Fun and funky.

What are you most looking forward to wearing this Fall?